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.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014

This American Life: Is That What I Look Like?

 
  

This week we have stories of people who get a glimpse of themselves from some other vantage point and discover things that they had never known.

Prologue: Guest host Nancy Updike talks about learning something new, and unpleasant, about herself in — where else — a makeup store. She also talks with other people about moments where someone made an observation about them that was shocking. Not because it was intended as an insult, but because it was true, and they'd never thought about it that way before.

Act 1 - Blunt Force: Writer Domingo Martinez tells a story from his memoir The Boy Kings of Texas, about when he was forced to face how he might look in 20 years, if he kept doing what he was doing.

Act 2 - One Life To Live: Producer Miki Meek spent a week with a family in the midst of a difficult situation. A woman who got in a car accident and then was in a coma for 52 days, woke up having forgotten the last two years of her life — during which she'd divorced her husband. Once her family members reminded her that she was divorced, all she wanted was to get back together with her ex-husband, even though he, their kids, and everyone else in the family, weren't sure it was a good idea. They want to tell her who she was before the accident, and all the reasons why she divorced her husband in the first place, but she also has to figure out for herself who she is now.

Act 3 - The Blunder Years: Nancy hears from Producer Ben Calhoun about the moment when the cool teacher in school told the girls they should pay attention to Ben, and they did. Also, Ira Glass interviews actress Molly Ringwald about what happened when she watched one of her own movies, The Breakfast Clubwith her daughter. Ringwald talks about how for the first time, she saw the movie from the parents' point of view, not the kids'.