Since its debut on Chicago Public Radio in November 1995, the best thing to happen to This American Life has been Kausper Hauser’s spoofs. The sketchy comedy crew’s Ira Glass impression is near flawless and the casual journalistic inquiries into stories that reveal life’s peculiarities (Episode 1: Going Postal, Episode 2: Phantom High School) couldn’t be more spot-on.
The second best thing to happen to This American Life is its Showtime series. Though I prefer the radio show and letting all visual accompaniments coalesce in my imagination, at times it’s a treat to put a face to a voice, a landscape to a setting. Plus, the series comes up with storytelling techniques like this:
Created by Chris Ware and John Kuramoto, the cartoon doesn’t take sensational, Doogtoon liberties in bringing a mistaken Onassis memory to life. Instead, morbidly disproportional figures and fantastic background changes make it fun while the tame action keeps it proper. I like it, but if Showtime continues to create animated segments, I hope they’ll change it up. I.e., something with an xkcd aesthetic would rock.