Maybe it's because I'm fascinated with true crime books and podcasts (particularly, the first season of Serial) or maybe because the threat of moving back to Alabama looms overhead, but I couldn't wait to binge-listen to Shittown. I did absolutely nothing to research the topic: no Googling, no asking friends, no guessing. I didn't do this on purpose; I just knew that I had liked Serial's first season enough to trust that Shittown would be just as good.
Southern Gothic is an uncomfortable genre. The South has always been rife source material for the darker sides of Americana: racism, poverty, homophobia, regression, and corruption. Writers like William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor eloquently wove their fiction around these subjects. The hot, broken South has gone from trope to cliché to the point of expecting these subjects in any book, movie, or podcast about the South. Shittown knows this and sets up its first 2 episodes as your standard hot, broken South foundation. But by the end of episode 2, we take a sharp right turn and learn there's more mystery than murder in this murder mystery.
Beyond John B. McLemore and Woodstock, I think Shittown digs deeper at the complexities of Trump voters perhaps without meaning to. No, it's not sympathetic -- the citizens and even John B himself are pretty reprehensible at times regardless of what site of the political spectrum they lean. If anything it's a frustratingly humanizing portrayal of desperate, lonely people who feel the world has failed and abandoned them.