Reviews: Phelous

If Andy Kaufman reviewed movies...

Phelous is the kind of guy you root for because he's untalented, but he's untalented in a wry, non-threatening way. He reminds you of yourself.

If I had to rank the three worst reviewers to come out of TGWTG in its decline, it would have to be (in order): Blockbuster Buster, Film Brain, and Phelous. BB is the crowner — he has no business taking up your time. Film Brain and Phelous are similar in that their real strengths lie in video production; Brain is the scholar while Phelous is the visual effects man. Of the two, Phelous is open — even proud — of his lack of screen presence and negative charisma; he's a scale which goes so far past -0 that it becomes a 10. His schtick is anti comedy.

Which makes him the better man in my estimation. Film Brain is not a comedian, he is a hanger-on and without TGWTG he would be a nobody.

The problem with Phelous' work in 4 points

1) His sarcastic jokes are always delivered while speaking in a slow, whiny, monotone voice. This might be funny a few times, but when it's basically part of your gimmick it quickly becomes annoying. In the beginning The Cinema Snob had the same problem. Much of his early reviews had him acting like a pissed off prick bitching in the same old whiny voice. In later reviews this persona evolved into an enjoyable snarky reviewer who isn't angry all of the time. Phelous never underwent any evolution like this.

2) Phelous often adds a lot of unfunny filler material, usually involving bathroom comedy (belches, farts,...) or making silly faces. This makes him appear very childish, rather than amusing. Even when his observations have a funny point the jokes still fall flat because there's no variety in intonation, no timing and everything is repeated to the point of overkill!

3) Most of the series and films in his reviews deserve being ridiculed. However, Phelous is doing nothing else besides poking fun at stuff in a very waspish, mean-spirited way. He often sounds just like a playground bully ridiculing other children to avoid being picked upon himself. And in his case this fear would be understandable. Phelous' videos aren't exactly quality entertainment. Indeed, he himself seems to realize this, as you often hear him mocking his own stuff. A typical video consists of him ranting in front of the camera, sometimes adding a bad greenscreen or sound effect. Yes, they are supposed to look fake and stupid, but self-mockery doesn't clear you from the obvious fact that your own stuff is hardly any better...

4) There's hardly anything that sets him apart. He just reviews random stuff, not tied to a specific genre. Phelous has no exclusive persona, unlike the Cinema Snob, the Angry Video Game Nerd, Diamanda Hagan or Todd in the Shadows, for instance. Also, he just tries to be funny. Yes, you don't have to add any informative research about the videos you review, but if you have nothing else to offer but comedy you may better hope that your stuff is actually funny! Furthermore: his videos lack variation. If you've seen one of them , then you've seen them all. Even the weakest Nostalgia Critic videos, for example, still have surprises, which make you curious enough to return each week. All these flaws makes Phelous' work instantly forgettable.

Not for everyone

Although I'm actually quite fond of Phelous, I will fully admit that it's easy to see why many fans of TGWTG (maybe even most of them) don't care for him. His voice can be unpleasing to certain ears, and his deadpan delivery isn't very catchy, at least at first. But he can be genuinely funny with his jokes or well-placed sound effects, and his snark can be extremely cutting. He seems to have no problem poking fun at himself, and doesn't try too hard to impress or ingratiate himself with audiences.

Unlike many other reivewers on the site, Phelous doesn't appear to be adopting a persona. Whether this hinders or helps him as a web-reviewer is open to debate; I fall into the latter camp. Bottom line; only certain people will find him appealing, but those that do will get a lot of enjoyment out of his videos.