Matthew Wrather and Mark Lee consider the future of media, the great Netflix divorce, and the deeper meanings of movies like Barely Legal and Sorority Boys.[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/traffic.libsyn.com/mwrather/otip171.mp3]
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You act like you’ve never pronounced Dan Harmon’s name before.
Good show, though.
More like I was trying to remember it. It’s terrible to get something wrong in public. :)
So much for Qwikster:
Yeah, very odd to be listening to the podcast on the way in to work, and then getting here to see that Qwikster has already failed.
I’m looking forward to Reed Hastings’ next public announcement. Whatever it is, I am sure it’ll generate more anger than anything that’s happened in the world since 9/11. (Is it time for an Overreactingtoit podcast? Subjecting popular culture to a level of outrage it probably doesn’t deserve?)
About overreactingtoit, Max von Sydow already did it when he played Frederick in Hannah and her Sisters, but it’d be nice to hear the overthinkers try :)
And Tim, I’m sure you’ll show up here eventually, so to answer your question… it will be a little while until I get to it. But I have to say, Lee just usurped Perich’s spot on the list by buggging Wrather about my all-time favorite podcast, TFT :)
Did you ring?
Perhaps I heard wrong, but wasn’t the major misgiving about Qwikster that people would have to have two different queues on two different sites? That’s not even a first world problem – it’s just old-fashioned laziness.
hey, this is 171, but the post says 170. Just thought you should know.
Thanks! Fixed, I think…
says 171, not sure if it can change depending on computer or something.
Nope I was wrong. I’m the worst wingman ever. It still says 170 on the very top of the window.
OK, now it should be fixed.
How can you have a show called First World Problems and not even reference the song First World Problem by MC Frontalot (off his 2010 cd Zero Day. It is awesome, you should but it. Available at his website or via itunes. I think it is also in Spotify if you want to give it a listen first.) Heck he probably would have given you permission to play it in the podcast if you asked. Disclaimer: I am not associated with MC Frontalot in any way except as an enthusiastic fan.
Otherwise a great show especially considering the small roster.
Regarding “Barely Legal” and other examples of soft-core porn (comedy, drama or other), I’m not sure what the business model behind them is. Video stores are dying, they won’t play in theatres, cable channels will generally cut out or blur out the nudity and sexuality, and if you’re comfortable enough with the internet to use Netflix, you can get to hard-core via paysites or torrents. Even if you can make a softcore sex comedy feature for $3mill or even less, who will sit there waiting to see a bare breast or two for 15 seconds when they could just click over to some porn site?
Yeah I was wondering the same thing and only can think that the soft core movies aren’t so much competing with other porn as with non-porn movies. That if there’s a choice to watch a movie, all else being equal, with zero or 15 seconds of bare breasts people will tend towards the 15 seconds.
I guess there’s also the story, the search for a partner and the all antics that ensue, porn cuts all that, and tv cuts all the nudity, so soft-core is the best of both worlds for showing the story with some nudity. And that mild nudity is what separates it from Lifetime or other movies of the week which can have explicit themes with implied sex. So blurring it does keeps it from being too sexy for the more chase crowd but still leaves open the dvd or streaming market for more nudity.
I actually see soft-core as the worst of both worlds: a little bit of nudity and non-explicit sex wrapped in a plot that’s generally on par with a a C-list sitcom or direct-to-video thriller. It’s a compromise that leaves everybody equally dissatisfied.
Soft core tries to straddle the wide gulf between porn and mainstream. In the current climate, the mainstream isn’t going to get more sexually explicit anytime soon (films like “Romance” or “Shortbus” are the rare exceptions). Meanwhile, porno valley may make offerings with better production values, but there’s always the “race to the bottom” to make cheaper content.
What might break the deadlock is the “blood, tits and scowling” cable TV formula discussed previously on Overthinking It.
Yeah, but I at least find the tits, unlike the blood and scowling (I may have mentioned this on that article too), rarely advance the story – they are being used in the same way as in Barely Legal.
If the choices are:
A. mainstream movie with decent or better production values, name stars, decent or better story, etc, but little or no nudity/sex
B. softcore movie with low production values, cheesy story, etc and a small amount of nudity and non-explicit sex
C. hardcore movie with cheap production and little or no story, but no restraint in nudity or sex
B looks like a much less appealing way to spend your entertainment dollar.
In theory you could have D, high production value “real movie” with explicit nudity and sex (e.g. “Romance”, “Shortbus”) but given the current social climate in America in general and Hollywood in particular, we won’t see that soon.
To me, Sexpot will always remain the Platonic ideal of the direct-to-DVD comedy, because it is about both sex and pot and gets right to the chase.
Regarding Awn-Ah Faris, whose name I have spelled phonetically for your edification, she does have one good comedy I feel. It is called Smiley Face and, fittingly, it is a marijuana based comedy that you can stream on Netflix.
Community is interesting because it has had an unusually high number of writers for a show in its third season, and because in season one Dan Harmon rewrote a lot of the stuff himself.
Lastly, you know what movie is awful? Animal House.
Why is Animal House so awful?
The first 10 minutes of episode 127, “Funny Meaning Bad”, was just Wrather and Lee. Fenzel joined in later on.
Keeping with the Community theme, did anyone else think Lee’s “woman voice” sounded weirdly like Yvette Nicole Brown?
Ah yeah, when she does that excited high pitch talking it totally does.
My work here is complete. I’m retiring from the podcast now that I’ve achieved this long sought-after milestone.
Going out on a high note. This early retirement surely will have nothing to do with the sudden convenient appearance of a new full time female podcaster who also, coincidentally, sounds just like Yvette Nicole Brown.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we live in a world where voice morpher technology is surprisingly effective, I believe Lee should make the sacrifice of his own voice for the greater good.
Regarding the niche of television, it has always been associated with comfort and convenience. It’s not so much that we desire serialized storytelling, it’s that we desire a constant stream of storytelling. And the easiest way to provide that is through serialization. I’m currently reading Moby Dick, but only right before bedtime, and it’s a perfect book to read right before bedtime because the average length of a chapter is 4 pages. It’s convenient to read a chapter or two and then fall asleep, with the bookmark at a well-defined stopping point. The only problem is that after 3 months, I can’t remember what happened back in chapter 5. This is why television is serialized instead of simply sliced like a loaf of bread – it’s easier to follow, and you can pick up anywhere.
What I don’t understand about television is why it is so important to watch a given program at a certain time. Being a slave to the schedule is the hardest part about following TV. It’s so much easier to watch things online. And probably more profitable for the network – ad revenue on cable television is split between the service provider (the cable company), the local affiliate, and the network. Plus, unless you’re a registered Nielsen viewer, that ad money is a black hole that may or may not have a customer on the other end. Web advertising, which is only served when there is a captive client on the line, is only shared with the service provider (aka Hulu)(or no one at all if the network is the provider). So the web offers better return on advertising, more accurate viewer tracking, and doesn’t rely on the synchronization of as many intermediaries or third parties. Yet Hulu viewership is still ranked much lower than Nielsen ratings in terms of a show’s success. I think this the Moneyball problem again – stodgy network executives who are so committed to their traditional models that they are incapable of thinking clearly about where the value lies.
Sorry for ranting on about that. You know how it goes…
Just started catching up on new series Free Agents this week. I’m quite disappointed that it has already been canceled.
Apparently the adult industry was not as decisive or wrong in this format war.
Secondly, the number of times that Wrather set niche in a way, every time with the incorrect pronunciation, almost killed me.
Thirdly, looking at Wrather’s imdb page will teach you many interesting things, esp. about the Wrather dynasty.
Curzon Cinemas, a small chain in the UK, is doing good-priced instant streaming http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/08/in-our-name-on-demand-cinemas
£4 for older movies, £8 for movies that are in the cinema right then. Given how expensive the cinema is these days, that’s quite a good deal.
Also, this episode was rather reminiscent of TFT, perhaps because Wrather was a bit more playful in the one-on-one scenario.
Wikipedia suggests the top 1.5% in the USA earn $250,000 or more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affluence_in_the_United_States#Top_percentiles Re: where you guys stand, I doubt it’s that, unless The Overview sales rocketed since we last spoke about them.
The USA is in the top zone for mean purchasing power http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita
As income inequality is so high, it has been suggested by the UN that parts of the USA have things as bad as some parts of the Third World
Of course, I can’t imagine things are that bad in education as for the Ghanian you discuss, but for example on healthcare, I’ve heard of Medicins San Frontiers doing similar drop-ins to stadia/community centres that they do in deprived parts of Africa, and I’m sure there are other measures where the overlap is a lot greater.
Speaking of TFT, is it coming back, now that both Glee and Gossip Girl are back on the air?
Shhhh! We’re all wondering, silently.
Like Matt, I attended a school function (my leaver’s ball) as a woman: http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/200783_4260952178_505917178_74881_1369_n.jpg
I guess Matt might be right that it might be limbic recognising as women, but telling apart gender is a really low level process requiring little attention http://www.journalofvision.org/content/4/2/4.full and can be done with about 11 points of light http://www.jstor.org/pss/50091 by biological motion. It’s suggested the brain area responsible is posterior temporal – i.e. about the midpoint of complexity of visual perception – more than lines, squares, colours, but way before full 3d rendered objects.
What I’m saying, in my expert psychological opinion, is that Matt looks like a girl.
Another new media-related development that we talked about on the podcast bites the dust! First Quikster, now the “Tower Heist” premium VOD experiment:
I felt like the contra-Wrather listening to this podcast, because I don’t use streaming. Partly because I have a Mac and refuse to download Silverlight. Also because I actually like sometimes not having access to episodes or discs. It means I have to do something. And since my queue is so long, it’s nice to forget what’s coming next and get surprised in the mail. Also, I don’t want to consume television episodes like popcorn. I really don’t need to be up at 3am watching anything. I’d rather sleep and not be crazy. Also, I like the convenience of a disc. I can watch it anywhere. There are several devices that I can watch a disc on. Maybe I’ve just been burned too often getting a bad download, or not being able to find something, or missing the software I need, or missing a driver (remember those) or having a computer that won’t support the software I need to bother downloading anything. I’m sure if I put the time into it, I’d see just how easy it is to download what I want and need. Getting anything worth watching via the internet has, for me, been more of a headache than getting a DVD. I have enough to do to pass the time until I get the next disc. Plus the streaming menu doesn’t always match the disc menu. So, if I can’t stream what I can get on DVD, why should I bother?
Without any evidence to back me up, I don’t think discs are as obsolete as Wrather thinks they are.
However, that said, if streaming video was The Way to receive media, and the software was standardized, and the media was always available to whenever I want to watch then I’d use streaming and not think much of it.
The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.