Which TAL episodes should I download?
June 12, 2007 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I was recently given a 20$ itunes card, and I've decided to use it all on This American Life podcasts to listen to on my morning commute. Which episodes should I get?

I already have all the free weekly downloads so far this year. I tend to like the more light-hearted episodes as opposed to the really sad and/or political ones (crying on the bus is embarrassing), but I'm open to any and all suggestions. Suggestions of other podcasts that are similar in tone or content are welcome as well, as are ideas on how I can get Ira Glass to marry me (yeah, I know he's already married, but still).
posted by Wroksie to Technology (29 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
My absolute favorite is Fiasco.
posted by jerryg99 at 12:01 PM on June 12, 2007

Any episodes with David Sedaris.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:02 PM on June 12, 2007

Superpowers. Hodgman's "crouching masturbators" line is one of my new favorite expressions.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:03 PM on June 12, 2007

Seconding Fiasco! The story about the boiling oil apologist makes me cackle every time.
posted by redbed at 12:05 PM on June 12, 2007

posted by ibeji at 12:17 PM on June 12, 2007

Here's their list of favorites. Notes on Camp is classic.
posted by asuprenant at 12:18 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

Remember Me
posted by probablysteve at 12:30 PM on June 12, 2007

Though I don't at all encourage NOT giving TAL your money, (I donated recently,) and obviously having a giftcard changes the dynamic, it should be noted you can listen to (I think) every episode for free (via streaming only) on the website, as well as download some of them for $0.95 (which probably means more goes to TAL than buying it via iTunes), and even some, including the aforementioned Notes on Camp, for free.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:36 PM on June 12, 2007

You can get these from itunes for free. In fact, the last episode I listed to (Duty Calls -- really good) actually had a statement from Ira Glass that the show is now free, so please go on-line to donate to TAL or to your local public radio station.

Spend the money on something else!
posted by MrFongGoesToLunch at 12:40 PM on June 12, 2007

MrFongGoesToLunch writes "You can get these from itunes for free. "

You can only get this week's episode for free. They charge for archived episodes.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:56 PM on June 12, 2007

The podcast is free, but I'm pretty sure you can only download the latest one for free. So if you want to pick and choose which ones you want, you have to pay. Seems like a fair deal.



First Day

Notes on Camp

There are so many. It's hard to go wrong, really.
posted by jiiota at 1:03 PM on June 12, 2007

I asked this a few years ago.
posted by Who_Am_I at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2007

Check the previous AskMe on favorite TAL episodes.
posted by ALongDecember at 1:17 PM on June 12, 2007

Other things:
The Little Gray Book Lectures
posted by blue_beetle at 1:23 PM on June 12, 2007

i really love this one, about the futility of fighting nature. its mostly this long story about a guy that tried to chase down antelopes.
posted by alkupe at 1:42 PM on June 12, 2007

Seconding the WNYC's Radiolab suggestion.

As for This American Life episodes, I'd recommend What I Learned from Television, Superpowers, Kid Logic, Christmas and Commerce, Fiasco, Godless America, Music Lessons, The Allure of the Mean Friend, The Fix Is In, Testosterone, What I Should Have Said, and Unconditional Love.
posted by fiasco at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2007

All good suggestions. Telephone is my all time fave.
posted by n9 at 1:45 PM on June 12, 2007

All from 1998, I like You Gonna Eat That, Telephone, Mapping, Niagara (actually took me two listens to really like it, so maybe not, its kind of slow but poetic) and of course, Notes from Summer Camp.

You can download entire seasons for free (albeit it takes a couple of days usually) on bittorrent. I use isohunt. I've worked my way through 98, and now I'm starting 2000.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 1:56 PM on June 12, 2007

You can get a bunch of them as podcasts if you are patient.

The one about the landlord assassin was great. So many. So little time. I want TAL to have my babies.
posted by craniac at 2:18 PM on June 12, 2007

The one about the landlord assassin was great.

I concur. I believe it's called "Supers," or something along that line. One of the stories made me fall out of my chair laughing. Literally.
posted by elquien at 2:40 PM on June 12, 2007

3rd-ing Superpowers, and I like The Super (landlord assassin as mentioned above) as well.

Recordings for Someone, which includes the Greatest Phone Message of All Time is a classic that I can't believe hasn't been mentioned already.

I enjoy it whenever Davy Rothbart makes an appearance on the show, too.
posted by altcountryman at 3:24 PM on June 12, 2007

I'm still haunted by the first episode I ever heard; "Pray". Synopsis: eager reporter drops in to do a perhaps wonky, dispassionate story and finds herself personally involved. Also "House on Loon Lake" is kind of ghost-story neat.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:34 PM on June 12, 2007

"24 Hours at the Golden Apple", in which the gang of producers just interviews everybody they can in this Chicago diner over a 24-hour period. Gold.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:06 PM on June 12, 2007

Six or seven years ago, Glass and Co. did a special Valentine's Day show on old love. That is, not brand spankin' new head over heels budding romance, but love that has been around the bock.

It will sound like a cliche to write this. Or maybe hyperbole. But that episode taught me something durable about what it means to be alive. I think back to it often.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 9:04 PM on June 12, 2007

All the ones mentioned here are great.

You should also listen to the one with ME in it! I'm one of the guys in Act 1.
posted by owenville at 11:37 AM on June 13, 2007

Definitely First Day (Act Two: Squirrel Cop) and Recordings for Someone (Act One: Buddy Picture)!!
posted by mingshan at 12:48 PM on June 13, 2007

One of the more important episodes (IMNSHO), is the one where some inmates are performing Shakespeare in prison. I don't remember it being sad or political, but I feel it is one of the most provocative and uplifting stories I have heard on the show (so far).
posted by jaronson at 7:09 PM on June 19, 2007

This one
posted by jaronson at 7:13 PM on June 19, 2007

episode 293, from 7/22/05. My all-time favorite, about misconceptions we have as kids that should get corrected by adulthood, but don't. Example: a "Xing" sign instead of a "Crossing" sign, thinking unicorns are extinct, and thinking "quesadilla" is Spanish for "What's the deal?" Hilarious.
posted by kidsleepy at 7:29 AM on June 20, 2007

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