Reviews: Todd In The Shadows

Cute and hilarious.

Don't be fooled by the name. The real star of Todd in the Shadows (more commonly known as @shadowtodd) isn't Todd himself, it's his two Boston Terriers, Kali and Amy.

Todd obsessively documents the lives of Kali and Amy, giving it the feel of a pet reality show. The "characters" are distinctive and go through their own arcs (Kali is the roughhousing big sister, Amy is the newcomer puppy who has a lot of training ahead of her). Todd himself is no dispassionate cameraman, peppering his videos and images with existential questions about dogs. His sense of humor keeps the series from being too cloying and separates it from the rest of Dog People Twitter. The biggest, most mind shattering twist of the series involves him specifically (hint: it inverts the running gag on Kali's size). Secondary characters include Todd's roommate Lindsay and their friend Nella. Everyone, human and dog, has a charismatic screen presence.

It may sound odd to heap so much praise on what is just a pet blog. But Todd and his family are popular for a reason.

Necessity is the Todd of invention

On his own, Todd In The Shadows ranks up there as one of the highest of That Guy with the Glasses critics, alongside Doug himself, Lindsay Ellis, and good ol' Ralph Oancitizen. Todd's analytical, does his research, is entertaining, gives good reasoning for his arguments, and looks up opposing ones so as to respond to them. But that merely makes him a good critic, not a good web artist. What really proves his talent is his sheer determination to keep producing content even during slow pop music periods.

There's a recurring theme in many of his videos of struggling against sluggish music trends. The new indie wave spurned by Gotye has got him confused? Why not take a break and review the greatest Groin Attacks ever? The only new song is a Pitbull one that's basically just like all his previous songs? Why not do the same and make a review out of clips of previous reviews? Most popular song right now only has ten words in the whole thing? Analyze those ten words as if your life depended on it. Pop music still moving by slowly? Why not talk about past decades' songs? Why not even start a new series, maybe even two, to fill the space? While the times keep changing, Todd keeps on chugging.

Only negative criticism I can say is that Todd's Top Ten lists tend to show his biases more clearly. 2013's #2 pick being a copy-machined clone of a half-baked song you despised last year? One shouldn't resent "Scream and Shout" that much to miss giving #2 to #5's disgusting song, which sets back gender equality by several centuries. Regardless, Todd is still a great critic to follow. I hope he keeps up this persistent producing so that I may sate my world-ending hunger.

As good a professional silhoutte as any

Music is Serious Business, especially for snobbish, pretentious hipsters such as myself. It's difficult for me to appreciate anything on the radio. That's were Todd comes in.

Being a music reviewer, Todd in the Shadows (AKA TITS), Todd helps point out what's specifically wrong with all the annoying overplayed songs that its difficult to escape even if you never once turn your radio on. Whether it's unintentional Lyrical Dissonance, terrible beats, atrocious singing, general boredom, or the truly bizarre and out of place, Todd will beat it down. More than that, though, Todd points out songs (or parts of songs) that are better, and composes top ten best song of the year lists. This has helped me move past thinking that everything on the pop charts after the mid-90s is crap.

As a comedian, Todd is fairly competent in his own right. Though some of his jokes are hackneyed (e.g. the classic "getting wasted during the review" gag), he manages to pull them off fairly well, and even steps into brilliant originality at some points.

That said, other than his subject matter, Todd is still a pretty typical TGWTG Caustic Critic. Entertainment wise, he's still inferior to The Cinema Snob (if only because CS is not like every other reviewer on the site), but of all the other features on the first page, Todd is a close second for me.