If you don't want the first minute of every ep to be content warnings (which as a listener I certainly understand and appreciate), would it be possible to have detailed content warnings listed somewhere on your website maybe? This way people can skim for things they know will bother them? I appreciate you changing your position on this; I know you weren't trying to be insensitive. Love from Utah!
I’m going to give an answer to this that some people may not like which essentially boils down to no. This isn’t because I don’t respect that some things may be difficult to listen to or because I have any kind of stance against warnings. It’s because there’s literally no way for me to make a list that will comprehensively cover every potentially triggering thing.
While I do think that certain subjects should have warnings (even when I personally make mistakes about providing them), I also think it’s important for people to be responsible for the media they consume. Our show is about therapy - we don’t try to present it as superhero shenanigans or a comedy - it’s a drama about therapy. There’s a lot that can be inferred about the content contained within that and I think the first episode gives a good indication of the general tone/content of the show.
This might seem like a weird example, but I remember having a very visceral reaction to the show This is Us. It’s a network family drama so as a TV watcher I can make some assumptions about this - it’s not going to have nudity, swearing, or intense violence, but there could be a ton of other stuff: family fights, death, abuse, infidelity, suicide, trauma, substance abuse, etc. I know that walking in.
There’s an episode with a character death that is very, very sad. It’s meant to be and the episode is beautifully done. And I knew that this was a possibility when watching this show so, even though I was really moved by the episode, I was prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was a conversation that two characters have about anxiety. It’s a casual conversation and one of the characters has already had a panic attack. I should have been fine watching it but then the other character says, “It’s hard to fathom. You seem to have it all together.”
I lost it. This conversation happens 5 minutes in, before all the big drama of the episode and I just could not deal. I had to pause the episode and come back.
Obviously, that’s a little example that is highly specific to me. But these are the dicey waters that you wade into when providing content warnings - there’s always going to be something that strongly affects someone that you just cannot plan for. Which is why I defer to mainstream media for this one thing - both film and TV ratings will give you an idea of anything big or graphic happening but otherwise you have to make your own judgements based on what you know about that piece of entertainment.
I worry that by providing a list, people will assume that list is comprehensive. It can never be comprehensive, so my fear is that people will listen thinking they know every possible thing that could be hard to hear only to be unpleasantly surprised by something that I didn’t think of (or something that no one has had a reaction to). It’s not that I want people to go into listening to the show with their armor up, but I don’t want to pretend that I know everything about what every audience member might find triggering. Ideally we’d meet each other halfway: I’ll provide warnings for things that are especially violent or traumatic and the audience will take responsibility for their own consumption.