Monday, March 24, 2008

R.I.P. Television Without Pity

I'm coming to this funeral way late, but the founders of Television Without Pity, Wing Chung, Sars and Glark, earlier this month announced they were leaving the site almost exactly a year after Bravo acquired it.

There were rumors that Miss Alli (a long-term recapper) was potentially going to take over day-to-day management but on March 17 she announced (via Survivor recap) that she was also leaving the site. For those who are interested, Bravo apparently thought that many of the long-term recappers would be happy to keep working for the same rates that Wing, Sars, and Glark paid them, despite the fact the nature of the work now had entirely changed. This is how corporations think, that talent is interchangeable.

I've been reading Twop since it was Mighty Big Television back in 2000 (and have a yellow messenger bag with old Indian Chief Test Pattern logo, that I carry around everyday to prove it). In all honestly I believe reading the recaps actually taught me something about critical analysis. Some of the best recaps I've ever read were about horrible shows or horrible episodes. For example, M. Giant's recap of this episode of 24 from its fourth season, was a perfect valve for my rage at the sheer fascist worldview of its showrunner.

And Jacob's recap of The Apprentice finale from season four (also known as the Randal and Rebecca season) I felt brought the universe back into the proper order where we can acknowledge that Donald Trump is a giant asshole even though he's got a TV show where people grovel at him.

I started reading Twop just after college and in a way it was the first bit of analysis that taught me pop culture, and its messages matter. That even shallow shows reflect a point-of-view and that often reality TV is hiding a lot from its viewers (especially shows starring Jeff Probst).

I don't think I can really even say, without sounding sappy, how much perspective Twop ultimately gave me and how I feel like I watch TV smarter than I used to.

But I suspected when the founders agreed to let Bravo buy them, it was pretty much the beginning of the end, but, they were small business owners. Who was I to tell them "no, I forbid you to ever make money off your backbreaking creative endeavour." If someone offered me a lot of money to buy my blog, I doubt I'd be able to say no.

In a way, I feel like it was inevitable. People usually get burnt out running organizations. Things that start small on the internet blow up and burst (or mature and change). The body of Twop will likely live on for quite a while, but the spirit is going to die. Without the founders the spirit of the site is gone.

Television Without Pity is Gone. Long Live Twop! ---catrina (my Twop name)

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