The MentalCast is a weekly pop culture podcast hosted by Michael Riley and featuring numerous cast members as either permanent cast members, referred to as "regulars," or occasional cast members, referred to as "guests." In the history of the show, it has had 40 different cast members, both regular and guest.
Main article: List of MentalCast cast members
Main article: List of MentalCast episodes
The RabbleCast is cited as a huge influence on the show, and prior to the debut episode of the MentalCast, another podcast entitled the AnarCast was attempted. The AnarCast was a show revolving around the Anarchy Wrestling Association, a backyard wrestling organization Mike was once a part of. After 3 episodes, however, it was deemed unnecessary and subsequently cancelled. Chris McClain had joined Mike for the last two episodes of the AnarCast and together, they formed an idea for a new podcast, called the MentalCast, that would focus on pop culture aspects, specifically music, movies, television and video games. The first episode of the show aired September 17, 2007, and only lasted for around 22 minutes. The show has since gone on to acheive underground success in much the same way that the RabbleCast did.
Main article: AniMentalCast
The AniMentalCast is an animated highlight series produced by Dustin Kidd as a compliment to the show. The show was started on May 12, 2012, when Dustin decided to animate a news story from episode #208. Since then, Mike has sent audio clips to Dustin for use in the show.
- Introductions: The show begins with the introductions by the host, which is usually Mike, but has been known to be different. Mike will welcome listeners to the show, state the episode number and sponsors, and introduce himself, followed by the introduction of the rest of the cast present.
- Icebreakers: Following the introductions, Mike will generally ask the present cast what they bought over the course of the week since the last episode. Occasionally, he will augment the question depending on any special holiday or birthday event that took place between shows. Also, occasionally, if some big news broke since the last record, it will be discussed at the top of the show. This segment may not appear in every episode.
- Top 5 Mental News Stories of the Week: This segment was originally called the Mental News Story of the Week. Selected by the host, the Mental News Story is deemed to be a news story with a weird twist, and is usually taken straight from News of the Weird. In later episodes, the cast has acknowledged that TGWTG contributor Nash Bozard's show "What the Fuck is Wrong with You?" bears a striking resemblance to the Mental News Story, and occasionally, stories that were Mental News Stories appear on Nash's show, and vice versa. Starting in episode #215, it began its current incarnation as a Top 5 list.
- Music: The music section begins with the announcements of new releases from the current week, between the current Tuesday (usually the day of the show record) and the next Monday, and the following week, between next Tuesday and the following Monday. Since September 1, 2010, this has been sometimes followed by a top-ten list called TENdeep (and sometimes a top 8 called the 8 Ball). After that, regular music news is covered.
- Film & Television: The film and television section begins with the announcements of new theatrical releases for the current week, between the current Friday (the one following the day of the show record) and the next Thursday, and the following week, between the next Friday and the following Thursday. Since September 1, 2010, this has been sometimes followed by a top-ten list called TENdeep (and sometimes a top 8 called the 8 Ball). After that, regular film and television news has been covered.
- Video Games: The video games section begins with the announcements of new video game releases for the current week, between the current Tuesday (usually the day of the show record) and the next Monday, and the following week, between the next Tuesday and the following Monday. Since September 1, 2010, this has been sometimes followed by a top-ten list called TENdeep. After that, regular music news is covered. Until February 16, 2011, the latest and upcoming Rock Band DLC was announced, but this segment was dropped due to waning interest.
- Politics: This was a fourth section of the news, following video games, and detailed important news regarding election coverage. The section started during the summer of 2008 and ended the week after Barack Obama became president in November of 2008. There are plans to bring the segment back during the 2012 Presidential coverage.
- Around the Horn: Based loosely on the ESPN show, a topic was introduced and talked about between the cast, with Mike serving as moderator. After each cast member talked for up to a minute regarding the topic, the topic was then open for debate, with Mike awarding points for good opinions as in the ESPN show. Whoever had the highest score at the end of the segment (which usually lasted between 10-15 minutes) was declared the winner and allowed to pick the topic for the next show. This segment was retired in December of 2008 following the departure of Wyatt Estabrooks.
- Room 101: Debuting during the first week of 2009, this segment was directly based on the BBC show of the same name, in which Mike, serving as moderator, would ask the cast to nominate something they disliked in the past week, and provide an argument to why Mike should banish said item. After the argument, Mike would then decide whether or not the item would be banished from the face of the Earth, going into Room 101. The segment was retired from the show on February 16, 2011, due to waning interest, but has since made a one-off appearance during the 150th and 200th episodes.
- Garbage Day: Similar to Room 101, this segment debuted on August 29, 2009, as a temporary replacement to Room 101. With Mike as the moderator, the cast would pick something they hated and wanted Ricky (the character from Silent Night, Deadly Night 2) to kill. The clip of Ricky's "Garbage Day" line from the movie would then be played. The segment retired a few months later to give way to Room 101, but has since been a staple of the show, usually pulled out in a response to a particularly dumb celebrity or news story.
- Picks & Pans: This was a segment that included Room 101, and the Wall of Awesomeness, which was the opposite of Room 101. The segment retired when Room 101 retired, on February 16th, 2011.
- Homestretch: This was a diversion or game played at the end of the show, usually based on a game show. The segment debuted on the first episode of the MentalCast and since took on a life of its own. The segment was given its own video series in October of 2011 to cut down on runtime for the show proper. Eventually, the segment was retired in December of 2011, though it has since made appearances whenever time needs to be filled. Recurring games on the Homestretch included:
- Press Your Luck/Whammy!: Based on the game show of the same name. Players would answer trivia questions to collect spins to take to a board filled with cash and prizes. Usually, the cast would get upset at having to play this game.
- The Joker's Wild: Based on the 70's game show of the same name. Five categories were inserted on a "wheel" and appeared randomly when spun. Players would then answer questions from a chosen category. This game was by far the favorite game of the cast, and also the one that was played the most. It has the distinction of being the final Homestretch game, played on December 20, 2011.
- Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?: Based on the Facebook flash game. There were eight categories in 4 grade levels. One was chosen by a player, and then players would answer trivia questions. The high scorer answered a 5th grade bonus question for ten times their bank.
- Improv: Improvisational games, such as Scenes from a Hat, were played infrequently.
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