‘Banalities, absurdities and self-aggrandising Californian platitudes’: Critics don’t hold back in their reviews of Meghan Markle’s first Archetypes podcast with Serena Williams
Meghan Markle’s new Spotify podcast has been slammed by critics who said it was ‘almost entirely preposterous’ and ‘just another way she can talk about herself’.
The Duchess of Sussex released her long-awaited Archetypes podcast yesterday in the form of a conversation with her close friend, tennis great Serena Williams.
But Celia Walden in the Telegraph said it was ‘an interview with this inspirational sporting figure in name only’, and that Meghan was ‘interviewing herself’.
She also said the Duchess was the sort of person ‘who hijacks every distressing anecdote with one of their own – only theirs is longer drawn-out, more distressing’.
The Spectator’s columnist Steerpike said it was ‘hard to believe that it took 28 people, including eight executive producers, to make the episode – plus Meghan’.
The review added that tennis enthusiasts who listen to the podcast to hear from Williams ‘might be a bit disappointed’ because it ‘is in fact all about Meghan’.
And James Marriott in The Times described it as a ‘tastefully soundtracked parade of banalities, absurdities and self-aggrandising Californian platitudes’.
His one-star review said the podcast will ‘make you feel you’ve been locked in the relaxation room of a wellness spa with an unusually self-involved yoga instructor’.
But in The Independent, Clémence Michallon told how the podcast made it clear that Meghan ‘made the right decision when she cut and ran’ from the Royal Family.
She said the story about how Meghan had to carry on with her duties after her son Archie narrowly escaped a fire in his room must have been ‘uniquely infuriating’.
Here, read some excerpts of some of the reviews of Meghan’s new podcast:
A photograph of Meghan Markle issued with the first episode of her ‘Archetypes’ podcast
JAMES MARRIOTT – THE TIMES
Meghan Markle’s Archetypes podcast review — almost entirely preposterous
- ‘The Duchess of Sussex’s almost entirely preposterous new podcast Archetypes promises to ‘rip apart the boxes women have been placed into for generations’. On the evidence of the first episode – an interview with Serena Williams – it won’t really do this at all.’
- ‘The podcast is a tastefully soundtracked parade of banalities, absurdities and self-aggrandising Californian platitudes. The effect of all the tinkly music and vapid conversation is to make you feel you’ve been locked in the relaxation room of a wellness spa with an unusually self-involved yoga instructor.’
- ‘Even those sympathetic to Meghan’s plight (and I had once thought I might be one of those people) will find that the full hour of an episode of Archetypes will put them in an unusually grumpy mood.’
CELIA WALDEN – DAILY TELEGRAPH
Meghan’s podcast is just another way she can talk about herself
- ‘The podcast is an interview with this inspirational sporting figure in name only. If the rest of the season is anything like the premiere, what we’re really going to be listening into week after week is Meghan interviewing herself.’
- ‘Even the anecdote about how Meghan first met her supposed interviewee – at a 2010 Super Bowl party – is somehow turned into self-aggrandisement. Spotting Serena heading towards someone, Meghan wondered who on earth could have sparked this special woman’s interest, and – oh, my goodness! – it was her.’
- ‘Every woman has had a girlfriend like Meghan: the one who turns every confidence back to them and hijacks every distressing anecdote with one of their own – only theirs is longer drawn-out, more distressing.’
STEERPIKE – THE SPECTATOR
Meghan’s Archetypes podcast is really all about her
- ‘Harry has been shoved into the background, natch, so that Meghan can concentrate on talking about herself – sorry, Mr S meant to say, ‘on the labels that try to hold women back.’ Labels don’t try to do anything, of course, they are labels. But we should never let common sense get in the way of rich women talking about female empowerment.’
- ‘The first guest is Serena Williams, but tennis enthusiasts who tune in might be a bit disappointed. The show is in fact all about Meghan, since it takes 11 minutes for Serena to barely get a word in edgeways.’
- ‘It’s hard to believe that it took 28 people, including eight executive producers, to make the episode – plus Meghan herself, who is also listed as an ‘executive producer’ in the credits.’
CLEMENCE MICHALLON – THE INDEPENDENT
The royal family isn’t working for anyone — even the royals
- ‘I have never found it hard to understand why Markle and her husband chose to resign from their duties as royals, but if I did, this story [about Archie and the fire] would probably bring me some clarity.
- ‘There is something so relatably frustrating about that situation. Being confronted with a problem that could easily be solved with a little bit of pragmatism (they could have released a statement explaining what had happened and pushed back official engagements until the next day) and being told it can’t be for completely amorphous reasons (optics, stiff upper lip, ‘it’s not the way things are done around here’) is uniquely infuriating.
- ‘The more I hear about the royal family these days, the more it seems clear that the monarchy isn’t working for anyone – including the royals themselves. And from what we’ve heard on her podcast, it’s clear Markle made the right decision when she cut and ran.’
HILARY ROSE – THE TIMES
Meghan’s podcast: an insight about her private life? Yes, another one
- ‘In hindsight, I should have beaten myself unconscious an hour ago with a copy of Finding Freedom. Instead, I’ve listened to 57 minutes and 28 seconds of Meghan Markle’s syrupy California drawl, while rocking back and forth and moaning softly under my breath.’
- ‘It seems to be an allegory of all the many ways in which she, a fierce, strong, brave woman was wronged and traduced in the ten minutes she lived in the UK and was fêted as the best thing to happen to the royal family in years. Her podcast is pure, narcissistic gibberish and next week she’s ‘in conversation’ with Mariah Carey. Shoot me now.’
- ‘One of the things I admire about British sensibility is a desire to prick people’s balloon heads when they get too big, which I don’t think is a bad thing. The thing for me is ambition is only worth celebrating if what you’re being ambitious is worthwhile.’
- ‘The problem with Meghan Markle and other celebrities or royals, very kind of powerful professional women, talking, whining I think, about the fact that it’s so hard when all you’re doing is trying to be ambitious is that it comes across I think to your average woman – maybe the ladies who are watching this morning trying to get the kids ready to go out, or hoovering the sitting room, or off to their job – as just the kind of professional middle class feminism, whining about not being celebrated enough.’
KINSEY SCHOFIELD – GB NEWS
- ‘Outside looking in, there’s an ulterior motive here with this podcast and that’s settling scores.
- ‘With this episode, you kind of see her go after Tom Bower, responding to his claim that she’s ambitious and scheming. The book also say that Serena Williams told a media contact they weren’t necessarily good friends and he also questions her Procter and Gamble story. She goes into all those things in the very first episode in her podcast, I think that those might be related.’
BEL MOONEY – DAILY MAIL
Giggling, gushing – and old grievances
- ‘This bizarre, saccharine and faintly queasy schmooze-fest between Meghan and ‘my dear friend Serena’ (as we hear over and over again) tells us next to nothing at all about the making of Serena Williams’s towering ambition.’
- ‘This podcast is yet another example of the inescapable truth that Britain and the USA are two nations divided by a common language. No British broadcaster would sanction the almost incomprehensible giggling and gushing between Meghan and her guest that excludes the listener from any real understanding or intimacy.’
- ‘Instead of treating the podcast interview (she calls it a ‘chat’) with Serena seriously, Meghan uses it as a vehicle to air her old grievances – the kind of gossipy, headline-making stuff that will make the Spotify execs sigh with relief that their investment in the duchess has delivered.’
ANGELA LEVIN – MAILONLINE
- ‘She would still be a D-list celebrity if she had not married a prince. She aligns herself with them [Serena Williams and next podcast guest Mariah Carey], but they have done brilliantly and overcome difficult childhood, whereas she has married a prince and spent a lot of money.’
- ‘She thought it was normal to be ambitious and only when she started dating Harry did she realise that it was not welcomed. My goodness, that is a smack at Harry and a punch to the Royal Family. Harry told her about life in the Royal Family, but she obviously did not want to listen.’
- ‘Why is everything so hard for her? Because she won’t accept where she is and make the best of it. She has had a nanny when most could not. She has said will see the real her, well she needs to justify the ambition claim she is making.’
RICHARD FITZWILLIAMS – MAILONLINE
- ‘She undoubtedly feels she has been singled out. The interview was about The Misconception of Ambition, but the implication here is that after she dated Harry she feels she was picked on. She was ambitious beforehand and did well in Suits but that is not top league television.’
- ‘There is surely nothing wrong in being ambitious and being royal, in fact the role positively encourages a member of the royal family to be ambitious to help those in need. Diana was very ambitious, her charitable work and her public profile were synonymous, ultimately fatefully so, but she did immense good.’
- ‘This is a very negative view of women, we all know they have been breaking the glass ceiling for many years now. Her podcast, with a fascinating guest famous for her ambition on the tennis court, totally ignores this.’