As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the first episode of the TV version of This American Life is already on Showtime OnDemand (so I assume big fans have already seen it?), but this animated preview of a future episode (by Chris Ware, natch) is going around:
(I tried to embed it but it's HUGE! (That's what she said.) So: here.)
I was going to review the first episode, but I don't really "review" things, per se, so I'll just say that (Spoiler Alert: if you don't already listen to This American Life regularly you might want to just wait for the show). But go ahead and order Showtime now and tell them it's because of TAL, because who knows? Maybe that works...
1. For a longtime listener, the experience of seeing Ira Glass speak (with his lips moving and everything) is as cliche-eerie-surreal as you'd think it would be. He's surprisingly ready for prime(show)time, however.
2. I'm sure they would be the first to admit this, but the show owes a huge debt to the great Errol Morris. A huge, gigantic, man-I-miss-Errol-Morris-what-is-he-up-to debt. But the world is more than big enough for the both of them, of course.
3. The first show consists of two main segments, both of which were already on the radio. The first segment is beautiful and interesting enough (Second Chance the cloned bull), but the second one is a tour de force. I remember listening on the subway during rush hour and fumbling to wipe the tears from my face as the members of the band Ghosts of Pasha described the experience of feeling elated and then humiliated by a well-meaning but (predictably) disastrous stunt by Improv Everywhere, but watching them tell the story is about 100 times more powerful. Powerful enough that, after the show ended, I watched that segment again, crying, and then immediately composed an email to the band that was so earnest I can't even bear to share it here, but the entire show is worth seeing simply for Chris from Ghosts of Pasha's story and reaction to what happened.
The Ghosts of Pasha youtube site has all kinds of TAL videos (previews, sundance clips), a show about the band, and videos.
This American Life premieres on Showtime on Thursday at 10:30 pm.