MORIARTY Rumbles Coax Style!! MERCHANTS OF COOL, LAW & ORDER, SURVIVOR II & BUFFY!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
"By the way, if anyone here is in marketing or advertising… kill yourself." –- Bill Hicks.
I didn’t set out to write an article about any of this. It’s just been one of those weeks here at the Labs where synchronicity has paid off in ways worth discussing. In a few short days, I’ve seen television that is genuinely profound, surprising in its honesty and in the respect shown for the viewer. If you were to try and sum up 99% of all the problems I ever have with films or television shows, it would come down to respect. If I feel like the makers of a piece of work respect me as a viewer, I’ll forgive them almost anything. If I feel like I’m being force-fed crap by someone who doesn’t care about what they’re making, I can’t stand it, no matter how professionally produced the crap might be. Maybe it’s because of the sheer volume of input. I mean, I typically see somewhere between two and five films a day. I’m also always reading scripts or novels or magazines or other websites or message boards or comics or I’m writing, something I manage to do for a minumum of three hours a day. As a result of this, I get tired of being insulted, tired of being sold soulless plastic widgets, and when I’m given something genuine, I tend to be grateful. If I embrace something with an evangelical zeal, it’s because, in some way, it cut through the white noise that is modern pop culture.
I hope you took advantage of the heads-up that El Cosmico posted about the FRONTLINE Episode that ran on Tuesday night called THE MERCHANTS OF COOL. Written by Rachel Dretzin, who co-produced the episode with host Douglas Rushkoff, it was one of the most incisive looks at the manufacture of culture that I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend that you head over to the PBS homepage, and do a search for their FRONTLINE section, where there’s a pretty great archive of material having to do with the special, including interviews and video clips and all sorts of links. I’d especially recommend it to our youngest readers here at Ain’t It Cool. If you’re in college or high school or even, as some of your letters suggest, junior high school, then this is all about the way that you specifically have been targeted.
"No joke here. Really. Seriously. Kill yourself. There is no rationalization for what you do. You are Satan’s little helpers. Kill yourself. Kill yourself. Kill yourself now. Okay, now, back to the show." –- Bill Hicks
Right now in America, according to FRONTLINE, the average teen sees 3000 discrete advertisements every day, and 10 million by the time they turn 18. The special showed how "coolhunters" have developed as an industry, market researchers on crack, basically, who sniff out underground trends specifically so that the mainstream can co-opt it by using those trends to sell things. The focus on the show, and on the PBS website, is on Look-Look, a firm founded by Dee Dee Gordon and Sharon Lee that offers "information and research connecting you to youth culture," according to its site. They’re well-paid cultural cannibals. Basically, all the entertainment that you buy or rent or read or go to the theater to see or download is associated in some way with one of The Five Media Giants: Newscorp, Disney, Vivendi/Universal, AOL/Time Warner, and Viacom. I might personally add Sony to that list. If you look at lists of the subsidiaries of all those companies and all their assets, it’s scary. The episode suggests that Viacom is the most influential, the hippest of the Media Giants, thanks in large part to MTV, which is almost completely an infomercial at this point. MTV doesn’t just show commercials. The entire network is designed to sell things. As an example, they showed the Sprite.com launch party, as covered by MTV. Kids were paid to be at the party and dance and mingle. Artists, all of whom are signed to labels associated with one of those Media Giants, get to perform and get a plug on the show. Sprite sponsors the show and gets plugs before commercial breaks as well as a hefty commercial presence during the break. MTV cross promotes the event with both Sprite and the music companies represented. Literally, everybody wins. I remember the impact MTV had when it was first introduced, and it seemed like a big deal at the time. The influence of the network started to wane, and they got smart about it. They started a major overhaul in 1997 and have now reached a higher ratings level than ever, thanks in large part to TRL, their biggest franchise show.
The show discussed the two major characters that MTV has identified as key to their programming, characters that have basically taken over youth culture in terms of the image that’s sold, male and female archetypes known as the "mook" and the "midriff," respectively. The mook is easy to spot, the guys on JACKASS or Tom Green or the average wrestling fan or Jimmy and Adam on THE MAN SHOW. Howard Stern, a sort of uber-mook, was exploited quite successfully by Viacom in book form and with his movie. The midriff is based on the Britney Spears model, prematurely adult where the mook is arrested in adolescence. The show looked at the way young girls are recruited to modeling
"You know what bugs me, though? I know that everyone here who’s in marketing is thinking the same thing. ‘Oh, Bill’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a huge market.’ Quit it! Quit it! Don’t turn everything into a dollar sign! Please!" -- Bill Hicks
We watched a 13 year old girl as she moved through an international talent modeling show held annually for girls to meet managers, agents, producers, casting directors. We met the guy who discovered Jessica Biel. Jessica Biel led to SEVENTH HEAVEN, which led to WB, which led to a discussion of how the network evolved, having started out aimed at family audiences. DAWSON’S CREEK was the show that bridged from family to teen audiences for them, and it was the introduction of sexally themed storylines that opened the market for them. This evolved into a discussion of teen movies. Neil Moritz (I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, CRUEL INTENTIONS) came on to defend his films. There was a discussion of how schizophrenic much of this is, with a sort of willful innocence butting up against very sexually mature material. Suzanne Daniels, from the WB, talked about how much they’ve thought about teen sex on their shows. The Media Project, a teen-sex research group, was shown talking to the writing and producing team of DAWSON’S, including Greg Berlanti. Everyone interviewed basically says it’s all part of mirroring the real world, only showing kids what they’re already seeing. MTV’s completely out of control Spring Break coverage, which essentially plays out like those GIRLS GONE WILD "party tapes" that are advertised so ubiquitously during Howard Stern’s E! show, was brought up as an example. Which comes first? The show? The behavior that’s shown on the show? Is it a reflection or is it the instigator? They showed the 13 year old girl again from the Modeling convention, Barbara, at one of the parties held for the girls. She was dancing with a guy, and the way she and the other young teen girls all danced, it was like amateur night at Scores. Pretty shocking, but it shouldn’t be. Why wouldn’t she dance like this? This is how MTV shows her to dance. This is how dancing is defined for her. In voice-over, Rushkoff talked about the feedback loop, about people watching it and imitating it and being filmed so other people can watch and imitate it, whatever "it" is, ad infitum.
The special talked about kids who try to buck the mainstream, who turn to subcultures that are still "pure," like fans outside an Insane Clown Posse concert. To them, a song like "Tittyhunting" is rebellion, freedom. What do teenagers have to rebel against today? How about the youth culture that’s been created and packaged by corporate America? If it’s on the radio, it can’t be good. Everyone remembers feeling that way about certain bands, bands that were theirs, bands that were too good for the radio. These days, the only way to become indigestible by the machine is to be too offensive to package. Of course, Limp Bizkit and Marilyn Manson and Eminem fly in the face of that thinking. Limp Bizkit is the example here, and it's discussed how the band was pushed through using something akin to legalized payola, and how important it was when MTV got behind them. As Rushkoff said, "Take one part authentic rage, two parts marketing, add a sprinkle of cash, then place in an oven called Woodstock ’99 for instant fame." There’s no such thing as bad publicity. After all, what are a couple of rapes in the crowd compared to the fastest-selling rock record of all time? It all goes back to the way Sprite positioned themselves. No one understands you, they tell kids. Not your teachers, not your parents... no one, except for the corporate sponsors. The more you can tap into this, the more kids will theoretically buy into it. As if to prove the point, guess who’s on MTV now... the Insane Clown Posse, fully absorbed, now part of the machine.
"’Ooh, the plea for sanity dollar. Huge. HUGE.’ No, it’s not! Fuck you! It’s not a market. It’s just me begging you to kill yourself. It’s for the greater good." –- Bill Hicks
The message of both FRONTLINE and of the Bill Hicks routine, quoted here from his album ARIZONA BAY, seems to be about being educated, even cynical, about how you get your media and what agenda is being served. If one wanted, they could draw some sort of sinister connections anywhere. FRONTLINE, being broadcast on PBS, seems to stand outside the machine. I mean, it’s PBS, right? Never mind that this particular series was underwritten by Earthlink, and never mind that Earthlink is currently running a major ad campaign in print and on TV and on billboards that features, among other personalities, our own Harry Knowles. There’s no relationship between that and the fact that El Cosmico did a preview of the episode, or the fact that I responded so well to it. But how are you supposed to know that? How are you supposed to grow up in this culture and ever feel like you’re allowed to just find things on your own and enjoy them for what they are?
Of course, the other major theme of the special is about truth on television, something that becomes more and more fuzzy as shows like TEMPTATION ISLAND and THE MOLE and BOOT CAMP and GREENLIGHT crowd the airwaves, each of them showing us something that they claim is real. Never mind the fact that I don’t believe you can have reality in a situation as manufactured and as heavily documented as we see on these shows. The cast members on reality programs are all actively aware of being filmed, and they are performing, not just living. What is the truth in a situation that involves you, a roommate, and a camera crew? What is reality? As Doug Rushkoff put it, there’s a feedback loop that’s building towards critical mass now with reality programming and satires of it and shows like Kathy Griffin’s new MTV program which comment on the reality programs. USA Films is releasing their satire SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS this weekend in New York and Los Angeles. It’s timely, if nothing else, as we see SURVIVOR II sell an episode based on the idea that "the unspeakable happens," hinting strongly that someone gets hurt. This is the extra added appeal of the episode to get people to tune in. It turns out someone was hurt, and quite badly, actually, as Mike passes out face first into the fire at his camp. Watching him freak out as he tries to cool the insane burns on his hands and arms by dunking himself completely underwater, seeing the skin literally hanging off of his ruined hands, there’s no doubt that it’s compelling, but it appeals to that same terrible place in us that makes us slow down to look at car accidents. There’s something about the horror of it that makes us look, and the producers of these programs trade on that notion. Each new show seems to push the stakes a little further, redraw the line, and ask us to lower our standards, just a little bit.
This week, that idea was explored in an excellent LAW & ORDER episode written by William M. Finkelstein. The cast and crew of a REAL WORLD style program come under police scrutiny when one of the cast members goes off the roof of a building and ends up dead. When it’s revealed that there was an altercation between two cast members on the roof that was incited at the request of one of the network’s young executives in a move to improve ratings for sweeps, the show became a provocative exploration of where responsibility lies when something goes wrong.
And there’s that word that I’ve gotten yelled at for mentioning on this page before: responsibility. It seems like the word scares the shit out of producers, and even out of many of you. I’ve said before that I believe that anyone who creates television or films or music or any other media has a personal responsibility to be aware of the weight of the images and ideas they’re creating and distributing. I saw a perfect example of that this week on "The Body," the episode of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER that Joss Whedon wrote and directed. It was uncommonly well-made, and there’s a real significance to what they did. For those of you who aren’t viewers of the show, this week was all about the death of Buffy’s mother. She’s been struggling with a brain tumor this season, and had recently survived major surgery. She appeared to be on the mend, and at the end of last week, Buffy found her unexpectedly laid out on the couch, eyes open, obviously dead. This week was a series of only four scenes, each one in a different location, detailing the reaction of Buffy and her small circle of friends and her sister Dawn, and it was captivating. Joss Whedon used no underscoring in the episode, a brave choice that paid off by making us focus on the simple details of performance. For a show that has 22 episodes in a season and that’s ostensibly aimed at a young audience, it takes real balls to spend an entire episode dealing with the death of one character, especially when it’s from natural causes and not the work of some supernatural bad guy. By doing this, Joss reminds his viewers that death counts. Death matters. When someone dies, there are people that are left behind. There is an effect on the entire community of that person. In this show with the ridiculous title and the absurd premise, more truth was somehow exposed in 40 minutes of scripted drama than in all the hours of "reality" on TV this year. Even though it’s just another piece of product pumped out by the youth culture machine, it’s somehow striking grace notes, communicating ideas of import with real elegance. And it’s because of miracles like BUFFY that even in the face of such an overwhelming sea of choice, with so much of it of such negligible worth, I continue to read and watch and listen to all the things I do. It’s because of a miracle like BUFFY that I can honestly say I never give up hope.
Speaking of which, keep your eyes here this weekend. I’ll have those script reviews I mentioned, and you’ll get your first look at two of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2002, scripts I hope will be amazing. Until then...
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March 2, 2001, 3:15 a.m. CST
Great column. Wonder if that program will make it over the shores to the UK? I'd like to see it. I'd like it even more if they actually used the Bill Hicks quotes in there, too...
March 2, 2001, 3:18 a.m. CST
by Luthien Tinuviel
You made some very interesting points there, and it worries me that kids are growing up not only unable to think for themselves, but unable to break the cycle of not thinking for themselves. This is largely because the media is adept at giving teens the illusion that the crap they are being spoon-fed is their own culture, their own choice. We may be the batteries that power the 'system' after all! ;-)
March 2, 2001, 4:11 a.m. CST
Even though that episode was one of the best television I have ever seen. I still feel that Angel is better right now in every way.
March 2, 2001, 4:11 a.m. CST
I find myself agreeing with Moriarty. The best writing since his review of seven. I seem to be in the minority in that I hate these 'reality' shows, which show mostly dull people in a contrived and artificial situation, reacting with each other with, suprise suprise, contrived and artificial emotions and responses. Programs like 'Big Brother', the english version was like watching paint dry, castaway, and the dreaded 'popstars'. I'm sure the USA will get that one soon, if you haven't already. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for interesting, entertaining TV, e.g. 'The West Wing, 'Sopranos', some war documentaries, but I think people need to start living their own lives instead of watching tedious artificial versions of the lives of people just looking for their 15 minutes....
March 2, 2001, 4:21 a.m. CST
Buffy's not a bad show, but it rarely rises above being teen camp. Too many episodes come across as being pretentious rather than thought-provoking. I'm just not sure why Moriarty and Hercules worship this stupid show and insist on cramming that fact down our throats at every opportunity.
March 2, 2001, 5:23 a.m. CST
Thank you. A most inspiring view.
March 2, 2001, 6:25 a.m. CST
I hate the fact that I work for Viacom, but I haveta live. I Hate MTV for what it has become. I hate the fact that Im to damn lazy to do anything about it, but Im trying everyday. We could change everything. It's possible, we just have to want it bad enough. Anyway, Buffy is a nice show. Sure, it's campy, but it's the best example of a comic book on film. It's a fun show and it's not meant to preach to anyone. But I must say, that last episode hit me. Reminded me of my losses, who I was, and what's the purpose of it all. Sometimes shows do that to people.
March 2, 2001, 6:36 a.m. CST
by Ninja Nerd
Excellent article. Moriarty, know what a "moke head" is? As to Buffy "rarely rising above teen camp", I disagree. Recently saw the original movie again on cable. THAT was mostly crap and camp. The series is excellent drama interlaced with marvelous humor and, in the case of some episodes, notably "Hush", genuinely scary stuff. I've had several friends dismiss the show in a similar fashion only to retract that when they actually SEE an entire episode. Try it, you'll like it. Or I will give you my vast, entire, boot to the head!
March 2, 2001, 6:55 a.m. CST
by Odo Ital
After all these years, Law & Order is finally mentioned on your website. The show is the longest running drama on television, is a consistent ratings winner, has the highest cast turnover rate in the history of television, and continuously airs episodes "ripped from the headlines". But it has to pander down to the lowest common denominator, looking for fans from the MTV, CBS, and ABC reality tv. I watched this past episode, and while not the best Law & Order ever, was pretty good in how it went up the ladder of suspects, from the house resident who threw the guy off the roof, to the producers who hid the tape of the murder, and finally to the VP of the network who wanted conflict on the show. Okay, I'm done for now.
March 2, 2001, 6:56 a.m. CST
by Vincent D.
My roommate and I really wanted to see this show, and tuned in to frontline this last Tuesday at 10:00 CST to see it. Instead, we were treated to something about Egyptian lotus eaters. Does anyone know when this will come on (or be rerun) in Austin?
March 2, 2001, 6:57 a.m. CST
I am totally PISSED that my local PBS station did NOT carry this show! Bad move guys, right as Pledge week is starting. (Anyone who taped it and can set me up with a copy would be greatly appreciated) It sounds like it hits a lot of territory that I'm interested in. Back in college about 12 years ago I took a course entitled "Culture and Media" in which we looked at the state of things then. Unfortunately, it hasn't gotten any better. (And any class that required you to go see the newly released "Roger and Me" couldn't be all bad.) For years, thanks to what I learned in that course, I've dismissed the premise of MTV's "Real World" as nothing but crass image manipulation. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview one of the most recent series' Cast members and she even admitted that certain events were edited and presented in a manner that differed from how they actually unfolded. (My secret fantasy is that someone would get on that show and do a Cameron Crowe/"Fast Times At Ridgmont High" style expose of the thing. Then, maybe people will get the idea that the show is, basically, crap. Till than, I'm lobbying for legislation that requires "Rashomon" be required viewing in all high schools.) The co-opting of subcultures for the quick "Fad of the Moment" is something I'm very familiar with. As a swing dancer, I've seen and participated in various discussions on chat boards around the web as to whether the Gap commercial that helped bring swing, albeit briefly, back to the mainstream spotlight was a good or bad thing. (If it helped people find it than its not bad. And swing isn't dead, by the way. . . the Brian Setzer Orchestra jut won the Best Pop Instrumental Performance Grammy for covering an old Duke Ellington standard "Caravan.") The thing that disturbs me deeply is how much youth rebellion culture has been co-opted by big business and they don't seem to care! If you don't believe me, head down to the nearest mall with a Hot Topics- Your Trendy Underground Culture Store! Now I may sound like an old fart here (I turn 32 tomorrow) but the idea of going to THE MALL to get your offical teen rebellion uniform just annoys the piss out of me. Time was, if you wanted to put together a neo-romantic/Gothic wardrobe, you had to haul yourself to big city (2 hours to Philadelphia in my case) or do some creative thrift store shopping. The idea of underground culture is vastly undermined by its ready availability at the freaking mall. (In a sad note, I was passing by my local Hot Topics a few weeks ago and saw a big sign stating "Sandman is here". Gaiman fan that I am, I swallowed the small amount of rising bile and wandered in to look over their display. Plenty of t-shirts and other brick a brack, but none of the collected editions! Judging by the fullness of the display, I'd say that it had just been put up, so I doubt that they had already sold out on them.) All in all, a great piece of writing and I love the inclusion of the Bill Hicks quotes. Barely a week goes by where I don't watch the news thinking "I wonder what Hicks would have to say about this?" He is missed. Also, bravo Mori for mentioning the Earthlink connection to the Frontline. It's nice to see when a news source actually bothers to disclose things that some people may say is prejuidical.
March 2, 2001, 7 a.m. CST
In regards to Buffy being classified as camp... someone once asked me how I could watch Buffy so religiously while at the same time avoiding shows like Xena or Hercules for being too campy. This was an excellent question, and it took me until last week (the episode prior to "the Body") to figure it out. The way I see it, the writers on Buffy consistently take the ideas that sound like the dumbest, campiest material and make it work. Stories like an android hottie tearing up the town as she looks for her creator aren't done with a nod and a wink. They don't do it with tongue in cheek as if to say, "look, isn't this the silliest?" They totally commit to taking these ideas seriously. That's why the show consistently works for me. There is humor aplenty, but they dont poke fun at their own premise. So when I see TV guide saying the next episode is about a crazed robot, I don't think, "wow, this show has really jumped the shark," I think "I can't wait to see how they make that work." And it's always a pleasant surprise.
March 2, 2001, 7:58 a.m. CST
Well said. I've hooked my wife on Buffy and Angel and we look forward to catching them every week, as well as Farscape. Some of the best and funniest stuff on television. But this reality crap is just that, crap. It violates every principle of observation and behavior. Once you're observed, you don't behave as you would normally and normal is boring. On the whole, between Reality TV and wrestling, I'd rather watch wrestling. But then, I'd rather chew my arm off before wrestling.
March 2, 2001, 8:57 a.m. CST
Thanks for the spoiler warning re: buffy's mother! The new season doesn't air in the uk on terestrial tv until the autumn, and I was trying to keep myself pure!
March 2, 2001, 8:59 a.m. CST
Very well said. Nice job. Great (albeit disturbing) Frontline. And as for Buffy (although it's really not the point) I find it hard to define a show that has in the past referrenced Joseph Conrad and Robspierre as "teen camp". But that's just my opinion, don't let it slay...I mean sway you.
March 2, 2001, 9:07 a.m. CST
by fear of a ted
Damn good writing, and the talk-backers are right on too. Nice change from yelling "Phantom Menace rules!" Really good article, m'man.
March 2, 2001, 9:21 a.m. CST
That was a very sound critique, Moriarty. The domination of our culture by mega-corporations even extends to the Internet. With all the mergers and acquisitions going on, the only choices for Internet providers that seems to be left is between AO-Hell and EarthStink. I started out as a MindSpring customer, and when MindSpring merged with EarthStink, it was supposed to work like a partnership. But the inferior company ended up gobbling up and killing MindSpring, so now I have a service provider of which I don't think very highly. I suppose I could switch to AO-Hell, but THEIR chief guy recently gave a whole shit-load of money to an anti-gay fundamentalist church! All I have to say is "Blee-urgh!"
March 2, 2001, 10:20 a.m. CST
Moriarty do you see how horrible your little scheme with Knowles was now? You had Harry review your script for all here to read. Not as "Moriarty," but as "Drew McWeeny," you were MARKETING YOUR LOUSY SCRIPT! Now you join in on marketing bashing? Especially on this site where Harry has created a persona that he MARKETS relentlessly for personal gain? You don't think Harry has HURT people on his rise to fame? Some people have lost their jobs so Harry could post a HOT AICN update. BUT it doesnt matter as long as it helps market HARRY does it? The fact that you boys decided to go and bash marketing just shows what hypocrits you really are. Harry should take this down because MARKETING and RESPONSIBILITY are two words Harry could never use together.
March 2, 2001, 10:28 a.m. CST
by Magic Ninja 2099
Good article, and I totally agree with everything, except two things. A: The Insane Clown Posse song everybody refers to on here as 'Tittyhuntin', is called 'Chicken Huntin', there's no mention of titties anywhere in the song. Why PBS censored the chorus "Who's Goin Chicken Huntin? We's goin Chicken Huntin!", I have no idea. By the way, it's about killing bigots and rednecks, not actual chickens, in case you never heard the song before. And B: ICP is not part of the 'machine' as the documentary put it. MTV came to them, because they figured they could market them out as some rap-metal band, and make a lot of money off of them like they did with Limp Bizkit, Korn, and the rest. They played the video maybe like four times at four in the morning, that was it. Even though they put the video as available for trl, it was never played. Case in point, on December 12, I believe it was, all the juggalos (ICP fans) were supposed to call in, e-mail in, whatever, MTV to get the video 'Let's Go All The Way', to be number one, thus knocking off those backdoor boys or titney spears or whatever, and letting a good band take over for a day at least. Now, the reason they did all this, was because for some reason, there seemed to be less juggalos, and more juggahos at the time, they're sales on the new cds weren't going anywhere, plus all the proceeds to the new cds were/are going to help charites for abused children among other things. So, they needed a way to get more fans. MTV comes along, sure, we'll play your video, we'll make you big and whatever. Back to December 12, all Juggalos across the nation call in like crazy, there's mad juggalos outside of Times Square, Jumpsteady (Violent J's brother) and a whole bunch of people from Psychopathic Records were there, ready to see as the juggalos took over for a day. Right before the show, MTV execs saw the Juggalos and realized, these people were kind of scary looking, but not in that good, marketable Slipknot kind of way, just so not appealing to the 13 year olds that would be watching TRL. We need to clear these punks out of here, they said. So, they call the cops, and get all juggalos off of camera view. There was one though, who managed to make it, Ape Boy, who was in an ape suit, like Violent J wore in the movie 'Big Money Hu$tla$'. He got mentioned by Carson or whoever was hosting that day, but they told him before they brought him up, "If you mention ICP or in anyway disrupt our broadcast, we'll kick you out of here". And at the end of the day, the Backdoor Boys reigned supreme over MTVs infomercial TRL, even though ICP had a good majority of the votes, it still goes to show you that if MTV can't make money off of it, they don't want anything to do about it. They slowly weaned the video off the playlist. First they showed it maybe twice a day at three and four in the morning, then it was once at 5, then lastly, they stopped showing it. And one last thing, the music video they showed on the documentary wasn't the one that was on MTV, that one was never shown on the channel because it was too violent or something like that. It was on The Box though, but who the fuck has The Box. The point I'm trying to make here is, ICP isn't part of the machine, the machine tried to swallow them and make them it's own, but the taste, so to speak, was to bitter and the machine spit it back out. -MCL
March 2, 2001, 10:31 a.m. CST
Although this talkback is not about Buffy (I guess) I will say now what I have told anyone who has ever dissed the show without ever seeing an episode. The only people who don't like Buffy are people who have never WATCHED Buffy. And as for any of us to critique the marketing culture in which we live is masturbation anyway. Look at the room you're in as you read this. Look at the television you're watching. The radio you're listening to. The books around you. The magazines, and on and on. Like it or not each and every one of us is an enabler to the whole thing. We starve for new episodes of Buffy or (god forbid) WWF every week. And in doing so we give a signal to Viacom, Newscorp and the rest of them that we will gladly take what they give. Which is fine with me actually.... Please DO NOT think this is something new. Do you honestly think Beatlemania came about because of the raw talent of the four men in the group?!?!?! No! It was marketing!!!! And I have never heard anyone bemoan that result of clever marketing. Listen. Contrary to the wishes and beliefs of many of you out there corporate does not always equal crap! Accept it. The nimrod standing in line to see an ICP show is more dangerous to our culture than a bottl;e of Sprite ever will be.....thanks......
March 2, 2001, 10:35 a.m. CST
I'm about to be REALLY cynical here. Just warning you. ... Anyway, the way I see it, practically all of human civilization has been about a very few dictating to the great masses. The Egyptians did it, and rather successfully. Their empire\culture lasted longer than any other in history. Rome started off as a Republic, then started sliding downwards until it was a dictatorship. (the number of parallels between America and the Roman Empire is truly frightning) If you want to start getting REALLY nasty, you could even look at the birth of Christianity in much the same terms as any other media revolution. (went from being an underground movement to an establishment to forcing its own views upon unbelievers) ... I think it's possible for every human being on this planet to think for him\herself and make their own moral judgements. However, comparatively few overcome the social and political programming that tells them to trust what The Other says. Trust what you read. Trust what your Senator tells you. Trust what's on T.V. We are wiser than you. Thinking will only confuse you. ... In fact, I think more people are AWARE of this today than at any other point in history, which is, overall, a good thing. However, I expect that nothing will change. This will continue to go on for another thousand years. The sort of paradigm shift required to get society OUT of that mentality is almost too large to grasp. People are indoctrinated to think this way from birth by entities far larger and more powerful than you or I could ever become. The only solution, therefore, is to work within the system. Find small ways to knock chinks in people's shields of ignorance. You're not going to change the world - content yourself with trying to change a few people around you.
March 2, 2001, 11:03 a.m. CST
Thank you, Chambers, for again illuminating Mr. McWeeny's hypocrisy - this is the guy who teamed with Harry in a covert attempt to get some notice for his script. He's not someone who should be discussing marketing or morals. And, sweet zombie Jesus, two to five films a DAY?!? Perhaps the reason you've failed at becoming a successful screenwriter, McWeeny, is because you've also failed to get outside once in a while to experience real human interaction. Life is comprised of more than endless movie marathons and internet relationships. Get out and live a little - maybe that basis of experience will inform your writing ability. Two to five films a day - what, are you still getting discounts from Dave's Laser World?
March 2, 2001, 12:30 p.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
Messiahman & Chambers... you sound like you both still hold the belief that every word of another site's attempt at a hatchet job on me is true, and if that's the case, then there's no room for dialogue here. You're going to believe it, and nothing anyone says will sway you. The fact is, Harry did review a script of mine on this site, and he did so without telling me he was going to do it. He did so because he got the script from an outside third-party source, and he treated it like any other script he gets. If you actually read the article, it's just one of a number of scripts he talks about, including DONNIE DARKO, which just premiered at Sundance. What he did was based on his positive reaction, and that's as deep as it goes. No massive conspiracy. No hidden agenda. Considering how much work I do for the site, I think it would be in Harry's best interest to foil my screenwriting career, not encourage it. I love how people think bringing up a job I had ten years ago is somehow a personal slam. Yes... it's true... I worked at a laserdisc store. In 1991. Gosh... considering how many times I've referenced my entire bizarre job history in LA over the years I've been writing for the site, it sure doesn't seem like I'm trying to keep it a secret or somehow pass myself off as something I'm not. Which reminds me... I keep reading posts which imply that I haven't sold anything as a screenwriter. That's another case of you swallowing a myth as fact, never bothering to discern if it's true. Do your homework if you're going to try to slam someone. You'll be more effective if you do.
March 2, 2001, 12:31 p.m. CST
by abner ravenwood
That was an excellent article. The fact that you spend at least three hours a day writing shows and I appreciate what you've said and it has certainly made me think quite a bit. Some of the issues you discussed were also addressed as peripherally in Spike Lee's misunderstood masterpiece "Bamboozled". Although the major theme of that project was the continued explotation of African-Americans in entertainment, it also can be seen as a criticism of the media in general. And I like the point you raised about respect and the filmmaker and writer's respect and love for their own material. That's an excellent point. Too often, a movie fails because the people behind it didn't genuinely care. And that's something you can tell right away. You can't fake passion, although too many these days try. Thanks for writing that.
March 2, 2001, 12:53 p.m. CST
I don't know what site did a hatchet job on you. I have actually met you and Harry before. I put the two and two together to get four all by myself. He KNEW it was your script, you can play innocent all you want. Harry still posted the review and acted like it came from 3 unknown writers. When in fact one of the writers he did know and was a contributor to the site. The review was biased and he failed to let people know such. This from a guy who used to claim he would put everything out in the open for the readers to digest. I can't see how you can say anything about RESPONSIBILITY and MARKETING here on AICN. Harry is anything but responsible when it comes to marketing. You Mr. McWeeny are going to be tied to Harry's irresponsible behavior as long as you are a contributor to this site. If you had nothing to do with Harry reviewing your script fine. You however SHOULD have made Harry post an update that the script was by a known friend/contributor of his. By not doing so you helped MARKET your script. By not using your real name, and by using the Vincent Price like picture you are creating a MARKETING IMAGE of yourself. Harry of AICN is not the Harry of real life. It is an image he created to help SELL his site. The real Harry wanted to be a LAWYER at 16 not the crap AICN/HARRY spews about his lifelong dreams. Can AICN say that not one person has been hurt by Harry's lack of RESPONSIBLE reporting? We both know the answer is no. Therefor Harry's marketing of himself as his HARRY/AICN image is a sign of irresponsibility. Otherwise he would present himself as he truly is. Someone out to make something of himself at the expense of others. You Mr. McWeeny are tied together with him as long as you are a contributor here. Therefor your update reeks of hypocracy. I would love to read this so called "Hatchet Job Piece," where can I find it? Do us all a favor Drew and admit your faults, it will make your work BELIEVABLE.
March 2, 2001, 1:22 p.m. CST
Glad to see you're still responding to talkbacks. In answer to your accusation, no, I haven't read any other site's hatchet job on your character. My response was based on the simple fact that Harry's review of your script (and yes, I read the review, as well as his coverage of DONNIE DARKO) seemed to be a covert attempt at garnering notice for it. Are you saying that Harry had no idea of your identity at that point? Because that seems highly unlikely. Anyway, you say it's coincidence, and therefore I'll take you at your word. And I wasn't implying that you hadn't sold anything as a screenwriter - indeed, I know about WALTER DID IT - which you apparently hated. What else have you had produced, Drew, other than that - there's no other information out there regarding ANYTHING with your name attached, although the guy who provided the music for WALTER DID IT has a site that lists your name on it, and he also gives you credit for being a writer on XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS, which doesn't seem to be the case. Oh, and the comment about Dave's Laser World was a JOKE - I find the fact that you view up to ten hours of film a day rather disturbing. True, there's plenty of quality viewing out there, but the best stories come from personal experience - not that which is derived from endless exposure to cinema. What madness hath Quentin Tarantino wrought?
March 2, 2001, 2:13 p.m. CST
To quote Roger Ebert: "The only difference between a 'reviewer' and a 'critic' is that a critic doesn't pretend to be unbiased." ... It's human nature. It is IMPOSSIBLE for a standard human being to be 100% unbiased. Anyone who claims to be unbiased is full of BS, as is anyone who EXPECTS that from a reviewer. The best one can do is be aware of their own biases and try to compensate for them. But even that compensation is, in itself, a bias. ... And, incidentally, I do know what I talk about. I run a review site myself, and have for over three years now. While I like to think I'm less biased than the fellow reviewers in my field, the truth is that I'm probably just as bad as them, only in different ways.
March 2, 2001, 2:26 p.m. CST
by darth kubrick
best piece on this subject i've read in a while. this generation is being fed satire with no idea of what it means. i remember when someone explained to me how david letterman's 'late nite' was satarizing the talk show genre. and not today's talk show, but the mike douglas, merv griffin and even his hero, johnny carson's kind of talk show. dave was rude to the guests, asked obnoxious questions and wasn't afraid to make a celebrity and the audience feel uncomfortable. for this generation satire is moot. who is tom green a parody of? the kids watching don't care, but the producers will take some kind of creative high ground in explaining the scheduling of such a show. hence 'jackass' and its rise to popularity. well, they put a warning at the top of the show. remember when they started doing that on 'beavis and butthead'? that show even claimed to mock traditional cartoons. my favorite example is the'discovery channel' song by the bloodhound gang. kids ate that up, memorizing the lyrics about doggy style sex. they had no idea what it was satarizing. that it was as much a joke as a weird al parody. they took it at face value. i take a hypocritical moral view. i can turn the tv off. i can read between the lines of the song. i can laugh, knowing that i'd never 'try this at home'. but parents are not sheilding their children from influences which should not be foisted upon a developing mind. i'm a teacher. i listen to kids talk about how they hate 'fags' because eminem makes belittles, insults and spouts hate for them on his cd. guaranteed some of these young people ARE gay themselves. they are just so hyperaware of sexuality through constant exposure that they think it is normal. they should not be learning about this shit from a cd by any musician. lastly, i recall sitting uneasily through, 'scary movie' last summer in a theater half filled with kids 12 and under. they were with adults, possibly thier parents. either they are just that clueless, or they couldn't get a babysitter, or they think their 9 year old daughter should see her first penis on a movie screen as it enters slappy wayan's ear.
March 2, 2001, 2:26 p.m. CST
The WB Datebook sounds well and truly evil... does anyone remember the kid that got suspended for protesting his school's "Pepsi Day" by wearing a Coke T-Shirt?
March 2, 2001, 2:34 p.m. CST
First Harry has always stated his reviews were biased. That is why he would tell us how his day went, or what he ate, or if the subject matter meant anything to him on a personal level before giving us his reviews. That is why the McWeeny script review is such bad business on here. Harry had a bias he tried to hide from his readers. He knew Moriarty had written the script and he reviewed it coming from an "unknown writer," thus Harry straight up lied. To say all reviews are biased is a reasonable statement. However Harry has preached how honest his reviews were. That is why he told us so much about his experiences etc. So we knew where he was coming from while witnessing the films. The McWeeny review was a dishonest thing. Harry has virtually ignored the subject on here. Drew has responded with nonsense like "He reviewed it as a script by Drew McWeeny because... and try to follow me here, cause this gets complicated... it's BY Drew McWeeny. The name "Moriarty" doesn't appear on the title page." HAHAHAHA! That is such a lame response. The fact is they are the same person, Harry was biased, and for once decided to hide that fact. That MEANS something to a lot of his reader.
March 2, 2001, 2:57 p.m. CST
This program sounds like one of the most interesting, literate and dangerous things to grace a screen in some time. If you think the marketing machine is hurting today's youth, you should take a look in on us here in australia. A further side effect that is being experienced more and more in countries like ours is the cultural retardation that is a direct result of corporate america. As a nation, we are like many others i'm sure, losing our cultural identity through this bombardment of predominently US marketing. We had to pass a law, to make it illegal for one of our TV stations to show less than forty percent australian content, because all we see on TV is young america. Australian youth today are forgetting how to be australian and mimicking the pop icons on the box. We are dangerously out of touch with who we are. Since it is extremely unlikely that we will ever see this program at our end of the planet, I wonder if there is someone out there who would be willing to send us a copy? If anybody taped the show, i would appreciate hearing from you. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
March 2, 2001, 3:09 p.m. CST
thanks to el cosmico for the heads up about the frontline special. i work with teens and pre-teens and was fascinated by how accurate this feature was. i will most likely show clips of the show to some of my teens and get their feedback as well. i echo moriarty by encouraging all/any of you to check the pbs website for more frontline coverage.
March 2, 2001, 3:25 p.m. CST
by darth kubrick
can you guys bashing the writer please send him an e-mail? i'm so glad i posted first beore reading all the bile being spat back and forth.
March 2, 2001, 3:36 p.m. CST
See it is relevant. AICN helps market things in a bad light. How many times has Harry refered to Cameron Diaz' swirling ass? AICN also markets themselves. Its hypocracy. If they admited fault in the above article maybe this discussion could be taken seriously.
March 2, 2001, 4:35 p.m. CST
Very nice article. And about damn time someone spoke out against the inane totally wasteless TV that is the so-called "reality television". Besides it's not really reality - since hundreds of hours are filmed and eventually editedt down to be presented as "dramatic" television. So, maybe "reality dramas" would be a better tag line. I hate them anyways no matter what they're called. And as I hate to judge people, I do have to say that anyone who watches these pieces of shit religiously has a serious problem on dealing with the real realities of life. This past episode of Buffy was the best damn television of the season. Period. Thank so much for Josh Whedon for not assuming that ALL who watch television need EVERYTHING explained right up front. The whole Britney Spears-ing of the 13-something girls of this country is also a concern. Britney Spears, first of all, lacks talent. I hate her whiney voice. Seriously. And I can't wait for the day when she turns 21 and becomes the next "whatever happened to" victim. Sorry, if I sound so negative...I'm dieting for a bodybuilding contest and am wishing I had a beer right about now. Damn.
March 2, 2001, 4:43 p.m. CST
The Frontline piece was great, however don't be fooled into thinking that teens are the only targets of aggressive marketing. Marketers have a specialized mindfuck for every demographic -- even the anti-consumerist demographic. ***** Fear of a Ted: Phantom Menace Rules! (sorry) ***** Magic Ninja 2099: Anyone who has ever made an MTV video is by definition a corporate sellout, regardless of how few times it aired. They had to say "yes" at some point. ***** WFCall: No one said that corporate = crap. There is a lot of good entertainment that gets made/promoted with corporate funds. But that doesn't make their motives any less nefarious. ***** WizardX: You're right, the bulk of human history is about the exploitation of one group by another. But if that is meant to justify or excuse corporate control of our culture, the same argument could be used to justify slavery, which did not cease to exist in the West until 5 or 6 generations ago (and it still exists; it's just not institutionalized). ***** COMEDIAN, THE: An even scarier school-related advertising incident just happened in Ohio. Two students walked out of class in protest of Channel One (their religion is anti-TV) and they were ARRESTED FOR TRUANCY! ***** sevenigma: Don't be obtuse. Of course Nirvana was part of the machine. If you can't see that, you don't have any idea what this discussion is about. ***** darth kubrick: I saw a girl who couldn't have been more than 8 years old in the South Park movie! ***** Pulzar711: Yes, I remember that incident, although to be fair he was not suspended just for wearing the shirt. He was being disruptive, crashing group photos, etc. I think the punishment was too harsh, but it's not the human rights violation everyone makes it out to be. The kid brought it on himself (I do applaud his effort, though).
March 2, 2001, 4:46 p.m. CST
I am someone that always thought Buffy was some lame teen show like 90210 that also had vampires and I wasn't the least bit interested. I had seen a few minutes of a few episodes here and there and my opinion was, it wasn't worth my time. The reason I am saying this is because I relate to people that say it's a stupid teen show because I thought that too. My ex-wife told me about getting hooked on the show and I just thought, man I thought you were more mature than that and I still never watched it. After coming to AICN and reading week after week how so many people loved the show I thought, maybe I am missing something and I gave it another try. The first full episodes I saw were the flashback ones (Buffy and Angel) this season. As you Buffy fans should know, I was hooked after that. Now I can't get enough and I am trying to get past season episode. I now hurry home Tuesday night and I don't answer the phone. Quite the turnaround for me but that's my point and I understand the guy that said anyone that doesn't like Buffy hasn't seen Buffy. Now I am the guy that people look at funny when I say I watch this show with the silly name based on a film with a silly name.
March 2, 2001, 5:04 p.m. CST
Never latched onto any of them either. Watching a train wreck is fun sometimes, but it also reminds you what is wrong with the world around you. It's kind of an ugly view of our society watching these idiots act like monkeys on national t.v. for either attention or money.
March 2, 2001, 6:15 p.m. CST
by darth kubrick
you're still reading it, aren't you. yes, you have to consider your source's stake in the thing being discussed. yes, this orange page with its banner ads is a part of the problem, but the larger issue still stands. did anyone see the time magazine cover story a month ago or so about how little girls are entering puberty sooner now due to VISUAL stimulous (sp?) like all the boob-jobbed bimbos on MTV and elsewhere. i caught a student (female) doing that thing with her fingers and mouth to make it look like a vagina!! where could she have picked that up besides porn! parents are AWOL in this country. its just sad also, sorry fellas above, but your 'rage', your 'slipknot'... just another cog in the machine. they're just marketing the anger and attitude of righteousness. they're sold like every teen pop sensation. think about it. where was rage before their first album came out? they didn't struggle, did they? they were assembled and bought like any other band. don't get me wrong, I love them, too. you just have to question how rebelious a group can be while their record company is pimping their music out on MTV. by the way, bill hicks rules. orange drink, man. orange drink.
March 2, 2001, 6:17 p.m. CST
by Jack D. Ripper
March 2, 2001, 6:51 p.m. CST
I forgot to mention, as long as Moriarty was talking about JACKASS, that 13-year-old boy who ended up burning himself badly because of an idiot stunt he saw on that stupid show. As one talk-backer said, the parents are AWOL!
March 2, 2001, 8:13 p.m. CST
by Jack D. Ripper
Sorry about that, damn enter key. Anyway, I watched that Frontline program, and laughed at first at the ridiculousness of the culture cannibals, despite the show's deadly accuracy and insightfulness, but slowly my feelings changed. As the program progressed, I felt a thick sense of dread coming upon me. As a high schooler who reads Orwell and Steinbeck and watches Truffaut, Fellini and Kurosawa for fun, I consider myself above the majority of Gen-Y(I hate that corproate-invented label). I don't mean to drop names or sound like an elitist, but I KNOW that most of my generation are doing much less edifying things for pleasure. But enough about me, back to the topic. As the endless feedback loop of kids acting out what they see on TV, and the corporate experts subsequently observing their behavior put similar material in the media, and as a result the kids try to act like that, I dreaded what would happen to my generation. What will we have in ten, twenty, fifty years. What great bands, films, novels will my peers have to look back on fondly in their golden years? This program certainly seemed to say that youth culture is no longer in the hands of the youths, so I am also afraid of what will happen to subsequent generations. Personally, I, being an optimist, believe that these things are cyclical(sp?)and as a result will eventually fade, but I can't help but fear for the future. Why is mine a generation of vidiots, brain-washed zombies who only do what Carson Daly and the WB tell them to. Does anyone know what we can do? Anyone? I just want you all to know that not all teenagers are TRL-addicted, corporate puppets with no identity, and have faith that the tounge-swallowers will not inhereit the earth. After watching the show, I realized that I hadn't actively THOUGHT about being "cool" since I was ten(I'm 15 now), and I felt good about it. People shouldn't try to hard to be cool, because most of those people's desperation is detectable by scent. Whoever said that MTV(what an abmonation!, they've killed my generation's SOUL)is an endless infomercial and is like the people in high school who have to BE COOL or they'll die were deadly right. And no, Nirvana was not part of the machine. Don't worry, we'll survive. Somehow.
March 2, 2001, 9 p.m. CST
...seriously, on a 'good' week the show is rated about 79 out of 110 shows and yet it gets more press than most of the TOP TEN shows on TV. Go figure...
March 3, 2001, 1:50 p.m. CST
I have been a fan of AICN for quite a while now. But, mostly it has been to hear the latest rumors of upcoming movies, juicy tidbits about recent movie productions, but mostly for the enthusiastic reviews of Harry, Hercules and, Most importantly, Moriarty. SO, I'll be first to admit that I am biased in my defense of Moriarty and Harry. Still, there is one thing that I despise, and do my best to avoid in this site and that is the Talkback. There is nothing that ruins my day or angers me more than reading the ignorant, hypocritical, venomous, and yes, biased, comments of so many talkbackers. What's more its infectious! Even now, I am being guilty of doing the same thing myself even as I denounce it. I wonder what it is about this site, that attracts so many people who obviously have issues. But I digress, I'm here because once again, i have read another great piece by Moriarty and my curiosity as to how the hate filled talkbackers would respond got the better of me. So, I checked and surprise, surprise. The same old, hate-filled ignorant comments.(although I'm glad that other Moriarty supporters made their presence known.) I wondered for quite a while why they are so many people who have such hatred for Harry, moriarty and his staff. And in the end, there is only one obvious conclusion. Jealousy. Harry and Staff are making a living by doing what they love. Watching movies. No, that isn't right they are experiencing movies, while the rest of us schmoes work on our same old boring jobs and only watch movies as a hobby. All of you, who casually call Harry, Moriarty and staff hypocrites, sell-outs, and my personal favorite, fat-whores, are being hypocrites yourselves. WHen you judge someone, point your finger and declare that persons fault, what you are in essence doing is implying that you are "better." That if you had you own popular website, that you wouldn't sell out, that you wouldn't be a hypocrite, that you wouldn't lie and shamelessly promote your own scripts. Bullshit! Any of you would sell your mothers soul to have the opportunity to be a "fat-whore sellout" Also, if there are those of you who are foolish enough to think that you can run a succesful website without having to market and promote yourself. Well, you wouldn't have a succesful website. where Harry and Moriarty conspirators in an attempt to promote moriartys script? I frankly don't take stock in rumors and accusations. If Moriarty says he is innocent of that, I'm more prone to take his word over any of you hate filled jealous losers. Still, I'll allow myself to pretend that they are quilty of all the things some of you talkbackers have accused him. All I have is a question for you.If you had the power and opportunity to promote one of your own scripts, would you? Its Harrys website and he can do whatever he damm well wants. Harry and Moriarty, just like the rest of us, are prone to temptation. I accept that they can make mistakes and bad choices. Hell, who wouldn't? They sometimes go to exotic places, or meet famous stars, directors or producers. "I'd" sell my mothers soul to be able to be in that position. In the end, Harry and Moriarty have become succesful doing what they love with hard work and dedication.(five movies in one day. Jesus! that is frightening. Your eyes must put owls to shame and your ass must look like an old bean bag chair.)I respect them for it even through my jealousy. What I don't respect are self-righteous, ignorant, bile-filled talkbackers who wouldn't have the guts to say what they say without the anoniminity of the internet. And yes, since I have been infected with the negativity in this talkback. Allow me to comment to "you" negative talkbackers predictable responses. Why don't you go take a flying fuck. You ignorant whorebags!
March 3, 2001, 2 p.m. CST
First of all, a simple response to vondoom... <<<on a 'good' week the show is rated about 79 out of 110 shows and yet it gets more press than most of the TOP TEN shows on TV. Go figure...>>> That's because Buffy is *better* than most of the top ten shows on TV. There's really no "figuring" necessary. I'm glad that AICN made me aware of Merchants of Cool, because it was indeed an excellent and informative and piece of television. I should really watch Frontline more often than I do. (And just a friendly reminder: Moriarty, be careful of plagiarism--you quoted several lines from the narration without noting that they were directly taken from it.) Blatant cross-promotion aimed at youth is not a new thing at all. Remember the Ovaltine decoder ring message from Little Orphan Annie in "A Christmas Story"? I guess the only difference is that it's much more well-hidden than it used to be. Sometimes it's more well-hidden now, but not necessarily. "What Women Want" basically stops the movie for two minutes to show a Nike ad. At first it's shown as part of a scene in a conference room, but then the ad fills the screen and we see nothing but a commercial and the Nike logo. This week's "Survivor" challenge had a prize of Mountain Dew and Doritos, with the camera lingering on both logos for long periods of time as the challenge was explained. And so it goes.
March 3, 2001, 3:09 p.m. CST
This is totally off subject, but it's just a theory as to why some people enjoy Angel more than Buffy. This has confused me all season, there were times I could care less about Angel, but people keep saying it's better than Buffy. Then it hit me. Angel has hotter women in general than Buffy. Sure, SMG is cute, but she's overexposed. If we stack up the regulars and semi-regulars, you'll even notice the hooters weigh MUCH heavier on Angel's side (a conscious effort by Weldon to draw a more mature audience?). Buffy SMG-small boobs, cute and tough Emma Caulfied-pretty hot all around, probably my current favorite Alyson Hennigan-small boobs, but cute in her odd way Amber Benson-a little dumpy, but has the lesbian angle Clare Kramer-Token T&A in Glory and psycho chicks are the best. Then it gets pretty slim. The show really misses Miss Calender. Angel Charisma Carpenter-GREAT RACK, wonderful in Maxim Julie Benz-GREAT RACK, she could eat any of the Buffy girls for lunch Elizabeth Anne Allen (the hottie running the home for runaways)-GREAT RACK, oh my lord. She may have the best body to ever grace TV. Brigid Conley Walsh (the red head)-GREAT RACK, wow. I've liked her since she was the hot daughter on True Colors. Stephanie Romanov-Power suits, gotta love her even if she's a lawyer. Elisabeth Rohm-nice rack, but I never cared much for the detective, her eyes are creepy. Even Juliet Landau and Eliza Dushku seem destined to stay on Angel. My theory is subconsiously you are forced to watch Angel for the same reason Baywatch draws ratings. Once you're hooked, then the story and written keeps you there. I believe ER used the same formula for years. Hooter television baby.
March 3, 2001, 6:03 p.m. CST
....but the fact that the Internet is a magnet for people who "have issues" (read: are as fucked up as football bats) doesn't bother me as much. I mean, we live in a very socially-atomized society that often denies a meaningful place in life to a lot of people, is all about making money and little else, and is hyper-ridden with dysfunctional families. IOW, there's a more than ample supply of bitter, angry, lonely people for whom the WWW will always be a magnet. Besides, my introduction to cyberspace took place largely in the "alt" heirarchy of Usenet (or "Alt-Lantis", as I call it), and these talk-backs here at AICN are a paragon of civillity and sanity compared to that cyber-no-man's-land!
March 3, 2001, 6:07 p.m. CST
It's rude to spell people's names incorrectly, ya know. :-)
March 3, 2001, 7:22 p.m. CST
by Sith Lord Jesus
. . .to me, the jealous losers who rip on Harry and Mori are strictly freak show-level entertainment. Heh, I'm reminded of when Harry posted that article about his visit to Playboy Mansion and all these people wrote in going "What?! NO WAY!! You didn't really go, you're LYING you FAT SELLOUT WHORE I HATE YOU I HATE YOU WAAAAAHHH--" etc. It's just sad, really it is. Kinda like "Warrior" (whatever happend to him, btw?) hoping over at Film Threat's talkback that last year's series of articles on Harry would "destroy" him for good. Harry prolly jus' thinks it's funny.
March 3, 2001, 9:19 p.m. CST
I know this is hugely, seriously off-topic, but I just have to gloat. I just heard that BAYWATCH was cancelled! YYYYAY-YUHSS! PUH-RAISE THE LAWD!
March 4, 2001, 12:32 p.m. CST
I might be blending the two seasons together, but I believe Angel had some really weak points this season and Buffy has been more solid overall. The Darla/Angel turning... neutral arc was pretty good, but not great. I mean, nothing bad really happened, just some hurt feeling that appearently were fixed in half an episode last week. It was great to have Drucilla, but I'm really having trouble remembering individual episodes from this year. Early on, it was like a bunch of mediorce edisodes with Darla screwing with Angel in the last 5 minutes. I'm not saying I'd prefer to see that crap Dark Angel or anything, I just don't believe Angel has hit its stride until just the past month or so. So there is my theory, hooters we used to hold us until now. Does anybody know if Angel is effected in the Buffy Fox/WB tug of war?
March 4, 2001, 7:07 p.m. CST
by Toby O Notoby
I work in advertising. I'll slit my wrists the day you take all the fucking ads off this site. Deal?
March 6, 2001, 11:48 a.m. CST
It is quoted on the PBS site and is a fucking fabulous read if you want to understand the marketing culture.
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