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From the desk of Jim Halpert, Dunder-Mifflin Inc.

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Click on the above to enlarge, or just read this handy transcription:

To: jhalpert@dunder-mifflin.com
From: nick.adams(at)gmail.com

Subject: Decisions, decisions.

Jim,

Halpert. Nick Adams here. I’m sure you’re busy pushing paper, so I won’t waste too much of your time. I just had to write you this note to offer a bit of unsolicited advice that can be boiled down to one word. Karen.

Now, let’s un-boil it, shall we?

Appearance
Pam is an attractive gal. The entertainment from Tom Vance’s bachelor party was right. She could strip. In Scranton. That’s barely a compliment. When was the last time you went to a second tier strip club? I’m willing to bet that a solid 65% of the women in Scranton could get a few shifts on stage at Gentlemen’s Club 10 over in Wilkes-Barre if they had low enough self-esteem and/or community college to pay for.

Meanwhile, Karen is hot. Karen will have people saying, “How the hell did Jim pull that off?” for the rest of your relationship. What is Michael doing right now? Is he at his desk, staring off into space? He’s probably fantasizing about hooking up with Karen.

Also, Pam is a bit…dowdy. The only reason she doesn’t come off as more of a librarian is because Angela is there dressed like Anne of Green Gables.

If she can’t even sex it up a bit right now—while she’s at her physical peak—how bad is it going to be way down the road when she inevitably resigns herself to stocking her closet with an endless array of mom jeans and seasonally appropriate sweaters? It may not be a huge deal to you now, but stylish 50-year-olds stick out. You have to think long term.

Career
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a receptionist. But you’re a career man with definite upper-middle management potential. You need a woman on your arm who can help you negotiate the murky waters of the paper industry. I’m just kidding. Karen has to make way more money than Pam, right? When it’s time to buy that first house, you will not regret going with the cash.

Also, I know you get bummed out when Karen can’t participate in your office hi-jinks. But guess what, man? She’s a grown up. With a job. That she needs. And to be quite honest, you should probably just knock that stuff off anyway. You need to spend less time thinking about how you can be the Bill Murray of Scranton and more time thinking about that paper. Literally.

The Roy Factor
Dude. She was going to marry Roy. Roy is kind of a dimwitted loser. By the transitive property of relationships, just even being interested in her makes you kind of a loser too. (I’m saying it out of love, man.) If you get together with Pam, I promise you that at some point you’ll be lying awake in bed thinking, “That big, sweaty doofus was on top of her every night?” It will haunt your dreams. Meanwhile, Karen’s romantic history remains in the background. As it should be. As far as I’m concerned, my wife’s vagina didn’t even exist until we met.

The Kiss
I know this one probably still stings a bit, but I’m saying this because I think you need to hear it. She dissed you. After suffering in silence, you made your play and planted one on her. Cards on the table time. Good stuff. That was the perfect chance for her to throw caution to the wind, listen to her heart and admit her feelings for you. Happily ever after time.

But she didn’t. Turns out that Pam is not, as a great Negro poet once said, “a ride or die chick.” Meanwhile, when Karen had her chance to take a ride on the Big Jim Halpert express, she hopped right aboard. Next stop, Scranton.

The Tanning of America
Do you feel that, Jim? It’s multi-ethnic breeze blowing across America, my man. Racially homogenous couples are a thing of the past. No disrespect to your caucasiosity, but you and Pam are the whitest couple in the world. I know Karen’s last name is Filippelli, but you and I both know there’s way more going on there. Get with the times. Me, I like to be on the cutting edge so I married a Native American. (Just try finding one!) But I think a dark skinned Italian—wink, wink—would be a good fit for you. Don’t want to freak out the family.

I know your gut is still telling you Pam. It’s written all over your face. I’m just saying that if you step back from this thing and look at the big picture, there are a lot of positives on the Karen side. And if it’s even close, Karen’s Scrantonicity-backed version of Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” should put her over the top.

Nick Adams is the author of the book Making Friends with Black People. He blogs at nickadamsweb.com. You can choose Karen on MySpace here.

Our pals from Lindsayism and Zulkey are selling Pam and Karen t-shirts here.

This American Life the TV Show

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The TV version of This American Life premiers March 22nd. I am so fucking excited. Looks like they've torn a few pages out of the Errol Morris book, and I can't complain.

Bonus points to anyone who catches a glimpse of Improv Everywhere.

Previously on TSOYA:
This American Life senior producer Julie Snyder

Podcast: New York Stories with Bill Hader and Roz Chast

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, a new New Yorker and an New Yorker of long standing.

First we talk with Roz Chast, long-time New Yorker cartoonist. Her cartoons have now been compiled into a stately tome called "Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected and Health Inspected Cartoons 1978-2006."

Then a chat with Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader. He talks about how he got the gig after Lorne Michaels came to see him perform in a Southern California backyard, and what it's like to be the new guy at one of television comedy's most revered institutions. He's a TSOYA listener, by the way. Be sure to check out our bonus audio for discussion of his upcoming movie projects, which involve Michael Cera of Arrested Development, the folks behind Reno 911 and Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk, among others.

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Podcast: World of Wonder with Terry Gilliam and Chris Elliott

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, two men who hold the keys to WORLDS OF WONDER.

Chris Elliott came to prominence in the early 1980s as the buffoonish foil on "Late Night with David Letterman." His career has also included the cult sitcom "Get A Life" and film "Cabin Boy," as well as several seasons on the hit sitcom "Everybody Love Raymond." Most recently, he's become an author, and his absurd 19th century mystery, "The Shroud of the Thwacker," has just been released in paperback. Be sure to take a listen to our special bonus questions for Chris for comedy nerd insider info on his specials, "Action Family" and "FDR: The One Man Show," among other stuff.

Then we speak with Terry Gilliam. Since his days as a member of Monty Python's Flying Circus, he's directed many acclaimed films, including "Brazil," "Time Bandits," "The Fisher King," and "Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas." His most recent film, "Tideland," a dark and disturbing fairy tale, is in theaters now.

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Bonus: Extra Questions for Chris Elliott


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Previously on The Sound of Young America:
Holiday Party with Chris Elliott (MP3)
Joke Warfare with Monty Python's Terry Jones

Podcast: Let's Put On A Show!

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, two folks who've put on a (TV) show.

Joe Flaherty trained at the Second City for seven years before he helped launch the seminal sketch comedy series SCTV. Along with castmates like Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and John Candy, he helped shepherd the show from three stations in Canada to US network television.

Allison Silverman is supervising producer and co-head writer of The Colbert Report. It seems hard to believe now, but a year ago, when Silverman left Late Night with Conan O'Brien to help create the Report, it was a dicey bet. Today, it's one of the most popular shows on Comedy Central, and Colbert has become an influential cultural icon.

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Below: NAACP Chairman Julian Bond visits The Colbert Report

Podcast: Chuck Klosterman and Dave Foley

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America: two guys I've always wanted to have on the show.

Chuck Klosterman is one of America's funniest and most perceptive writers on popular culture. His best-selling books "Fargo Rock City," "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," and most recently "Killing Yourself to Live" are favorites for hipsters across the nation. We talk with Chuck about what rock journalism means to him, and how he deals with being a grown-up who cares about music like an 18-year-old.

Dave Foley is one of our finest comic actors. He co-founded the Kids in the Hall, whose television show re-introduced weirdness into the world of sketch comedy. Shortly thereafter, he landed the lead role in Newsradio, one of the finest sitcoms of the 1990s. Lately, he's made a living hosting a celebrity poker show as well as acting and writing. Believe it or not, he's a Sound of Young America listener.

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Podcast: Put-Ons

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America returns to familiar territory -- pranks and put-ons. We visit with a couple of old friends of the show who are geniuses of the field.

Our first guest is Matt Walsh. Matt's probably best known for being a founder of the Upright Citizens' Brigade. He was also a correspondent on The Daily Show, and has been seen in films like "Old School." His new series on Comedy Central, Dog Bites Man, is a hybrid of many genres. It follows a fictitious Spokane TV news team through real-life America. They interview real people while playing out a fictional storyline. They've gone to the Southern Republican convention and to a KKK picnic. The show was created by Dan Mazer, the co-creator of Da Ali G Show.

We also talk with Charlie Todd, the creator of a group called Improv Everywhere. Charlie's group stages massive street pranks in New York City, but they eschew pranks with victims. Instead, they focus on creating amazing experiences for ordinary people, and then dissapear -- without revealing their identity.

Also, we hear a street prank from Coyle & Sharpe, a remarkable pair of put-on artists who hosted a local AM radio show in San Francisco in the mid 1960s. Mal Sharpe was a comedian and radio man; James Coyle was a professional con artist. Together, they created some of the most amazing street pranks in history. We hear "Maniacs in a Living Hell" from their amazing CD "Coyle & Sharpe: Audio Visionaries." (Buy It)

Also: as part of our continuing partnership with Sketchfest NYC, we hear a brief sketch from Portland-based sketch group The Third Floor.

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Podcast: Goofaround Gang

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast looks at a few of our favorite goofs with the theme "Goofaround Gang."

We first hear from comedian Will Franken. Will performs a unique form of solo theater comedy -- essentially performing comedy sketches by himself. He's been voted the best comedian in San Francisco by the SF Weekly, and the "Best Alternative to Pyschadelic Drugs" by the SF Bay Guardian. Will talks about his future, and performs a sketch. Be sure to check below for a "too hot for the radio" sketch from Will.

Our second guest is comedian Paul F. Tompkins. These days, Paul is best known as a VH1 "Fundit," but he's also been a regular on TV series including "Mr. Show," "The Daily Show," and "Real Time with Bill Maher." We talk with Paul about his career in funditry, and about his sideline hosting a cult-favorite stage variety show in Los Angeles.

Our final guests are Tim & Eric, the creators of the Cartoon Network [adult swim] series "Tom Goes to the Mayor." The series is a silly and incisive look at the tiny banalities of American life. They also provide a live demonstration of a favorite musical instrument.

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Download Will Franken's "Wet, Drippy P***ies"

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Bonus... here's the "Department of Special Projects" short T&E talk about on the show:

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Podcast: Jonathans

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week on The Sound of Young America, we visit with two great Jonathans -- Katz and Goldstein.

Our first talk is with Jonathan Goldstein. Goldstein is the author of the novel "Lenny Bruce is Dead," which is story of a young man, his romances, and the death of his mother. The story is told non-sequentially in brief vignettes, often no more than three or four sentences in length.

Jonathan is also a contributing editor for This American Life, and the producer of the CBC's Wiretap. The latter is a show composed entirely of telephon conversations -- some real, many semi-fictional.

We also talk this week with Jonathan Katz, comedian and creator of "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist," which is out on DVD May 9th. We talk with him about making the show, and interestingly, about his long-standing relationship with David Mamet. We also hear a segment from his semi-fictional radio show, "We're Back."

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Music This Week

Intersititial Music Provided by DJW

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Season 1
Jonathan Goldstein's Lenny Bruce is Dead
David Mamet's House of Games
David Mamet's Things Change
Jonathan Katz's "To-Do Lists of the Dead"

Previously on The Sound of Young America Blog

"You're On The Air with Jonathan Katz"

See Also
This American Life - "Spies Like Us" (features Jonathan Goldstein's lobbycam story)
Unofficial Wiretap MP3 Archive

Podcast: (Un)Clean

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Show: 
Bullseye

This week's Sound of Young America broadcast bears the theme "(Un)Clean." My guests are comedian Jim Gaffigan (who doesn't swear on stage) and the creators of Wonder Showzen (who dress children up in Hitler costumes).

Jim Gaffigan is one of the country's most popular stand-up comics, and an accomplished actor, as well. His observational humor is peppered with audience commentary - that he provides himself, in a creepy high pitched voice. We talk about his long standup career, and his acting career, which features both comic and dramatic credits. He's currently on tour (including a show in San Francisco April 7th), and his new CD and DVD are in stores now.

Vernon Chatman and John Lee are the creators of the brilliant MTV2 series Wonder Showzen. The series could be broadly described as a parody of children's television, but it's really more of a satire of the banality of American culture. One recurring segment, "Beat Kids," sends children dressed as reporters to ask pointed questions of the man on the street. In one, a 7-year-old (or so) black girl is dispatched to Wall Street, asking "Who have you exploited today?" and "Where will you be when the revolution comes?" John & Vernon are also members of the rock band PFFR (pronounced P-F-R), and the former writers of the MTV series "Doggy Fizzle Televizzle." Wonder Showzen returned to MTV2 yesterday, and airs Fridays at 9:30PM. Their first season DVD was just released.

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Check out our uncut, unedited interview with Jim Gaffigan

Music This Week

Untitled Beat by DJW

Hey! Buy some stuff! (The show gets a portion of the money)

Jim Gaffigan's Beyond the Pale DVD (only $9.99!)

Jim Gaffigan's Beyond the Pale CD

Wonder Showzen Season 1

Previously on The Sound of Young America Blog

Dead Frog v. Wonder Showzen
Wonder Showzen Creators' Core Beliefs
Change the Channel for Kids
Good Shows & Bad People

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