This American Life

By This American Life

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Subscribers: 69719
Reviews: 83
Episodes: 10

 Apr 25, 2023

 Mar 19, 2023
Old episodes were awesome. Politics broke them.

 Jan 3, 2023

 Dec 7, 2022
I like most of the episodes I've listened to, but they need to respect the listeners time. Learn to be more succinct, these podcasts should be 30 min long. Give them titles and descriptions that actually tell you what the podcast is about.

 Oct 20, 2022
love the show but, I don't know if this is something new or if I've just started noticing it but the host makes this very obnoxious smacking noise and with my misophonia it's getting to where I can barely listen 🙁


Each week we choose a theme. Then anything can happen. This American Life is true stories that unfold like little movies for radio. Personal stories with funny moments, big feelings, and surprising plot twists. Newsy stories that try to capture what it’s like to be alive right now. It’s the most popular weekly podcast in the world, and winner of the first ever Pulitzer Prize for a radio show or podcast. Hosted by Ira Glass and produced in collaboration with WBEZ Chicago.

Episode Date
800: Jane Doe

Five years after the #MeToo explosion, what’s happened in the lives of the women who stepped forward and went public with their stories? We tell the story of a teenager who spoke out against one of the most powerful people in her state, and what happened next.

  • Prologue: Some powerful and well known men lost their jobs after #MeToo. But what about the women at the center of all this who’ve been way less visible after they told what happened to them? We hear about big and small ways the aftermath of coming forward continues to pop up in their daily lives. (10 minutes)
  • Act One: Back in 2021, a 19-year-old intern at the Idaho state legislature reported that a state Representative named Aaron von Ehlinger raped her. She went by the name Jane Doe. There was a public ethics hearing and Ehlinger resigned. State legislators talked about how proud they were of their ability to do the right thing so quickly. But the story that the public knows is very different from what actually happened to Jane. She talks about it in-depth for the first time. (25 minutes)
  • Act Two: Jane Doe walks into a public ethics hearing at the Idaho state capitol and navigates the aftermath. (23 minutes)
  • Act Three: Jane Doe sent some questions for us to ask Chanel Miller. For years, Chanel was known as Emily Doe. She wrote a victim impact statement that millions of people read. (A swimmer at Stanford University named Brock Turner sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.) She talks about how she decided to come out with her real name and who Emily Doe is to her now. (9 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

May 28, 2023
508: Superpowers

We answer the following questions about superpowers: Can superheroes be real people? (No.) Can real people become superheroes? (Maybe.) And which is better: flight or invisibility? (Depends who you ask.) 

  • Host Ira Glass talks to comic artist Chris Ware, who thought about superheroes a lot of the time as a kid. He invented his own character and made a superhero costume, which he wore to school under his regular clothes. Everything went fine until he realized he would have to change for gym class. (6 minutes)
  • Act One: John Hodgman conducts an informal survey in which he asks the age-old question: Which is better: The power of flight or the power of invisibility? (14 minutes)
  • Act Two: Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five years old, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen, who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands. She made a list, pages and pages long, of all the things she could accomplish to actually become that superhero: martial arts, evasive driving, bomb defusing. By the time she was 30, most of her list had been checked off. She was as close to a superhero as any mortal could hope to come. But her dream had changed. (17 minutes)
  • Act Three: Ira talks with Jonathan Morris, the amazingly funny and charming editor of the website "Gone and Forgotten," an internet archive of failed comic book characters. Jonathan explains what makes a new superhero succeed, and what makes him tank. (9 minutes)
  • Act Four: Of course you can’t be a superhero without a supervillain trying to destroy you. And the most interesting supervillains, of course, are the ones who think that they're the real heroes, not the guys in the capes. Glynn Washington tells the story of Evil D. (9 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

May 21, 2023
799: The Lives of Others

Looping thoughts about people you barely know, or don't know at all. 

  • Prologue: We get a tip that an entire town is consumed by a huge, elementary-school-style crush on a local veterinarian. Guest host Lilly Sullivan goes to Utah to investigate the mystery of the hot vet. (8 minutes)
  • Act One: We do the thing the people in town would rather die than do – spill the crush to the legendary Dr. Artz himself. Lilly Sullivan reports. (8 minutes)
  • Act Two: Producer Alix Spiegel talks to one of her closest friends, Sarah Blust, about the time Sarah met a stranger who, unbeknownst to her, had already spent years thinking about her. (29 minutes)
  • Act Three: There are certain jobs where thinking about someone else’s life is just built into it. Aviva DeKornfeld has a theory that petsitting is a job like that. She talks to a couple of pet sitters to find out. (14 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

May 14, 2023
798: Leaving the Fold

A week after Jerry Springer’s death, we go back to a story we first broadcast years ago, about a side of Springer most people don’t know and can’t imagine: his years as an idealistic politician in the mold of Bobby Kennedy. Plus other stories of people who try to leave some moment in their life behind, which can be hard.

  • Prologue: Ira explains the premise of this week’s show, where most of the stories were first broadcast in 2004. (3 minutes)
  • Act One: Alex Blumberg tells the true story of Jerry Springer's life before he was a talk show host. It's the story of an idealistic and serious Jerry Springer, a progressive politician, and the most popular mayor ever of a certain American city. (31 minutes)
  • Act Two: Ira talks with Shalom Auslander, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew and who made a pivotal break with his faith at a Rangers game. (6 minutes)
  • Act Three: The journalist E. Jean Carroll is in court this week with her rape case against Donald Trump. In 2020 she published a series of stories interviewing women who’ve accused President Trump of sexual assault or harassment. At the time, she felt like these stories had been so widely covered that people had gotten used to them and ignored them. Which seemed sort of incredible to her. Back then she adapted one of the stories for our show and we’re replaying it today, a frank conversation with another one of the president’s accusers, Jessica Leeds, who also testified in Carroll’s case against Trump. (16 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

May 07, 2023
797: What I Was Thinking As We Were Sinking

It's funny the things that go through your head during a disaster.

  • Prologue: Host Ira Glass has fallen off his bike a number of times at this point. He reflects on what goes through his head as he’s going down. (2 minutes)
  • Act One: Producer Ike Sriskandarajah revisits a maritime disaster that left an impact on a group of friends from his youth. What he learns forever changes their impressions of that day. (23 minutes)
  • Act Two: When to leave Twitter is a question lots of executives faced when Elon Musk took over the company — those who weren't immediately fired, anyway. We hear an insider’s account from the man who ran Trust & Safety at the company, until he couldn’t stand it anymore. (28 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

Apr 23, 2023
796: What Lies Beneath

Summoning up stuff that’s usually hidden down deep.

  • Prologue: A beloved drawing goes missing from Mr. Ablao’s third grade classroom. The class holds a funeral for the drawing, which accidentally unleashes a much bigger feeling than anyone anticipated. (13  minutes)
  • Act One: The musicians in the orchestra for Phantom of the Opera tell reporter Jay Caspian Kang about what it’s like to play the exact same music every single night—for decades. And how they’ve learned to make their peace with it. (26 minutes)
  • Act Two: Producer Elna Baker’s mom doles out some very harsh feedback for her daughter, which goes unnoticed for ten years. (15 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

Apr 16, 2023
795: Nine Months Later

It’s been nine months since Roe v. Wade was overturned. We talk to people who wanted abortions right when the laws were changing in their states. They had to wait for appointments, for money to travel or abortion pills. And during that waiting, a lot of interesting things happened. We see how much life has changed, nine months later.

  • Prologue: Nine months ago, these people wanted abortions. But then, the laws changed. They had to wait to get an appointment, figure out how to get out of state or order abortion pills.  In that waiting, other things happened. (5 minutes)
  • Act One: In the months following the court’s decision, two women are stalled getting abortions. Reporter Caroline Kitchener follows Kae and Taylor in those early months, as they try to figure out what to do. And we see what happens when both women each come into contact with the anti-abortion movement. (19 minutes)
  • Act Two: Doctors say one effect of the new bans is people seeking abortions much later into their second trimesters. Caroline got interested in a girl like that in Oklahoma. (18 minutes)
  • Act Three: It’s been nine months since the first group of people who wanted abortions couldn’t get them in their states. How have their lives changed, or not. (12 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

Apr 09, 2023
794: So Close and Yet So Far

People ​so close to each other, ​in ​extremely intimate situations​,​ who are also a million miles apart.

  • Prologue: Valerie Kipnis tells Ira about riding the subway, shoulder-to-shoulder with someone she knows quite well, pretending she doesn’t see him. (8 minutes)
  • Act One: How much can you trust whether somebody who you think is close to you really is close to you? Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr.’s been thinking about that question since a recent visit with some of his childhood friends in Sierra Leone. (37 minutes)
  • Act Two: Comedian Tig Notaro has the story of someone as close as her actual bedside yet who, in another way, is impossibly far away. (9 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

Mar 26, 2023
793: The Problem with Ghosts

The ghosts that visit us, the ghosts that never do, and the ghosts that walk among us.

  • Prologue: Chaunte Vaughn’s mother recently died of Parkinsons. Even though Chaunte doesn't believe in ghosts, she is visited by her mom's ghost multiple times. And, to Chaunte’s disappointment, everything her mother's ghost has to say seems pointless. (8 minutes)
  • Act One: Reporter Chenjerai Kumanyika visits Savannah, Georgia to learn about the city’s popular ghost tours. He’s heard the tourist attractions actually include the brutal reality of slavery. What he finds is more sinister and complex than advertised. (23 minutes)
  • Act Two: Abby Stein’s youngest sister got married last month, the last of 13 kids in their family. At the wedding, an uninvited guest showed up. (12 minutes)
  • Act Three: In the 1920s, at the height of the Spiritualism movement, a friendship blossomed between two men with opposing views on the topic: Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Houdini was a skeptic. Conan Doyle was the de facto leader of the movement. On a vacation in Atlantic City, the famous author tried to help his skeptical friend talk to the ghost of his beloved mother. Sean Cole reports. (13 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

Mar 12, 2023
792: When to Leave

People staring down that hardest of questions: Is now the time? To leave?

  • Prologue: Russian forces have besieged the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Shelling is constant. Most residents have fled. But there are holdouts who haven’t left yet. Producer Valerie Kipnis introduces guest host Nancy Updike to a volunteer evacuator, Kuba Stasiak, who is trying to get the remaining people out safely. (13 minutes)
  • Act One: Dr. Amelia Huntsberger loves everything about her rural town in northern Idaho. Her OB-GYN practice. Her patients. Her family. But for almost a year, she’s been fighting a losing battle, and realizing that she and her family might soon have to pull up stakes and leave. (28 minutes)
  • Act Two: Masha Gessen has fled their home country, Russia, twice. First as a teenager, then again as an adult. Both times, the country had become unlivable for Masha. Now Masha is watching and reporting on Russians leaving the country in droves, and reflecting on their own reasons for leaving when they did. (13 minutes)

Transcripts are available at

Mar 05, 2023