Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 529 with Dana Stevens, Laura Bennett, and Stephen Metcalf with the audio player below.
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This week, Steve, Dana, and Laura discuss Can You Ever Forgive Me?, a literary biopic that marks a radical departure for star Melissa McCarthy, and how it approaches its unapologetically terrible characters. Next, the critics unpack the appeal of Big Mouth, an animated series about middle-schoolers and their “hormone monsters.” Its sexual politics are more progressive than other gross-out comedies, but is it appropriate for the teens whose stories it tells? Finally, the gabbers are joined by Slate’s own Jamelle Bouie to reflect on the legacy of Stan Lee, how he changed our image of superheroes, and why he came to be seen as one himself.
Links to some of the things we discussed this week:
• Marielle Heller’s The Diary of a Teenage Girl
• “Can You Ever Forgive Me? Reveals a New Side of Melissa McCarthy” by Dana Stevens in Slate
• Employee of the Month Live in Brooklyn
• “Big Mouth Is So Good It Almost Makes You Miss Middle School” by Jack Hamilton in Slate
• “Critics Praise ‘Big Mouth’ Planned Parenthood Episode. Conservatives Freak Out.” by Emily Shugerman in the Daily Beast
• Big Mouth, reviewed by Inkoo Kang in the Hollywood Reporter
• “RIP Stan Lee, the Man Who Made Comics Cool” by Adam Rogers in Wired
• “A History of Stan Lee’s Cameos in His Comics” by Douglas Wolk in Slate
• “Stan Lee Was Many Wonderful Things—So Please Stop Calling Him “Creator” of Marvel” by Mark Peters in Slate
• “Stan Lee Is Being Remembered by His 1968 Column Condemning Racism” by Marcus Jones in BuzzFeed News
• Fantastic Four (1961) No. 1
Laura: Steve Kornacki and Jen Chaney’s tribute to him, “In Praise of MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki”
• “How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate—and the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World” by Robert F. Worth in the New York Times Magazine
• Delacroix at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
• Gracie’s Luncheonette in Leeds, New York
Outro: “Felix Johansson Carne” (Drum Track)
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This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.