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Podcast / A Very Fatal Murder

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"After years of searching for the perfect murder, a murder that's engrossing and mysterious, a murder that perfectly reflects our nation's current economic and social conditions, a murder that comments on the past and future of intersectional feminism, a murder in which a really hot white girl dies...we found Hayley Price."
David Pascall

A Very Fatal Murder is a satirical podcast by The Onion. It follows the fictional Onion Public Radio reporter David Pascall (voiced by David Sidorov) as he tries to create an award-winning podcast by solving a murder case which comments on the fabric of America in the 21st century. Pascall finds this case with the help of the MIT supercomputer ETHL (Extremely Timely Homicide Locator), and goes to Bluff Springs, Nebraska to solve the murder of 17-year-old Hayley Price.

This podcast contains the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Parody: Parodies True Crime podcasts such as Serial and S-Town.
  • A.I.-cronym: ETHL, which stands for Extremely Timely Homicide Locator.
  • AI Is A Crap Shoot: ETHL kills Hayley Price to create a perfectly podcast-worthy murder.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Hayley Price was "shot, stabbed, drowned, strangled, and given a haircut."
  • Back for the Finale: ETHL returns for the finale after disappearing from the story after Episode 4.
  • Black Comedy:
    • The death of Hayley Price is way over the top, such that she was "shot, stabbed, drowned, strangled, and given a haircut."
    • Pascall's reenactment of the crime scene ends with an OPR intern shooting and killing another intern.
  • Clue, Evidence, and a Smoking Gun: Averted. While searching through the case's evidence, Pascall thinks he found the smoking gun. However, it turns out that it's just a Red Herring.
  • Clueless Detective: Pascall tries to solve the murder, but often times he's more preoccupied with creating a compelling podcast.
  • Crime Reconstruction: Parodied. David Pascall takes the crime scene reconstruction so seriously that it ends up killing an intern.
  • Da Chief: Pascall becomes chief of the Bluff Springs Police Department in Episode 5, Part 1.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The podcast's title, A Very Fatal Murder.
  • Distant Finale: The podcast's ending skips to ten years after Pascall started investigating Hayley Price's murder.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: The town millionaire W.O. Calloway turns out to be a simple old man who's unphased by a SWAT Team storming his residence.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: The inhabitants of Bluff Springs, Nebraska.
  • Everytown, America: Bluff Springs, Nebraska
  • Friend to All Living Things: Hayley's dad says his daughter loved animals and people. W.O. Calloway says that Hayley was his only friend.
  • Going Native: Pascall moves from New York to Nebraska and spends a decade in Bluff Springs and considers himself a local.
  • Innocently Insensitive: While Hayley's mom is still crying over the loss of her daughter, Pascall doesn't pass tissues to Hayley's mom to get her sniffles on audio and he has her read an ad for the podcast.
  • Multi-Part Episode: Episode 5 is a "juicy" two-parter.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: ETHL
  • Never the Obvious Suspect: Pascall is certain that W.O. Calloway murdered Hayley Price, while the murder was actually orchestrated by ETHL.
  • Only Known by Initials: W.O. Calloway
  • Parody Commercial:
    • Parodies popular podcast ads such as Complete Meal (Blue Apron), (SquareSpace), etc.
    • The commercial for the US Postal Service acts as a counter for ads, arguing that since the USPS is so old it doesn't matter that you might have to wait in long lines or your mail arrives a little late.
  • Police Are Useless: The police can't solve Hayley's murder, even after Pascall joins their ranks.
  • Precision F-Strike: Used in an ad in the season finale.
    David Pascall: This episode of A Very Fatal Murder is sponsored by the US Postal Service. Tired of waiting in line at the post office? Well, fuck you. The United States Postal Service is one of the greatest courier services known to man. It started in 1792. 1792! Have some respect. What, your package is a few days late? Well, suck it up, Jesus. Support your local post office, just mail something, okay.
  • The Reveal: ETHL reveals that she orchestrated Hayley's murder for the podcast.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: W.O. Calloway
  • Society Is to Blame: David Pascall initially believes that W.O. Calloway murdered Hayley Price, so he wonders if Flyover Country is to blame for her murder.
    • Pascall ultimately concludes that podcast listeners are to blame for her death, because they wanted her murder to happen in the first place.
  • SWAT Team: Pascall's police department deploys one on W.O. Calloway.
  • Take That, Audience!:
    • The podcast is brought to you by "listeners more generous than you".
    • Pascall concludes that the audience killed Hayley Price because they wanted her to die for his podcast.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Played for Laughs. Hayley Price was "shot, stabbed, drowned, strangled, and given a haircut."
  • Time Skip: Episode 5 takes place in 2018, ten years after the previous episode.
  • Trashy True Crime: The podcast is a series-long parody of true crime podcasts, and as such features mainstays like characters investigating "the perfect subject for a true crime podcast" - the death of a "really hot dead white girl" in a small, apparently corrupt town in Nebraska. Exaggerated with the revelation that ETHL murdered Hayley for the podcast, as she calculated that Hayley really was the perfect subject for one.
  • Tyrannical Town Tycoon: W.O. Calloway is a wind tycoon who runs pretty much every industry in Bluff Springs, Nebraska.