This American Life Unveiled

glass2.jpgI had a surreal experience last night: watching Ira Glass and company performing an episode of their radio show, This American Life, live at the Boston Opera House. This American Life is on tour to promote the upcoming television version of the show (premiering March 22 at 10:30 PM on ShowTime).

In a fascinating segment that won’t be heard on radio, Glass and his director, Chris Wilcha, showed some clips and outtakes from the TV show and recounted their struggle to translate the appeal of This American Life to video.

My vote: the TV show is just as brainy and hip as the radio show. The cinematography is way cool. However, it totally lacks the meditative, contemplative quality of radio. To me, the quintessential This American Life experience is catching it in the car on Saturday and ending up parked at my destination, sitting in a trance for 20 minutes to hear the show finish. The TV version is not like that.

There used to be a TV show that had a similar effect on me. It was CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt. Sunday Morning had two things This American Life does not: long, silent nature shots and a Sunday morning (pajamas/bagels/coffee) time slot. Perhaps I will Tivo This American Life and watch it on Sunday.

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