OPINION

[OPINION] My 24 Hours With G4TV, Or, How I Learned To Stop Complaining And Start Bitching [PART 2]

[We all talk about how bad G4TV is and most of that is based on a minimal amount of viewing time. Take a trip with Michael Piercey as he spends an entire day, on his butt, watching G4TV to find out just how bad it is, and if the ‘bad’ is actually warranted. Part two has Michael watching some re-runs, being angry about badly titled shows and drooling over show hosts.]

8am. God it’s early. G4’s first hour of programming is something called ‘Kaiju Big Battel’. Yes, Spell-check, its spelled Battel, and no, I don’t know why. It’s an hour-long block with only 1 ad, and I tell you this, it’s weird. It’s reminiscent of shows like ‘Wake, Rattle and Roll’ from my childhood, wherein cartoons are surrounded by awkward live bits. In the case of ‘Kaiju Big Battel’, the awkward live stuff is some kind of fake wrestling with people dressed in stupid foam monster costumes. No, seriously. They wrestle in a ring with a bunch of cardboard boxes that, according to the 2 incredibly hammy and annoying announcers, are supposed to be buildings. Oh, they’re GIANT monsters! So…what about the human sized crowd…and the REF? Is he a monster too? There are also segments with a hot little number in a lab coat and glasses (yum) hawking Nerf crap. But the live stuff isn’t the point here, the cartoons are. The first half hour was taken up delightfully by classic G.I. Joe. The episode, which had something to do with the northern lights, was fantastic. By that I mean it was total crap, but I haven’t seen G.I. Joe in at least 15 years, so it was great to see the pap that used to make me sh*t myself. Also, as a fun note, the episode is centered around a rescue mission, 2 Joes and 6 UN Scientists. At the end the Joes get rescued, but not the scientists. They drown in arctic waters. No one says a damn thing about them either. No wonder the UN hates us. GO JOE! The second cartoon was an episode of the recent anime-ish Transformers Cybertron. Meanwhile a guy in a silver jumpsuit named The Silver Potato was fighting all of Dr Cube’s minions, or something, and the potato ended up losing to their foul play. Look, G4, you’re on the right track here. Cartoons from the 80’s are a great idea! But don’t wrap them in a tortilla shell of sh*t! Buy up the rights to Ninja Turtles, or He-man. Hell, even Jem is totally outrageous! Just throw those on from 8am-noon or so, and I guarantee you’ll get ratings. Take your big battel and shove it up your big asa (get it?).

9am. Now its time for a re-run of the weekend edition of Attack of the Show. Now, AotS is G4’s heavy hitter, and for good reason. It really is their main show, and the show they’d hold up and say ‘Look gamers this is the show to watch’ or whatever TV networks say when they hold things up, you get the idea. And for good reason, it’s one of the better shows they have, but I’ll get into that with the NEW episode at 7pm. The re-run in question wasn’t too bad. There was a roundtable discussion of Superman Returns featuring a fan in a superman costume (this is the kind of sh*t we need to see on Fox News), and a comic book round-up in which their comic girl recommended ‘Kingdom Come’. Really? The book’s 10 years old, woman! Well, anyhoot, not a bad hour. But oh god save me from what comes next.

10am. Cheat! My notes include an unsurprising ‘Aww, sh*t’. Cheat is one of, if not THE worst show on the network. Cheat started as a show that, surprisingly, gave out cheat codes. For the uninitiated or well-groomed, video gamers are cheating sons of bitches who cant finish a game using skill or talent, so they type in a bizarre series of buttons and letters and eventually they become gods. I know, its weird to me too. However, codes aren’t always in abundant supply, so ‘Cheat’ had to evolve into a broader format, which coincidentally no longer involves actual cheating, and became a show about walkthroughs and tips. So right off the bat there’s an immediate problem, and it ties back into that internet-thing I said earlier. There is nothing, seriously nothing, you can get from this show that you couldn’t find with a simple trip to your local neighborhood Gamefaqs.com. Nothing. And Strike two is the disgustingly cheerful host, Kristin Holt. My assumption is that G4 wanted to hire some attractive women, as that falls under the category of ‘things nerds like to look at’, but Miss Holt, in my professional opinion, has NEVER SEEN A VIDEO GAME IN HER LIFE. My assertion is that she has never touched a controller, never caressed a wavebird, never given her all to capture a 1-up mushroom, never misjudged a grapple shot and fallen to her death, and never, EVER, entered the fabled Konami Code. Everything this woman says, even when she says her NAME, sounds fake. She has an inherent falseness to her, to the point that one might call her a fakey-fakerpants (this is latin). And while watching her pretend to know what a ‘Ratchet and Clank’ is, I at first wondered if that could be, honestly, what her personality is like off-camera. Then I shuddered, and decided, HOPED, that it’s not. Because if she’s really like that in REAL LIFE (should such a thing exist), then she is a lonely, lonely woman. Who would spend time with someone so falsely enthusiastic and cheery? Yikes. I sat through 2 episodes of Cheat, each ending with her begging people to write in with requests. It was as if she was saying ‘PLEASE GOD WE NEED CONTENT, COME ON INTERNET, I’M A HOT GIRL!’. How was I able to catch all that pathos with my limited observational skills? Easy, I saw the same damn thing at 5pm.

11am. Cinematech. Oh, thank god. This is G4 getting something right, Cinematech is literally the best show on the network. For those not in the know (in other words, people who are ‘not virgins’) Cinematech is a collection of game videos, some trailers, some cutscenes, and some in-game footage, set to music. It’s surprisingly fun to watch, and I wish it were on more than it is. In one episode I got to see a trailer for Dead Rising, the 1 game I want for the 360, and it’s safe to say it increased some kind of frothing demand. Another episode on at 11:30 showed comparisons between the recent Bomberman DS, and the disgustingly weird Bomberman that’s coming to the 360. If G4 was nothing but this show, I’d be happy. But what are ya gonna do?

12 noon. Ahh, X-play, finally you come on to brighten my dull and unwashed life. For a while (this is the part where I reveal I watch G4 OH NO) X-play was a big deal for me. I really dug the show. Partially because I think Adam Sessler and I have a similar sense of humor, and partially due to a deep-seated belief that if I watch JUST ENOUGH episodes, Morgan Webb will appear at my door stark naked, lead me upstairs without a word, and make a man out of me. But let’s stray from that farcical fantasy (though a man can dream) and get to the show. X-play is a video game review show that injects a lot of humor, not much of it actually ‘funny,’ into their flow. The show IS entertaining, mostly because it knows what it is, and doesn’t take itself too seriously (the key to doing any good show on a bad network). Sessler and Webb do amusing sketches, and try to keep a comedic twinge in all their reviews. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I can’t really knock it (still trying to get laid here, people, give me a break). The problem with the show, basically, is that it’s on. A Lot. And new episodes don’t come down the line nearly as often as they should. For example, the episode on at noon was taped before their new makeover, which came right around E3. The second episode was post-makeover, but still old enough that I had seen it a few times. My friend Betsy’s wise comparison to Nick at Nite came back. I was in re-run city – population…well, re-runs and me, I guess.

[Next week: 1PM – 7PM]

Read More

[OPINION] My 24 Hours With G4TV, Or, How I Learned To Stop Complaining And Start Bitching [PART 1]

[We all talk about how bad G4TV is and most of that is based on a minimal amount of viewing time. Take a trip with Michael Piercey as he spends an entire day, on his butt, watching G4TV to find out just how bad it is, and if the ‘bad’ is actually warranted. Part one finds him explaining why he chose to do this experience.]

First off, allow me to begin by saying that the title of this piece is a bit misleading. The bitching is there – the nit-picking, the insults etc. What’s misleading is I really only spent twenty-ONE hours with G4, as they run three hours of non-game related paid programming from 5am-8am, and I refused to watch any of that. Actually I asked my editor if I could trade an hour of paid programming for, say, an hour of Fastlane, but he said no, and seemed resolute, so I dropped it. With that disclaimer aside, prepare to become ensconced, as I was, by the tale of a man on his ass, for twenty-one grueling hours.

It occurs to me that some of you out there might not know exactly what G4TV is. Well sit on down and I’ll fill you in. G4TV is, as they say, Television for Gamers, that is people who spend their entire day playing video games, but don’t have the internet. I throw the internet thing in there because everything you hear or see on G4 can easily be found online, be it cheats, reviews, or dorks arguing about Star Trek. But beyond that, G4 is a cable channel that thinks they truly understand YOU, the 20-something virgin nerd (that is you, right?). Any sometimes-viewer (and I pray to every god I can think of that they’re the ONLY kind of viewer) will tell you that G4’s programming is all over the board, and they’re right. But let’s step away from that for now.

When the muse came upon me to spend an entire day with G4TV (I was in the car, bored, and I guess I was thinking of other things that bore me) I knew I had to have a reason to do it. I mean, without a good reason, like, ‘I’m writing an article about this,’ I’d just be a lonely man watching bad television all day. Thank God for The Game Rag! The reason I came up with is I wanted to see G4 in one big panoramic view – , an entire day of programming, – to try and pinpoint exactly WHO they think their audience is, and to bitch and whine when they miss the mark (and I’ll tell you now, they miss the mark a LOT. A real lot). When I would tell people I was going to be watching an entire day of G4 in one long sitting, they’d call me crazy, most asked why, and more asked, ‘What’s G4?’ My friend Betsy knew the network well enough to try and prepare me for what would be the most tedious part of my mission. “G4 plays more reruns than Nick at Nite.” But that couldn’t be the case…could it? *bum Bum BUMMMM*

So to really get this article down, I decided the environment had to be perfect. I had to watch G4 like its real audience does. So I went to the place where every day thousands of…ok, hundreds of nerds hunker down to enjoy some really mediocre programming: My Parents House. I gathered some microwave pizzas, some hot pockets, and other microwavable fare (couldn’t exactly leave to go to McDonalds, could I?) and got to bed early, because G4 waits for no man, and I’d have to wake up at the most ungodly of hours…7:30am.

What follows are my notes, in chronological order, from my Day with G4TV…

[Next week: 8AM – NOON]

Read More