42 episodes

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.

In Retrospect with Susie Banikarim and Jessica Bennett iHeartPodcasts

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 132 Ratings

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.

    Madonna and the Making of a Cultural Icon (Pt 2)

    Madonna and the Making of a Cultural Icon (Pt 2)

    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.

    • 40 min
    Madonna And The MTV Moment (Pt 1)

    Madonna And The MTV Moment (Pt 1)

    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.

    • 47 min
    What is ‘Girl Culture’?

    What is ‘Girl Culture’?

    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.

    • 36 min
    How the Menendez Brothers Became Social Media Stars

    How the Menendez Brothers Became Social Media Stars

    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.

    • 48 min
    Jessica Simpson, Monica Lewinsky, and Other Adventures in Journalism

    Jessica Simpson, Monica Lewinsky, and Other Adventures in Journalism

    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.

    • 40 min
    Vanessa Williams v Miss America: ‘I Won’t Let That Man Destroy Me’ (Pt 2)

    Vanessa Williams v Miss America: ‘I Won’t Let That Man Destroy Me’ (Pt 2)

    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.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
132 Ratings

132 Ratings

NPapaya75 ,

Smart commentary

Perfect for those of a certain age- Gen X/elder millennials to remember, but also helpful for younger generations who might be wondering “how did we get here?”. I love how they put hallmark cultural events in context for the time and then think about the larger impact on culture (at least in the US). Easy to consume multiple episodes in a row!

Amelia3637857 ,

Great for Nostalgia and Learning Something

I love this podcast! I’m learning so much while basking in the nostalgia glow. The hosts have great banter and chemistry. It’s like talking to your old friend. “Remember when THAT happened? I looked it up, and did you KNOW?”

Kari Kaems ,

Loving In Retrospect!

This show is a must listen, especially for anyone who grew up in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. Great to revisit these events from the past in a new way.

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