Regular This American Life contributor Dan Savage, a syndicated sex columnist with possibly the filthiest mouth of anyone you could ever meet, finds a TV program so dirty, so weird, and so perverted that he won't let his son watch it—even though it's a kids' show, made for kids, and broadcast on a network for kids.
Ron Mallett was ten years old when his father died unexpectedly of a heart attack. A year later, after picking up a comic book based on H.G.
A man who we're calling "Dennis" inherits his father's job as a landlord of a big apartment building. His dad had warned him that bad tenants could drive even a good man to become heartless, but Dennis vowed that would never happen to him. He's tested on this point when he tries to help a couple that falls behind in their rent.
Alex Kotlowitz reports on a woman with the power to change two people's lives...and at the height of her power, she doesn't even know she has it. Alex is the author of Never a City So Real and other books.
When Emily Helfgot was ten, her dad was a sex therapist on a call-in radio show, which thoroughly embarrassed her. He also kept a stack of Playboy magazines in their house, in plain sight.
When Elspeth was a girl, she wanted nothing more than her father's attention. He was busy, a doctor, and distant.
Jonathan Goldstein decides to find out—once and for all—if his dad Buzz thinks he's manly enough.
Julie Hill explains how she's going to remake all the ideas her son has about his father, using a very simple tactic.
When Aric Knuth was a little kid, his dad would leave for six months at a time. He was a merchant marine.
Lennard Davis grew up hearing from his parents that he should, at all costs, avoid being like his good-for-nothing Uncle Abie. Later, after his father died, that very same uncle told him that his father was not, in fact, his father.
Paul Tough's father was a mild-mannered professor. And then one day he left his family and went on a quest.
Starlee Kine gets answers about her parents marriage from her dad...after a lifetime of mystery. She and her sister had wanted her parents to divorce since they were little.
An excerpt of Bernard Cooper's story about the bill he got from his own father, for the entire cost of his childhood. Actor Josh Hamilton reads.
We hear the story of the Persian Gulf war, as told by Issam Shukri, a family man from Bagdad who was drafted into Saddam's army against his will. He had to explain to his three-year-old son why those usually civilized Americans were bombing their city night after night.
Ira talks with two New Yorkers on their reactions to seeing something they could never have believed possible. They acted in ways that they never had before, just ran around and around in circles.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.
A father and daughter (Adrian LeBlanc and his daughter Adrian Le Blanc) decide to write his obituary—together—not really thinking very seriously at first about the real meaning of what they were doing.
Host Ira Glass talks with Rebecca, who, using perfectly valid evidence, arrived at the perfectly incorrect conclusion that her neighbor, Ronnie Loeberfeld, was the tooth fairy. We hear her story.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.
Leah remembers when her parents got divorced and her dad, a farmer in North Dakota, moved to an apartment in town. It was cramped and ugly, and it had a Murphy bed that made a horrible creak when you brought it down from the wall.
A collection of small stories, all on the the theme introduced in the prologue—the first few months after the divorce, and suddenly, your parents are less composed, more flawed, and more human, than perhaps you've ever seen them.
Ian Brown explains the lengths a normal dad will go to give his daughter a memorable birthday party, including a birthday stunt so crass that he and his wife shocked all their friends.
Nick Flynn tells the story of his father, who was never on a pedestal. His father abandoned the family soon after Nick was born.
We hear a series of letters that originally appeared on the brief-lived, little-known, but well-loved webzine Open Letters. They're written by a woman who signs her name as "X" and are addressed to the father of her adolescent son.