1pm Game Makers. This show used to be called Icons, but as part of their new ‘we’re a real TV station’ makeover, the title Icons NOW belongs to a show where they highlight people like Kevin Smith, Marc Ecko, and the Suicide Girls (I am dead serious, there was a show called ‘Icons – Suicide Girls’). So Game Makers, it’s a workable title since the show focuses on people and companies that make games. It’s not a bad show, but it commits the crime of taking itself seriously (even dramatically) and it’s usually boring. This episode focused on the Final Fantasy series, and Squaresoft’s evolution. Now I’m not a FF fan, but I’m sure some people would find it fascinating. Me, I was praying for commercial breaks. Yes, its nice, you rendered things, let’s have an interview with a Japanese guy, GOOD, now lets show game footage, WONDERFUL, now repeat that for a half hour, and we’ll get lunch.
1:30pm ‘Electric Playground’. Seriously. That sounds hazardous. This show is basically X-play with more interviews and no humor at all. In fact these people REALLY take their show seriously, and it’s boring as all f*ck. They had interviews left over from E3 about this PSP game and that DS game, but nothing interesting. They even showed the new Sonic X toyline, whooptie-sh*t. The host, Victor Lucas, would really benefit from the addition of a personality. It’s bad enough when people pretend to be interested in games – this guy has to pretend be a human being AND like video games. Rough. Also the show has apparently been on for 10 years. My only question: Where? Oh, wait, WHY, too. Also Why.
2pm God has smiled on me and given me another hour of Cinematech. And surprisingly it’s NOT a re-run of the 2 episodes that ran at 11! Why is this surprising? Stick around.
3pm Three PM means its time for Brainiac, a British pseudo-science children’s show. Now when I say ‘psuedo-science’ I mean that it claims to be a show about science gone mad, where they do experiments and things. I add pseudo because that’s a load of sh*t. They light things on fire, put explosives in the microwave, etc. It’s entertaining, but hardly scientific. Oh, and it’s for kids. They do things like lightly electrocute a girl while she tries to bake a cake. OOH she drops things, ha ha. They try to swing over the bar on a swingset, that kind of thing. At its best, it’s Mythbusters for kids. At its worst, its silly British children’s programming, and it really doesn’t fit into G4’s groove.
3:30pm Oh god, I didn’t think BRANIAC fit? 3:30 brings us a new show (I lucked out and didn’t have to watch Fastlane, but at what price, I ask you. AT WHAAT PRIIIICEEEE?). It’s a police-chase, home-video-injury type show called ‘Totally Outrageous Behavior’, which may be the dumbest title for anything I’ve ever heard ever. And I once watched a show called ‘You can seriously not have a dumber title than this’. It was on Telemundo. But back to T.O.B. Why is this on my GAMER network? It was like Fox made a special, threw it away, and Spike TV dug it out of the trash and farted on it. The videos weren’t funny, they were mostly stupid, and the show did the audience the wonderful service of INTERVIEWING some of the victims of the show. I didn’t care about these people when they were fighting in mascot costumes, I sure don’t give half a sh*t what they have to SAY 2 years later! The videos included a drunk redneck trying to skateboard, some naked women pulled over for drunk driving, and the one they saved for last, a man getting butt-complimented by a donkey. SOMEONE TAPED THAT, AND DID NOTHING TO HELP! Look, it HAS to be in the bible, thou shalt not let thy brother get butt-complimented by an animal! Seriously, if I was getting butt-complimented by, say, a kangaroo (just to spice things up) and someone stood there taping it, I would literally rip the mans jaw off and beat him with it until he died. Then I’d take his dead body, chop it up into cubes, take the cubes, chop those into slivers, and harden the slivers, then I’d visit everyone he knew or loved and SLIDE THE SLIVERS UNDER THEIR FINGERNAILS. Basically I think the guy shoulda helped out is what I’m sayin.
4pm means more X-play. The first episode is a newer episode, but still old. Tomb Raider Legends review, and all. The 4:30 episode is more familiar. That’s because it’s the same episode that ran at 12:30. I did make a note that at 4:50 I saw a Mountain Dew ad, and it was the most entertaining thing I’d seen in almost 2 hours. It’s only fair to point out here that I still think Morgan Webb is hot. Thank you.
5pm Time for more Cheat. This block from 4-7 is what G4 calls their ‘video game mash-up.’ I call it ‘2 hours of X-play and an hour of Cheat, and Mash-up is a popular term at present, so lets use it even though nothing is mashed up’. Theirs is catchier, I’ll give you that, but mine is more honest. So it’s obvious I didn’t like my 10am dose of Cheat, maybe I’ll like this one more. And perhaps I would have, if it weren’t the exact same 2 episodes. Now, they ran 4 episodes of Cinematech already without replaying one. We’ve seen 3 episodes of X-play, and that aint bad. G4 doesn’t have at least ONE other episode of Cheat they can bring out? Now you can say no one would sit around and watch all day, and re-running things is acceptable, and to that I say you don’t know dorks. Sedentary in nature, my experiment of spending an entire day planted in front of the sofa watching ONE channel, is common to a dork, what the latin called ‘Smallos Potatoes’. So boo to you G4. You made me watch the same sh*tty episode of a sh*tty show twice. And that’s a thing I like to call ‘Doublepoop.’
6pm As I stated, as part of the Mash-up, here we get 2 more episodes of X-play! One of the things I like about X-play is any time you want to watch it, it’s probably on. The 6pm episode is another unaired (for that day) episode, though again, a bit old. Adam was out that week, and they had the comic reviewer from Attack of the Show in, and even for X-play she wasn’t very good. It turns out that a bad performance on a mediocre show is as painful as a bad performance on a good show. Tough luck. The 6:30 episode was a re-run of the 4pm episode, and their Starr Jones jokes weren’t funny the first time.
7pm Aah, the nightly new episode of Attack of the Show. Live, and everything. Now I’d love to rant and rave against AotS, but it’s G4’s big dog for a reason. It really is quality. My only complaint is that it shoots too broadly, trying to capture all the audience it can, covering movies, tech, games, sports, comics, music, etc. Still, if they narrow their view, who knows. The real plus for the show is that it’s live, which means they can roll with what comes at them. All day I’d seen promos for the episode, which mentioned their round table would be discussing Movie Stars and their marketability. When the show aired they opted to talk about the rumor that Sony’s PS3 wont play used, rented, or borrowed games, because a new article had come out about it. The only downside of the show was the inclusion of the wanna-be well-known Seanbaby as a commentator. Still, he said nice things about the Wii, so he’ll be spared from my wrath. Another plus side is I just got to teach my Spell-check that yes, Wii is a word, and yes, it’s spectacular.
8pm Now dorks and dorkettes, its time for prime time. Prime DIRECTIVE time! Oh man that was a #1 joke. Oh, 8pm means its time for Star Trek, the Next Generation. Now I haven’t seen this show in years, and I was never too big a fan to start with, but it was nice to see some TNG. Now I’m no expert, but the inclusion of Tasha Yarr, a Riker whose face was as bald as Picard’s head, and a spunky young Wesley Crusher hinted to me that this was what the fans call an ‘early episode’. The plot was about some race of aliens who wanted to make sex all up on lieutenant Yarr (she would make an awesome pirate, by the way). The highlight for me was really the Wesley crusher scenes. Will Wheaton is my hero nerd, even though his nerd level is much, much higher than mine (It is a well known fact that Will is so nerdy that when he has sex, Math falls out. Look it up.) At 9pm another episode ran, and though this one was funnier, and better written, the lack of some good Crusher action left me wanting. Still, having TNG on a night is a good move, and I think this is another example of G4 knowing its audience. Wait, this is a negative article. What I mean to say is, G4 sucks and they smell.
10pm The Man Show. An entire hour of the damned man show. I was never a big fan when it was on Comedy Central. Not because it offended me, but because the humor was stupid, jokes about butts and boobs, and how women are dumb. It’s really not my cup of tea. Still, at least the episodes G4 runs are from the Adam and Jimmy days, and are therefore exponentially better than when butt-compliment and stupid took over. So, the hour of Man show was fairly funny, but I noticed around 8pm there was a shift in the ads G4 ran. They think that older folks tune in for the Man Show, ads for colleges stopped, and ads for hair-restoration and back pillows started. I would have guessed that the younger kids, who don’t know what a boobie looks like, and don’t know how to find them online YET, those would be the real audience. But what do I know?
11pm Star Trek 2.0. This show was a bit of a mystery to me. I liked the idea of running episodes of the Original Star Trek, but what was all this bullsh*t on the screen? At the sides of the screen is some kind of ticker, a ‘Spock Market’(get it?). On the bottom you get to see nerds answering questions live online, and at the top, trivia scrolls across. My good friend Shahin explained the Spock Market to me, saying that as things happen in the show, their ‘value’ goes up in the ‘market’. So if Kirk’s shirt gets torn, ‘Torn Shirt’ goes up in value. But what the f*ck does it mean? Why have it? What’s the point? And as Shahin points out, if you know what happens in an episode, you can just buy with foreknowledge and win big. So watching the episode, I took in the ‘experience’ of Trek 2.0. Here are my findings. The Spock Market is useless. It’s a stupid idea, and easily done away with. The chat screen at the bottom is seriously retarded. I use the internet, I see enough nerds arguing about trek and trying to be clever (key word ‘Trying’), and I get to see them CUSS when they do it! The way the chat screen works is, the show asks a question, like ‘What would YOUR transport box look like?’ I’ve taken the liberty of transcribing some of the answers:
‘Like a box filled with Doritos and Mountain Dew’
‘On Spocktopia my box would look like a hand doing the greeting sign’
Also, the chat screen showed me that 99% of people ‘interacting’ with this show don’t know what the word ‘Acronym’ means. While ‘Video games, food, and chicken’ might be your personal philosophy, it’s NOT a f*cking ACRONYM! So the chat screen can go. Now the scrolling trivia at the top is mostly useless crap, and somehow it’s the best thing in the whole show. So what they need to do is scrap the f*cking tickers and scrolling garbage, destroy the chat window, and use a Pop-Up video style presentation and still deliver the useless trivia. That way I won’t hurt my eyes reading white text on black while trying to watch the show, too.
12m Lately G4 has been promoting their new ‘Midnight Spank’, their answer to Adult Swim. The programming changes for each night, and sometimes its Cinematech but with racier games (which is really quite smashing), and sometimes, like the night I watched, they run Brainiac again. Now I think Brainiac is a fine show, but what it isn’t is adult! It’s a f*cking KIDS show, and it really doesn’t belong in their ‘mature’ block! Also, if you take an explosive, wrap it in metal, and put it in the microwave, IT’S GONNA BLOW THE F*CK UP! That’s NOT SCIENCE! While it’s cool to see them blow up microwaves and cars and things, it still feels very out of place in their Midnight Spank lineup.
12:30 Ahh, now This is more like it, a show called Late Night Peep Show, a collection of short cartoons, much more fitted to their lineup. However, this is still no Adult Swim killer. It feels more like MTV’s awkward early-nineties Liquid Television. There’s a few Happy Tree Friends shorts, which I’ve never been a fan of, and the Fuccons (also known as ‘Oh, Mikey’ and some anime called Ninju that I remember seeing years ago. All in all a nice little block, but the Midnight Spank apparently only goes till 1am. Oh well.
1am The same hour of the Man Show that ran at 10. Seriously, the same hour. This experiment is becoming a lot less fun.
2am THE F*CKING CAMERA SHOW AGAIN. They re-run that damn behavior show again. At this point I’m less tired than I am really pissed off. Forget that I’ve been up since 7:30 yesterday, forget I’ve now sat through some 3 hours of X-play and 2 hours of Cheat and 2 hours of the Man show, etc, I had the hardest time sitting through this garbage again. And as you can guess, come
2:30am They show the same episode of Brainiac they showed 11 hours prior! Still for kids, still not really right on this network, has nothing to do with games, yadda yadda yadda.
3am Now we get to see tonight’s new Attack of the Show over again. It’s still a good show, but it’s late and I’m getting tired. I begin to go slightly insane, and draw Trogdor on the bottom of my foot.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
4am X-play rounds out their programming day, with a double-dose of re-runs. We get the episodes from 6 and 6:30 again, and those Starr Jones jokes DO get kind of funny when you stir in some sleep deprivation. And then it went off. The network began running paid programming. My notes had turned to scribbles, I had eaten 5 hot pockets, and it was more than time for bed. Before I go into the results of my experiment, allow me to throw down and get into some things I tallied up during my 21 hours.
Number of ads for Colleges: 57. Fifty-Seven in the span of 21 hours. I only kept track of this because it’s seriously noticeable, and it adds to who they think they’re advertising TO.
Number of ads for the Army: 30. Again, noticeable since there’s one in almost every break.
Number of times they ran a Doritos Ad featuring the 1998 Godzilla: 14.
Now, that’s not that many in the span of 21 hours, I just bring it up because the ad bugs the crap out of me! Its 8 years old, why run it now? My girlfriend says they’re not referencing the movie, just using an ad where Godzilla wants to eat some f*ckin chips, and I say NO, we must NEVER reference the 98 Godzilla! There is no statute of limitations; we must lock all referencing ads, posters, etc away for all TIME!
But it could be that I am overreacting, I will think about it.
Number of times I forgot I’m (pretending to be) a professional Journalist and reached for the remote: 10
Number of times I felt happy/entertained: 8
Eight damn times.
Some other notes pertaining to the ads:
.Sprite’s new ad campaign makes me REALLY thirsty for a Dr Pepper.
.Apparently Car Insurance can get you women!
.A weight loss ad began ‘Are you sick of feeling Fat and Tired?’ Not only do they have G4’s demographic nailed, all their results, the people saying ‘I lost 40 pounds!’ had a disclaimer saying ‘Results not typical’. None of the results were typical. So…what ARE typical results? I mean you could have a dude who ate 30 big macs and lost 25 pounds, those results aren’t typical either. What’s my point? I don’t have one. (results typical)
Ok, so let’s look at the whole day, really drink in the mediocrity, and ask ourselves, who does G4 THINK their audience is? During the day there are a LOT of college ads, so the audience is in high school, or graduated and never went to college. However, they have shows like Kaiju and Brainiac that are clearly geared to children around 8-14. Hmm, that can’t be right though, because X-play often speaks to the 19-25 crowd, and those people wouldn’t watch kids shows. Same goes for Attack of the Show, they used a beer bong on their weekend show, and the banter tends to be overtly sexual, so they’re not for kids. Then there’s Star Trek and the Man show, which are supposed to garner a slightly older audience, but really don’t garner much of anyone at all. And of course Midnight Spank isn’t going to get anyone to quit on Cartoon Network. So their audience is men, ages 8-40, who sit at home all day playing video games, need soda and a college education, and have never used the internet. Fair enough.
However, who is their audience, REALLY? Well, the easy answer is ‘Me, and about 50 other people’, but that’s a bit cheap. Really, their audience is teen to adult men. That’s it. So what they need to do is quit with the stuff for kids, and pronto. They need to start marketing directly towards ME at all times, basically. That goes for every other TV station in the world, too. Honestly, what G4 needs to do is stop trying so hard to be relevant. Gamers are glad that we take up enough of the market to deserve a TV show, but we don’t want to be talked down to like we’re stupid. Kristin Holt I’m looking at you. However, at the end of the day, we’re probably going to keep getting our news, cheats, and reviews from the internet, so honestly we’re a sh*tty demographic to market to. That’s how it is! We’re flattered that you tried (if you’re trying, that is), but we can go ahead and call this a failed experiment – the station, that is, not me watching it, that experiment was f*ckin’ awesome. The bottom line, the main reason I think G4 failed, is they broke the cardinal rule of both gaming and cable television. THEY MADE ME WANT TO GO OUTSIDE. I had a strong desire to turn off the smart-box, put on pants and shoes, and crawl into the sunlight. Luckily I was able to fight the urge (who KNOWS what’s out there) but the fact that I felt it at all shook me to the very fiber of my being, which I’ll have you know is a very fine silk.
In closing, G4TV could be a great station. They could encapsulate the gaming experience, have really great shows, and truly understand their audience, but odds are we still wouldn’t watch. After my 21 hours, I know I won’t be turning G4 on any time soon. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I believe X-play is on. (I’ll be waiting, Morgan!)