Today’s episode of Archetypes with Meghan is one for all us crazy chicas out there, the misunderstood mavens who are just trying to live life out loud for gosh’s sake. Sounds like a wild ride, and it is. Until it gets heavy. On this episode, entitled “The Decoding of Crazy,” my Duchess covers Plato’s traveling uterus theory, late 20th century amendments to the DSM-5, Constance Wu’s DMs, improv comedy, and medical gaslighting.
Meghan tells us that if this week’s topics are too intense, we can take a breather and come back next week. Despite my fragile mental state, I don’t have the luxury of skipping Archetypes due to my employment situation. If you can swing it, I’ll leave this right here for you to consume instead.
It’s the music video Lana Del Rey’s 2012 masterpiece “Ride,” and the first three minutes are a poem about being fucking crazy…but also fucking free… It gets the job done almost as well as an episode of Archetypes with Meghan.
Meghan has a lot of conversations in this episode, including with Jenny Slate, Aparna Nancherla, and Constance Wu. I love all these women for making me laugh. But it turns out, they’re crazy too — or so they’ve been archetyped (with Meghan). Slate tells Meghan about the etymology of the word “hysterical,” which comes from the Greek word for “womb,” and about the strength she derived from childbirth. Nancherla and Meghan discuss how anxiety is like having a “really edgy improv group” in your brain, waiting for one-word suggestions to spin out on. Former Surgeon General of California Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris explains how women are less likely to be taken seriously by doctors when reporting pain. Bollywood actress and activist Deepika Padukone talks mental illness stigma in India and her own depression and anxiety despite living a conventionally successful life.
It’s a solid episode overall, but Meghan’s conversation with Wu is the longest and most illuminating. Three years ago, Wu tweeted about her disappointment with the renewal of her show Fresh Off the Boat because it would preclude her from taking on other acting opportunities, a snap decision which quite literally almost ruined her life. Wu tells Meghan that, in the aftermath of her tweets, a fellow Asian actress DMed her to tell her that she “brought shame to the race,” one of many similar messages that led Wu to a suicide attempt.
Wu has since recovered and written a book about mental health, which offers readers more information on the Fresh Off the Boat situation, including how she was previously sexually harrassed and intimidated by a producer on the show. It’s the best conversation that Meghan’s had so far in the first five episodes of the show – I just wish Meghan shared a little more about herself. I know, I know, I’m not entitled to another woman’s pain just because she’s famous. But she’s the one podcasting about it!
Meghan closes the episode with a poem called “Breathe,” by Becky Hemsley, a favorite work of hers which she apparently once read over the phone to the Archetypes team in the early stages of planning the pod. Here’s an excerpt:
She sat at the back and they said she was shy,
She led from the front and they hated her pride,
They asked her advice and then questioned her guidance,
They branded her loud, then were shocked by her silence,
When she shared no ambition they said it was sad,
So she told them her dreams and they said she was mad
Now that part was legit nuts.