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I started listening to This American Life when I was commuting from Bentley to Boston twice a week for an unpaid internship (code for slave labor) with a PR company. That venture was very short lived, but my love for all things This American Life, and particularly for Ira Glass (our generation’s Walter Cronkite) were not.
Since then, many people have asked me to recommend my favorite episodes, so I created a list that I would forward along when requested. To expedite the process, I figured that I would post it for all. These are in order of the most recent, not in my top list (answer: it is House on Loon Lake)


– #487/ #488 Both Harper High School episodes- I listened to both of these right before I visited friends in Chicago last fall. It certainly makes you appreciate that it is exclusively by accident of birth that we are in the families we have, and not somewhere else. Podcasts aren’t as much your speed, I recommend the book There Are No Children Here.


– #400– Stories Pitched From Our Parents- I know what you are going to say… 15 Miles on the Erie Canal is your favorite song about the Erie Canal. Well, that may still be the case after listening to this episode. But if you are looking to hear your second favorite song about the Erie Canal, tune in.


– #396– #1 Party School- this was the first episode of the podcast I ever heard focusing about how horrendous binge drinking/ partying is at Penn State. At one point they follow a late night wings delivery person, which sounds like the most dangerous job in State College.


– #374– Somewhere Out There- This episode literally had me bawling like a baby on the T. Not the last time that has happened from an episode of TAL, but it was the first.


– #339– The Break Up- girl writes a song with Phil Collins to describe her heartache


– #268– My Experimental Phase- skip right to Act III- hilarious


#199 HOUSE ON LOON LAKE– OBVIOUSLY! This episode is like the best Boxcar Children book on crack. When the author was a young man, he stumbled on a house in New Hampshire that looked like a family had left to go to church one Sunday in the 40s and never came back. As an adult, he tries to track down what happened to the family.


That sums them up! If you are looking to catch up, you can stream all of the episodes online or you could download the mobile app for a completely worthwhile $2.99, and you can listen to the whole archive on your phone. Share your favorite episodes in the comments!

Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. #109-Notes on Camp
    #345-Ties that Bind
    #360-Switched at Birth

  2. All great episodes, but may I suggest #447 – The Incredible Case of the P.I. Moms

  3. #484 Doppelgangers
    #352 The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar
    #407 The Bridge

    Yay for This American Life!

  4. […] of my most popular posts from the early days of Musings from Providence was a listing of my favorite episodes of This American Life. I initially thought of going back and […]


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