It was just over a month ago that Entertainment Weekly announced the simultaneous firings of three of their most prominent staff writers, including founding film critic Owen Gleiberman. Restructuring more than just in house talent, the move cleared the way for the magazine’s new focus on user submitted content through ‘The Community’. Since launched, and currently in an introductory beta form, ‘The Community’ offers a new platform through which “superfans” can add their voices to the pop culture conversation.  Though EW’s main page still relies on content from paid senior writers, ‘The Community’ currently provides reviews and commentary from a growing army of amateur bloggers. That these supefans’ work will receive little to no compensation is sadly unsurprising. And as one more outlet narrows the number of professional opportunities available to burgeoning writers, it also further muddies the separation between fan and critic, amplifying the reach of a perspective that has long been the norm among online communities. Enabled by the format of the long form video review, it is leading to a new kind of critic, one whose emotional connections supersede their critical faculties, whose ability to analyze is eclipsed by their desire to perform.

In the foreword to the reissue of her novel The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing raises an important question about modern critics.  “Why do they always atomize and belittle,” she asks. “Why are they so fascinated by detail, and uninterested in the whole? Why is their interpretation of the word “critic” always to find fault?” Lessing’s words were written years before the existence of internet culture. Yet they anticipate the further expansion of a selectively negative philosophy. Ground zero for this kind of criticism can be found at the website That Guy With the Glasses, home to dozens of pop culture obsessive critics, each with multiple series of regular videos. The names of these series alone is enough to evoke the website’s general tone.

For film reviews there is “Bad Movie Beatdown,” “DVD-R Hell,” “Shameful Sequels” and “The Blockbuster Buster”. Angry Joe provides angry reviews of video games. “Atop the Fourth Wall” and “Long Box of the Damned” condemn horrible comic books. The cheekily titled “Twatty New Who Review” provides viciously critical takedowns of Doctor Who episodes that often rival the length of the television series itself. Under the banner of Channel Awesome, the site is a panoply of voices focused on various geek-centric genres. And though the majority of the site’s content is not specifically negative, there is an undeniable sway towards the kind of ultra-deconstructionist philosophy that so often drives fandom. Taken one by one, all of these series seem well intentioned and harmless. Taken as a whole, however, they indicate a relationship between art and audience that values the trees over the forest, in which opinion is expressed through impulse driven emotional screeds.

The sites central presence is Doug Walker, whose various review personas provide a tonal baseline from which the site’s many other personalities have sprung. Like most of the other Channel Awesome contributors, Walker’s reviews are focused on a highly specific sub realms of geek culture, in his case the cartoons and films remembered by his borderline Gen X/Millenial audience. Most of Channel Awesome’s content contains about as much production value as the average Youtube video. Walker himself records in front of a blank, white wall and with little flair beyond the occasional homemade costume or green screen effect. A video’s typical format involves the “host” introducing their topic, intercutting clips of the film, game or television episode with a scripted monologue in which they respond to, mock or critique their subject. Walker’s “Nostalgia Critic” is best known for devolving into bouts of uncontrollable rage over some obscure piece of pop culture detritus, from the treacle soundtrack of “The Pound Puppies” movie to the mind numbing offenses of the 1994 film North. Walker’s rants are punctuated by moments of abrupt theatricality, including an often repeated gag in which he angrily fires a fake gun into the air in a futile attempt to vent his frustrations.

Channelawesome

It is common for Channel Awesome videos to spend up to five minutes meandering through scripted scenes before even getting to the review itself. Long running characters appear, are killed off and then resurrected. There are callbacks and crossovers and in world mythology. Reviewers frequently provide cameos in each other’s videos. The sense is of a tightly knit community of reviewers with a bargain basement approach to in world continuity, as if Disney were to recreate the Marvel movieverse with nothing but sock puppets. This is supposed to be the appeal, and one wonders if Entertainment Weekly’s recent restructuring was in any way influenced by this brand of community driven content.

One could see this format as an expansion of the definition of criticism. Long gone are the days of two men in sport coasts sitting on a balcony set and arguing. Now, the review is the content. When not fueled by faux rage, reviewers use their platform for bouts of sudden autobiographical sincerity. Kyle Kallgren’s character, OanCitizen, specializes in analyzing “art house” films through a self-aware, tragicomic intellectualism. His conclusions are often insightful, as when he outlines the political allegory of Yeelen through in depth discussion of Malayan history. More often than not, however, he resorts to the same kind of broad dismissal that points to his failure to meaningfully engage with films.

Gus Van Sant’s Gerry is boring and therefore bad. Harmony Korin’s Trash Humpers is obnoxious and therefore bad. Most interestingly, his two part review of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia ends not with a conclusive opinion statement, but with Kallgren in a closet talking to the camera about his own struggles with inferiority, failure and depression. But these sincere digressions are rare, overwhelmed by a sensibility that sometimes feels like the equivalent of smashing a watch against the ground and then complaining when it doesn’t work. “Any critic is entitled to wrong judgments,” Susan Sontag said in Against Interpretation.  “But certain lapses of judgment indicate the radical failures of an entire sensibility.”

If we must give a name to the Channel Awesome sensibility, let us call it geek entitlement. It is a philosophy that demands art provide us with constant engagement. Married to a preexisting passion for, a genre or a series, this entitlement meets the failure to satisfy these demands with negativity and symbolic destruction. The previously mentioned Blockbuster Buster concludes most of his reviews by destroying DVDs of low grade genre films with a hammer. The host of “Atop the Fourth Wall” (“Where bad comics burn”) ends many reviews by setting fire to comic books.

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This philosophy demands internal coherence, a demand visible in the channel’s review of Southland Tales. One of the sites popular ‘crossover reviews’, it features multiple reviewers sitting in a hotel room, blasting Richard Kelly’s divisive film from every possible angle while making room for narrative diversions and comedic skits. Though the video’s hour long run time includes contributor cameos and Doctor Who references, little time is spent on analysis. “Southland Tales is really something else,” Village Voice critic J. Hoberman said of the film in his initial review. It, “may not be entirely coherent, but that’s because there’s so much it wants to say.” But this is the kind of ambivalence that is hard to make funny. And, judging by the comments section of the video, it’s not the kind of engagement that viewers are looking for. Dozens of commenters provide feedback on the review itself, praising its funny moments or critiquing its own lapses in coherence. Little mention is made of Southland Tales.

The review has now become the source of engagement, the circle completing itself.  “The experiments of the avant-garde take a long time to catalyze into mainstream culture,” Kallgren says in his review of Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture.  “But they get there eventually. And all thanks to a bunch of unknown doofuses trying and failing and succeeding in their own, unorthodox way.”  Here, he is drawing an explicit parallel between the Channel Awesome aesthetic and the by now mainstream ethos of the mumblecore movement.   And, obviously, the established guard always fears and dismisses the innovation of the new. But the innovations of the online video review replace nuanced criticism with performative hysterics. The assembly line production schedule of the video reviewer eclipses opportunities for professionally sustainable criticism with the ubiquity of the superfan and a sense of entitled critical impatience. If this is the landscape waiting over the next hill, then Kallgren’s words are more than a prediction. They’re a threat.

By definition, fans tend towards fanaticism. Their vectors are those of the emotional and the reactive, which are not necessarily the terms best suited for the analysis of a piece of art, the equivalent of asking for an honest review from someone’s doting mother (or, conversely, an overbearing detail obsessed stage parent). This is not the same mental climate in which thoughtful critique is cultivated. And yet it is one that is not only hugely popular, but highly profitable. Though Doug Walker is Channel Awesome’s public figurehead, the site is in truth the brainchild of producer Mike Michaud. Every video and podcast supported by the site is hosted by Blip.tv, and every piece of content is accompanied by advertising before and during the content. It was enough to earn the site an estimated $150,000 in ad revenue in 2009, not counting the $11,000 per month the site reportedly received in viewer donations. It’s the type of revenue that seems to contradict that surface level DIY aesthetics, compounded by the endless resalability of the sites content. Channel Awesome’s online store features the expected merchandise, from t-shirts to CD’s to prints, but also autographed photographs of the site’s most popular personalities. Viewers can compete to win autographed DVDs, while the site itself features numerous commentaries of the reviewers commenting on their own material.

In a video called “Please Let the Ads Play,” posted in May of 2013, one of Channel Awesome’s many contributors, Lewis Jeffery Lovhaug aka Linkara, speaks candidly about the necessity of the site’s sponsorship. He needs us, he says, his viewers, to see the ads. And he is alarmed by a recent spate of users who employ ad blocking software to avoid doing so. “This is my day job,” he says.  “This is not a hobby for me.” Though this situation is not the case for all the Channel Awesome producers, Lovhaug says, it is the case for some. It is unstated exactly how much he makes, but his tone is still one of supplication. He needs the money from his advertising, and is relatively helpless to do anything about it. He, like all of those superfans EW hopes to have waiting in the wings, is not employed by his parent company. They are perhaps the modern day equivalent of pulp authors, earning a few cents per word in the shadow of much more profitable syndicates. And both sites seem to have perfected a winning formula for putting the geek to the plow. The byproduct, already visible on Channel Awesome and now beginning to spread across ‘The Community’ of Entertainment Weekly, is an entitled impatience, where critical distance is replaced by emotive reaction.

Check out other original illustrations by Alexandra Kittle on her Etsy page and follow her on Twitter here.

  • Jack Connell

    Minor point, only a few episodes of Atop the Fourth Wall actually end with comics being burnt, and generally the ones that get exceptionally negative reviews.

  • Camera Angel

    One of their contributors recently called Under the Skin “sillier than Winter’s Tale”.

    • SamuelFragoso

      Profound.

    • Josh Rosenfield

      Remember when that baby was left to die on a beach? LOL SO WACKY.

  • Brian Arkle Webber

    Long Box of the Damned’s theme is Horror comics, not necessarily horrible ones. It’s more about the genre than the quality. Some of the comics to come up on it Linkara recommends more strongly than others, but by and large it’s tone is far more positive than this article implies. I think there was some conflation of it an Atop the Fourth Wall since both shows have the same host.

  • Lewis Lovhaug

    Indeed, as has been pointed out, Longbox of the Damned focuses strictly on horror comics and in fact only once or twice in the sixty episodes (produced daily during October in celebration of Halloween) has it been negative, if you can even call it that, since it’s more head-scratching at the concept (an alien-rock-possessed bulldozer and cybernetically-enhanced fish expelling foul-smelling gas) than it is negative criticism.
    And indeed as also pointed out, in the near-300 episodes of Atop the Fourth Wall, I have set fire to the comic all of THREE TIMES. Four if you count when I admitted to not actually having the original comic to be burned and thus made up for my dishonesty in that regard by actually burning a copy of the book. And all occasions were done because I felt the comics in question were morally abhorrent in my eyes in one way or another and I did not wish to be in their presence any longer. The “burning” that the tagline refers to is metaphorical, not literal.
    Ultimately, I bring up my 200th episode here as a response to this article about the different sort of criticism offered in our own general styles of reviews (recap, jokes, and final analysis and conclusion at the end): everybody’s a critic. Not in the dismissive sense, but rather that all that a criticism is is an opinion on a work. Regardless of how you feel about the presentation of it, we’re still giving our opinions. Even in the Southland Tales review, during the course of which we several times point out when the plot makes no sense, the emotions of the scenes are unclear, the symbolism forced and unnecessary, and the complete waste of all the talent in the film, we ultimately DO give a conclusion based on what we present. Our goal is to both entertain AND inform. As said, everybody’s a critic and everybody can give their opinion on something. We offer our opinions, but we offer it in a package that’s different to others.

    • Andrew

      “our goal is to both entertain and inform” that is a damn shame.

      • Rex Kidd

        Yeah, I feel like Linkara in particular isn’t super duper informative. I mean, I get that it’s difficult to be interesting when you’re not being funny, but there’s fairly little background information offered in an At4W episode (though in some cases that’s justified as information is sparse or hard to obtain)

    • FuckTGWTG

      “Our goal is to both entertain AND inform”

      You fail at both you whiny piece of shit.

      • Trias

        While you, sir, bestow us with such great gems of well-founded *and* well-worded criticism. Wow, I’m totally blown away by your reasoning. *slow clap*

      • FuckFuckTGWTG

        Then don’t watch?
        Wow, whining about an internet site is a whole new level.

        • Adam Hofbauer

          This doesn’t seem very constructive.

    • De

      What I find most interesting about Atop the Fourth Wall and the new layout for The Nostalgia Critic is the way flaws in storytelling are pointed out using actual storytelling. As a writer I find it fascinating and informative. I feel watching internet review shows on TGWTG and other sites has sharpened both my understanding and appreciation of narrative. I don’t go to these shows (with the exception of Long Box of the Damned, Filmbrain’s Projector, and Jesuotaku’s…. project of the moment) to find movies/shows to watch. I much prefer to watch reviews on material I’m already familiar with, that way I can disagree. I love to disagree with people about media.

      There’s a lot more to these review shows than the word “review” implies. What Linkara said about offering both entertainment and information cannot be emphasized enough. I would go so far as to say these shows offer consolation that the rest of media doesn’t. They take what is bad and make it entertaining and they also point out how it could have been good, the missed opportunities. This is more than Mystery Science Theater 3000. I watched the movie Gamer and finished it feeling numbed, insulted and drained. Bad movies don’t leave me feeling thoughtful, just angry, they take more than they give. It wasn’t until I saw an episode of Bad Movie Beatdown highlighting the specific flaws in the story that I felt inspired to write my own novel. When a “review” in turn inspires further creativity it has become its own art.

  • Adam Hofbauer

    I find it rather telling that many of the responses to an article about the pervasiveness of deconstructionist criticism have been to apply the same kind of minor-detail focused nitpicks. Focusing on the fact that some of my points can be dissected for relatively minor inaccuracy seems, again, an example of engaging with something in a way that neglects what are other points really deserving of conversation.

    Lewis, its great to hear from you, and I would be curious to know what other members of the community have to say in response to some of my points. I don’t want my criticism to be construed as contrarian argument baiting. I wouldn’t have as much to say about the site I didn’t enjoy it on some level, and I’ve found your and Kyle’s series in particular engaging and thoughtful. I also think there’s a danger in drawing some rarefied line between “critic” and “fan” that could easily slip into an equally troubling sense of elitism, so in this sense I use those terms really more as helpful signifiers. In an era of ubiquitous access to new forms of communication such as this one (admittedly relative, however that access is, to race and class), in which any given individual has the potential to reach millions of people with criticism, it becomes more and more important to want to approach that criticism theoretically. What are the unspoken expectations and frameworks being articulated when we talk about art? And what strategies of engagement are we articulating through our criticism, be it dry and pedantic or irreverent and entertaining?

    I find it really fascinating how the video review has begun to share characteristics with narrative and monologue. But I also think that its increasingly easy to attract viewership with content that is founded in negativity or rage or, as I mentioned, metaphoric destruction. Things become either canonical or condemned to collective cultural purgatory. And I think an unfortunate side effect of this is the loss of ambivalence, a servitude to structure and unity of vision that forfeits both the ability to appreciate messy art and the ability to formulate contrasting opinions on works like Southland Tales or Gerry. So it troubles me not so much that the Channel Awesome Community is broadcasting negative or positive opinions, but that their videos so often serve as conversation enders, as confirmation that yes, those weird movies you’ve heard about are in fact disposable and not worthy of discussion. And it could be argued that this is not the point, but based on the commentators, this is the result. The reviewers are the arbiters of taste for thousands of people, and the byproduct of entertainingly riffing on Southland Tales is not just a few chuckles at the movie’s expense, but its removal from consideration as a piece of singular, if flawed, art.

    Finally, I want to reiterate that one of the things I really wish for you, Lewis, and any other hard working person with a passion for pop culture or art, is the ability to be employed for that passion, Granted, I don’t know much about anyone’s financial situation, nor is it really any of my business. But I wish we didn’t live in an environment where you have to argue against ad blockers, especially when the site that you work for is noted for its sizable profits. I know that its everyone’s choice to operate under the Blip model but, to bring it back to the EW Community, the new norm seems to be to let the critics and reviewers sort out compensation among themselves. And that’s a norm that troubles me.

    • Taylor Shiells

      Yes, people focused on the “minor discrepancies” because, when you’re making massively broad statements discounting the value of an entire movement of discussing film, demonstrating you haven’t actually seen one of the most prominent reviewers on the site you’re writing off as mediocre cattle is kind of a big deal.

      The kind of “nuance” you obsess over in this article comes off as a high-minded sense of elitism, an attempt to place yourself in an old guard of intellectuals threatened by mobs of shouting lessers.

      You talk about finding movies “different” and talking about broader structures, but discounting purely emotional reactions toward films is no more valid. It’s not a “better” way of looking at movies to treat them as detached fixtures of a landscape of critical context.

      Pacing, shooting, story, structure: these are all elements of film. Film is a medium defined by the experience of watching it, and how you react to it as it moves is part of that. Noting that a film like Southland Tales is an incoherent mess is PART of experiencing it. Trying to ignore that in the interest of praising its “difference” is only an attempt to elevate the discussion of the landscape the film above the watching of the actual films, which is NOT the goal of legitimate criticism.

      Does injecting entertainment and hyperbolic exagerration weaken the ability to view the whole? Perhaps, but who says that the viewers can’t be aware of that. And who says the entertainer didn’t see the potential for a broader view and dismiss it simply because they didn’t engage in navel-gazing on the possibility for grand broad meaning.

      There is value in entertainment. There’s value in volume. I was long a person who never considered the point of arthouse films, and the potential of a funny critic taking them on drew me to them. I started watching Brows Held High, and in seeing the volume of films covered I started finding myself learning and engaging in the work. Tangential learning is getting an entire generation to engage in film in a new way, having gotten their attention with the promise of skits and jokes; Siskel and Ebert once did the same, using the promise of a light, entertaining show to get a whole generation to start liking talking about movies.

      In the end, this article comes across as belittling in its obsession with broadness and nuance, but in doing so it rejects the overall value of this field of review by obsessing with its divergence from “critical best practice”. It does with high-minded elitism what it accuses of reviewers of doing with comedy: dismissing things by speaking about them with controlled hyperbolic exclusion.

    • Lewis Lovhaug

      I would love to live in an environment where I don’t have to argue against ad blockers. The problem is that we DON’T live in that environment. We live in an environment where the majority of revenue generated for websites is made through advertisements. There are some who are talented or lucky enough to live through merchandising and I’m certainly moving in that direction, but I’m a one-man operation still trying to produce a quality product every week for people to enjoy. As such, I felt at the time that video was necessary, especially because it DID inform many people about how the revenue model worked. Many people didn’t realize that I WAS doing this as a job. Others remain woefully ignorant and dismissive of the whole thing, telling us to “GET A REAL JOB!!!” as if what we do ISN’T a real job any more than any professional critics, writers, actors, or basically any profession EXCEPT the service industry is not “real.” For the record, though, the only people who COUNT in determining what is or is not a “real job” is the IRS, and they seem perfectly happy with my job being a “real job.”

      To get back to your point, I don’t think there’s much danger in what you describe any more so than any public personality who has gained fame or celebrity status (I still have to laugh whenever I’m described as an “internet celebrity,” since I see people with far larger viewerships who deserve that status more than me) other than letting the individual person be overtaken by their own ego. The expectations and frameworks of art are always different and are approached by different people. Many try to describe the position they approach things if they feel it necessary, but others do not because of that “unspoken” part you mentioned because we already have a basic sense of what we want out of it: namely “Is it GOOD?” And the qualifier for “Good” is different from person to person. Criticism is not, nor can it really BE “objective” unless we’re talking about math equations where something is or is not something. Every person brings their own biases and opinions to the table based on their own tastes and experiences.

      I also have little fear of me or any of my peers producing only mindless followers who are influenced solely by our opinions because we get negative or differing opinions in the comments all the time. I can speak volumes (and I have) about negative comments we’ve received, insults, or just people who feel we didn’t see the same things they did, but we’re able to agree to disagree. And I rather think it’s the fans who try to remove a piece of art from consideration, not the critics. There’s a pervasive problem that still exists that we’ve dubbed “Reviewer Dibs,” wherein fans have said “You can’t review this – someone else already did” and we’ve been fighting back against it for quite a while. Some at least want acknowledgment of those other reviews as if we need to cite our reviewing betters or something and not just take our opinion on its own. I find that in particular chuckle-worthy because I first learned of Southland Tales because of the website “The Agony Booth,” which did their own mega recap (their word, since as they’ve argued – they do not review, they recap the film though in a similar hyperbolic and joking style). Essentially: viewership has their own expectations on us. Our only expectation of them is to be polite and kind, much like how I think we all want to be polite and kind in the responses to THIS article.
      In any case, I hope you’ve enjoyed all the responses people have given to your piece and we’ve managed to show you things from our side even as we’ve been thinking about many of the things you’ve been saying. ^_^

      • Adam Hofbauer

        Thanks Lewis. As I said to a few other people on this site, I would love to follow this article up with a more formal version of this conversation and go a little more in depth into the potential for creative flexibility that the video format provides. I made a conscious choice to focus on just your site for length purposes, but obviously the internet is a big place and there are lots of other voices who could provide interesting input. Given that I did mention you directly in the article, I would love to work with you in getting some kind of statement as to how you see yourself fitting into things. Things like Reviewer dibs are things that never would have occurred to me, and I would love to give the community a chance to respond outside of the chaos of the comments section. Let me know.

  • Kyle Kallgren

    This article captures nearly everything that has caused me anxiety about the environment I work in. As you’ve pointed out, I too am guilty of some of the critical sins outlined here, though mostly in my older, more satirical videos that reflected my desire to tell a joke more than give an honest opinion. Even if I did give a fully formed critique, my critical skills were unhoned back then and don’t reflect the level of quality I want to give my viewers. I suppose I’ve been trying to make amends for attempting to be funny for so long.

    Since my earlier, less insightful work is still online, I’ve decided to go back and add a disclaimer in the description of each video stating which ones are works of satire and do not reflect my actual critical opinion. Hopefully that should help curb the “threat” of geek entitlement.

    • rubi-kun

      Kyle,

      You’ve been my favorite reviewer on TGWTG since you first joined. Obviously your work’s continued to improve, but even your earlier jokier stuff I felt had some good insight and criticism.

      I’m a bit confused by the article’s (and seemingly your own) dismissal of your Gerry review (I haven’t tried watching Trash Humpers so I can’t fairly say if you were on point or not with that one). You give an honest reaction to the film (hyperbolic comedy ending aside) while placing it in the context of Van Sant’s career, historical examples of intentionally “boring” art, and acknowledging its positive aspects (the cinematography and how it is successful at placing you in the position of the characters) while also acknowledging that, yes, it is utterly boring. I tried watching Gerry around the time Milk came out and fell asleep. I was baffled that two of my film professors have said it’s one of their “favorite” movies; I can understand respecting its audacity, but liking it? Enough to call it a favorite? I felt like your review was pretty spot-on.

      • LarryBundyJr

        Get your tongue out of his arse.

        • Dr. Swag

          tell your mom to get hers out of mine

        • Kyle Kallgren

          I agree. Stop that.

          • rubi-kun

            I’m sorry? I’m a bit confused what I’m doing wrong?

          • grmpf

            You dismiss your old videos and excplicitly throw their fans under the bus. You disassociate yourself from your work environment and implicitly throw many of your colleagues under the bus. All because you now have a different perspective on how criticism should work in your videos.

            I genuinely really like your videos. However, if this is the kind of attitude and behaviour one falls into at the end of the kind of development the author of this article might prefer, then this becomes one of those cases where I keep enjoying the work while feeling I should rather shun the person behind it. And I have a feeling I may not be alone in this.

            I feel like this really shouldn’t become a situation where the “evolved” ones exude “I’m better than those who stuck to the ‘angry review’ style and the fans of my older work just don’t get why my newer work is better” in all of their statements and actions regarding this issue.

      • Sam Huddy

        Hey, rubi-kun! I know you from The Other Site!

  • Dr. Cakey

    Channel Awesome is an interesting one for a variety of reasons. While undoubtedly one of the seminal figures in the style of critique present of modern Internet culture, it nonetheless faces the constant creeping threat of their own obsolescence in the face of more popular forms of video entertainment (and the plunging value of ad revenue from Blip). In addition, many of its contributors are not guilty of the many unpleasantries they have spawned. Kyle’s recent incredible work is one such example, but Doug Walker himself has matured greatly in his style after his return to doing the Nostalgia Critic. While his slapstick style continues, he has made great efforts to include more nuanced analysis and let his love of movies shine through. Lewis Lovhaug has been doing good work for years. He comes at things from a very structural and perhaps ‘geeky’ perspective, but he’s good. Hope Chapman (JesuOtaku) is just fantastic – I still need to see that two-part review of Attack on Titan – but she’s basically a professional critic (for Anime News Network), so there’s that.

    The secondary point of the article, though, highlighting “community” reviewers working for larger companies for little to no pay, is spot-on and definitely is something that needs to be mentioned.

  • Adam Hofbauer

    You know, this is a rare moment in internet commenting in that it sounds like people are actually talking to each other. Given that I’m really uninterested in non-dialog, I’d love to follow this up with anyone from the site (and you in particular Kyle, since I did focus a lot on your content) and do some kind of open dialog in article form about the relative ethics of criticism and the evolving perspectives of said critics. Because it seems we all spend a lot of time talking about movies, but not enough time talking about how we talk about them.

    • http://womenwriteaboutcomics.com Claire

      I hope so much that this will happen. I really, really want to read that.

    • Lauren Vogel

      I’m all for that.

      • Adam Hofbauer

        I’ve been attempting to get in touch with some members of the Channel Awesome Community, as well as other video essayists and reviewers. This is clearly a topic people are very passionate about and I would love to moderate some kind of space in which it can be more properly explored.

        • Lauren Vogel

          I’m definitely looking forward to it. And good luck!

    • grmpf

      I don’t know what the point would be in doing this with Kyle in particular (or rather: with Kyle alone) because he has pointed out that he does not feel at home in the environment defined by the style of criticism you critique in this article. If he mostly agrees with you, you just end up writing a very similar article again, only with the added perspective of “yes, we should evolve away from that”, which of course isn’t much of an added perspective at all. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to have Kyle and at least one other person who represents the style you described better in order to have a more diverse discussion?

      • Adam Hofbauer

        Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I’m open to any members of the community who would like to contribute to this idea. We’ve started reaching out to some prominent video essayists and would love the feedback of competing view points.

  • Wraithy2773

    I think what might be lost on the author of this article is that, to oversimplify: Traditional Reveiws are to Channel Awesome Reviews as Nightly News Programs are to the Daily Show.

    Sure, there’s plenty of differences, but the main difference is that its taking a format/concept that’s generally been used purely in an informative light, and using it to entertain as well. It’s not the same as traditional criticism, and it’s often not trying to be.

    Of course, when trying to do two things at once, things will occasionally clang. Hyperbolic outrage at minor sleights can be cringe-inducing, but the better reviewers (Kyle Kalgaren, Doug Walker and Charles Sonnenburg aka SFDebris) have steered away from relying on that and going into deeper examination of not only what was wrong, but why things were wrong.

    Art evolves over time, and what was once raw and wild can be refined into something both more entertaining and more powerful. From Kalgaren’s fascinating exploration of Dead Man, and its place within Native American films in general, to Walker’s examination of The Last Airbender and why it failed as an adaptation of beloved material (and why it’s NOT the worst thing evar), to Sonnenburg’s fantastic look at the original Gojira, both the background that brought the film into being and the meaning and deft skill that was woven throughout the piece.

    Do they sometimes go after easy targets? Of course they do, they’re still comedians. Is there a lot of low-brow, weak examples? Sure, this is a pretty new form of art, and there was a lot of figuring out what works and what doesn’t, like what movies, comic books, television and video games have gone through in the last century.

    Done well, though, it makes the sort of deeper analysis and criticism of a piece’s themes and concepts accessible to a wider audience. I dunno about you, but I’d call that a worthy goal.

  • DodgerOfZion

    You really could have done a bit more in the way of research, dude. As someone who works with many of the Channel Awesome people on a day-to-day basis, I don’t see any “entitlement” that you wave around. Many of us live hand to fist. Some of us are lucky to have 9-5 jobs to support our hobbies, while some of us don’t have to work at all, supported by our families or our spouse. But this is universal for all of us: It’s a passion.

    The reviewers don’t feel entitled to anything. The reviewers don’t feel they’re owed anything. Any one of us who gets any delusion of that sort quickly gets put down.

    We want something better. In the end, that’s all we really ask of our consumable media: we want it to be better. And that’s why we do what we do.

    It says you’re moving to Philly. When you get into town, hit me up, we’ll meet for coffee or lunch or drinks or whatever. I’d be more than happy to give you an insight into this crazy little community/family I call home.

    Full disclosure: I worked on the aforementioned Southland Tales review, but that’s another story for another time.

    Twitter: @DodgerOfZion:disqus

    Hope to hear from you.

    • Adam Hofbauer

      I’m not familiar with your work on the site, so I can’t really comment directly on your perspective. I think its important not to be misunderstood when it comes to what i mean by ‘entitlement’ and in using such a charged word i am probably doing the same kind of baiting that I am being critical of. When I say it, however, I am referring exclusively to the way in which the site’s unwritten philosophy seems to relate to narrative and the execution of content. I was never accusing anyone of entitlement on an economic level, and I am totally on your guys’ side on that front. As I said to Lewis, I really wish that your passion could be one that didn’t require the hand to mouth existence that you mention. It bothers me when a culture values pop culture so much, and yet isn’t structured in a way that can economically support the people who would probably be happiest earning a living through it.

      If i remember this conversation i’ll let you know when i’m settled in Philly.

      • DodgerOfZion

        Appreciate the feedback, I don’t always get it.

        Your article has caused quite the stir among us, with each of us taking a different view of it. We won’t all always agree on stuff, and that’s part of what makes what we have so great: everyone has a different view, with a different lens that frames each and every opinion shared.

        Channel Awesome is far from the be-all end-all of reviewing. Reviewers Unknown, NerdVice, and Space Monkey Mafia Studios all have producers (many Channel Awesome inspired) offering their take on things with their own ways of doing it.

        • sathriel

          Of course it is not be-all end-all of reviewing as it usually as very little to do with reviewing ;)

  • Christopher Carrig

    I’m not a reviewer, but I really wanted to comment on this article since it’s launched a huge discussion between the contributors on TGWTG on the nature of what they do.

    There’s something to be said for how nitpicking has become the sole focus of much criticism. I’ve noticed it and felt slighted by it when something I enjoyed was picked apart and derided by critics, particularly the “entitled geek” critics which populate the whole of the Internet, but I take issue with the idea that critics like Doug Walker are leading the vanguard of that brand of criticism. Your article makes no mention of the Moulin Rouge review, which not only aspires to critique a film in an entertaining, comedic way, but also the nature of criticizing pop culture as entertainment. It’s essential viewing to understand what a site like TGWTG brings to the table.

    Instead of writing an essay that I know many people won’t care to read, I’m just going to share my experience with the site in brief. I found Doug Walker accidentally and watched his review of the Garbage Pail Kids movie, a film I’d seen in childhood and never gave much thought to. I knew it was bad, and I’d never been embarrassed to admit liking it as a kid, but I also never laughed at it. Seeing Doug’s video was an experience it’s hard to convey. I wasn’t laughing at the movie, I was seeing it through a friend’s eyes the way I used to dissect movies as a kid with classmates or as an adult with coworkers. There’s a huge difference between dismissive, insult-based criticism and what Doug Walker does. He didn’t like the movie, but he didn’t dismiss its place in nostalgic pop culture.

    That was my first experience with the site, and through it, I discovered other contributors and was exposed to not only criticism but new media I had never really given a chance. Art films, some good, some bad, but all part of a genre I had always felt inaccessible at times, were something Kyle Kallgren in particular helped me learn to appreciate. Diamanda Hagan, who I viscerally disagree with about Doctor Who at times, has a fondness for low budget self-financed films and exposed me to many movies I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

    There is a valid place in criticism for TGWTG. The best of the site’s critics are trying to elevate and innovate criticism from simply passing or failing a film according to incredibly subjective measures to making the act of criticism into a new form of media, part entertainment, part criticism, part self-criticism. I may be overthinking it, but it learned that by watching them.

  • Lindsay

    “The sense is of a tightly knit community of reviewers with a bargain basement approach to in world continuity, as if Disney were to recreate the Marvel movieverse with nothing but sock puppets.” Ha, that is a wonderful way of putting it. Bravo, sir.

  • Mathew Buck

    Speaking as one of the contributors on the website, with one of the shows name-checked in the article… I actually enjoyed reading it.

    I’m a big fan of movies, that’s pretty obvious, and I wouldn’t be in this position if I weren’t. And in some respects, I am lucky to be where I am. To some extent, that means I take my job seriously, even when I’m gearing towards comedy, because that’s something that takes a lot of work. Are there fans on the website that prefer the negative reviews? Of course, but that’s the same for many reviewers, video or not. For instance, if you were to ask someone what were their favourite Roger Ebert reviews, they’d likely direct you towards something like “North” or “Jury Duty” and so on and so forth. In some ways, the movie reviews on the website are extensions of those things.

    But as I said, even though my aim is partially to make the viewer laugh, it is also to aid them in critique and forming their own opinions. I don’t speak for anyone but myself, and I wouldn’t want my fans to parrot my views, and I actively encourage those interested to seek out the movies I’ve covered and make up their own minds. But because of my position, I am aware of the fact that I have responsibility, both as an entertainer and critic, to be accurate. Comedy and satire have to be in some way incisive, and these dissections are honestly what I have felt to be problematic elements within those works, and the humour makes it accessible to the site’s target audience. I like to open my Bad Movie Beatdown reviews with comprehensive summaries of how the film was made, the culture it was released in, because I think that can be paid off later in the video. It’s combining the two forms to hopefully make a package that’s ultimately satisfying at it’s conclusion, and leaves the viewer both with a better understanding and entertained – similar to a straight-laced, traditional review.

    I think this article touches on that. I smiled at the “Avengers re-enacted by sock puppets” line, but in some respects that’s kind of true. What’s impressive about the website is that you have all these people, connected by their love of media, creating entertainment out of critiquing existing entertainment in way that’s rather unique and then using that as a springboard for their own storytelling and creations. I personally don’t do this very often, but that sense of personality is what brings a lot of viewers to the site – other producers, such as Linkara and Nostalgia Critic have their own continuities that keep their audiences invested in their work – not just for the reviews being covered, but also for the storylines themselves. This has even spun off into the several site anniversary mini-series that are original works, albeit heavily inspired by the pop culture that shaped the participants. But I appreciate the article as looking from the outside in – while many people who go to the site have done so for years, newcomers will likely be daunted by not just the sheer amount of continuity and how interlocked it is, which makes it hard to fathom. And that’s why I don’t do sketch comedy – I prefer to focus on the movies themselves and makes things a lot more accessible.

    The issue I had with this article is that, while it worries about “geek entitlement”, the underlying tone is much the same as any of the negative reviewers it passes comment on: it accentuates the negative. There are many contributors to the site, each doing different things, and it’s wholly unreasonable to expect an article to cover them all, but it’s not all bile and negativity. To give two examples, I do a largely straight current releases series called Projector, which are just eight minute or so looks at modern movies, and there’s a fantastic series called Renegade Cut, that looks at modern film theories and urban legends. And I understand why: it makes for a much more interesting article that way. And I also worry that there’s an underlying thread of geek bashing at work here, as if there’s a line in the sand between a critic and a fan, when the internet, for better or worse, as blurred those lines. It’s almost the same argument between the difference of who is a blogger and who is a critic: who cares about the semantics so long as they’re participating in and spreading discussion? In a fast-moving world, constantly moving to the next big event, that’s what keeps media alive these days.

    Apologies if it seems as though I’m reviewing your article, I’m only sharing my experiences on the inside of this craziness, as one film fan to another.

    • Adam Hofbauer

      I appreciate the feedback. Its the kind of thing that I’m trying to focus into a more focused discussion of this topic. As I’ve said to a few other members of the TGWTG community who have provided comments, I would love to draw on your folks’ perspective for for a more in depth analysis of the video essay/review format. If you have anything you’d like to provide, let me know and I”ll give you more details as to the direction the follow up piece might take.

  • Malcolm Neill

    I do think that reviewers and especially Nostalgic Critic’s reviews have certainly improved over the years. While Moulin Rouge will always be my personal favorite review of his i really like his recent one. Hell all of his reviews have been good lately. Personally i think Channel Awesome has become much different and better from how it was 3 years ago. To be honest i kinda of almost consider them to be idols..i have always wanted to get into making video reviews but i can’t due to my shyness on camera and my accent. The Channel Awesome Guys i wish i could be.

  • CreatureSH

    I find this article to be rather insincere and misleading in a very ironic and hypocritical way: It buries the positive to create a negative takeaway. Which is the exact same thing that it posits as the cardinal sin of the reviewer scene in question. There are several reviewers who specialize in recommendations and spotlights on forgotten gems. Ignored. Several of the oh-so-negative reviewers have secondary shows that feature – once again – recommendations and spotlights. Ignored.

    This is bad journalism at best and tabloid practices at worst.

    • Lauren Vogel

      I agree it got some things wrong (or at least some stuff I disagree with), but calling it a bad piece of journalism? It’s mostly an opinion piece. Nothing more. Why is it a big deal that someone expresses their opinion about a website?

      • Creature SH

        The answer is, of course, that it is not a big deal. It doesn’t have to be a big deal to be worth discussing for a little while. But yes, I stand by my claim of it being bad journalism. There are some claims of fact, and those facts are wrong. It is unbalanced, badly researched, and the numbers seem largely fabricated. It is not good journalism.

        • Lauren Vogel

          Ah. I see.

  • Sam Huddy

    ThatGuyWithTheGlasses and its affiliate sites have had some of the most astute film criticism online today. I can’t think of many critics elsewhere who go to the same effort to explain and analyze the language, context, and implications of film. The only one that comes to mind is Nathan Rabin, who is much more interested in put-downs and buzzwords than these guys.

    Take Lindsay Ellis, a legitimate feminist film critic who isn’t interested in stirring the pot, but getting you to think about what you watch. Or Rantasmo, a gay fllm critic who actually criticizes rather than paying lip service to gay representations in media (hello again, GLAAD). The Reviewniverse has made me a better viewer and a better writer. Yes, some of the insidery bits can go a bit long, and while the fans like it, that might put off new viewers, but it doesn’t disqualify the enormous service that these people provide.

    • Andrew

      “ThatGuyWithTheGlasses and its affiliate sites have had some of the most astute film criticism online today” heh.

    • rubi-kun

      FILM CRIT HULK is my candidate for best post-Ebert film critic. There’s an insane amount of substance beneath his comic gimmick.

    • Max-Vader

      “a legitimate feminist film critic”
      You’re acting like that is a selling point. Kidding aside, NChick is a complete joke of a reviewer. And that’s not even getting into her incredibly bright “feminist” views themselves. Then again, you are the guy who unironically claims “ThatGuyWithTheGlasses and its affiliate sites have had some of the most astute film criticism online today” to which the only real response is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      • guestFan

        Translation: “Stop liking what I don’t like! BOO HOO”

        • Max-Vader

          Except I didin’t say anywhere that people can’t like her stuff or watch it. You’re kinda bad at this.

    • Josh Rosenfield

      TGWTG is more interested in pointing out “plot holes” than engaging with a film on an artistic level. It’s the most banal form of criticism imaginable.

  • Holly Christine

    Well, as the former Director of Operations for Channel Awesome, I have to say I’m disappointed that this review not only doesn’t understand the online review genre, but also that the research done appears to be woefully lacking.
    As an editor, did you really just delete my comment without fixing the typo in your article? How can you expect anyone to take you seriously at this point?

    • SamuelFragoso

      Hey Holly, we didn’t delete your comment. It has been “pending” in Disqus for the last few hours. I didn’t see it until now. Apologies for the confusion.

      • Holly Christine

        Hey Samuel, that’s very odd then, as people saw my comment and a few others which then disappeared for several hours. Thanks for looking in to it.

        • SamuelFragoso

          That’s bizzarre. I hopped on WordPress a few hours ago. All I did was approve the comment the moment I saw it pending. Unless some other moderator on the site touched your comment, then I can’t explain this. Anyway, I own and run the site, and have no interest in censoring you. You’re free to express your thoughts freely here.

          • Holly Christine

            Yeah, sounds like something weird went on. I do apologize for the tone in the initial comment on this thread. I was simply stunned that my comment disappeared along with the comments by Kyle and Lindsay, which are all now back. Best of luck to you and your site (especially seeing some of the trolling already going on in the comments to this article!)

          • Brian Arkle Webber

            It’s probably a Disqus thing. A few months I posted a comment on Paw’s Auditory Dumpling site that just vanished. I resent it (just slightly shorter with a superfluous sentence or two knocked out) and that comment’s still there, so I doubt Paw deleted me.

            Also I don’t always get replies forwarded to my e-mail like they’re supposed to, so yeah, almost certainly a Disqus problem.

    • tiredoflameness

      No wonder you’re the former. No filmaker cares what TGWTG says, so why should any of you care what this person says?

      • Igor

        Considering four reviews being taken down due to angry responses by the responsible parties (Lupa and NC’s reviews of The Room – restored since then – Brad’s of Grizzly II, Kyle’s What Is It), hard to say NO filmmaker cares about an online review of their work.

  • Silens

    This article does touch on some intriguing points, but it denigrates insertion of the critic’s personality into reviews – for example, Kallgren’s review of Melancholia. It shows ignorance of the human element and emotion in art that can often be best articulated through honest, confessional moments. Yes, it’s not strictly ‘professional’ in the sense of old-school journalism, but it’s by no means not as insightful.

    Because the human experience is essential to the experience and understanding of art in a deeper, more resonant context, the author makes the mistake of form over function in his dismissal of TGWTG’s modus of criticism – the same mistake he accused TGWTG in the review of ‘Southland Tales’. Yes, it may have been aiming for a higher purpose, but its abject failure in narrative, character, and plot rendered said purpose poorly articulated and near-moot. Saying ‘Gerry’ is boring is a completely valid point-of-view and criticism – one shared by many ‘professional’ critics – especially given that Kallgren provided the additional context and insight to the atmosphere Van Sant was creating. Just because the intent was admirable doesn’t mean the execution of that intent is above criticism.

    Plus, there’s a denigration the fandom of TGWTG – which is extremely unprofessional, at best, for a professional critic – under the mistaken assumption they simply feed into an ego complex of the content creators. And while this might be true in certain cases (that were not cited) and while there is conversation surrounding the presentation of the content, there’s plenty surrounding the content itself as well. And by including the criticism of the revenue model – which yes, is not ideal, and is why Patreon is looking to be a more and more interesting option all the time – the author of this piece further denigrates the content’s method of presentation instead of the content itself. Once again, form is criticized over function.

    And here’s where the true hypocrisy is shown, in his wistful comparisons to the ‘old guard’ – who still had to publish their articles in publications that were dependent on advertiser revenue for sustainable success. He laments some form of ‘critical quality control’ that was apparently self-evident in that old guard, when in reality many in that camp would have editorial mandate and limitations required to optimize reviews for ‘mainstream demographic appeal’, which in some cases renders them incomplete, lacking in full comprehensive detail, or not representative of the critic’s full opinion. If anything, not being directly beholden to said benefactors allows TGWTG content providers – and indeed, all independent internet reviewers – to deliver more honest, comprehensive criticism.

  • RicksWriting

    Why is the amount of money someone makes in a venture even CLOSE to an appropriate criticism of their work? There’s a lot that can be said about the values of people who have gotten rich, but making a lot, a little, or a modest amount of money is not itself wrong. Bringing it up so you can waggle your eyebrows, hinting that there must be Something Underneath It All is a VERY ugly and ill-founded attack. If you set up critics of the past as the Holy Grail of their craft, understand that a newspaper or TV network hiring a critic doesn’t make them any more pure–BOTH are sourcing their income from someone who was willing to pay for their craft.

    It’s the same old story as people who criticize artists for daring to make money on their art. Somehow, one kind of patronage is inherently more virtuous and cleaner than another–why?

  • JoeSislack

    I’d also add in clowns like Moviebob and Film Critic Hulk to this. People who (quite loudly) appeal to emotions and manage to say nothing of meaning at all during their diatribes.

    • Steve

      I don’t know much about Moviebob, but I can’t fathom how someone would think Film Crit Hulk “says nothing of meaning”. It may be buried in a gimmick, but everything I’ve read from him has been very insightful.

    • Gokenshadow

      I am a big fan of Film Crit Hulk, but that may be because of the very small list of films critics I know about. Which film critics would you recommend me checking out to expand my horizons beyond such, as you call them, “clowns?”

  • Aaron Good

    It’s funny, the review about a website that obsesses about negativiy is obessivily negative. I almost mistook this for a satirical piece.

    • guestFan

      I thought it was an article for FOX News the way it was biased and got a bunch of facts wrong.

  • Gerald Kirby

    Articles are essays, and to get the bare gist of what they mean, only the first and last paragraphs need to be read. (Lazy, but true.) If that’s the case, then this article is railing against the fact that traditional critics for publications like Entertainment Weekly are being replaced by people like those working for Channel Awesome. It is not a fair assessment of the work done by people like Doug, Lewis and Kyle, but more a case of anger at decisions made by the corporate executives at Entertainment Weekly.

  • Trent Troop

    Seems a little like coming down on a bear for being a shitty dog.

  • Jack Connell

    OK, actual comment time. There are flaws in the TGWTG model, but it’s not like the reviewers are being content with their old ways. Doug Walker, Lindsay Ellis, Mathew Buck and Kyle Kallgren have all moved towards more nuanced and critical looks at their subjects of choice. I don’t know how up-to-date you are with the site as a whole (you’re basing some of your findings on an article from five years ago), but I can tell you that most of them aren’t making Walker-level money here. I do agree that shallow uninsightful reviews aren’t really welcome, but it does come across – just from the tone of the article – that you’re looking down on anything that skews humorous. People remember the rapier wit of Ebert and Kael just as much as they remember both critics’ love and interest in the medium.

    Also, while I figured it was about time criticism like this was due, I’d expect it to come from the old guard. Movie Mezzanine is a pretty young site, younger than TGWTG; a few of your writers, including your EIC, are still in college. It seems kind of odd for you guys to be launching the first attack.

    • Adam Blackhat

      Your last comment kinda reads like “know your place.”

      Although I’ve kinda fallen off CA, the remodeling has been a bit haphazard. Doug’s videos are much improved, sure, but most of what Lindsay has been posting is just her and her friends sitting around drinking, acting worldly and cynical, and occasionally disparaging her earlier videos (or, specifically, saying that she is sick of the whole Disney rigmarole, which is unfortunate…she got me interested, to some degree, kept my wife watching, but oh well).

      • Jack Connell

        If it did come across like that, that’s my fault. But it does feel strange for this criticism to be coming from a new site, especially when the criticism feels a bit dismissive, not just of the personalities involved in TGWTG but of the fandom in general.

  • Redcrimson

    An entire article about so-called “Geek Entitlement” ruining what you clearly see as the “right” way to evaluate art… Wow, okay. Did you even take ten seconds to think about this article before you wrote it? Demanding that everyone evaluate art on “your terms” is a far more toxic entitlement than whatever this article is supposed to be addressing.

  • Andrew

    end geek culture

    • Jack Connell

      Got any actual discussion and debate you want to add there, mate?

  • Brad Jones

    Holy crap, DVD-R Hell got a mention? Hell yeah!!

    • Adam Blackhat

      Ah-hah! And that’s why I’m in love wit- I mean, I mean. Why. You are. A manly man. *walks away quickly*

    • FuckTGWTG

      You’re the only good reviewer on TGWTG. Stay based, Brad.

      • Guest

        Go fuck yourself :D

      • lars

        sad but true

      • some guy

        Correction: he’s the only DECENT reviewer on TGTWG.

    • grmpf

      The very relieving Brad Jones response. It’s always there whenever something becomes an “issue” in the TGWTG realm, and it never disappoints.

  • Steve

    Maybe the problem isn’t with the works of the ThatGuyWithTheGlasses contributors themselves. Maybe the problem is just that they have yet to find a better word for their work than “reviews”.

    While several of the contributors offer actual criticism, by and large, the site’s general aesthetic and tone is more influenced by Mystery Science Theater than anything else. The original purpose was not to engage media on a critical level, but to use media as a source for comedy. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I enjoy their work a lot, just as I enjoy Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson’s work. But finding a category for it other than “review” would probably be a good idea.

  • Adam Blackhat

    Based on the calculations I just made up, most of the comments are from CA folks, which is amusing as hell. Dudes, you’re not in jeopardy. He barely took a stand. He didn’t even make fun of Let the Ads Play! Accept that not everyone is going to appreciate your work, that he made a few good points (hazarding caution, that big corporations are all-too willing to take advantage of fan exuberance rather than paying a fair wage), and that you still have at least one forum apiece where the brunt of the correspondence is about which of you is smarter/sexier.

  • rowdycmoore

    As the host of my own online review show TV Trash, let me first say I welcome any critique of what we do, as believe if we dish it out we have to be able to take it. And I appreciate that you recognize our primary objective is to be entertaining above all else.
    With that said: It seems your main issue is that we don’t take the time to dissect why a particular work has artistic value or some deep nuance as a work of art and instead just go for “Why is this (or in most cases, why is this NOT) entertaining?” But the reason for that is that movies, comic books and video games et al are made for the purpose of entertainment. While there are exceptions like Mr. Kallgren, much of the movies reviewed by the Internet are blockbusters and the like where people pay money to be thrilled. The Star Wars prequels and Michael Bay films are among the most critically panned by Internet reviewers.
    I think the reason people are gravitating more to Internet critics, some of which I see in these comments (Hi, Brian!), is because they see us as one of them and thus trust their opinions more. And, as pointed out already by other commenters, there are a growing number of critics who do go into detail of the subject reviewed, just staying on the focus of the entertainment value. Explain why something was not entertaining (while perhaps directing the viewer to a more entertaining movie/show in the process, as some try to do) and providing entertainment for the viewer yourself, thus giving the viewer comfortability.

    • Lauren Vogel

      Very well-said!

  • Jesse Kelvin Peever

    I don’t have to defend Channel Awesome, because they are doing a wonderful job of it themselves. But I will say that there is a song Adam Hobauer should give another listen: “The Times They Are a-Changin'”. Although they really they haven’t changed so much. I’ll wager that Mr. Hobauer is at least aware, if not a fan, of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and really a large portion of Channel Awesome contributors have just combined the ridiculousness of a movie bashing show done in outer space (which if you recall the theme song asks you to not think too hard about) with the critical techniques of those men on that balcony set Mr. Hobauer alluded to. And really what is the problem with that? Why can’t legitimate critique also be entertaining? Furthermore a number of Channel Awesome’s contributors do have one form of Film/New Media education or another. Specifically the Nostalgia Chick (Lindsay Ellis), who Mr. Hobauer didn’t even mention for some reason…, has had a great deal of “formal” training regarding film critique and production (I believe I don’t mean to misquote or over sell anyone). What’s more I’m glad Mr. Hobauer referred to Channel Awesome’s model as a philosophy, because the great thing about philosophy is that anyone can participate. Is someone who has some inside knowledge of the Philosophy of Aesthetics going to do a little better and have stronger arguments and comments? Probably, but it in no way diminishes what an “untrained” person has to say or whether or not people like what that person has to say. Mr. Hobauer cautions that the internet-fan-critic should focus on the forest over the trees, but to ignore the pine beetles in those trees is to kill the forest.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com/ MovieBob

    I’ve been expecting the “personality-driven internet-reviewers are RUINING TRUE CRITICISM!!!” pieces to start popping up ever since the Glieberman firing happened (you want to talk performance-art? Give an Oscar to every old-guard critic who was able to successfully pretend that they’d EVER looked at Entertainment Weekly outside of a dentist’s office in the last decade); but I’m really perplexed to see the first one to really take off come from Movie Mezzanine – which I’m a fan of for much the same reason I became a fan of much of the TGWTG crew (and their other affiliates): fresh voices in film criticism coming in from outside the old guard print-media stronghold. It’s not a badly written or completely “wrong” piece, by any means, but it feels like upstarts attacking other upstarts for being “too upstarty.” Of all the things to pin the decline of professional film criticism as a career choice on, from changing audience-tastes to the globalization of the theatrical marketplace to the collapse of traditional media outlets overall, the Great Threat is actually… a college-age kid in a funny hat cracking wise (in between actual critical insights, mind you) about Antonioni? Seriously?

    Full disclosure: I’ve got colleagues and good friends who work for both TGWTG/similar sites and for this one, so I’ve got no dog in the “fight” that shouldn’t even be a fight; apart from the fact that as a critic who works primarily in audio/video I’m familiar with the upturned noses you (still) get for doing this job in some format other than the Sacred Holy Tradition of The Written Column. I’ve been there, I get it. And I’ve also had a family member lose their livelihood as part of the breakdown of the print press as a business, so I get the apprehension and fear of the new there, too.

    But I will say that I think a lot of these folks and what they do are being greatly undervalued. The worst thing that ever happened to film criticism was devolving into being little more than Consumer Reports for art (“three stars, families will enjoy, aim for the matinee!”) If you look past (or, rather, just enjoy – as I do) the put-on personalities or comedy skits or in-universe narrative-digressions, what you’ll find is that these guys are reviving the lost art of critique as a medium unto itself; wherein a viewer might be encouraged to seek out a film or a filmmaker because a critic informs them of it in a way that also entertains. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen obscurities and art/cult films suddenly re-enter the pop-zeitgeist because this or that TGWTG-style critic turned it into a particularly entertaining episode – never would’ve thought I’d be running into twentysomethings at cons who know who Walerian Borowczyk is.

    Once upon a time, THAT was something film critics aspired to. It got lost somewhere along the way, and I contend that these “kids” found it. Good on them, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Adam Hofbauer

      Bob, so glad to see your presence here. The amount of response to this piece indicates to me that there is a conversation already happening about the role of the video essay within contemporary criticism. I really wasn’t trying to up turn my nose as the concept of the video or argue for the inherent superiority of the written word, but I can see how I left enough blank theoretical space for that not to clear. I’m trying to work with a few prominent members of this community to start putting together something that more properly examines the wide range of tones and styles that video review work provides and, as a fan of your own work, I would love to get a statement from you on how you see yourself within this new form. Let me know if you’d like to be involved.

      • Anonymous874

        Pseudo intellectual circle jerk much.

    • JoeSislack

      Bob just up and go install a air conditioner why don’t you.

  • LarryBundyJr

    I just want to sat I’ve been a member of TGWTG for over five years and I’m really just offended you assume everyone on the site reviews in the same style.

    I can count at least 7 people (myself included) that review nothing in the way you mentioned.

    • sathriel

      Except that those people are not the ones most associate with the site whenever it is mentioned? Apologies to you Larry but most visit the site for Dough, Lewis, Sage or Todd(Todd videos being slightly different from the described paradigm).

      There are some factual errors, exaggerations and omissions in the article but the biggest problem is that most of CA’s productions are not really critiques. Those are usually humorously presented summaries of a given piece of media loaded with po-culture references, self-referential gags and trying to hard to create internet memes. Critique is usually an afterthought sprinkled sparsely through out with a heavier concentration at the beginning and at the end.

  • Stranger in the Alps

    Wow. Would you look at all the damage control going on in the comments.

  • https://twitter.com/AubreyHallman Hippiethecat124

    I find this article interesting in a number of ways, first of all as a long-time fan of the community in question, and as an individual who hopes to one day create works that may be criticized by folks such as Mr. Hobauer and the producers on Channel Awesome (if I’m very lucky, that is).

    I have had many conversations with people from all walks of life regarding the site and its commentaries, and I have explored both sides of the arguments present in the discussion here. Having been a visitor to TGWTG for going on four years now, I feel obligated to defend the producers, the “heads of house” for our little clan of nitpicks, but at the same time, I must acknowledge that the article does have some understandable points which do need to be addressed by our community (if we want others to take us more seriously). I feel that some producers may have been slightly misrepresented, but I must acknowledge that the article does have a strong basis in truth. While a number of “reviews” (for lack of a better word, as I’ve always said) are very negative, and at times do not focus as much on the analysis of the films like you mentioned, there is an underlying philosophy that many of the community members have adopted which hails from the legendary Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which inspired so many of the producers): “[…] repeat to yourself ‘It’s a show, I should really just relax.’ ” That seems to be something that people outside of the community have difficulty understanding about us. More than anything, the sketches and specials are a means of entertainment, like the shows, films, and books that they review. They don the mantle of an actor in a play to entertain us for half an hour and – if they’re lucky – make a living at it. Most of the critics are wonderful people outside of their prickly characters, and though I may disagree at times with what they say (I saw one commenter discussing a producer’s recent panning of “Under the Skin,” which I disagreed with as well), I will stand by the men and women of the site by waving my hands and saying, “It’s just a show!”

    Also, to conclude my rant, I would like to hear what Mr. Hobauer has to say about the supplication of mainstream news programs with Twitter feeds as their main source, as I see some parallels to that in his implications of the Channel Awesome producers in the article.

  • penguintruth

    It seems like you’ve run out of topics to cover when you’re criticizing critic’s criticisms for not being truly critical.

    TGWTG reviews are supposed to skew towards the comedic. They mug for the camera and overreact dramatically, but the flaws of the media they cover are no less present. The whole is affected by the details. They’re just trying to make the experience amusing.

  • Guest

    That article skewered them pretty damn good. The only thing that was really missing is just how uninformed and unknowledgeable some of them are about what they attack, knowing next to nothin gabout what constitutes a well made film. Linkara knows absolutely nothing about comics or what makes a story or art high or low quality. NChick actually went to film school and you can tell by the quality of her film analysis (when she’s not SJW ranting). Brad Jones actually has some experience with low budget filmmaking and that experience comes across in his reviews.

    The majority of these people are professional nitpickers who can’t be bothered to actually learn something about their subject and become actual professionals. The entitlement is what annoys me the most.Throughout all of history if you wanted to be a creator or a critic you learn as much as you can your craft and constantly improve through trial and error. These people skip all of that and replace it with a webcam and some yelling and now they demand to be taken seriously.

    • HoopHop

      NChick is a SJW. Nice joke there mate. (Oh wait forgot being a feminist on the internet gets you condemned by fat sweaty neckbeards.)

      • Lauren Vogel

        Fat sweaty neckbeards? Oh, I do love the smell of idiotic ad hominems in the morning…

  • guest

    The only thing that it was really missing is just how uninformed and unknowledgeable they are about what they attack. The (majority of) film reviewers know next to nothing about what constitutes a well made film. Linkara knows absolutely nothing about comics or what makes a story or art high or low quality. NChick actually went to film school and you can tell by the quality of her film analysis. Brad Jones actually has some experience with low budget filmmaking and that experience comes across in his reviews.

    The majority of these people are professional nitpickers who can’t be bothered to actually learn something about their subject and become actual professionals. The entitlement is what annoys me the most.Throughout all of history if you wanted to be a creator or a critic you learn as much as you can your craft and constantly improve through trial and error. These people skip all of that and replace it with a webcam and some yelling and now they demand to be taken seriously.

    • TalesFanGirl

      So someone has to go to film school or have experience in film to know whether or not a piece of fiction is good or bad?

      I have no film experience, and yet I can tell that The Host is a bad film because of that god awful voice over, the poorly written characters, the bad acting, and because its plot is poorly structured.

      I think a good deal of the producers at TGWTG knows exactly what makes a film good and what makes a film bad– yeah, not all of them are great, but a good chunk of them are, and they’re able to express clearly why something doesn’t work in a film, why it’s good, or why it’s an abomination worth reviewing.

      • guestFan

        No, you misunderstand him.
        What he’s trying to say, is everyone is stupid except him.

  • Pierre Poutine

    I think the misconception with this article is that it assumes that the format of these reviews is solely “snark-based”, i.e. that they’re essentially just looking at bad movie scenes and then making jokes about them. To be sure, some do that, and most of Walker’s early reviews followed this model, but it hardly encompasses everyone. Doug in particular has been steadily moving in the direction of inserting analysis along with the comedic aspects to justify why he gets so angry. Seeing him flip out over “Patch Adams” and it killing off a fictional romantic interest has more substance then him whining about a “Bat Credit Card”.

    In any case, what I like about the model is that the nature of the medium they’ve chosen injects more of their personalities into it. They’re able to make jokes, and get overly invested in some seemingly miniscule aspect while still forming a coherent opinion at the end. This doesn’t cheapen their opinion or their thought process, it just makes it more accessible. After all, an article that can be very professional and serious and be devoted to analysis can still be deemed poor if it has poor reasoning and misrepresents facts.

    Additionally, since they’re able to inject more of themselves into the actual critique, we don’t merely see what they think about this, but what they think on a host of areas. If they were all just pointing and laughing at everything, that’d be easy, but they make it clear they do enjoy and respect other pieces of work while deriding others. Finding out why someone likes one thing but not another gives you a glimpse into their rationale and why they interpret things differently. Criticism is rooted on what one determines to be faults and merits in the first place and analyzing them, and while some can be more objective and general, most faults and merits are ultimately individual interpretations. This is to say that there’s no right or wrong critique nor is there a right or wrong opinion. Merely ones that garner more or less validity based on how well supported or put together they are.

    True, their presentation may not often lend itself to those solely seeking a pure and distilled critique. Anita Sarkeesian’s work fits the traditional critique structure better, but it fails to resonate with me because it comes off as very impersonal. She states some of her favourite games of all time [Beyond Good and Evil, Mirror’s Edge] when bringing up examples of the few times games have strong female protagonists, but doesn’t expand on why she likes them. For all I know, that could be the only reason, which, while neither right or wrong, is not a very interesting opinion. I’m not saying she doesn’t have reasons beyond this, but even though she prefaces each new video stating that you can like and criticize at the same time, she never really goes into that first part which would do more to strengthen her overall argument.

    Finally, I’ve learned a great deal from them that I ordinarily wouldn’t have. I have a philosophy regarding education that you can’t just explain the bare facts; you have to give people a reason to care about what you’re talking about in the first place. If one can learn all 50 States and their capitals from Animaniacs instead of looking it up in a textbook, the knowledge is no less valuable. While not everything Channel Awesome produces is immune from mistakes [humorously highlighted by Walker’s “Top 11 F*** Ups” lists], they don’t seem to wish to misinform solely for personal gain, and if nothing else, their accessibility can drive up interest in a subject someone may have once never considered before. These are all good things.

    I don’t see them as a threat, and I look forward to how they can progress this relatively new medium they’ve carved out for themselves…

  • http://misterxonline.com/ mister X

    wait…this article ISN’T about a sentient evil plow sent by jocks from the future to kill all the geeks that are now popular?

    • Elty Quinn

      Either that or it’s about a promiscuous Sasquatch that decides to take up 19th century agricultural practices.

      So lemme get this straight: Dorothy Lessing decided to include the Channel Awesome alumni in the new forward for her essays about feminism travels and why she quit being a communist? I like how Mr. Hobauer presented that insight into this article.

      The fact is, outlets like Channel Awesome or Cinemassacre provide an alternative to the hired guns of the movie industry, even if much of it is for the purposes of humor. Which would you rather do, watch Brad Jones review Savage Weekend or read anything in the catalog of Pauline Kael? Would you rather listen to Doug Walker tear down Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue or Rex Reed talk about When the Devil Knows You’re Dead? The professional reviewers are going by the wayside because of pretentious reviews that talk down to the public. And who cares if these guys get revenue?

  • Dr. Swag

    this is why RedLetterMedia is so much so superior to Channel Awesome. Look at their Plinkett reviews, which are FAR funnier than TGWTG. The morbid humor is a critical aspect but the grand majority is analysis. The core fundamental flaws of the films are explained with humor added in. It’s analysis with humor in it, not a slapstick routine with a 30 second opinion stuck at the end.

    • Adam Blackhat

      Agreed.

    • FuckTGWTG

      I completely agree. The problem with TGWTG is most of the reviewers on there are overly negative and nitpick films to death, they very rarely point out the positives of whatever they’re reviewing and they obviously don’t know anything about filmmaking. Watch any of the TGWTG anniversary movies, all of them are astoundingly awful. It’s hard to take Doug Walker’s opinion on film seriously when the films he makes are guilty of all of the shit that he bitches about in his reviews.

  • Dr. Swag

    Also I think nerds take media so goddamn seriously that they miss a critical aspect: every movie/tv show/comic is a paycheck. They aren’t as invested in it as you are. Would you put in max effort in your day job if you could just half ass it and still make millions? But the way Doug rants or Linkara bitches sounds like they were personally offended. ConfusedMatthew is an even worse example.

    • CreatureSH

      I would argue that somebody who gets paid millions should at least have the common decency of delivering a half-way watchable product.

      • Dr. Swag

        nigga fuck decency. u seen a music video lately? nobody in entertainment gives a fuck about decency. id suck donald sterling’s cock for the kind of money they make in entertainment shiiet.

        • CreatureSH

          I can’t help but notice that you’re disqualifying your own opinion here. Why would I listen to someone talking about quality entertainment if that very same person dismisses quality as irrelevant?

          • Dr. Swag

            cuz i have swag and u don’t.
            also quality is relevant, but not as much as internet nerds make it out to be. i mean look at how angry linkara gets when spider-man does something he thinks is dumb? do you think the editor cares? HES COUNTING HIS MONEY AND FUCKING HIS HOES #SQUADLIFE

          • CreatureSH

            It doesn’t matter if the editor cares. Linkara’s on-camera mock rage serves as light entertainment. And the points he makes about the comic’s content let his viewers know whether it’s worth reading. Marvel’s IEC was never a part of the equation.

          • Dr. Swag

            it sucks cuz his “mock rage” and the mock rage of all of most online reviewers come at the expense of analysis. linkara is a bad example for me cuz he does make points about what gets his undies tight over things but most of the reviewers don’t analyze the aspects of the stuff they’re reviewing but are all “LOOK AT THIS WEIRD THING THIS MOVIE SUCKS”. a funny review should be a review with humor in it, not some jokes about a funny looking guy and a stupid never ending arc (linkara) with a bit of points about a movie sprinkled in between.

          • CreatureSH

            It’s easy to say “Okay, THIS person is an exception, but ALL THE OTHERS are definitely doing the thing”. Give me examples here. Who’s neglecting the nuance that you claim to be missing? Who are the bad guys who are making you so sad?

          • Dr. Swag

            Nostalgia Critic, ConfusedMatthew(hes not affiliated with the site but hes a byproduct of this trend), and Linkara is a bad example but hes prone to falling to this.
            also nigga i aint sad look at the novels these guys are writing in the comments and their fans that are cheering them on. nigga im getting money and fucking bitches i happy af m8

          • CreatureSH

            The Nostalgia Critic has explicitly made efforts to come up with more nuanced critiques ever since coming out of retirement, even centering entire videos around his character being wrong about it at first. (See his review of “AI” for a good example).
            Never heard of this ConfusedMatthew person.
            And you show your hypocrisy when you mock them for responding to criticism of their own work in a nuanced way – The way they are when they are not performing a character. Something that you seem to be incapable of turning off, going by your lame “thug” schtick.

          • Dr. Swag

            “lame “thug” schtick”
            u don’t know my life u don’t know me. do you automatically assume everyone online is a white nerd. do you think only white people can afford computers you racist?

          • CreatureSH

            Lame deflection.

          • Dr. Swag

            okay

          • Trias

            I don’t think there’s anything to gain from this disscussion, mate. I’ve had fun feeding the troll (and I hope you had, too), but I think It’ getting lame now.

          • Trias

            Erm… you do realize you’re just raging incoherently about these oh-so-inferior reviewers? I suppose I may criticize you now that you could be a little more humorous in your critique, too. Sorry, I mean your reviewer-reviewing persona. Also, this stuff is getting way too meta right now.

          • Dr. Swag

            u aint seein me rage when i rage i lay the ham on a nigga these sickle cell pussies aint got shit my cock turns into a dragon and i rain hell into every bitch that dare try to open her lips an say something instead of garggling my cum #GOHARDORGOHOME #SQUAD

          • Trias

            Hahaha, you’re not even trying, aren’t ya?

          • Dr. Swag

            nah nigga this dont mean shit who tries

    • Trias

      Dude, you’re confusing the actual persons with their on-screen personas. That’s the joke.

      • Dr. Swag

        then their on-screen personas are overly offended, and their jokes aren’t funny

  • awa64

    Roger Ebert is widely considered one of the most influential film critics of all time. Nobody would question Ebert’s bona fides, or accuse his criticism of lacking depth.

    You know Roger Ebert’s name because of a syndicated TV show where he bickered with Gene Siskel for a half hour each week, reduced his assessment of a movie to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” and brought out a performing dog (and later, a skunk!) to introduce and shame the movie they’d picked as the “Dog of the Week.” And while he may have been more thoughtful in his criticism in his column in the Chicago Sun-Times, he certainly wasn’t above the use of comedic hyperbole to make a point about a particularly bad movie–and that wit is part of what secured him his audience.

    The review has ALWAYS been the source of the engagement. That’s the only way reviews have ever worked for a mainstream audience, be it as part of the captive audience for weekly reviews as part of a newscast, as a column in a popular magazine or newspaper, on its own as in shows like Siskel & Ebert At The Movies, or even in print–Leonard Maltin, another beloved film critic and film historian, established his name writing a book of capsule reviews. Film criticism is not something people seek out unless they either love film or find the critic entertaining on their own–the issue may be more pronounced in the era of the Internet and review aggregators, but it’s certainly not a new issue.

    So to that end, Channel Awesome isn’t some horrible new degradation of film criticism–it’s the continuation of a long tradition. Perhaps due to the choices to cover older works, they’re more able than ever to produce intelligent, thoughtful, and informative criticism–while this article maligns their production value as no better than “the average Youtube video,” editing a video review to provide context via clips of the film is a step beyond what the vast majority of populist or even academic film criticism has done in the past, let alone other related films in the genre and in the director’s oeuvre for context. It’s worth noting that doing that is SIGNIFICANTLY LABOR INTENSIVE. Certainly more work than reading a review off of a teleprompter or arguing with a colleague in front of a set live-to-tape, or–dare I say it–writing prose.

    Anyone who thinks Channel Awesome is a threat to the noble art of film criticism is ignorant of both Channel Awesome and the history of film criticism.

    • Adam Blackhat

      Ebert’s reviews had an incredible bias.

      • awa64

        Other reviews featuring bias include “all of them, everywhere, ever.” Reviews are opinion. Opinion is subjective.
        An unbiased, objective review would be “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is 150 minutes long. Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel and John Turturro are in it. The robots, named Autobots and Decepticons, are primarily but not entirely computer-generated. There is extra footage included in IMAX versions.” Who the hell wants to read that?

        • Adam Blackhat

          Ebert’s reviews fell far short of in-depth of analysis BECAUSE of his incredible bias.

  • Alexander Zoo

    Doug Walker ruined my hearing and owes me $700

  • Floris / Dutchtica

    I’ll start off by saying, yes I am a regular viewer of most TGWTG contributors,
    but reading this article feels in a way, similar to what it claims the problem is that’s being described.

    By focussing on smaller parts of the whole, the negatives are highlighted. Doug’s “blank wall” is a staple of his earlier stuff, nowadays runs a small recording studio and sets and alternates between “classic” angry reviewing and informative “Editorials” or trivia based videos. Kyle has mentioned that his pieces have gone from “jokes / punchlines” to things more reflecting his own opinion. Bad movie beatdown is about bad movies, yes, but aside from that Matthew Buck runs another series called Projector in which he basically tries to be as objective about a (fresh in cinema) movie as he can be.
    Jokes are called out on, and then highlighted akin to how “the reviewers” (to assemble a subject matter) focus on minute details seemingly making that the problem.

    We’re in a day and age where everything is still changing so fast, what worked five years ago doesn’t work right now, Nintendo went from a market breaker catering to casual gamers to having lost them due to smartphones and apps. Internet services rose, profited and went bankrupt. A couple of years ago all you needed was a camera and shout at it using swears to be considered funny, because that was outside the norm then.
    Now everybody can do that, so the old guard is changing their ways because it’s shape up or slip out. It may seem overly negative when you look at their older work, but people are still developing alongside a new market / new demand for what’s going on.

    It’s somewhat unfair to pick out, let’s say, “Twatty nu who” when the producer of said series is right now not making any, instead focussing on “A quick guide to Classic who” in which she describes *everything* from the old series from the first William Hartnell to the last Sylvester McCoy, and has expressed interest in making a video(s?) about nu Who episodes she genuinely enjoys.

    Angry reviewing is not funny anymore. Was it detrimental? Perhaps. But things are changing.
    Things are always changing.

  • Alexander Zoo

    Yo Linkara are you going to take even more time out of your already used life to make a video explaining to us why you think black Wally West is good? I sure hope so, I’d love to see how awkward you’ll look when you have your girlfriend sitting behind you just waiting for you to imply it’s a problem.

    Also if I were you I’d probably avoid having anything contact-wise with the African planet, lest she pumps out a blessed little multicultural child with your name and equally awful opinions

    • Creature SH

      Piss off, racist scum.

  • Adam Hofbauer

    Well this is clearly something people have a lot to say about. I wasn’t really expecting this much of a response and I wish I could respond to all of your comments. I think the best way to follow this up is really in pursuing a follow up dialog in some form to respond in depth to a few of the main points, ideally with the participation of some of the people whose work I focused on. Hopefully more to come.

  • WorstArticleEver

    Just a few factual errors from skimming through.

    “The host of “Atop the Fourth Wall” ends many reviews by setting fire to comic books”
    False.
    In the first couple hundred episodes, for example, I think it happened twice.

    “It is common for Channel Awesome videos to spend up to five minutes meandering through scripted scenes before even getting to the review”
    False. While it has happened (I guess?), it certainly isn’t common.
    I’ve watched probably a thousand videos on the site and never saw even 1 of these.

    “Most of Channel Awesome’s content contains about as much production value as the average Youtube video”
    So? How much “production value” did you put into your article?
    Studios put millions of dollars into production for terrible movies.
    Arguably the two most revered reviewers of all time, Siskel & Ebert, were just 2 guys sitting in a theater.

    This article is tripe. Hypocritical too, because all the criticism of criticism applies to the author.

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  • Matt Baker

    One day, you’ll die. We all die. Can’t you quit your bitching about what people like to do with their lives and let people enjoy the entertainment they like to watch?

  • Lauren Vogel

    Interesting article. I can’t say that I agree with all of it, but nonetheless, it is interesting. While I think there are reviewers out there who’ve actually gone deeper into movies that they’re reviewing (the Nostalgia Critic’s done a good job of it in things such as his review of AI, Man of Steel, etc. and even has the decency to admit when someone has a point on them or when he’s wrong, and Oancitizen’s good too, as well as Brad Jones’ Midnight Screenings, and Blockbuster Buster isn’t that bad either, in my opinion)…yeah, I think there are times when they just seem to resort to “yelling and hyperbole is automatically funny; let’s use that”. It’s usually an act, yes, but at the same time, it just gets tiring and cliche fast. If I wanted someone screaming at things for the hell of it, I’d go to Tumblr.

    Again, interesting. It kind of hit on some misgivings I’ve been having for quite some time about TGWTG, and why I might just watch a select few reviewers instead of all of them. I mean, back in my middle school and high school days, I was really into TGWTG. Now it’s kinda lost me in some places.

  • Eve Schmitt

    What about the anniversary specials? I see them doing something different than what Hebauer says TWTG represents. Not only do they poke fun at movie clichés, transcending specific films, they poke fun at their own characters, making it clear that the reviewers understand what they’re doing. “To Boldly Flee” takes it even further by speculating about the value of modern criticism and the future of the site. That’s not geeks being put to the plow. That’s an artistic statement. It’s entertainment as criticism.

  • the truth

    Holy shit would a bunch of white knight pedophiles. Frankly I thought the article went easy on TGWTG.

    Josh Hadley, lets start with you. Seth McFarlane sucks now, but at his worst he has more talent in his pinky than you and your milquetoast co-host and it came from beyond whatever-the-fuck ever had and ever will. I still want to kill Spoony for soiling his website with your crap. Turn in your Maiden shirt you pussy, you probably don’t even like the Bruce years.

    As for you Bobby Chipman, you used Karl Rove tactics to become part of Screwattack and told your fans to vote for you to go on the escapist and yet you have the balls to spitefully continue on with stupid storylines they don’t like? Fuck you. I wish that Jim stalker of yours grew some damn balls and shot up your house with a super soaker filled with diarrhea. Pity, you were the closest thing to an actual critic til that bullshit came along. also, there’s this:

    “And of course Bob sucks up to the TGWTG crew because after all his Game Overthinker videos reek of failed TGWTG crap. Also I love how he talks shit about every other film critic out there because they’re not “real” or they’re too “up tight” when I’d rather read a short Rotten Tomatoes review than watch any of his crap. He comes off as an even bigger snob than most of the critics he bashes. Taking a shit on Scream 4 because he hates the Scream series or being biased towards anything made by Michael Bay because it’s cool to hate on him. Or how about him being a massive Marvel fanboy who praises everything that relates to The Avengers, yeah who’s the phony critic again Bob? Also Bob word of advice no matter how much you suck up to TGWTG they will NEVER have your shit on their site unless you paid them money to advertise your crap.” In a just world Jake will wish you die of herpes.

    Speaking of Jake, Brad, you used to be cool, but then you started taking criticism like a bitch and trolling your fans. Where have I seen this behavior before? Look out JesuOtaku! Since Brad’s actually into movies with chaining people up and raping them he’s probably more likely to do it.

    Doug, since you are probably reading this too, people didn’t like Demo Reel because it wasn’t NC, they hated it because the character as EXACTLY like NC only without the crappy 90s movies. Kind of defeats the point.

    Lindsay, You were the one that fingered LordKat at Magfest, which would be fine and all, since drunk daterape is bad, but you made both Kyle Kallagren and Diamanda Hagan take the fall for it. When he was talking about the politics and people with big egos ruining the site, he was talking about you. As was IronLiz. Don’t remember her getting an apology for being left out of the Little Mermaid video. “I’m sorry is there a woman I can talk to?” She has a medical condition you insensitive cunt! I’d expect that crap from Linkara’s trolls but you? You fucking deserve Danny Lopez.

    I would say shit about Lewis, but I still feel bad about Lindsay treating Liz like that. and she’s supposed to be professional. Ain’t life an Anita Sarkessian?

    As for you those of you people turning to Patreon, why don’t you just say it? Mike Michaud is an incompetent corrupt fool who not only drove Mike Ellis and Bhargav from the company with his megalomania, he runs that website like a cult. The upside-down cross incident with Elisa, Spoony being banned, LastZ or whoever it was Lupa used to date before he got caught with a tape recorder conversation, Rob Walker going delete fucking everything, forgetting to tell Birdman Dodd that he’s fired, it all reads as lessons in a college public relations class on how NOT to do damage control.

    and since I know you deadhorseinterchangeable piss-drinkers are reading this, here’s my message to you. Stop acting like you guys are “over” TGWTG. In the past goddamn week you guys have brought up 4 or 5 topics on it alone. The only way you idiots will ever get traffic is by making yourselves the official Anti-TGWTG club. “Sperging,” as you call it is all you guys are good for and can be bothered to do. Yea I used a quote from your board, what are you gonna do about it, faggots? You guys have proclaimed them to be DEAD at least 5 times in the past 5 years now. It’s like watching wrestling fans continue to watch WWE as Daniel Bryan gets mismanaged.

    So in conclusion, while TGWTG still sucks, it isn’t dead, but it is dying. and not because of EncyclopediaDramatica, or Asalieri, or Jordan Hass, or Monty, or DHI or even 4chan or Doug’s terrible writing. They’re dying because they were overtaken by RedLetterMedia.

    Spolier alert: Assiman and Rapeculture are the same person.

    Bob, fuck you.
    Josh, fuck you.
    Lindsay, fuck you.
    Brad, fuck you.
    Doug, fuck you.
    Spoony, fuck you.
    Holly, you’re cool RUN BITCH RUN FOR YOUR LIFE GET OUT OF TGWTG WHILE YOU STILL CAN!
    and fuck you Mike, I’m out.