The Best of The Upgrade 2017

In this episode, we talk about (and listen to) our favorite moments from the past year’s episodes. In 2017, we learned how to turn our awkwardness into a social asset; how to be brilliant (while being bored); how to find real love; how to get smart about microdosing… and more. So much more. Oh, but we had fun.

How to Identify a Cult, With Rick Alan Ross

In this episode we’re talking about cults: how they operate, how you identify one, what it’s like to be in one, and how to get out. To that end, we’re talking with Rick Alan Ross, the founder and Executive Director of the Cult Education Institute and an internationally known expert on destructive cults, controversial groups and movements. We’re also talking to author Rebecca Stott, whose book “In the Days of Rain: A Father, a Daughter, a Cult” details her childhood in the Exclusive Brethren, a cult that believed the world is ruled by Satan. And we speak with Elizabeth Yuko, a journalist who’s written extensively about cults.

How to Win at Dinner, With Dave Arnold and Melissa Clark

In this episode we’re talking about dinner: what you should make, how you should make it, and why the idea of “dinner” is fraught for so many of us. We talk with Melissa Clark, staff reporter for the New York Times Food section and author of the new cookbook “Dinner in an Instant.” We also chat with Dave Arnold, the Founder and President of the Brooklyn-based Museum of Food and Drink. And we spend quality time with Claire Lower, Lifehacker's food editor and the mastermind behind the “Will It Sous Vide” column.

How to Protect Yourself Online with Hector Monsegur

Hector Monsegur is a reformed black-hat hacker. Under the alias Sabu, he hacked corporations, news organizations, and Middle Eastern governments. After he was caught, Hector became an informant for the FBI; now he makes a living helping companies avoid getting hacked. Hector joined us in the studio to talk about all the ways we put ourselves at risk of being the next hacking victim, and how we can protect ourselves and our data.

 How to Get Smart About Microdosing, With Ayelet Waldman, Paul Austin, & Igmar Gorman

This week we're talking about microdosing: the use of relatively low doses of psychedelics, like LSD and psilocybin mushroom,  to improve mood, focus and productivity in daily life. We spoke with author Ayelet Waldman, whose monthlong experiment with microdosing pulled her out of suicidal depression; psychedelics advocate Paul Austin; and psychologist Dr. Ingmar Gorman, who specializes in "psychedelic psychotherapy" and substance use treatment.

How to Tell If You're Dating a Psychopath with Jen Waite & Michael Stone

This week we're talking about psychopaths: what exactly is a psychopath, how to identify them and what to do if you suspect you might be dating one. We talk with Jen Waite, author of A Beautiful, Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal about her marriage to someone who turned out to embody the textbook definition of a psychopath, as well Columbia University professor of psychiatry Michael Stone about the clinical and forensic applications of the psychopathy spectrum.

The True Story of Real World: Seattle's 'Slap Heard 'Round the World' with Irene McGee

To her chagrin, Irene McGee is best known for getting slapped in the face 20 years ago on The Real World: Seattle. This week on DirtCast, Irene joins us to discuss the aftershocks of being on one of the most iconic reality TV shows of our time and how she eventually accepted and found humor in her less-than-ideal path to notoriety. 

Just Xenu It: a Special (Suppressive) Scientology Episode 

Bobby and Madeleine take an in-depth look at the criminal accusations surrounding actor and Scientologist Danny Masterson and the cover-ups that happen within the favorite religion of the rich and the famous. Episode features interviews with Tony Ortega, journalist and renowned critic of Scientology, and former Scientologist Chris Shelton.

Watch What Happens When You Work in Reality TV

Bobby and Madeleine are joined in the studio by Watch What Happens Live's Mariah Smith for a lengthy discussion about all things Bravo. From our favorite Real Housewives taglines to the enthralling antiheroes of Vanderpump Rules to the (often scary) Bravo fandom, no subject was too lowbrow to go unexplored.

Hollywood Girls Gone Wild with popculturediedin2009

popculturediedin2009 is one of the best celebrity gossip bloggers on the internet, which is interesting because A.) he's only 19 years old and B.) he's covering celebrity gossip from a full decade ago. This week, the prodigy behind the popular tumblr, Twitter and Instagram account joins us in the studio to talk about Lindsay Lohan, his early love of Anna Nicole Smith, and the familiar comfort of early aughts tabloids. It's widely agreed that pre-2010 is the last time celebrity gossip was good, so why not stay there?

Tabloids! Tabloids! Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

Gossip Cop co-founder Michael Lewittes joins Bobby and Madeleine to discuss his years of experience debunking tabloid rumors, how to fact check celebrity gossip, and what it was like to produce Britney Spears’ infamous 2006 Dateline interview.

Has R. Kelly Given America Stockholm Syndrome? 

Since marrying Aaliyah when she was 15 years old, R. Kelly has been dogged with accusations and rumors about sexual coercion and misconduct toward much younger women, many of them under the legal age of consent. In spite of this, Kelly still boasts a legion of loyal fans and journalists--in music and beyond--have largely ignored his supposed crimes. This week on DirtCast, Special Projects Desk reporter Anna Merlan joins us to discuss our culture’s blind spot regarding allegations against famous men and what it takes to get journalists to report on them.

Edie Windsor, the Dynamo

We look back at the life and legacy of Edie Windsor, whose Supreme Court case struck down DOMA and paved the way for the legalization of same sex marriage across the country. We speak with one of her attorneys, the ACLU's James Esseks.

Elizabeth Warren on Trump & the Middle Class

We speak with Sen. Elizabeth Warren about her new book, “This Fight Is Our Fight” and about whether or not she’d support Trump’s impeachment. Also: Fox News, H.R. McMaster, and Who Did the Tweet.

6 Months Deep with Amy Goodman, Aparna Nancherla, and Erika Andiola

In our first ever live taping at the Bell House in Brooklyn, we speak with Amy, Aparna, and Erika about the first six months of Trump's presidency and what to do going forward.

How to Talk About Yet Another Friggin' Mass Shooting

The Guardian’s Lois Beckett joins us to talk about what the media and politicians miss in the gun violence debate, which focuses disproportionately on mass shooting, the rarest form of gun violence. Also: Donald Trump mispronounces “Puerto Rico.”

Rep. Jackie Speier on Marines United and Sexual Assault in the Military

Big Time Dicks continues to examine the epidemic of sexual assault in the military, and speak with Rep. Jackie Speier about legislation she's pushing to combat it.

Trump’s Voter Fraud Crusade

Prachi and Ellie speak to ACLU voting rights attorney Julie Ebenstein about the Trump administration’s voter fraud commission and how Republican-led voter suppression efforts will impact future elections.