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This American Life: "Sissies" & other shows

How can cultural elitists like ourselves put TV in the Culture category? Well, where the hell else is it going to fit?

This American Life: "Sissies" & other shows

Postby universitylad » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:34 am

Does anyone have any good TAL episodes to recommend over about the past year? I've not listen in as regulary as I have in the past and am wondering if I missed any that were really good. How is the televison version?

http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=46

http://www.thislife.org
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Postby Ned Flanders » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:57 am

All I can say is that the "Wiggles" are not allowed on our TV. :P
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Postby auntgoodness » Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:58 pm

I haven't seen the TV version yet, but I've been listening weekly over last six months or so. Here are some of my favorites.

#304 Heretics (Fascinating study of megachurch culture.)

#245 The Allure of the Mean Friend (Listen as a guy discovers he's an asshole.)

#329 Nice Work If You Can Get It (Stories of sudden fame including John Hodgman, the "I'm a PC" guy.)
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Postby pulseCzar » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:03 pm

Oh Aunty G, I agree with your choices. I loved the John Hodgeman segment. He's really quite funny. I loved his description of what happene when he walked into an Apple shop.

A couple others:

81 Words - The story of how the American Psychiatric Association decided in 1973 that homosexuality was no longer a mental illness. Some amazingly brave people made it happen.

The Missing Parent Bureau - Several case studies about absentee parents. One segment featured Dan Savage describing his relationship with the girl who gave up her child to Dan and his partner. This one had me a little bit choked up.
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Postby mrak » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:16 pm

pulseCzar wrote:The Missing Parent Bureau - Several case studies about absentee parents. One segment featured Dan Savage describing his relationship with the girl who gave up her child to Dan and his partner. This one had me a little bit choked up.

It seems almost like the TAL formula requires each hour to have one truly heartbreaking segment.

The best one I've heard lately was a rebroadcast on the "Kid Logic" program in March:
One Brain Shrinks, Another Brain Grows.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.

I've seen the installment of the TV show they offered for free on their web site, and it's good (and they adapted to a visual medium better than I thought they would.) The main thing I didn't like is their habit of putting Ira Glass, in a jacket and tie, behind a desk in odd locations to introduce segments. Every time he opened his mouth, I expected to hear him say, "And now for something completely different."

And I have to admit, I resented the crossover to TV a little, because to me, TAL is radio. If it isn't the pinnacle of what one can achieve with the medium, it's close enough for me.
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Postby sydgrl » Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:53 pm

mrak wrote:The best one I've heard lately was a rebroadcast on the "Kid Logic" program in March:
One Brain Shrinks, Another Brain Grows.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.


That was a really beautiful and heartbreaking story. I bawled my eyes out.

I would recommend "310: Habeas Schmabeas" (Peabody Award Winner) and 132: Father's Day '99 (the story about the father/daughter/The Borrowers is wonderful),
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Postby auntgoodness » Fri Jun 29, 2007 11:25 pm

sydgrl wrote:
mrak wrote:The best one I've heard lately was a rebroadcast on the "Kid Logic" program in March:
One Brain Shrinks, Another Brain Grows.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.


That was a really beautiful and heartbreaking story. I bawled my eyes out.


Totally. That one was rough. I was not so happy I was listening at work that day...
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Postby universitylad » Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:57 am

Is the televison version of TAL still going strong? I think it was on HBO. I've still not seen it yet.
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Postby robbie webber » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:54 pm

How TAL almost made me drive off the road in Indiana.

Three years ago, coming back from a trip out east, I was preparing for the unpleasant experience of driving around the southern end of Lake Michigan. I popped in a CD a friend had given me - Best of TAL - and was negotiating the lanes and trying not to get too pissed off at the tailgaters and other a-holes cutting me off.

A segment came on about a disastrous high school play of Peter Pan. Everything went wrong: sets falling, people forgetting lines, missed cues, physical injury, etc. The guy telling the story went on and on about how everyone in the audience, and then everyone on stage ended up laughing uncontrollably, and it infected me as well.

It started as the giggles, then out loud guffaws, and finally I was laughing so hard I was crying. Which would all be good if I were driving through northern Wisconsin on a county road. But I was on I80/94/90, with the urban maniac drivers, and there were merges, construction, detours, and bumper to bumper traffic moving at 70+ mph. (God, I hate driving through the Chicago metro area!)

I had to turn off the CD, because a crash was imminent if I couldn't get control of myself and the car.

The same segment came on six months later while I was driving home on Campus Dr, and I almost lost it again on hearing it the second time.
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