Full episode
Transcript

675: I’m on TV??

Note: This American Life is produced for the ear and designed to be heard. If you are able, we strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Prologue: Prologue

Ira Glass

For over 20 years, Eric Capstick's worked for Yankee Stadium. He's a camera operator. During the game, he runs around the crowd, looking for fans to put up on this impossibly huge TV screen that sits over the outfield. And I've seen lots of people work a crowd with a microphone or a camera over the years, and I can say definitively, he is masterful.

Eric Capstick

So I'd appreciate it if you gave me some really great energy, like [GROWLS] you know, positive Yankee energy. Are you guys a bachelorette party or something?

Women

Yeah.

Eric Capstick

All right. I'm going to try and get you for the second shot.

Women

Yay.

Ira Glass

He's this lanky, friendly guy. By the way, he seems to know everybody working in the stadium.

Eric Capstick

Daphne and Curtis.

Man

What's good?

Eric Capstick

What's up, bro?

Ira Glass

When he walks past, he tosses them pieces of bubblegum that he swiped from the Yankees dugout.

Eric Capstick

Danny.

Ira Glass

A piece of gum arcs through the air.

Eric Capstick

Oh, he dropped it. He dropped it. But usually, he has pretty good hands. I like to say that half the people in the building can't catch. It's pretty accurate, actually.

Ira Glass

The whole purpose of putting fans up on the big screen is to keep the crowd energized between innings, when nothing's happening on the field. So what Eric's looking for is pumped up, passionate fans.

Eric Capstick

Sometimes fans ask for Kiss Cam. I'm like, no, you got to go to Queens for Kiss Cam. We don't do Kiss Cam here.

Ira Glass

You get that Queens reference? He's saying Kiss Cam's the kind of low-brow garbage that you see at Mets games.

Eric Capstick

How are you doing? Hi, I want to get the kids. I mean, you know, primarily, so you should sit, probably.

Ira Glass

He's talking to some teachers and parents of kids from a school, PS 71 in the Bronx. They're here on a class trip.

Eric Capstick

You don't want to be in it?

Ira Glass

Eric likes to position himself between the people who he's shooting and the screen, so they can actually see themselves on the huge screen right over his shoulder. Sometimes that means perching himself over the edge of a balcony, but not this time.

Eric Capstick

We're about 10 seconds away.

Ira Glass

Everybody waits. It feels like a long time.

Eric Capstick

Here we go. You're up. Hey, you're [INAUDIBLE].

[CHEERING]

Child

Cool!

Ira Glass

Have you been on TV before?

Child

No.

Ira Glass

So how was it?

Child

I don't know. Exciting, yeah.

Ira Glass

And so what's so fun about being on TV?

Child 2

Like, you just get to see yourself on there, and it makes you feel famous.

Ira Glass

How did you know what to do when the camera went on you?

Child 2

Well, I've seen people and what they do. Like, they wave and stuff.

Ira Glass

Duh-- even if you're in fourth grade. The camera's a magic wand. Somebody points it at you, you know what to do. A few friends sitting near these kids-- Kristen, and Joanne, and Howie-- they saw Eric, and they called out to him that he should shoot them next because it was Joanne's birthday. Eric saw right through that. I didn't.

Ira Glass

It's your birthday?

Joanne

No, it's not my birthday. He lied because I wanted to be on the camera.

Ira Glass

Why do you want to be on the camera?

Joanne

I don't know. Because I love the Yankees, and I'm happy to be here. And I want all my friends to be on TV.

Ira Glass

Kristen and her friend was actually on the big screen once.

Kristen

Oh my god, it's so exciting. People saw me on TV, and they texted me from home [INAUDIBLE]. We see you on camera. It was my moment of fame. I've never been on TV before. I was on TV.

Joanne

Well, we actually were on TV once last-- two seasons ago. There was a ball that came out, and our friend--

Kristen

[INAUDIBLE]

Howie

[INAUDIBLE] first home run, and our friend caught the ball and dropped it.

Joanne

And it fell right on our seats, and we all bent over to get it. And then we watched SportsCenter that night, and you saw all of us like, ahh, and bent over. And that's our one time we were on TV.

Ira Glass

So they were on SportsCenter-- SportsCenter. It's so far away in the stands, so small on the screen, that nobody they knew recognized them. Nobody texted, nobody called. Yet still, it's kind of satisfying.

Joanne

Like I DVRed SportsCenter and then paused it and took pictures of the TV. And every year it shows up in my Facebook memories, I share it. I'm like, oh, that's when Wayne blew the ball. [LAUGHS]

Ira Glass

You're only on the big screen at the stadium for a few seconds. But to get there, one woman told me, it makes your day. Another said she was recognized on the subway on the way home from a game that she had been on the screen. It's like this thrilling thing the Yankees can bestow on any lucky fan. So much better than a bobblehead. Because who doesn't want to get on TV?

Well, today on our program, non-TV people suddenly find themselves on TV. They didn't expect it. They didn't ask for it. They just found out they were, whether they wanted it or didn't want it. And some definitely did not want it. Others didn't even know it was happening because they're babies. What that kind of attention can do to you. From WBEZ Chicago, it's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Stay with us.

Act One: Anything You Say Can And Will Be Used...on Television

Ira Glass

Act I. Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used on Television. So since the 1980s, there's been a way that tons of ordinary Americans suddenly found themselves on TV, though it probably was not how they wanted to be making their TV debuts.

[SIRENS]

Man

Stop. Stop. Stop. OK.

Ira Glass

So if you live in this country, you probably know the TV show Cops. This particular clip is from a kind of updated version of Cops called Live PD, which is made by a different company. It's actually more popular than Cops these days. And with me to discuss this is Dan Taberski. And Dan, you have watched a lot of these shows over the years.

Dan Taberski

I have. I have watched a lot of Cops. I've watched a lot of Cops over the years-- too much.

Ira Glass

And I know that one of the things that's interested you about that show and that you enjoy when you watch a show, it comes from the fact that you yourself used to make television.

Dan Taberski

Yeah, I did for a long time. And a lot of reality shows, too, mostly kid shows and game shows, silly stuff. But I know what tricks that you employ in making a reality show. And I've always wondered, how were they doing this? What are the tricks that they're using? What's the difference between what they're showing me on TV versus reality?

Ira Glass

Like, what really happened?

Dan Taberski

Yeah, yeah.

Ira Glass

And you have a new podcast about this very question. It's called Running from Cops. I've listened to the whole thing. It's a great show. And in this show, you take that question apart for Cops and for Live PD. And I think before we get further, you should explain what Live PD is for the people who haven't seen it.

Dan Taberski

Yeah, the thing about Live PD is that half the country doesn't even know what it is. And in the meantime, it was the most DVRed show of 2018. It's three hours long of live policing on Friday night and then another three hours of live policing on Saturday night.

Ira Glass

So it is a lot of hours of television. And just so people can picture the show, describe what Live PD looks like, what makes it different from Cops.

Dan Taberski

Live PD is mainly different because it's live. It's basically set up like any SBN show. So there's a host, and there's all these monitors behind him. And the monitors are following six to eight police departments around the country live. And he just keeps cutting to different police departments to show you the highlights of what's going on right now.

Man 1

Let's go right now to Jeffersonville. Both of the officers, Alyssa Wright and Denver Leverett, are serving as backup on a speeding pullover. Let's see why.

Man 2

Both hands out the window.

Man 1

Both hands out the window.

Ira Glass

And then they go back to the studio, where there's a couple of police officers offering analysis and color commentary about what they're seeing.

Man 3

If they're aggressive, you're going to try to use less lethal to taser, pepper spray, to try to control the situation. Now you're dealing with a dog and the suspect at the same time. It makes it a lot more difficult.

Man 4

Yeah.

Dan Taberski

So one thing that's interesting about Live PD is that it premiered in 2016, right? Right when there was this proliferation of people filming their own police interactions on their own phones and putting it on YouTube. And it really changed the conversation around policing.

Ira Glass

Lots of videos of people getting shot by the police.

Dan Taberski

Yeah, and Live PD consciously positions itself and markets itself as a response to all that.

Ira Glass

To the videos.

Dan Taberski

Right. Like, we're going to go a step further than your iPhone video or your body cam. We will bring it to you live. It doesn't get more real than this. That's their position. So here's a promotional video they put up.

Man 1

Being able to see exactly what the police are doing and how they're doing it is beneficial to everyone.

Man 2

The cell phone changed everything. Being able to instantly load video up.

Man 3

You have to be very carefully in these situations.

Man 4

They only put up what they want to put up. They don't get the whole interaction.

Dan Taberski

So for police departments wanting to get their side out in this atmosphere, Live PD is great on TV and also social media. Unlike Cops, which is sort of old school, Live PD has a big social media presence. It's a live show. People tweet along live. They have a rabid fan base. During the show, the police departments will actually tweet, if you liked seeing Pasco County, Florida, for example, on Live PD, here's how you can apply to become an officer yourself. So I spoke to this one guy, Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. He's the sheriff in Spokane, Washington. And that's one of the places where Live PD's been filming.

Ozzie Knezovich

This thing has tapped into something that I can't explain. I've never seen anything like it before-- not in 28 years. I can tell you that Live PD has done wonders for our recruiting.

Dan Taberski

Really? How?

Ozzie Knezovich

Applications-- people calling us all over the country.

Dan Taberski

Really?

Ozzie Knezovich

Yes. It's been amazing. It's been amazing the amount of Christmas cards we got from people all over the country.

Dan Taberski

Get out of here.

Ozzie Knezovich

No. It shows people at their worst. Well, no, it shows what we're dealing with. It shows what society is dealing with.

Ira Glass

So one of the things that's the most interesting about your series, Running from Cops, is that you really do try to figure out what is the gap between what the programs show us and what really happened out on the street. And as part of that, you and your team watched how many hours?

Dan Taberski

846 episodes of Cops.

Ira Glass

Wow.

Dan Taberski

And for Live PD, we watched hundreds of hours.

Ira Glass

And the 846 episodes of Cops, why 846?

Dan Taberski

That's all we can get. [LAUGHS] That is what was available to us. There have been over 1,000, and we could get 846.

Ira Glass

And so now, what we've done is we've asked you to do an excerpt from your series here for us, where you try to figure out the gap between what we see on these two programs and what really happened, and where you talk to the people getting arrested on Live PD and on Cops about the experience of being reluctantly put on television.

Dan Taberski

Right.

Ira Glass

And so what's going to happen now is you're going to start with Cops and then go to Live PD. Take it away.

Dan Taberski

We'll start here. This is Cops, 2013, season 26, episode 14. This scene happens in Gwinnett County, Georgia. It's after midnight, and an officer pulls up on two teenagers. They're parked in a church parking lot.

Officer

Hey, how are you doing?

Teenager 1

Great, how are you?

Officer

Good. What are you guys doing here?

Teenager 2

Just hanging out.

Officer

Just hanging out? OK, well, it's the church, and it's closed.

Teenager 2

Are we not supposed to be here? OK.

Officer

So you guys have your IDs with you?

Teenager 2

I've got mine.

Officer

Anything illegal, drugs, anything like that at all?

Teenager 3

No.

Officer

No? OK. Would you mind if I check to make sure there's nothing illegal in the car?

Teenager 2

Yeah.

Officer

OK.

Dan Taberski

The guy tells the officer that he's out on bond for possession of cocaine, but that he's been clean for a month. So now we're all getting suspicious, right?

Officer

Just leave it there for now.

Dan Taberski

The cop starts rooting around in the front seat, past the half-drunk soda cups and empty chip bags on the floorboard. And pretty much immediately, he finds what he is looking for.

Officer

This right here, crack cocaine has almost like a cake consistency to it. So we're going to nick test a portion of that and see-- test a small amount.

Dan Taberski

The officer picks up a sample, and he does what's called a nick test, a roadside drug test.

Officer

If it ends up being cocaine, it'll have a blue or a blue over pink change to it. And that would be cocaine. The blue hue on the pink on the bottom, that's positive for cocaine.

Dan Taberski

The guy and the girl look stunned. They deny the cocaine is theirs. The cop arrests them both.

Officer

You're being placed under arrest for possession of cocaine. Just go ahead and place your hands behind your back, OK?

Dan Taberski

And scene. It goes to commercial.

Now I know my way around a reality show edit room. And as far as reality shows go, Cops seems pretty real. In that segment we just watched, there's no music. There's no narrator. It's just edited-down observational filming of police at work. That's what I like about it. And it's that style that makes it so believable to the casual viewer. It is what it is-- until it's not.

Dan Taberski

Did you always want to be a police officer? Was that always the plan?

John Burdges

I don't know. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Dan Taberski

Really? It would never seem like a good idea to me. It seems dangerous, and difficult-- and thankless, often.

John Burdges

It is dangerous, and it is difficult, and it's very thankless.

Dan Taberski

This is John Burdges. He's a former narcotics officer, and he loved it. But after 14 years on the job, he went to law school. He's been a defense attorney ever since here in Buford, Georgia, where he was retained by that young woman in that Cops episode that we just heard.

John Burdges

I thought she was guilty, having been in law enforcement. And I'm very fond of the police, and I'm very pro-police. But I just thought it was a regular episode. So did her family, and so did the district attorney, and so did everybody else.

Dan Taberski

Until, that is, a secondary test on that drug sample taken on the scene came back from the lab.

John Burdges

The alleged cocaine came back negative from the state lab that it was not cocaine. In fact, it was nothing. They couldn't figure out what it was. But it was certainly not a drug.

Dan Taberski

In fact, that roadside drug test in that episode, they do them all the time on Cops. The colors tell you if it's coke or not. Easy-peasy. But what they never say on Cops, and which I didn't know myself, until now, is that, in fact, those tests, pretty much every jurisdiction in the country says they are inadmissible at trial, including Gwinnett County, Georgia, where that young woman and her boyfriend were arrested. But when that test pops up as blue on Cops, they never say, well, we'll see how the official test comes back. They say--

Officer

And that would be cocaine.

Dan Taberski

But it wasn't. And that's not the only discrepancy that John Burdges learned about as this case progressed. The cop didn't just open the car door and find the suspected drugs, like on the show. He searched for 14 minutes before testing anything. And he didn't just do one test, like they show in that episode. He actually tested it two times for coke before it came back blue. One month after the official test results showed it wasn't cocaine, the producers of Cops aired that episode anyway, attracting the wrong kind of notoriety for Burgess' client.

John Burdges

And in fact, she ended up, over a period of a few months, moving out of Gwinnett County, where she grew up, several miles away. You put this young lady through this for what? To film a damn TV show. And nobody cares.

Dan Taberski

Burgess's client didn't want to talk to me. She's trying to put the whole thing behind her. But why would she have agreed to be on Cops in the first place? Because the thing is for pretty much any reality show, Cops included, the producers do need your consent to show your face on their show, usually by signing a consent form. Why would anyone who just got arrested sign that piece of paper?

John Langley

Well, you got to talk to people, and you got to persuade them. Any producer that is worth a salt knows that.

Dan Taberski

John Langley is the co-creator of Cops. 30 years later, he still produces the show, now with the help of his son, Morgan.

John Langley

Most people who sign do so fully cognizant of what they're doing.

Morgan

It's just like, they talk to him and listen--

John Langley

Here's the good news. At this stage of our show's life, people know the show, and it has a certain pop cultural iconic value. And they'll say, get those news cameras away from me. Say, we're with the Cops crew, and they go, oh, Cops. Well, that's OK.

Dan Taberski

I've actually heard Langley say this before, that people want to be reality show famous, even if it's Cops famous. And I've always found it hard to believe, but you kind of gotta take his word for it, unless you're going to track down the people who have been filmed by Cops and ask them yourself. And so we did.

Corey Robinson

Because I was given a choice. Sign if I go to jail. I don't feel like the TV show should have anything to do with my freedom.

Dan Taberski

Corey Robinson was chased and filmed by Cops on his 18th birthday, while he was hanging out in a park in Tampa, Florida. And he says when he was sitting in the back of a police car, the first person to approach him wasn't a cop, but rather a producer from Cops, the show, who told him--

Corey Robinson

I need you to sign this release form, or you're going to jail with a felony trespassing.

Dan Taberski

So Corey says no way. And he asks to talk to an actual cop. And he says to the officer--

Corey Robinson

They're telling me you're charging me with a felony trespassing, and I'm going to jail if I don't sign a release form. He was like, yeah, you should take him up on his offer. He's trying to help you. You need to sign the paper, or you go to jail. He put the window up, and he walked away.

Dan Taberski

In fact, of the nine people we were able to find who had been filmed by Cops, all but one say they didn't sign a release, were too drunk or high to do it willingly, or they were coerced into it, like Corey Robinson. And that young woman in that video that I played you, the cocaine bust that turned out to not be cocaine--

Officer

Does that not look like cocaine?

Teenager

What is that?

Officer

Cocaine.

Dan Taberski

According to her attorney, John Burdges--

John Burdges

They told her, you either sign this waiver, or you won't get a bond. So you're sitting in jail in a holding area. You're 18 years old, and you can't get out of jail unless you sign this piece of paper. So yeah, she signed a waiver, but it was not voluntary. Nothing's voluntary when you got handcuffs on.

Dan Taberski

The producers of Cops maintain that they don't coerce subjects to sign consent forms and that they won't even consider a segment for the show unless they have a signed release in hand. A spokesperson told us sometimes people sign, then regret it, and make, quote, "outrageous allegations." So that's Cops. There's more going on than what you see on screen.

But what about Live PD? I mean, it's live. How do you manipulate live? Nothing is more it is what it is than a live TV show, right? No one from Live PD would talk to us about the show or how it's produced. And so we set out to find the answer ourselves by tracking down suspects who have been on the show and having conversations about what actually ended up on television. In the past three years, they've shot in over 30 cities. And so we picked one-- Spokane, Washington.

Man

Welcome back. Let's go to Spokane County, Washington. Deputy van Patton is there. And oh, no, looks like we've got another shirtless dude.

Dan Taberski

Spokane's 89% white. And like a lot of places, they've got a pretty serious opioid problem. The city's been on 99 hours of Live PD. And so me and my producers, we watched them all.

Officer

Meth or heroin, James?

James

Not doing anything.

Officer

All right, James, you have the right to remain silent.

Dan Taberski

The goal was to look for clues as to the suspect's identity. They only say their first names, if even that. So we look for a first name, or a street sign maybe, so that we could see where the arrest happened. And then we would cross-reference that with court records from around the same time, trying to find a match. And that is how my producer Henry and I met Amy.

Henry

What do you think? I'm going to just kind of mic it, like, back and forth.

Amy

This is weird. It's like I'm being interrogated, but not by police officers. And remember it this time.

Dan Taberski

Amy was on Live PD, season 2, episode 21. I'll play a little bit of that episode for you.

Officer

Excuse me. Oh, is she drunk?

Dan Taberski

A Spokane County Sheriff's deputy is responding to a call about a disturbance. And they find a woman in her late 30s. That's Amy.

Officer

Then why are you sitting on the floor, crying?

Amy

Because I'm drunk. And I lose everything I love.

Officer

OK. So you weren't arguing, just drunk and obnoxious is all?

Dan Taberski

She's sitting on the floor of what looks like a trailer behind a regular house. Amy is drunk. Drunk drunk.

Officer

Sure. OK. Do you have shoes? Let's walk out. Come on. Let's get you out of this nice gentleman's trailer so he can enjoy his evening.

Dan Taberski

They don't explain where or why they're even moving her, and they don't wait for shoes. There are six inches of snow on the ground, and they drag her through it in her pink socks.

Officer

OK. OK.

Dan Taberski

The officer runs a check on her name, and a warrant comes out.

Officer

You've got a felony warrant for possession of stolen property, OK?

Amy

What possession of stolen property?

Officer

I don't know. Come on, let's walk.

Amy

I didn't do nothing. You're arresting me for nothing. I have no [BLEEP].

Dan Taberski

The warrant isn't actually for stolen property. It's for failure to appear in court. They cuff her in the snow in her socks. You can see her breath.

Amy

Please don't. I've got no shirt on underneath. Please don't.

Officer

Hey, relax. He's just making sure you don't have anything on you.

Amy

I have no shirt on underneath!

Officer

So what? You have a sweatshirt on.

Amy

[INAUDIBLE] I'm not a whore.

Officer

OK, good.

Dan Taberski

The officer arrests her and her boyfriend and puts them both in the same cop car. And host Dan Abrams gives this commentary at the end.

Dan Abrams

It seems those who steal together stay together. And they're together now in the back seat of that car, both with outstanding warrants.

Dan Taberski

And that's it. We don't see her again in the episode.

Dan Abrams

Let's go to Richland County in South Carolina.

Dan Taberski

Do you remember it at all?

Amy

Just bits and pieces.

Dan Taberski

We met Amy at her parents' home on a street that dead ends at the Spokane River. Amy doesn't ask us in. We sit and talk on a couple lawn chairs in the front yard. It's still patched with melting snow.

Amy

That afternoon, I remember having a drink. And I'm a drinker, obviously. And I have no recollection after this, just, cup of alcohol.

Dan Taberski

Do you remember the cop showing up?

Amy

No.

Dan Taberski

Literally do not remember it.

Amy

No, I have no fucking clue.

Dan Taberski

Do you remember the cops picking you up and helping you out of that house? Do you remember walking through the snow?

Amy

I don't even remember them reading me my rights.

Dan Taberski

You saw the cameras.

Amy

I have no recollection of that whole time frame, gentlemen.

Dan Taberski

Don't even remember the cameras.

Amy

Mm-mm. I didn't start actually really remembering things until I was in booking. I woke up in booking. And I guess I had a mask on my face and--

Dan Taberski

A what?

Amy

A mask on my face because I guess I was spitting. And it was just really embarrassing, you know?

Dan Taberski

Can I ask you, I mean, is that something that happens? Have you blacked out before? Often? You don't have to answer that if you don't want to. I'm just--

Amy

Not often. Probably like the fourth time I blacked out, and the police were around.

Dan Taberski

Question-- how does someone that drunk-- blackout drunk-- consent to being on Live PD, a live television show? I mean, it's hard enough for the show Cops to get them to sign, and that's taped months in advance.

Dan Taberski

So did you consent?

Amy

No. Obviously not.

Dan Taberski

Did they talk to you about the fact that you were on television?

Amy

The police?

Dan Taberski

Yeah.

Amy

No.

Dan Taberski

So this is the first thing we figure out. Whereas pretty much any other reality show needs the consent of people who appear on their show, Live PD makes a different case. Because it's live, or close to live-- they're actually on a delay. It's somewhere between 10 and 40 minutes. But because it's live, Live PD says, hey, we're basically news. And news doesn't need consent from suspects, so why should we? At least that's what they've argued in court. So for people like Amy, there is no consent involved here. You're on the show whether you like it or not. They don't blur her face, nothing.

Another thing we learned about Live PD and Cops, too, is that the police approve everything that goes on the air. With Live PD, that's where that 10- to 40-minute delay comes in. There's actually a hotline set up, like a Batphone, where the sheriffs can see what's about to go out on the air and just pick up the hotline and kill it.

Henry

A lot of people watch Live PD. What do you imagine they're watching it for?

Amy

To watch fucking drunk-ass idiots make fools of themselves, myself-- sorry to be like that, but they are just fucking-- they have no problem belittling you, and humiliating you, and degrading you, just laughing at me and stuff in booking and just-- some of them calling me names.

Dan Taberski

What were they laughing at you for?

Amy

Because I had made it on Live PD.

Dan Taberski

In fact, by the time Live PD was on again the next night, they had already edited footage of Amy into the opening of the show, a hot mix of the most salacious moments with Amy exclaiming--

Amy

I have no shirt on underneath.

Officer

She is drunk.

Dan Taberski

And what's more, she was afraid her Live PD appearance would just make her look guilty before she even had a trial.

Amy

Been there for them to say I'm going to jail on a fucking stolen property-- Jesus.

Dan Taberski

Because now everyone's assuming that you stole property, instead of-- or somebody going--

Amy

Yeah, before I even fucking go to trial. And if I don't beat my trial, thanks a lot, fucking Live PD. Do you understand what I mean? Already, I looked like a piece of shit. That's fucking another nail in my coffin. And it's just like you-- yeah.

Dan Taberski

Did you ever have any good interactions with the police?

Amy

Yes, once. A long time ago, there was a police officer once. I was walking down Empire, and it was winter. I didn't have a coat, no shoes-- just a blanket. And he actually gave me a ride in his car to a battered women's shelter. I never forgot that. They're not all assholes, but the majority of them, yes, are. And it's nothing I would not say to their face.

Dan Taberski

I'm getting that sense.

Amy

We would all notice.

Dan Taberski

You do see good policing on Live PD-- all the time, actually. Cops, too. You see it in big and small ways-- officers being kind to an elderly woman who keeps calling 911 just for company. We found one guy who OD'd on camera, and the cops gave him Narcan, saved his life. There are segments where the police de-escalate situations in ways that seem really impressive. But these shows, they're not designed around those segments. It's not good TV to watch a cop help an old lady across the street.

Over the past five years, body cameras have been adopted by police departments across the country. The idea being simple-- if there's a body cam recording your every move, it will encourage good policing. But what about a TV camera? Does that encourage good policing, or does it encourage the police to make good TV?

Amy had a friend who was also filmed by Live PD who felt the cops had gone after her not just as police, but as police trying to make a compelling TV show.

Amy

I went to jail, then my friend went fucking the week later.

Henry

How far are we now from where that was?

Amy

In a car? Like, probably 5, 10 minutes.

Dan Taberski

Super close.

So we go. A few miles away, we find the house that Jessica is staying at right now. It's her mom's place.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Jessica

Hi, nice to meet you. I'm Jessica. How are you going?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

I just got out of jail this morning, and my mom was moving without me.

Dan Taberski

Jessica's hair is wet. She just got out of the shower. Thick ropes of cigarette smoke snake around the room. She's welcoming and a little frazzled, given the day she's already had.

Jessica

I just got out. Like I said, I just got off the transport after a three-hour drive this morning, and was in booking from Benton County Jail.

Dan Taberski

Jessica's had a rough go. She's an addict, has been for a while. And turns out, Jessica has had more than one run-in with the Live PD cameras.

Jessica

The second time was December 21.

Dan Taberski

You were on it more than once?

Jessica

Yeah, well, they always [INAUDIBLE] film.

Dan Taberski

She thinks she's being targeted in a way that she wouldn't be if the police didn't have cameras following them. Which leads us to the other thing we find out. Live PD, not totally live. They hedge their bets. They actually send crews out at all hours, filming arrests and banking them. So if it's a slow night of policing, they can just slap one of those on the air, and say it's earlier. Like this.

Officer

We want to show you something that happened earlier in Spokane County, Washington.

Dan Taberski

The implication is earlier today, right? Like a couple hours ago? Jessica's arrest happened over three weeks before it aired. Here's how Jessica's Live PD appearance went down. This is Live PD, season 1, episode 57.

Officer

Deputies went to serve a warrant on a woman they've dealt with many times before.

Dan Taberski

They cut to a cop car. It's nighttime.

Officer

So, right now, we're just going to a female that is wanted by department of corrections on a warrant. We know her very well. She has an extensive history with us. So we're just going to go to her mom's house, where she might be at, see if she's there.

Dan Taberski

Don't let that horror movie music fool you, by the way. That warrant is for a low-level offense, basically for missing a date with her corrections officer. So, she's not an ax murderer. I'll let Jessica narrate the rest.

Jessica

We were sitting here smoking a bowl of meth in my mom's driveway right here. We get our stuff together. We're driving down the driveway, and there's a cop.

Dan Taberski

So she runs and hides in the bushes, but the cops brought the dog, who sniffed her out.

Officer

Sheriff's office, stop.

Jessica

And all of a sudden, boom. I'm lit up by big camera lights, the dog, three cops. And that's where you'll see the footage that they actually showed.

Officer

You're under arrest.

Jessica

[INAUDIBLE] today.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

I'm [INAUDIBLE] dog [INAUDIBLE].

Officer

This dog?

Jessica

I was like, hey, man, don't let the dog bite me. If you watch the footage, you can see that I'm pretty afraid of the dog.

Please don't let him. I'm not moving.

Officer

Don't move.

Jessica

I'm not. Promise.

Dan Taberski

She stands up out of the bushes, hands up, and she's got no top on. She's in her bra. She pulled her shirt off because it was bright orange, and she thought it might give her away.

For these earlier-on segments, the ones that aren't aired live, Live PD, from what we can tell actually does try to get consent from suspects.

Jessica said no. But that doesn't mean they won't use it. They'll just blur your face. So Jessica's face is blurred, but nothing else is. All the cops are kind of smirking, and smiling at her.

Officer

Keep moving.

Jessica

This is all over DOC?

Officer

Yeah, crazy.

Jessica

[INAUDIBLE] around. I'm sorry. I've been running because I was thinking you guys, I'm in trouble for something different. My bad.

Officer

What did you think you were in trouble for? Kill somebody we don't know about? She was hiding in the back of her mom's house.

Dan Taberski

Her face was blurred, but she was still recognized on the show by friends and by a niece who lives 300 miles away. But Jessica's biggest complaint about all this is how relentless the police were in trying to get her on camera. Fine. If they want to serve her a warrant, she's dealt with the police before. But they seemed dead-set on serving her that warrant on TV. They came again, and again.

Jessica

They've came to my mom's house. I could-- let me call my mom real quick and I'll ask her, we can probably-- I can put it on speaker and you guys can hear how many times they came here with the dog, with the cameras, beating down the door at 1:30, 2:00 in the morning.

When my mom goes to work, my daughter is in the 7th grade, and goes to school, and is a wonderful student and athlete. And beating down the door like I'm some pistol-toting, dope-dealing, assault rifle-carrying badass bitch. And that's not me.

Dan Taberski

Jessica gets her mom on the phone.

[PHONE RINGING]

Jessica

Mom?

Woman

Yeah.

Jessica

Hi, hey. Real quick, you're being recorded, just so you know.

Woman

OK.

Jessica

How many times would you figure that Live PD and the cops came over here looking for me since July?

Woman

Uh, probably 6. Probably about six times.

Dan Taberski

Six times, with cameras?

Woman

Yes.

Dan Taberski

Wow.

Jessica

It's ridiculous.

Dan Taberski

So you think you're targeted?

Jessica

Oh, beyond. Oh, absolutely.

Dan Taberski

I worked as a producer on a live television show once, and I'll never do it again. The pressure is truly nauseating, and dead air is not an option. And Live PD has got six hours live every week. You've got to fill it with something. Would it be that surprising if the police did target her, all for some dumb TV show? Listen to what one of the officers said about her on the scene.

Officer

She's tripping a bit right now. She's a frequent flyer that we know very well. She's been arrested lots and lots for this kind of thing.

Jessica

Oh my god.

Dan Taberski

They know Jessica. Spokane is a small city. They know all about her.

Jessica

I'm pretty entertaining, I guess. You know, like if I keep them laughing, and everything seems to go a little bit smoother. And I have a really good sense of humor, so.

Dan Taberski

She does, actually. Jessica is charming. She's funny. And she's quick. And if the police deal with her as much as they say they do, they'd know that, too. After her arrest was all over one officer, even says--

Officer

She's a hoot. Oh, yeah.

Dan Taberski

She's a hoot. In other words, she's good TV. And she was. She was weird, and wacky, and she had no top on.

Jessica

You know, just because I'm having a bad month, or a bad year, or a bad week, doesn't mean that they can take my face, and my name, and call me a frequent flyer, like they said. I might be a washed-out junkie, but I've got a good soul and a good personality, and, you know.

Dan Taberski

The Spokane sheriff's office says they didn't target Jessica because she would make good TV. They went after her multiple times because she had a warrant. They say it's not uncommon. Quote, "That was true before Live PD was here, and it's still true today."

[MUSIC PLAYING]

In March of last year, the city council in Spokane decided that they had had enough, that citizens were being forced onto the show unwillingly. But also, and a little more practically, it just didn't make the city look that good on national television. They voted 5 to 1 to effectively kick Live PD and Cops out of the city limits.

Other cities that have rethought their participation in Live PD-- Bridgeport, Connecticut, Streetsboro, Ohio, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. The pushback doesn't seem to be slowing Live PD down, though. In fact, last fall A&E ordered more episodes of the show. But not like 13 or 26 episodes like a network normally would. They ordered 450 more hours of it.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Ira Glass

Dan Taberski. His podcast is called Running from Cops. It's made by Pineapple Street Media. The producers of Live PD did not respond to Dan and his team when they reached out. And we also reached out. We tried to do some fact-checking with them. They did not answer our fact check questions, but did issue a statement asserting the rights to broadcast what they do live.

Quote, "The First Amendment protects the right of the media to record people involved in public places in matters of public interest, which certainly includes the actions of law enforcement."

Coming up on TV, but there is no way you could ever know it, because you don't know what TV is. That's in a minute from Chicago Public Radio, when our program continues.

Act Two: Born to Play the Part

Ira Glass

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Today's program, I'm on TV. Stories of people who are used to being on the watching side of television, the normal side of television, who suddenly, without choosing, are placed on the other side of the screen. Or maybe the best way to say that is they're inside the screen. I don't know.

What's that do to you? We've arrived at Act 2 of our program. Act 2, "Born To Play The Part." I know somebody who whenever we would watch a film or TV show, if there was a dog in the scene, they always did the same thing-- they would turn to me and say, dog doesn't know it's in a movie. Or dog doesn't know that's Mel Gibson. Dog doesn't know that Neil Patrick Harris. Same thing if a baby showed up. Baby doesn't know that's Meryl Streep. Baby doesn't know it's in a film.

One of our producers, Bim Adewunmi, is also a big noticer or of babies on television, including one in particular that she's become slightly obsessed with. Here's Bim.

Bim Adewunmi

OK. So it's an uncharacteristically peaceful scene in the sixth season of The Walking Dead. No zombies, no gore. There's a man, the hero of the show, Rick Grimes and his teenage son Carl. The whole scene has a cloud of awkward family tension, but nothing more perilous than that.

Rick Grimes

Get your stuff. Gabriel can take care of Judith while we're gone.

Carl Grimes

I'm not coming.

Bim Adewunmi

But wait. There's a third character in the scene. She's wearing a lilac smock dress, and she's got a pacifier in her mouth. She's a baby, and she's adorable. Her name is Judith. So anyway, Rick is carrying Judith towards Carl in the street. And as they approach, the baby spots the teen and she waves. It's obviously unscripted, because how could you script a toddler?

And you can see the actor playing her dad, Andrew Lincoln, look down and smile in surprise. All through the scene Judy goes through baby's greatest hits. She fidgets. She sucks on her pacifier. She makes sounds that the subtitles caption as babbling. And with one arm wrapped around Rick's bicep, she swivels her head back and forth, just observing her environment.

And then she does the one thing you're not supposed to do. She spots the camera, and then proceeds very happily to break the fourth wall. She stares, and I mean stares down the barrel of the camera. Her focus, laser-sharp. Above her head, acting with a capital A, is happening. This is the highest-rated cable show in America.

But to this baby, who knows nothing about craft, or dramaturgy, or anything else or the televisual arts, there's only a great big camera. And as far as she understands life, it's there to be looked at. A few things go through my mind whenever I watch this scene.

That this must have been the best take of the day. I don't know why, but that tickles me. The idea of a Hollywood set being at the mercy of a baby's whims is just joyous to me. Judith has been around on the show since the third season, the first baby born to our heroes since the dead began roaming the Earth. The parade of babies who played her in seasons 3 to 5 were fine.

But the Judith they cast in season 6, ah, the platonic ideal of cute baby. Cheeks, heavy and jowly. Mouth rosebud. Eyes wide and bright. Can a baby have charisma? Well, this baby had charisma. First of all, she was a surprisingly good actor sometimes.

Take season 6, episode 9, "No Way Out."

Rick Grimes

All right. New plan.

Bim Adewunmi

Judith, along with her parents and brother, are trying to escape a herd of walkers who have broken into their community. The thing is, walkers can smell humans. And so the survivors have to mask their scent by wearing sheets smeared in Walker guts to get through the horde.

Eventually, the group is forced to split up, and Judy gets passed from her brother, who's carrying her under his sheet, to another member of the group.

Carl Grimes

I'll take her.

Bim Adewunmi

There's a tight shot of Judy's little face as she gets transferred, fake blood on her cheek. And she looks 100% stressed out, like she's thinking, for god's sake, what now? And of course she thinks that. Look around her. It's all zombies. She's not acting at all, which of course makes her the best actor in the scene. Talk about method. We get Judith in short bursts, mere seconds at a time. I've inadvertently watched her grow up. In the first episode of season 9, she talks.

[CHILD BABBLING]

Judith is actually played by two babies. That tends to be the case because of pesky things like labor laws and child welfare. You can swap out one identical twin for another without messing up continuity. The twins that play Judith, their names are Sofia and Chloe Garcia-Frizzi.

I cannot stress this enough. The Garcia-Frizzi twins might be the cutest babies I have ever seen, on telly or in real life. Top three, definitely. They arrived in their butterball prime, all round and squishy. No hard edges to them. And now they are five years old.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

It's funny to think of babies as famous, as being recognized by fans in the streets. Because being a baby, you're often the center of attention. You have someone who prepares your food and drives you around. It's not so different from being famous. There's no way a baby would know they were getting special attention.

Babies just expect that. I talked to the Garcia-Frizzi twins' mother, Tiffany, to ask if the girls knew they were famous now that they're five.

Tiffany Garcia-frizzi

It's actually really, really funny, because until my oldest daughter told them that they were famous, they legitimately did not now. Like they would go up to kids at the park, and they'd ask them what TV show they're on. And it's like, no not everybody's on a TV show.

So until their older sister was like no, you guys are on TV. You're famous. They're like, what's famous? I was like, it means nothing. It means nothing.

Bim Adewunmi

They get recognized from time to time, like when they went trick or treating and the people at the house were dressed like characters from "The Walking Dead."

Tiffany Garcia-frizzi

I think they're starting to come aware of, like, that other people do know who they are that aren't necessarily people we know, if that makes sense. Like, strangers know who they are. I don't think they really necessarily connected it to fame yet.

But they will tell people they're Judith Grimes. Like, they definitely know that they play pretend on TV. But they don't know it's acting. They just think it's pretend.

Bim Adewunmi

Fame changes us, takes us further away from what we once were, which is to say innocent and pure. Famous babies don't know they're famous, so they're immune to its dangers. When you think about it, babies are the only beings who should be famous.

Ira Glass

Bim Adewunmi is one of the producers of our show.

Act Three: Lina with an N

Ira Glass

Act 3, "Lina with an N." So we now turn to two girls. One of them has this big moment in her life end up on national television, and she had no choice about that. The other sees that moment on television, and it sticks with her for years.

The second girl in the story is Lina Misitzis, one of the producers of our show. A piece of background you need to know to understand this story-- she was really into musical theater as a kid. Listened to musicals, fantasized about being in them, which is why this story stayed with her. Here she is.

Lina Misitzis

I know when it started. It was in Greece-- the country, not the musical. I spent part of my childhood there. I was six or seven years old when I found a two-disk CD set at the bottom of some sales bin, a best of Broadway compilation from various European tours of Broadway shows, all in different languages. I remember a German "I Am What I Am" from "La Cage aux Folles."

[MUSIC - "I AM WHAT I AM']

[NON-ENGLISH SINGING]

I listened over and over, arms outstretched, pretending I was onstage, spotlit.

[NON-ENGLISH SINGING]

It only escalated from there. Back in America, in my bedroom in Virginia, I Scotch-taped up pictures of Ethel Merman, Bernadette Peters, Bebe Neuwirth. On weekends, I checked casting calls in the Washington Post. My mom's rule was if an audition was less than five miles away, I could try out. I recorded the Tonys on VHS each year, watched it over and over.

Same for "Sound Of Music" and "Fiddler on the Roof." But the tape I watched the most, the one that spoke to me more than any other, was this 1997 TV special. Barbara Walters hosted, and it was called "Broadway's New Annie: Search For A Star." and if the title doesn't give it away, here's the premise. The musical "Annie" was coming back to Broadway and the show's director needed to find a star. And this was how he decided to do it, on TV.

Woman

Little girls, little girls, 2,000 little girls all sharing the same dream.

Girl

Annie, Annie, Annie, Annie, Annie.

Lina Misitzis

I was 8, the same age as those girls. I could have auditioned if I'd known about it. It was a nationwide contest sponsored by the department store Macy's, and there was a Macy's less than five miles from my house. To watch, I dressed up like an orphan, and the closest thing I came up with was wearing my older brother's underwear.

I'd stand in front of the TV transfixed, so close my mom would yell at me that I was going to damage my eyes. And the person I was watching for was this one girl named Harley who reminded me of me because she was special, perfect for the role in every way, which I figured I'd be. Although Harley had the advantage of also looking the part-- long red wavy hair, chubby cheeks. The sort of aw, shucks grin you want to see on Annie's face. Except.

Barbara Walters

But then, it was Harley's turn to sing.

Harley Ott

(SINGING) Tomorrow.

Martin Charnin

I don't want you to do that. You're going tomorrow, tomorrow. Tomorrow! Too! Loud! (SINGING) Too.

Harley Ott

(SINGING) Too.

Martin Charnin

Too. Too. Too! Too!

Harley Ott

Just sometimes, I get kind of scared, and it was really scary. So it kind of like came out.

Lina Misitzis

She's scared, which is kind of understandable. The guy she's auditioning for is Martin Charnin. He wrote "Annie" back in 1976. He was the show's original director. That's him you hear singing along with her. Martin takes Harley by the hand, and leads her away from all the other girls.

He cups her chin in his palm, and places her on the floor by his feet, and together they watch more Annie hopefuls audition.

Harley Ott

Then I sat with the director, and then he let me watch.

Martin Charnin

So 149 was singing with you, right?

Barbara Walters

Something about the little girl's face makes Martin want to see her again. She makes the finals.

Harley Ott

I'm just going to think about just smile, and do your best.

Lina Misitzis

I loved this story because Harley just needed to be noticed by the right person, just like I needed.

Barbara Walters

August 7, at a nondescript rehearsal hall in Midtown Manhattan, the finalists have gathered selected from 2,000 of the last auditions. Harley Ott, one of Martin's favorites, is back from Jersey. She has another chance to sing, but again is struck with stage fright.

Harley Ott

(SINGING) You're always a day [INAUDIBLE].

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Martin Charnin

Day a-

Harley Ott

A-

Lina Misitzis

It doesn't go well, and still, later that day she gets a third chance.

Barbara Walters

Martin, who thinks she might be right for the role of an orphan, still believes he could overcome her nerves in rehearsal.

Lina Misitzis

OK, so now she's out of the running for Annie. But she may become an orphan on Broadway-- the kind of thing I'd have died for. As far as I was concerned, Harley had made it. But then comes the moment I haven't been able to understand for more than 20 years. As a kid I found it upsetting, as an adult baffling. Martin walks into the hall to grab Harley.

Martin Charnin

Is Harley here?

Barbara Walters

But when he goes to find her parents.

Martin Charnin

Brian, where did Harley's parents go?

Man

I had them right in that chair, right here all three of them.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

Barbara Walters

He finds they've left.

Lina Misitzis

On screen, you see a confused Martin looking around anxiously. He's still not done with her, still picturing her in his cast list, but she was gone. For a moment, he stands there probably thinking exactly what I'm thinking.

Why the hell would you ever walk out on that? Harley threw away her shot, and ever since I've wondered why. So I tracked her down. She was really surprised to hear from me. It was so long ago, she said, but she was also totally game to talk. Harley and I actually have a lot in common.

We're both from the East Coast, we're both 30 years old, born just 10 days apart. She remembers everything about the audition.

Harley Ott

And then I remember these, like, boards we had to walk under. It was like you had to be under a certain height to even go into the audition, cause you had to walk under these kids-only things.

Lina Misitzis

They decided that orphans were a certain height?

Harley Ott

I guess so. I mean, I was certainly getting under that. So I'd probably still get under that today.

Lina Misitzis

By the way, Harley has dwarfism. That's what she meant by that joke. She's 4 foot 6. I pretty quickly got to the point. Why did you walk out that day? And the answer was not what I expected at all. I thought Harley was bombing because of what Barbara Walters said, because she had stage fright. But it wasn't nerves stopping her.

Harley Ott

That's not stage fright. That's frustration that I can't sing. I'm not scared, I'm pissed. Like, I'm mad at myself in that moment.

(SINGING) You're always a day--

Martin Charnin

A-

Harley Ott

A-

I have no pitch, and the poor man was trying so hard to get me to sing the right note, and I just couldn't do it. Start to get hot. Your hands start to get clammy, your heart starts to race. All these people are now looking at me. And I don't know what to do.

Lina Misitzis

Which of course casts her sudden disappearance in an entirely different light.

Harley Ott

It was not a feeling of fear of being on stage, or fear of auditioning. It was just an overwhelming feeling of this not being right for me. Think it was just this isn't what I want to be doing right now. It stopped being fun, and I just looked at both of my parents and I said, I'm done. I don't-- I don't want to do this anymore. I'm ready to go. And there was absolutely no questioning of me on that at all. They said, OK, let's go.

Lina Misitzis

Were you embarrassed leaving? Did you say goodbye to people? Like, the way it's framed in the show is this very abrupt thing. But how did it feel in the moment? What did it look like?

Harley Ott

The moment my parents said we could leave, I was comfortable. I was like all right, guys. Let's get out of here. Let's go get a snack.

Lina Misitzis

Why she didn't stick around that day, it wasn't an act of fear. It was an act of courage.

Harley Ott

I feel like I've always been pretty in tune with myself. And I know when something is not right. And I've done this with other things in my life, where I've gotten pretty far with something, and then I'm like eh, I think we're done.

Lina Misitzis

So there's this like other little person inside of you.

Harley Ott

Is that a short joke?

Lina Misitzis

It wasn't a short joke, but when I said it, I was worried that you might think it is. But it wasn't. So there was, I'm going to start over. So there was a voice in your head speaking to you in a language that you understand, but couldn't quite speak yet.

Harley Ott

100%, yes.

Lina Misitzis

But what you were able to interpret in the moment was?

Harley Ott

This isn't right for me.

Lina Misitzis

And I don't feel good.

Harley Ott

Yeah.

Lina Misitzis

And I need to get out.

Harley Ott

I need to leave.

Lina Misitzis

So at 7, Harley understood enough to know she wasn't good enough. She walked away. She felt fine. Me, it took me much longer to figure it out. I auditioned for the 8th grade musical, and didn't get in.

I auditioned for the 9th grade musical, didn't get in. I auditioned for the 10th grade play, and didn't get in. I tried transferring to Interlochen, an elite arts boarding school for teens. Didn't get in. My senior year of high school, all the kids enrolled in theater were given one song to sing in an end-of-year revue.

The teacher gave me an easy one, a song from the musical "Hairspray." About growing up.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

(SINGING) Once upon a time, I used to play with Kens. But now that I'm a woman, I like bigger men.

When the song shifted into the high notes, I talked the lyrics instead of singing them, hoping it'd make it look intentional, like a character choice.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

(SINGING) [INAUDIBLE]

Harley's a bad singer, but she's obviously got something. She's a good actor. What you don't find out about her in that Barbara Walters special is that she actually went onto a pretty successful child acting career. She starred in a Nick at Nite short, multiple commercials, even a Val Kilmer movie. But me?

Lina Misitzis

So OK, Mama. Be honest, OK?

I called my mom in Greece to ask.

Lina Misitzis

Was I talented?

Woman

You were-- you had talent. But you know, I don't believe you were the star, the big star. You never got the leading role.

Lina Misitzis

Actually, I, like, often didn't even get in at all. And so I don't really understand why I held on to that dream for too long.

Woman

You loved it, Lina. You loved it. I mean, you loved the musicals. I mean, you were like an encyclopedia. I have a very vivid memory of you going to Borders on your tippy-toes, asking the person behind the desk for the musical "Annie Get Your Gun." And you were telling him you want the 1938. No, it wasn't '38, because in '39 Judy Garland did "Wizard Of Oz."

Lina Misitzis

OK. So I had different talents. Harley says that when acting stopped being fun, she moved on. She's a teacher now in New Jersey. And of course, I've moved on, too. Mostly. Almost entirely. Really, any day now.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Ira Glass

Lina Misitzis is one of the stars of our show.

[MUSIC - PRINCE, "I'M A STAR"]

The program is produced by Diane Wu. The people put the show together includes Bim Adewunmi, Elna Baker, Ben Calhoun, Zoe Chase, Dana Chivvis Sean Cole, Aviva DeKornfeld, Damien Graves, Seth Lind, Lina Misitzis, Stowe Nelson, Katherine Raimondo, Ben Phelan, Nadia Raymond, Christopher Swetala, Matt Tierney, and Nancy Updike. Our managing editor is David Kestenbaum.

Special thanks today to Michael Margolis, Greg Collelo, Henry Molofsky, Courtney Harold, Joel Lovell, Diane Hodson, Nielsen Global Media and Lisa Morel. Our website, ThisAmericanLife.org, where you can stream our archive of over 600 episodes for absolutely free. Look at our app, and you can download as many of them as you want. This American Life is delivered to public radio stations by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange.

Thanks as always for the program's co-founder, Mr. Torey Malatia. You know, he and I went to the beach last weekend. I did not realize he had never been to the beach. He was shocked. He could not stop saying.

Torey Malatia

Oh, no, looks like we've got another shirtless dude.

Ira Glass

I'm Ira Glass. Back next week with more stories on This American Life.

[MUSIC - PRINCE, "I'M A STAR"]