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Act Three: Social Studies Lesson

We compare Fox TV talk show host Bill O'Reilly's ideas about the hurricane's aftermath with those of Ashley Nelson, an 18-year-old who lives in the Lafitte Housing projects in New Orleans, in one of the flooded neighborhoods. Among other things, she explains what it feels like to go without food and water for two days.

Act One: Thinking Inside The Box

David Wilcox tells the story of how his mother, who was dying of lung cancer, made a short videotape for his sister, who is severely developmentally disabled. She hoped the tape would become a daily part of her daughter's life, like the other music and movies she liked to play, that she would watch it and remember her mother.

Act One: Take My Break, Please

Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall were a comedy duo back in the mid-1960s, playing clubs around Los Angeles, when their agent called to tell them he'd landed them the gig of a lifetime: They were going to be on The Ed Sullivan Show. The only problem was that their performance was a total fiasco, for a bunch of reasons, including one they never saw coming.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass reminds the audience about the old TV series MacGyver, about the guy who stops bad guys without a gun. He uses science and sheer ingenuity to invent solutions.

Act Two: Star Of Bethlehem

Very few Palestinians speak Hebrew, and very few Israelis speak Arabic, even though most Palestinians and Israelis live a short drive from one another. Nancy Updike has this story about Nasser Laham, a Palestinian TV journalist in Bethlehem who has a nightly show where he translates Israeli broadcasts into Arabic.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Anthony Swofford, a former marine sniper and author of the Gulf War memoir Jarhead. He explains what he's seeing when he watches this new war with Iraq on television.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to Jorge Just, who thought he'd started over successfully. He'd moved to New York, found an apartment that everyone told him was a great deal, things were looking good.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Starlee Kine, who loves TV reruns more than first-run shows. She explains that even if it's a show she hates—Caroline in the City for example—she'll watch the rerun.

Act One: Action! Action! Action!

Starlee Kine tells the story of a man more obsessed with reruns than even she is. Director Trent Harris made a movie called The Beaver Trilogy.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad.

Prologue

There's a TV ad so popular in Canada right now that people chant it in bars, stand and cheer it in theaters and at hockey stadiums. The ad taps into our desire to be part of a mob...and provides a safe way to do it, without fear.

Act Three: The Hissing Of Winter Lawns

What happens when a crowd converges over something they strongly believe in, for weeks, and months, in front of television cameras that never go away? To what degree does that change the character of being in a crowd? A few days before Elian Gonzalez was seized by Federal authorities, reporter Alix Spiegel went to the lawn of his home, where activists camped out 24 hours a day.