The Subjective Truth

The Subjective Truth is the first fiction podcast from Good Pointe, a team consisting of Jeremy and Danyelle Ellett. The fictional true crime podcast delves into the disappearance of podcaster Buddha Kline, set in a reality in the near future.

Husband and wife Buddha and Amy Kline start a podcast, called Armchair Treasure Hunter, in which they investigate the real-life legendary Fenn Treasure, which was said to be hidden in the Rocky Mountains. Eventually this leads to them going on a trip to look for the treasure themselves. But then, while in New Mexico, Buddha disappears without a trace. The Subjective Truth is Graham Anderson’s investigation into this disappearance.

Episode 1 sets up the details, and starts telling the story behind Buddha’s mysterious disappearance. It was a big story at the time, with a huge amount of discussion and conspiracy theories circulating online. There are clips of news reports, a TV interview given by Amy, and a clip of Graham interviewing Buddha’s parents, Beth and Jerry. As they were podcasters, and recording the trip for their show, there are obviously recordings made by Buddha and Amy, where we start getting hints of the supernatural – a clip is played where they say that they’ve seen a UFO. But was that just a hoax for their podcast? A way to make money?

Graham Anderson has decided to investigate this disappearance. During the first episode, she sets out who she is too – a former TV personality who used to have a famous catchphrase. She’s branching out into a new media, after a certain amount of time out of the spotlight. Not only that, her father was fascinated by the Fenn Treasure when she was a child, and she has clear memories of this. As the show progresses, the audience discovers that it isn’t just about Buddha Kline’s disappearance, it’s also about Graham coming to terms with her past. In fact, before diving further into the mystery, she talks about her connection to the Fenn Treasure – she remembers how her dad had a book about it when she was a child. The book was dog-eared, and covered in notes and highlights. She suspects that her dad had been, as Buddha was, obsessed with the hunt for this treasure. With the help of recordings of news items from the time, Graham then goes on to explain what the Fenn Treasure actually is – millions of dollars worth of gold and other precious items hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains by Forrest Fenn in October 2010. After hiding this treasure, Fenn then wrote a book, titled ‘The Thrill of the Chase’, which contained a poem hiding nine clues as to the location of the treasure.

Graham contacts Amy, telling her that she’s going to do a podcast about Buddha’s disappearance – with or without her help. Amy agrees to give her support to Graham’s podcast, and gives her the tapes that she and Buddha made during their hunt for the treasure. They go through these together, discussing the events that unfolded, and retracing their steps. Episode one ends with Graham giving out a phone number that people can call if they have any theories or ideas about what happened to Buddha. These in-universe voicemails are played during episodes, and there are also mini episodes dedicated to them. As you might imagine, people have varying opinions and some truly wild theories, but they also provide insight into how the show’s received by the public in-universe.

As Graham’s investigation develops, the rabbit hole gets deeper and deeper. Paranormal aspects of Buddha’s past are revealed, cryptids are discussed, and Graham goes on a trip of her own in the hopes of finally solving this mystery. All of this is set against the background of Graham battling her past, which becomes more and more difficult for her as time goes on.

The show also deals with some of the more problematic aspects of creating a podcast about someone’s disappearance. The issue of Graham potentially making money from the show is something that comes up time and time again over the course of the season – from Buddha’s dad, from people who leave voicemails on the show’s tip line, and it’s also something Graham also addresses herself. The show also has sponsors, until about half-way through the season, when Graham decides to drop the adverts ‘out of respect for Buddha’. There’s also a mention of how other podcasts about Buddha’s disappearance have sprung up as the story is thrown back into the public eye, but unlike The Subjective Truth, these don’t have any support from Amy or Buddha’s family. 

And speaking of sponsors, one of the aspects of the show that fascinated me the most was these in-universe adverts. Initially these might just seem like strange or unsettling products from an alternate reality, and on the surface some of them – like a mattress company – may seem like a way of sending up the adverts that you’ll often hear on podcasts, but there’s much more to them than just this. They’re interesting pieces of world-building and glimpses into a slightly sinister near future, which become more integrated into the story as the show progresses. So yes, there’s your more typically podcasty mattress adverts, but there are also adverts for an artificial meat subscription, and a very unnerving product called Reboot.

Season one contains 17 episodes, with a planned season 2. As of July 2020, Good Pointe are currently releasing The One Stars, a bi-weekly comedy show featuring one star reviews for everything from a trip to the moon to a ukulele to a spellbook.

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