"Family Legend" This American Life Podcast Review


Market Cheese, photography courtesy of Wix's Public Domain Database.

Families can be a pain or joy in anyone’s life depending on the circumstances. “Family Legend” dives into the many problems families face, and particularly the issues with our families we sometimes don’t notice over the years. Ira glass dives into this topic of poor familial communication with the story of Eddie Schmidt’s cheese incident with his Aunt Mary. Basically the story goes on about how his Aunt Marry laid out this whole cheese plater with various cuts of cheese on it. During this family event where the cheese was served, Aunt Mary only wanted her niece Lori to eat a specific type of cheese Mary had bought, not the cheese Uncle Vito had also brought. Eddie and Uncle Vito thought this was pretty ridiculous but they still persuaded Lori to eat Aunt Mary’s cheese. Well, it turns out Aunt Mary saw the silent exchange between Uncle Vito and Eddie and, being so hurt by this encounter, she wrote them out of her will, effectively causing both of them to miss out on $10,000 dollars. Honestly, at this point in the podcast, I felt for Aunt Mary slightly (though I think she really overreacted to the whole encounter) because sometimes it is difficult to navigate your identity in such a big family. A big part of being able to function in a large group means remaining true to yourself and not hiding behind fear or cowardice. I think Aunt Mary must’ve been too passive-aggressive for her family, and maybe she should’ve been more forthright about the cheese incident. In addition to this segment, Ira Glass talks to Kevin O’Leary describes the dark legacy of his great grandfather. This part of the podcast seemed to drag on way too long for me, and at times I found the content to be unengaging. Basically, the whole family ends up learning that this great-grandfather is an alcoholic, who has been married three times and killed his third wife. I found this to be somewhat jarring in the theme of the episode, but it still connected to the overall theme of family legacies−and how they still affect us today. Overall, I felt a bit turned off to the content of this particular episode of This American Life. I felt as though this episode could have been constructed more carefully and with more cohesive stories.


To listen to the full podcast episode, follow this link:

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/270/family-legend

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