The Best of This American Life - I Have Listened to Them All
You may ask yourself, who in the world has time to listen to all of these podcasts? Well, I do. During my waves of intense artistic production I spend upwards of 16 hours a day in the studio. Much of this work can be tedious and requires a strong amount of focus while creating. Years ago, as a way to help pass the time, I started listening to linear audio in the background such as movies on repeat, tv shows, and podcasts. A little over a year ago, I started going through the This American Life podcast and have finally finished them all. After about 50 or so episodes, I started documenting my favorites so I could remember for future reference. Here is that list: My top 12: 1 - 513: 129 Cars 2 - 199: House on Loon Lake 3 - 419: Petty Tyrant 4 - 487: Harper High School, Part One 5 - 418: Toxie 6 - 440: Game Changer 7 - 430: Very Tough Love 8 - 479: Little War on the Prairie 9 - 355: The Giant Pool of Money 10 - 534: A Not-So-Simple Majority 11 - 244: MacGyver 12 - 412: Million Dollar Idea
Top 12 Individual Favorite Acts: 1 - 412: Million Dollar Idea - Act Four: Don't Hate the Player 2 - 244: MacGyver - Act One: Bolt of Lightning, Pro and Con 3 - 306: Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time - Act Three: Bad Morning America 4 - 62: Something for Nothing - Act One: Hands on a Hardbody - pickup truck holding competition 5 - 286: Mind Games - Act Three: Invisible Girl - Super fascinating - about an abducted little girl hiding in plain sight and exploring why no one recognized her. 6 - 163: Can You Fight City Hall.. If You Are City Hall - Act Two: Money Versus Man 7 - 281: My Big Break - Act One: Take My Break Please 8 - 486: Valentine's Day - Act One: Best Laid Plans 9 - 110: Mapping - Act Two: Hearing 10 - 94: How to - Act Three: How To Increase Your Value As A Person 11 - 88: Act One: Corporate Culture - Couple gathers relationship data for months and put together a relationship report in the form of an annual corporate report. 12 - 54: Sinatra - Act One - The Death of Frank Sinatra - I connected with this one.. I can’t imagine what its like to continue to create knowing I’m past my prime. I hope I don’t have to experience this as it sounds sad.
Over the months of listening to the show, these were the ones I organically favorited immediately after listening:
9: Julia Sweeney 01.10.1996 62: Something for Nothing 05.02.1997 66: Tales from the Net 06.06.1997 70: Other People's Mail 07.25.1997 88: Numbers 01.02.1998 98: Throwing the First Punch 03.27.1998 111: Adventures in the Simple Life 09.11.1998 143: Sentencing 10.22.1999 162: Moving 06.23.2000 163: Can You Fight City Hall…If You Are City Hall?06.30.2000 168: The Fix Is In 09.15.2000 192: Meet the Pros 08.31.2001 199: House on Loon Lake 11.16.2001 222: Suckers 09.27.2002 244: MacGyver 08.15.2003 281: My Big Break 01.21.2005 307: In the Shadow of the City 02.03.2006 323: The Super 01.05.2007 326: Quiz Show 02.16.2007 329: Nice Work If You Can Get It 04.06.2007 348: Tough Room 02.08.2008 353: The Audacity of Government 03.28.2008 355: The Giant Pool of Money 05.09.2008 371: Scenes From a Mall 12.26.2008 390: Return To The Giant Pool of Money 09.25.2009 412: Million Dollar Idea 07.16.2010 413: Georgia Rambler 07.30.2010 414: Right to Remain Silent 09.10.2010 418: Toxie 11.05.2010 419: Petty Tyrant 11.12.2010 423: The Invention of Money 01.07.2011 430: Very Tough Love 03.25.2011 440: Game Changer 07.08.2011 461: Take the Money and Run for Office 03.30.2012 466: Blackjack 06.08.2012 486: Valentine's Day 02.08.2013 479: Little War on the Prairie 11.23.2012 487: Harper High School, Part One 02.15.2013 513: 129 Cars 12.13.2013 534: A Not-So-Simple Majority 09.12.2014
My favorites From Top Contributors
ADAM DAVIDSON 190 Act Three: Airel Sharon, Shimon Peres, David Ben Gurion, And Me! 94 Act Three: How to increase your Personal Value - He figures out how much his life is worth. 88 Act Three: When Days are Numbered - His uncles make lists of everything.. super fascinating. ALEX BLUMBERG 91: Act Two: 33 Million Dollar Box - Millionaire who robbed a bank 329: Act Two: Show Me the Annuity - Lottery Winners - lump sum or yearly? 405: Act One: Eat my Shorts — Hedge Fund Magnetar ALEX KOTLOWITZ Harper High School Series ALIX SPIEGEL 101: Niagra BEN CALHOUN 414: Act one: The First Rule of the Apple Store: Don’t Talk About the Apple Store DAN SAVAGE 379: Act Three: Our Man of Perpetual Sorrow: Not very often one brings me to tears, but the moments of Dan’s raw emotion peaking through talking about his mothers death really got me. A great act balancing comedy and sadness. DAVID RAKOFF 169: Pursuit of Happiness: One Man’s Treasure Is Another Man’s Trash: Elaborate Scavenger Hunting 192: Meet the Pros: Act Three: Martha, My Dear - What if, hobby becomes job, would it be fun? DAVID SEDARIS 165 American’s in Paris — Prologue — So much great Sedaris, but I think I enjoyed this one the most because it seemed the most revealing into his true personality. His other stuff is generally hilarious but does have this polished scripted feel about it. This was a bit more raw and I enjoyed that. DAVY ROTHBART 306: Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time - Act Three: Bad Morning America - 136 City Tour on Morning TV shows, this one is short but really hilarious. 184: Neighbors - Act One: Mr. Rothbart’s Neighborhood. Story about hanging out with Mr. Rodgers as a Kid and ETGAR KERET 468: Swithceroo: Prologue - Cindy Sherman, was it her or was it not? JACK HITT 110 Act Two - Hearing, Jack Hitt - Mapped Ambient sounds and how those sounds effect ones state of mind. 323 Act One: The Super JOHN HODGMAN 205: Plan B - Act 1 It’s Another Tequila Sunrise - The Story of Cuervo Man — love this one. JON RONSON 385: Pro Se: Act 1 Psycho Dabble - Pro Se defendant spent more than a decade trying to defend himself but the more he tried the more crazy they thought he was. JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN 388: Rest Stop - Act One - Spending a few hours in the rest stop parking lot JOSH BEARMAN 323: The Super - Act Two - Super Duper. - the 400 lb weightlifting snowman JULIA SWEENEY 135: Allure of Crime - Act One - Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad - at her job stole 15-20k cash and it made her more religious JULIE SNYDER 98: Act 4 The Full Time Boxer that is always poor MIKE BIRBIGLIA 411: First Contact - Act One Error at First Base — Mike is hilarious in this act discussing what it was like to be one of the last one of his friends to ‘make out’ with a girl. NANCY UPDIKE 86: How to Take Money From Strangers: Act 1- A con man so good he’s thanked. 164 Act Two — Grime Scene. Nancy Updike - guy cleans up crime scenes. PAUL TOUGH 57: Delivery - Act One - Speed - UPS Driver speeding around recklessly PLANET MONEY All of them. SARAH KOENIG So many but loved 419 - Petty Tyrant 162: Moving - Act Two - Deal of a Lifetime - Sister buys house from man who stays there until he dies. 440: Game Changer SARAH VOWELL 107: Trail of Tears 86: Act 2 Map Dealer 58: Small Towns: Act 1 Country Mouse, City Mouse - Talks to mom about sarah losing faith and how it was influenced by a move. SCOTT CARRIER 286: Mind Games - Act Three - Invisible Girl - Super fascinating - about an abducted little girl hiding in plain side and exploring why no one recognized her. 37: Act 1 “The Test” - quit job, interviewed schizophrenics SHALOM AUSLANDER 362: Got you Pegged: Act 4 - Paradise Lost - On vacation, the guy next door is an imposter STARLEE KINE This one is more IRA & Starlee is not prominent in act but I really enjoy 192: Meet the Pros - Act Two - Know when to Walk Away, Know when to Run - following pro poker players — Phil rock paper scissors Starlee for a drink 277: Apology - Act Three - Two Words You Never Want To Hear From Your Doctor — I’m Sorry - super fascinating
Last but not least here are a few of my favorite Ira moments:
IRA 90: Telephone Prologue, this is the most personal I remember him getting. His most off the wall quote that had me laughing for minutes: In Episode 85 Ira says: “Laura grabs a hen and waves it at the flaccid cock. The cock does not rise. I can say that on the radio, right?” Most like me? 58: Small towns at the very end Ira sums it up well.