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Nancy Updike

Nancy's one of the original producers of our show and has done some amazing stories for the show, most notably in episodes 46, 164, and 266. Her writing in the third episode of our TV show is mindblowingly good.

Act Three: Side Effects May Include...

In Tehran in 2004, Omid Memarian confessed to doing things he'd never done, meeting people he'd never met, following plots he'd never heard of. Why he did that, and why a lot of other people have confessed to the same things, is all in the fine print. This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story.

Act Two

Last summer when Nancy Updike was reporting in Iraq, Sarah, an Iraqi woman in her 40s, was her interpreter. But it wasn't the first time Sarah had had that gig.

Prologue

Ira Glass hands off the show to guest host Nancy Updike, via a quick cell phone call, as he heads out of town to report a story. Nancy isn't quite sure how how she feels about being given this new role... ambivalence not uncommon for the receivers of gifts.

Act Two

Nancy Updike follows up on a Haaretz newspaper story about a sting operation against a medical marijuana supplier in Israel—a case where being giving was not the best idea.

Act Three

Nancy speaks with Nazanin Rafsanjani about the Iranian custom Tarof, which leads people to constantly offer things they may not want to give, and to refuse things they really want. Nazanin is a producer for the public radio show On The Media.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass speaks with reporter Larry Kaplow and producer Nancy Updike, who spent a month in Iraq as the US combat mission was ending, in August 2010, talking to Iraqis. They play excerpts from a conversation they had with a Shiite professor—who had pizza recently with a Sunni friend, and realized just how tense things still are in Iraq.

Act One: What Just Happened?

To understand where we are today in Iraq, we tell the story of one Iraqi, Saad Oraibi Ghaffouri Al-Obeidi, also known as Abu Abed—a man who fought alongside the US during the surge, and is now in exile—and what he saw, and was part of, over seven years of the war.

Act Two: Politics as Usual

Larry and Nancy head to Diyala Province north of Baghdad, and meet with a mayor and a member of the provincial council—like a state legislature—to see why is politics in Iraq utterly stalled.

Act Two: Bridge and Tunnel

In the Middle East, hundreds and hundreds of tunnels connect the Gaza strip and Egypt, allowing supplies to bypass the Israeli blockade against Hamas-controlled Gaza. Producer Nancy Updike speaks with Ira about the tunnels, and plays tape from an interview she conducted with a tunnel owner.

Act One: Side Effects May Include...

In Tehran in 2004, Omid Memarian confessed to doing things he'd never done, meeting people he'd never met, following plots he'd never heard of. Why he did that, and why a lot of other people have confessed to the same things, is all in the fine print. This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story.