This American Life

2007 TV-14 2 seasons

This American Life

2007 TV-14 2 seasons
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Following a similar format as the popular public radio show of the same name, "This American Life" gathers true stories of everyday citizens from across the country to provide a revealing look at the contemporary American experience. Host Ira Glass profiles a broad spectrum of folks, including a stand-up comedian coping with loss, a group of bullied teens, several men named John Smith and two would-be prison escapees.
  • SEASON  1
  • SEASON  2

Summary of Season 1 (2007) - 1 disc

Ira Glass's public radio show makes the transition to television with its focus intact (and netting three Emmy nods in the process), telling uniquely American tales through anecdotes and personal reflections. Glass, director Christopher Wilcha and the rest of the crew spent six months on the road compiling these stories, which take viewers from Iowa's pig farms (where the "perfect" swine is being bred) to a Chicago hot dog stand.
Full Screen 1.33:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish (Neutral): Dolby Digital Mono
TV-14 - This program contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.
age 14+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 14+
age 14+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that this fascinating, thought-provoking documentary series (which is based on the NPR mainstay) covers a wide range of topics and includes interviews with people from virtually all walks of life, making episode content difficult to predict. Depending on the topics -- and the participants -- alcohol and tobacco use is shown, partial nudity is possible, and language (which is never edited) can be strong. While the content probably isn't new to teens, it's definitely on the iffy side for anyone younger. On the positive side, the unscripted stories about everyday lives promote human connectedness and empathy.

Sexual Content

Brief partial nudity. A segment set in an art class shows a full rear shot of a nude female model, including a side view of her breast. Sex and romantic relationships are referenced.


Not applicable


Sporadic usage of "ass," "hell," "s--t," "bitch," "damn," and "f--k."

Social Behavior

The series promotes an understanding of people from all different walks of life, spotlighting what makes them unique without an air of judgment. Occasional obscene hand gestures.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Mention of drug use and underage drinking. Some subjects drink and smoke in front of the camera.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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