The NPR radio show This American Life has been on Showtime for the last few weeks, and those episodes have been quite good (Showtime sent me a review DVD of the first four episodes), but I figured I’d pick tonight to point out the show, because tonight’s episode features a short cartoon by none other than Chris “Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth” Ware.
And it rules.
If you do not know anything about the program, This American Life is a radio show on National Public Radio hosted by Ira Glass. Each episode has a theme, and features real-life people telling stories that work with that particular theme.
The TV series is basically just the radio show with video. It is even hosted by Glass, who is a very cool host.
Each episode is basically a short documentary, only featuring multiple interesting subjects. The closest TV comparison I can think of is HBO’s Inside Sports, which is also an awesome program, but more so if you, you know, like sports.
Tonight’s episode (it aired at 10:30 Eastern, but it replays at 12:00 am Eastern and the following times (all times Eastern):
04/13 08:30 PM
04/15 08:00 PM
04/15 12:00 AM
04/17 10:00 PM
04/18 07:30 PM
04/18 11:30 PM
The episode, titled The Camera Man, opens with an animated sequence by Chris Ware that is visually amazing (It is Chris Ware art – only animated – what’s NOT to like?), and quite interesting, as it tells the story of a school where the fad is kids making their own homemade fake cameras and then making fake newscasts. It depicts how the camera can make you eerily detached from the world, even if your camera is a fake one.
It is very interesting.
The second story (this is a bit longer, so it takes up the rest of the 30 minutes) is about a young man who films his mother and his step-father for a year, and it also shows how the camera can give you distance, and how the camera allows for him to truly see his mother and his step-father for who they are, and not who he has perceived them to be. Creepy and fascinating.
So yeah, This American Life – very good radio show (my girlfriend lurves it – I really should listen to more of their podcasts on my iPod).
This American Life – very good TV show.
Oh, and Chris Ware is awesome.