Archive

Shows I Stopped Watching

Today’s Reject: Orange Is The New Black

Why did we start watching: Orange Is The New Black is the first Netflix original series show I remember watching. The first season was campy, self-aware fun with the occasional heartfelt flashback sequence. Like the rest of America, we ate it up like popcorn. By seasons three and four the bloom was off the rose, but we decided to give the recently-released season five a try.

What did we think it would be like: Campy shows tend to get sillier over time, so I was prepared for the tone to go a little spastic , e.g., late-period Malcolm In The Middle. But I also expected some fun/humor along with it. (I was wrong.)

When did we stop watching: Episode 2, but it probably should’ve been Episode 1. Or back when they started the panty selling business.

Why did we stop watching: Oh boy. Where to begin…

Hungry Games
1) The super unfunny meth head girls. These two make Cletus on The Simpsons look like nuanced satire. There’s a scene I’m mostly forgetting (but it’s too stupid to look up) where these two don’t know how to, like, turn a doorknob. Because they’re DUMB DUMB DUMB. get it they’re DUMB? Hmmm…..
2) Weird sadistic bullshit. I don’t know about you guys, but for me TV is supposed to be at least partially fun. And scenes involving 1) weird sexual abu ghraib type torture and 2) revenge that involves inducing a stroke and 3) a character falling in love with her rapist — are pretty much no bueno. And you can’t pull the “great art” card because….
3) This show is trash. It was always probably 15% trash, but now it’s more like 95%. And 95% trash doesn’t get to go serious and do ripped-from-the-headlines storylines about police brutality. It may get you lots of retweets, but it’s offensive. Stay in your trash lane.

How secure am I in our choice? Completely. I would probably go back and unwatch those two episodes if I could, and I watched eight seasons of Parenthood.

What to watch instead: Go for Trash Done Right and point your roku remote to Degrassi: Next Class. I’ve been watching Degrassi in its various incarnations for a disturbing number of years, and this new season does not disappoint. Like OINTB, Degrassi trivializes serious issues… but it’s so much fun you forgive it. Plus it teaches you important (read: useless) facts about the youth of today, like the fact that there’s such a thing as a “prom proposal (promposal).”

(I’m still amazed by this.)

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Today’s Reject: Mad Dogs

Why did we start watching: Mr. Max picked this one, citing good Internet reviews. I clicked through 10 screens of Amazon recommendations, then agreed to it.

What did we think it would be like: I had no real expectations, short of the Amazon plot description:
“When a group of underachieving 40-something friends gather in Belize to celebrate the early retirement of an old friend, a series of wild events unfold, exposing dark secrets, deception and even murder. Starring Ben Chaplin (The Thin Red Line), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Billy Zane (Twin Peaks), Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) and Romany Malco (Weeds). Executive produced by Cris Cole and Shawn Ryan (The Shield).”

When did we stop watching: I was probably ready when we hit the jack rabbit sex scene between a middle aged married guy and an improbably beautiful (and barely legal) Belizean woman. We stuck it out for another episode or two.

Improbably beautiful.

Side Note: What is it about TV writers and jack rabbit sex? Is this a real thing people who are bad at sex do, or is it like in The 40 Year Old Virgin when Steve Carell says a woman’s body feels like a ‘bag of sand’ because he doesn’t know any better? Regardless, I feel bad for their girlfriends.

Why did we stop watching: The show’s bro-ness was evident in the first episode’s MAN-tage (intentional) of a pickup football game. Snooze. We watched long enough to get to the main story arc: the murder of the obviously-involved-in-the-drug-trade rich friend. But that plot mostly serves as a backdrop for arguments between a bunch of self centered dudes about their personal problems: child custody, problems at work, romantic troubles, money, divorce….
Mr. Max says it should’ve been called Bridesmaids 2: Best Men.
Also the murder-y cartel stuff was giving me nightmares.

How secure am I in our choice? Rock solid. TV shows need at least one likable character, and this show is one short of that requirement.

What to watch instead: Tentatively, Parks and Recreation. We’re only on the second episode, but so far it’s funny, easy watching. Makes me nostalgic for when we first got Netflix streaming and blew through the entire run of The Office. Good times.

Today’s Reject: Mr. Robot

mrrobot-key-art

Why did we start watching: Mr. Max and I both work in the technology sector, so people have recommended this show to us like, a hundred times. We just flew through a rewatch of Better Call Saul so we needed something new to watch. I was open minded to tone/style.

What did we think it would be like: Breaking Bad but with hacktivism. The plot follows Elliot Alderson, a computer programmer who is recruited into working for an Anonymous-esque Internet vigilante group. I’ll admit that the first few episodes had a campy “fight the man” appeal.

When did we stop watching: Halfway through episode 5, right in the middle of the big mission to destroy Evil Corp’s backups. It takes guts to drop a show right in the middle of a cliffhanger, but we did it.

Why did we stop watching: Let me be clear: this show was not good to begin with. It was merely watchable. It became unwatchable when they stopped writing Elliot as a capable, if awkward, genius, and instead made him a whiny, flailing nerd. I think their intent was to give the main character some conflict to react to, but overshot into Ben Stiller “Everything goes wrong movie” territory. Also I started to sense that the mysterious “Mr. Robot” character would turn out to be a Fight Club style delusion.

Also literally everything about this show is heavy handed.

mrrobot

How secure am I in our choice? Pretty secure. If I had realized the episode titles were styled with file extensions I probably would have rejected it outright.

2017-04-30 20_53_02-List of Mr. Robot episodes - Wikipedia

Groooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooan.

What to watch instead:

This lovely montage of Kim Wexler from the second season of Better Call Saul. Because it is the standard against which all television should be judged.

One of the best things about being over 30 is that I give approximately zero shits about sticking with things. Mr. Max and I share this ‘leaving when things get lame’ approach to life, which as everyone knows is one of the keys to a happy marriage. Accordingly, we feel free to reject streaming entertainment at any point. Which we do, a lot.

I stand behind our snap judgments, so i present to you, my latest blog feature: Shows I Stopped Watching.

Today’s Reject: Love

We didn’t watch the preview, but you can:

Why did we start watching: We had just finished the second season of The Man in the High Castle, resulting in a pretty bad show hole. I requested a lighter series, along the lines of Freaks and Geeks. So when Judd Apatow’s new comedy came up in our Netflix feed, it seemed like the obvious choice.

What did we think it would be like: Master of None crossed with Freaks and Geeks.

When did we stop watching: Right around the 5 minute mark.

Why did we stop watching: Annoying main character guy, unfunny jokes, every character talking too loud, and 3 scenes in a row of unhappy couples bickering with each other. We hit the back button during the jack rabbit style sex scene with the Paul Giamatti looking guy.

How secure am I in our choice? Very. Season 2 trailer looks to be 99% “nebbish guy plus manic pixie dream girl.” I already rejected that idea in the form of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which I described as “a movie about a terrible boyfriend, but from the perspective of said terrible boyfriend.)

Also someone falling down is played for laughs, which is my personal dealbreaker for TV/movie trailers.

What to watch instead: We skedaddled over to Amazon to watch Red Oaks, a retro style sex comedy series set in the 80s. It has its uneven moments but it was very fun and likable, with a minimum of bickering couples. I described it to a friend as “Funny, easy watching with an occasional booby.”