28 January 2009

for your listening pleasure

if it were possible to fall in love and marry a radio show, I would. this american life, will you marry me? I would like to spend the rest of my life listening to you. please say yes.

about a month or so ago, a good friend asked me to recommend a few episodes and the following list is what I happily sent his way. these are my favorite acts, my top five. these are the ones I can listen to over and over and over. the links take you to the pages and the pages list episode descriptions. each episode has three different stories/acts. the option to listen to each full episode is just to the left of the descriptions. I've listed specific acts here and you might want to skip forward to the ones I'm talking about. or not. I'll say this: if you're looking to get lost, today is your lucky day.

episode 323: the super, act two (super duper). because it's the best snowman story ever. and when I say ever, I mean ever.

episode 192: meet the pros, act one (crispy with the rock). because I was born and raised on basketball. and because there's a line towards the end that really does something to me.

episode 347: matchmakers, act three (babies buying babies). because you must hear it to believe it. at first, you will probably laugh. but then you will want to cry because you won't want it to be true.

episode 173: three kinds of deception, act three (accidental deception). because this lil froggy is ripe. that's all I'm going to say.

episode 218, act V. because. just because. but also because it's brilliant and beautiful.


  1. sing it sister!!!! I am in love. I wrote about my Ira desire also


  2. i'm putting listening to these on my to do list today :)
    i love the soft focus in your photo it creates a perfect mood along with the colors.
    xo lara

  3. I KNOW! I'm fairly certain I've listened to every episode at this point. And although going back through them is fun, I have to wait each week to hear a new one. I think the anticipation just makes the love obsession more intense.

  4. I love This American Life. Thanks for these, though, I was definitely looking to get lost today.

  5. You have wonderful taste, but I'm afraid I already proposed. You can't have my TAL!!!

  6. oh what a dream, thanks for your links! i adore TAL too, and got to see mr. glass in the flesh 2 years back which was total heaven, as expected.

    i wanted to share this with you: it's like the sciencey distant cousin to this american life, with free downloadable mp3s a'plenty!


    hope you dig it, and i lololove your blog!!


  7. the super is one of my faves as well. i'm going back in my archives and relisten to the ones you've listed.

    (you know cc got me hooked on this show)

  8. Oh I love! My favorites are #339: Break-Up and #104 Music Lessons. SO GOOD.

  9. I'm completely in love with This American Life as well! Have you heard the one on unconditional love? Oh my gosh I was balling! I love how one story can completely crack you up, and the next story can completely break you down. So well done. Beautiful photo to accompany your shout out!

  10. PS: You might also enjoy the Moth Podcasts as well. :)

  11. sorry chica. i'm already wearing TAL's ring.

    thanks for the share, it's always good to hear other's favs.

  12. good grief woman.
    you know how to put a smile on my face. or a tear in my eye. whichever one is cool with me.

  13. If you have never heard Act 1 "Accidental Documentaries", I think you would really love it. "Mind Games" too.

  14. I have to choose a favorite? TAL keeps me sane here in Italy, I download their podcasts weekly, and enjoy them immensely. We also bought season 1 of the tv version, looking forward to season 2.
    I am off to listen to your suggestions. ciao ciao

  15. Good lawd, girl! I am in love with Ira's little lisp. Love all those episodes too. I just coughed up 20 bucks on his website to donate and keep it going. But I'm so with you on this one...

    Hello my name is Swampgirl and I am an addict ...

  16. This show is already married...to me!
    always love your photos.
    wish i lived in portland.

  17. How funny, I was just listening to that matchmakers one yesterday and that last act was crazy!
    adopting out Nubbins: "Do you promise to love and take care of this baby?" little girl: "No."

    Have you ever seen the tv version? I rented the first season on dvd- they document stories that are really visually interesting that wouldn't work well on the radio- it's really good!

  18. not sure what's scarier. the story....or the fact that i just woke up from a dream about the story. 'do you promise to love the baby...?'


  19. We LOVE This American Life and thankfully since it's on their website can listen to it even all the way over here in the UAE! I have also been meaning to post some favorite episodes! We think the one about break-ups is pretty funny.

    There is something really special about listening to a radio show.

  20. Te quiero, TAL. Oh, and don't forget episode 339. The always brilliant Miss Starlee Kine writing a breakup song with Phil Collins. Swoon.


  21. micheline@golden.netJanuary 29, 2009 2:42 PM

    I'm already having a love affair with this show… and by the sound of these comments it's a popular date.

    I hadn't heard all of these before but I enjoyed every single one of them. I really loved the stinky frog. I also loved Act V. Oh, and the babies and the super and the basketball kid.

    Thank you for hours of welcome distractions.

  22. Yep, mee too. In love with it! I will have to check out some of your favorites. ; )

  23. How weird and wonderful...I try to listen every week and go online to hear archives all the time. But I have never heard ANY of the ones you mentioned! I think that's a miracle because I thought I was coming close to having heard them all.

    My favorite from recent years is "Duty Calls," about the guy who goes to Florida to take care of his mom and brother.

    Oh wait, I did hear "Babies Buying Babies" and couldn't even believe it. So sad but I'm glad she recorded it. Fascinating.

    One of my all-time favorite TAL moments is Veronica Chater's super-short story about babysitting, eating black beans and a grapefruit and trying to hide the evidence. It makes me laugh so hard every time. She's a great storyteller.

  24. Got completely sucked in to this show yesterday......awesome link. Thanks!!

  25. oh sister...paul and i heard the story about nubbins about a month ago when we were out running errands. so awful and funny at the same time.

    we listen to ira every week. i even have the podcast on my ipod for when i go for a walk.

    great post, mama.

  26. Hi Andrea, I'm you SIL Kendra's old college roommate. I think we met a few times back in the day . . . and I just stumbled onto your blog. Love it.

    I'm also a big fan of TAL. I think the "babies buying babies" story was one of the most poignant things I've heard.

  27. shoot!
    i was going to propose to this american life!
    you beat me to him (her? it?)

    i just relistened to the super on wednesday while i was working & i still laughed out loud!
    even though i knew what was coming!
    so great...

    & i listened to matchmakers wednesday too!
    oh, baby nubbins...

    also ira glass
    i love him...
    & david sedaris
    & sarah vowel
    & starley kine
    (no idea if any of those are spelling right)

    it is just the best thing out there...
    the best!


  28. I accidentally discovered this show while driving back from STL to college one Sunday night. Love it!

    241: 20 Acts in 60 Minutes
    253: The Middle of Nowhere, Act 2

    There are more, but.

  29. So glad to have happened upon your blog today. How very beautiful and inspiring! Wow!

  30. i just finished listening to an episode online! it amazes me that they can come up with so many heartfelt, hilarious true stories. Whenever TAL has a fundraiser, I never think twice about donating.

  31. My husband and I are going to see Ira Glass this Friday. It's his birthday gift. I cannot wait!

  32. oh poor nubbins! (it's a favorite here as well.)

  33. I love This american life too! Tried to get into the show but I'm just not feeling it.

  34. I loooooooovvvvvvvveeeeeeee TAL! Thanks for the tips on great episodes!

  35. such a brilliant gift we've been given with this american life. it's like a weekly self-grounding for the soul.

    i once posted on my blog that i have a crush on ira glass, and now i get the occasional referral to the blog when people do a search on "ira glass wife". ha!

    wonderful post andrea.

  36. I am a great fan too. I loved the episode where Sarah Vowel and her sister followed the trail of tears, and stayed at the CHOO CHOO hotel. So sad and funny.
    I also paid money to see a radio show in a theater that I could hear for free.
    It was terrific.

  37. Oh thanks for the tip! I'm going to go listen.

  38. oh careful, lady! now you turned me on to it and i might be in competition for that forever! miss you, girlie. xo

  39. Just discovered your blog - Love your photography!!

  40. Hi Andrea, I just discovered your blog a while ago, and have been going through your old ones too, love them, you have such a great way with words.
    Thanks for turning me onto american life, even though I'm in Ireland i think the stories can resonate anywhere, lovin it!

    Ps. You are one of my contacts in flickr and your photos r smokin :-)

  41. thank you so much! i've been wanting to dive into TAL, but didn't know where to start. Now I can't stop listening. I've loved radio dramas since I was a little tyke.

  42. My absolute favorite is 348: Tough Room

    In particular the segment (from The Moth!) where Malcolm Gladwell tells a tale of his first job. Also how The Onion comes up with its stories!

  43. you've precisely summed up how I feel about This American Life....I am in love, too! Ira Glass...my hero.

  44. i'm the friend! it was me! do i get a linkage or shout out?? sigh..... poor old dj paine....

  45. i totally agree! i love love love it. . . i almost always end up crying!

  46. T A L has got the be the best program EVER! Ever, ever, ever, ever, ever!

    I wonder what Ira's real life wife is like. Very entertained, I'd venture to guess.

  47. this american life is boss! i am addicted to the podcast, its my favorite thing to distract me during a boring elliptical session at the gym. ira glass is love. your blog is wonderful!

  48. love it too. thanks for these recs -- i've been meaning to listen to that matchmaker show forever!

  49. Oh yes. My favorite is the one on camps.

  50. The episode with the grapefruit and the black bean can that Marigoldie talks about in the comments. I love that one also, what episode is that in again?