This American Life

Built around the innovative vision of Ira Glass, this program documents and describes contemporary America. Using radio monologues, mini-documentaries, “found tape,” and unusual music, it is radio storytelling at its best.


Thursday, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. – 7 p.m.
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Monday, January 1, 0001 Permalink

This American Life: Bad Babies

This week, stories of infants and children who dominate the adults around them with their baditude, or whom adults have painted with the "bad" brush from early on. We also ask the question: at what age does badness begin?
Prologue: Ira talks to "Cheryl," an anonymous blogger who's been documenting life with an 8-year-old son who seems to take pleasure in causing chaos. He's tried to kill his little brother more than once. He broke Cheryl's nose after asking for a hug. She and her husband have tried everything they can think of to control him and treat his condition but they're not even sure what's wrong. 
Act One, Baby Not On Board: Ira plays tape from an interview that he did more than 20 years ago, with the author Doris Lessing, about her novel The Fifth Child, which tells the story of a woman who gives birth to a goblin-like baby. The archival audio appears courtesy of National Public Radio, Inc.

Then Ira's conversation with Cheryl, from the top of the show, continues. She talks about the impossible decision she's facing: whether to keep her son in the home or to send him away in order to protect her other two kids. 


Act Two, The Road To Badness: Yale psychologist Paul Bloom tells Ira about his research into the morality of babies and young children.


Act Three, The Devil Went Downt o Jersey: Producer Jonathan Menjivar tells the story of a bad baby who stopped being bad. At two years old, Comedian Chris Gethard had a knack for dancing on his mother's last nerve. Finally, Chris's father decided drastic measures were in order. Chris just released his first comedy album called My Comedy Album.


Act Four, This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You: Producer Sean Cole tells the story of a former foster kid who was finally adopted in his mid-30's, and the reason he was taken away from the foster family he loved more than 20 years ago. 


Act Five, We Are Fine Parents: A short story by John Jodzio that reveals the truth about infants. It's read by Sara Mollo-Christensen. Jodzio is the author of two short story collections, including If You Lived Here You'd Already Be Home.