In 1982 a murder captured America's imagination. Forty years later, two podcasts joined forces to talk about it.
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Sarah: I don't think there are many podcasts that call the victim "a dick" this many times.
[Maintenance Phase theme]
Michael: Sarah, do you want to do the honors?
Sarah: Oh, my God, okay. Yes. All right. [sighs] Welcome to Maintenance Phase, the podcast where we're making you a Scarsdale surprise.
Aubrey: That is 100% better than anything I would have come-- [crosstalk] [laughs]
Sarah: No. It's just more Seinfeld related.
Michael: I am Michael Hobbes.
Aubrey: I'm Aubrey Gordon.
Sarah: I'm Sarah Marshall.
Michael: Yes, Sarah is the host of a podcast called-- I forget the name. Sarah, what's the name? You're wrong about that? You are wrong? Something?
Aubrey: I was going to do this--
Sarah: It's called What's Wrong With You? And it's beloved by all dads.
Michael: This one is a departure for our show, but we have been wanting to do a Maintenance Phase-You're Wrong About crossover event for as long as we have been doing the show. So, this is it. We were waiting for a story that had some fun health stuff and also some like true-crime-y media debunking maligned woman's stuff. And this story has been requested by a number of listeners. As soon as I started looking into it, I was like, "This is it. This is the one."
Sarah: I'm so excited. I'm so happy you guys asked me to talk about this particular topic. This is going to be very illuminating.
Michael: I should also say before we get started that this episode has some abuse stuff and some very detailed suicide stuff.
Michael: So, if that sucks, we love you, we'll see you next time.
Michael: So, Aubrey, you're coming in fresh, right? You don't know anything about this.
Aubrey: I am coming in totally fresh. I am on vacation with my extended family.
Aubrey: And last night at dinner, somebody asked what our-- I was like, "I'm recording tomorrow." And I said, "We're recording about something." I was like, "My job is to come in fresh. So, I don't really know anything about it, but it's called the Scarsdale Diet." She was like, "[gasps] Oh, my God."
Michael: Oh, yeah?
Aubrey: And everyone around the table immediately started talking about the Scarsdale diet and I was like, "I have to go. I have to leave this room."
Michael: And then Sarah, I heard you mentioned something like an oblique reference to this on You Are Good episode, I think.
Sarah: Yeah, I was amazed that you even noticed this.
Michael: Yeah. It's because I was already reading for it.
Michael and Sarah: Yeah.
Sarah: It's funny, because my knowledge of this is of its little droppings as a cultural event. And so, I'm really excited to get the full story from you. But, yes, I can give you cultural event stuff.
Michael: Okay, great. This is a massive cultural event. Are you guys familiar with this concept of a Forgotbuster?
Sarah: Well, I remember you using this example and, like, a very early You're Wrong About episode. It's a movie that everybody sees, it's culturally obligatory, and then 10 years later, nobody can really say what happened in it and they don't-- It's because you watch it once and then you're like, "That was great. Do I feel the need to sit around watching Avatar on my TV?"
Sarah: Not particularly. So, Avatar is a good example.
Michael: This was one of the biggest cases of the early 1980s. One of the things I came across in the reading was that one hundred journalists flew in for the verdict of this trial.
Michael: It also says something about the American journalism industry at the time, like, there were hundred newspapers.
Michael: It was a massive deal. There was a TV movie that came out just after it with Ellen Burstyn that was based exclusively on the trial transcript.
Michael: It's on YouTube. It's really weird.
Sarah: I've never heard of someone doing that.
Michael: But then no one has heard of this. And also, so, for this episode, I read two books. The first is called Mrs Harris by Diana Trilling and she wrote this book in 1982, that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Now, there's no Wikipedia entry for it. It's out of print. It has completely fallen off the cultural radar. And then the other book that I'm basing this on is called Very Much a Lady by Shana Alexander, who was the first female reporter for Life magazine. And, Sarah, you will know this. You know the SNL sketches, where it's Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin and he's like, "Jane, you ignorant slut."
Michael: Those sketches are based on Shana Alexander's segments on 60 minutes.
Michael: She used to have the segment, where she would like a feminist debates with a conservative.
Michael: I didn't even know those were based on anything.
Sarah: Right. Because we end up with these parody fossils and we've forgotten the actual event has just decomposed.
Michael: It's just this fascinating Forgotbuster turducken, where it's just like, "Forgotbuster case that produced Forgotbuster books by Forgotbuster journalists.
Sarah: I've been watching a lot of disaster movies that I feel you're the disaster expert who comes in who's like, "Ladies and gentlemen, it is a triple mudslide avalanche meteor."
Sarah: "Our sleep little vacation town won't know what hit it."
Michael: This episode is the story of Jean Harris. She's born in 1923 in Cleveland. She's raised mostly by her mother, because her father sucks. Jean Harris later says, "He never should have had children. An unbelievably unhappy man to be around. He only remembered the unpleasant things. Nothing made him happy and there was no way to not make him mad."
Michael: I don't know, if this is typical of people who grew up in homes like this. But she deals with the chaos of her home life by being a super high achiever at school. She's the class president, she's on the swim team. She wins something called the Current Events Contest.
Michael: Which I don’t know what that is, but it's something they did in the 1930s in Cleveland.
Aubrey: "This is the event that's most current. Congratulations."
Michael: As she gets older, she goes to Smith College. In 1945, she married her high school sweetheart, a guy named Jim Harris. She says that the only reason she married him was that her dad didn't like him.
Michael: It was her only act of rebellion, basically, in her life up to this point.
Aubrey: Good for her.
Michael: I know.
Sarah: You know first marriage, it's just for practice.
Michael: After they graduate from college, he gets a job in the auto industry doing something with carburetors. And they move to Detroit. She gets work as a school teacher until she gets pregnant. And then after she has her kids, she's at home taking care of the kids, but she misses work, misses having a career. So, she starts running a daycare/primary school out of her basement.
Sarah: But you just can't run daycares out of your basement anymore.
Michael: Nobody wants to work anymore.
Michael: This period also establishes a theme in her life, where she's extroverted, she's hanging out with all the other wives. She's a social butterfly and doing really well. But she thinks that she's really bad at everything. So, her friends from the time tell Shana Alexandra that she was always just saying something self-deprecating and she could never take a compliment. When you're like, "Oh, that was a nice cake that you made for the brunch this weekend," she'd be like, "Oh, it's not a real recipe. I just whipped it up from powdered mix," or something.
Sarah: I challenge you to find a woman of this generation or who came of age in the 20th century, who can take a compliment on her baking, because there are some that this is her serving as an example of what female socialization will do to a person over time.
Aubrey: Yes. I ate a lovely cake last night served by a woman in her 70s, who kept saying, "I'm just learning how to bake. It's not very good."
Sarah: Was it my mom?
Sarah: That’s great. I'm so happy she's having a vacation. She really needs one.
Michael: Basically, as she is getting more into her career and she's actually getting more ambitious, she goes back to school to get a master's degree in education at Wayne State University. She finds that she's just drifting apart from her husband. He's not that into his career and he's also not as into all the socializing. He's just an introvert. In 1964, she files for divorce. And so, she's still in Detroit, she's 43 years old, she's now a single mom. She gets a job as an administrator at something called Springside, which is a super posh girls' school in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Shana Alexander says, "She tackled her new job at Springside with a level of dedication that would have brought joy to the heart of Vince Lombardi," which I think from context clues means that she's working hard. That's a sports metaphor.
Sarah: Vince Lombardi said, "Winning--" I forget the exact quote. But "Winning isn't the most important thing. It's the only thing." Which I fail to see how that really relates to administrating girls' school." But-
Sarah: -it's a very competitive culture we live in.
Michael: So, she's in Philadelphia. And in December of 1966, she meets Herman Tarnower.
Sarah: Hmm. Is he as sexy as his name?
Michael: I was just going to send you guys a photo.
Sarah: Ah. Oh. Oh, that's a face I don't want anywhere near my vagina. That's how I'm going to say it.
Aubrey: Yeah. He's got-- Ugh. He's just showing his teeth is how I would describe his expression in this photo.
Aubrey: Just like, "Here's what my teeth look like."
Sarah: It's like he's been reading an Incel subreddit all day about how smiling is a sign of submission in chimps and then someone asked him to smile for a photo and he's really torn about whether to do it.
Michael: Ordinarily, I would feel bad about talking about somebody like this, but it's a very weird case in that everyone, like, including his friends say that Herman Tarnower is just a huge bag of dicks.
Sarah: Oh, really?
Sarah: With teeth on top.
Michael: He has a life story that should make him appealing. He grows up dirt poor in Brooklyn. He works his way into medical school. After he graduates, he moves to Westchester, which is like an hour outside of New York. And at the time, it's like the boonies, but it's quickly becoming like a bedroom community for old money New York people. It's where whatever Asters and the Carnegies and stuff go for their summer houses and their weekend homes and stuff. He sets up a practice there and immediately becomes the doctor to the wealthy. He has this idea of a country doctor. He knows them, he knows their names, he knows their servants' names, he goes golfing with them, he goes to their parties, he has these big parties at his house. He's a really good listener, he's really good at bedside manner, when it's rich people.
Michael: Everybody else in the entire county, who is middle class or working class says that, "He's just a complete dick and will not listen to them."
Michael: He says that he will treat their servants for free like, "If you have someone who works in your house, I'll help them." But then he will report back about their medical conditions to their employers.
Aubrey: Oh, gross.
Michael: He's also known as an inveterate womanizer. He at one point apparently tells a friend, he says, "Women were never a problem for me, because there were always nurses available."
Sarah: Oh, God.
Michael: He goes through his employees, apparently.
Aubrey: Cruel grotesque.
Michael: He apparently disconnected the gas in his own house, because when women would come over, they would try to cook breakfast for him in the morning and he didn't want them sticking around. So, there just wasn't gas in his house and he ate out every meal for 12 years.
Sarah: I don't know how to react to that. This guy never wanted an egg?
Michael: Jean meets him at this party in Philadelphia in late 1966. It's one of those things where you sit next to somebody at dinner and you're at a big party, but then you just take each other on to the loveseat in the corner and you just talk to each other for hours, and ignore the entire party around you.
Sarah: Those are very sexy description.
Michael: Afterwards, he lives in upstate New York and she's in Philadelphia, but he starts sending her little gifts. He sends her history books of stuff that he mentioned. He sends her a Christmas card with a wicked fucking neg. It says, "You were a delight to be with. I kept wondering if you could keep up the pace. Also, whether or not you're a good dancer."
Sarah: Oh, I hate men.
Aubrey: This guy later had a son and that son was mystery, the pickup artist.
Michael: "I kept wondering if you were as smart as me, but almost. So, I'm impressed."
Sarah: I love it when men talk about intelligent women as if they're a dog walking on their hind legs.
Michael: He invites her to New York City, and he's going to show her around New York City. This is an incredible crossover moment for the show. Aubrey, on their second date, they go see Angela Lansbury in Mame.
Aubrey: Shut the fuck up. Are you kidding me?
Michael: It's so weird. Yeah.
Aubrey: I love this so much. That's the brawl that she talked about. She was like, "Oh, I live in that New York City life and I put on some pounds."
Sarah: "And one day, I saw the glint of teeth in my audience, and I thought, 'Those people are having a nice date right now.'"
Michael: They do that on the Saturday, and then on the Sunday, he invites her up to his estate. He lives in this apparently like Frank Lloyd Wright knockoff house with a bunch of buildings.
Sarah: Frank Lloyd Wright, yeah.
Michael: One of the weirdest fucking details about this story is that he has two live-in servants, who are named Suzanne and Henry, and they handle the house and his scheduling, and all this kind of stuff. And they're both French speaking Belgians. According to both books that I've read for this, this was like a trend among rich people, was not to have French speaking servants, not to have Belgian servants, but to have French speaking Belgian servants was as a status symbol [laughs] in New York in 1960s.
Sarah: Did they make chocolates for you? [laughs]
Aubrey: They were all just really into Poirot.
Michael: They start dating sometime in 1967. Within a couple of months, he asks her to marry him. He gives her a ring, which I looked this up adjusted for inflation, it's worth $90,000.
Michael: And he offers her the ring, gets down on one knee, the whole thing. And apparently, she hesitates. She's like, "Ah, I don't know if I want to be tied down. I don't know if I want my kids to move to upstate New York and move in with this guy into this big house." She's really focused on her career at this point. She's just like, "Ah, give me some time to think about it." And then a couple months goes by, eventually, she's like, "Ah, should we talk about the wedding ring thing?" And he's like, "You know what? I changed my mind. I don't think I'm a settling down kind of guy."
Sarah: Oh, Herman.
Michael: There's been a period where it's like, "Well, what now? You've asked me to marry you. You've now reneged on the invitation." So, it's weird for a little while and eventually, she writes him a letter basically saying, "I don't care that you don't want to marry me. Let's just keep hanging out." Their relationship goes on for the next 14 years. And he basically takes this letter, her reaffirming of the relationship. He takes it as an invitation to just act like he's single. They see each other on weekends. And during the weekdays, he's dating other people. Sometimes carrying on serious relationships, sometimes less serious relationships. In 1970, he asked at least two other women to marry him.
Basically, everyone, including his friends in his life say that he's just a take it or leave it guy. He's just like, "This is the relationship. If you want to see me on weekends, that's what our relationship is going to be. We're not going to be in a normal relationship. If you'd like that, great. If you don't, bye."
Aubrey: Can I ask you a question?
Aubrey: It sounds by all accounts, he is a dick.
Michael: Mm hmm.
Aubrey: In the books that you read, was there anything reconciling? Was she into the dickishness? Was she also a little bit of a dick? What's her response?
Michael: Diana Trilling's book, which is reactionary and quite bad for reasons that we'll get into, her theory is that basically, Jean Harris is a masochist and she liked being abused. I don't love this explanation.
Sarah: That's not what being a masochist means, but proceed. [laughs]
Aubrey: Yeah, totally.
Michael: Yeah, I don't find that very convincing. In Shana Alexander's book, she talks about how it might be something to do with her father that she had this distant, horrible presence in her life who never gave her approval and that's essentially the pattern with High, she calls him High. In the writings with her and various interviews with her that I've seen, she seems to be fascinated by him and admiring of him. He was somebody who considered himself a sophisticate. He was someone who knew a lot about history, he traveled a lot, and it seems she liked listening to him and she thought he was smart. It seems he liked bouncing himself off of her and she liked being bounced off of.
Sarah: But does she know about the nonmonogamy of the situation?
Michael: She knows about it. They have various conversations where she's like, "Just don't rub it in my face."
Michael: My sense of her is actually that it's something that she wants to be okay with, right?
Michael: Because she's agreed to this. He's basically said, "Take it or leave it." She's like, "Okay, I can handle this. I can handle this." But then in the actual reality of it, she really can't. It really hurts her feelings.
Aubrey: It feels we're getting very close to just being like, "She's a chapter in 'he's just not that into you.'"
Michael: Another thing that I think is an important factor to take into consideration here is that, in 1971, she gets a new job. She moves to Connecticut, she moves to another school where she's the headmistress. She's moving up in the world, she's finally in charge of the school. And almost immediately, she starts getting fatigued. It's an unbelievably stressful position to run a school, especially at this time where it's only women did this for women's schools, which means the pay was abysmal and no one takes your job seriously and you have to live on campus. So, if you lose your job, you also lose your housing at the same time and your car and stuff. It's really amazing how bad these jobs were.
She's just super-duper stressed out. She's getting this fatigue. He prescribes her Desoxyn, which is a straight up methamphetamine. It's not like a methamphetamine. It's like an actual methamphetamine and people used to use it for diets back in the day, even though she's not dieting. But it's something that basically just revs you up all day, you're not hungry, you can't sleep, and it gives you this, "I can do anything" feeling.
Sarah: Studio gave those to Judy Garland, I think that worked out great for her.
Michael: It's weird to prescribe this to your girlfriend and not explain to her like, it's sort of a big deal.
Sarah: It's weird to prescribe anything to your girlfriend [crosstalk] is the way I think about it.
Michael: At some point, this is years later, she goes to her doctor for something else. They're like, "Are you taking any medication?" She's like, "Yeah, I'm taking Desoxyn." They're like, "What? How long have you been taking that for?" She's like, "Oh, six years." They're like, "What? This is not normal." And I guess, the doctor at that time is like, "You're not taking anything else, are you?" She's like, "Oh, yeah, the guy I'm seeing also gave me some downers for my back and also some sleeping pills to help me sleep at night, because the Desoxyn keeps me sobered up." [laughs] I guess, this other doctor is like, "You got to be fucking kidding me with this." And eventually, she goes back to High and she's like, "Oh, this other doctor was uncomfortable." He's like, "Oh, he's just a quack. He doesn't know what he's talking about." So, she just keeps taking.
Aubrey: I feel she's about to be like, "Listen, his regimen for me is that I just swallow a couple tablespoons of baking soda and then chug some vinegar. It's fine. Don't worry about it."
Michael: I'm a science fair volcano, okay? But it's for him.
Michael: Shana Alexander theory on this is that, what is actually happening is that Jean Harris is depressed and the fatigue is a sign of depression. She's extremely lonely, her kids are now grown up and out of the house because she's the headmistress of the school, she can't really make friends at work. She's in this high society Connecticut world that she doesn't really understand. She's dating somebody who treats her like shit and doesn't really value her as a person.
Shana Alexander's theory is that, basically, she's been suffering from depression for an extremely long time but because she's taking these pills, which deal with the fatigue and the other symptoms of the depression, like, insomnia and these other things that happen when you're clinically depressed. She doesn't know that she's depressed and she doesn't know that she's covering up the symptoms. It just simmers underneath the surface and she's not aware of how much she's struggling. Partly, because also, when you're taking methamphetamines every day, you are insanely productive. She's very good at her job.
Sarah: I think that mania, not that's what it is, if you're on a methamphetamine, but like a state where vibrating at a very high frequency is often not noticed in women, because people are like, "Yeah, she's doing what she's supposed to do for once."
Michael: After three years of taking this insane drug cocktail that her boyfriend is giving her, he starts seeing someone else pretty seriously. There's a receptionist at the medical clinic where he works, named Lynne Tryforos, who throughout all of this has never spoken to the press. Everything we know about her is second and third hand sources. So, very big grain of salt. She starts working for Herman Tarnower in 1964. It's not totally clear when they begin dating. But by 1974, it becomes clear to Jean that they are becoming more serious. She's basically his weekday girlfriend.
The way that she finds out, I guess, Lynne will send letters to High whenever they're traveling. They'll go to Athens, and they get to the Four Seasons, and it's like, "Oh, there's a letter for you, Dr. Tarnower." And it's like, "Hi, sweetie, I miss you," or whatever. Little things like this were just it makes it harder for Jean to ignore what's going on. She finds cufflinks, where he's like, "Oh, a patient gave me these." "Nice new cufflinks." And then she looked on the back of them and they're like, "I love you. Love, Lynne," or whatever."
Sarah: "My patient really loved me."
Aubrey: I also just want to appreciate that we're nearing, what I'm assuming is going to be some level of sex scandal with two women named Jean and Lynne.
Michael: I know.
Michael: The fact that Jean is now 49 and Lynne Tryforos is 37, it's just a bunch of adults doing some kind of middle school stuff like the rest of the story.
Sarah: Love it.
Michael: Speaking of middle school stuff, shortly after, he starts dating Lynne more seriously. This is wild. Jean starts getting anonymous phone calls.
Michael: I feel this is something that you have to explain to the youths, because we're so used to a world where you know who is calling you. And if it's a blocked number, you just wouldn't pick up. The institution of anonymous phone calls has disappeared from American life. But there were a couple of decades in there when the phone just rang and you just picked it up, and you would just be talking to whoever was on the other end without warning. You guys remember obscene phone calls? That was something we heard about as kids, right?
Sarah: Yeah, heavy breathers.
Aubrey: I definitely picked up the phone at one point and there was just random, heavy breathing and I was like, "What?"
Michael: Before there was Chatroulette, there was obscene phone calls. So, Jean starts getting anonymous phone calls in 1974, but they're not just like random heavy breathing phone calls. They're about her. She'll pick up the phone, and someone like a male voice will say, "Do you ever think about Herman Tarnower fucking other women? Do you ever think about how bad you are at fucking him?" One of them says, "You should go to sex school," which [crosstalk] weird.
Aubrey: That is extremely middle school. You promise middle school stuff.
Aubrey: But never has a more seventh grade thing than said.
Michael: She starts getting obscene letters too, that are about her, like, specific things about her. The obscene phone call or whoever this is will leave numbers. They'll call her office and leave like, "Oh, call me back at this number." And then she'll call the number and it's Lynne Tryforos.
Michael: Lynne picks up, and she's like, "Is this Lynne Tryforos?" And then Lynne is like, "Why are you calling me? This is really inappropriate and weird that you're calling me." And Jean is like, "I didn't know this was you." And then Lynne is like, "Nice try, Jean." It gets to the point where Lynne Tryforos changes her own number 10 times. And every single time the anonymous caller calls Jean Harris and gives the new number to Jean Harris and then Lynne has to change her number again.
Sarah: Wait, Mike, I have a theory.
Sarah: The person making these phone calls, is it Jigsaw? It sounds like something Jigsaw would do.
Michael: The thing is, I'm actually very frustrated by this because dramatic catharsis wise, you'd want to know who was doing the phone calls.
Michael: We never find out. To this day, we do not know.
Sarah: Ah. So, we don't know that it wasn't Jigsaw.
Aubrey: You can't prove this negative, can you?
Michael: Thaw theory that makes sense, the only person who would do this, obviously is Lynne, but it's a man's voice. So, Lynne put someone up to this or Jean is making all this up.
Sarah: Or, Herman's doing it or there's some other person who is meddling for-- I'm like, does Herman Tarnower have a fellow freemason who's meddling in his love life or something.
Aubrey: Who runs a sex school.
Sarah: She's just trying to get business for the sex school.
Michael: Just recruiting.
Sarah: Flyers under the windshield wipers [crosstalk] worse though.
Michael: There's a really weird detail in Shana Alexander's book, where she says that, Herman Tarnower is also getting obscene phone calls for nine years.
Michael: But he just doesn't think it's that big of a deal. [laughs]
Sarah: This is what people cope with in the 70s, I guess.
Michael: Okay, no reason to look into that at all, but fair enough. But then whatever is happening is basically driving Jean nuts. Every time she brings this up with High, he's like, "You're crazy. This is not real. You need to stop bothering Lynne." But then he will also talk shit about Lynne to Jean.
Michael: He will say like, "Oh, I could never settle down with Lynne. She's too much of an intellectual lightweight. She's not like you."
Sarah: Gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss.
Aubrey: Yeah. [laughs]
Michael: Exactly. He talks shit about his other exes to Jean and you can only assume that of course, he's talking to you about Jean too his other women that he's dating. This is an excerpt from Diana Trilling's book. She says, "Herman Tarnower had an insatiable appetite for small power. Whatever his seriousness as a physician in his private life, he was in the business of indulging some profoundly unserious notion of what constitutes manhood. There's something disturbed and disturbing in the sexuality of someone who plays women off each other as he played these women off of his. This was not altered by the fact that they obviously conspired in it. The world is full of masochistic people dedicated to their own worst interests, but a developed person doesn't look for his proofs of strength by moving in upon other people's weaknesses."
Sarah: Sounds like very 1970s phrasing.
Michael: It's not a good book.
Michael: And it has a lot of ideas that I don't really like. But I do think Herman Tarnower could have put a stop to this on some level.
Michael: He could have said like, "Look, Lynne is a nice person. I'm not going to say anything negative about her to you, you should not speak negatively about her to me."
Sarah: Well, Tarnower has not read The Ethical Slut. I would--[crosstalk]
Sarah: This is a hypothesis. But potentially, maybe the point of this for him is not to have one woman he's in a relationship with or two women, or a bunch of women but to play them off each other in the relationship drome.
Aubrey: This is some major like divorce dad energy, too.
Aubrey: "Your mom would never let this happen." You're like, "Oh, no thanks."
Michael: In 1977, as all this is going on, she gets a job at Madeira, which is another posh girl school in the DC suburbs. It's half an hour or an hour away from DC. At the time, the school motto is, I swear to God, I'm not making this up, "Function in disaster, finish in style."
Michael: Why would you have disaster in your school motto?
Sarah: Because they knew where America was going before anyone else did.
Michael: She gets his headmistress job at this very prestigious school. She's apparently very good at the job. I guess, the school was just essentially like a glorified summer camp for rich kids. When she gets there, she's like, "What the fuck are you doing?" The Christmas break, apparently, is six weeks long. They're only in classes four days a week.
Michael: I guess, the school is not accredited.
Michael: So, people couldn't write off donations. It just a mess when she gets there.
Sarah: Sounds like a great school. [laughs]
Michael: And also, because she's on a bunch of meth, she's very efficient.
Michael: She goes about reforming the school. This is the period where under normal circumstances, this is where she should have started to drift away from High, because it's now a five-hour drive to see him. He's getting closer to Lynne, he's now going on these elaborate vacations with Lynne, that's something he used to do with her. All the signs are there that this has basically run its course and also that he's swapping her out for the younger, hotter model story as old as time. But she's both in denial about what's happening and she's addicted to him. It seems she can't stop herself from wanting to see him.
Another sign that this is becoming just a really negative force in her life is that the weird attacks start escalating. She leaves a dress in his house in the attic or in the back of the closet or something. She pulls it out and it's covered in shit.
Sarah: What? Human shit?
Michael: That’s the thing. Both of the books just say excrement.
Sarah: Why would you not say whose it was?
Michael: The only explanation that makes sense is Lynne Tryforos, but also, it's a 37-year-old woman [crosstalk] shit on someone else's clothes. That seems weird.
Aubrey: Listen, guys, I'm 38 now, but me, a year ago 100% could have done-- [crosstalk]
Sarah: Not anymore.
Aubrey: I've really grown leaps and bounds in the last 10 months.
Michael: I knew it.
Michael: And, of course, she is convinced that Lynne is doing this. She's convinced that Lynne has done all of this to fuck with her and to make her seem crazy. It's gaslight-y and every time she brings it up to him, he's like, "Are you kidding me? Of course, that wasn't her." He starts doing something where he'll threaten to not see her if she brings it up. And so, there's a point where he refuses to speak to her for two weeks, when she brings up something that she thinks Lynne does. She sends her an obscene Valentine's Day card.
Sarah: And he's also punishing her like a child too, he giving her a timeout from the relationship, which is so demeaning.
Michael: Exactly. And then also, because she's been on meth for so long, and also because this job is a pretty big step up in responsibility, there's also signs of erraticness starting to show up at work. People say, "She'll just trail off in the middle of sentences." She starts to cry randomly in conversations. She'll have these tantrums, and storm out of meetings, and just disappear for the rest of the day. She has a weird thing with rules. She really wants all the girls to follow the rules. At one point, she bans oranges on campus, because kids are leaving the peels around.
Michael: And then anytime she sees a peel, she just melts down or a kid eating an orange, she goes nuts and the other teachers like, "Sometimes you just got to let stuff go. We get that it's a rule, but you can't have an event every single time you see an orange."
Sarah: This a real Caine Mutiny type situation.
Michael: It's to the point where she stops eating in the cafeteria at lunch, because she gets so triggered by the oranges.
Sarah: Like me in eighth grade.
Michael: [laughs] She's in the band room.
Michael: Basically, she feels the walls closing in on her and she feels stress coming at her from every direction. She later says, "I think it had something to do with being a woman who had worked a long time and had done the things a man does to support a family, but still been a woman. And I always felt that when I was in Westchester, I was a woman in a pretty dress and went to a dinner party with Dr. Tarnower. And in Washington, I was a woman in a pretty dress and the headmistress, but I wasn't sure who I was and it didn't seem to matter. I was a person sitting in an empty chair. I can't describe it any better than that."
Aubrey: Yeah, I feel most of the ways that I've heard depression and anxiety discussed around particularly women of this particular generation is that it was just the price of admission.
Aubrey: Oh, yeah, you're going to feel emotionally bad most/all of the time, and you would go to the doctor and get whatever pills you would get, and hope for the best, and that was about it. No one was talking about much.
Sarah: There's a reason mother needs a little helper.
Michael: I think this also happens now too, where there's something in your consciousness that has changed. Jean Harris identifies as a feminist at this time. She's actually quite progressive.
Michael: One thing I'll say for her, every single school that she works at, one of the first thing she does is increase teacher pay.
Sarah: Aw, Jean.
Michael: In her head, she has this new consciousness, but she also lives in an extremely conservative world still. She's at a girls' school, she's the headmistress in the system where she just has a suck up to men all the time, like, the board is all dudes. And she talks about how she's barely making more than Suzanne, like Herman Tarnower's live-in servant lady and she's running a school with, I think, it's 450 students.
Sarah: I think stories about people who are adjacent to the rich are always really interesting.in this way. And that these are two people who are like the fact that they have to perform stately wealth is just creating more stress for them and having to conjure that with very minimal resources.
Michael: Right. And also, if she brings that up with the people that can change her pay, it's this awkward conversation, they perceive it as an attack.
Sarah: Listen, she piloted the orange ban, she deserves a raise.
Michael: She's feeling terrible, the walls are closing in, and so, in October of 1978, she goes to a gun store and buys a handgun.
Sarah: Does she have a story at the time or she's like, "Oh, my car got keyed by one of the orange people."
Michael: She says, "It's complicated." She did apparently live in a big scary house on campus, but she had been intermittently suicidal throughout her life. And so, she says, it was a gun just in case, but it was just in case of two different things.
Aubrey: I feel this gun purchase is when this turns fully into a Miranda Lambert song.
Aubrey: You cheated on me and now you're going to die. It's some real lady revenge stuff. I feel is where we're headed.
Michael: Well, okay. We're actually getting to the darkest chapter of the story. Do you want to know what it is?
Michael: By far the darkest fucking chapter of this is we're finally going to talk about the Scarsdale diet.
Aubrey: Can't wait.
Michael: This is the reason why anybody knows about this, because the Scarsdale diet was, of course, now, completely memory hold, also Forgotbuster, but was massive at the time. Apparently, the Queen of England was on Scarsdale diet at one point. [laughs]
Sarah: Oh, my God. Wait, okay, I remember hearing about this as a tween, because I read a lot of Cathy comic compilations and this definitely got mentioned.
Michael: What did it say about it? What do you know about it?
Sarah: All I remember about it that it was that you got a half a grapefruit and plain whole wheat toast for breakfast, I think.
Aubrey: We're in the 70s, yeah?
Michael: 78, yeah.
Aubrey: This is some peak cabbage soup diet time. The Master Cleanse is having a moment during all of this. This is the heyday of carob.
Michael: Yeah. [laughs]
Aubrey: Oh, carobs 15 minutes are happening.
Michael: Trigger warning, carob.
Aubrey: There was also a diet that a family friend got married in the 70s and the diet that she did before her wedding was, you just eat grapefruit and eggs.
Michael: Oh, okay.
Aubrey: It is peak time for people treating super wacky diets as somehow reasonable and normal.
Michael: What I'm fascinated by is, it was also a time where you could just say the most deranged shit about a diet and people would believe you.
Sarah: Not now.
Michael: I know. There's nothing we got, it's so much savvier now, but it's okay.
Michael: The origin of the Scarsdale diet is a single paragraph in an article in the New York Times in April of 1978, which is a completely wrote nothing burger of an article that's like, "New Yorkers are trying to get in shape for the summer." The paragraph reads, "A vice president of Bloomingdale's was shown the Scarsdale diet by the owner of a fish restaurant decided to try it, lost 20 pounds in 19 days and claims that he was never hungry and never tired. On six out of seven days, you can have substantial dinner and you can eat in large quantities," he reports. "The diet available from the Scarsdale Medical Group consists mostly of steak, fish, chicken, vegetables, and fruits. No liquor is allowed." That's it. That's the paragraph.
Sarah: And everyone was like, "Tell me more."
Michael: Yeah, the birth of the diet is pure cynicism. Book publishers see this paragraph. They contact Herman Tarnower. It turns out there is no Scarsdale diet. There is a single piece of paper that he hands to patients. He's tired of giving them the same advice all the time. He and the other doctors in the clinic, by the way, who get no credit for this, come up with this diet plan of like, it's basically Monday, eat this, Tuesday, eat that, that's all it is. It's just a seven-day diet plan and you repeat it for another week. And they call it a two-week diet plan.
As soon as he explains this to the publisher, the publisher is like, "Oh, yeah, no big deal. We'll just expand that into a book. We'll just add filler." Like make a book out of this single piece of paper.
Aubrey: That's the birth of every diet book, by the way.
Michael: If we're on-- [crosstalk]
Aubrey: It's like, we have one to two pages of information or analysis to offer. And then the only way we can turn this into a profiting venture is to turn it into a book, which has to be like, I don't know, 150 to 250 pages. So, we got to get to work.
Sarah: Now that you say that it is really funny to think about a diet complicated enough that it requires an entire 200-page book to explain it.
Michael: Yeah, I know.
Aubrey: Just this weird byzantine choose your own adventure. If you had oats for breakfast, turn to page 67.
Sarah: Or, the tapioca diet. First you must journey to South America to find the tapioca tree and pound its-- [crosstalk]
Michael: They bring on this guy named Sam Sinclair, who was like a Madison Avenue advertising guy and had previously written 27 self-help books.
Michael: Their conversation with Herman Tarnower is taking place in June of 1978 and they need the book to be out by January, because that's when everybody buys diet books, right?
Sarah: Oh, yeah.
Michael: I was shocked reading this book. It is one of the most unethical things I've ever read. I don't even mean the most unethical diet I've ever read. I read Alan Dershowitz's book for-- [crosstalk]
Sarah: You did.
Michael: This might have been worse. It's something that I think the diet industry does in more subtle ways now, where every time it describes the diet in general, it's like, "Oh, it's easy, it's not that hard to follow, you'll never be hungry, you don't have to remember anything complicated, it's so simple," right?
Sarah: Is it mess?
Michael: Yeah. [laughs] And then the minute you get to the actual specifics, it's just an unbelievably restrictive diet. Yeah, it's a half a grapefruit and one piece of bread every morning. And then lunch will be like a bowl of fruit salad. One of the lunches is a half a cup of cottage cheese and six walnuts. Like, no food and then it'll be, whatever, a four-ounce thing of fish and some steamed broccoli for dinner or something.
Sarah: You just feel you're going to pass out all the time, which is-- [crosstalk]
Sarah: -what you want.
Michael: I have not done the analysis, but most of these daily diets are probably less than a thousand calories. It's extremely restrictive. You're not allowed to snack, you're not allowed to drink alcohol. It just sucks ass. And then, of course, because all the rhetoric around the diet is like a doozy and you'll never be hungry. It's also like, "Well, if you can't do it, you clearly just don't have the willpower and it's your fault."
Aubrey: Yeah, that's the rhetoric of diets. It's just like, "Wow, we came up with this simple, easy thing and you can't even manage that."
Sarah: There's a decent amount of fiber in it which suggests that if someone were on it, they could poop on their girlfriend's clothes [crosstalk] file that away.
Aubrey: Oh, my God, this is the smoking gun.
Michael: I know.
Michael: What's amazing is, this book sells six million copies.
Aubrey: Holy shit.
Michael: This also becomes like a source of tension in his relationship with Jean, because she behind the scenes was trying to tone down the book a little bit.
Michael: The first paragraph of the book, I think, rather famously is like, "The only thing to know about this diet is that it works." Jean had scrapped that paragraph and was like, "This is unethical. This doesn't really work for most people and you shouldn't do that." She got in a big fight apparently with this scammy author that they brought on to write the book and she apparently at one point rewrote the entire manuscript.
Michael: She does months of work on this, because she thinks it's beneath him to be doing a diet book. One thing that I think really has changed in America is, he is considered extremely tacky for being a doctor who's peddling a diet.
Michael: That is something that we have lost.
Aubrey: I'd like to go back to that.
Michael: Bring it back.
Aubrey: Make it gauche.
Michael: After the book comes out and it's just massive smash hit. He sends her a check for $4,000 and a note that says, "I must make all disbursements at this time."
Michael: And it becomes this source of tension in their relationship, like a metaphor for where their relationship is now. She's just like, "I didn't want money. I wanted you to tell me that I couldn't have done this without you, sweetie."
Aubrey: I wanted recognition.
Michael: Yeah, it's like, "I want you to tell me that you value me as a person."
Sarah: The only time I've heard the word disbursement was when I got a stipend check from school. I was a grad student at, and yeah, I did not have a really loving tender relationship with the University of Wisconsin.
Michael: Right. She's torn between, "I would rather get nothing and recognition," or, "what I'm worth."
Michael: He will eventually make $3 million off of this book. [Sarah gasps] She's also like, "Okay, either tell me that you love me and I helped with your book or pay me what I'm worth. You dick."
Aubrey: Yeah, that's right.
Michael: "Pick one, but you've done the worst of both worlds right now."
Aubrey: Yeah, you've done the most insulting thing.
Michael: Basically, this book marks the beginning of the end of their relationship. They're five hours apart. Now that he's a celebrity, just logistically, he just has a lot less time, he's going on The Tonight Show and shit.
Sarah: And he probably has more groupies, I would imagine. They're like, "Hey, you're the creep I saw on TV," as opposed to, "Hey, you're the creep I saw the country club."
Michael: Exactly. And it's feeding his ego too. He's just isn't around and he's thinks he's better than all of this now. And he starts becoming more distant, like, she'll write to him and he just won't write back or she'll call him and he won't call back. He instructs the servants to not patch her through.
Aubrey: Yikes. Once again, bringing the divorce dad energy.
Michael: He's basically ghosting her, even though we didn't have a word for that yet. He's not having a conversation about it. He's just chicken shitickly cutting himself slowly backing out of her life.
Sarah: And they've been together for 14 years.
Michael: 14 years.
Aubrey: God, what a piece of shit.
Sarah: Come on, Herman. You got to-- [crosstalk]
Michael: Piece of shit dude.
Aubrey: How about one conversation, High?
Michael: It seems she's also in denial for a lot of this period. It seems she didn't really get the fact that the relationship was petering out. And also, some of her friends report her saying, "Oh, High is going to ask me to marry him any day now."
Michael: As this is happening, there's also all these rising tensions at school. Even though, she's quite good at her job, because she's getting a little bit more erratic, there is increasingly vocal contingent that is anti-Jean.
Michael: They hire, I think, an investigator to do an investigation of her first two years on the job and they produce a report, where they interview a bunch of students and teachers who aren't happy with her for whatever reason. And she gets a copy of the report. And so she finds out all these nasty things that people are saying about her. Again, she just starts to feel the walls are closing in. She has been on the drug now for nine years at this pretty high dosage.
Sarah: Oh, yikes.
Michael: She later says, "I felt I had failed everyone. I was doing the best I could, and it didn't seem to be enough, and I didn't have the strength to do any more." And then on March 2nd, 1980, she runs out of Desoxyn.
Sarah: [gasps] Oh, no.
Michael: She knew this was coming, she had been calling him, but he's not picking up the phone. And I guess, it takes a couple of days for methamphetamine withdrawal to kick in. At first, she's like, "Oh, this isn't so bad, I can just not take the pills." But by like a week, six days later, you get really severe depression, you get more erratic, you get this sense of fatigue and hopelessness. She says, she keeps walking into the living room, which I guess is a mess in her house. She says, "I had this urge to clean it up, but I didn't know how. Just hanging up a dress, but more decisions than I could cope with." So, she just goes into the living room, looks at it, is overwhelmed, and then leaves.
Sarah: I feel I know that feeling. There's many ways to get to it, but it does feel one of the sub basements of depression where your body feels a mech suit that you've forgotten how to manipulate.
Michael: It's not clear if she even understands what's going on with her too, because I don't think she ever quite got what a big deal it was to be on this huge dose of Desoxyn. And the fact that she's gone cold turkey off of this medication now.
Michael: The day before the murder, she sits down and writes him an 11-page letter.
Michael: It starts with, "I'm distraught as I write this. Your phone call to tell me you prefer the company of a vicious adulterous psychotic was topped by a call from the dean of students 10 minutes later and has kept me awake for almost 36 hours."
Michael: Basically, it's an erring of grievances email.
Sarah: I've written like a very long one of these.
Aubrey and Sarah: Yeah.
Sarah: Uh-huh. [laughs]
Aubrey: I don't really know any humans, who haven't done this at some point.
Michael: it is one of those things where something happens to set you off or something becomes a metaphor for something much larger. And then you sit down and you're like, "It reminds me of this time two years ago, where you said this. And then three years ago, you also said this. And then four--"
Aubrey: It's the kind of letter that's very important to write and very important not to send.
Michael: Not to send. I know. The important thing is, she has a lot of really nasty stuff in there about Lynne. She calls Lynne a psychotic whore at one point. She's mad about money stuff because of the $4,000 thing. She says, "I've grown poor loving you, while a self-serving ignorant slut has grown very rich."
Sarah: Did people just call each other ignorance sluts in the 70s? [crosstalk]
Sarah: What was going on?
Michael: As a sign of her mental state, like, where she is, it's an 11-page letter and she doesn't even bother putting it in order. She just stuffs it in an envelope and sends it to him.
Michael: So, that was March 9th, 1980. March 10, 1980, the fateful day, she wakes up early, she decides to call High Tarnower at his office, because she can't get ahold of him anywhere else. There's been this really fucking weird thing, where he has updated his will, because he's getting all this extra diet money. In his will, he has given Jean $220,000 and Lynne $200,000, which seems a needless pitting them against each other thing, but okay.
Sarah: Right. Everything he does, he finds a way to do it the shitty way.
Michael: The shitty way, exactly. A couple of weeks after they have this conversation about the will, she gets an anonymous note in the mail that is a photocopied page of his will. The page where he says how much he's giving them. Her $220,000 is crossed out and Lynne is written in her place in his handwriting.
Sarah: Can I just honestly say that at this moment if I were this woman who had been on methamphetamines for, what, seven years or something and has gone off of them, and I've just seen my monetary value literally decreased by the hand of my lover, I'm not responsible for what happens next. I'm having a purge.
Michael: Goblin mode. It's Goblin mode.
Aubrey: Yeah, that's right.
Michael: She calls him at his office to be like, "What the fuck? Is this real or is this deranged person who's been sending me weird stuff?"
Sarah: Good job, Jean. Good job calling.
Michael: I know. [laughs]
Sarah: Good job being confrontational. We love this for you so far.
Michael: Yeah. He denies that he's changed his will. He's like, "I don't know who forged my handwriting, but nothing has changed in my will. Calm down."
Sarah: But also, who's doing this? Who's making the calls? I'm also annoyed by the fact that we don't know.
Michael: I know.
Sarah: Oh. [laughs]
Michael: And we do actually find out later that, yeah, this is fake.
Michael: This didn't happen. Somebody faked the photocopy will page.
Michael: Oh, wow.
Sarah: Wow. What's going on?
Michael: According to Jean, this phone call with High goes, "Okay. No, it wasn't me. It's not a big deal." There's some big gala dinner for him celebrating, I don't know, 40 years in Westchester County something, something. And he had been thinking of inviting Lynne to the gala. And this, of course, Jean saw this as a huge, extremely hurtful thing, because she's the one that goes to formal events with him. And so, according to her, he said like, "You're right. I'm sorry, I haven't called. I'll refill your prescription right now. And you can come to the gala with me that's in six weeks' time." According to her.
Michael: According to a patient who was in his office at the time and happened to overhear this extremely faithfully.
Michael: I know. But then the patient only hears the part of the conversation, where he raises his voice. The patient hears him at one point snap, "Why the hell are you always bugging me about this?" And then silent, silent, silent, and then, "God dammit, Jean, I want you to stop bothering me."
Sarah: Oh, Lord.
Michael: And then doesn't hear anything else.
Michael: Jean, after this call, she tells her secretary to cancel all of her appointments that afternoon. There is apparently a nice pond with a bench near High Tarnower's house. And so, her plan is to drive up there, see him one last time, say goodbye, and then go sit on this bench by the pond, and kill herself.
Michael: This is her plan.
Michael: She goes home, she finalizes her will, she writes a letter of resignation that starts with, "I was a person no one knew."
Michael: She writes a note to a friend that starts with, "I'm so desolately lonely." At 5:16 PM, she calls High to tell him she wants to see him. She's like, "Ah, can I come up and see you? If I leave right now, I can be there by 10:00 PM." He's like, "Ah, tonight's not good. I'm having friends over for dinner. Can you come tomorrow?' She's like, "Look, I can't tomorrow," and she says, "Just once. Let me say when."
Sarah: This was also the meeting, because he's like, "I'm far too busy for your death."
Michael: I know.
Aubrey: Also, just once let me say when is, like, rip your heart right out.
Michael: Yeah, she also has a whole thing in the letter where she says like, "He never came to visit her in Philadelphia or DC."
Sarah: At least, come for the museums.
Michael: [laughs] She puts her gun in her purse, and she gets in the car, and she starts driving up to his house. In another Herman Tarnower dick move, he had friends over for dinner. They left and then he just went to bed. He didn't [laughs] wait for her.
Sarah: Yeah, of course.
Michael: Suzanne, the housekeeper also says right before he went to bed, he took his typical nightcap of laxative and applesauce?
Michael: No one in any of the 1980s books that I read seem to react to this at all.
Sarah: They're like, "Oh, yeah, the 80s."
Sarah: Have an Aperol Spritz, man. Love a little.
Michael: Very importantly, everything from here on out that we're going to hear about this is 100% from her account.
Michael: She arrives at the house around 10:30. He is asleep, she has a bouquet of flowers in her car, because she bumped into a student and a student was like, "Mrs. Harris, here's fucking--" [crosstalk]
Aubrey: I like your student voice.
Michael: That's my student voice.
Sarah: That's beautiful. I love that. Will the student come back into the story? That’s all I want.
Michael: She has this bouquet of flowers on the passenger seat and she's like, "High might want these. I'll grab the flowers." This will later be in the press as, "She went into his house with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a gun in the other," which is not quite true, but it is kind of true.
Sarah: If you're going to murder someone or whatever, you should never do it in a way that produces good copy. You can't do it.
Aubrey: Listen, murder people in a boring way, everyone.
Michael: She goes into the garage, she goes into his bedroom, and turns the lights on. He's like, "Hi." I guess, he's just confused. She says like, "Don't worry about it. I just want to talk for a second." And he's like, "What? I don't want to talk. I'm asleep."
Michael: It's this interesting thing, where she in her head has planned this nice ending of the relationship, ending of her life conversation between the two of them. But she's also too impulsive to create that moment at a time that it's appropriate.
Sarah: Based on what we know, I feel perhaps, Herman Tarnower could be less invested in practicing his empathetic muscles every day than a lot of other people. And I can see him reacting with this genuine like, "What the fuck is this about? I'm sleeping."
Sarah: It's just like, "Hey, this is really fucking up my situation over here and that's as much as I'm looking into it."
Michael: Apparently, he just goes back to sleep and she's just like, "Well, what do I do now? [laughs] I'm just in this guy's bedroom and he's sleeping." She goes into the bathroom and of course, what she sees in there is a bunch of like Lynne Tryforos's stuff, because it's a weeknight and she's the weeknight girlfriend. And one of the jobs of his housekeepers for years has been to swap the girlfriends and take all of Lynne's stuff away and add her stuff.
Sarah: That sounds very stressful for Suzanne.
Michael: Apparently, Suzanne hated them both which will [crosstalk] later.
Michael: I don't really know why.
Sarah: If I were Suzanne, I would hate everyone.
Aubrey: [laughs] Yeah, that seems right.
Michael: Jean goes into the bathroom, sees a bunch of Lynne's stuff and freaks out. She grabs her curlers and throws them at him. She grabs jewelry box and throws it, and hits a dresser with a glass door, and the glass door breaks. She storms out of the bathroom with a night gown of Lynne's in her hand. And Herman Tarnower is up at this point. He's standing up and he hits her in the mouth. And according to her, he's never hit her before.
Sarah: Well, she's probably also never destroyed his furniture before.
Michael: It's not clear that she's ever stood up to him, particularly.
Michael: I don't think he's used to this.
Michael: She says, "Hit me, again. Hit me hard enough to kill me."
Sarah: Oh, Jean.
Michael: And he says, "Get out of here. You're crazy." She looks out the window and she's like, "Well, my plan of going to the pond is probably done now. So, I'm just going to kill myself here." So, she reaches into her purse, she grabs the handgun out, and she points at her head, and Herman Tarnower lunges at her to wrench her hands away from her head. He grabs her hand right when this is happening and the gun goes off. And she shoots him in the hand. He has a bullet hole through his hand and he's like, "Ah, what the fuck?"
Michael: All of this has happened in the space of two minutes.
Michael: He goes into the bathroom to dress his wound. And meanwhile in this little tussle, the gun has fallen out of her hand. It's not clear where the gun is. She gets down on the ground and she's putting her hand under the bed to get the gun. And right when she grabs onto it, she feels his hand on her other arm pilling her out from under the bed.
Michael: He pulls her out. There's a tussle takes place. He's trying to get the gun, and then she has the gun, and he has the gun, and at one point, he falls over on top of her, and she has the gun in her hand. And she can feel the muzzle, the barrel of the gun in her own stomach. She's now has her arm crunched under him and he's pointing the gun at herself and she pulls the trigger.
Michael: She says, she doesn't feel anything and her first thought is, "Why didn't I do this before?"
Sarah: [laughs] Oh, God. I'm sorry.
Michael: He gets off of her. She shoves him off somehow. He's slumped over across the bed now. She puts the gun to her own head and pulls the trigger again and click.
Michael: It's out of bullets. She keeps pulling the trigger, click, click, click, click, click. And meanwhile, he has buzzed the servants. He has an intercom phone, like the phone also works as an in-house intercom system to call them. He has buzzed the servants to come up. And so, she knows that she only has one or two minutes before they get there and she's like, "Oh shit, I have to kill myself before they get here, because this is just a mess." She goes into the bathroom, she says, when she bought the gun, she didn't ask the guy how to unload it, because she was like, "Well, I'm only going to need it once." So, she doesn't know how to take the bullets out.
She opens it up. She's banging it against the tub in the bathroom to get the bullets out. She sees him struggling to get up and struggling to go for the phone. She runs back into the bedroom, she picks up the phone, she sees that it's dead, and she knows that there's a rec center or something about a quarter mile down the road that has a payphone. And so, she decides, she's going to go to the rec center and use the payphone there to call an ambulance. And so, she runs out, and she gets in her car, and she starts driving toward the rec center.
And as she's driving to the rec center, she sees a cop with his flashers on coming the other way. So, 911 has already been called and this cop is coming thinking that they're investigating a burglary. As the cop passes her, she pulls a U-turn, follows the cop into the driveway of Herman Tarnower's house, and leaps out of her car, and tells the cop like, "There's been an accident. A man has been shot. You've got to get up there as fast as possible." And the cop is like, "Holy shit." The cop runs up the stairs. They both run up there. Suzanne and Henry are in the room. When they see the police officer running up the stairs, apparently, Henry goes, "That's her. That's the one. She's the one that shot Herman Tarnower." And Jean's like, "Yes." [laughs] This isn't like a whodunit situation.
They run up the stairs, the cop looks at Herman Tarnower figures out what is going on. He runs back to his car to get some medical supplies. And she sits down next to Herman Tarnower and strokes his face. And according to everybody, all the witnesses that were there, she says, "Oh, High, why didn't you kill me?"
Sarah: Oh, Jean. Oh.
Michael: And he dies at the hospital an hour later.
Sarah: So, Mike, here's my question, and maybe this isn't the moment for it. How much do you believe her account? Do you 100% believe it?
Michael: I don't know. I emotionally believe it. I think that it is broadly true. The problem is that Herman Tarnower has four bullet wounds.
Sarah: All right, M. Night Shyamalan.
Michael: I know. In her story, she remembers shooting him in the hand and she remembers whatever the shot was, when she thought it was pointed herself, which would have been in his stomach or something. But he has one bullet wound in his palm, one in his chest pointing downward, one in his shoulder, and one in his upper arm. That doesn't match up. But then at the same time, there's lots of evidence that does match up.
When the cops get there, she has a cut on her lip from where he hit her. There's chunks out of the bathtub from where she banged the gun against it. Lynne Tryforos's night gown is on the ground from where Jean dropped it. The reason why I emotionally believe her is that when you read Shana Alexander's book, which is actually really good, you don't get a portrait of somebody who's calculating, manipulative puppet master type of person. She's not somebody who tells a lot of lies. You get the portrait of somebody who's messy. And her description of shooting a guy twice, when he has four bullet wounds, sounds more like human memory to me than lying.
Michael: Because if she was going to lie, if she was a calculating person, she would account for the four bullets.
Michael: That's the first thing you would account for, if you were going to make up your motivations and make up this what happened in that room.
Sarah: We're also getting into the question of like if you're in such a self-destructive, like, Michael Douglas falling down type state, then how lucid is your reckoning was anything that you're doing?
Aubrey: Yeah, this is one of those things where I'm like, it's very easy to speculate from a comfortable distance, but I feel very convinced that I have no idea how I would respond or what I would remember.
Sarah: Oh, yeah.
Michael: By far the worst detail about all this is that the next morning her Desoxyn arrives in the mail.
Sarah: Oh, God.
Aubrey: Oh, my God.
Sarah: I thought you were going to say that the next morning she eats half a grapefruit and a piece of bread.
Aubrey: The absolute worst part of this is that she went all in on the Scarsdale diet.
Sarah: As penance.
Michael: If he had managed to talk her down or just rescheduled for the next day, it's quite possible that none of this would have happened.
Sarah: Oh, yeah. Or, what if gets stop that a day's in and was like, "You know what, I'm going to try and have a good night sleep."
Michael: Yeah. When this story appears in the newspapers and within hours, It's a massive media story.
Michael: People put it into the frame of the spurned lover murders Herman. People fill in the blanks as they always do from this very incomplete information. But it sounds it's just a pretty clear love triangle story. This lady is dating this guy, she finds out that he's cheating on her, and so she goes over to his house with a revolver and shoots him in cold blood.
Aubrey: God damn it. It really is perfectly packaged to scratch a similar kind of itch in the public imagination as like Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco.
Aubrey: "Look at these crazy ladies just being driven to the brink by these dudes."
Sarah: Shooting people for no reason out of the blue and it's like, oh, it was out of whatever lightning comes out of, I guess."
Michael: One of the things that's so interesting about this is, there's a temptation to see older stories like this and find the misogyny in them. But it seems the public was really on her side for a lot of this.
Aubrey: Oh, interesting.
Michael: I read a lot of think pieces from the early 1980s about how women were talking about this in hair salons. This was like the Amber Heard, Johnny Depp trial of the time. It became a bellwether of, how you think about all these other broader social trends. A huge number of people were just like, "Yeah, I've dated guys like this. Fuck this guy." There were people that went to the trial and would clap for her.
Michael: The crowd in the courtroom was super pro Jean.
Sarah: Don’t you think it's interesting that Lorena Bobbitt had a much rougher time in the situation and she didn't kill anybody.
Michael: It's so weird. I kept thinking this.
Michael: The next chapter of the story is the trial, which happens eight months later.
Sarah: [mimics song]
Michael: It's actually a very weird trial. Diana Trilling's book is one of the most boring things I've ever read and is basically, a day-by-day description of the trial.
Sarah: It's for people who want the thrill of jury duty, but haven't been selected yet.
Sarah: There are dozens of us, Mike.
Michael: It's a really weird trial, because, first of all, at the time the longest murder trial in New York state history, it's four months long. What's so weird about it to me is that there's not that much debate over what actually happened, because as far as the facts, Jean Harris is not saying, "I didn't shoot him. I was somewhere else that night."
Michael: She confessed to the crime within minutes of it. And then the prosecutor never even tries to say that this was premeditated. No one at any point says like, "She's a black widow and she plotted this for months."
Michael: All the stuff about acting erratically and writing out her will, all of that is really well established. If the prosecution tried to make the case that this was like a cold, calculated murder, the defense would just eat their grapefruit, like, this just does not work.
Michael: Both the defense and the prosecution admit that she killed him in the middle of some mental breakdown. The only thing that this comes down to is, was this an accidental death or did she intend to kill him? That's basically it. It's actually a quite a narrow question.
Aubrey: And it relies on either having witnessed the event or knowing her mindset.
Aubrey: There's some evidence here that she didn't even totally know her mindset.
Michael: Because there's the mental illness stuff and because she's also deeply in denial about the fact that she has mental illness, the whole thing of Desoxyn is not mentioned.
Sarah: Really? I was like, "Yeah, we're all on speed back now." So, whatever.
Aubrey: Oh, my God.
Michael: It's unbelievable to me. Most of the trial, again, mind-numbing tedium is forensic experts.
Sarah: [gasps] Tell me more, tell me more.
Michael: Sarah, the level of fucking pseudoscience in this trial, it is incredible. There's peer-reviewed articles after this trial. The one good thing that comes out of this trial is a broader debate about how important medical examiners and forensic testimony have become in murder trials. I think it's a wakeup call, because the medical examiner who testifies at the trial for the prosecution, obviously, he changes his own autopsy report four times.
Sarah: That's a lot of times.
Michael: The prosecution's theory of the case is that basically, she walked into his bedroom in cold blood, boom, boom, boom, and then walked out.
Michael: And the hand wound is a defensive wound. The idea is, she walked into his room, pulled out the gun, he's like, "No, no, no," and he put up his hand in a defensive pose, which is quite normal. And then she shoots him through the hand, and the bullet goes into his collarbone, and that's the chest wound. It's the same wound.
Sarah: It's compelling, I guess. Yeah.
Michael: This medical examiner has this whole thing, where like, "You can tell that the shot in his chest had already hit the hand, because it didn't hit with as much force." Completely fake shit. Also, later in the trial, they recall him and he says, "Uh-oh, there's something special about palm skin."
Michael: "It's different than other skin and we found a flecks of palm skin in his chest cavity."
Aubrey: Is there any anything to that?
Aubrey: It seems like the argument that they make when they try and sell you a separate moisturizer for under your eyes-- [crosstalk]
Michael: The experts who talk about this later are like, "We can't even tell if it's skin. It might be pajamas."
Sarah: It might be a piece of grapefruit.
Michael: You cannot tell things with this level of granularity from gunshot wounds.
Michael: You just can't.
Sarah: The more specific the forensics theory, if it's something like this, where it's based on the blood spatter or based on the gunshot wounds, we think that this one very specific scenario happened. And it's like, that doesn't sound very persuasive.
Sarah: I get why it's very appealing to believe that people can look at a scene postmortem, and be like, "This is exactly what happened." But that's-- no. [laughs]
Michael: No. Exactly. And there's also a defense expert who is also pseudoscience. He says that he can triangulate from the bullets ricochet and how it broke the window, where Jean Harris was standing when she fired the shot. No, you can't from a broken window.
Michael: You cannot tell where a bullet came from.
Sarah: You can be like, "She was probably right around here, but not--"
Michael: Yeah. He also does some blood spatter stuff. He says, "The shot in his hand should have made blood spatter, but it actually made blood mist."
Michael: So, that's how we can tell that Jean Harris is not lying.
Aubrey: Dexter reporting for duty. Blood [crosstalk] expert. Let's roll.
Michael: Yeah. It's the fakest shit. I think it's just a really interesting example of how, first of all, criminal trials are just bad ways to get to the truth in general, because that's not really what they're set up for. They're set up to answer these very narrow questions. And secondly, there's just a lot of stuff you're never going to know.
Michael: There isn't any forensic science that is going to be able to say, what took place in this six-minute period between two people, one of whom cannot tell us what happened.
Sarah: And even if they could tell us, even if we could get Herman Tarnower's ghost to come testify, his account would differ in various ways, memory differs between two people who are both at an event, and then we would still be confused.
Michael: Yeah. And then the real fireworks of the trial are Jean Harris testifies for eight days.
Michael: This is the thing that turns basically everybody against her.
Sarah: Oh, really?
Michael: Because she's terrible on the stand.
Aubrey: Oh, no, Jean.
Sarah: As so many of us are. I worry about this all the time now.
Aubrey: About your impending trial? [laughs]
Michael: Well, I, as a person who has a weird demeanor, the idea that people are judged purely on whether their demeanor is weird.
Aubrey: Yeah, totally.
Sarah: Mike, I think about this every day-
Sarah: -as someone with also a weird demeanor as you know.
Aubrey: As someone who deals with almost all discomfort by laughing.
Aubrey: It's not a great look for this guy, either.
Michael: I know. It's not.
Sarah: [laughs] Like right now.
Michael: Basically, she wears dark glasses on the stand, which do not help her. She never makes eye contact with the jury. She tells weird lies. She says, when she first started dating High. They weren't very intensive first, "because I had small children at home," even though her children were 14 and 16, when they met.
Sarah: Were they like gymnasts or something?
Michael: She doesn't seem to take the proceedings seriously. During cross examination, you know the prosecutors do the thing. "Isn't it true," and dah, dah, dah and it's back and forth. And she stops at one point and turns to the judge and is like, "Is he going to keep doing this, I'm exhausted." [laughs]
Sarah: Oh, I love that.
Aubrey: That's killer.
Sarah: Wow. More people need to ask that. [laughs]
Michael: They also set traps for her. This phone call that she had with High on the morning of the murder, where she calls about the will and the pills, and everything else. She describes that in her testimony as like, "We talked, he said he was going to send me the pills, he invited me to the gala. Everything was fine." But then this patient who heard one side of the conversation was a surprise witness.
Sarah: Oh, boy.
Michael: That person was only called in the last day or two of the trial. The jury had already heard Jean Harris described this as a peaceful coming together conversation and then they hear this patient say, "Oh, I heard him snap at her. It sounded like a fight to me." It sounds they've caught her in a lie. But Shana Alexander's explanation of this is basically that Jean Harris for most of their relationship was in denial about how he felt about her. The fact that what she fixates on in this conversation is that he invited her to this dumb gala and doesn't remember the fact that he snapped at her isn't necessarily a lie. It's the kind of the nature of their relationship and the nature of her mental illness.
Aubrey: Yeah, totally.
Michael: So that just really does not do her any favors. And then the big thing is that they read the letter out loud. That kills her, because the prosecutors had very deliberately built her up as like a classy lady. She's wearing mink on the stand. She has this upper class bearing about her.
Aubrey: "Is it true that you function in disaster and finish in style?
Michael: They build her up as this high-class lady. And then they read the letter, where she's talking about, "you psychotic whore." And so, all of a sudden, it starts to look like she's this huge hypocrite. This is something that men love to say about women, like, "Actually, she's so classy. But deep down inside, she's a terrible person." All the err goes out of her as someone that you can sympathize with just immediately as soon as they read the letter up.
Aubrey: It also feels coming right off of our Pete Evans, two-parter. There's so much that that guy has to say about like "victim mentality."
Michael: Oh, yeah.
Aubrey: And I think that, that is something that culturally certainly in the United States, we cannot abide and we slot mental illness into victimhood mentality headspace.
Aubrey: We slot drug addiction into victimhood mentality space.
Aubrey: There are all of these things that we misascribe these kind of cultural scripts to that allow us to stop paying attention to them.
Aubrey: Ideally, we would meet that with more compassion, but instead, I do think there is an undercurrent of like, "Oh, she's just another victim."
Michael and Sarah: Yeah.
Sarah: Our preference for the other story also suggests as many other things do that as a culture, we think murder is cool, which I don’t know what to do with that.
Michael: When it comes to the verdict, the jury is given three options. The first option is second degree murder, which means that she intended to kill him. It wasn't necessarily premeditated. But in the moment, she intended to kill him. If they don't think that she's guilty of that, they can say that she's guilty of second-degree manslaughter, which is reckless endangerment. You have a gun at your house, and you're playing with it with a friend, and you accidentally killed them. It's like, you didn't mean to kill the person. You never intended to kill the person. But you should have been more careful.
Michael: They can also just declare her not guilty.
Michael: Basically, this was a tragic accident. Nobody needs to pay any penalties for this. So, if you two were given those options, what would you guys go for?
Sarah: Well, Aubrey, I feel we have to come up with a unanimous verdict, because that's how jury's work.
Aubrey: Oh, yeah. Good point.
Sarah: Two angry ladies.
Aubrey: Boy, there's both evidence and not evidence of her own intent, right?
Aubrey: There's clear evidence that she's going through it. There's not clear evidence that she intends to murder this dude. If those are the only two options on the table as they often are for juries, I would go manslaughter would be the way that I would lean. How about you, Sarah?
Sarah: Yeah, to me, manslaughter makes sense, because to me, when there isn't specific evidence affirmatively pointing to somebody having intent to kill, then I lean toward the lesser charge, which is why I can never run for mayor, because I'm soft on crime.
Sarah: Yeah. Okay, the jury is unanimous. This is great. Fastest deliberation ever.
Michael: Yeah. It's funny you say that, because the jury deliberated for eight days, which was the longest deliberation in New York state history at the time.
Michael: And they came up with a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder, which carries with it a minimum sentence of 15 years. She won't even be eligible for a parole hearing for 15 years.
Aubrey: What was the public response to that verdict?
Michael: By the time we got there, everyone hated her because of how she was on the stand. It turns out it's not this badass story of a revenge killing or "I am woman, hear me roar," type of thing.
Michael: All of the details that we know about things, like, she was on methamphetamines and she knew about Lynne Tryforos basically, the entire time. All of that stuff feels to people some sort of betrayal or some sort of twist, because all they've gotten is this really one-dimensional revenge story. I also think this is a huge part of why the case is such a Forgotbuster that it looked at the time like this was going to have all this resonance for "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" kind of narratives. And then it turns out to just be a woman with a long history of depression, and a precipitating incident, and access to a gun, which is exactly the kind of killing that we're used to in America.
Sarah: Mike, Aubrey, don't you find it extremely interesting that people are more prone to sympathize with somebody who formed a murderous intent in a revenge way than somebody who's just like really sad and beaten down by circumstance in a really shitty relationship and lost her self?
Sarah: It's so interesting that we're like, "No, give me the-- She killed someone totally on purpose, out of revenge one." What's that?
Michael: I find this totally baffling. Shana Alexander's theory on what happened is that her lawyer made the disastrous decision to remove first degree manslaughter as an option. So, first degree manslaughter is where you intend to harm someone, but you don't intend to kill them under New York state law.
Sarah: Oh, that's interesting.
Michael: It's like, I'm getting a bar fight, I punched the guy, and then he stumbles backwards, falls down, cracks his head open, he dies. That one feels it gives them another option. And also, that sentence would have been two to six years. And considering that she has no criminal record, she probably would have gotten two years.
Michael: To me, I don't understand how her lawyer thought he would get not guilty.
Michael: She did do something extremely reckless. When you're in the middle of a fight with your boyfriend or a slowly dying relationship, it's a really bad idea to show up at your boyfriend's house with a loaded gun. So, I think that what she did is understandable given everything else we know that was going on, but it's not defensible.
Sarah: Well, this is also interesting, because I've been researching John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate Reagan in the early-- At around this time, I'm pretty sure it was 81. His trial led to dramatic reforms of the ability to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, because he actually was found not guilty on that basis. And so, I feel possibly, if he was going for an insanity defense, I can see him expecting the proceedings to make that a lot more possible than they are today. But was he though?
Michael: Well, apparently, so they, of course, had three different psychiatrists examine her. And one of the psychiatrists who examined her, I guess, just fucking hated insanity as a defense. He just had a huge chip on his shoulder about it. And so, if he was ever going to testify in the trial, he would have said, "No, she's not criminally insane," because he didn't believe in the concept.
Sarah: Right. This is what sane people do.
Aubrey: Totally. And this is also not long after the Harvey Milk and George Moscone assassinations.
Michael: Oh, yeah.
Aubrey: And the Twinkie defense stuff, which just sent people into fucking orbit about any kind of emotional distress defense, any kind of insanity plea, any kind of any of that.
Michael: Well, also, what's so weird is that no one testified about her mental state in the entire trial. No psychologist.
Sarah: Jesus Christ.
Aubrey: Yeah, that's astonishing.
Sarah: I guess, yeah, she was having a normal one.
Michael: What they were worried about was that if a defense psychologist testifies, then all of their notes have to be given over to the prosecutor and then you also have to have a prosecution psychologist examine her. But it's weird in a trial that is 100% about her intentions to not have anyone testify to that and only rely on this forensic bullshit.
Sarah: Do you think she was able to get a good lawyer? How she paying for all this? Because she doesn't have that much money.
Michael: Oh, my God, in the hours after she was arrested, she has friends that are lawyers, they hook her up with this lawyer guy, and he shows up, and he's like, "I will defend you." And she's like, "I don't know if I can afford this. My entire life savings is $25,000." And he's like, "$25,000, sounds right."
Sarah: Oh, God.
Michael: It's every penny to her name.
Sarah: He's like, "Don't worry, you're going to prison. They'll feed you there."
Michael: But this is another reason why she was convicted is that her lawyer had been part of one of these big shoe law firms and had left a month before he was defending her. So, ordinarily, you have a lawyer, but they're backed up by there's paralegals.
Michael: But this guy had left his law firm and still had all of his clients.
Michael: He was juggling all this other stuff and had essentially no team. It was him and one assistant. And apparently, he collapsed from exhaustion at one point.
Michael: During the trial because he wasn't sleeping.
Sarah: He should have gotten some meth.
Michael: They didn't get access to the crime scene until two months after the crime, because he forgot to file some weird thing.
Aubrey: Oh, no, buddy.
Michael: One of the reasons why he was so incompetent was basically, because he believed her. And he thought, if she tells her story to the jury, they will believe her too. But the problem was, he didn't prep her to testify at all.
Michael: He told her the night before, "Oh, you're going on tomorrow."
Sarah: Oh, my God.
Michael: It's fucking wild. And also, she also had this idea that like, "Well, it's criminal justice. All I need to do is tell them what happened and I'll be fine."
Sarah: Oh, my God.
Michael: No one told her like, "This is theater. You are giving a performance."
Aubrey: Right. And part of your job is not to volunteer additional information, even though that's how human conversation works.
Aubrey: I will say, I have a good friend who's a litigator and boy, oh boy, that dude spends weeks prepping people.
Aubrey: This is bananas.
Michael: And it also makes it really hard to file appeals, because they tried to file a couple of appeals on grounds that she had ineffective counsel, but he is the only person who knows the case well enough to know the details to make the filings.
Michael: Basically, the same lawyer was filing that his own defense was incompetent. They make a couple appeals. None of them go anywhere. That's the end of the story. She goes to prison. There is a concerted effort, this is very weird, by Shana Alexander, the author of this book, who quite openly became friends with Jean Harris in the course of writing this book. Ellen Burstyn, who played her in the movie and liked her, and I think met her. And Orrin Hatch, the Senate from Utah.
Michael: Who's a right-wing asshole.
Sarah: Was not expecting that to happen.
Michael: I think he sat next to Shana Alexander on a plane and [crosstalk] they became friends.
Sarah: Of course.
Michael: The good news is, after 11 years in 1992, she's granted clemency by Mario Cuomo.
Sarah: Another cameo.
Michael: She basically dedicated the rest of her life to raising money for the women's correctional facility that she had been in. When she was in there because she's a headmistress and a teacher, she basically set up a preschool. A lot of the people that are in there are pregnant and there's a deal where you can either give up your baby the minute it's born or you can keep it for the first year and then give it up for adoption. And so, Jean Harris became this mom to these, mostly black, almost all poor ladies that have been ground up in the criminal justice system. And she does a Barbara Walters interview. Every time she's interviewed, she's like, "Yeah, the criminal justice system exists to incarcerate poor black people."
Aubrey: All right.
Michael: And that's basically what she spends the rest of her life doing and talking about. She just lives a quiet life and then she dies of a heart attack in 2012.
Sarah: Aw, Mrs. Harris.
Michael: So, what do you guys think? This was a crossover event.
Aubrey: This one is a Mad Lib, man.
Michael: I know. It's weird.
Aubrey: I just spent a week with my extremely cool teen niece. I had asked her about like what kind of sex ed she got? She said that they have a bunch of classes on healthy relationships and they watch clips of two people interacting, and they go, "Okay, what do you think happened there? Did you see boundaries being set? Did you see boundaries being respected?"
Michael: Oh, cool.
Aubrey: I was astonished that there had been this absolute quantum leap [chuckles] in thinking about how to teach kids about not just sex but relationships. And boy, oh, boy, do I wish Jean had access to some of that.
Michael: I know.
Aubrey: Man, I wish somebody had sat down Jean and there had been the cultural pretext to do this and just said like, "This dude is bad news and he's treating you like shit and you actually deserve significantly better."
Michael: Yeah. You got to have other people in your life to tell you when your boyfriend sucks.
Sarah: I had a mental image earlier of women eating tiny salads or little fruit salads for lunch for that matter as the diet metaphor for this relationship practice, where you're in a race with all other women to prove that you're the lowest maintenance, and then you win, and you demonstrate that. And then you obviously lose by winning, because your boyfriend is giving you 75 emotional calories a week.
Michael: Yeah. [laughs]
Aubrey: Good Lord.
Michael: But it's easy. If you can't stick with it, it's your problem.
Michael: This is something me and you talked about a lot when we were doing, You're Wrong About, Sarah. I'm always worried that bringing context to stories, this is going to make it sound, like, we're saying, he deserved to get murdered, which obviously is not the case. I think that this relationship destroyed her life. Destroyed her mental health, destroyed her life. I think it's easy to hear something like that as he intended to destroy her life, but I don't think that's the case.
Sarah: Yeah. As I often say, the people who tend to destroy your life are the ones who don't value it very much. And therefore, you just don't think about it terribly much either. The idea that you have to really be planning to destroy someone's life to do that maybe allows more of these casual life ruiners to fly under the radar.
Aubrey: This is all from the sweetie knows school of jurisprudence.
Aubrey: Like, "Oh, honey. Uh-huh."
Michael: So, that was Jean Harris. That was the Scottsdale Diet Murder. Thank you for coming for crossover event, Sarah.
Sarah: Mike, I had such a good time. I was wondering, and this is totally my idea, because nobody has brought it up to me this entire time. If you'd like to visit You're Wrong About and talk about [unintelligible [01:30:45] a little bit.
Michael: I've heard of it. I've heard of him. First time going on. It'd be interesting.
Sarah: [laughs] I don't know if you've heard of the show.
Aubrey: Oh, my God.
Sarah: But we like to reexamine a misremembered cultural event.
Michael: All I know is I got a lot better last October. I don't know why. [crosstalk]
Sarah: I haven’t heard that actually.
Michael: Yes, I would love to.
Sarah: Oh, my God, thank you. Thank you for coming back into the courtroom with me. [laughs]
Aubrey: Guys. I love this.
[Transcript provided by SpeechDocs Podcast Transcription]