This American Life: Another Kind of Reality


Ira Glass Hosts the Best Show on TV: This American Life

I take lot of heat for being such a shameless, diehard fan of reality TV shows like The Amazing Race, Survivor, American Idol and all those embarrassingly addictive programs on Bravo such as Project Runway, Top Chef and Top Design. Clothes, food, home décor: It’s like there is a reality show specifically geared to feed each of my secret obsessions! Hurray for digital cable!

I guess it follows then that I also love to watch a good documentary and often prefer that genre of film to the garden variety comedy or action/thriller. I recently joined Netlflix and you’ll find my queue is loaded with documentary selections like The Nomi Song — which was just awesome — and this cool movie about the guy who invented the Theramin and ended up getting kidnapped by the KGB. That’s a more convoluted and compelling storyline than any fiction plot you could dream up! So I was particularly thrilled out of my mind to discover that the radio show, This American Life has been translated for television.

Hosted by Ira Glass, This American Life is a half hour program (Showtime, Thursdays at 10:30 PM) about real people talking about their lives. Each week follows a theme that loosely ties the stories together and gives the program a cohesive feel. Kind of simple, but also extremely complex and finely nuanced – just like life. It makes me feel like I am watching three short, totally rocking documentaries in a neat like package. Needless to say, I worship this show.

The most surprising thing about This American Life is that it’s on Showtime, a cable network which occasionally features a decent film you can’t also see on HBO, but isn’t particularly known for having the best series in the world (example, Dead Like Me or the worst show ever in the universe of all time, The L Word). Don’t get me wrong, I love the gay people, but The L Word is so soap-opera-esque and blatantly god-awful, it makes Queer as Folk look like The Sopranos by comparison.

But I digress.

I don’t know if I would say that being able to watch This American Life justifies getting cable or adding Showtime to your subscription package if you don’t already have it, but it certainly rules enough to warrant finding a friend with Showtime who will let you invade their space for half an hour on Thursday so you can check it out.

Have a great weekend.