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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Top 10 "This American Life" episodes

The greatest radio show (and podcast) ever. Possibly the best show ever, in any media. I look forward to every episode, and get seriously bummed out when it's a re-run. In case you're interested, here's my top 10 favorite episodes. I've listened to each of these multiple times, and will continue to!
  1. #355 The Giant Pool of Money - Definitely the best explanation of what went wrong with the US (and world) economy, and is referred to as such by other media and even politicians. I believe this is their most popular show to date (even topping "Squirrel Cop"). This episode was so well-received it spawned a delightful new show, NPR's "Planet Money" which podcasts thrice weekly. There were a few great sequels to this episode. If you group them together you have just about the best layman's-terms synopsis of the financial meltdown put together so far. They are: #365 Another Frightening Show About the Economy, #375 Bad Bank, #377 Scenes from a Recession and #382 The Watchmen.
  2. #304 Heretics - Great story about how this minister, Carlton Pearson, decided one day that hell was a human creation, a method of controlling people. And he wasn't going to believe in it anymore.
  3. #168 The Fix Is In - Classic episode about how a clown of a middle manager exposed the biggest price-fixing scheme in history. Looks like this is coming out in movie form, as a comedy: The Informant!
  4. #261 The Sanctity of Marriage - Helped to put me off the idea of marriage altogether (ok...I'm just chicken). The opening bit with John Gottman is a must-hear. For more from the guy, there's also this great podcast, and this one.
  5. #179 Cicero - The story of Cicero, IL...probably the most corrupt city in America!
  6. #254 Teenage Embed, Part Two - A young Afghan-American goes to Afghanistan with a tape recorder, and records events as they unfold. His father has returned to Afghanistan to serve in the newly-formed government. It's a follow-up to the original episode #230 Come Back To Afghanistan, which was also very good.
  7. #290 Godless America - This is on here strictly for the Julia Sweeney segment. She tells the story of how she fell away from Catholicism. Hilarious.
  8. #127 Pimp Anthropology - If you ever wanted to know how pimps work...
  9. #220 Testosterone - Dedicated to the chemical which is the essence of male-ness.
  10. #84 Harold - Being from Chicago, I love the Chicago stories. This whole show was dedicated to the story of Harold Washington, the first black mayor of a major American city. Fascinating guy.

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