Episode 451: You Can Never Tell Anyone That I Told You It Was Good

On the Overthinking It Podcast: Just because we’re all watching the same thing, that doesn’t mean we’re watching it together.

Peter Fenzel and Matthew Wrather wonder why anyone would(n’t) like Alfred, Lord Tennyson, examine the difference and the distance between the public and the private self, offer detailed exegesis of Yu-Gi-Oh! and the Team Four Star parodies of Dragonball Z, and suggest there is a difference between watching the same thing and watching it together.

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12 Comments on “Episode 451: You Can Never Tell Anyone That I Told You It Was Good”

  1. JSC #

    Excellent two hander; left me pondering public and private discrepancy in relation to politics…but staying safely back to pop culture: I’m currently enthralled by this youtube series called “Binging With Babish,” where a home chef recreates dishes from TV and movies. I’m not sure if it meets all the requirements of your end of episode request, but it is very well done and it certainly is niche. I’m honestly not sure why I find it so engrossing.


  2. Three Act Destructure #

    I think the niche property I’m into which best works as an example for this private vs. public discussion is probably the old, 90s sci-fi cult hit “Lexx”. I’ve actually been thinking about this one a lot lately, mostly because I’ve been on a Star Trek kick and am considering also doing a rewatch of some of the other shows that came out in the wake of TNG’s massive success.

    But Lexx is a show that I’ve always had to love somewhat privately because even to this day it carries the stigma of being loaded with sexual content. Something about that gave it a contemporary stink that apparently hasn’t washed off even in our modern, post-HBO world because talking about it with friends has gotten me some looks.

    Oh, well. I submit that no one giving it a serious chance can be anything but charmed by its goofy sincerity. I mean, come on, here’s the intro with an explanation to get you up to speed:


    And literally everything in that amazingly dense plot dump happened in just the pilot episode.


    • DeanMoriarty #

      That is the most epic credit sequence exposition narration I’ve ever seen.


    • jmasoncooper #

      It reminds me of the aesthetic of the live action bits of the Super Mario Bros animated show. Or like the hosting segments for network Saturday morning cartoons in the mid-90s. Or like if Beakman’s World was a show about a sci fi space war.
      Really odd. I can’t even really explain why. Almost like it is self aware of it’s own ridiculousness, but instead of breaking the 4th wall it just leans heavier into it and hopes you don’t notice.
      Thanks for sharing.


    • Peter Fenzel OTI Staff #

      I know I’m way late on responding to this, but as far as I’m concerned Lexx is modern canon.

      I’ve definitely sung “Yo Way Yo” to myself on loop during some of the darkest times in my life.


  3. ScholarSarah #

    For my niche media: I still enjoy the Digimon tv show. The natural comparison for it is to Pokemon (and I have no experience with the Digimon videogames), but I think the Digimon show is far superior. While early on, it maintains a consistent format, the show does a much better job telling a season-long story than Pokemon. Instead of having multiple monster partners, each child is partnered with one, and the Digimon can talk, so the show focuses more on relationships between characters than Pokemon does, and with 7 child-digimon pairs, it has not only more relationships to explore and develop, but also does a good job of giving the characters distinct personalities and acknowledging the value of their differences while still allowing the characters to grow.


  4. DeanMoriarty #

    In recent years, I’ve been much pretty open about my private viewing habits. Partly it’s because some of them have become less niche, but also because I’m not a particularly private person about anything.
    Nonetheless, one of my favorite TV shows is one that, for pretty good reasons, I don’t expect people in my social circle to also watch. The show is the long-running Canadian teen drama Degrassi, now in it’s 15th season (I started at TNG, but followed it through as it dropped the TNG and then became Next Class). It’s not so much a niche show, as much as a show with a target audience that’s decidedly not me. It’s aimed at teenagers, and even though I enjoy it, I don’t expect the adults I socialize with to feel the same way about it as I do.
    I began watching it “ironically” in college (there was a drinking game), then went back and took it up again a few years later. ( I had to catch up on a few seasons I’d missed). When I started watching it again all the irony went away. I could still see how bad all those kids’s decisions were, how annoyingly preachy it was, and how hard it tried to be topical, but I really started to care about what happened to those dumb, troubled Canadian teenagers. I was rooting for them to stop getting pregnant, stop doing drugs and graduate high school!
    But that doesn’t mean I can have a community to talk about it with. There is a community — I discovered it online when I was trying to remember some minor character or other — but it’s made up of children and I’m not a creep. So, it’s a show I watch on my own.
    Another show, and another show about teenagers shot in Canada, that was similar for a while, was The 100. I started watching it because I caught a couple of episodes randomly and got intrigued. I got pretty hooked on it, but didn’t tell anyone. I wasn’t quite hiding it, but I also didn’t want to go around professing my watching of it. Amongst my group of friends –most of whom are somehow involved in the TV & movie industry — what we’re watching is the most common conversation we have. So not telling them what I was watching was active omission. My reason for keeping it to myself, though, wasn’t entirely that I was ashamed. I didn’t want to seem to be recommending it in any way. While I enjoy the show, I recognize that it’s not actually very good. I didn’t want to have a conversation where I admit that I’m watching something I know isn’t very good. Or more accurately, I didn’t want to be seen as lauding something that, beyond my enjoyment of it, didn’t merit it.
    But in the last couple of years, as season 2 ran its course and season 3 began, people started asking me if I’d seen it without me bringing it up. People who I knew had also started watching it privately and, because they knew I like teen drama and sci-fi, looked to me to find someone to talk about it with. I didn’t have to worry about people’s reactions after all. So, I’m not really private about it anymore. And in some sense, it feels like the show has partly climbed out of its role as a niche show. It’s still not good, but I’ve become comfortable admitting that I enjoy a crappy show about 25 year-old “teenagers” in a post-apocalyptic Virginia that looks remarkably like British Columbia.


  5. Agam Neiman #

    Okay, I’ll admit I haven’t listened to this one yet, but the inclusion of ‘What If The Emperor Had a Text to Speech Device’ in the above shownotes has already brought me to a place of warmth, happiness, and joy as particular as it is exuberant.


    • Peter Fenzel OTI Staff #

      It’s so, so great. It’s so, so, so, so great.


  6. Agam Neiman #

    In this age of “alternative facts” it should be pointed out that the PETA accusation is likely the result of a negative PR campaign promulgated by various sub-hive factions and aberrant cults gone heretofore unnoticed by the Adeptus Arbites and possibly the Ordo Malleus (who might just be turning a blind eye on purpose as political retaliation for the fallout after the First War for Armageddon.) While Chapter master Logan Grimnar could just as easily point out that, alongside the majority of fauna originally native to Holy Terra, the furry object of concern certainly went extinct millennia ago – possibly even predating the Age of Strife. The problem in doing so would be obvious, as it would open vexing questions regarding the nature of the species the forces of the former 6th Legion have mined for the their wardrobe, ceremonial adornments, and mascot since even before the Horus Heresy in days of yore. Extant records dating back to the Great Crusade – though fragmentary and few – have attributed the following cryptic musing to Magnus the Red himself (preceding the razing of Prospero) that there “are no wolves on Fenris.” It may be thusly surmised the PETA campaign originated with the Thousand Sons and their Primarch in fact, a labor designed to evoke the aforementioned specter of malign zoological paradox in the face of Grimnar’s expected rebuttal. Such methods would coincide with the elliptical approach often favored by war-bands of former XVth, the end-goal likely being the resultant exposure of far more sensitive truths buried deep within the frosted lore-chambers of the Fang and the data vaults of the Martian Biologis: A thorough accounting for the genetic legacy of Leman Russ or the so-called “Canis Helix” and its mutational consequences, the sinister fates of failed Chapter aspirants, and the true nature of the highly intelligent beasts often seen in accompaniment of their Astartes masters, as well as the uncanny bond which exists between them. Fortunately for the Space Wolves Chapter, unexpected deliverance has come in the form of an encrypted order from Terra itself – anonymous, yet encoded with the highest Imperial remit and the sigil of the Adeptus Custodes: That every “wolf” based icon, accessory, totem and motif associated with the Sons of Fenris shall be no more and change in accordance with the Chapter’s official new cognomen: “The Space Corgis.”


    • Peter Fenzel OTI Staff #

      Due to trademark and copyright concerns, Games Workshop have since renamed it “Astram Corgos.”


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