The Grand Opining

I really do have SO MANY OPINIONS about TV shows, you guys! Especially some of the ones that haven’t actually come out yet. How are those opinions even formed? Upon what basis do they situate themselves? I will answer these question in order. EXPERIENCE AND PURE CONJECTURE! That is either the answer to one or both of the questions. Perhaps all or none of them as well. I will probably explore these opinions about shows both real and soon-to-be-real in the next few comics.

It’s a very dangerous game I play, this liking and disliking stuff and tell people about it game. The strategies involved compare closely to master level chess or even dad-against-children level Monopoly. The bottom line is, my opinions are too big to keep inside. I must share them! I feel so strongly about things like TV shows and movies that were I to contain my critiques of them, my brain would go super nova and take out half the galaxy with it. Better to let me make my silly Internet comics and posts to exorcise my demons rather than clean up such a cosmic mess.

The word “opinions” actually comes from the old phrase “old pine ones.” As in, “That guy won’t shut up about what he thinks about stuff. Let’s beat him to death with bats. These old pine ones will do the job.” In the future, opinions will be cultured in a lab, freeze dried, powered and baked into snack foods. Opin-YUMZ! will revolutionize the worlds of eating garbage and feeling ways about stuff, since each time you pop an Opin-YUMZ! flavor discus into your face-cave, you’ll instantly feel whatever opinion was baked into that particular bag. There’s Zesty “Music was better when I was in highschool” Ranch, and Cheesy Chedder “Gary’s new girlfriend is too controlling” Blast and Tangy “Everyone is a little bit racists, it’s not JUST me” Mesquite BBQ.

WHY ARE THEY STILL MAKING THE OFFICE?!?!?! Are you still watching it? SHAME ON YOU! When the star leaves 3 seasons AFTER it’s not funny any more and they continue to make more episodes, all complicit parties are equally guilty. This includes you! Of course, this is the final season and people DO like to feel a since of “sticking it out to the bitter end” and all. Still, every time I see a clip from one of the recent seasons of The Office, it’s like going to visit a loved one who’s recently suffered a traumatic brain injury. You really just want to cling to your fond memories, but they insist on overwriting them with new, morbidly depressing ones.

COMMENTERS: When I got my first email account (Hotmail circa 1995) I put a lyric from my favorite Harvey Danger song as my signature. “When you like something, it’s an opinion. When I like something, it’s a manifesto.” I feel like that perfectly sums up the way in which geeks like and dislike things. We just seem to FEEL more strongly about our preferences than the average person. There is far less, “Meh… I could take it or leave it,” within the geek community. We usually either loves something so much that it burns us or we hate something so much that we want to burn it.  Do you have any particular experience (positive or negative) with this “intensity of opinions” that geeks seem to possess? Anyone ever harp on you for liking or not liking things in a way that they approved of? Are you the person that does that?

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  1. I wanted to mention that this was the first comic Ive ever drawn while standing. I made a temporary, makeshift standing desk by elevating my Cintiq and keyboard.

    I was really surprised how much more control I seemed to have over the pen when my arm/elbow wasn't reasting on my desk surface. I also seemed to grip the pen more loosely which gave me a greater deal of precision. I normally keep a death grip on the pen until my hand hurts. I don't know if Im going to make it a permanent change, but after this brief experiment I can already seen improvements in my art.

    So there's your challenge for today. Shake up your routine and see what happens.

  2. I can tell you your dissection of the underlying premise of Revolution has cured me of any desire to actually watch that particular show.
    I don’t do a lot of TV rants (me in 1980, watching Happy Days: “What do you mean, ‘two wonderful children?’ What about Chuck?!“), but wow can I get going on DC Comics’ “New 52.”

    • How many episodes have you watched? I shotgunned a marathon from the Science (not SyFy) Channel and it was great! I'm not just saying that because a lot of Fancy Bastards are fans!

  3. I think your new desk setup looks painful to some people because, at first look, it appears as if the green-ish plastic container is on the ground. Once I realized that it was actually sitting on a desk, then everything became clear to me and now I'm going to go and try to find my own version of a big tupperware container so I can do the same thing!

    Also, I love these comics about TV shows because it's like you're expressing in comic form my recent brain thoughts! 🙂

  4. I am innocent of all charges. I've never watched "The Office", I've never felt any desire to, and the only thing that could possibly change that would be if they *did* start shoving characters into a vat of acid. I'd like to start with the alleged "geek" with the terrible slicked-down haircut who's in all the commercials for the show.

    And I found out that cooking meth makes a cat-piss smell when I learned that the former residents of the duplex we were renting never had a cat, and looked up what else smelled like that. (It also helped explain the small bullet hole in the laundry-room wall, and the fact that someone had scratched "FUCK THE PIGS" into the front of the circuit box…)

    • "I've never watched "The Office","

      The first few seasons were pretty fantastic. Not so sure how they would hold up since they've been copied and diluted so many times.

      • I actually tried watching The Office, both American and British versions. Both are text book definitions of 'war crimes against comedy' in my opinion. I'm usually a fan of dry humor but The Office was just terrible. Not sure if their cheese grater to the naughty bits awful jokes were the worst part or if it was everyone stopping to stare at the camera as if saying "Funny right? I know, I'm so great at the comedies." after EVERY. SINGLE. "JOKE." EVER.

  5. I thought The Office has run for more than 3 seasons since Ricky Gervais, Martin Freeman, Mackenzie Crook and company all left it.

    • Zing! The British version of The Office is the only version I've seen. I have a difficult time with American remakes of foreign shows, but I really draw the line at American remakes of British shows. I mean, come on! We're not even talking about overcoming laziness and reading subtitles anymore. We're talking about understanding an accent. Is it really that difficult? This probably means I'm going to ignore Elementary entirely as well. Actually, this raises a good question – why the hell do TV producers here keep making American versions of shows that Martin Freeman stars in? Can we look forward to an American version of The Hobbit a few years from now? Will it be called The Short Dude, and will the little dude have to travel from the Shire of Kentucky to Los Angeles, where he will steal the riches that lay just beneath the smog?

      • They remake British shows because sometimes it can be difficult for the audience to connect if they're not from the area. This is most problematic in comedy.

        For example if I make a joke about Christine Gregoire and you're not from Washington state you probably wont get it. Most people don't want to stop to google a name they probably cant guess the spelling of 12 minutes into a 1/2 hour episode, and by the time they have googled the name the joke is dead and humorless anyways.

        • "Episodes" is a comedy whose whole premise is a British comedy remade and dumbed down for an American audience. It's….not bad. I really like the British actors (Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan) and the American actors are pretty good too (including Matt Le Blanc). It's not really laugh out loud funny, but watchable nevertheless.

      • Yeah, I tend to avoid American versions of British television show like the plague. Especially Top Gear. That was just criminal. (And yes, I am American.)

        • The US re-make of Life on Mars was truly awful as well. One of the best shows to come out of the beeb (apart from Doctor Who) in recent years and they kind of missed the point in the re-make.

          • maybe I'm just a philistine, but I really liked the US Life On Mars. I loved the ending, because it actually surprised me, whereas from what I've read, the UK ending was exactly what I was resignedly expecting to happen.

          • Honestly I'd say the major problem with the US version is that they looked at it too much in the sense of a car show. The proper UK TopGear is hosted by a bunch of television presenters who happen to like cars. The American TopGear is hosted by a bunch of car people someone payed to stand in front of a camera while they do car things. While the UK version appeals just as much to the Joe Shmoe everyday person who wishes he could drive those awesome cars, the US version is guys who've always gotten to drive those cars pretending like this dumbed down version of their previous jobs is somehow interesting.

      • I loved the original Office and couldn't stand Steve Carrell's overdone boss. It did seem like all the characters were a little heavy handed, as though the joke really had to be hammered into the American audience's heads.

  6. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but I consider myself a geek-extreme and there are a whole lot of things that exist in the geek world that I don't care about either way. Give me some credit though… most of those are because I'm too busy geeking out on other things. A recent comment mentioned Firefly. That is how old now? One year ago, I hadn't seen any Firefly or Serenity. My opinions of it were basically non-existent. Now I’ve seen it all and also because of that other crazy shit HE did. Avengers, yes, Dollhouse, what? One day I will have an opinion about Dollhouse… Unless I never get around to getting past the third episode because I’m too busy geeking out on something else. This ties right in with the idea of binging on media…. I do that. I went from seeing none of Breaking Bad to seeing all of it (at that time) over a long weekend. Similar things have happened with many other shows. I went from having no real opinion to having one really fast… As I said, maybe I’m doing it wrong.

  7. Eh… I've never liked the office. My entire family is completely in love with it and it's just like someone smacking my head with a hammer to me. Same with Big Bang Theory (But that one I just don't like because they claim to be 'geek' humor, which just degrades to 'LOL, Geeky dudes being GEEKY. GENIUS!).

    The Office, I'm not even sure how the premise WORKS anymore. The whole thing was they were filming them for a documentary or something, wasn't it? >.> It's about a PAPER COMPANY. I don't think they need 200 years of footage.

    • "The Office, I'm not even sure how the premise WORKS anymore. The whole thing was they were filming them for a documentary or something, wasn't it? >.> It's about a PAPER COMPANY. I don't think they need 200 years of footage. "

      I hate to admit that I watched this last week, but they actually referenced that in one of the to-the-camera 'interview' parts right before the credits.

  8. As a general geek-interaction-thing, nothing will make me super-pissed-off faster than a statement including the phrase “X’d my childhood” where X is something grossly overblown (‘raped’, ‘defiled’, ‘mutilated’ etcetera). And personally, I’ve had some pretty heated debates – real debates, with real people and talking and stuff – about Doctor Who. Mostly, they involve me getting angry about their vicious and slavish adherence to Uncle Rusty and putting the words ‘River Song’ and ‘Mary Sue’ in the same sentence as ‘Rose Tyler’ and some permutation of ‘perfect partner’.

    • As much as I cannot tell some of my friends this, who're totally in love with Rose, I DO NOT LIKE ROSE. At all.

      The other day I had a 4 hour conversation with someone about how bad Rose is. >.> "Donna! Go away! The Universe is supposed to revolve around ME. OKAY?!?"

      • It's facepalm-inducing, ain't it. To my absolute amazement, the above combination of words was used in conversation today, and so I entered a world of ad-hominems. "Why," says I "Is Rose so wonderful?" "Because she's nice." "Yes. Okay, what does she do? What great skills or talents or traits does she have to woo this shell-shocked and ancient man?" "She's nice. She is lovely and pretty and smart." "Okay. Verify that – tell me when she shows these things." "It's pointless because she always does it, I can't!"

        • Well, she shows that she's pretty ever time she's on camera. And she shows she's smart when… wow, she sure is pretty, isn't she?

          I always liked Donna best, because she was willing to tell the Doctor when he was being stupid.

  9. My girlfriend frequently reminds me that I am far too passionate about geek things. Oh, you liked Game of Thrones? Why did you have to buy banners and shields for the Houses and put them up in your apartment? Liked Firefly? Let's throw up some posters! I live in a constantly morphing house of geek. And i LOVE it.

  10. Never liked the Office, but I had to watch a bit last season when I saw Donna Noble (aka, the Doctor's companion) in a commercial. She had one really great line at the end of last season: "That's Bill. The photos inside are of a man named Gus." I may have the names wrong, but naming a box of photos of Gus "Bill" is hilarious.

    Way way back in the day, people could not believe that I didn't watch or Twin Peaks. "But it's weird. Seems like you, of all people, should be watching it."
    Um, thanks?

  11. I will admit to being a strongly opinionated person of geeky nature. I adore Babylon 5, and think TRON: Legacy is a brilliant example of how to resume/restart a long dormant story. On the other hand, I think about the only positive feature of a certain 2009 film was the casting of Karl Urban and humanity would be better off if the film was stuffed down a black hole and forgotten.

    Yes, I get into arguments, but I take comfort in the fact that I actually have reasons for my opinions and in some of the hotter areas of contention I'm really quite moderate. iPhone? Not for me, but if it works for you, fine. Windows/Mac/Linux? Whatever works for the situation.

    While I sometimes disagree (vehemently) with certain other opinions – I have to say that people who don't seem to have ANY strongly held opinions seem very, very weird to me. People who have strong opinions in areas very different than mine – OK, people are diverse – but people who don't seem to really care about anything are just incomprehensible.

    • Yeah, I'm pretty meh about the Mac/Windows debate – except when Windows finally ads something that the Mac has had for years and the Windows folks brag about it like it's something new. Then they need a beat-down.

      Or when Windows complain about the dumbest possible things when they try to use a Mac for 5 seconds and "can't take anymore." Hey, if it's such a problem to have the window-close-button on the left, use the damn keyboard shortcut, OK? Your complaint is nothing more than "It's not what I'm used to!"

      • Of course, the feature thing works both ways:

        The thing is – maybe it's just the way I perceive things, but by and large a software category (say, text editors) are all pretty much the same. Some have more features than others (e.g., column selection) but when it comes to the basic stuff they all do, it's just details. If I'm forced to use an editor I'm not familiar with I won't be as fast as with one I know like the back of my hand (and if under some time pressure that can lead to frustration and grumpiness) but I can generally get the job done.

        I get the impression a lot of people don't generalize like this – they learn to use something like Microsoft Word by rote, and if someone asks them to use a different word processor for whatever reason – they're just completely lost. I think this is part of why so many people resist ANY change to the software they use.

  12. aaah yes, good ole bone strength acid, my favorite, get's those hard to hit stains out of your clothing

    also good for eliminating spider nests and vagrants

  13. I don't have any (or perhaps I have way too many) stories about people reacting to my "intensity of opinions," but what you said reminded me of a John Green quote that I rather like:

    "…nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff. We don't have to be like, 'Oh yeah that purse is okay' or like, 'Yeah, I like that band's early stuff.' Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can't-control-yourself love it. When people call people nerds, mostly what they are saying is, 'You like stuff', which is just not a good insult at all, like 'You are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness.'"

  14. I tend to have a very wide range of feelings about various shows and movies which can range anywhere from "Meh" to "I f**king love it!" depending on what it is. For example, I "f**king love" Dr. Who, as in everything ever to do with Dr. Who (and I don't just mean the "new" stuff, i.e. 10th Doctor on), whereas I felt pretty "meh" about Grimm, which almost everyone else I know really likes.

    I do tend to find that, in spite of being American, I am more likely to feel passionate about British T.V. shows than American ones, although there have been exceptions, like Star Trek, Buffy, etc. I feel like American television networks more often just don't "get it." For example, I get a very strong feeling from SyFy that they actually categorically hate science fiction. I mean, wrestling on a scifi station? Really? And apparently they didn't feel they had enough wrestling, and so had to add more. Why can't people who want to see wrestling watch it on ESPN, so that we could have more actual scifi and fantasy on SyFy? And what's with that stupid name, anyway? Obviously they were so ashamed of being associated with science fiction that they had to distance themselves from it by going with some corny misspelling! (OK, that turned into a longer rant than I meant it to.)

    • Because WWE is very clear that they are entertainment and not sport (so they don't have to be regulated in the same way a sport is). That's why it's not on ESPN. Why it's on SyFy, though? I can't answer that.

  15. NCIS. I love that. The real one, not that stupid LA rip-off that was cool for the 3 episodes that it actually starred part of the real NCIS cast and otherwise is only about drama within a team.. with cool gadgets, granted, but still not the strong characters and witty writing that makes NCIS awesome rather than just another series about people investigating terrorists and shit.

    I kind of feel strongly about a lot of things, but what gets me most is when geek-love and geek-hatred start to conflict on a single point. Like the Lord of the Rings movies. Because they're awesome, but I've read the books and fuck giving Treebeard lines that belonged to Bombadil and having Arwen save Frodo and a dozen other things that were needlessly changed… that irritates me. I want to love the movies. They're cool, probably among the best ever made.. but why did they have to post-mortem rape Tolkien in his rotting rectum in the process?

  16. I went through a period where I was almost evangelical in my love of the Discworld novels. If people hadn't read them, I would run out and buy them a copy and pester them until they had read it and then demand to know how much they had enjoyed it. I eventually got better (still love the books, but at least I'm not camped outside people's houses trying to push paperbacks through their letter box and asking if they've heard the word according to Terry Practchett).

    I think there's just something in the geek brain that reacts to certain stimulus by:
    a) needing to share that stimulus with others in the hope that they will enjoy it as much as you do,
    b) feeding back into that loop by furiously defending the chosen stimulus should they not enjoy it as much as you did.
    c) turning into a large geek-like monster and rampaging around the place (see for details).

    I guess this can maybe be summarised as geek love fiction -> you love fiction! -> you no love fiction? -> geek smash!

    • When Pratchett announced the Alzheimer's diagnosis I got some folks together and mailed him a thousand origami turtles. It was the only way I could think of to say "thank you."

      • You are awesome. I just cried. Partly because stupid disease is robbing us of the best storyteller alive today, partly because stupid disease is robbing the best storyteller alive today of his memories and abilities.

        I'm crying again now. I love Terry Pratchett.

  17. I have to add, unfortunately, the nerdrage over iPhone vs. Android. It's gotten well beyond simple geek passion and crossed into fanaticism. The tech journalist Ashley Esqueda received threats to her person upon mentioning that she was ordering an iPhone 5. I mean, come on, it's only a mobile device and operating system, not something serious, like a soccer team.

  18. I feel the same way for C.S.I: Las Vegas..why the can't just pull the plug and let it resti n peace? It was such a nice tv show 🙁

  19. I think I missed a memo somewhere…why is Bryan Cranston directing an episode of Breaking Bad a bad thing again? It might well work out; the man's a terrific actor. Granted, it may not translate to being a good director, but it might work.

    • I think he's NOT directing an episode of Breaking Bad. I think he's directing an episode of The Office – and that's why some people think it's bad.

      But let's not forget – Bryan Cranston is incredibly notable for playing Malcolm in the Middle's weird, outrageous and often very naked father. I have no worries about Cranston's ability to direct, star in, write or "do" comedies.

      • …you know, either way that would work out. Cranston's dramatic work is every bit as good as his Hal work. The first time I saw him in some movie or another it just about blew my mind. It's like, is this the childlike asshole who spent a whole season in his underwear? Is this the same guy who developed the "I'm so full of bacon / my body's meant for shakin'"song? And indeed, it was. Mind: blown. This guy can handle anything.

  20. I guess Im the guy that does that, sometimes. I once told a guy I was going to cut out his eyes for badmouthing the old ECW wrestling promotion. The sad part is, thats not even that rare for that promotions fanbase.

  21. I tend to geek out heavily in the first rush of discovery. Evangelise all my friends and acquaintances. Debate the merits on various social media. Then settle into the more relaxed geekdom of just loving what I'm watching/reading/listening to, while still trying to convert everyone who I think might be even remotely interested.

    By the way, if you haven't read the first two books of the Kingkiller Saga by Patrick Rothfuss, you're missing out!
    And if you haven't read any Terry Pratchett, what have you been doing with your life????

  22. I am a massive music geek.
    For example, Joel, that quote from your email signature is from a song called "Pike St/Park Slope" from Harvey Danger's second album "King James Version." Said album was released in 2000, no less than FIVE YEARS, sir, after your alleged email signature.
    Having caught that one slip up, I have thereby proven that the supposed "Joel Watson" is really a warehouse in South Korea full of people earning $1 a day to draw webcomics.

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