Television Without Pity’s Battlestar Forum Sucks

So I’ve been looking for someplace to yak about Battlestar Galactica online, and my first choice was a huge goose egg. Surprisingly, it’s Television Without Pity, one of the biggest and, arguably, hippest TV discussion sites online.

Alas, however engaging TWOP’s forums on Project Runway and Lost, its BSG forum has fallen into the moist grip of super-fans.

Take, for example, the proliferation of fannish vocabulary, especially the inexcusable “frack” for “fuck.” If you want to separate yourself from normal human society to the point of adopting a made-up expletive, this forum is the place to do so. Same if you prefer to invoke “the Gods” instead of God. TWOP’s posters also use a particularly disgraceful coinage I hadn’t seen before: “Humlon,” as in “Humanoid Cylon.” Oh, jeez. They really are trying to make normal people ashamed to admit we like this show, aren’t they? Even “Hulon” would have been better. Or, wait! Better still, just say … “Humanoid Cylon.” I like it!

Then there are all the emotional-explosion posts. The kind that make you wonder if the author is actually a 13-year-old girl, or just talks like one online.

–“I think Istopped breathing at several points during the premiere.” [If only! -ed.]

More after the jump.

–“Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap. Jesus frakkin’ Christ. Holy crap. Man, this show totally messes with my head. And I love it. Ow my head.”
–“Gods, I can’t even think straight.
–“Ellen yelling “You son of a bitch!” breaks my heart.
“Saul Tigh broke me here.”
–“So this is what it’s like to have one’s mind blown. ”
–“First off, wow. And fuck. and wow again. Is anybody not completely broken? Just too painful to watch almost. ”
–“Best. Episode. Ever.

That’s right, one of these folks actually used the Simpsons line un-ironically. That’s a good encapsulation of this board, actually. And so…

THE VERDICT:
If you want to swap opinions with a jillion Comic Book Guy clones — only with his magesterial judgments swapped out for undiscerning hysteria — this is the forum for you.

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18 Comments

  1. The BSG threads on Newsarama.com are actually pretty good, if a bit negative for my tastes.

  2. Jesus frakkin’ Christ.
    Does that qualify as crossover?

  3. Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    Television Without Pity SUCKS. There is no other way to say it. I have never seen a site deteriorate the way that TWoP has, but your complaints about Battlestar are complaints that many have about other forums.

    And let’s face it: readers flock to the site for the forums, not the lame-ass recaps.

    If you Google “television without pity sucks,” you will be amazed (or perhaps not) at the amount of material immediately available written by people like you and me.

    And GOD, that “frack” shit bugs the hell out of me. Either say FUCK or SKIP IT.

    I do love me some Saul. He makes the show for me.

  4. Those recaps kind of mystify me. I think they actually pay people to do them.

    Thanks for the backup Re: “frack.” It’s like Firefly fans who say “gorram” instead of “god damn.” That kind of thing is why this blog exists.

  5. What’s wrong with people writing like that? It seems to me you just can’t accept the thought of someone being “not normal”…
    So what if they adopt “made-up expletive” and their posts are “emotional-explosions”? There’s nothing wrong with that.
    And yes, TwoP sucks, but mainly because of it’s pathetic recaps, stupid community managers and forums where everyone seems to think the same way…

  6. Ha! Good point at the end there. I actually see what you’re saying. I’m not sure where my violent distaste for this kind of thing comes from. Something about it just annoys the hell out of me.

    I think maybe it’s because their behavior is so obviously motivated by a bunch of negative personality traits: arrested development, misdirected sex drives and alienation from the world at large. I worry that my fannish tendencies are signs of the same problems.

    I’m also angry that the high-quality, well-made movies/books/shows I like are associated with such freaks. I didn’t make it into one of those Serenity test screenings, but I was horrifed to hear that all those ravenous “Browncoats” showed up and acted like idiots. I would have hated to be in that crowd. For that matter, people like that didn’t do the Serenity box office any favors. But that’s another argument.

    And yes, I think alienation — fannish alienation — is fundamentally unhealthy. It’s one thing to be a principled nonconformist, to reject cookie-cutter American middlebrow bourgeoisity and try to find an alternative, but it’s another to deliberately embrace quirks that make the rest of the world think you’re a kook. That’s just attention-seeking.

  7. Wow. So I don’t actually post there. Read them sometimes – read the recaps which are a little verbose but weirdly I like. But its bad to use silly slang that is in fact not just being used by people on the TWOP message boards but by characters in other tv shows (see Veronica Mars, Office)? It think when you’re getting that kind of word exposure and fannish love from other writers its a little different then using Chinese slang in conversation because Mal Reynolds does. Sure its a little goofy but its not the huge scarlet A for alienation you seem to be suggesting. However, its your second point that’s really over the top. Its a sign of misdirected sex drive and arrested development to have emotional explosions over something you really, really enjoy? That’s a pretty harsh generalization, because I’m fairly sure that all sports fans, people at rock/pop/country concerts, people enjoying really good food and wine, someone who just read the book that opened their mind to new stuff, people who cry or laugh hysterically at movies, people who get really heated about their political and/or religious convictions in arguments/discussions aren’t all sexually misdirected and suffering from arrested development. I do believe that people are still allowed to be passionate about the things they love without being freaks. Of course, you’re allowed to be passionate about the things you hate. But the generalization in that statement? Man, its just bugs.

  8. Oh and couldn’t help but add. The Best. Episode. Ever. uses? Popular culture kind of ingested that one the minute it popped out of comic guys mouth. That phrase is pretty embedded in the American lexicon nowadays, message boards or not, to the point where its kind of obnoxiously over used to hyperbolically describe tons of things in movies, tv, casual conversation. Using it hardly makes one stand out in a crowd to be honest.

  9. Hi. I find forum about work and travel. Where can I to see it?
    Best Regards, Michael.

  10. Having suffered the wrath of the BSG moderator — who is like Happy Fun Ball, minus the happy fun part — for the first time yesterday for next to nothing at all, I’m feeling some of what you’re saying here.

    I like to think that the “hive mind” at work on the TWOP BSG forum has resulted from an attempt to replicate the cylon shared-thoughts/memories thing, but I’m probably wrong.

  11. Hi Jennifer, thanks for posting. I didn’t understand your first comment RE the language, but I do see what you’re saying about Best. Episode. Ever. I was wrong about that.

    But I’m gonna have to stick to my guns on your second point. I think your mention of sports is apt: Most sports fans unleash their pent-up energies while watching games, with the result that sports crowds are notoriously uncontrollable. Just look at football hooliganism in Britain, or the Bulls championship riots in Chicago in the mid-90s. Frankly I think organized sports is basically a form of ad hoc social control, allowing men to burn off their surplus testosterone in a controlled setting.

    Which is fine, except that the average sports fan has *no self-awareness* about what’s going on. That’s also the problem with fannish outbursts. The comments I cited in my post are gleefully lacking in any sort of critical distance from the show.

    Which may be fine by you, but I don’t like it for 2 reasons. Part of it is, like I said, embarrassment: I don’t like it that being a sci-fi fan puts me in a category with such uncool people. But I think there’s a larger moral issue here as well. The average BSG fan is, presumably, more educated and professional than the average football fan. So why should BSG fans be so eager to be manipulated in the same way?

  12. Steve — I had to look up Happy Fun Ball. I think that’s a pretty apt metaphor for the whole forum experience, actually!

    Alas, I think a lot of online forums replicate the Cylon shared-thoughts thing. And for that matter so does a lot of culture, govt, etc, etc…Maybe that’s why I like BSG so much in the first place.

  13. Twop’s recaps suck big time. I don’t know why anyone would waste their time reading them.

  14. They actually didn’t used to suck. I remember reading Buffy recaps a couple years ago and finding them very funny. These days the recappers don’t have any wit or style.

  15. Yeah, and try relying on them for their forums. They are down or otherwise “inaccessable” about 50% of the time., with no explanation. For reliability, they suck more than a lot of crappy shoestring websites. Hopefully everyone will get sick of them and they will go away.

  16. I wonder if everyone *is* getting sick of them? That would be one explanation for an increase in service problems. If they weren’t getting as many hits and couldn’t justify someone’s salary anymore, I mean.

  17. I know this is about the forums…but I have to say…the Battlestar G recaps are unbearable to read. Most of the recaps are bad, but this writer should not be paid. Any poor writing on the forums is what’s left after the draconian moderators are done with the real discussions.

  18. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
    over again. Regardless, just wanted to say great blog!


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