I’ve been known to enjoy a good podcast from time to time and I’ve also been known to seek out things that are pop-culture relevant. So when some friends told me that Missing Richard Simmons was worth a listen and I saw it was the most popular podcast on iTunes, I couldn’t not give it a try.
My knowledge of Richard Simmons was probably on par with most everyone else’s. I know what he looks like, I know that’s he’s loud and I know he sweats to the oldies. As humans it’s hard to admit this, but when we start a podcast like this, we are hoping something happened to Richard Simmons. We can justify it by saying we hope by Dan Taberski doing this podcast, if Richard Simmons is in some kind of trouble, maybe this will help him. But deep down we wanted him to be held hostage by his housekeeper. Not because we’re bad people but I think it’s because the connection between Richard Simmons the character and Richard Simmons the real person is missing.
This podcast was successful is one way for me. I came away really liking Richard Simmons. I saw him on talk shows and infomercials where you have to take his client’s testimonies with a grain of salt but in some of the interviews on the podcast you can hear how above and beyond he went for people and doing it for nothing. It also shined a light on how unhappy he really was. He’d break down crying every class and he’s call clients on the phone and break down crying. It was these accounts where I started to feel awful for contributing to this podcast’s success.
This podcast gained so much traction that the police showed up to interview him and his house keeper a few times. I knew about the police visits before I was finished with the six episodes. I should have stopped then but I didn’t. After I finished the sixth episode I felt unsatisfied (because it’s a lousy ending) and bad about myself again for finishing it out.
Richard Simmons wanted out of the public eye and he deserved to be able to do that. What Dan Taberski did was he tried to take that away from him in hopes that he could have a successful podcast. If he really cared about Richard Simmons like he claimed, he would have just taken his manager’s word for it. I think it was selfish of him for doing the podcast and selfish of us for listening to it.