What Is Cringecore, and Why Is It Everywhere?
In the inaugural episode of The New Yorker’s new culture podcast, the staff writers Vinson Cunningham, Naomi Fry, and Alexandra Schwartz make sense of an emerging trend in the world of television: a new genre of cringe comedy that collapses the gap between reality and artifice in ways that make the viewer deeply uncomfortable. “As a shorthand, I’ve just simply started calling it ‘cringecore,’ ” Schwartz says, referring to shows such as Nathan Fielder’s “Nathan for You” and “The Rehearsal,” and the docuseries “How To with John Wilson.” What defines these projects, and what draws viewers to them? One theory: at a time when so many of our preferences, relationships, and experiences are mediated by algorithm, these shows reflect a deep skepticism of reality itself. “I feel that reality in our culture is like the last undiscovered tribe of the Amazon,” Schwartz says. “We’ll never make contact with it again.”
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