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mygif

Every review the guy writes reads like that one. I thought about starting a campaign like DiManno Watch after this last one, but then I thought about how he has fans in the ruthlessly-patrolled TWOP forums: powerful fans with lots of enthusiasm and spare time. Bless you, for venturing into the Quagmire, and brace yourself for the onslaught of the literally unwashed hordes.

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mygif

Yup, that’s Jacob.

I like BSG too, but for the love of God. I can fathom that on someone’s LJ, but it’s an…interesting choice to put on TWOP, which has prided itself in its relentless snark of even decent television (almost as much as its bonsai-like control-freak-administered forums, as OddKing notes).

Besides, I still can’t past the Quisno’s commercial to think about Razor just yet.

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Cookie McCool said on November 29th, 2007 at 11:55 am

I’d be really embarrassed to have written that. Does he think someone’s going to “discover” him from the Internet and give him a screenwriting job or something? It just screams, “Look at me I am pretentiously literate for the love of God please look at me or else I will quote ALL the damn Bible just to spite you!!” Check it, yo.

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mygif
mightybaldking said on November 29th, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Oh, he might be discovered on the internet.

I submit for evidence: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2x2W12A8Qow&feature=bz302

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mygif

He’s the one who recapped ‘Doctor Who’, too, isn’t he? I remember that sinking under its own pretentiousness at moments (the recaps, not the series.) When he got to the quoting of Tennyson, I found myself scrolling down without reading.

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mygif

Yeah, that is truly ridiculous. And every single recap is like that. It’s like he is trying to make his writing more, I dunno, artistic than the show. But he’s writing a recap. I like Twop to offer commentary, observational asides, and little snarky jokes, not re-write the plot with the pretentiou-dousch dialed up to 11.

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mygif

Read the damn doctor who recaps. Doctor who 2000 edition is for good or ill one of the most low brow shows out there, yet Jacob was seeing references to Persian mythology and gnosticism in there.

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mygif

“In Jungian terms, the Companion is the Ego and the Doctor is the Self and the TARDIS is the Ego-Self Axis, and if you ask me why, as an atheist, I’m so obsessed with writing and reading about religion, that’s the pat answer that I won’t give you, because it’s too small. It’s a collection of trees that can’t actually express the forest. But I think in human development there’s something that leads us on, some gift of the world, that gives us guidance toward becoming whole. I think there’s something, a Doctor, that wants us to look in those dark corners and tease the mysteries out and become strong enough to see things the way they are, without all the magic and hope and fear and ugliness that we project on them, because when we do that, we’re abusing ourselves, because the world inside our head is where we actually live, and the best we can hope for is to work until it matches the world outside our heads as closely as possible. So I’ve never found it weird or particularly interesting to cast Doctor Who as either a meditative experience of the divine or as a description of individuation, the process of growing up. Those are all just a bunch of words for fairy tales, which are all just versions of the Quest, and the Quest never ends. You shouldn’t go around kicking trees when you’re in the middle of the forest, because if you miss the forest, you’re screwed, because it’s a…really awesome forest.”

Did a paragraph begining “In Jungian terms…” ever go well?

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mygif
Cookie McCool said on November 29th, 2007 at 3:39 pm

“In Jungian terms, the rest of this recap is some bullshit,” perhaps?

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mygif

In Jungian terms, I think you have struck the nail smartly upon its putative head.

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mygif

Yeah, that’s Jacob. You really can’t do anything else but go “yeah, okay dude,” roll your eyes, and go on. He’s a fucking madman.

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mygif
Omendreamer said on November 29th, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Yeah, he did a guest review of a The Office episode and I could barely understand any of it. I avoid his reviews like the plague, which is too bad since I usually use TWOP to catch up when I miss an episode.

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mygif

“In Soviet Russia, Jung terminates you.”

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mygif

I hate it when people forget they’re supposed to be reviewing or recapping or whatever and pull shit like this. I’ve got nothing against a witty writer playing to a following earned by being witty as long he or she doesn’t forget they’re still supposed to be reviewing or recapping. The only thing going for that exerpt is that it doesn’t come out and say bullshit like “I’ve got a reputation for being one of the toughest reviewers in the industry, and people in the big companies blow me for good reviews.”

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mygif
Eric TF Bat said on November 29th, 2007 at 8:28 pm

I kind of liked Jacob’s recaps of BSG and DW — he certainly has a point on occasion, and his insights are generally (being generous here) less than 50% wank — but you need to be in the right mood to stick with it long enough to find the good bits, and there are times when a pretty flower becomes less pretty when covered in a gigalitre of liquified batshit.

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Rand Brittain said on November 29th, 2007 at 9:15 pm

It’s the Brain Eater- the disease that writers get when they get popular enough to no longer be edited, and their stylistic quirks spiral out to take over the entire body of argument or plot. Check out the site and find his first reviews from mid-season-2 and you’ll see that they were basically normal, and also pretty good. Even now, there are still moments of goodness but it’s all buried under pretension these days. The Doctor Who recaps really are unreadable for exactly the same reasons.

It doesn’t help that when people come to Television Without Pity, they expect to laugh rather than to say “That’s so deep,” and when they find this they get turned off by cognitive dissonance.

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mygif

The gulf between good TWOP and Jacob was painfully brought home to me with the Firefly/Serenity recaps. Shack for the series, Jacob for the movie. Talk about jarring. Most punch-the-screen moment: when he can’t bring himself to recap Wash’s squishing.

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mygif

I love Jacob’s Battlestar Galactica recaps. The show is already nice and meaty, but he almost always gives me something new to chew. Like the show itself, I suppose his recaps are not for everyone. Maybe whether or not you like them depends on why you watch Sci-Fi and/or fantasy, in the first place. I also appreciate what Rand Brittain refers to as the cognitive dissonance involved in reading something like Jacob’s “Razor” recap at a site whose stock and trade is snark. To me, it’s not cognitive dissonance — it’s just more than one note.

Why do you think it’s a wank train?

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mygif

Because it’s ludicrously overwritten and nigh-incomprehensible due to overflowery language? This isn’t hard. If he wants to say “hey, you know what this is like? This Bible passage,” it’s much easier – and better writing by half – to just say that rather than indulge in shitty poetics.

And most of the time, he doesn’t have anything profound or even horribly interesting to say anyway, so you’re just wading through subpar Alan Moore imitation writing anyway, and lately the real Alan Moore is bad enough.

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mygif

Doctor who 2000 edition is for good or ill one of the most low brow shows out there,

Wait, what? Granted, we’re not talking about a morally-fraught series like The Wire, but British television gets more lowbrow than Who without breaking a sweat. And compared to a standard US network line-up, it’s a freakin’ quantum mechanics textbook.

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mygif
Rand Brittain said on November 30th, 2007 at 2:05 am

In fairness, Jacob wasn’t “unable to recap Wash’s death,” he just left out that paragraph by mistake. Then he decided it was better with a blank there. Personally, I think it was a bad decision, but it wasn’t the result of crippling EMOTION.

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mygif

MDS.

You’re right, I got carried away there. Lowbrow is probably not the word. Shallow would be better, aside from the Moffat episodes I don’t think there is a single episode of the new Doctor Who that works on anything other than a superficial level, so reading in Jungian archetypes and Biblical references is a fool’s errand.

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mygif

“Maybe whether or not you like them depends on why you watch Sci-Fi and/or fantasy, in the first place. ”

That’s…nonsense. No one should have to defend why they love Sci-Fi/fantasy in order to critique Jacob’s obtuse attempts at writing. If I want to read a dissertation on Battlestar Galactica, I’ll schlep over to the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture where the people who are actually trained in cultural theory write more coherent and less pretentious essays.

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mygif

aside from the Moffat episodes I don’t think there is a single episode of the new Doctor Who that works on anything other than a superficial level

Well, maybe Paul Cornell too (see, e.g., Human Nature / Family of Blood), but yeah, I’d certainly accept that it’s usually just cheap entertainment. On the other hand, aren’t Jungian archetypes really easy to read in, given that they’re archetypes? Not that I’d really know anything about that. [Discreetly pushes Davies Doctor Who Tarot Deck under sofa]

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mygif

“’Maybe whether or not you like them depends on why you watch Sci-Fi and/or fantasy, in the first place’. ”

“That’s…nonsense. No one should have to defend why they love Sci-Fi/fantasy in order to critique Jacob’s obtuse attempts at writing.”

Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean my post to come across like that, but now that I see your response, I can see how it did. Please know I didn’t mean to go there. I don’t think (and didn’t mean to imply that) what I get out of BSG is any more valid, deep or “important” in any way. I’ll try to explain what I do like so that I don’t leave that earlier comment just hanging there, but I’ll keep it brief, so I can try to keep my foot out of my mouth, this time.

I just like Jacob’s recaps, because even though I don’t always agree with his take on the show, the recaps often feel like a bonus story — like he takes this wonderful story Moore just told me, and uses it to tell me more stories. I’m a story glutton, so the end result (for me, as a BSG fan, and a reader) is that both the stories in both the original work and the recap end up resonating with me more, together, than either would divorced from the other.

“If I want to read a dissertation on Battlestar Galactica, I’ll schlep over to the Journal of Religion and Popular Culture where the people who are actually trained in cultural theory write more coherent and less pretentious essays.”

Probably more of friends think Jacob’s recaps are pretentious, than not. They’ve just never struck me that way. When I’m reading one, I always imagine he’s this guy, going about his life, and he stops once a week to watch this show that hits him like LSD, and sends his brain spinning off in a million different directions, and the writing helps keep him come down, and keeps him from getting dizzy until he does. Again, I’m sorry for the misunderstanding.

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Cookie McCool said on December 1st, 2007 at 12:50 pm

If an “author” needs to churn out that kind of high-strung high-falutin’ garbage in order to calm his brain down, I for one would appreciate it if he could write it on his walls or on used napkins from the coffe shop like any decent respectable nutjob.

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mygif
Generic Lad said on December 2nd, 2007 at 4:46 am

It’s a wank train for one very good reason…

It’s *26* pages long!!!

(I couldn’t make it past page 2).

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mygif

“If an ‘author’ needs to churn out that kind of high-strung high-falutin’ garbage in order to calm his brain down, I for one would appreciate it if he could write it on his walls or on used napkins from the coffe shop like any decent respectable nutjob.”

I didn’t post to cause any trouble, here. I did feel badly that my first post was so poorly worded that it was easy to take offense at it, even though none was intended. I’m far less concerned with intentional misinterpretations, such as the above. I’ll clarify one last time, not to set you straight in any way, only to make sure it’s clear that I wasn’t taking my comment to the place you went in your response.

It seems BSG really kindles Jacob’s imagination. I’m glad he writes what and how he writes, because his recaps enrich my experience. Yes, they’re long. Yes, they’re more serious than standard TWoP fare. Yes, he references things not usually found in television recaps. If I were looking for a more utilitarian recap — I’d never choose his. Because I’m always in search of another story (even a different take on a story I already know), Jacob’s recaps work for me in a way more straight-forward recaps never could.

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mygif

As a certified literati, and someone who thinks “style” and “content” aren’t really separable, I actually support efforts at “spicing shit up”, but it has to be DONE WELL. It’s like this guy is aiming for the stars, but he doesn’t know how to tie his shoes.

I like the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I don’t like this. Your post title is very apt.

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mygif

My extra comment is that his writing reminds me of nothing other than the unedited ramblings of a manic-depressive, of which I’ve had the pleasure of reading quite a few. The fact is, most great writers*, manic or not, don’t just fucking ramble — not even Henry Miller. They pay intense critical attention to word, line, content, form, structure within structure acting upon self-reflexive structure … if it looks like it was easy, then that’s the result of HARD WORK.

* and let’s be honest — this guy wants to be something great, otherwise he wouldn’t make this particular sort of failed attempt. I think there’s a lot of potential, but something needs to give. I hope he reads my post here, which amounts to advice.

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mygif

Cindy,

Thanks for your responses–I think I see where you’re going, and it makes sense (even if Jacob’s recaps don’t….just kidding).

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