We end the week as we do every week with an elimination. Hear which three podcasts had the hardest time with the challenge and who will be subsequently eliminated. Don't forget to check out the Earwolf Blog where each eliminated contestant is asked to write about their experience. Beginnings and The Complete Guide to Everything both have great insights into the contest and on Friday you'll hear from today's eliminated podcast.
Episode 4.3 — Recurring Segments: Day 3
Posted 03 August 2011 - 03:15 AM
Still don't like the idea of someone being eliminated because they don't have a recurring theme. If the challenge was to make up a recurring theme, that'd be much better. And it'd fit more into the concept of this being a reality show/elimination game where the contestants actually have to do something. The way it is now, you're just having them cut and paste parts of their old episodes to fit into a 2-minute theme-of-the-week. Hearing Matt Besser complain to the shows that their recurring theme isn't recurringy enough drives me crazy. It just feels like a cheap way to eliminate someone this early into the competition.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 03:53 AM
-Well, look at Totally Laime who already had a recurring segment but made a new one that would better fit the challenge. If you want to use the American Idol metaphor (and I haven't watched American Idol since Season One, so bear with me), there will probably be weeks where a contestant has sung an, I don't know, Aretha Franklin song for years at karaoke so they immediately know which song they'll do and how to stylize it, whereas other weeks they might not even know who Burt Bacharach is. I don't think this challenge was necessarily poised against people who don't have recurring segments, as two of the bottom three were using segments they already had.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 05:07 AM
I thought that all worked fair out enough. I may have been unfair yesterday as a post I made might of have implied Matt Besser had already developed a bias against Brett, but I think the decision was fair and he was given a good send-off. I do think the parameters for this round were a little too loosely defined and it seems like it wasn't thought out as much as it could have been before the recording, but ultimately it felt like the clips where being judged on their quality rather than it just being a semantic decision.
I understand why it's hard for some of the podcasts to come out with good two minute clips, but then that is the challenge; to come out with a good two minute clip. Otherwise, you might as well just get a few judges together to listen to them all and vote on their favorite. So the defense that it was hard to edit together a good clip misses the point, because it's supposed to be a tough challenge.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 05:13 AM
It's kind of annoying to hear Matt still trying to define what a recurring segment after three days of talking about it. Here's my take using their SNL example: "Live from New York...", opening monologue, musical performances and weekend update are all part of the structure of the show. They happen every week and are the things that separate the show from Mad TV or any other sketch show. The reoccurring sketches seem more "refillable," just have Pat go to a Chinese restaurant or have the Spartan cheerleaders cheer about water polo.
As far as the contestants go, I think Totally Laime will win and be a pretty good fit at Earwolf. Pretty sad to see Hamil go, he seemed to have a lot of potential and just needs some guidance (by which I mean I listened to his podcast and thought he had some funny sketches that just needed some editing). Plus, I think Earwolf needs some more short podcasts.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:03 AM
The challenge was to provide a recurring segment, including by making one up, which is what Brett did. I think what killed his submission was that it just wasn't funny. I think saying Matt B had something against him is a little hard to swallow, considering that last week, he and the guest judges kept Brett on the phone for 10 minutes giving him feedback while the Complete Guide guys sat around, waiting to be eliminated. I feel like they've been giving him a lot of attention and really wanted him to succeed, but he just wasn't working out for the Challenge (and a one-man, once-a-month podcast is not the best fit for Earwolf either).
That said, I fully expected The Fort to go home when we got to the elimination. At the start of the episode, it seemed to be the submission the judges had the least positive feedback on.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:11 AM
I'll be honest, I think if any podcast had to go this week, it had to be Totally Laime. Lame or Totally sounds like it would fall off in a couple of episodes. Overall, I'm not a big fan of the podcast, but it's just my opinion. I think the judges have been slightly more critical of sketch shows than chat shows. Sketch shows have reoccurring characters that they bring out and that's just as good as reoccurring segments. A sketch show would be great on Earwolf, they already have one too many chat shows.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:27 AM
I think they made the right choice. I can understand the challenges that come with being a one man sketch comedy show and I think the judges took that into consideration. I think for the most part the judges have all really liked Ham Radio and what he does. I think they may have even been a little unfair when addressing the "hack" comic impressions bit. Especially considering the latest episode of CBB has Todd Glass doing that exact same thing. Using the logic of the judges, the difference I suppose is that Todd is accomplished enough to be able to make those kinds of jokes. I think Ham Radio is decent and the production is great. But I have to say that I have yet to hear any submissions from HR that have made me laugh. While I have heard some funny bits on his show, I just didn't really hear any on the challenge. I think Brett's definitely on to something and I think he should stick to his guns. I just didn't think he was a strong competitor for the challenge.
My two favorites for this challenge are Little Dum Dum and Totally Laime. The LDD bit made me think of some of the nicknames we had for people growing up and it was definitely funny. As for Totally Laime, I think they will go all the way. The show is a good fit for Earwolf and I think they have nailed the last two challenges. Their theme song entry was great. Short and to the point and catchy. Their recurring theme entry was great also I thought. It plays fast, let's you get to know about the guest, and provided some laughs. In my eyes (or ears as the case may be) Totally Laime is a little more polished than the rest. They have a great radio sensibility that I like.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:37 AM
I like the the arbitrary rules, thats what makes it a real game. If it was purely based on merit it would have been a top ten blog. It seems a lot of problems could be eliminated by getting a friend or comedian (not that you guys aren't) to help pick the 2 min.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:39 AM
- I'd just like to put in my two cents.
- No one was eliminated based on the semantics of the phrase "recurring theme". I don't think I criticized any show for their segment not recurring enough. The segments deemed bottom three would have been in the bottom three no matter how we define recurring.
- It is three weeks later and I'm still debating in my head what "recurring segment" means. I've now decided that a recurring segment is like a recurring character on a sitcom. It is not in every show, but it is done often. In sketch shows that would be like KITH's "It's a fact!" not SNL's news. It would be like Letterman's stupid human tricks but not his top ten. It would be like Doug Benson's build a title game, not the Leonard Maltin game which he does every week.
- I consider my hosting technique to be Socratic. I'm not lost. I just enjoy the discussion of the rules with my producers Frank and Peter. I don't make the rules. Since this is the first season of this I enjoy the process of judging our own podcast/contest as we go along. I'd rather do it on the show than before the show because I think it fits the nuts and bolts theme of the show. If I feel it affects who gets eliminated then I will point that out and insist that we change the rule in question. I could have done the show not bringing up the semantics and it wouldn't have affected the contest at all.
- I am not biased against anyone. I may be biased FOR Television Zombies because of my love of scifi but I have not let that cloud my judgment. I'm trying to be totally honest without being snarky. I truly am trying to be fair because I don't want to be the reason that someone goes home. In fact, when it comes down to voting for the elimination I try not to cast a vote as much as try to see which of our guest judges I agree with most. I mostly try to make sure that a show doesn't get eliminated for a challenge that isn't in their wheelhouse.
- Okay maybe that's three cents.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:53 AM
I definitely think the correct decision was made for this week. Brett seemed to be very non-responsive to any and all feedback, and every time the judges or Matt would talk to him it was uncomfortable because of this. He is no doubt talented and with incredible production values, but in a competition where you have to be able to adapt, he simply was unable to.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:54 AM
No one really emphasized this, but I think one of the biggest downfalls of Brett's piece was that the movie trailer parodies are an extremely common type of sketch, which hurts in that it doesn't have that identity that Matt talked about in the 1st episode of the week. For some reason, no one really mentioned that when they were doing the final wrap-up, and I think it may have been the primary reason a movie trailer sketch is a weak "recurring segment."
Also, I don't know if it's just me, but I'm surprised, with all the talk about sound quality, that no one has criticized Totally Laime. Does the audio for that bother anyone else, or am I nuts? It seems like the sound is very thin to my ears, like it is all treble, and has a weird hiss or fuzz to it. Does anyone else get that?
Posted 03 August 2011 - 08:21 AM
They could probably just name all the challenges "Is It Funny?" because that's what each one boils down to. Though, to be honest, that's what it should come down to. I kind of feel that the some of the judges don't listen to many podcasts, because as a consumer of many podcasts myself, I think what I like listening and what I've heard before may differ from what the judges are critiqing.
For example, "Totally or Lame" was liked by the guys, but it didn't do it for me. Maybe since I listen to podcasts while at work while performing other tasks I have a different perspective. It just seemed too repetitive and sounded like it was more fun for the people playing than for the listener. But that's just my opinion.
@Matt Besser I think the fact that these episodes are already "in the can" means you can't take any of the suggestions offered here (not that you should anyway), and that hurts the show a little. Unfortunately, it also means you'll probably get the same critiques over and over since people may think you're not listening to them (again, not that you should).
Posted 03 August 2011 - 08:39 AM
Sorry to see Brett go, I was finally starting to really warm up to him. It seemed like this might have been the first week where even the bottom 3 weren't necessarily bad but just suffered from lack of explanation. The one thing I have started to see from week to week is the lack of knowledge of the podcasts and what has happened on past weeks of the challenge on the celebrity judges part. I completely understand that each judge can't be expected to listen to everything that is involved in the challenge. I also know that we aren't hearing the whole judging process, sometimes you don't want to see how the bread is made. The thing that surprised me this week is that Ham Radio wasn't mentioned to the judges as having been in the bottom three two weeks in a row. I know on other reality shows that seems to be a recurring theme, the fact that if someone has been either consistently good/bad goes into a lot of the judging. Each week seems to be pretty separate of the week before it because of the whole new judge line up. I love the guest judges and I think it is important to get different opinions on each challenge, but maybe a little talk of the overall competition rather than each weeks challenge should be done in each weeks elimination episode.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 08:44 AM
Sean says: "Brett seemed to be very non-responsive to any and all feedback". It seems as if that is what Besser wanted from Brett considering that his last time in the bottom 3 he got nailed for "too much push-back". I didn't really think Brett was non-responsive anyways. The podcasts ought to be judged on what they submit, rather than how quickly they establish a rapport with the host and guest judges.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 08:53 AM
Mike D makes a valid point regarding the movie trailer concept. It is done quite a bit. I think Brett was at a disadvantage in the challenge for the simple reason that he doesn't have a group of people with different ideas to pull from and to keep each other in check like the other shows. It is hard doing a show by yourself. You could compare it to Paul McCartney & John Lennon. While I love a lot of the solo stuff from both of them, they also put out a lot of horrible crap on their solo albums. Much more than the Beatles. I believe that's because they kept each other in check. They needed each other to be able to say "hey, that song isn't as good as you think it is". When left to their own devices they did things like "Double Fantasy" or "Ram".
Matt, you make valid points as well especially about the interaction with your producers. I think the show is going great. I like the loose and natural feel of it. That's the main thing that drew me to podcasts. My background is in traditional radio production where everything is very scripted and the rules were set many moons ago. I love the relaxed feel of podcasting. One of the things I like about the way you host the Challenge and interact with your producers and judges is the looseness and the sense of the unknown. It makes me feel like we are all in on the ground floor and are all participating in shaping the future of podcasting.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:22 AM
You're right Brendan H, we are a few weeks ahead, but I still think we have time to make changes. What are the top 5 suggestions you've read so far? Let's start there. Jeff, Peter, and Frank will look at them. We actually have already responded to some suggestions on what recorded this week.
Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:52 AM
I actually kind of love the fact that Matt and the producers and judges are feeling out the parameters of each challenge on the fly. The podcast challenge is certainly a unique set-up, and by its very nature, it's going to encounter problematic issues. Having those issues discussed and out in the open is absolutely the best way to deal with them, I think.