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Critics at Large | The New Yorker

The New Yorker

Critics at Large is a weekly culture podcast from The New Yorker. Every Thursday, the staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz discuss current obsessions, classic texts they’re revisiting with fresh eyes, and trends that are emerging across books, television, film, and more. The show runs the gamut of the arts and pop culture, with lively, surprising conversations about everything from Salman Rushdie to “The Real Housewives.” Through rigorous analysis and behind-the-scenes insights into The New Yorker’s reporting, the magazine’s critics help listeners make sense of our moment—and how we got here.

Condé Nast 2023

Critics at Large is a weekly culture podcast from The New Yorker. Every Thursday, the staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz discuss current obsessions, classic texts they’re revisiting with fresh eyes, and trends that are emerging across books, television, film, and more. The show runs the gamut of the arts and pop culture, with lively, surprising conversations about everything from Salman Rushdie to “The Real Housewives.” Through rigorous analysis and behind-the-scenes insights into The New Yorker’s reporting, the magazine’s critics help listeners make sense of our moment—and how we got here.

Condé Nast 2023

Is “The Golden Bachelor” Too Good to Be True?

Thumbnail for "Is “The Golden Bachelor” Too Good to Be True?".
November 16, 202343min 42sec

Reality television is all about artifice, and contestants on “The Bachelor” often seem more interested in becoming influencers than in finding a spouse—but “The Golden Bachelor,” a new spinoff starring a seventy-two-year-old widower named Gerry, has been hailed for its surprising sincerity. On this episode of Critics at Large, the staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz discuss how the show eschews—and, at times, reinforces—the tropes that have polarized viewers of the ABC franchise, and what a genre known for its phoniness can reveal about actual human emotions and experiences. The hosts consider other depictions of sex and romance at this stage of life, including Philip Roth’s memorable rendering of an older man’s libido in “The Dying Animal” and HBO’s “And Just Like That . . . ,” a rare look at older women’s erotic prospects. Then, they take a step back to examine how series like “The Bachelor” have shaped our conception of love stories writ large. “The Golden Bachelor” ’s insistence on the vitality of its contestants can feel like a step forward, but what does it mean that the show is so fixated on what Schwartz calls “a second teen-agerdom”? “The boomers set a model for what it is to be young that persists for all the generations that have followed,” she says. “Now here they are again, saying, ‘We’re here; yes, we’re older; and we want to get old in our own way.’ ”

New episodes drop every Thursday. Follow Critics at Large wherever you get your podcasts.