I was waiting at a mall to meet someone I’ve been talking to online for a few weeks before. We were to have lunch at this chicken place she wanted to try, and see where the conversation would bring us. But there was the first few hurdles, of me going to the mall, parking my car, and setting a meeting place. All that time I was by myself, I was listening to the first two episodes of Serial, which was just released the day before.
Yes, I’ve been listening to Serial these past few weeks. Yes, I’m actually surprised it’s gotten this big. Not that I doubted it – it is, after all, a spin-off to This American Life, and Sarah Koenig’s one of that show’s most reliable producers – but, still, it has gotten big. It might be the whole crime-story-in-installments premise. (They did say the second season, which was just confirmed, wouldn’t necessarily be about a cold case.) Or it might be the circumstances, of our new ability to become more involved armchair detectives. Anyway, the podcast’s on Thanksgiving break this week, so I figured I’d list five This American Life stories that one can listen to to while away the break. Some of my friends listen to Serial but have not encountered This American Life before, so hopefully this serves as a bit of a guide. Not that my picks are the most representative – I’ve only been listening for six years, and the show’s been going on for nineteen; you can also peruse that show’s own picks here – but, you know, I like these stories.