Finished S-Town yet?
If not, we recommend abandoning this article right now and listening to all seven episodes before coming back. There’s nothing else quite like it; a fascinating and often heart-breakingly intimate character study of a man so interesting and layered it’s difficult to believe he isn’t a product of fiction. The podcast is a worldwide phenomenon, lauded for its innovative, novelistic approach to storytelling and superb production. John B McLemore and the multitude of characters that inhabit this small town in Alabama are so compelling that you quickly forget about how its initial hook is abandoned after just two episodes.
It’s been nearly a month since S-Town landed in its entirety online, and now the dust has settled somewhat we have the first TV interview with Tyler Goodson. His unique friendship with John – much of which we learned about after John’s suicide – was one of the most absorbing strands of the story, but it sounds as though the podcast’s success hasn’t had a totally positive impact on his life.
“Sometimes I regret ever speaking into that microphone,” he says while reflecting on his stress levels since the This American Life producers put his hometown under a microscope.
WVTM 13's Marlei Martinez also asks whether he’d concur with John’s “Shit-Town” moniker – have a guess – and Tyler talks about his late father-figure’s eccentric personality: “He was brilliant. He was a brilliant individual, but he was [a] nutcase. Not many people could deal with him. I was probably one of the few that could and that’s why he took a liking to me so much…I could tell he cared about me and that made me care about him.”
At the end of the conversation the reporter asks what her interviewee wants people to know about him and Woodstock, independent of the story Reed tells in his podcast.
As anyone who has listened will know, not everyone paints Tyler in a positive light, and he appears frustrated by aspects of how he’s represented.
“I don’t think I could change anyone’s mind unless I give them my side of the story,” he explains. “People’s gonna believe what they gonna believe. It’s an interesting story overall, I guess, from the outside looking in, but me being part of it, it’s a whole different story. It’s sad.”
(Main image: YouTube/WVTM)