Saturday, October 16, 2010

Poodle Bitch supports the creation of new television shows based on twitter feeds and blogs -- in theory

Poodle Bitch is aware of the new television program entitled "$#*! My Dad Says," although she has not yet forced herself to watch it. Poodle Bitch's lack of interest in the program has nothing to do with its phony-provocative title, nor with the fact that it stars William Shatner (in fact, Poodle Bitch has a bit of a soft spot in her heart, owing to his portrayal of "The Chairman" on the first and still most charming attempt to translate the Japanese program "Iron Chef" to America). Rather, Poodle Bitch risks slipping into a catatonic state of boredom by a mere description of the show.
$#*! MY DAD SAYS (pronounced "Bleep My Dad Says"), based on the popular Twitter feed by Justin Halpern, stars Emmy Award winner William Shatner as Ed Goodson, a forthright and opinionated dad who relishes expressing his unsolicited and often wildly politically incorrect observations to anyone within earshot. Nobody is safe from Ed's rants, including his sons, Henry, a struggling writer-turned-unpaid blogger; and Vince, the meek half of a husband/wife real estate duo with domineering Bonnie. When Henry finds he can no longer afford to pay rent, Ed reveals a soft spot and invites Henry to move in with him. Henry agrees, knowing that the verbal assault will not abate and now there will be no escape. Describing their father/son relationship is tricky, but Ed will easily come up with a few choice words.

The above is taken from the official CBS website for the program. In other words, that is part of the promotional campaign designed to entice humans into watching it.

Poodle Bitch wonders why anyone would, when it sounds like almost every other situation comedy that has ever aired. The ostensibly sensible family member is forced by circumstance (he has turned into an "unpaid blogger" -- is there any other kind, Poodle Bitch wonders) to return home and deal with his absolutely crazy family.

And these "wildly politically incorrect opinions"? Well, CBS is a major network that relies on advertising to make its money. Poodle Bitch does not believe those opinions will be too "wildly politically incorrect." And a quick perusal (which is all Poodle Bitch could stand) of the choice quotes from the politically incorrect Ed reveals that Poodle Bitch is correct:
"What? You want to braid each others [sic] hair and talk about boys?"

"A bike?!! Take a look out there. Does that look like Bangkok?"

"cheese and crackers that came at me fast."

Poodle Bitch wonders if the hilarity swirls around the character of Ed -- for she sees no evidence of any hilarity generated by him.

So charming, so kitschy, so misguided. Poodle Bitch cannot help but appreciate Mr. Shatner's efforts.

What has made "$#*! My Dad Says" noteworthy is the fact that it was inspired by a twitter feed with the vulgarity spelled out completely. The charm of this twitter feed is completely lost on Poodle Bitch. The tweets are little more than shallow and artless attempts at humor that come across as more insulting than funny. They are certainly not insightful. For instance:
"See, you think I give a shit. Wrong. In fact, while you talk, I'm thinking; How can I give less of shit? That's why I look interested."

Poodle Bitch could not care less whether this man "gives a shit" about anything. And why should anyone try to give less of a shit?

Oh, that is where the humor supposedly comes from. Or, something. Poodle Bitch does not care.

Apparently, someone from "The Daily Show" found this feed amusing, and tweeted a link. From there, it took off, leading first to a book which Poodle Bitch supposes collects the tweeted "witticisms," and then to the television program. Poodle Bitch congratulates the author on coming up with a concept that has apparently captured the human imagination. Apparently, there are a lot of humans who can relate to the uninteresting, mean mumblings of a boring man with no genuine insight.

"$#*! My Dad Says" is the first of a new wave of twitter feeds and blogs that are being mined for television material by producers looking for ideas. The next was a twitter feed entitled Shh...Don't Tell Steve:
Shh … Don’t Tell Steve, which has more than 13,000 followers, follows the action of its creator’s jobless, drunken roommate, without the roommate knowing.

Poodle Bitch wonders where is the humor in such an idea. It is supposed to be funny, correct? Perhaps visiting the feed and reading a few tweets will set her straight:
Finishing making pot brownies. Which, btw, are for Jackass 3D tonight. Steve has set truly unreasonably high expectations for the experience

Jackass 3D pregame in apartment: Spicy Hot Pot Brownies, Honey Wheat Beer, Wings and Aggro Tony trying to light Steve's arm hair on fire

Steve told Shelly if she wants to come to Jackass 3D with us she "can't be all Ms. Haughty Pants, I'm too smart and cool for this"

Steve is in Shelly's head re: "Haughty Pants". Shelly: "I like Johnny Knoxville and I like people fucking with each other. I'm not a snob"

Apparently, selling his twitter feed to CBS is not enough for the person who runs Shh...Don't tell Steve -- he also needs to shill for "Jackass 3-D," a new Paramount film. Poodle Bitch marvels at the corporate synergy on display.

But, she does not find the feed particularly amusing. She notes that the feed has over 1,200 tweets, so it's entirely possible that a few of them are funny. She has too little time to try to find them.

Next came word of a new television program based on a website called "Awkward Family Photos." Apparently, humans occasionally take photos that other humans might consider to "embarrassing." This is based on a sliding scale, for it seems to Poodle Bitch the the default position for human beings is "awkward." Nevertheless:
With news that Awkaward [sic] Family Photos is heading to ABC, someone has to ask how a website full of embarrassing haircuts, dodgy fashion choices and cringeworthy family shots would translate to television. Its screenwriters will certainly have a job on their hands.

Yes, those screenwriters will have jobs, at least, which is an important thing in this economy (so Poodle Bitch has heard. she has seen no reduction lately in her tomato slice allowance, thank you).

Poodle Bitch wonders if the real work will be done by the lawyers. After all, the website (and the book based upon it, Poodle Bitch notices), exist because of reader submissions to the site. Did the owners of the site get full clearance rights to the photos in any and all media existing now and in the future, in perpetuity (one of Poodle Bitch's human companions has sold works for publication before, and has a sad knowledge of contracts)?

As for the site itself, for the most part, Poodle Bitch was unmoved. As she has already stated, humans are usually "awkward." But she must admit that this photo made her laugh out loud:

Poodle Bitch could see creating vignettes, or "sketches," somewhat akin to SCTV or The Dana Carvey Show around the photos, perhaps. But are those types of programs popular now?

The most recent twitter feed to lead to a television deal is "Dear Girls Above Me." As the Live Feed reported:
Dear Girls Above Me is written by a guy who's driven to distraction by the ditzy roommates living in the condo above him. Unlike "$#*! My Dad Says," or the recently sold "Shh ... Don't Tell Steve," however, the entries often dervive [sic] humor from our unnamed protagonist's reactions and not just the quotes.

Samples, each prefaced with the phrase "Dear Girls Above Me":

-- “He said he was Spanish but not a Mexican. What the hell, that doesn’t even make sense!” It does to the entire country of Spain.

-- “Aww, I felt so bad, this homeless-looking bearded guy on Fairfax actually thought it was New Years.” Happy Rosh Hashanah ladies.

-- “I want a guy who’s gonna meet me half way, like the Black Eyed Pea’s song.” I want a girl who doesn’t quote the Black Eyed Peas.

-- “You can’t go on birth control, your tits will get bigger than mine! We had a plan!” Does this plan involve small boobs and a baby?

Ah, yes. Isn't it so very dry that a halfwit is presenting himself as more clever than a quarterwit?

Poodle Bitch finds it a bit ironic that the "letters" are addressed "Dear Girls Above Me," since there is evidence within the texts that they are, in fact, above the petty author. The "New Year's," the "Black Eyed Peas," and the "birth control" comments could easily have been meant by the "girls" to be ironic. Poodle Bitch wonders if the halfwit is being played for a fool.

And, assuming the "girls" really exist, does the halfwit have to pay them a fee for his new television deal. After all, without them, he's just some human no one has ever heard of.

Poodle Bitch is happy for all of the struggling writers who are able to make Hollywood deals based on their websites and twitter feeds. However, she wonders why it is that these Hollywood producers are seeking out the least clever of these new media stars to lavish attention upon. Moreover, she wonders why it is that it must be humans alone that are making these deals.

She happens to know of a very clever bitch who would make an excellent television protagonist. Perhaps she could live with good-natured but ultimately misunderstanding humans, somewhere in Hollywood, and offer observations about the way humans live their lives. If necessary, these observations need not be too witty. Poodle Bitch does not mind being facile, if it will help humans to more easily understand her.

Naturally, the bitch would eat lots of chicken and tomato slices.

Poodle Bitch's blog can be found here.

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