In this episode, we learn the true life stories of several people named John Smith: the parents of 11-week-old John Smith of South Carolina reel from revelation that he's a boy, when their sonogram predicted a girl; 23-year-old John Smith of Laramie, Wyoming, has made some mistakes and is appearing in front of a judge; and 46-year-old John Smith of Texas welcomes his son back from Iraq.
Cartoonist Chris Ware animates a true story which demonstrates that every marriage, even the happiest, is a courtroom battle; a husband's obsession with a legal battle forces the most basic marital questions into the open: What do I need? And, what can I put up with?
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.
There's a whole world of boxing way down the food chain from championship fights, and the stakes are high even without media hype and massive cash prizes. Two boxers in Tennessee who've known each other all their lives face off in a match that neither can afford to lose; a group of kids in New York learns to fight bullies the old-fashioned way: by being funny.
Stories of people making (or trying to remake) history. A pair of Wisconsin convicts gain local fame for almost escaping prison using dental floss; high school students pose for smiley yearbook snapshots, which capture nothing of the drama in their lives; a man with a 30-year obsession with one particular bird unveils the grainy, Big Foot-style video evidence that he actually saw it.
Two foreigners in the U.S., in the aftermath of two very different wars, try to make sense of life here. A young Iraqi arrives in America after fleeing his war-torn homeland and embarks on a road trip to let Americans ask him anything they want, with hilarious and poignant results; a Bulgarian man in Rhode Island realizes that an ongoing argument with his American wife about lawn maintenance has to do with the life he left 20 years ago, on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
In the second season debut, people escape from home without going very far. In Philadelphia, teenage boys find ways to impress girls using a mode of transport obsolete since the 19th century; a young man's fight for independence from his mother would be normal for most kids, except for some special circumstances.
Three stories of the unexpected consequences of trying new things including scientists that accidentally discover a way to erase memories and later get surprising requests from people who want their own minds wiped clean.
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.
G.J. Echternkamp started filming his own family as an act of revenge against his stepfather, and most of this episode is devoted to his footage, which is funny and stunningly honest. Also in this episode: an animated short by Chris Ware.
Stories where the faithful and the not-so-faithful cross paths, and where unexpected things happen when people try to get closer to God through pictures: hundreds of Polaroid camera-toting believers gather in the Mojave Desert each month hoping to see God. And an artist, his Jesus model, the model's atheist girlfriend, and her religious father face off on The Last Supper.
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.
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.
Funny. Dramatic. Surprising. True. Boundary-pushing and adventurous, radio personality Ira Glass examines the details of life that go unnoticed and transforms them into something humorous or poignant, enlightening or bizarre. From the tale of a man who so cherished his pet bull that he had him cloned, to the account of a 12-year old who doesn't believe in love, these are true stories which remind us that the remarkable lives in the everyday.
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.
Based on the wildly popular public radio show, This American Life explores a theme - fiascos, do-gooders, conventions, the job that takes over your life - and transforms the stories into something funny or poignant, enlightening or bizarre.
This American Life returns with a second season of incredibly moving, sometimes funny and always dramatic stories culled from around the country.
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