I had never really heard of This American Life before this year when I walked into my roommate’s room and heard one the episodes playing on his radio. I had always wanted to listen to one but never really got around to it or was never all to interested. Today I listened to the episode titles “First Day” which was, as you could guess, all about first day experiences and the nature of how they shape us. What was first very noticeable to me was the blending of music, dialogue, and ambient noises and seamless it seemed to be. They flowed together very well and in a sense that drew you into the story and made you actually enjoy it instead of just “listening” to it. And Ira Glass really does concentrate on the anecdote and developing it into a broad and overarching theme for which he bases his story around. Some of the ambient noises, however, were somewhat distracting and kind of took away from some of the story but in some cases it definitely added to it, it was hit or miss most times.
My favorite story of the episode was the one about the man who wanted to be a dishwasher in all 50 states, but for the purpose of this episode was on an oil rig. It was just a very humorous story about the kinds of people that you run into on oil rigs. Cursing aside it was very humors and still adhered very well to Glass’ general ideas about storytelling and his “First Day” theme. However, I will give the story about the squirrel attacking the beautiful wife and her husband an honorable mention. In the end “This American Life” was a very interesting and different take on radio for me that I am not used to. I’m used to just standard music and morning radio personalities and that is the extent of my radio knowledge. I have never experienced this type of “show” format before and I actually liked it because it merged the radio personalities and music that most people are used too.