24 Hours of Characters

With each story the reporters create a vivid scene of what’s going on around them.  The description of the Golden Apple in Chicago and their customers is a scene that could be played out in any diner across the country.  With each character description and interview, the image of an average American diner is solidified.  While listening to the program I kept forgetting that it was in Chicago and started conceptualizing any roadside diner.

The reporters create a defined distinction between the two portions of the show; night and day.  The use of ambient sounds and music creates interesting distinctions between each interview, but also helps give more interest to each character.  Without the music I think the piece would still be very interesting, but it does add interest to the piece.

The description presented create a full vision of what a regular diner looks like anywhere in the country.  My favorite description was of the woman with “a greyish” complexion who worked at Alice Deluca who works at a purification center selling vitamins and minerals who is siting in the front of the diner smoking.

Another story about the woman who has worked at the diner for the past 26 years is a great story and gives a lot of emotion to the story.  The use of music in the background helps to create that emotion for the listener.  The constant shift from one reporter to the next helps create interesting transitions so the story doesn’t become stagnant.  There are so many voices, between the reporters and the diner go-er’s creates constant flow for the story.

Just in regular conversation, some of the diners would bring up controversial issues.  In what seems to be a fun “reporting” experience, contentious issues found their way into the interviews.  The woman who lived in the area all her life, brought up the issue of homosexuality and the stigma held by older citizens.  As the conversation continued she addressed racial issues.  Covering the Golden Apple for 24 which could have turned into a relatively dry story for This American Life, turned up some interesting personal stories as the reporters pressed for personal details, insights and experiences.

The variety of the piece made for a strong program of stories and characters.  By dividing the program into two sections, night and morning, it epitomized the common phrase of “night and day.”  The morning portion of the show was very relaxed and personal while the night scene could have been any bar in the neighborhood.  The Golden Apple program turned out to be a unique experience that seemed to pay off in an interesting hour program.

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