Review: "Happy Face"

 

Can you imagine finding out your father is a serial killer? The podcast “Happy Face”explores this idea. The host of the podcast, Melissa Moore is the daughter of a well-known serial killer, Keith Jesperson, better known as the “Happy Face Killer.” Throughout the podcast, Moore describes the way having such a father affected her life and the victims’ lives as she struggles to reconcile the father that she remembers growing up with the brutal reality of who he really is. 

 

The podcast also explores the unique struggles Moore goes through. She has struggled for most of her life attempting to convince others and herself that she is nothing like her father. However, the listener soon learns that she identifies with some of his traits and worries about that. For example, they both have a similar physical appearance, have a hard time expressing emotions, and both claim they hear ghosts from time to time. She struggles with the idea of possibly being like her father to the point where she eventually has a specialist scan her brain to discern if there are similarities of it with the brains of psychopaths.

For anyone who has the idea that psychopaths appear cold and heartless in every way, Keith Jesperson’s behavior may give you a better sense of how manipulative psychopaths can be. Prior to Jesperson’s graphic and disturbing descriptions of his victim’s deaths, the creators of the podcast remark how surprised they were that he appears helpful and seemingly friendly at times. The listener is left with the question: is this all just a facade? Is he manipulating people for his own entertainment? The stark contrast between Jesperson’s actions and his somewhat normal demeanor makes the podcast interesting and chilling at the same time.

 

By the end of the podcast, the listener has a deep understanding for not only how a serial killer affects his or her victims lives, but also the ways in which this trickles down to the family members of the victims, and more surprisingly, how deeply it affects the family members of the actual killer. The story is extremely captivating, and once you start listening it is hard to stop. The episodes are relatively short, approximately 30-40 minutes each and have hardly a dull moment. If you are looking for a new podcast with a compelling story, “Happy Face” is worth a listen.


 

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