Wednesday, August 22, 2018

TV: Yet another bad week for NETFLIX

Another bad week for NETFLIX.  Have they had any good ones of late?

Matt Groening, Joel McHale and Michelle Wolf.

Let's start with Wolf.  We kept waiting for her to turn out one decent show before weighing in.  But she never did.  So finally, July 17th, we offered our take:

We'd hoped that another show would succeed but THE BREAK WITH MICHELLE WOLF just isn't making it.
We waited and waited to find something good to say about this show. Here it is, she took on virtue signaling in a recent episode. She addressed a topic we have -- applause is not laughter. She took on the 'comedians' of late night in a pointed segment where she noted that they just weren't funny but people were applauding to show their agreement with the sentiments.
Maybe that can lead to something?
Who knows but if she's going to be the voice for women, she's going to have bring women on as guests. Her line up so far is worse than David Letterman's has been.
There she is, on her July 4th episode, celebrating women's rights . . . with guest Seth Meyers? Or she's delivering a commentary on what she sees as the entitlement of White men before chatting with the guest for that epiosde . . . Nick Kroll. Eight episodes and eight guests and only one has been a woman.
Does Michelle really think she has standing to criticize Donald Trump?
She's as bad as any of the men hosting talk shows.
Let's be really clear, if Michelle can't find a way to make half the guests women, why should women watch her? What she's saying currently with her guest list is that women aren't interesting enough to be guests. Well if they're not interesting enough to be guests, they aren't interesting enough to be hosts.
So which is it, Michelle?

If you judge all women by Michelle, then women aren't interesting enough to be hosts.  As the week ended, NETFLIX announced they had cancelled her show.  (Apparently, they forgot to inform people working on the show first before they made the announcement.)

Some lament it, a few, we don't.  What's the good of another Terry Gross?  What's that worth?  We'd say damn little.

August, for example, isn't over yet but already this month, Terry has stocked her 'stocking' with men, men and more men: John LeCarre, Ken Tucker (three times), Justin Chang (twice), Karen Piper, Somini Sengupta, Kevin Whitehead, Seymour Stein, Jim Gavin, Sam Briger, Maureen Corrigan (twice), David Sedaris, David Bianculli (twice), Franklin Foer (to discuss immigration because who better than a White, Jewish, NYC neoliberal who has written books like HOW SOCCER EXPLAINS THE WORLD, HOW FOOTBALL EXPLAINS THE WORLD and JEWISH JOCKS to explain immigration?), Geoff Nunberg, Jennifer Fox, David Kirkpatrick, Julian Ander, Judge Victoria Pratt, Peter Gould, Jonathan Banks, Giancarlo Espisito, Dave Davies (two episode), A.C. Thompson, David Edelstein, and Nick Pyesnon.

If Aretha Franklin hadn't died, it would have been even worse.  But airing the 1999 interview with Aretha made it 8 times Terry had women on her show.  Men?  25 times.  That means over two-thirds of the people Terry chose to bring on were men.

Some of these people were critics!

All the critics were men except for Maureen Corrigan.  In Terry's world, female critics of music or film of TV or what have you just don't exist.

Some of those people were host substitutes!

All of the people who filled in for Terri were men.  In her world, only men can fill in for her.  She's the token girl in the room, she's the execption that proves the rule, she's the queen bee.  She's another fake ass piece of crap holding women back.

masculinist terry

As noted in January of 2011, "Terry Gross' New Low" (a piece Ann wrote with us reviewing Terry's guests for 2010):

In all, her show featured 399 guests (fresh and canned). How many were women?


Can we get a percentage?

That would be 18.546% of her guests were women. 18% were female. 

The world doesn't need more Terrys, we need women who support women.  We need women who realize that women are half the world (slightly over half, in fact) and that we deserve to be part of the conversation -- an equal part of the conversation.

Terry Gross can cup her imaginary balls but she can't do a thing to help women.  Neither could Michelle Wolf.  That's last one's even more surprising since, when slammed for her jokes about Sarah Sanders (White House spokesperson), Michelle insisted that, as a woman, there were places she could go that men couldn't.

Who knew she meant to the feet of men?  That's where she worshipped.  Or maybe their crotches.

 It's as though the women of America were collectively singing Fiona Apple's "Get Gone" to Wolf:

How many times do I have to say
To get away, get gone?
Flip your s**t past another lass's
Humble dwelling
You got your game, made your shot
And you got away with a lot
But I'm not turned on
So put away that meat you're selling

And with few bothering to stream her, NETFLIX finally got the message.

Joel McHale?  That was a different story.  THE JOEL MCHALE SHOW WITH JOEL MCHALE was a hit as a weekly series for 13 episodes.  The problem was with the next six episodes.  NETFLIX thinks everything is a binge.  No, it's not.

THE JOEL MCHALE SHOW WITH JOEL MCHALE couldn't stockpile episodes.  As  weekly show, he was examining some of the most absurd, televised moments of the week.  When he has to stockpile episodes, it's no longer about what happened that week.

That NETFLIX couldn't grasp that the fans didn't want to binge the show goes to their own failures.

A program that delivers and is inexpensive?

For some reason, NETFLIX can't relate to that.

Last week, VARIETY found the news angle we were working June 20th, the massive debt NETFLIX is stockpiling -- crippling debt that could bring the entire service down.

Since we wrote that article, NETFLIX has now signed a $100 million dollar deal with Kenya Barris.  Why?  Shonda Rhimes is ABC Thursday night.  If only to weaken ABC, it makes sense to sign Shonda.  But Barris?   He has black-ish to his credit.  But that show has never been in the top fifty shows of any year.  In fact, this past season was so low rated that the show was ranked the 84th most watched show.

He wrote GIRL TRIP which made $115 million in ticket sales across North America.  But, again, he wrote it.  He didn't direct it.  He didn't produce it.  He wrote it.  In film, writing's not the top tier.

PRIVATE PRACTICE, GREY'S ANATOMY, SCANDAL, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER are successes on Shonda's resume.  The NETFLIX deal makes sense.

But even betting on track records can leave you broke.  Matt Groening made that clear last week.  DISENCHANTMENT is so-so.  It's not really funny, it's not really involving and the animation lacks any real style or character.

Groening is responsible for THE SIMPSONS.  And FUTURAMA.  FUTURAMA was axed twice.  THE SIMPSONS?

Groening had three seasons of THE TRACEY ULLMAN SHOW to develop the Simpson family before they got their own show.  Even so, seasons one through three are among the worst of the series.  So possibly DISENCHANTMENT might improve if NETFLIX sticks with it for a few years.

Or maybe not.

This isn't about a family.  This is about fairytale days.  Or someone thinks it is.  Us?  We just think it's one more way for animated America to ignore people of color.  Of the 14 voice actors working on the show, only one, Eric Andre, is a person of color.

This might be a good time to point out that neither Dr. Hibbert nor his wife -- although African-American characters -- are voiced by African-American actors.  (Apu and Manjula are also voice by White actors.)  It might be an even better time to point out that of all the characters in THE SIMPONS' universe, not a single one is voiced by a person of color.

DISENCHANTED plays out like a series created by a White person who's never worked with -- or even met -- a person of color.  That's not a good fit for NETFLIX and, it appears, these days, a lot of things don't fit on NETFLIX.

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