The dream (and nightmare) of the ‘90s is alive in Slow Burn. After spending its first season examining the Watergate scandal and the fall of Richard Nixon, Slate’s political documentary podcast is coming back for its sophomore season on August 8. This time, host Leon Neyfakh and producer Andrew Parsons will train their attention on a more recent presidential scandal, the shadow of which looms large over us even today: the impeachment of Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.
When Slow Burn debuted last November, the podcast presented itself as a pursuit of the following question: What did it feel like to live through a significant historical episode? Neyfakh and Parsons were additionally guided by a more pressing question: How can the past help us understand the present? The show’s efforts to build an analytical bridge between Watergate and the current presidential drama didn’t end up being particularly revelatory, but the gambit was nonetheless appreciated and the quality of its execution was far above so many other Trump-themed and Trump-adjacent podcasts. With its focus on the Clinton impeachment — which features individuals and questions that remain very much active today — the Slow Burn team has the opportunity to more immediately thread together the past and the present, and as a result, insert itself more aggressively into current political conversations.
Expect overlooked side-stories and semi-forgotten characters (Linda Tripp! Lucianne Goldberg!), excessive use of the -gate suffix (File-gate! Travel-gate! Nanny-gate!), and all the details that come with the ‘90s (fax machines!).