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Getting Away With It

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I decided to listen to This American Life: Getting Away With it. It should be immediately known that I am a very visual person, so right off the bat I knew I had to read the transcript in order to follow along. However, to be fair to the disclosure at the top, I listened to the audio than re-listened to catch anything that I missed. This episode was about people just telling stories without revealing their identity, without having any worries of anyone knowing who they are and judging them. I also realized that upon reading the transcript and listening, I could not catch the same sentiment nor the same emotion as the first time around.

The stories went by very fast, despite it being an hour. The first one was with Ken Hegan and Ira Glass, and although it was a simple story, not too elaborate or fancy, it was still captivating. Getting Away with It just entailed something very small, and that most of society is very similar to Ken; he wanted to be able to get away with something and not feel bad about it. This is what the rest of the stories were based on, being able to get over on something (either for a self-purpose or for the supposed greater good that would benefit many others).

Act One: This is about Domingo Martinez, and although it is named “Take Your Kid to Work”, the irony is that while you picture a simple job in an office, you get anything but. Martinez definitely had no trouble captivating me, especially every time he got me off guard by telling a play by play of the desperate measures his family went through. How they risked 10 years of jail for $2,000. There were small sounds to make you feel more in the moment, the background sounds bringing you into the story with no actors, but yet you can almost see everything that is happening. Every time they go through the checkpoint, you catch your breath but through Martinez’s calm voice, he guides you simply through the story.

Act Two: Get Away With It After The Beep….Definitely a very catchy title, right? It was by far the most comedic, and also very honest. (All the stories were honest, but this one was anonymous, so it showed even more). I found myself laughing at most of the messages, and the music inbetween bits made it even more..ironic? I’m not sure what the word is but it was like this sort of driving miss daisy music for these confessions of people, making it even more hysterical. (Maybe I’m a pretty pessimistic person though…) The music definitely makes the entire segment because while it’s fine on its own, the music further emphasizes the confessions.

Act Three: Crime and…Tutus? Two words you don’t see together very often, but I couldn’t help but get totally involved with it, just too good. So it was about a 12 year old ballerina..con artist? Yup, one I never imagined quite before. So it also involves doing something bad and not feeling bad about it. Well, I listened to this part three times, that’s how funny it was. First off, Molly Shannon, please if you ever read this, I love you and you are absolutely hysterical. It’s just an overall very funny story, Shannon told a childhood story but ya know when you hear other people laughing, it only makes you laugh more? The background laugher definitely encouraged me to laugh more. The ending jingle is only icing on the cake.

Act Four: Pre K-O (knockout?), which is about getting away with it in the biggest way possible. However, I definitely found it the biggest yawn. There was a valid attempt with music but that did not justify the story. I didn’t find it interesting because i think there were too many nonessential facts that defeated the purpose of storytelling. I honestly just wanted to read the transcript and get it over with. I honestly did give it a chance, but it was too much of a yawn. However, I did get the gist of it, that rather than presenting all the facts, as Ron Peters had, it was better to find loopholes.

The overall summary: Each story had the same structure, ways in which people were getting over on someone or something or society, despite feeling bad about it or not. There were clever techniques slipped into the broadcast, such as sound effects and Foley sounds to further bring out someone’s imaginations. The music did a good job capturing every comedic, suspenseful, serious or joyous moment. I also gained an entirely new perspective on storytelling and how much audio plays a role, even when there is no visual aspect.

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