Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Laxatives and Turnstiles: Long hiatuses and cable TV paywalls hurting good shows.

Is that you Mr. Poopybutthole?  It's me, Margret; Are we not doing "Phrasing" anymore?

Oh we are getting into some stuff.

If there is one thing Mr. Poopybutthole has shown himself to be, it's honest.  And so when rumblings of the potential "a year and a half, maybe longer" thing might not be so "longer" after all, Rick and Morty fans were quite enthused.  Well, so much for that.  With America about to be controlled by a hairpiece-wearing human-shaped condom, full of a combination of manure from the Four Horses of the Apocalypse and melted Creamsicle, we are needing all the laughs and meta-humor we can get, and they can't even figure out when the show is coming out although it's been 17 months since Mr. Poopybutthole said the words "a year and a half, maybe longer" to the audience.  We're now in "maybe longer" territory because there's no way the thing is coming out in just the next few weeks.

And what is the sinister force behind all this?  Well, you can argue about production setbacks but I think any setbacks that do exist are the result of Viacom executives not liking something and demanding changes.  Lets not forget that Viacom executives are the ones who kicked Legend of Korra off the air because Korrasami became a thing.  They're also wise to the South Park strategy of getting things in just under the wire, which then can't be altered because of deadline constraints. But you really can't do that with Rick and Morty so it's possible they are demanding to see the entire season before green-lighting anything.   Whoever is calling the shots over there is probably such a fossil that they are still using a Blackberry (and they're mad that their daughter is in college and going through, "the phase," so now everyone has to suffer).  But then again, this could have been a minor delay which caused real scheduling issues, and sometimes if you miss a window for a time-slot, the next one isn't just gonna show up right away.  I've been around enough to know that it's probably both that are happening.

Cancel that show!  No animated lesbians!  We're gonna make America Great Again!

Above is just half of the kick in the nuts though.  The other ball is getting slammed by the fact shows like Archer and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia are getting punted over to FXX as well as their continued absence from most streaming services in terms of recent episodes (except the FXX website itself).  Additionally, it seems as if everyone involved in the creation and making of Archer in particular is intent on killing the show as hard as they can without actually canceling it. 

In addition to a delivery method and schedule that would be right at home in 2005, the show-runners themselves seem to think that pouring the main cast into a jar, shaking it up and then painting spiral pictures while on LSD which have patterns that only really make sense to them, is a great way to develop a show going into an 8th season.  It's kind of obvious that this whole season 8 is going to be some sort of coma-dream that Archer is having because of the way he ended up at the end season 7 (way to phone it in guys), and it might be that he's somehow reliving Woodhouse's life and we might actually see a loose end or two tied up for once, but I am not gonna count on it.  Conceptually, sticking a reset-button into a show as a plot device isn't a bad thing, it works great for Higurashi When They Cry, but that was built-in from the beginning, not smashed into an existing potentially incompatible template, because some creative type had an existential crisis and needs "new directions" and shit.  Just keep doing what you're doing, cash your giant check, and shut the fuck up.  The desire to just take your show in a "new direction" for your artistic needs or whatever shows contempt for an audience that made the show valuable in the first place.  It's not impossible to do, but it's easy to fuck up.  Audiences don't like being fucked with, especially when it comes to something like a plot-point regarding the identity of a main character's parentage.  Might want to talk to Matt Stone and Trey Parker about what happens when you do that.
TV never learns until it's taught a lesson. Remember that South Park cliffhanger that was supposed to reveal Cartman's dad? Remember how the show played April Fool and substituted the scatological Terrance and Phillip cartoon? Fans rioted. Some jumped ship and never came back. The lesson: Pay off our expectations, or you'll be sorry. Just because one show jumps off a cliff doesn't mean everybody has to do it.
 -July 13, 2000, By DIANE WERTS Newsday
This is still true.  Much like "Brevity is the soul of wit" and "drinking mercury will kill you" some things just stay true no matter how old they get.

Cord-cutters aren't a large percentage of TV viewers as a whole right now, but there are two important things about them that TV executives are going to ignore; #1 they are disproportionate in terms of their age and tastes in pop-culture/media entertainment, so a certain kind of advertiser is going to find value in targeting them, and #2 that's going to mean certain shows will have not only a higher demand to be available on other internet services, but an audience with both the know-how and willingness to seek out unlicensed sources because fuck you Time Warner I don't need Animal Planet, The Hallmark Channel, and 7 different ESPNs just to watch the like... five shows I wanna see - it's Torrent time!  Actually, I know a few people with full cable accounts so I just use their login info to watch shit straight from the website.  Remember when TV show websites didn't do that?  Ah, to be an early adopter.  Human nature works against agents of change in these situations because people rarely have lasting memories of instances in which things improved, but they will take the indelible memories of the times when things got even the slightest bit worse all the way to their grave.

Remember when she was ugly?  Probably not, but if she went uggo now you all would throw such a hissy-fit.

Right now there is someone who made the call to port everything over to FXX who is about to find out that entertainment brands really don't have draw anymore.  The only brands in the world that actually do have any significant draw left at all are sports teams, booze brands, somehow Lady Gaga, and the WWF (I will never call it the WWE you panda bastards!).  Millennials were just blamed for killing the paper napkin industry because of some distorted idea that we give a shit about the environment and not that you people don't pay us enough in general. People are going to behave with associated price points and expenses playing a much stronger role in dictating behavior than it did to you baby boomers in the 80's and 90's.  So the price hike for the needed extra channels in cable packages is not going to be met with a "whatevs, fine, now let me get back to my skinny jeans and artesinal mustache wax because I have important Millennial things to do."  It's going to be more like a "WTF, hell no, you already suck and now I have to pay more? Eat a dick."  When all of a sudden the expected migration of viewers/customers doesn't happen, there is going to be someone over at FX going... "I don't get it" and that's gonna fuck a whole lot of shit up by causing a panic. Meanwhile in the back of the office that 29 year old they pay $18 an hour to fix all the spreadsheets on their own computer which they had to bring from home, is thinking, "Yeah I could have told you that shit wasn't going to work."

 The best laid plans can still mean that no one wants your bullshit.

I think I used the wrong word in the previous paragraph.  "Migration" isn't applicable.  This isn't an attempt to get consumers to migrate.  Migrate would imply leaving something behind for something else.  No this is just a situation where the providers are simply saying "Buy more stuff if you want to see these titles."  It would be like Barnes & Noble putting all the anticipated best sellers behind a turnstile and then charging customers admission to the section just to be able to buy whatever book at full SRP.  At least Costco gives you bulk pricing discounts for something like that.

While I don't think the expansion of channels is going to have an impact as damaging and negative as paywalls, it is going to mean that programs that are closer to modern sensibilities are going to be marginalized and programs that currently exist that are too smart for your parents are going to end up on life-support long before they otherwise would.  The day when media entertainment embraces more progressive and cerebral concepts, jumping across mediums that the old guard would have refused to even accept the possibility of, will now be longer in coming.

 Phrasing. Boom.

And before you start thinking "Oh, but they already announced they're going to be ending whatever show you're talking about and blah blah blah" just get fuck your face off because that's a moot point.


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