Mormon-related episode of “This American Life”

Tim Goodman, the San Francisco Chronicle’s excellent TV critic, mentions a Mormon related segment in his review of Showtime’s new TV version of “This American Life.” He writes:

“For example, one episode is about a hip young Mormon painter in Utah who photographs men in beards to use as biblical figures, including Jesus. His favorite model is a young man whose girlfriend has essentially left the Mormon church, partly because her father is pushing the religion so hard. It’s difficult to have her boyfriend appear in the art pieces, but in a strange way it has brought her father and her boyfriend closer together.

Other news stories have mentioned that finding bearded models is a challenge for the artist because so many Utah men are clean-shaven.

It sounds fantastic — and I’m not even one of those TAL radio show zealots. Sadly, the Morris household remains cable/dish free (actually, not sadly — I refuse to be extorted for hundreds of channels I have no desire to watch or support).

But for those who have bowed to the evil oligarchy, the episode is called God’s Close Up and will debut April 5, according to the This American Life Web site.

It may also be available for download, on demand, etc. For more, see Showtime’s This American Life site.

Maureen Ryan’s Chicago Tribune review is also worth reading.

8 thoughts on “Mormon-related episode of “This American Life””

  1. I’ve been daydreaming of Mormons making This American Life for a while. I’m excited!

  2. I would not call myself a zealot. A least not when it comes to TAL. Yet I certainly like the radio show. And I have been curious about the television iteration. I noticed that they were redoing some of the better radio narratives (Second Chance (the cloned bull), The Performance Art/Practical Joke group in NYC, etc.) The Mormon spot only amplifies my interest!

    Alas, we also abstain from premium channels. Is this available online somewhere?

  3. Mormons (specifically, an apostate Mormon group in Manti) was one of the subjects of an early TAL episode titled “Factions.” I think you can still listen to it at the website. It is an interesting episode.

  4. Too bad this thing is on Showtime. I enjoy TAL, usually, and would like to see it.

  5. You would think that 2500 years after Herodotus that self-portraits posing as Jesus would no longer qualify as religious images, much less as art.

  6. Great post!

    [Edited by Wm Morris to remove spammy link — if you think you have a product that would be of interest to our readers, then pitch me. If you want to engage in our community, then feel free to write some meaningful comments. Typing “Great post!” and linking to a commercial site is not good blog etiquette.]

  7. So the recent comments bar caught my interest, and how delightful:

    WM wrote:
    “I refuse to be extorted for hundreds of channels I have no desire to watch or support”


    “But for those who have bowed to the evil oligarchy…”

    I couldn’t agree more. great stuff.

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