Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “Energy Vampire” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Diane, What We Do in the Shadows, and Billie Eilish.

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This week, the critics discuss Diane, reflecting on Mary Kay Place’s stunning performance, the film’s quiet feminism, and the stylistic innovation that sets it apart from the average indie. Next, they take on What We Do in the Shadows, the new FX spinoff of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s cult-classic mockumentary of the same name. How does it compare to other comedies like The Good Place and Atlanta? Finally, Billie Eilish is an unconventional pop star, but her debut album is already breaking chart records. The gabbers unpack how the streaming era has changed the requirements for mainstream success—and debate the line between authenticity and self-indulgence.


Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

Diane starring Mary Kay Place
• Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace
• “Mary Kay Place Waited Decades to Take Her First Movie Star Role. Diane Is Worth the Wait” by Keith Phipps in Vulture
Great News
• “Critical Strength: The Glorious Debut of Kent Jones’s ‘Diane’” by Adam Nayman in the Ringer
What We Do in the Shadows on FX
• Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s What We Do in the Shadows (2015)
• “One What We Do in the Shadows Character Saves It From Merely Sucking the Life Out of the Film” by Dan Kois in Slate
The Good Place
• Billie Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
• “When the Party’s Over” by Billie Eilish
• “Billie Eilish’s Debut Announces the Arrival of a New Kind of Teen Pop Star” by Carl Wilson in Slate
• “What’s Going On in the Bedroom? Don’t Freak Ma-It’s Obscurity Rock” by Stephen Metcalf in the Observer
• “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish
• “Bury a Friend” by Billie Eilish


Dana: John Berger’s Why Look at Animals?

Julia: The Good Place: The Podcast

Steve: Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson

Outro: “That Impossible Last Breath” by Da Sein

This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

Feel free to email us at or interact with us at @SlateCultFest on Twitter. You can follow all of Slate’s culture coverage by signing up for our newsletter and liking our Facebook page. And come to our live show in New York on June 8th!