Wednesday, August 05, 2020

TV: HULU has a serious problem on its hands

If 15 years online offering a media critique has taught us one thing it's this: Making the needed calls is lonely.


Any nitwit can praise some cable offering about a meth head and feel safe in doing so -- even if the show sucks. The Water Cooler Set exists to circle jerk and pretend that anything on cable (male-based) is wonderful and amazing. When you stray from their narrow circle, you're going to find less and less support. And that's fine, we'll blaze our own trail, thank you.

That means we notice when women are reduced in number and in scope while The Water Cooler Set plays with itself.

If there was a word for the fall 2012 television, it was "conformity." Or maybe 'the new conformity'? And, no...

We have to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

HAPPY HOUR? That's what THE CW called it. It's a summer series where a comic comes on and does stand up. Hmm? We thought this might be interesting so we grabbed an episode at random. You can't grab the episode we grabbed. Which is probably a good thing. It was offensive.

No, not dirty words -- they were all bleeped out. It was offensive to listen to a man talk about his hatred for his wife -- so much so that he hopes the plane he's on crashes -- and for him to tell us that women want it even when they say they don't and that women love to be spanked and tied down and --

Was this 2020 or 1982?

Some women may like restraint and spanking, some men might enjoy being on the receiving end of either or both as well; however, neither all women nor all men like it.

This man had no understanding of women or consent. We watched that at the start of last week. It's since been removed and we wish it was because the largely unfunny routine was found offensive. But that's not what happened. Instead, the comic himself was found offensive. Megh Wright (VULTURE) reports:

A little over a month after comedian Chris D’Elia was accused of sexual misconduct, one of his closest friends is also at the center of allegations. According to a new report from the L.A. Times, four women have gone on the record to accuse comedian and The Goldbergs star Bryan Callen of sexual assault and misconduct. The allegations span back to 1999, when former MADtv cast member Kathryn Fiore Tigerman alleges Callen raped her. Tigerman told the Times that she watched the allegations against D’Elia play out last month, and when Callen’s name began to be mentioned she felt “relief” and thought, “‘Oh, I’m not by myself in this. I finally feel powerful against him.’ And if I can give that feeling to somebody else, that would be great.”
Like Tigerman, three other women shared their allegations against Callen in detail with the Times. A former American Apparel employee named Rachel Green accused Callen of pinning her against a dressing-room wall in 1999 and kissing her, which she immediately reported to her co-workers. Claire Ganshert, who was an aspiring actress when she met Callen in 2012 when she was 23 and working at a New York coffee shop, said she had a four-year affair with Callen while he was married, and that he told her in 2016 that women have a “biological, primal desire to be raped.” A comedian named Tiffany King also alleged that, in 2017, Callen tried to pressure her to give him oral sex in exchange for stage time and money at a time when he knew that she was struggling financially. “It was so humiliating. He was somebody I looked up to as a comedian who had control over something I loved,” King told the Times. “If it had been another woman, she could have done it and killed herself the next day because she felt so horrible.”

He's a menace. Why did THE CW think this was a comedian to drop into their mix? And what about him made them think he would provide "Happy Hour"?

Maybe the same way that they thought giving seven stand up comics each a one hour special was 'inclusive' when only two were women? Five men and two women? When that passes for diversity and equality, you're going to end up with a rape promoter in the mix -- and they did.

What about our mix? That was the question an NBC friend had after our "TV: Navigating the stream shouldn't be this hard" went up. He was appalled that we couldn't find one show to recommend. What about, he wondered, David Schwimmer's show?

INTELLIGENCE is actually funny. Schwimmer is playing the same character he did on FRIENDS and WILL & GRACE so he's apparently a limited actor but he does deliver with Ross-in-a-permanent-snit.

The rest of the cast is fresh and amazing and we enjoyed INTELLIGENCE.

But we enjoyed it when friends slipped us some episodes some time ago. It's a British production. PEACOCK didn't make the series, they're just streaming it in the US (for now).

We don't believe that we implied the PEACOCK didn't have any funny shows available. We think WILL & GRACE, for example, is one of the funniest TV shows ever and PEACOCK has that. They don't have any new episodes of it, though. That was our issue with PEACOCK -- their new content wasn't impressive. Their new content. NBC is a major network -- one of the big three. And all these decades in business and it can't provide new content of its own for the streaming service they have been planning since they pulled HARRY'S LAW off HULU all those years ago?

Really sad.

We ignored THE CAPTURE because it was a BBC program that PEACOCK is streaming. For those who have forgotten, HARRY'S LAW was an NBC series starring Kathy Bates. It was a strong show that did well in the ratings. But NBC suits (among the stupidest of any network) decided the ratings would increase if they pulled it off streaming. So they pulled it from HULU and didn't even allow it to stream at NBC's website. The ratings did not increase -- mainly because 2012 was not 1952. Instead of returning it to a streaming platform, they decided that they would create their own. And they've worked ever since on what has now become PEACOCK. To have had all of that time to plan and to show up offering so little?

If our comments hurt, they can take comfort in the fact that they're not HULU.

We've praised HULU over the years. Not today. They are a paid streamer -- they no longer offer anything free. Many are paying sixty or so dollars a month to HULU (we pay more because we have premium channel ad-ons). Last time, we were explaining a work-around that would let you access "My Channels." They killed the work-around. They have done away with ''My Channels." See Stan's "HULU, WTF?," "I'm not liking the new HULU"  and "Boo HULU, yea YOUTUBE TV" for more on that. They've done away with it and people are mad. On the HULU community board, people talk of leaving HULU. Guess what? That doesn't worry HULU. They know people talk a lot and then, sometimes, do nothing.

What has them worried? The weekend streams were low, really low.

That has them worried.

Where were the streamers?

A number were launching trial memberships for YOUTUBE TV.

See, HULU's change was hideous and paying customers are rejecting it.

No one wants to cover this backlash in the media.  We kept waiting for someone to pick up the story but they didn't.

HULU's new layout?  It's New Coke.  In 1985, COCA COLA introduced New Coke, just knowing it would be a hit.  It was a bomb.  And it took three months for COCA COLA to return the Coke America loved (they called it Classic Coca Cola).  In this age of social media and instant response, HULU should have fixed this problem by last Monday.  That they didn't fix it goes to how unresponsive they truly are to their customers.

At some point, The Water Cooler Set may notice this issue.  Maybe even find the courage to write about it.  But is an issue and it's probably the worst moment in HULU's history -- worst in terms of the reaction from their paying customers and worst in terms of their inability to get off their ass and fix this problem.

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