Open Thread for January 22, 2010

Overthinking It celebrates two glorious years of subjecting pop culture to a level of scrutiny it probably doesn’t deserve.

Good morning, Overthinkers!

Only one news story worth reporting on in the world of pop culture: the two-year anniversary of a little site called Overthinking It. Wow. Two years already. It feels like only yesterday we were asking, “Does pop culture deserve this level of scrutiny?” Thankfully, we’ve never received an answer.

Question: visit the Authors Page or dive deep into our archives. Tell us what you’ve liked from the last two years. Tell us what you’d like us to revisit. Tell us what you’d like to see more of.

And while we’re at it, tell us what you want changed about the site. More Excel charts? More product placement in the podcasts? More visits by our goofy upstairs neighbor Laronté? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

(oh, and news happened this week, too; you can talk about that)

14 Comments on “Open Thread for January 22, 2010”

  1. Hazbaz #

    Hello Guys,
    I love Overthinkingit, and would really like to buy stuff from you, but I’m not really a T-Shirt guy. Have you thought about other things to sell? Maybe gather some of the articles together into a Print-on-Demand book? Or Downloadable MST3K style “Overthink-along-with” MP3s for movies?


  2. Gab #

    Here’s an idea, for those of us (namely me- I’m a selfish prat) without Twitter accounts: I think at some point, you real-time documented the group reactions to something you watched “together” via Skype. Do that again. Then include the more in-depth discussion from after. And the themed weeks are always made of awesome. When does that new _Tron_ come out? A _Tron_ week would be sweet.

    Heidi Montag was on the cover of some magazine, proclaiming a plastic surgery addiction. Not surprised she’d get surgery, but addiction? Really? Trying to equate herself with Micheal Jackson was kind of a stretch for me…

    Oh, and Conan gets a $32.5M settlement and can start working in September, but NBC claims they own anything he created while with them. I’m feeling worse and worse for the guy, and my opinion of him as a person keeps rising (since he’s also paying coworkers that moved with him to L.A. compensation monies out of his own pocket).

    I just saw this morning that the Supreme Court gave a really big blow to campaign finance reform. My way of contriving this into being “pop” culture is as follows: Campaign finance reform is always a huge talking point for politicians, no matter what side of the aisle they’re on. It was a big thing for Obama, the basic promise he made being that under his watch, campaign finance reform would be a top priority and there will be less shady practices during elections. He’s a pop culture icon, being President (as any President is- his rockstar hype only made him *more* iconic, but that’s another topic). So, this ruling will have an impact on the overall “effectiveness” of his presidency- even though he, technically (and, well, legally) can’t influence Supreme Court decisions directly (as in he doesn’t have a vote), similarly to how presidents are often given credit (good or bad) for what happens in Congress, I wonder what the general population is going to wind up thinking about him because of the decision. My opinion on the Supreme Court’s ruling in itself isn’t the thing I’m aiming at, but rather how this will impact Obama’s image. To foster more discussion, I’ll hold my own thoughts back (and also since I realize politics bores/ disheartens a lot of people, too- I’m not *that* selfish, am I?) (And I realize that was a lot of pontificating, but I find the discourse here more intelligent than other places- a reason I constantly come back, btw- and would like to know if other people even knew about this and, further, what they think.)


  3. Lara #

    Congratulations OTI! Speaking of merch… I *am* a t-shirt person, but none of your current designs do much for me… may I suggest that you do some simple ones perhaps? Such as one that says “Overthinker” on the front, or maybe with some kind of OTI logo? :)


  4. Lara #

    Hey, you know what could be really cool? (Cool enough for me to come back and double post anyway :P )

    A Wikipedia Brown shirt.

    Great potential right there… and probably also in many of the things that were funny enough to become podcast titles. :)


  5. perich OTI Staff #

    @Hazbaz: “Or Downloadable MST3K style “Overthink-along-with” MP3s for movies?”

    It’s like you read our minds. :) Stay logged on; we’ll be with you very soon.


  6. Trevor #

    Congrats on two years, OTI – for internet humor sites, two years is like twenty compared to the real world (before the inevitable slide into tits-and-ass humor, Tucker Max-esque self-importance, or being sold to News Corps as part of the ever-expanding “Glenn Back Mindfreak” empire). I say this because of all the sites I’ve been associated with as a contributor, most seem to fold soon after I start getting published there with any regularity…not that that will happen here…….

    Anyway, I watched the Coco Goodbye Show, and I was struck by how, at the very end, Conan had to put aside his differences with the network whose name will never be mentioned again (unless it’s the Thursday night comedy block) and admit that his was a glorious unpredictable ride, one that might be ending under less-than-stellar circumstances but which was worth all of it (the pain and the bullshit, plus the hilarious moments). In the end, it’s not that Leno is the bad guy here, it’s the network; they mismanaged the situation by not being able to choose between the two (the seeds for this were sown five years ago, when this Faustian agreement to give Conan the Tonight Show but somehow keep Jay on the air was struck). Nothing but cunts indeed, Mr. Sandler…


  7. cornflakes #

    There are really plenty of gems in the archives, it’d be nice to be able to comment on the older articles – either to add something to the discussion or just to say “brilliant article, dude”.

    As a Sociology student, I really enjoyed the articles on feminism and Marxism, they were a really fun companion to an occasionally dry subject.

    I also enjoyed the BTTF theme week – in fact that’s how I originally got to OTI. It’d be cool to have another one of those theme weeks on a major franchise that probably doesn’t deserve the scrutiny…. for example Star Wars probably has tons of potential to be overthought.


  8. cat #

    Overthinking It was mentioned in my class today as “6 Reasons Avatar Sucks” was brought up as the most recent film critique I had read during our discussion of writing and criticism. In a way this puts OTI on the same level of Bram Stoker, Shakespeare, and Matthew Goulish who were also discussed. (And yes, I am fully aware of how you feel about “in a way” when I type that.) :)

    There will never be enough overthinking in the world. Thanks for contributing your time and brainpower to the cause.


  9. Matthew Wrather #

    That’s mostly a spam prevention thing — 99% of comments posts on posts older than 3 weeks are ads for FREE \/1@GRa.


  10. Miss Nomer #

    I agree that the theme weeks are AWESOME. I’d love to see a Burn Notice, or Chuck, or even Iron Man week. Or just more articles about them.

    Also, Dan the Ostrimu should guest post. Overthinking Craigslist! :D

    Thank you for giving me someplace SMART to come.


  11. Matthew Wrather #

    You know, the cool thing about Burn Noticefor me—I was remarking on this on the editors’ list w/r/t a guest article submission the other day—is the way they solve what I’ll call the X-Files Problem, which is the balance of serialized and episodic aspects of a TV show.

    Think of X-Files. Everyone remembers the smoking man, right? But how many of the monster-of-the-week episodes really stick out for you? (OK, there was this one where an evil computer started killing people. That was fun. But not particularly supernatural.)

    One of the problems with Dollhouse is that it didn’t solve this problem. It seemed like the Dushku-of-the-week episodes had very, very little to do with the larger mythology.

    Burn Notice, IMO, nails it. There’s enough serialized drama to keep you interested—I’m often annoyed that it’s only a touch here and there, usu. at the beginning and end of episodes, but I concede that they do leave me wanting more, which is probably good for keeping me hooked—and the mission of the week, though it doesn’t bear on the mythology plot-wise, seems at least to take place in the same universe and is often clever and entertaining.

    This is, I think, the right balance, and as more and more shows move into dozen-episode seasons (as opposed to the 22-25 that used to be the norm) with longer story arcs on the model of The Sopranos, is an object lesson at least for people interested in the narratology of prime time television.


  12. Sillyweasel #

    I am a t-shirt person, actually because I am so incredibly poor, it’s pretty much the highest compliment I can give to anyone to not only buy something from them, but to then advertise it on my chest. However, there’s that incredibly poor thing again, so I rarely have the chance to buy things,… and well, I’m a cartoon junkie. So really the only idea I have towards t-shirts would be to give the site some kind of icon, a distinct logo or even just a mascot or something. I like the shirts you have now, however they’re mostly just,… well humorous and less iconic of the website they come from. When I buy something I like, I still have the mentality of “If someone else likes this, they’ll talk to me and instant conversation topic, yay.” or “Someone will ask me about what’s on my chest and then I can infect someone else with this horrible curse/gift and look, another conversation topic.”
    I like talking, especially about things I like very much and would like to support so I can see more of.

    As for the topics of the site itself, this may sound a little odd but I’ll take learning in any form I can get it, and so even with the humor mixed into everything, I actually attempt to learns t3h smarts from what is written. I read everything (that wouldn’t spoil me for not having seen it yet anyhow) on the site. I’ve actually gone back and read the old posts to I THINK nearly the beginning, though it’s a bit hard to do that. (An archives section, perhaps by month/catagory/etc would be nice. Hitting the older button over and over gets a bit tedious.)
    Uhm,… damnit getting distracted,…. OH, yes, I’d say my favorite articles are those which through popular culture actually if not teach me much, inspire me to look into things I didn’t know about before, or had forgotten to try to internet learn about. (One day I’ll figure out that college thing and will be happy as pixie stix covered weasels on a whiskey binge.)
    … I hope that made sense, my brain is doing it’s fuzzy, hyper, easily distracted thing today and,…
    wait,.. I was totally watching Heroes and got distracted from that to do this,….

    ::cough:: In summary, give the t-shirts/site itself an icon of some sort to identify with, archives for the backlogs, continue to inspire me to stuff my brain with information I have yet to get from schooling, and just plain keep doing what you’re already doing. You guys make my day all the time.
    OH and, maybe a forum would be nice. Every conversation I’ve had through the threads has been great, but have awkwardly long response times and then disappear as the topics are updated and the thread I’m on sinks farther and farther down the page. Also it would be nice to be able to communicate with you guys outside of just commenting on your threads, so a forum would be a yes. (though trolls,… god trolls,… why are there trolls? WHY?)

    …. GAH I’m really going back to Heroes now. Watch.


  13. cornflakes #

    “That’s mostly a spam prevention thing — 99% of comments posts on posts older than 3 weeks are ads for FREE \/1@GRa.”

    I have two suggestions, though I don’t know how viable they are: one is to require commenters to register and log in, and another is to moderate comments before publishing for the older articles. To my knowledge it won’t take a lot of time to sift the actual posts from the spam, and while discussion may be slower-moving, it has to be better than nothing. =]


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