DiscoverIn Retrospect with Susie Banikarim and Jessica Bennett
In Retrospect with Susie Banikarim and Jessica Bennett
Claim Ownership

In Retrospect with Susie Banikarim and Jessica Bennett

Author: iHeartPodcasts, The Meteor

Subscribed: 1,195Played: 9,981
Share

Description

Is there a cultural moment from your past that looks different in retrospect? Maybe it’s a scandalous tabloid story seared into your teenage brain or a political punchline that just feels wrong now. It might be a very specific red swimsuit that inspired a decade of plastic surgery (see: “Baywatch”) or the inescapable smell of an entire generation of prepubescent boys (Axe body spray, anyone?). Each week on IN RETROSPECT, Emmy-winning journalist Susie Banikarim and New York Times editor Jessica Bennett revisit a pop culture moment from the 80s and 90s that shaped them — to try to understand what it taught us about the world, and a woman’s place in it.

Talk to us at @inretropod, @susiebnyc and @jessicabennett on Instagram. New episodes each Friday.
42 Episodes
Reverse
When Madonna performed “Like A Virgin'' at the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, she scandalized the audience and her own team. But she also stole the show, cementing MTV’s place in cultural history. In this episode, Susie and Jess look back at Madonna’s early years in New York, the events that led her to that stage and how she became one of pop's most enduring icons.  GUESTS: Mary Gabriel, author of Madonna: A Rebel Life FOR MORE: Madonna: Our 1985 Cover Story (Spin) Madonna’s Celebration Tour Proves She Won’t Quit (NY Times) Buy Mary Gabriel’s book Madonna: A Rebel Life See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In 1984, a relatively unknown 26-year old Madonna appeared at the first MTV Video Music Awards. Dressed like a rock and roll bride, Madonna sang “Like a Virgin.” The performance was considered so risque, so scandalous that many – including her own manager – predicted it would end her career. But far from stopping her, that moment changed Madonna’s life, transforming her from rising star to pop idol. In this week’s episode, Susie and Jess talk about that iconic performance, the rise of MTV and how together MTV and Madonna were a force that defined 80s pop culture.  GUESTS:   Mary Gabriel, author of Madonna: A Rebel Life FOR MORE: 60 Times Madonna Changed Our Culture (NY Times) Inside Madonna's Legendary Performance at the First VMAs (Rolling Stone) Buy Mary Gabriel’s book Madonna: A Rebel Life See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Girl dinner. Hot girl walks. Weird girls. Clean girls. Rat girls. Snail girls. Everywhere we look, it seems, a certain kind of girliness is being celebrated – from Beyonce to Barbie to Taylor Swift to TikTok. But what really is girl culture? Jess and Susie revisit a seminal photography book from the early 2000s, Lauren Greenfield’s “Girl Culture,” to ask: What does it mean when girlhood is being glorified but individual girls are more miserable than ever?     FOR MORE: The joy of communal girlhood; the agony of teen girls (by Jessica Bennett, NYT, 2024) Being 13 (By Jessica Bennett, NYT, 2023) This Is 18 (By Jessica Bennett, NYT, 2018) Girl Culture, by Lauren Greenfield (TIME, 2002) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Lyle and Erik Menendez, two Beverly Hills brothers, were convicted of murdering their parents in a tabloid case that captivated the nation in the 1990s. But in recent years, they have captured the attention of a new generation, becoming unlikely social media stars despite being in prison for the last 34 years. In this episode, Susie and Jess look at the dedicated fan accounts advocating for a new trial and the new evidence that might actually free them.  FOR MORE: The New Menendez Defenders  (The New York Times) Ex-Member of Menudo Says He Was Raped by Father of the Menendez Brothers  (The New York Times) New evidence may back Menendez brothers’ sexual abuse claims. But can it free them? (The Los Angeles Time) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Hanging out with Monica Lewinsky for her first profile in a decade. Booking Jessica Simpson for a weight loss reveal that never happened. Searching for Casey Anthony….  and not finding her. Wondering how many members of a polycule is too many to put on an expense report (!). In this episode, Jess and Susie revisit some of their most memorable, and sometimes cringey, adventures in journalism. FOR MORE: Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution? (By Jessica Bennett, Newsweek, 2010) Monica Lewinsky Is Back, But This Time It’s On Her Terms (By Jessica Bennett, NY Times, 2015) Jessica Simpson Reveals Post-Baby Body on Katie Couric’s New Show (People, 2012) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
She made history as the first Black Miss America, then dramatically lost her crown in a scandal that would see her branded as "the pageant's own Hester Prynn.” But Vanessa Williams did not just go away quietly, she fought back — going head to head with Penthouse, the magazine that published her photos, and the man who tricked her into taking them. In this episode, Jess and Susie chart the aftermath of that sordid episode, as well as Vanessa’s staggering comeback. Plus, Jess talks about the time she went to Miss America just a few years ago, reporting from inside the pageant, where a pageant “civil war” was brewing. FOR MORE: Books: Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood, by Margot Mifflin, and There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America, by Amy Artsinger Articles: Goodbye, Swimsuit Competition. Hello, ‘Miss America 2.0.’ and Here’s What You Didn’t See on Miss America (both New York Times, both by Jess) Listen: Glamorous Trash, a Celebrity Book Club Podcast, in which Jess and Susie join host Chelsea Devantez to talk about Vanessa Williams’ memoir See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
You may know her as the Grammy-nominated singer, or for playing the cunning and iconic  Wilhelmina Slater on “Ugly Betty.” But before all that, Vanessa Williams was a bright young college student from New York who would make history as the first Black Miss America, in 1984. And yet before she could complete her term, she would be dramatically dethroned — in a nude photo scandal that would ignite a torrent of racism and see her branded as “the pageant's own Hester Prynn.” In this episode, Jess and Susie revisit the incredible making, and the staggering undoing, of the first Black Miss America. FOR MORE: Books: Looking for Miss America: A Pageant’s 100-Year Quest to Define Womanhood, by Margot Mifflin, and There She Was: The Secret History of Miss America, by Amy Artsinger Articles: Goodbye, Swimsuit Competition. Hello, ‘Miss America 2.0.’ and Here’s What You Didn’t See on Miss America (both New York Times, both by Jess) Listen: Glamorous Trash, a Celebrity Book Club Podcast, in which Jess and Susie join host Chelsea Devantez to talk about Vanessa Williams’ memoir See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In 1991, America’s sweetheart Sally Field starred in a movie about an American woman’s desperate escape from her abusive Iranian husband. For Susie, and a generation of other Iranian-American kids, this was the only representation they saw of themselves in pop culture – and it was not great. It was essentially a horror film – and the horror was Iran. In this episode, best-selling author (and fellow Iranian-American) Porochista Khakpour joins Susie to talk about what it was like growing up in the shadow of ‘Not Without My Daughter’ and its comically dark view of their homeland.  GUESTS:   Porochista Khakpour, best-selling author  FOR MORE: The Not Without My Daughter Problem: How a Sally Field Movie Became an Iranian-American Headache (New York Magazine) Iranians Moving Past Negative Depictions In Pop Culture (by Porochista Khakpour, LA Times)  Order Porochista’s book Tehrangeles See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
As we revealed in part one, the 2007 Rutgers women’s basketball team was having a Cinderella season when radio host Don Imus callously dragged them into a national firestorm with a racist slur, effectively stealing their moment. But the women of Rutgers didn’t just go away quietly – they fought back, rising above the noise to tell their story. Susie and Jess are joined again by former Rutgers captain Essence Carson and Emmy-winning journalist Jemele Hill to unpack the aftermath of that sordid episode, and discuss the complexities of who gets to respond in anger when they are publicly targeted, and why. GUESTS:   Essence Carson, former WNBA star, Rutgers captain and current creative executive Jemele Hill, Emmy award-winning journalist FOR MORE: A First-Class Response to a Second-Class Put-Down (NYT, 2007) Imus: Race, Power and the Media (Newsweek, 2007) Don Imus, DJ fired for racial slur at Rutgers players, dies at 79 (ESPN, 2019) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Long before Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese were shattering records and making national headlines, there was the 2007 Rutgers team. The New Jersey players had a Cinderella season, powering their way to the Final Four in an extraordinary triumph. But instead of being celebrated, the young women were attacked – dismissed and belittled in an infamous on-air slur by the popular radio host Don Imus. In this episode, Susie and Jess revisit the moment which sparked a national firestorm – and a much-needed conversation about racism, sexism and women’s sports. They also welcome two women who were there: former Rutgers captain and WNBA star Essence Carson, and the journalist Jemele Hill, who reported on the story in real time. GUESTS:  Essence Carson, former WNBA star, Rutgers captain and current creative executive Jemele Hill, Emmy award-winning journalist FOR MORE: The Imus Fallout: Who Can Say What? (Time, 2007) Trash Talk Radio (by Gwen Ifill NYT, 2007) Take A Stand Against Indecency And Cruelty (by Jemele Hill, ESPN)  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
For a certain generation of girls, the trading of lip gloss was akin to sharing secrets — there was hierarchy, and subtlety, and hidden messages all in one. In this mini episode, Jess reminisces about middle school makeup rituals and what they can tell us about female friendship, while Susie wonders how it’s possible to be so nonchalant about the spreading of germs (lol!). FOR MORE: Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton and… Lip Gloss? (by Jessica Bennett, NYT) Makeup As Meditation, Skincare As 'Girl Therapy' (by Jessica Defino, Substack) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It was the iconic and irreverent magazine that shaped a generation of 90s girls, teaching them about pop culture, fashion and feminism. Sassy was accessible and relatable, willing to openly talk about taboo subjects like sex and teen suicide when nobody else would. In this episode, we chat with the founding editor and perennial cool older sister Jane Pratt about why Sassy still resonates for so many nearly 40 years later.  FOR MORE: My Totally Normal Addiction To Buying Teen Magazines (NYT, 2021) How Sassy Is Tavi Gevinson? (NYT, 2011) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
You asked, we answered! In this episode, Jess & Susie take a trip down memory lane — responding to “in retrospect” moments shared by listeners (you!). From a generation named after Jordan Catalano of “My So Called Life” to Brandy and Monica’s faux-feud in “The Boy Is Mine,” here are some moments from the 90s that you can’t stop thinking about. FOR MORE: Meet Generation Catalano (Slate, 2011) Monica on 25 Years of ‘The Boy Is Mine’ (The Hollywood Reporter, 2023) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Exactly 25 years ago, the blockbuster teen comedy “American Pie” launched the term “MILF” into the stratosphere — that is, Mom I’d Like to F*ck. Jennifer Coolidge, who played Stifler’s Mom, is perhaps still the most famous MILF in America. But… where did that term really come from? Jess and Susie uncover the MILF’s true origin story and how it was shaped by the most raunchy teen sex comedy of our time. FOR MORE:  Review: The Road to Manhood, Paved in Raunchy Jokes and Pie (NYT, 1999) American Pie at 20: The Notorious Pie Scene from Every Angle (NYT, 2019)  Don’t Use This Acronym: MILF in the OED (blog post by Laurel Sutton) At the Super Bowl of Linguistics, May the Best Word Win (by Jessica, NYT, reporting from the annual linguistics convention in 2015) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
And what does that even mean? In this episode, Susie and Jess unpack how ageism has been used to diminish women for generations and their own complicated feelings about aging. FOR MORE:  I Refuse the Graceful Slide Into Cultural Irrelevance (by Jessica, NYT) Don Lemon Regrets Calling Nikki Haley ‘Past Her Prime’ (AP) Michelle Yeoh Is Right – A Woman Is Never ‘Past Her Prime’ (The Guardian) E. Jean Carroll and the Audacity of a Woman ‘Past Her Prime’ (by Jessica, NYT) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
What did a generation of strivers learn about what it means to get ahead from “The Devil Wears Prada”? Was Miranda Priestly, the famed and famously demanding fashion editor at the center of the movie – in many ways the original “girlboss” – an aspirational or cautionary figure? In this episode, Susie and Jess revisit the blockbuster 2006 film and talk about their own careers and changing relationships to ambition. GUEST: Samhita Mukhopadhyay, former executive editor at Teen Vogue and author of the upcoming book, The Myth of Making It FOR MORE:  The Devil Wears Prada Oral History (Entertainment Weekly) The Demise of the Girlboss (New York Magazine) The Girlboss Has Left the Building (The Atlantic) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
How do you turn the classic raunchy teen comedy on its head? Emma Seligman, writer and director of the critically acclaimed, lesbian fight club film, “Bottoms,” and the claustrophobic, indie hit, “Shiva Baby,” talks movie-making, her early aughts inspiration, queer representation on screen and how it’s changing. Guest hosted by Sharon Attia, our researcher and associate producer, who also happens to be Emma’s best friend.  GUEST:  Emma Seligman, writer-director of “Bottoms” and “Shiva Baby”  FOR MORE: Watch “Bottoms”  Watch “Shiva Baby”   Why Emma Seligman Decided to Make a Movie About a Queer Fight Club (New Yorker) The Brains Behind the New Comedy, Bottoms (New York Magazine)  See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In part one, Jess and Susie revisited a famous episode of The Golden Girls, in which Blanche mistakes the word “lesbian” for “Lebanese.” (“Not ‘Lebanese,’ Blanche. Lesbian!”) Nearly 40 years later, the IKYKY of calling lesbians “Lebanese” lives on – as does the gay legacy of The Golden Girls. Jess and Susie talk to the originator of that joke about the role that The Golden Girls played – and still plays – in gay culture, as well as how that episode fits into the history of LGBTQ representation on screen. Plus: a lesbian-lebanese surprise! GUESTS: Maya Salam, culture editor at The New York Times Drew Mackie, cohost of Gayest Episode Ever FOR MORE: At Long Last, Lesbian Portrayals On Screen Are More Complex (NYT) Mean Girls’ Janice Ian Was a Lesbian (After Ellen) Thank You for Being a Friend: A Gay Golden Girls History (Frontiers) Blanche’s Brother is a Homo, & More Gay GG Moments (Gayest Episode Ever) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
“Not ‘Lebanese,’ Blanche. Lesbian!” The line originated on The Golden Girls in 1986, after a lesbian friend of Dorothy’s came to visit and Blanche mistook her for “Lebanese.” A decade later, Ellen DeGeneres riffed on that same play on words, coming out as “Lebanese” on the Rosie O’Donnell Show shortly before publicly coming out. “Lebanese” lesbians would go on to appear in Mean Girls, on Glee, and even RuPaul’s Drag Race. In this episode, Jess and Susie get to the bottom of what made that joke so enduring… and talk to an actual Lebanese lesbian about what it meant to her. GUESTS: Maya Salam, culture editor at The New York Times Drew Mackie, cohost of the Gayest Episode Ever podcast FOR MORE: Dorothy’s Friend is a Lesbian (Gayest Episode Ever) The Very Slow Rise of Lesbianism On Screen (Maya Salam, NYT) In 1986, Golden Girls Created the Most Enduring Lesbian Joke on TV (Autostraddle) Blanche’s Brother is a Homo, and More Gay Golden Girls’ Moments (Gayest Episode Ever) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We’re Back!

We’re Back!

2024-01-2601:34

Get ready for more In Retrospect! From the dramatic dethroning of the first Black Miss America to the enduring legacy of four caftan loving Golden Girls, we’ve put together a whole new batch of episodes about the retro pop culture we all love – and love to pick apart. So dig up your leg warmers and break out the Aquanet, season 2 drops next week!See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
loading
Comments (3)

ID25831961

Z. 9xi Xl z

Oct 3rd
Reply (2)