Culture Gabfest: Smash, Oscar Darling Hugo, and Super Bowl Ads 

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Feb. 8 2012 12:20 PM

The Culture Gabfest, “Halftime In America” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about Smash, Oscar darling Hugo, and Super Bowl ads.


Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 177 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, Seth Stevenson, and Julia Turner by clicking the arrow on the audio player below or opening this player in another tab:

Don't miss a single episode of the Culture Gabfest. Subscribe to the free Culturefest podcast in iTunes or directly with our RSS feed. You can also download this week's episode here. And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook here:

In this week's Culture Gabfest, our critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner review Smash, NBC’s new musical series about the drama of Broadway. Next, they take in Hugo, Martin Scorsese Oscar-nominated 3-D ode to the early days of cinema. For their final segment, Gabfesters are joined by Slate’s Seth Stevenson to discuss this year’s much-hyped crop of Super Bowl advertisements.

Here are some links to the things we discussed this week:


Slate’s Troy Patterson on Smash.
Broadway’s history on the small screen.
The New York Times
’ feature piece on Smash.
The Hollywood Reporter
’s interview with Smash’s creators.
’s official site.
Dana’s review of Hugo.
’s Forrest Wickman on the “movies about movies” advantage in awards season.
’s Forrest Wickman on the real movies that inspired Scorsese’s Hugo.
The Guardian
’s interview with Martin Scorsese on Hugo and 3-D movies.
’s Seth Stevenson on the best and worst Super Bowl ads.
’s Matthew Yglesias on the cost of Super Bowl ads.
’s David Haglund on the much-discussed Ferris Bueller Honda commercial.
The New York Times
’ report on this year’s Super Bowl ads.
Buzzfeed’s list of the 10 greatest Super Bowl commercials of all time.

The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Dana’s pick: Two artists who died last week, actor Ben Gazzara (especially in Killing of a Chinese Bookie ) and Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska.

Julia’s pick: The Tumblr account “Fuck Your Noguchi Coffee Table.”

Seth’s Pick: The Ferris Bueller’s Day Offsoundtrack.” Find the assembled soundtrack as a Spotify playlist or on   

Stephen’s pick: Charles and Mary Lamb’s children’s classic Tales from Shakespeare. Also, the great Super Bowl catches of Mario Manningham and David Tyree.

Outro: The Flowerpot Men’s “Beat City”

You can email us at

This podcast was recorded by Chris Wade and produced by Jesse Baker. Our intern is Matt Sigl.

Follow us on the new
Culturefest Twitter feed. And please Like the Culture Gabfest on Facebook.

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

Seth Stevenson is a frequent contributor to Slate. He is the author of Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Stop Panicking. America Is Now in Very Good Shape to Respond to the Ebola Crisis.

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?


Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

One of Putin’s Favorite Oligarchs Wants to Start an Orthodox Christian Fox News

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

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