Baywatch, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the state of criticism with Sebastian Smee.

The Culture Gabfest, Live from Sydney

The Culture Gabfest, Live from Sydney

Slate's weekly roundtable.
May 31 2017 10:54 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Live From Sydney” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Baywatch, The Handmaid’s Tale, and the current state of criticism.

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Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

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On this week’s Slate Culture Gabfest, the critics are live from Syndey, Australia! There, they discuss Baywatch, the new movie based on the hit series from the 1990s. We now know there is nothing Hollywood won’t stoop to reboot, but can the presence of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson redeem this movie? Next, the gabbers tackle Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale and its Hulu adaptation, exploring how the show uses the source material to comment on our current political climate. Finally, critic Sebastian Smee joins the conversation to talk about the state of criticism, how it has changed with the culture landscape, and why we need it more than ever.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:



Dana: Walkabout by Nicolas Roeg

Julia: The rainbow lorikeet, Train Dreams by Denis Johnson, and “Amanda Peet: The First Time I (Didn’t) Read a Scathing Review” by Amanda Peet in the New York Times*

Sebastian: The Gathering by Anne Enright, and Bill Henson’s photography


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This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our intern is Daniel Schroeder.

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*Correction, May 31, 2017: Due to a production error, this page originally misattributed Julia's endorsement to Dana. (Return.)

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.