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‘This American Life’ Host Ira Glass, Mates of State Pay Homage to Phantom Planet, ‘The O.C.’

On a long subway ride home last night from JFK Airport, I cued up one of my perennial faves for mass transit listening: the podcast of This American Life, the long-running NPR program hosted by Ira Glass (now in its second season as a television series on Showtime). The episode’s theme was television — apropos given the show’s season premiere on Showtime last weekend — and between segments from Sarah Vowell and Dan Savage, host Ira Glass began an earnest confession about his love for canceled Fox drama (and indie rock springboard) The O.C..

After recounting a scene where the show’s Summer (Rachel Bilson) and Seth (Adam Brody) name-drop This American Life — “Is that the show where those hipster know-it-alls talk about how fascinating ordinary people are? Ugh, God!” says Summer — Glass talks about how his favorite television shows, like The O.C., connect with him in a deeply personal way, just like good radio shows. And as he continues his earnest ode to The O.C., which was taped before a live studio audience earlier this year, the piano twinkles of the show’s Phantom Planet-penned theme, “California,” begin to waft through the air, courtesy of Mates of State, who were serving as house band during these live tapings.

Finally, in a gleeful, bursting confession, Glass admits that when the show’s opening credits roll, and “California” plays loudly, he and his wife would sing along at full volume. And then he proceeds to sing along as Mates of State perform a full-blown “California” cover for the live audience.

You can stream the episode on This American Life‘s website, or get it as a podcast via iTunes.The TV version of This American Life airs Sundays at 10 P.M. on Showtime. Here’s a clip from a recent episode: