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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
27hr 52min
Thumbnail for "“Curb Your Enthusiasm” and the Art of the Finale".
Thumbnail for "Is Travel Broken?".
Thumbnail for "The Many Faces of the Hit Man".
Thumbnail for "The Rising Tide of Slowness".
Thumbnail for "The New Midlife Crisis".
Thumbnail for "Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and the Benefits of Beef".
Thumbnail for "Our Collective Obsession with True Crime".
Thumbnail for "Why the Sports Movie Always Wins".
Thumbnail for "“Civil War” ’s Unsettling Images".
Thumbnail for "Why We Want What Tom Ripley Has".
Thumbnail for "Kate Middleton and the Internet’s Communal Fictions".
Thumbnail for "Is Science Fiction the New Realism?".
Thumbnail for "The New Coming-of-Age Story".
Thumbnail for "Why We Love an Office Drama ".
Thumbnail for "The Politics of the Oscar Race".
Thumbnail for "How Usher, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift Build Their Own Legacies".
Thumbnail for "The Painful Pleasure of “Wretched Love”".
Thumbnail for "Why We Can’t Quit the Mean Girl".
Thumbnail for "From In the Dark: The Runaway Princesses".
Thumbnail for "What Is the Comic For?".
Thumbnail for "The Case for Criticism".
Thumbnail for "Can Slowness Save Us?".
Thumbnail for "Portraits of the Artist".
Thumbnail for "From The New Yorker Radio Hour: a Conversation with Dolly Parton".
Thumbnail for "The Year of the Doll".
Thumbnail for "George Santos and the Art of the Scam".
he ex-congressman has already pivoted from politics to pop culture—and become the latest beneficiary of America’s enduring fascination with con artists. Are we the ones being duped?
Thumbnail for "Hayao Miyazaki’s Magical Realms".
The Japanese filmmaker behind “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Spirited Away” is renowned for stories about resourceful children navigating surreal, often perilous circumstances. In “The Boy and the Heron,” the eighty-two-year-old makes a rare return to his own youth.
Thumbnail for "The Past, Present, and Future of the Period Drama".
“The Buccaneers,” a new television series based on the Edith Wharton novel of the same name, is the latest in a string of shows to mix a historical setting and a distinctly modern sensibility. Are the updates revelatory, or pandering?
Thumbnail for "Samantha Irby Knows How to Be Funny".
Samantha Irby Knows How to Be Funny
Thumbnail for "Is “The Golden Bachelor” Too Good to Be True?".
Is “The Golden Bachelor” Too Good to Be True?
Thumbnail for "Why We Dine Out (or Don’t)".
Why We Dine Out (or Don’t)
Thumbnail for "Britney Spears Tells Her Horror Story".
Britney Spears Tells Her Horror Story
Thumbnail for "Martin Scorsese’s America".
Martin Scorsese’s America
Thumbnail for "Are Straight Couples O.K.?".
Are Straight Couples O.K.?
Thumbnail for "Spies, Sex, and John le Carré".
Spies, Sex, and John le Carré
Thumbnail for "Taylor Swift Is Everywhere All at Once".
Taylor Swift Is Everywhere All at Once
Thumbnail for "The Myth-Making of Elon Musk".
The Myth-Making of Elon Musk
Thumbnail for "What Is Cringecore, and Why Is It Everywhere?".
What Is Cringecore, and Why Is It Everywhere?
Thumbnail for "Introducing: Critics at Large".
On a new culture podcast, The New Yorker’s critics take on some of the defining texts of our era, from Rushdie to “The Real Housewives.”

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” and the Art of the Finale

Thumbnail for "“Curb Your Enthusiasm” and the Art of the Finale".
April 11, 202444min 33sec

Since the turn of the millennium, HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has slyly satirized the ins and outs of social interaction. The series—which follows a fictionalized version of its creator and star, Larry David, as he gets into petty disputes with anyone and everyone who crosses his path—aired its last episode on Sunday, marking the end of a twelve-season run. On this episode of Critics at Large, the staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz discuss the show’s “weirdly moving” conclusion as well as its over-all legacy. Then they consider other notable TV endings: some divisive (“Sex and the City”), some critically acclaimed (“Succession”), some infamously rage-inspiring (“Game of Thrones”). What are the moral and narrative stakes of a finale, and why do we subject these episodes—which represent only a tiny fraction of the work as a whole—to such crushing analytic pressure? “This idea of an ending ruining the show is alien to me,” Cunningham says. “I won’t contest that endings are different—distinct. Are they better? I don’t know.”

Read, watch, and listen with the critics:

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (2000-24)

“Seinfeld” (1989-98)

“Sex and the City” (1998-2004)

“Succession” (2018-23)

“The Hills” (2006-10)

“Game of Thrones” (2011-19)

“Breaking Bad” (2008-13) 

Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott