Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, Doll & Em on HBO, and the end of Television Without Pity

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah Needed Much Better Animals

Darren Aronofsky’s Noah Needed Much Better Animals

Slate's weekly roundtable.
April 2 2014 12:33 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Are You There God? It’s Me, Hollywood” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Noah, Doll & Em, and the end of Television Without Pity.

The Culture Gabfest has moved! Find new episodes here.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 289 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 Audible. Go to and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer. Get a free audiobook from Audible’s collection of more than 150,000 titles and a subscription to a daily audio digest when you sign up for a 30-day free trial at This week’s pick for the Culture Gabfest Bucket List—the books you’ve got to read to be a smarter culture hound—is The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, read by multiple narrators.

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 May 4, the Culture Gabfest will be hosting a live show in Montreal as part of the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival. Tickets to the show and a cocktail party with the gabbers on May 3 are available here.

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 Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson. Heavy-handed on the CGI—and attempted allegorical resonances with modern life—the film brings the book of Genesis to the big screen. Next the gabbers turn to the HBO miniseries Doll & Em, starring Emily Mortimer as herself, and Dolly Wells as her best friend-cum-personal assistant. Is the series more than another smug send-up of celebrity culture? And finally, the critics eulogize Television Without Pity, a website that developed the art of the episode recap. Where do websites go when they die, and what does cultural preservation look like in the Internet age?

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



Dana: Donating to the Wayback Machine, a vast attempt to preserve Internet culture with more than 404 billion Web pages saved.

Julia: Episodes, a send-up of Hollywood starring Matt LeBlanc on Showtime.

Steve: Aretha Franklin’s “April Fools” on Young, Gifted, and Black and the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

Outro: “April Fools” by Aretha Franklin

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.

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