What Makes Scandal So Addictive?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Nov. 13 2013 11:43 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Ambivalent Elegy” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Scandal, Luke Barr’s new book Provence 1970, and the end of Blockbuster.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 269 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 Stamps.com and Eagleheart: Paradise Rising on Adult Swim. Go to Stamps.com and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer. Watch the premiere of Eagleheart: Paradise Rising on Nov. 14 at midnight.

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.

And don’t forget you can find Culture Gabfest T-shirts for sale in the Slate Store.

On this week’s episode, the critics discuss Scandal, the ABC political drama starring Kerry Washington as a fast-talking beltway “fixer.” With critic June Thomas, they consider the show’s color-blind casting and unprecedented use of social media to live-tweet its broadcasts, which have led some to consider it the future of network TV. Next, the critics welcome Luke Barr to discuss his new culinary history Provence 1970.  The book recounts the fateful meeting of six titans of American cuisine in Southern France, a coincidental encounter that inspired an American food revolution. And finally, the gabbers share an ambivalent nostalgia for Blockbuster, which closed its remaining stores this week. Where did all the geeky store clerks go? And what will we do without them?

Links to some of the things we discussed this week follow:


Dana: The Prowl, a social media site that allows you to crowd-source your online shopping and find, among other things, “the perfect turtleneck.”

Julia: Happy Donuts, a 24-hour donut shop in San Francisco’s Noe Valley with unexpectedly “puffy and yeasty” artisanal offerings.

Steve: American Jazz pianist Marian McPartland and her NPR program Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, which remains the longest-running cultural program in NPR’s history.

Outro: “For All We Know,” sung by Shirley Horn on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com.

This podcast was produced by Chris Wade. Our intern is Anna Shechtman.

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



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.