As host Kate Kennedy puts it, her show is the longest and most existential take on pop culture and the millennial zeitgeist. “Be There In Five” is an exploration of the many facets of popular culture, covering anything from new music, to celebrities, influencers, and social media. Kennedy’s main focus, though, would have to be her reexamination of ’90s and early 2000s culture as a full-grown adult, finding humor in the madness that was the early millennial landscape.
“Be There In Five” has nearly a cult-following: you can listen to Kennedy’s 200+ episodes in any order, although they tend to skew towards current events. And remember that thing earlier about “Be There In Five” being the longest and most existential take on culture? Yeah, each episode is a solid two hours and change, but this long form content only lets Kennedy dive deeper into her subjects and into her own life.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic thrust us into quarantine, we’ve had a few Renaissances crop up from all of that alone time. From the Twilight saga (the movies, mainly), the fight to end Britney Spears’ conservatorship, and even Taylor Swift’s discography, “Be There In Five” has had all of these throwbacks on lock since lockdown.
Especially poignant in the first episode of her two-part series on Taylor Swift’s re-release of Red is her theme of reclaiming the shame women were dealt in decades prior. At the top of the episode she says, “I think about pop culture in the context of how it’s taught women to self surveil [because] we see other women torn apart all the time. And I think we take those lessons in our life about how we should behave and we tamper our feelings as a result so we don’t get ridiculed in the way we see famous women ridiculed, as if that was ever okay.”
This, of course, was in relation to Swift being labeled as a woman jumping from man to man, writing petty songs about exes, as women were told she was a teenager who doesn’t know what she’s talking about, or an evil woman throwing men away. Seriously, Kennedy reads off the strangest 2012 article title from a DailyMail or TMZ-esque publication about Swift’s music. And along with the reclamation of her music, Kennedy is reclaiming her love for Swift’s music. And in the end, that’s what “Be There In Five” is a celebration of. It’s a celebration of all of things that women were told to be ashamed of loving: from American Girl dolls, to Twilight, to Gilmore Girls, to Mary-Kate and Ashley, and basically anything else you can think of as being labeled as shamefully feminine.
“Be There In Five” is a diary of sorts, a weekly, long-form dive into current pop culture, past pop culture, and whatever Kennedy is going through that week. She shares listener stories, dives deep into controversies like Rachel Hollis and MLMs, and reflects on how her world is changing. It’s light-hearted yet deep, casual but immensely thoughtful. Turning on “Be There In Five” will have you not even noticing that the past two hours just flew by.