38 episodes

Spectacle is a series that analyzes the cultural and societal implications of your guilty pleasures. From reality TV to true crime, Spectacle simultaneously celebrates and critiques the media, people and places that define us.

SEASON 2: Las Vegas
It's a city that has defined popular culture. An oasis in the desert, a mirage — a playground for adults replete with casinos, showgirls, and all-you-can-eat buffets. But how did Vegas become “Sin City”? From the genesis of shotgun weddings, to film portrayals of the mob-era, to the social engineering behind mega-casinos…season 2 of Spectacle explores the fabulous, the incorrigible, Las Vegas.

SEASON 1: Reality TV
Reality TV is dismissed as guilty pleasure, low brow... even trash. But whether you want to admit it or not, you probably have heard of Snooki, Lisa Vanderpump or Kim Kardashian. Over the past 30 years, reality TV has become a place to see the social and political moment play out in real time -- from racial tensions on The Real World New York to gender dynamics on The Bachelor. On this season, join host Mariah Smith as she dissects the history of the genre one show at a time, revealing how it's shaped our culture and how our culture shaped it.

Spectacle: Las Vegas Spectacle

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 35 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

Spectacle is a series that analyzes the cultural and societal implications of your guilty pleasures. From reality TV to true crime, Spectacle simultaneously celebrates and critiques the media, people and places that define us.

SEASON 2: Las Vegas
It's a city that has defined popular culture. An oasis in the desert, a mirage — a playground for adults replete with casinos, showgirls, and all-you-can-eat buffets. But how did Vegas become “Sin City”? From the genesis of shotgun weddings, to film portrayals of the mob-era, to the social engineering behind mega-casinos…season 2 of Spectacle explores the fabulous, the incorrigible, Las Vegas.

SEASON 1: Reality TV
Reality TV is dismissed as guilty pleasure, low brow... even trash. But whether you want to admit it or not, you probably have heard of Snooki, Lisa Vanderpump or Kim Kardashian. Over the past 30 years, reality TV has become a place to see the social and political moment play out in real time -- from racial tensions on The Real World New York to gender dynamics on The Bachelor. On this season, join host Mariah Smith as she dissects the history of the genre one show at a time, revealing how it's shaped our culture and how our culture shaped it.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    E1: The American Sideshow

    E1: The American Sideshow

    Spectacle is back with a new season and this time the spectacle isn’t reality TV it's a place. it’s had many names over the years: Sin City, City of Lights, Glitter Gulch. In this season of Spectacle, we’re going to dive deep into all there is to know about the fabulous, the incorrigible… Las Vegas. In our first episode, Host Brent Holmes connects with magician and Vegas headliner, Penn Jillette. Performing off Broadway in NYC, Penn thought of the desert city as a place entertainers went to die. But after an encounter with Dean Martin, Penn had his ass kicked “artistically" -- and never looked back. 
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    • 30 min
    Spectacle Extra: Penn Jillette

    Spectacle Extra: Penn Jillette

    An extended interview with Penn Jillette, the world class magician and performer.

    E2: The Capital of Fast Love

    E2: The Capital of Fast Love

    In the final scene of Viva Las Vegas, Elvis and Ann Margaret stand in front of a wood-framed chapel, happily married, running out into the street as the credits roll. Nearly 60 years later, you can get married at that very same church -- by Elvis. Well, a fake Elvis. Numerous spur of the moment nuptials would solidify Las Vegas as the capital of fast love. Known for the quickie wedding and... the quickie divorce. Did you know Ria Gable (Clark Gable's ex) escaped to a Nevada divorce ranch? Or that divorce ranches were even a thing? That's what this episode is all about: How Vegas revolutionized marriage and – in the process – launched a two billion dollar industry.




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    • 30 min
    Spectacle Extra: Tierney Finster

    Spectacle Extra: Tierney Finster

    Writer and critic Tierney Finster discusses marriage, divorce, and the Las Vegas Strip.

    E3: Scorsese's Casino and the Mob in Vegas

    E3: Scorsese's Casino and the Mob in Vegas

    Las Vegas, through the eyes of Martin Scorsese, is where you went to be legit. It's where a criminal could operate out in the open. Dark alleys and dimly lit rooms were traded for c-suite offices. In Vegas, you could make real money. Casino was the perfect vehicle to show how the mobster went mainstream – in Vegas – and in our culture. In this episode, we’ll dive into the tropes of the film. And how, to this day, the problematic backstory of Vegas is celebrated – even though, you know, it came through stealing tax dollars and, you know, murder. Host Brent Holmes will explore what our romance with mobsters says about us.
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    • 40 min
    Spectacle Extra: Geoff Schumacher

    Spectacle Extra: Geoff Schumacher

    The vice president of exhibits and programs for the Mob Museum Geoff Schumacher, talks about how mob movies depict organized crime and the history of the mob in Vegas.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
35 Ratings

35 Ratings

Lololo0424 ,

Fascinating with great delivery!

This podcast is SO GOOD! And so different - what an in depth and intelligent analysis of reality tv! I love love love! I’m gonna need same host and producers to produce more pods after this! I’m hooked!

Mynicknameistaken33 ,

More addictive than reality TV

I don’t love reality TV but this podcast was advertised on a podcast I love so here I am. I listened to episode 1 and now I’m listening to episode 2 and I’m hooked. This show is wonderfully investigated and incredibly relevant. Mariah has the ability to throw water on the dumpster-fire and investigates how we got here. Is there a Pulitzer for podcasts?Because I nominate this one.

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