Episode 233: Bilbo Has Diabetes

The Overthinkers tackle “The Hobbit,” the future of the Lord of the Rings franchise, “Life of Pi,” and SantaCon.

Peter Fenzel, Ben Adams, and Mark Lee overthink The Hobbit, the future of the Lord of the Rings franchise, Life of Pi, and SantaCon.


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20 Comments on “Episode 233: Bilbo Has Diabetes”

  1. cat #

    I was here.


  2. Nick #

    The plot for “An Unexpected Twenty” reminds me of the movie “Twenty Bucks”, which follows the journey of a $20 bill through the possession of several characters.

    Also, the igneous rock beginning for the tenth “Madison County” book? Michener did it. “Hawaii” starts that way.

    (Man, how often can you tie South Park and James A. Michener together by implied tone in a message board message?)


  3. LordHuffnPuff Member #

    I thought the discussion about the stakes of Lord of the Rings being so high that any potential sequel would be innately lessened simply by comparison (see comment “what are they going to do, the return of Sauron?) because when taken within the entire scope of the story of Middle Earth, the epic battle at the end of Return of the King was peanuts. Sauron is not inherently more powerful than Gandalf or Saruman as a being – the real Big Bad of Tolkein’s universe, Sauron’s boss Morgoth who is , makes the entire war of the ring look insignificant. The Fellowship of the Ring film’s opening actually used Tolkien’s description of Morgoth for Sauron in order to make him more menacing. Sauron plays for dominance of a single continent or so, while Morgoth plays for existence. A potential Silmarillion film (or film series) would have significant hurdles to overcome for reasons mentioned in the podcast, but for scale and stakes it smashes the Lord of the Rings into pieces. Potential sequels could deal with Morgoth’s return, as in Tolkein’s pseudo-Germanic mythology, Morgoth plays the part of Loki – eternally imprisoned following his defeat, only to break free of his bonds at the end of time to start what roughly amounts to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung or the Norse Ragnarok.

    As an aside, I hear there won’t be a Silmarillion movie because the rights for them are off-limits, or somesuch thing.


    • LordHuffnPuff Member #

      That first sentence should have a “was interesting” in there somewhere. Woo 3AM.


    • Arthur Johnston #

      If you look at the order they were written Hobbit, LotR, Silmarillion. Then the stakes do increase in each subsequent one. Tolkein suffered from stake creep.

      That’s actually the main issue with end-of-the-world stakes in general. It’s hard to tell an interesting story with lower stakes.


  4. Chris #

    If you want Santa debasement, look no further than any time he showed up on the Upright Citizen’s Brigade TV show, particularly the episode involving the use of those lights they use to find bodily fluids.


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      I’m not sure if this ever saw the light of day outside of their pre-Comedy Central stage shows, but Stella used to show a video at their live performances that had a rather graphic and troubling portrayal of Mrs. Claus that involved An Unexpected Gentalia.


  5. Skab #

    How about “Juno: An Unexpected Baby”

    Too comical?


    • fenzel OTI Staff #

      Well, if it’s a sequel or prequel, it should have a slightly different story, right?

      Juno: An Unexpected Play-Date
      Juno: An Unexpected Mid-Flight Crapping
      Juno: An Unexpected Little Sister
      Juno: An Unexpected Michael Cera Character Undergoing Change


  6. Cody R #

    It seems pretty common that you guys are discussing movies that no one (or few) has saw. In this episode only one of you have seen the movie in the referenced in the name of this episode of the podcast.

    From the podcasts I have heard it seems like a stretch to say that the level of scrutiny that you give pop culture is more than it deserves. One particularly underthought moment was when one of the guests who had not seen the movie, and had not read the book opined about why he didn’t want to see the movies. (I’m not saying that thats a bad opinion, but I thought we we’re going to over-think The Hobbit)

    I don’t know if the discussion of The Hobbit was really much more than a recap the movie.

    My feelings were best echoed by matt a half hour into the podcast; “If you guys had seen it I’d love to hear your take on it”.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      I wasn’t on the podcast. NOW who knows what they’re talking about?

      Sorry to lose you as a listener. All best.


      • Cody R #

        Hhaha! Well whoever said that. :) I’m still new to the podcast so I’m still matching names to voices.

        I’ll likely still be listening to the podcast, I just thought a couple the last few episodes haven’t been delving very deep into the subject matter. I criticize because I care. I understand it’s hard to keep up with pop culture, with movies and books and whatnot coming out every week- it would be hard to even experience all of it, let alone produce a hour long weekly podcast about it.

        The more interesting parts of the episode was near the end, when they talked about the SantaCon and Life of Pi, I think that had some fun and overly analytic moments. But because we had spent so much time on the Hobbit these discussion were sidelined.

        It seems like it would have been better to shelve discussion of the hobbit until at least 2 people had seen it, and talk about things that people did have opinions on instead. There have been some really great discussions in the past, but recently it seems like the struggle to talk about what is most popular in entertainment has usurped actually extracting too much from entertainment. Maybe it’s a case of art v. commerce.

        I might be in the minority when I say that the episodes where you discuss movies you haven’t seen are less interesting, and i don’t know if to be relevant in the ‘podcast-o-sphere’ you need to make sure the episodes discuss the most popular topic you can. Maybe I’m over-thinking the podcast.

        Simply put, I would prefer a episode where a movie no longer in the box office was really dissected because everyone has had seen it, than a episode where we pretend to dissect the most popular movie in the news that week. and while I attributed the quote wrong, it is a really good representation of my feelings towards the podcast now- I am interested in hearing your take on it, and I’m willing to wait til you’ve had time to digest the material I just wish you guys would see the movies before they get featured on the podcast.


        • Lee OTI Staff #

          Yeah, that was me, not Matt, who said “If you guys had seen it, I’d love to hear your take on it.” I am flattered that you mistook my voice for the dulcet tones of Mr. Wrather, though. Anyway, thanks for the feedback; we’ll take it into consideration. As you acknowledge, it is tough to keep up with all of this pop culture. I would have seen the movie if I had a four hour gap during my weekend to see it, but no such gap existed. (It’s worth remembering that all of us hold down full time jobs, so everything that’s produced on OTI is during our “free time,” which dearly limited.)

          You mention that you’d have preferred a podcast on a topic that’s not necessarily current for one that the panel can cover more in-depth; i.e. a movie that everyone managed to see, but maybe a month or two late. Unfortunately, even that is not always a readily available option. Part of this is due to the aforementioned limits to our time, but part of it is also due to our diverse tastes in pop culture. Could we be more disciplined about “mandating” viewing/listening for the show? Sure, we could, but by that same logic, we could be more disciplined about a lot of other things related to making this site run.

          All that is to say, thanks for listening, thanks for giving feedback, and thanks for understanding the constraints under which we operate.


        • Ben Adams OTI Staff #

          Your preference for podcasts where everyone has seen the movie is certainly a valid one, but as one of the aforementioned “people-who-did-not-see-the-movie-or-read-the-book” I’d like to offer a defense and push back a bit on the notion that you can’t Overthink something like this without seeing it.

          As we pointed out on the Podcast, Mark and I were huge LOTR fans that saw all 3 movies opening weekend when they came out – and aren’t nearly as motivated to see The Hobbit. Presumably that means SOMETHING. A modern blockbuster is more than just the 180minutes of moving images that comprise it- the marketing, buzz, etc. all factor into the completed work.


          • Cody R #

            Okay, I can concede that point.In fact, since I have you here i was wondering if you also a fan of the LOTR books?

            Also, I must say i’m flattered to have so many members of the podcast respond to my critique. I’ll pop up in the comments of the next episode, thanks for your time.

  7. Rambler #

    I was really hoping that the full title of “An Unexpected Twenty” would bear on the fact that Ben used the phrase “Dire Straits” several times.

    “Money for Nothing: An Unexpected Twenty” Would have a much better soundtrack than any of the other options.


  8. Melanie #

    So this is my first comment ever on the site, after years upon years of reading and listening to your podcast. Anyway, I really enjoyed this podcast regardless of the fact that you haven’t seen “The Hobbit.” I saw it opening night and honestly, in retrospect, I wish I had just seen Lincoln instead. “The Hobbit” was filled with padding in what could have been a very beautiful and moving story about a race of people reclaiming their home land. Yes, that was in the movie..but the ridiculous side plot involving and Orc who cut off Thorin’s fathers arm was both not in the book and incredibly mundane. I think the Hobbit could have made two decent 1.5 hour long movies, however, instead they are going to drag a 365 page book to approximately 9 hours. Great Podcast guys!


  9. Andrea #

    I went to see The Hobbit on opening weekend. My 2-D tickets somehow transformed into 3-D tickets when I arrived at the theater, which was a problem because I have dizziness issues. Even worse, it turned out to be one of the 48 Frames Per Second theaters, so on top of the “Aigh! That thing is coming right at me!” reactions, I also had the “Aigh! Those quick pans from one character to another are going to make me puke!” reactions. So between the 3-D, the 48 FPS, and all the MANY MANY scenes that weren’t actually from the book, the movie fell below my expectations.

    Oh, and I went to see the movie at a theater in Times Square, and as soon as I got off the subway, I saw dozens and DOZENS of people dressed as Santa Claus. I’d wound up in the middle of SantaCon and had no idea what was happening. I figured there must have been either a convention or a flash mob going on. Anyway, one of my weirder NYC experiences was seeing several people dressed as Santa Claus standing in front of an adult bookstore.


  10. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    Hi guys! I didn’t see The Hobbit until recently, but I wish I’d been on the podcast because I was a big fan of the movie. I was the group curmudgeon about Dark Night Rises and Skyfall, but this really charmed the hell out of me. It’s certainly not perfect, but I loved it and I can’t wait for the other two. This seems like a minority position.

    I will fully admit that I’m maybe the opposite of Mark – I was really excited to revisit the old characters. I mean sure, if you feel like you’ve seen enough Gollum in your life, I guess this isn’t the movie for you. But for ME, Gollum is awesome and the “Riddles in the Dark” sequence was magic.


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