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Author Topic: Underestimating Middle-America Since 1950: Television Test Thread  (Read 25686 times)
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Spacedal11

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« Reply #760 on: 06-18-2015 03:19 »
« Last Edit on: 06-18-2015 03:23 »

Martin Starr's another person who's hilarious in everything, though I don't think anything's ever going to top his work in Party Down:



Yay! I love love love PARTY DOWN! I think Ryan Hansen is the only person who ever played a person named Kyle who was not a raging douchebag.

And wasn't Martin Starr on Freaks and Geeks?
Beamer

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« Reply #761 on: 06-18-2015 04:09 »

Everyone was on Freaks and Geeks. roll eyes

And Kyle from Party Down was pretty douchey. A very naive douche, but douchey nonetheless.
Spacedal11

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« Reply #762 on: 06-18-2015 04:23 »

He was douchey but I loved the hell out of him. He's the only Kyle I've ever liked and he's fictional.
Beamer

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« Reply #763 on: 06-18-2015 05:08 »

Spacedal11

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« Reply #764 on: 06-18-2015 06:12 »

Yeah well...his mom is a stupid bitch.
JoshTheater

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« Reply #765 on: 06-18-2015 20:32 »
« Last Edit on: 06-18-2015 20:43 »

Can we talk for a minute about how absolutely hilarious Thomas Middleditch is? His character on Silicon Valley is great, but having seen/listened to some of his improv work, the guy is an absolute riot.

Here, this CBB podcast episode with Middleditch, Starr, and Nanjiani is gold all the way through.
Tedward

Professor
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« Reply #766 on: 06-25-2015 05:43 »

The other day I watched for the first time in many years a videotape I have of several early episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends, and was pleasantly surprised to see how very well the series still holds up; I may need to watch some more at some point.

I do feel bad for the rail commuters (and rail workers!) of Sodor, though, having to deal with the seemingly daily delays, breakdowns, and assorted accidents caused by the antics of their temperamental steam engines. Yeah, great job pulling that "Express," guys...oh never mind, you still work hard, I can't stay cross at you.
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #767 on: 06-25-2015 21:55 »

JoshTheater

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« Reply #768 on: 06-27-2015 00:25 »

I support this Venn diagram.
Beamer

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« Reply #769 on: 06-27-2015 09:33 »

I actually hadn't heard of Nova, but upon looking it up, this diagram seems pretty damn accurate.
cartoonlover27

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« Reply #770 on: 06-27-2015 14:46 »
« Last Edit on: 06-27-2015 14:47 »

I support this Venn diagram.

I second that. Or third it, I suppose, since Beamer technically seconded it.
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #771 on: 06-28-2015 04:25 »

As much I as I secretly agree with it, I can't help but feel like a pretentious snob whilst doing so.
Motor Oil

Starship Captain
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« Reply #772 on: 06-28-2015 04:42 »

As much I as I secretly agree with it, I can't help but feel like a pretentious snob whilst doing so.

Since when has that stopped you? tongue
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #773 on: 06-28-2015 05:17 »

As much I as I secretly agree with it, I can't help but feel like a pretentious snob whilst doing so.

Since when has that stopped you? tongue

It never has!

* UnrealLegend sips his organic coconut-scented tea imported from Africa, whilist adjusting his bronze-rimmed monocle and fedora.
Xanfor

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« Reply #774 on: 06-29-2015 07:07 »

I actually hadn't heard of Nova, but upon looking it up, this diagram seems pretty damn accurate.

How can you not have known about Nova? eek

Beamer

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« Reply #775 on: 06-29-2015 08:37 »

Umm, no one's ever mentioned it to me before and none of the tv websites I frequent cover the show?
Spacedal11

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« Reply #776 on: 06-29-2015 09:21 »

I'm like 99.9% there's a Family Guy joke about Brian watching NOVA and the cure for longer dog lives or something.
Beamer

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« Reply #777 on: 06-29-2015 12:24 »
« Last Edit on: 06-29-2015 12:26 »

I stopped watching Family Guy after the abysmal episode Patriot Games (and the overall decline in its quality following its renewal). I honestly don't remember much about the show, save from a few good episodes and jokes from the first few seasons.
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #778 on: 06-29-2015 17:02 »

Umm, no one's ever mentioned it to me before and none of the tv websites I frequent cover the show?

Because it's for smart people. Duh.
Xanfor

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« Reply #779 on: 06-29-2015 19:56 »
« Last Edit on: 06-29-2015 19:58 »

Umm, no one's ever mentioned it to me before and none of the tv websites I frequent cover the show?

Is it possible I didn't make it clear I sometimes speak in rhetorical questions? No affront intended. tongue
Cudry

Bending Unit
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« Reply #780 on: 06-29-2015 20:01 »

I feel like you missed a joke opportunity with that last post, but I can't think of one that's make sense.

Anyway, that diagram is fairly pretentious TBH.
Motor Oil

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« Reply #781 on: 06-29-2015 20:17 »

Is it possible I didn't make it clear I sometimes speak in rhetorical questions?

Yes.
Beamer

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« Reply #782 on: 06-30-2015 02:49 »

Anyway, that diagram is fairly pretentious TBH.

preĚtenĚtious
prəˈten(t)SHəs/
adjective
adjective: pretentious

    attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed.
    "a pretentious literary device"
    synonyms:   affected, ostentatious, showy;

So, saying Arrested Development aims for demographic more intelligent than that of Keeping Up With the Kardashians is pretentious? Because it sounds pretty fucking accurate to me.
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #783 on: 06-30-2015 03:02 »
« Last Edit on: 06-30-2015 03:03 »

I don't think liking Arrested Development for than Keeping Up With the Kardashians is pretentious. The attitude of "I'm smarter than everyone else because I watch shows made for smart people. Out of my sight, peasants!" is what's pretentious.

Although you're definitely right about it not being the diagram's fault. It's an inanimate object with no emotions or opinions.
Gorky

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« Reply #784 on: 06-30-2015 03:24 »
« Last Edit on: 06-30-2015 03:35 »

Yeah, I think "pretentious" is a pretty good word for that particular diagram, accurate/amusing though it may be. Obviously whoever made it has either a.) watched all of the programs it references, even the ones for dumb people - meaning the maker of the diagram is also dumb...meaning they are no better than those they aim to mock, and are therefore pretending to be smarter than they actually are; or b.) watched only the programs intended for smart people and arbitrarily chosen some other shows that he or she associates with dumb people, which is snobbery at its finest.

For what it's worth, I quite enjoy The Big Bang Theory (while acknowledging its many flaws) and was never able to get into Breaking Bad (never even made it through the pilot, in fact: the damn thing just seemed like it was trying too hard to be Brilliant Auteur TV, and I couldn't get past the artifice*). I don't think there's anything wrong with smart people liking shows that are "beneath" them intellectually; I like a bunch of stupid things, but don't consider myself a stupid person because I have the critical faculties to understand why the thing I'm watching is not objectively good or artful. Likewise, it's cool for "dumb" people to watch "smart" TV; if nothing else, I think it equips those people with a stronger sense of what makes a good show good - the writing, the performances, the overall creative vision - and might inspire loftier viewing choices in the future.

*Please do not fight me, Breaking Bad fan-boys. I don't begrudge you - or, you know, the rest of the entertainment industry - your affinity for the show, but you're not going to convince me it's something I'd like to watch, even if my first impression was unfair (and I'm willing to admit it may have been. But if a new show doesn't engage me intellectually or emotionally within the first half-hour, I see no point in wasting any more time on it. I'm an unforgiving bitch when it comes to everything TV!).
Beamer

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« Reply #785 on: 06-30-2015 03:49 »

I don't think there's anything wrong with smart people liking shows that are "beneath" them intellectually; I like a bunch of stupid things, but don't consider myself a stupid person because I have the critical faculties to understand why the thing I'm watching is not objectively good or artful. Likewise, it's cool for "dumb" people to watch "smart" TV

The diagram doesn't state otherwise, though. It simply charts the intelligence level of the people within each show featured, and that of the show's target audience. Any pretension you're inferring is entirely your own presupposition.
Gorky

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« Reply #786 on: 06-30-2015 04:17 »

That part of my post was directed less at the intentions of the diagram or its maker - again, I think the chart itself is funny and not without merit - and more at the idea that there exist shows for smart people and shows for dumb people. That is not the invention of this particular Venn Diagram, but rather a pretty common conception: it's what fuels the notion of Cult TV vs. Mainstream TV, or TV for the Internet Nerds vs. TV for the Rest of Us.

The cool thing about a lot of TV shows now - particularly those cable TV/Netflix darlings that win all the Emmys - is that there's this overlap between genuinely smart writing and mass appeal. Shows like Mad Men and Orange is the New Black and The Walking Dead have greater artistic aspirations than a Top 10 sitcom like The Big Bang Theory, but have just as much of a presence in our cultural consciousness as your run of the mill Big Three Network show. Inside Amy Schumer, which I absolutely adore, is another show that comes to mind: a smart show written by smart people that manages to appeal to the masses and has a greater cultural impact than you might expect (ditto Key and Peele, for that matter).

I guess what I'm saying is that it's neat to see the distinction between Smart People TV and Dumb People TV becoming somewhat obsolete - to see writers catering to demographics beyond the white male ages 18 to 45 set, and being lauded for it instead of condemned to obscurity. This particular point is surely beyond the scope of the picture tnuk posted; I'm just using it as a springboard is all.
totalnerd undercanada

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« Reply #787 on: 06-30-2015 05:04 »

Well. I certainly didn't imagine this response. I posted it because it had Futurama in the middle, and any time I have a connection to or appreciation for something smack-bang in the middle of a Venn Diagram, I get excited.

I don't personally think it's pretentious or trying to mock anybody. It's something I saw as pointing out a peculiar idiosyncrasy: the smarter a TV show is, the closer it will come to being both about and for both smart and dumb people. Which means that the smarter the show is, the closer it is to the middle, and the more you appreciate the middle of the diagram... I dunno if it's that you're a smarter and more discerning viewer or if it's just that you're dining on finer fare than that Kardashian thing and are therefore having a better TV experience.

I mean, I think that it's a pretty accurate diagram, and that it's not particularly hard to produce an accurate Venn Diagram relating to most topics. But I don't think that it's a lazy, pretentious, swipe at anybody in particular. Nor do I think that the diagram necessarily finds the things that Gorky mentioned beyond its scope. I think that any genuinely smart, well-written, well-executed TV show is going to be something that has mass appeal (ie: across both "smart" and "dumb" demographics) and covers a broad spectrum of humanity (ie: is about both smart and dumb people). The best TV finds itself closer to the middle of the diagram, and thus it actually helps re-inforce Gorky's point rather than existing somewhere outside of that point's sphere of relevance.

It's not about congratulating yourself for liking Nova, despising the Kardashians, and knowing that The Big Bang Theory isn't as "smart" as it pretends to be, whilst Arrested Development isn't as "dumb" as it pretends to be. That's missing the point.

The point is that the best TV is that which intersects with the highest number of demographics whilst having the greatest range of personalities and intellects amongst the cast of characters. The best TV is that which has both mass appeal and shows a more rounded population. As is all of the best entertainment. A rich, diverse, universe, and writing targeted at a rich, diverse, range of individuals is what makes truly compelling watching.

Which is why some people can't get into Breaking Bad, and some don't like How I Met Your Mother, but we all like Futurama, which sits right between them and bridges that gap between the preferences of one group and the other.

Pretentious? I think that really depends on whether or not you're feeling bristly after seeing shows you enjoy categorised as "for dumb people", without stopping to realise that there's nothing inherently wrong with enjoying something that wasn't intended to be insightful, witty, deep, or meaningful. Sometimes you need a good, strong, fart joke. But that doesn't mean that you can't sometimes say something profound.

Which was something that Futurama definitely understood, and may have been just slightly ahead of its time in exploring.
JoshTheater

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« Reply #788 on: 06-30-2015 07:17 »
« Last Edit on: 06-30-2015 07:43 »

watched all of the programs it references, even the ones for dumb people - meaning the maker of the diagram is also dumb...meaning they are no better than those they aim to mock, and are therefore pretending to be smarter than they actually are

The diagram saying that something is "for" dumb people doesn't necessarily imply that only dumb people will watch it, it could easily be meant to imply that dumb people will enjoy it, hence the show is made "for" them to enjoy. And the diagram even goes out of its way to express that some shows can be enjoyed by both smart and dumb people with specific overlapping segments.

The diagram also doesn't in any way rule out the idea that people can be both smart and dumb at the same time, in different ways. So considering the diagram to be pretentious is incredibly presumptuous.

Edit: I guess Beamer (and also tnuk) already beat me to the punch here.

Which means that the smarter the show is, the closer it is to the middle, and the more you appreciate the middle of the diagram
...
The best TV finds itself closer to the middle of the diagram
...
The point is that the best TV is that which intersects with the highest number of demographics whilst having the greatest range of personalities and intellects amongst the cast of characters

This all sounds well and good, but would seem to imply that the diagram is saying How I Met Your Mother is better than Arrested Development. Thanks for ruining the diagram for me, you crap bastard!
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #789 on: 06-30-2015 10:14 »

So considering the diagram to be pretentious is incredibly presumptuous.

Oh, I'll admit to having a remarkably low tolerance for perceived pretentiousness - I think because I have an odd relationship with my own intellectual and artistic proclivities, which can be esoteric and obscure to the point where I fear I myself am pretentious - so it's surely possible I overreacted to and/or over-interpreted the chart. (To clarify, I view pretentiousness as a High Crime because we live in somewhat anti-intellectual times, and when I see people lording their intelligence or "better"-ness over others in any way I feel it just fuels the general distaste for smart people because they can be such assholes. Shouldn't those guys know better? tongue)

But yeah, I suppose I am just projecting some of my own prejudices onto the chart, which on its face is likely not making a value judgment about the shows themselves or the people who watch them (despite that being be way I initially interpreted it). And I essentially do agree with tnuk's wall o' words on the subject, and am content to leave it at that. You may now return to your regularly-scheduled programming.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #790 on: 06-30-2015 22:51 »

I'm only arguing for argument's sake anyway. I'm horribly pretentious, and even if the diagram's not intending to be, I hope it is so I can latch onto it as validation of my own pretentious views. tongue
Tachyon

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« Reply #791 on: 06-30-2015 23:05 »


It's cool, Josh. smile  But we're still waiting for you to finish your Rhapsody of Existence in B-flat major for one-handed Sitar.

Spacedal11

Space Pope
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« Reply #792 on: 07-01-2015 05:52 »

Lol, Beamer's yelling at the AVClub for reviewing Scream.
Beamer

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« Reply #793 on: 07-01-2015 06:31 »

More specifically, for choosing to give Scream regular week-to-week coverage while ignoring far better shows. I get that they can't review everything, but I honestly can't imagine any regulars on the site clamouring for weekly Scream reviews. roll eyes
Spacedal11

Space Pope
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« Reply #794 on: 07-01-2015 06:36 »

More specifically, for choosing to give Scream regular week-to-week coverage while ignoring far better shows. I get that they can't review everything, but I honestly can't imagine any regulars on the site clamouring for weekly Scream reviews. roll eyes

Because they love the hate and the hate-watching. Granted most people probably won't even watch it, I'm going to try to the best of my ability because I'm a fan of the movies, but they love watching reviewers slowly go insane.
Beamer

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« Reply #795 on: 07-01-2015 06:57 »

Because they love the hate and the hate-watching. Granted most people probably won't even watch it, I'm going to try to the best of my ability because I'm a fan of the movies, but they love watching reviewers slowly go insane.

But the hate-watchers on the site already have the greatest thing ever in the form of their Under the Dome reviews. tongue
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #796 on: 07-11-2015 14:38 »

Walking Dead season 6 trailer

And perhaps more interestingly, Fear the Walking Dead trailer

(FYI: neither of these are YouTube link because they're blocked in many countries, including Australia. mad )

Now, FTWD looks like it's actually showing the very early apocalypse days, with society collapsing. This is actually kind of cool in my opinion since I don't think any TWD media have shown that thus far.

As for season 6 of the main show, I'm stoked. I know there aren't many PEELers watching the show anymore but the latter half of season 5 has taken a vastly different direction to the previous ones and is pretty damn awesome at the moment. I read the comics earlier in the year, and the part I assume they're adapting this season was my personal favourite. smile
Beamer

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« Reply #797 on: 07-11-2015 14:47 »

I've already made my opinions on The Walking Dead clear in the relevant thread (which, by the way, you probably should've posted these in), but I'll just say that Fear the Walking Dead is one of the weakest titles they could've possibly given the spin-off. no no

"Armageddon 2: Armageddon? That's a bad title."
UnrealLegend

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« Reply #798 on: 07-11-2015 14:53 »

(which, by the way, you probably should've posted these in)

I was debating whether to post it here or there, but decided upon here, because people actually read this thread. shifty

And I agree, "Fear the Walking Dead" is an absolutely horrible title. puke
Beamer

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« Reply #799 on: 07-11-2015 15:01 »

Still not as bad as the titles ABC give their comedies. Just off the top of my head: Cougar Town, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Selfie and Suburgatory. Now, admittedly, I haven't actually watched enough of all of these shows to properly judge them (except for Suburgatory, which was wildly uneven but utterly fantastic when they got it right), but they've all garnered high amounts of critical acclaim far beyond what one would expect from their god-awful (and network mandated) titles.

And, perhaps the worst offender: Better Off Ted, which is probably one of the best network comedies of the past decade (and, sadly, was cancelled before its time). It's like ABC wanted the show's target audience to never give it a chance. frown

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