Hailed by fans as "like Serial but better", Missing Richard Simmons is the new podcast that will have you hooked from the first minute. Three years ago, ‘80s fitness icon Richard Simmons vanished from the public eye without warning, cutting off contact with his inner circle of friends and clients, so where is he and why did he disappear? This is the podcast all your friends will be talking about…
This six-episode series examines the events leading up to and immediately following Simmons’ disappearance, as host and creator Dan Taberski picks apart the increasingly outlandish theories surrounding the fitness guru’s radio silence. Expect twists and turns from this unlikely mystery.
Who is Richard Simmons?
An American fitness guru and comedian who dedicated 40 years of his life to running the Slimmons gym in Beverley Hills after overcoming a personal battle with obesity, Simmons seemed to thrive in the spotlight. The fitness enthusiast was famed for his eccentric aesthetic, high-octane exercise classes and effervescent personality, which gained him a cult following before his disappearance, which came as a huge surprise to those closest to him. Since then, Simmons has only broken silence once in a phone call to the Today show last year, in which he debunked any theories of foul play and insisted he wants to stay in hiding, leaving his whereabouts a mystery.
And what are people saying?
The podcast has generated a lot of excitement, with A.V. Club calling it “a labour of love” and Buzzfeed branding it “so, so good”. A few critics have been torn by its tricky subject matter: Wired has described the podcast as a mix of “gripping” and “icky”, referring to Taberski’s description of himself as Simmons’ “benign stalker”.
On a Similar Note
Who should listen?
Riding a wave of popular true crime programming, Missing Richard Simmons is ideal for fans of Serial and Making A Murderer, but the exuberant and slightly bizarre figure at its centre gives the podcast a wider appeal for those who find violent stories too troubling for entertainment.
The idea behind the podcast…
Taberski was a regular attendee at Slimmons classes who had come to consider the fitness guru as a friend and confidante by the time he went missing. Although some critics have questioned Taberski’s motives in hunting for someone who may not want to be found, the narrator has insisted he is driven by concern for a man he greatly admires and cares for.
It may be hard to ignore the sensationalism of the project when a member of Simmons’ inner circle is declaring he is being held captive by his former housekeeper using black magic, but the tenderness with which Taberski regards Simmons is redemptive.
The first three episodes are currently live at MissingRichardSimmons.com and are also available for free on a range of platforms including Spotify and iTunes. Listen to it now before your friends do.