Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This American Life

Recently I've begun to develop a terrible habit, I watch too much TV (as made apparent by my recent posts). So when it came time for me to choose what to watch in a moment of boredom, I decided against yet another episode of the always funny The Office or Arrested Development and went with something I had heard my Mom praise before: This American Life. What I then encountered was much more than I could have imagined. After the first episode I resolved to finish the six episode season that day. After I watched the first five episodes of the second season, I waited a couple days to prepare myself for the last episode.

This is a documentary based program where each week they chose a theme and then tell a story on that theme. Theme's of escape, religion, stubbornness, and Pandora's box set up the stage for always remarkable stories. They can take the most simple of stories like the condition of a lawn and make it seem intriguing and beautiful. And they take large stories such as all the stages of life from beginning to end, narrating the delicacies of an individual's story. This show has made me cry, laugh, and consume my thoughts for days. Watching it has made me seriously reconsider my position on the war in Iraq.  It has made me look at non-religious people in a new light. It has made me cry at the power of hate, but even more so cry at the awesome power of faith. It has made me sit in awe at the power of film. And it has made me honestly want to pursue my dreams.

Above all else, after watching This American Life I learned that literally every American has a story to tell. Sometimes when I think of my desire to create documentaries I wonder how I will ever find worth while material, a story worth telling. This American Life shows those stories are literally everywhere. We all have a different story to tell. And that gives me hope.

You can watch this show on Netfilx if you have an account. And if you'd like, I could recommend my favorite episodes to you. I highly recommend it for the sake of content and execution. This show is the best documentary based show I have ever seen. I'm sad to say it only lasted two seasons. Luckily there is a This American Life podcast that I will surely be listening to soon.


  1. I love catching the radio broadcast on npr. Erin and I heard an episode about a lady that had a recurring dream about having super powers as a kid and became so obsessed with her alter ego that she made a list of goals so that she could become as close to her super hero self as possible. It was fascinating.


  2. I have my AP Econ kids listen to when they explored the banking collapse. Great stuff.