Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “Barbie Body Dream Sequence” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Booksmart, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, and Flashback.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 557 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

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This week, Dana, Steve, and Julia take on Booksmart, a charming teen comedy that marks Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut. The film’s handling of female friendship and queerness feels specific and real, but is that undercut by its avoidance of class issues and teenage cruelty? Next, Justin Peters shares his experience as one of the biggest money-losers in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire history, reflecting on its legacy and the future of game shows as a whole. Finally, the gabbers are joined by K. Austin Collins to discuss his and Dana’s new podcast, Flashback, and why older movies are worth revisiting.


Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

• Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart
• “Booksmart Is More Than Just a Queer, Gender-Flipped Superbad” by Dana Stevens in Slate
• Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird
• John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club
• “Spoiler Specials: Booksmart” by Jeffrey Bloomer, Christina Cauterucci, and Dana Stevens in Slate
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
• “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Was My Lifeline” by Justin Peters in Slate
• “I Wanted to Be a Millionaire” by Justin Peters in Slate
• “Introducing Flashback” by Dana Stevens in Slate
Gaslight starring Ingrid Bergman
• Barbara Loden’s Wanda


Dana: The audiobook of Jared Yates Sexton’s The Man They Wanted Me to Be

Julia: Lawrence of Arabia starring Peter O’Toole


Steve: West Taghkanic Diner in Ancram, New York, “Unreasoning Vigour” by Stefan Collini in the London Review of Books, and Hi-Phi Nation’s “Uncivil Disobedience

Outro: “Irish Waltz” by Stefan Netsman

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.

Want more of the Culture Gabfest?

Come see Steve and Dana live in New York on June 8 as part of Slate Day. Get your tickets for pop culture trivia, a Hit Parade dance party, and much more here.