Slate’s Culture Gabfest on The Spectacular Now, FX’s crime drama The Bridge, and melody.

What Makes Melody So Memorable? Slate’s Culture Gabfest Weighs In.

What Makes Melody So Memorable? Slate’s Culture Gabfest Weighs In.

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Aug. 7 2013 10:24 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Take It to the Bridge” Edition

Slate's podcast about The Spectacular Now, the FX crime drama The Bridge, and the power of melody.

The Culture Gabfest has moved! Find new episodes here.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 255 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below:

And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:

The sponsors of this week’s show are and Go to and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer. Use MailChimp to design and send email marketing campaigns today.

Culturefest is on the radio! “Gabfest Radio” combines Slate’s Culture and Political Gabfests in one show—listen on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. on WNYC’s AM820.


On this week’s episode, our critics discuss James Ponsoldt’s new high school romance The Spectacular Now. Does the movie manage to capture the adolescent ennui that older films like Say Anything and The Breakfast Club nailed, or is it just another one of those coming-of-age dramas? Next, the gab crew reviews the new FX series The Bridge, a crime show that’s set in an especially charged location—the border between Juárez, Mexico and the Texas city of El Paso. Lastly, the gabfest was inspired by a recent essay on the power of melody written by Jan Swafford in Slate. Our critics discuss Swafford’s piece, share how melodies move them, and cite some of their favorites in the process.

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


Stephen: The band The Bats.
Dana: The John Frankenheimer film Seconds.
Julia: The Deep Blue Good-by: A Travis McGee Novel, by John D. MacDonald.

Outro: “Don’t You Forget About Me,” by Simple Minds.

You can email us at

This podcast was produced by Dan Pashman. Our intern is Sam McDougle.

Follow us on Twitter. 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.

Julia Turner, the former editor in chief of Slate, is a regular on Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.