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I, like many Channel Awesome fans, was heartbroken when Doug Walker announced the retirement of the Nostalgia Critic in 2012, and was skeptical about the show that would take its place: a drama/comedy show about three characters who make low-budget remakes of famous movies. I didn't like the first episode when I saw it, but I noticed the positive fan reaction to it and figured that the only reason I didn't like it is because I was blinded by my Nostalgia for the Critic. I ignored it for some time, before going on to watch more episodes after seeing how much Doug's fans were loving it. I'm still not impressed.
First of all, the jokes just aren't funny. The humor seen in the show is just corny, predictable, poorly-timed, and awkwardly delivered. I know comedy is subjective, but the jokes in this show made me cringe.
And where the comedy was not funny, the drama was not compelling. The characters are really just cardboard cutouts the writers gave unrealistically, exaggeratedly tragic backstories (the process was basically, "Take every tragic event you can think of and put it all into one character.") Many of the show's non-comedic moments just have the characters preach about the evils of Hollywood and celebrity with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face — and while they may have legitimate points here and there, the message isn't helped by the inappropriately-timed jokes or the show's use of strawman villains like the Swede Actors' Guild or the creepy family (who were allegedly meant to be a satire on the Nostalgia Critic character despite having fuck all in common with him.)
The show also tried to deal with issues surrounding feminism, sexual abuse, and LGBT acceptance, and while I wholeheartedly agree that these topics need to be addressed more in popular culture, I didn't particularly care for how they were handled here. The issues as presented lacked any semblance of nuance and were just as exaggerated as everything else, which is the wrong route to take if you're aiming for serious drama. If I'm being completely honest, the way these issues are portrayed — between the token female being a stereotypical "angry feminist" and Doug's character being prone to heavily fetishized behavior — just came across as insincere pandering... especially since the "Not So Awesome" document exposed the Walker brothers as being heavily complicit in the very practices they spoke out against here, like mistreating workers, enabling sexual predators, and contributing to a hostile work environment that forces gay people to stay in the closet.
(As an aside, though, Rachel DID NOT DESERVE to get fucking DEATH THREATS just for sharing her thoughts and experiences through her character... seriously...)
Ok, I have to be honest. I do in fact, like the newer Nostalgia Critic episodes and was glad when Doug Walker brought him back. I didn't even mind the fact that Demo Reel ended after five episodes since the last episode was still a good way to close the series. What DO I mind then?
The fact that Blue Patches wasn't what closed Demo Reel out. Instead we got The Review Must Go On, which had good acting, particularly from Doug, but also a clumsy way to bridge the two together, and just a downright mean spirited idea that everything Jimmy and his crew went through was all a ploy to make the Critic learn a lesson. A lesson which he never learned mind you!
I just...really? THIS was their best attempt? They couldn't have thought of a better way to bring back the Critic? Why did they even pull Demo Reel into this? The Walker Brothers could've easily brought the Critic back by having him review films in the plothole due to boredom. Or, maybe have him return to the real world since people kept making shitty movies without consequences.
But no, they instead decided to bring back the Critic all while essentially crapping over Demo Reel's lovable cast of characters.
And because they did do that, all of the character development, all the intense drama, all of the heart rending tearjerking moments that made Demo Reel a good show (IMO at least) are now meaningless and mount up to a huge waste of time!
So, Demo Reel used to be a good show and even though it was short lived, it could've ended on a happy note, until the Walker Brothers decided to come by and make the audience feel stupid for feeling sorry by making it all a punishment for the Critic.
I myself have an idea who's to blame for this but I don't wanna attract any flame wars here so I'll just say, "I hope you guys are happy that you got your precious Critic back".
While I am happy the Nostalgia Critic has returned, even making a review lauding "The Review Must Go On" I think he prematurely pulled the plug on Demo Reel. This is coming a guy who wasn't particularly impressed with it. Demo Reel was a show within a show/mockumentary about an ambitious aspiring director named Donny Dupre, and his "quirky" and longsuffering crew members who were tasked with remaking films a la Be Kind Rewind or Amanda Show's Block Blister. The real weakness of Demo Reel, in my opinion, was the comedy. The entire premise is fairly unoriginal and the delivery wasn't particularly better than what can be seen by college humor or smosh. What made the series appealing was the drama (ironically), looking at the characters and their various issues was the reason I kept looking back. If you look at some of the early Nostalgia Critics the episodes weren't always golden, yet he persevered and became the big name Internet Celebrity he is today. I think Demo Reel should have been treated the same way. It could have been a monthly special set in between the Bi-weekly Nostalgia Critic videos. Heck, maybe even quarterly so he's not overwhelmed.
A similar Replacement Scrappy effect happened to Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings in the Super Mario Bros franchise. Junior wasn't well received because the fandom thought he replaced the siblings. When introduced in a game together people warmed up to Bowser Jr. I would argue the same would have happened for Demo Reel, instead of replacing one for the other, make time for both.
I don't like Demo Reel. The shtick it had with the movie parodies was tired and could only hold my attention for so long. yes, the character stuff was interesting but the premise wasn't strong enough to work. In the Nostalgia Critic, the character stuff works because the comedy and the review work, but Parodies aren't strong enough to support it.
however if you don't mind slogging through the parody, the characters are worth watching. The trouble is I can't suffer through the parody to see it.
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