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August 31, 2015

This American Life premiere is online

by Anna Johns, posted Mar 23rd 2007 1:43PM
ira glassDespite all the rave reviews and my own personal adoration for This American Life, I did not subscribe to Showtime so I could see the televised version of the PBS radio program. But Showtime is crafty. The network has posted this week's premiere episode of This American Life online (for free!) and now I am in love with it. I never thought that This American Life needed pictures to go with its stories, but the story of Chance the bull seems like it would be lost without video.

Take a look at the premiere and tell me what you think. I like it, but I still think I'm too cheap to get Showtime. I keep hoping they'll all be available on iTunes.

(By the way, if you are a fan of This American Life, you'll probably get a kick out of this parody by San Francisco sketch comedy group, Kasper Hauser. Their Ira Glass impression is dead-on.)

[Via Pop Candy]

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I love This American Life. The particular show mentioned is good. Ira Glass said that the show really hits its stride around half way into the season. The radio crew and the TV crew gelled by then and things ran pretty smoothly.

Also take a look at:


It's an act from one of their future episodes.

@David: I wish there was some way to just make your comments disappear. Like some sort of mute or auto-skip when going through the database.

March 24 2007 at 2:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, to be super pedantic, neither PBS nor NPR produces the This American Life radio show. It's done by PRI, Public Radio International. Ira Glass says that at the beginning of each show.

March 23 2007 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"NPR is actually who creates/distributes This American Life"

Actually it is distributed by Public Radio International, which is a distinct seperate entity than National Public Radio. It starts to get confusing, however, because a lot of the PRI programs are played on local NPR stations across the country.

March 23 2007 at 4:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NPR radio show? snoooze.

March 23 2007 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am going to have to disagree with David. As a long time fan of TAL's radio program, having a visual version of the show is very cool. I love that they kept the same format to the show, having an intro piece and then going to acts. The stories they chose for the first episode were moving, and is it me? or is the whole "bull featured at the Republican Nat. Convention get cloned" a bit ironic...

Great job TVS for reporting on the show, and great job Ira Glass for successfully introducing a new format for TAL. That said, please continue focusing on the radio show, as good as a TV version can be... sometimes there is no replacement for the mind's eye.

March 23 2007 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rick cokely

First NPR is actually who creates/distributes This American Life, not PBS. Second, listening to several interviews that Ira did about this first episode, he felt that there were several key moments in the story that were great "radio material" but just didn't work on film. For instance one of the witnesses to the attack that was interviewed gave a great retelling of the story, very emotional and very interesting, but he said that her physical appearance was jarring and didn't make for a good television moment that would have otherwise made a great radio moment.

Anyway, I'm excited about this show none-the-less, I love NPR and have always love This American Life.

March 23 2007 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not that good of a show, weird cloning thing was hust odd and the "prank" guys I didn't care about.

March 23 2007 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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