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Whinge over the River Cry - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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October 21st, 2005


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10:43 pm - Whinge over the River Cry
I want you to put your feet into Rob Thomas's shoes for a second. You've created a cult hit beloved by thousands (maybe millions!). By sheer luck, it ends up getting renewed, but you know you only get that free pass once. In year two, television Darwinism takes over, and only the watched survive.

Now, the fans love you. Understandably, because you gave them a great show to love. So you want them to continue loving your show.

There's just one problem, see: the fans don't control the ratings. As much as they like to pump themselves up and feel important, in the end, they only make up a small portion of the television-viewing audience. If you want to stick around, you have to get other people to watch your show. You have to lure them from their C.S.I.s, from their One Tree Hills, from their—no, wait, you're not going to lure them from Lost.

You have to make some concessions. But in doing so, you know the fans will complain. It's what they do! Fandom is a fickle bitch. If you pander to the casual viewer, the hardcore fans will not be happy. But if you pander to the hardcore fans, the casual viewer will go do his laundry and eat veal piccata. Then you get cancelled. Hardcore.

You remember what that's like. Hell, this is the first time you've had a second season to play with. But you're doing what you can, and you're happy with what you're doing, and you hope the fans are happy, but you really, really hope Johnny Football Hero with a Nielsen Box is happy.

inigo whinges about fan reaction to the second season much better than I can. If you don't like invading other people's journals, try out v_m or seahorsies, especially because I'm interested to see if flame wars erupt over this.

In other news, Michael Muhney invited me to dinner on the town.
Current Mood: mischievousmischievous
Current Music: Metric - Soft Rock Star

(61 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:cerulgalactus
Date:October 22nd, 2005 02:45 am (UTC)
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“How DARE the show be different to how its written in the fics I read over the break — Rob Thomas is Hitler”.
[User Picture]
From:spectralbovine
Date:October 22nd, 2005 03:00 am (UTC)
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"Why isn't Veronica dating the giant squid?!"

Wait, I'm getting my fandoms mixed up.
[User Picture]
From:offtheceiling
Date:October 22nd, 2005 02:48 am (UTC)
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I completely agree.

And have nothing useful to add.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 22nd, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)
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Nothing to add other than I personally believe the Neilsen ratings are rigged in some way.

And your comment regarding hardcore fans/casual viewers reminds me of WWE and NWA-TNA. Vince McMahon and WWE wants to cater to casual fans, green-lighting crappy storylines while TNA primarily focuses on the product itself.

In other news, Michael Muhney invited me to dinner on the town.

That sounds cool.

Oh, and Alona Tal's birthday was yesterday.

== BearDogg-X ==
[User Picture]
From:thetheatremouse
Date:October 22nd, 2005 03:06 am (UTC)
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Sounds like P-C is finally going to go on a date! ;)
(Deleted comment)
From:hobviously
Date:October 22nd, 2005 03:19 am (UTC)
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Why?
[User Picture]
From:shamoogity
Date:October 22nd, 2005 04:23 am (UTC)
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I agree that people are being overly critical of the second season. I don't think it's fair to judge it as a season yet considering we're only a few episodes in. And even though I didn't like the premiere very much, the next few episodes were quite good.

That being said, I do think that at some point a line has got to be drawn on ratings-grabbers. Because what's the point of having a show that everybody watches that is no longer a good show? Like maybe if they turned VM into 'CSI: Neptune' it would become a hit, but in that case I'd rather they just cancelled it. I'm not saying it's gotten anywhere near that point (like I said, I'm quite enjoying the season so far and am loving the more ensembly feel) and I doubt it ever will, but I do understand why people would be worried about changes that are made solely to get new viewers.
[User Picture]
From:cleapet
Date:October 22nd, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
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People are tearing apart S2? Geez, it's not *that* much different from S1, people. The Premiere was different but I liked it. P-C, I hope you are able to walk Rob Thomas through the minefield that is fickle fandom.
[User Picture]
From:beeker121
Date:October 22nd, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
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P-C thanks for this. I've been lurking in the episode threads at TWoP but unwilling to post because I feel like everyone wants to find problems. But they forget that they're comparing episode 4 of the second season with a completed arc of season 1. I trust Rob to give us a good show without too much pandering, and would rather have a season three than mourn a fabulous show.


And congrats on the dinner invite. ;)
[User Picture]
From:foresthouse
Date:October 22nd, 2005 07:11 am (UTC)
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So, ok, you are NEVER going to lure me from LOST, as you well know.

But I reeeeally want to watch this show. But if I do, I want to watch from the beginning. And I'm saaaad, because I just had to pay my health insurance (which I forgot was running out) and it's like, a MILLION dollars. Which means I have to put back a bunch of DVD orders I was going to make. *sigh*

So, to sum up: Married to LOST, want to watch VM, totally broke, I AM SAD.

And really I just wanted to post this because I wanted to whinge too. :)
[User Picture]
From:areacode212
Date:October 22nd, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC)
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I haven't really been following the TWoP VM boards...I had no idea people were hating on the show now. What's supposedly so bad about it? I think it's just as good as last season was.
[User Picture]
From:jeeperstseepers
Date:October 23rd, 2005 01:53 am (UTC)
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Hey, are you the areacode212 who was at the NYC TWoPcon last January?
[User Picture]
From:toughcookie42
Date:October 22nd, 2005 02:59 pm (UTC)
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OMG a TV star asked you to dinner. And he's so cute and nice. Wow.
[User Picture]
From:carminaburana
Date:October 22nd, 2005 03:13 pm (UTC)
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I hope you don't mind my posting here, P-C. I've been doing a lot of thinking about the negativity surrounding VM's second season and have a couple of ideas as to what is actually happening. These ideas aren't truly well thought out, so bear with me. I just want to throw them out there. The main issue, to my mind, is Rob's accessibility and responsiveness to fans, which has produced both positive and negative outcomes. I think it's great that the writers of VM constantly have their ears to the ground, in terms of gauging fan reaction. From some of what Rob has said recently, I get the idea that Rob has a fairly strong sense as to what fan opinions to take seriously and what to ignore. I also think he's done a fantastic job of allaying fan fears in his public statements, while not compromising any storylines in the show. (In short, Rob would make a great politician.) However, what I think is happening is a simple case of fans taking themselves too seriously. I think it's great that we can make our voices heard and that the writers and producers actually pay us some attention. But, there is a reason the show has writers. Fans don't write the show, nor should they dictate the direction of the storylines. I get the impression that a lot of fans feel the need to bombard Rob with emails the second a storyline doesn't conform to their (not always fair) expectations. I think people have become so emotionally attached to the show, that they no longer have a critical perspective on the show. There needs to be some moderation and emotional distance. Instead, we are seeing what is akin to a "herd mentality," albeit with several different herds.

This isn't a simple case of hard core fans vs. new fans. I'm not even sure how Rob is defining "hard core". The people who write him and post on message boards constitute very select samples of the fandom. I even see differences between message boards and even BETWEEN SEASONS. There are a lot of new people posting on the TWoP VM boards this season, and that is a direct result of Rob reading the threads. There are organized campaigns on other boards to bombard TWoP with particular opinions just for Rob to see. As a result, we see a lot of the herd mentality with the fans. These aren't organic opinions, but are prompted by some agenda (more Logan, more Weevil, more Lamb, etc..) As an example, people get so emotional when Logan gets very little time on the show. I'm not criticizing that view, as I also get a twinge of disappointment when I don't see enough of him in an episode. But that really should not poison my enjoyment of the other really great aspects to appreciate in the show. I'm also not necessarily criticizing the agenda-drive posting campaigns. People have a right to post whatever they want. My bottom line is that in reading and responding to the discussion, there should be a distinction between made between critical reaction to the show and letting our attachment to the characters run amok. By critical reaction, I mean a more detached assessment of the episodes, which can be either positive or negative. I also think Rob might want to consider taking a little step back from fandom (in fact, I think he is already doing so.) I realize that reading all of the negative reactions can be disheartening, since the show is his baby; but he also needs to maintain a particular perspective on the show. Finally, we need to stop taking ourselves too seriously and just enjoy the new season on a show that continues (in my opinion) to be the best thing on TV.

(I hope this post wasn't too long-winded)
[User Picture]
From:carminaburana
Date:October 22nd, 2005 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Just wanted to clarify - when I mentioned differences between seasons, I meant that a lot of people who posted on the TWoP VM boards in the first season aren't posting this season.
[User Picture]
From:funky_donut
Date:October 22nd, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC)
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P-C I am so frigging jealous of your dinner with Michael that I might die. And I just friendsed him and now I'm scared and shy that he will read my journal because there's nothing cool in it.
[User Picture]
From:ace_and_sep
Date:October 22nd, 2005 06:31 pm (UTC)
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But...I don't consider myself part of Veronics Mars fandom. I don't read any LJ communities about it, I don't read the TWoP boards, I don't read fanfic, I had no expectations about who was at the door, I don't have a horse in the race for possesion of Veronica's ladybits, and yet -- I'm still pretty "meh" about what I've seen so far this year.

I was up and down in my attention last season too, but got really into the show by the end of the season. I'm not going to stop wtaching, and I'm crossing my fingers that the show can hook me back in with some strong Veronica characterization, or some plots I care about, but for now I just find myself counting the days until BSG returns.

-Ace
[User Picture]
From:carminaburana
Date:October 22nd, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
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And that is a completely valid opinion. Again, I'm not criticizing negative opinions per se. I'm just discussing some general trends I have observed.
From:metabeta
Date:October 22nd, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC)
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I bet Rob Thomas has really comfortable shoes. With expensive insoles.

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