Season 2

Ira Glass covers escaping from home, war refugees in the U.S., trying to make history, underdogs, troubled marriages, and more.
Episode 1: Escape

Original Air Date: May 4, 2008

In episode 201, the second season debut, people escape from home without going very far. In Philadelphia, teenage boys find ways to impress girls using a mode of transport obsolete since the 19th century; a young man's fight for independence from his mother would be normal for most kids, except for some special circumstances.

Two Wars
Episode 2: Two Wars

Original Air Date: May 11, 2008

In episode 202, stories about two foreigners in the U.S. in the aftermath of two very different wars, trying to make sense of life here. A young Iraqi arrives in America after fleeing his war-torn homeland and embarks on a road trip to let Americans ask him anything they want, with hilarious and poignant results; a Bulgarian man in Rhode Island realizes that an ongoing argument with his American wife about lawn maintenance has to do with the life he left 20 years ago, on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Going Down In History
Episode 3: Going Down In History

Original Air Date: May 18, 2008

In episode 203, stories of people making (or trying to remake) history. A pair of Wisconsin convicts gain local fame for almost escaping prison using dental floss; high school students pose for smiley yearbook snapshots, which capture nothing of the drama in their lives; a man with a 30-year obsession with one particular bird unveils the grainy, Big Foot-style video evidence that he actually saw it.

Episode 4: Underdogs

Original Air Date: May 25, 2008

In episode 204, there's a whole world of boxing way down the food chain from championship fights, and the stakes are high even without media hype and massive cash prizes. Two boxers in Tennessee who've known each other all their lives face off in a match that neither can afford to lose; a group of kids in New York learns to fight bullies the old-fashioned way: by being funny.

Every Marriage is a Courtroom
Episode 5: Every Marriage is a Courtroom

Original Air Date: Jun 1, 2008

In episode 205, cartoonist Chris Ware animates a true story which demonstrates that every marriage, even the happiest, is a courtroom; a husband's obsession with a legal battle forces the most basic marital questions into the open: What do I need? And, what can I put up with?

John Smith
Episode 6: John Smith

Original Air Date: Jun 8, 2008

In episode 206, the second season finale, stories of several people named "John Smith" are featured. The parents of 11-week-old John Smith of South Carolina reel from revelation that he's a boy, when their sonogram predicted a girl; 23-year-old John Smith of Laramie, Wyoming, has made some mistakes and is appearing in front of a judge; 46-year-old John Smith of Texas welcomes his son back from Iraq.

No Respect
Episode 7: No Respect

Original Air Date: May 28, 2009

In episode 207, a bonus second-season edition comprised of material produced for the "This American Life" web site, a look at comedians and their audiences includes segments about unknown comics performing for a rowdy crowd at a club in the middle of nowhere, and a piece about Mike Birbiglia, a standup with a scathing routine about his worst gig ever.


2 Seasons, 13 Episodes

  • Season 2

    Ira Glass covers escaping from home, war refugees in the U.S., trying to make history, underdogs, troubled marriages, and more.

    Season 2
  • Season 1

    Ira Glass covers reaching for dreams, willpower, cameramen, stubbornness, new innovations, and more.

    Season 1

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