Monday, February 28, 2022

TV: Cringe-worthy TV

Was Springer this bad?  That's what we had to wonder last week as Sabby Sabs showed up to produce cringe-worthy TV.  If you're hoping for the piece where we eviscerate Sabby, this isn't it.


What do you cover?

If you're covering anything, you have to make determinations.  You have to stage your area.  You have to decide what's worth it to you.

For us?

We take a pass on many things.  

On critiquing our friends?  

No.  In fact, we've lost a friend -- and angered many more -- over what we've written here.  If we're covering it, we're covering it.  And there have been mistakes.  Like when we were covering an ABC drama and our friend, the show runner, called to tell us that we'd just outed an actor.  Huh?  We thought X number of actors on the show were out.  It was X-1 -- and some 'fans' think we can't do math!  We knew four were gay and we thought four were out but only three were out.  On that, we did go back in and change it by removing reference to 1 being gay.  Normally, we don't change what goes up here but having already been accused of outing Neil Patrick Harris (really?) and Wentworth Miller (maybe), we weren't in the mood to rack up more charges.

If we're covering you -- and you're a friend -- we're covering you.  And some friends who have asked us to cover their shows have lived to regret it. 

But we draw our lines and pick our fights and determine what we will cover and what we won't cover.


We took a hard pass.  

And we did so for a number of reasons.  First, why is anyone interested in a series about a sex tape?  We have no idea but one reason people would be encouraged to put time and effort into making this series and then airing it would be to discredit Pamela Anderson.  She has been a strong and vocal supporter of Julian Assange.

As the US government brings more pressure to bear on Julian (and The First Amendment), forgive us if we don't see altruism or mere profit as the primary motives for HULU's series.  

Another reason we took a pass?  Pamela doesn't want the series made.  

We knew Aretha Franklin.  Some of her family were very public that they were behind (supported) Jennifer Hudson's film but were opposed to the mini-series Cynthia Erivo made.  We planned to pass on both in terms of reviewing.  Then we ended up seeing RESPECT and needed to review it.  How to make us review your product?  Lie.  Lie and fool people and we'll be outraged and cover it.  Jennifer gave a strong performance in a hideous movie.  It had no real point -- drama and three act structures apparently escaped everyone working on the film.  But what angered us was the stupidity in pimping the lie that AMAZING GRACE was Aretha's best selling album.  It was not.  "Double platinum!!!!!"  That doesn't mean two million copies of AMAZING GRACE were sold.  Two million were not sold.  Up until the 1990s, the 1972 album was only at gold status.  That means half-a-million copies . . . if . . . it's a single disc album.  AMAZING GRACE is a double-disc album and so the 'double platinum' on a double disc album just means it sold a million copies.  Every now and then a multi-disc set will come out and the industry will use it to educate on this fact but few seem to pay attention even then.  WHO'S ZOOMIN' WHO and THE VERY BEST OF ARETHA FRANKLIN VOL. 1 have both sold as much (and probably more) than AMAZING GRACE.  The lie tells the story the filmmakers want -- Aretha back in church!!! Men do love that, don't they, look at the abomination Stephen Spielberg made of THE COLOR PURPLE by doing just that to Shug.  But it's not reality.

And it's not reality that the album was a gospel music album either.  The film RESPECT doesn't clue the audience in on that.  Another lie.  Aretha was a great singer.  People paid for her singing.  Her singing.  Not for tracks she didn't sing on and AMAZING GRACE features many tracks without Aretha.  Another thing, a music experience usually can't recover from spoken word interludes, another problem for AMAZING GRACE.  She's goes on to do the same thing in 1987 with ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM.  Had adult Aretha ever wanted to record an actual gospel music album, it might have sold very well.  But we don't know how it would have sold because she never recorded an album which was nothing but gospel music.

RESPECT piled one lie on after another and still managed to be boring as hell. 

Not long ago, we bumped into one of Aretha's relatives -- not any of the children who objected to season three of GENIUS where Cynthia Ervio played Aretha -- and her positive praise for GENIUS led us to check it out.  It offered actual drama and it presented Aretha as a real person.  We enjoyed it.

But just as we tried to respect the children of Aretha's feelings, we try to respect Pamela's feelings.  Why was the mini-series made?  

We talked before about how it could be used to ha-ha Pamela and to dismiss her statements of support for Julian.  But why on another level?

Meaning, why does this need to be made?  Was there some great outcry for a behind-the-scenes on the sex tape?  

Nope.  It wasn't needed and it wasn't really wanted.  And it is a part of Pamela's personal life.  We're not saying it shouldn't be made.  We're the last to ever say that.  But we are saying that it hurts someone's feeling, it's no work of art (as the ads make clear, as the giggles of the penile prosthetic make clear) and there was no historical point to it.  

So we ignored it and focused on other things that we felt were worthy of praise, or important, or worth noting (to praise or to call out).

This past week, Sabby focused on Nick Brana.

And it was cringe worthy viewing.











At the end of the long interview, Nick went off screen (replacing himself for a moment with an avatar) and (we assume) cried.  

Our hearts went out to him.

Sabby had been asking if rumors meant that the Movement for a People's Party would be better off without him as national chair?

Nick started the political party.  And he tried to answer Sabby's question -- after a great many tough ones had already come before -- but was clearly struggling not to cry.  

It was hard to watch.  We had to put it on pause for a moment.

Sabby -- unlike the five women noted at the end of last week's piece -- actually believes in something beyond the corporate duopoly.  So this topic matters to her immensely.  But as she spoke about state level and members being represented, honestly, we did recall that it was the week before where she had a Green Party member on and was saying that Jesse Ventura should have been the party's presidential nominee.  What is it about YOUTUBE personalities that they keep insisting that someone who would not run for the nomination of a political party should be gifted with it?  How is that democracy?  And having argued that position on a previous show, how did that jibe with some of the questions she was now asking of Nick.

It came off, honestly, like badgering.

Guess what?  Interviews don't have to be soft balls.  Sabby may be playing devil's advocate in either of the two instances we've cited or in only one or in none.

She's allowed to define her style just as much as she's allowed to define her scope.

Equally true, she took the issues at play seriously.  What Mikea was wrongly praised for pretending to do with Joe Biden regarding Tara Reade's charges, Sabby actually did.

Nick was accused of inappropriate behavior.


Charges like that need to be taken seriously and praise to Sabby for doing that.

However, with Tara, she came forward.  

In fact, Tara's still coming forward and was on HARD LENS MEDIA last week speaking with Kit Cabello and Daniel Luepker.

She has a funny idea of what constitutes a truth-teller.  In her HLM media appearance, she finally talked about what we've been talking about since April of 2020 -- how Time's Out put a media hit out on her.  And she wants you to know Ryan Grim's a truth teller.  Funny, though, we never heard this from Ryan, now did we?

We noted what was going on.  Ryan knew what we were noting.  A friend spoke to him about it and multiple people contacted him via e-mail and Twitter but he wasn't interested, now was he?

Tara seems like a good person but she doesn't have a clue.  


Every time we watch an interview with her, all we hear is Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman in BATMAN RETURNS saying, "You make it so easy, don't you?  Always waiting for some Batman to save you."  

Because that's her and that's, sadly, far too many women who've survived victimization.

She needs Ryan to be a hero so she can feel okay.  It's some crap about playing a damsel in distress.  She should have long ago berated him for so many things -- including failing to follow up on the claims that her position as a legal expert in trials was being challenged. 

We do like Tara, we just wish she wasn't so damn stupid.  That also involves her hero worship of Rose McGowan.  We like Rose.  We do not mistake her for a functioning human being nor do we play into that game.  To not know Rose is hurting is to be willfully blind.

To not know that Tara is damaged is to buy into her lie that she's smart and she knows what's going on and always has.

Tara, just stop pretending.  

Life will a lot easier for you if you stop pretending.

Your notions of politics are still in the same limited range that they were before you came out about Joe Biden assaulting you.  The 'solutions' you offer in interviews are nonsense and the sort of b.s. conventional wisdom that serves no one.   We'd rather you admit you have no answer about something than repeatedly mouthing tired cliches that you attempt to pass off as insight.

You're in pain.  Talk about the pain.  Don't try to pretty it up or to put a band aid on it.  What was done to you has been done to others (women and men) and it will be done to others.  If you really want to be of service, help people by talking about this.  People who speak out get attacked  Acknowledge that and speak to it.  That's so much more important than how you think we can change the world, one vote at a time.  


Back to Nick.


Sabby compared what's going on there with Tara Reade.  And we understand there are many reasons to make that comparison.  Chief among them?  She's trying to do a job.  Mika wasn't.  Mika acted tough but had no follow ups.


Nick was being accused of some bad things.  Sabby felt the need to make clear that she was there to ask questions, real ones.  Hard ones.  


But the accuser isn't Tara.


Tara came forward.  She stepped out in public.  She was attacked and smeared for it.  And she needs to talk about that -- seriously and in depth so that others know what to expect and what to be prepared to combat.  We're still the only ones who noted that unlike NPR, PBS, THE NEW YORK TIMES, MSNBC, et al, CSPAN actually put the issues regarding Tara charges to a survivor's advocate.  


Nick's accuser hasn't come forward.  


Unless, the accuser is Jordan Chariton in drag, the accuser remains hidden.


Bob Dylan's been accused of assaulting a young girl back in the sixties.  The story makes no sense and we're less inclined to believe it because the woman hides behind a lawyer.  Supposedly, she wants some form of justice.  But apparently wants it without gaining it in public.  We don't believe her.


We're not Tara Reade, we don't mouth slogans like 'believe all women.'  Anyone can lie, gender has nothing to do with it.  


The woman in question, the one accusing Nick, has elected not to come forward.  She wants to make charges from the darkness, in hiding.  At some point, the charge was rape.  At some point, it was something else.  


Sabby wanted receipts and we thought that honestly derailed her interview.

She knew he didn't have them.  He couldn't have them.  Sabby's asking the accused to provide proof of innocence and that's now how our system works.  She was also asking for him to back up this or that statement and he referred to others that she should be speaking to.  He hadn't brought along witnesses.  It was all very frustrating to watch.  

As for her question about whether he should resign?


He shouldn't resign.  If he feels he's innocent -- and he currently is -- then why should he step down?

We encourage every woman and every man who has been assaulted to step forward.  But we do know some who step forward are not telling the truth.

We also know that every one accused has a right to defend themselves.  And should.  Also true, Sabby (again) has the right to do any interview she wants and to do it any way she wants.

So did David Letterman.  When people hear of the moment Cher was on his show for the first time and revealed that she had avoided him because she thought he was an ass, they think ha-ha and don't get what Cher's talking about because so much time has gone by.  He was an ass to Cher and others because of rudeness to guests -- mainly women.  There was the time Nastaja Kinski was reduced to tears, for example.  She was not fluent in English and she did not know what Dave was talking about or why he was making fun of her but, by the end of the interview, she certainly was aware that he was mocking her in front of an audience.  Valerie Perrine shows up and is an amusing guest that the studio audience loves.  She leaves the studio and is shocked when later on she watches the broadcast and discovers that after she left, she was dubbed "The Divine Perrine" in a mocking manner as Dave and another guest trashed her.  It was this sort of thing -- mocking people who weren't fluent in English and mocking someone after they were out of the studio -- that led to the image of Dave being an "ass."

Sabby can be whatever she wants but she should be prepared that right now people could consider her a bit of an ass.

After her questions and the way she presented them have made her guest cry, she then goes after his father.  In what world?  If you want to be an ass, that's the way you do it.  And don't pretend that you're doing journalism because you waited until the very end of the interview to bring up his father.

We're often called bitches for what we write here.  We're fine with that.  We can live with it.  This is how we want to do what we do here.  We're just wondering if "ass" is how Sabby wants to be seen.

But mainly, we're troubled by the segment that caused tears.  Specifically, we're bothered by the question of Nick stepping down.  If Nick's innocent -- and Sabby goes to great pains to insist that she knows nothing of guilt or innocence -- why should he step down?  What message does that send -- both in this case and in subsequent ones?  As it stands now, Nick appears to be the victim so what is served by his stepping down due to a false smear that was told in order to . . . force him out?

That just don't make sense and may be the most cringe-worthy moment of the entire interview.

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