Jamie Loftus takes you through her year in the high-IQ Mensa society, from taking the test as a joke to spending the Fourth of July with 2000 angry Mensans in Phoenix. Chaos reigns, but at least it tests well.
A perfectly-paced show that takes as much time as it needs to tell the story it wants to tell. My Year in Mensa is a perfect example of a story that, if Loftus worked for a big podcast company or partnered with a streaming platform, would've easily been bloated to 12 parts with useless tangents, interviews, and multiple ad breaks per episode.
Instead we get this bite-sized show that's independently made. A wonderful reminder a podcast can be amazing without the $100k+ budgets short-run nonfiction series work with.
The audio quality occasionally shifts, it being obvious whenever Loftus had to re-do a take in a different location or with a different mic, but it's not actively jarring to listen to.
Mid-sentence quality shifts aside, the editing on MYiM is hilarious to the point I was sore from laughing the rest of the day after listening to all four parts in one sitting. Loftus gives Ologies' Alie Ward a run for her money in pitch-perfect deployment of airhorn sound effects.
Loftus also is real with the audience. She's not busting out the tired performative incompetence hosts of shows like Serial or Reply All have to affect to explain things to the audience. She tells a story, owns to her mistakes and biases as much as she cans, and leaves it up to the audience to come to their own conclusions beyond her own. There's a lot to be said about the toxic self-protective community Mensa has fostered. Loftus has a handful of points to make, presents them in a moving way, and leaves the rest to you.
MYiM is a bite-sized show that can only exist when a producer has the freedom to try goofy things and allow the structure to shift outside the set industry cookie-cutter formats.
For what it is, this podcast is an enjoyable, enlightening listen. Loftus makes you feel like you're her good friend telling you this wacky story about her time in the "high iq" group, Mensa. It's funny, frustrating, and really opened my eyes about how horrible a world those people have created. I will say, if you are looking for a deep dive journalistic journey, this is not it. It's one woman's story told from her personal experience.
Kudos to Loftus for shining a light on such an elitist, exclusive group. Her account is sincere and rich in detail. This was unexpectedly very interesting and a breezy listen! I finished it in two days. Check it out!