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The television program This American Life is based on the radio show of the same name that airs on National Public Radio, also known as NPR. Host Ira Glass of WBEZ in Chicago hosts both the radio show and the television show. Each episode the show discusses a theme and then tells the stories of everyday Americans that go with that theme. They touch on subjects like racism, family life, and social issues. This isn't a show about pop culture or a reality television show, even though it is a non-fiction program. These are stories that everyone can relate to and the cover the full spectrum of human emotion. Some episodes will make you laugh, some will make you cry, some are even quirky, but they will always leave you feeling like you've learned something about being an American and the challenges and struggles that come with living in this country.

Thursdays at 10:30 PM et/pt on Showtime
2 Seasons, 13 Episodes
March 22, 2007
Documentary & Biography
Cast: Ira Glass
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This American Life Full Episode Guide

  • A bonus second-season edition comprised of material produced for the This American Life web site, a look at comedians and their audiences includes segments about unknown comics performing for a rowdy crowd at a club in the middle of nowhere, and a piece about Mike Birbiglia, a standup with a scathing routine about his worst gig ever.

  • A look at the large number of people named John Smith, including an 11-week old baby who was supposed to be a boy, and a 23 year old man in Wyoming who is in trouble with the law. Lastly, a 46 year old who is awaiting the return of his son from the war in Iraq.

  • Comic book artist Chris Ware animates a true story that reveals how all marriages, good or bad, are in essence courtrooms. Ware's animation brings to life the tragic tale of one couple's failed attempt at matrimony.

  • A focus on two different boxers from Tennessee who battle each other in a match which means a lot to both men. Also, a group of New York youths learn how to challenge their bullies by using humor instead of fists.

  • A common medicine cabinet item was used in the escape attempt of two Wisconsin convicts. Plus, a man's with a 30-year obsession with a flying critter. Also, a high school yearbook photo hides the tragedy and drama withing the kids young lives.

  • A young Iraqi man takes questions from American citizens about his homeland. A Rhode Island man from Bulgaria discusses a long time argument he has had with his American wife.

  • In Philadelphia, young boys use a mode of transportation which has been obsolete since the 19th century to impress girls and break free of the confines of their home. Also, specialized circumstances makes a young man's breakaway for independence and from his mother a bit tougher.

  • Three stories of the unexpected consequences of trying new things: scientists accidentally discover a way to erase memories and later get surprising requests from people who want their own minds wiped clean; pig researchers accidentally create more problems with every improvement they make; two owners of a Chicago hot dog stand try some novel business practices that unwittingly unleash raw human emotion that would probably be better penned up.

  • Four stories explore the costs of stubbornness: a man refuses to acknowledge some important events in his wife?s life; a 14-year-old boy decides he will never, ever fall in love; a politician attempts to win an election without telling a single lie; a man who continues doing a job during an emergency when most people would probably stop.

  • An animated short from cartoonist Chris Ware about the perils of watching life explode from behind the safe distance of a camera lens, and a young filmmaker initially sets out to expose his alcoholic step-father, but ends up capturing an endearing, cathartic portrait of a flawed family.

  • What do you do if you're unhappy with where you are in life? Some people simply will themselves to the next stage. A widow, an ambitious first-time screenplay writer, and a 13-year-old girl all charge forward into their futures with mixed results.

  • Three stories of people who hatched plans in the hopes of making their dreams come true, but were snapped back to reality by unpleasant outcomes: an elementary school student tries to solve a common childhood problem; a rancher resuscitates a beloved pet, which later turns on him; people team to give an unknown rock band the greatest night of its life.

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