Slate’s Culture Gabfest on The Wolf of Wall Street, the BBC drama Call the Midwife, and Britney Spears’ Las Vegas residency.
Has the BBC drama Call the Midwife Dethroned Downton Abbey?
Slate's weekly roundtable.
Jan. 2 2014 12:55 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Wolfie Is My Safe Word” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on The Wolf of Wall Street, Call the Midwife, and Britney Spears’ Las Vegas residency.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 276 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and June Thomas with the audio player below.

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


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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss The Wolf of Wall Street, a three-hour bacchanal of sex, drugs, and investment fraud, directed by Martin Scorsese. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill as crooked stockbrokers, the film is either a scathing critique of conspicuous consumption or a celebration of early-’90s capitalism. Next, the critics turn to Britain’s latest TV export Call the Midwife, a BBC drama about 1950s midwives in London’s East End, which airs on PBS on this side of the Atlantic. Can a gynocentric show about Britain’s austerity years really dethrone Downton Abbey? And finally, the gabbers discuss Britney Spears’ new show in Las Vegas—and why you’d be wrong to think of it as a sad second act.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:


Dana: Great reference books, especially The Oxford Companion to Wine, edited by Jancis Robinson

June: Carry the One, a novel by Carol Anshaw, and Anshaw’s paintings of Vita Sackville-West on Slate’s Outward blog

Steve: “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ ” by the Scissor Sisters and Let the Right One In, a vampire novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist that inspired the 2008 cult classic of the same name

Outro:  “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ ” by the Scissor Sisters

You can email us at

This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. 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.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

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