Episode 254: Showgirls

Special Guests: Rena Riffel, Jessica Flowers, David Schmader, Adam Nayman
Guest Co-Hosts: Heather Drain, Jay Bauman

Hey darlin's, was Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls just awful dreck from the pen of or a subversive masterpiece about the subjugation of women?

Guest co-hosts Dangerous Minds' Heather Drain and Red Letter Media's Jay Bauman debate the topic with Mike. Our guests include the writer/director/star of Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven, Rena Riffel, the author of It Doesn't Suck: Showgirls, Adam Nayman, the provider of the Showgirls commentary track, David Schmader, and former exotic dancer, Jessica Flowers.

Put on your Ver-sayce, get yourself iced up, and prepare to be thrust into the world of Showgirls!

Download Episode Now:

Or, listen to the episode here:

Buy Showgirls on Blu-Ray
Buy Showgirls 2: Penny's From Heaven on DVD
Buy Showgirls 2: The Cut
Buy Trasharella on DVD
Buy It Doesn't Suck: Showgirls by Adam Nayman
Buy Weed: A User's Guide by David Schmader
Buy Showgirls: Portrait of a Film by Paul Veroeven
Buy Hollywood Animal by Joe Eszterhas
Visit the Showgirls! The Musical website
Read Showgirls is a Good Movie by Haley Mlotek
Read Paul Verhoeven on the Greatest Stripper Movie Ever Made by Jennifer Wood
Read The Real Reason Elizabeth Berkley Was So Over-The-Top In Showgirls by Brent McKnight
Find out more about Jessica Flowers
Learn more about Heather Drain
Visit Red Letter Media

"Private Dancer" - Tina Turner
"You're A Whore, Darlin'" - Showgirls! The Musical
"D*ncin' ain't F*ckin'" - Showgirls! The Musical
"Deep Kiss" - Rena Riffel
"I'm Afraid of Americans" - David Bowie



  1. Eszterhas's book has so many great stories about this. Best one was when he and his wife first met Elizabeth Berkley and were horrified by what a clueless bimbo she was.

    Apparently 'Nomi' was the nickname Joe had for his wife, so when the movie came out he couldn't being himself use that name anymore.

    1. One thing that I wanted to bring up on the show but forgot is that NOMI is also an abbreviation that police use for "NO MIDDLE INITIAL". Sounds like something that Polly-Ann might have read on her own rap sheet.

  2. This was a reassuring listen, as I too consider SHOWGIRLS one of Verhoeven's lesser (and less interesting) films. Love ROBOCOP, STARSHIP TROOPERS & especially THE 4TH MAN.

    What baffles me about Verhoeven's sincere belief that this is a significant film - and even his unironic assertion that ROBOCOP is a Christ parable is that...

    Ok. My favorite Verhoeven film, the long out of print Dutch film THE 4TH MAN, has a great commentary track where he talks about T4M being his first film to be loaded with symbolism & metaphor... as a LARK! Pompous Dutch critics had criticized his prior Dutch films as lacking subtext, being unchallenging social realism. So he makes THE 4TH MAN as an erotic thriller loaded with absurd levels of the most over-the-top & confrontational symbolism (Christianity, male bisexuality & castration fears, a veritable smorgasborg of over the top "subtext" as an ironic riposte to his critics).

    T4M, however, ends up being embraced by Dutch critics impressed by all its layers and becomes his biggest hit on the international film circuit, gaining Hollywood's attention. His prankish intellectualism is perceived by his pompous former-detractors as a filmmaker who's "matured."

    After listening to commentary for this film, it's so bizarre for me to hear him talk about his apparently sincere efforts to make SHOWGIRLS... whatever he was trying to make it about.

    Between THE 4TH MAN and SHOWGIRLS, Paul Verhoeven started taking himself too seriously. THE 4TH MAN is a film that employed subtext with irony, and ended up being a brilliant film that was taken seriously. SHOWGIRLS, on the other hand, is a film that's apparently intended to be serious but results in a film that cannot be taken seriously (as drama OR satire!).

    He regained his mischevious spark with STARSHIP TROOPERS. Then the self-serious HOLLOW MAN flounders...

    It just baffles me the way Verhoeven's career has vacillated between razor-sharp perceptiveness & aloof cluelessness. Subversive Mischievious Wit to Unironic Grand Statements.

    I wish more Verhoeven fans have seen THE 4TH MAN. It must be seen by anyone attempting to contextualize his filmography.

    Basic Instinct is largely a Hollywoodized retread of THE 4TH MAN, whose sexual politics work much better as a Dutch arthouse thriller. His Dutch films deal with sexual perversion in a subversive, complex & queer-friendly way that seems to be lost in translation w/ his "erotic" Hollywood films. (Also a great leading performance by Jeroem Krabbe, best known to American audiences as the corrupt Dr. Nichols in 1993's THE FUGITIVE. He's much more of a pervert than Sharon Stone in BASIC INSTINCT, but it never comes off as homophobic.)

    In summation, not a very graceful rant, but I've been waiting for the right comments section to chaotically explore THE 4TH MAN in! (If only my thoughts were as structured as The Foreign Viewer's.)

    Keep up the great work, Rondo-nominated Mr. White! :)

    J.P. the Arizona viewer

  3. listened to this because of Jay Bauman whom i respect. After 183 mins learned absolutely nothing of interest or consequence. Unfocused clap-trappers in love with the sound of their own voices.

    1. Hey Anonymous! Thanks for giving us a shot. Sorry it's not your cup of tea!