Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Listen So You Don't Have To: Steve Austin Show, Ep. 241

Austin flies solo in his latest episode
Photo Credit:
If you're new, here's the rundown: I listen to a handful of wrestling podcasts each week. Too many, probably, though certainly not all of them. In the interest of saving you time — in case you have the restraint to skip certain episodes — the plan is to give the bare bones of a given show and let you decide if it’s worth investing the time to hear the whole thing. There are better wrestling podcasts out there, of course, but these are the ones in my regular rotation that I feel best fit the category of hit or miss. If I can save other folks some time, I'm happy to do so.

Show: The Steve Austin Show
Episode: 241
Run Time: 1:11:05
Guest: none

Summary: Austin is quite honest with us; he has no guest and he is low on material. But what he does have is a story that he hopes will help us with a problem we all share: the ability, or inability, to relax. After some updates on the filming of Broken Skull Challenge and his possible future involvement with Redneck Island, Austin goes into a story about eating alone at a French restaurant called Le Chene, located in the tiny town of Agua Dulce, California. Austin explains that he usually has a hard time relaxing, and eating alone at this fancy restaurant, where he was seated in such a way that he had to directly look at a couple having dinner, would normally be a stress-inducing situation that heightened his self-consciousness. However, at a certain point in his “absolutely wonderful” meal, Austin closed his eyes, got lost in the beauty of the classical French music playing overhead, and realized that he had nothing to be stressed about. He achieved a state of relaxation.

Quote of the Week: “I enjoy life. I love it. But sometimes I don’t stop and smell the roses. So I’m here to tell you, if you’re in the same boat as I was, and you’re always in a hurry and you don’t know how to slow down or relax, you ain’t gotta go to a fancy French restaurant to learn how to do it. You don’t need alcohol to learn how to do it. Just sit down somewhere, and I don’t know if you need to meditate, if you just need to take a chill and just sit down and just kind of go through…I don’t know, read a little about relaxing on the computer or something. It just took me this one visit for all the pieces to come into place, of learning that I could let go.”

Why you should listen: Toward the beginning of this big story, Austin narrates us through the process of him getting into his car and driving. He comments on how his car beeps, and how it has automatic locks, which he informs us are essential to keeping you safe. Such banal details could only be funny through the voice of Steve Austin, and if you derive amusement from Austin’s perspective on everyday life, or if you love the idea of Stone Cold sitting by himself in a tiny French restaurant, drinking wine and staring off into the middle distance, you will have a great time.

Why you should skip it: It starts off with way too much focus on Broken Skull Challenge, especially since Austin doesn’t have much to say about it other than describing the fierce competitors who have shown up this season. From there, Austin’s big story at times feels like he’s simply reviewing a restaurant. The concept of the episode is quite thin, yet it is stretched out to a bit over an hour. With no guest to add a different perspective, Austin is forced to only talk about himself, which can’t possibly please everyone.

Final thoughts: For all the flailing around he does here in order to flesh out a full episode of his family-friendly podcast, Austin admittedly does hit on a worthwhile point, which is that we all can benefit from hitting “pause” on our lives and taking stock of what makes us happy. The fact that Austin’s happiness comes from spending nearly $100 on wine and salmon might be a deal-breaker for some in maintaining their interest, but there is a bizarre charm in listening to Austin recounting everything that went through his head during a solo meal, thinking out loud with us and trying to find meaning in his experiences. If it’s Austin’s podcast, and he can do whatever he wants, you’ll find no better example of artistic freedom than this episode.