Bad Media Criticism
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Bad Media Criticism

Hi! Welcome to my YouTube channel! My name is Detail Detective, and I’m here
to tell you why all your favourite media is terrible in my five-part video: This Children’s
Show Is Garbage, and Here’s Why. Part One: The Plot. So in this frame, Fairy Princess Sparkletina’s
sash is sky blue, and… in the next shot of her, her sash is cerulean. Clearly, the animators do not care about consistency
or quality. Not only that, but we’re told she’s a
time traveler. Why doesn’t she just travel back fifty years
and kill Prince Bloodysword when he was a baby? Oh, lemme guess: because she “doesn’t
want to kill anyone”? We all know what that means: Sparkletina’s
a fascist. Fairy Princess Adventure is officially cancelled. Over the past three years, media criticism
and video essays have blown up in popularity. Lindsay Ellis’ channel went from about
5,000 subscribers at the beginning of 2016 to more than half a million now, Dan Olson,
or Folding Ideas, has gone from about 2 thousand to more than 200,000, and scores of new video
essay channels, like me, Big Joel, or Taylor J. Williams have started popping up. Unfortunately, quantity doesn’t always equal
quality. And, sadly, a lot of what passes itself off
as good-faith media criticism is… not. In particular, content like Cinemasins, the Nostalgia
Critic, and more recently, a lot of multi-hour video essays dedicated to dissecting certain
shows end up doing more harm than they do good. I know this is probably pretty ironic coming
from the person who likes to make videos complaining about certain TV shows for a living. Especially because I, too, like to use attention-grabbing
titles and thumbnails to encourage people to watch my videos. And it’s very possible that some of my own
videos have fallen into some of the traps that I’m going to talk about here! I mean… I’d like to think the stuff I make is…
you know, analytical and good… but I’m not discounting the possibility that it isn’t
always. Along a similar vein, I’m also not saying that the
people who create bad media criticism are bad people. Just that the content they create isn’t
always good. What I primarily want to talk about is bad-faith
criticism of media, and why I think it’s ultimately harmful to the- in my opinion,
good idea- of analyzing the things we like. So first of all, how did we get here? Criticisms of various films, TV shows, games,
and podcasts on Youtube are not new. In fact, they’ve existed ever since the
platform did. And if you follow any history of YouTube,
most people will cite the Angry Videogame Nerd as one of the first YouTube content creators
to bring media criticism into the collective consciousness of mainstream YouTube. In 2006, shortly after YouTube was created,
James Rolfe started posting videos where he would play this easily angered, bitter guy
ranting about various video games. And this is an interesting case; this is a
guy who, in his early videos, was definitely playing a character. In these videos, the Nerd was the butt of
the joke; the intention was to laugh at this pathetic guy getting overly offended about old video games. But a strange thing started happening: people took
his reviews seriously. They liked him. Pretty soon, Rolfe started making serious
reviews of video games, and sharing his genuine opinions. Not only that, but other YouTubers quickly
started to imitate his format, even going so far as steal specific jokes and criticisms
verbatim. I won’t talk about this too much, mainly
because it’s already been discussed. If you haven’t seen it already, a YouTuber
named Quinton Reviews had a very interesting video about the Angry Video Game Nerd’s
influence over YouTube as a whole, and I’ll link it below. A year later, a similar creator ostensibly
playing an angry character, Doug Walker, or, the Nostalgia Critic, surfaced. His videos were similarly focused on getting
obscenely mad over nostalgic content, the main difference being that he primarily focused
on movies. Once again, a similar theme started to surface. He initially chose to really separate himself
from his character, making it clear that “The Nostalgia Critic” was a pathetic nerd who
got angry over nothing. But, as his content became more and more popular,
his videos became more about sharing his genuine thoughts. In fact, nowadays, he hosts content on YouTube
that’s just him and his brother watching movies for the first time and authentically
reacting to them. And, oftentimes, his initial reactions end
up making their way into the Nostalgia Critic reviews, albeit in a more grating tone of
voice. So while we initially got these reviewers
deliberately playing these easily angered characters who you were clearly not supposed
to agree with, the line between “what the character thinks” and “what the creator
thinks” became a lot more blurred, until you got a sort of review style that was just
“an angry guy sharing his genuine negative opinions about media, but like… with a lot
of screaming and swearing”. And, this review style- angry man screams
about how terrible things are- did dominate YouTube for a long time. That’s not to say that channels based on
thoughtful critiques of various forms of media didn’t exist. You did have some similar channels who were
affiliated with Channel Awesome that made analytical content… I mean, Lindsay Ellis started making videos
in 2008, albeit not remotely at the same analytical level as her videos today. But, with a few notable exceptions like Beyond
The Trailer, these YouTubers were not the ones receiving the most clout. Rather, critics who were the most popular
pre-2010 did largely fit into the Angry Screaming Dude mold, and aspiring critics mostly imitated
them. YouTube’s increase in popularity, especially
in the early 2010s, saw a notable increase in the diversity of review content. This is when a lot of channels who are now
household names began to make videos. Among others, Cinemasins, Screenrant, Ralph
The Movie Maker, and The Black Nerd began regularly uploading reviews, all using different
styles and formats. Some of these worked, and some of these did not. While the Angry Screaming Dude style of content
did continue to be popular, we also saw the rise in formats like “two or three people
sit down to talk about movies unscripted” or “stylized reviews with original music
and visuals”. And one particular format that’s recently
taken the internet by storm is the video essay. It’s hard to say exactly who was the “first”
YouTube video essayist, mainly because the first YouTube videos that functioned as formalized
essays read out loud over clips from whatever’s being reviewed weren’t yet calling themselves
video essays. With that said, one of the earliest very popular
people to use this format to criticize media was the Nerdwriter. Although his first video upload was over seven
years ago, his initial videos were primarily unscripted vlogs where he discussed his thoughts
on various issues like Scientology and the Iraq War. Around late 2013, he started transitioning
to scripted film reviews, still using the facecam format without any supplementary materials
to talk about movies like The Hobbit. Then, in May 2014, he made a video called
The Mythic Potential of Comic Book Films, in which he discussed various comic book movies
with visual and auditory accompaniment. From that moment on, all of his videos began
to use this format, to massive success. The Nerdwriter now has nearly two and a half
million subscribers, a far cry from his vlog days. Another YouTube channel, Every Frame A Painting,
began using the same format around the same time. The channel was created by two friends, Taylor
Ramos and Tony Zhou. Their first video, analyzing the 2009 film
Mother, was posted in April 2014; their videos began incorporating music by May. These videos focused primarily on the technical
elements of filmmaking, like different ways to visually portray text messages on screen,
or how to best use music to portray emotion. Although their last video was posted in September
2016, and they’ve officially announced the end to their channel, the format popularized
by these two channels remains massively successful, and Every Frame A Painting still boasts a
million and a half subscribers despite its two-year long inactivity. Although it’s doubtful that these two channels
were the first people ever to create YouTube video essays, they were some of the most popular
in the format’s early days. From there, many channels followed the video
essay craze; Now You see It started his channel and began creating video essays in June 2015,
Lindsay Ellis made her first video essay in April 2016; this was when her channel began
to grow into the double digits, and Folding Ideas posted his first video essay in August
2016, once again receiving a massive boost in followers. Most of these essays primarily focused on
either the usage of specific filming and editing techniques to achieve certain effects in film,
overarching trends in several films, or things we may not have noticed about specific films,
like Inglourious Basterds or Phantom of the Opera. The first really popular video essays that
were primarily about criticizing those films and explaining why certain aspects didn’t
really work were Lindsay Ellis’. Again, that’s not to say she was the first
person ever to do it, but she was definitely one of the first to get really popular doing
it. Now, like I said, videos explaining why certain
things were bad have existed since YouTube did; we have things like Cinemasins and the
Nostalgia Critic. But this format- an analytical one that was
presented in the same style as a formalized essay- was relatively new. Once again, this kicked off a trend of heavily
critical video essays, which brings me to one video in particular that I want
to talk about. Sherlock Is Garbage And Here’s Why is a
video essay posted in May 2017 by game critic and leftist YouTuber hbomberguy. It’s nearly two hours long, and it goes
into an exhaustive list of the various problems associated with the popular BBC show Sherlock. I definitely found myself disagreeing with
certain aspects of the video, but on the whole, it’s a well-researched video that makes
several legitimate points about issues with the show. Even if I don’t fully agree with every criticism
he mentions, I think it’s a well-made attempt to engage in good faith with a show that he
dislikes, and I don’t have anything negative to say about it. The video currently has nearly 3 million videos,
and just like The Angry Video Game Nerd of days of old, it’s inspired several copycats. Those are less good. As far as I can find, the first use of the
“blank is garbage and here’s why” Youtube format originated with hbomberguy; the first
time he used it was in a video game review. Although that one actually has more views
than his Sherlock video, it was only after the Sherlock review came out that people really
started to imitate this title structure. Indeed, the past year after his Sherlock video
came out has seen dozens of videos imitating both his titling conventions and the actual
structure of his content to varying degrees of success. Two of the most popular videos imitating both
hbomberguy’s branding and his content are two videos by a YouTuber named Lily Orchard,
respectively titled The Legend of Korra is Garbage And Here’s Why, and Steven Universe
Is Garbage And Here’s Why. Both of these videos are similar lengths to
hbomberguy’s, at times use the same jokes as his, and are structured in the exact same
way. Interesting. But I’m not here to criticize those videos
for being ripoffs or whatever, nor are these the only videos that I want to talk about
here. What I do want to do is use these videos as
well as channels like Cinemasins and The Nostalgia Critic as examples of what happens when good
principles, like comedy or media criticism, get so distorted that they end up doing the
exact opposite of good-faith criticism. So now that everyone is on the same page vis
a vis context, I’d like to talk about some of the common features associated with media
criticism that is not good. One interesting thing to note about some of
these media critics is that their niche is centred around specific types of movies or
shows. You have people who focus mainly on animated
films, people who focus mostly on religious media, and people who
focus specifically on things that they don’t like. On its own, there’s nothing wrong with any
of this. It’s a good idea to brand yourself in a
recognizable way, and do things that are personally interesting to you. But in the latter category, solely doing negative
reviews, you can start to run into a few problems because of the nature of YouTube. You’re probably not going to run into this
problem as a small channel. But, once you get big enough that you can
rely on YouTube for your primary source of income- think, channels like Red Letter Media
or Screen Junkies- you can no longer only focus on things that interest you. As much as you might want to make eight videos
talking about your favourite obscure 1975 documentary, you do need to eat, and around
video… 3 or 4, people will probably stop watching. So, what a lot of these bigger channels do
is that they review whatever is topical at the moment. CGI Jungle Book movie is coming out? They’ll make a video about the original
Jungle Book. New Avengers movie coming out? They’ll talk about something Marvel. A popular movie is about to be released to
Netflix? We’ll talk about that one. Whatever is currently relevant is what’s most
likely to generate the most clicks and thus the most revenue. Once again, there’s nothing inherently wrong
with talking about things that are popular. But, when your niche is negative reviews,
and you’re pretty much bound to reviewing specific movies, it no longer becomes about you
giving your actual opinion. Instead, no matter what the movie is, it’s
predetermined that your opinion is always going to be negative. Even if the movie is excellent, it becomes
your job to hate it. And that often means looking for the most
minute details to criticize, even when those details end up having little to no bearing
on the film’s central message, story, or enjoyability. We’re talking things like “if you pause
the movie at this exact very specific moment, you can tell they’re using a stunt double,
so… Movie Bad!”. I see no reason to be vague. I’m mostly talking about Cinemasins here,
although other channels do do this as well. But Cinemasins is particularly frustrating
with this, and that’s mostly because the channel is extremely
popular, and it informs how a lot of people look at media. I won’t talk about this for too long, mostly
because Lindsay Ellis explained it very well in her Beauty and the Beast review, but…
critiques that are mostly about pointing out the tiniest plot holes or acting obtuse about
a small element because it wasn’t explained in perfect detail have become so popular that
they’re affecting how films are getting made. I mean, the guys who made The Winter Soldier
were such big fans of Honest Trailers that they deliberately designed their movie to
be as “honest trailer-proof” as possible. Which means we’re seeing more and more films
where they try to pre-emptively catch these tiny problems and spend ages agonizing over
small details to the detriment of the larger story. We also see this with sequels and remakes
trying to “fix plot holes” that were never really problems to begin
with. Oftentimes these aren’t even real plot holes,
they’re just elements that weren’t initially explained to exhaustion, like “where did
Nagini come from in Harry Potter?”. And the thing is… awkwardly overexplaining
every small detail of your world to avoid that kind of nitpicky criticism doesn’t
make for very good movies. That’s not to say that it’s all reviewers’
faults and that the actual creators hold no responsibility in this situation, but the
increasing popularity of framing nitpicks as well-substantiated criticism definitely
plays a part in this. And what Cinemasins does to kind of absolve
themselves of any criticism of the content they create is to just say that what they’re
creating is satire. I swear, some of these people think that real
life has cheat codes, and that you can just say literally anything and never have to explain
yourself or be held accountable if you utter the words “it’s satire!”. The idea with channels like Cinemasins, as well as Nostalgia
Critic and similar channels is that these aren’t the real opinions of these people. They’re playing characters, who are these
annoying guys who nitpick small details. You see, they tell you, you’re not really
supposed to like them or empathize with them. This is dishonest. Part of the problem here is that we know for
a fact that some of these criticisms these channels put out really are the genuine thoughts of
their creators. Channels like Cinemasins and the Nostalgia
Critic also do “out of character” reviews, where they just talk about the movies they
saw normally, and oftentimes, the “out of character” criticisms and the “in character”
criticisms are the same. Sherman from Peabody and Sherman had a sex change. [laughing] He’s so young! Didn’t you have a feeling? Didn’t you have a feeling? I had a feeling. So Vera comes home to her daughter, who is presumably Sherman after he got a sex change. Which let’s be honest, we all saw that coming. Again, it’s like… the movement of this guy could be funny, it’s like, they’re on to something, but they’re not talented. His career is on the rise, let’s see if we can put a stop to that by casting him as someone who’s supposed to move funny, but instead moves like a sped-up inflatable outside of a car rental! Cinemasins also often puts out
“nitpicks” that are unresearched and factually wrong- it’s not a stretch to understand
why this is bad media criticism. The excuse they employ here is “oh, we put them
in on purpose so people can correct us!”. Even if this is true… that’s not good satire! Imagine if The Onion sometimes published real
stories and sometimes published fake stories, and just… didn’t tell you which was which. And then imagine if real news sites saw how
popular they were and started to copy them! It would be bad. Basically, these channels want their opinions
to be taken seriously, but they also don’t want to be held accountable for any mistakes
that they make. So, instead of getting either real criticism
with well-substantiated points, or real, funny satire where someone fully commits to the
character of “unlikable nerd” to make a point about media criticism, you get this
awkward in-between stage from these kinds of channels. Their points are presented with enough legitimacy
that people in the comments do take their opinions seriously, but they’re filled with
enough inconsistencies that the actual meat of the content is pretty bad. And because their opinions are taken seriously,
their criticism style goes on to affect The Way Movies Are Made. Just to be clear, I’m not claiming that
Cinemasins or the Nostalgia Critic are singlehandedly responsible for any particular movies being bad. If any one person were able to Ruin Movies,
I would be genuinely impressed. But I do think that the content these people
create, and their ensuing popularity, is a contributing factor. All in all, media criticism that literally
does not care about whether the core of a movie or show is good or bad, and only focuses on inconsequential details, isn’t particularly useful. And this is more likely to happen when you’ve
built a niche around creating a negative review of whatever’s popular at the time. Finally, the reason this is bad is because
this nitpicking becomes so popular that it bleeds into real life and into how real movies
end up getting made. Whether this is the fault of the YouTubers,
the viewers, the filmmakers, or a little bit of each is a difficult question to answer,
but either way, criticism that’s not made in good faith isn’t a great starting point. So, it’s not really a stretch to understand
why the former category is bad. I mean, deciding before you even go see a
movie that you have to actively find things to hate about it is just never going to make
for fair and nuanced criticism. But, there are a lot of instances of “”””problematic”””
media criticism where the critic really is expressing a strongly-held opinion of theirs. For example, you have Lily Orchard’s
respective videos about Steven Universe and the Legend of Korra being garbage. This isn’t a channel that just makes videos
about whatever new movie will generate the most clicks; it seems like she only talks
about things that she genuinely cares about. And it’s clear from watching even five seconds
of her Steven Universe video that she feels very strongly about this particular show. Sugar, you are such a fucking creep! Jesus Christ, Rebecca, are you on fucking ambien? Do I think Rebecca Sugar is a fascist sympathizer? No. Do I blame anybody who comes to the conclusion that she is based on Steven Universe’s content? No. Now, I’m going to use this Lily Orchard video as a case study
for this particular problem, but I do want to make it clear that she is by no means the
only person guilty of this. I’m also not choosing Lily’s video because
I want to personally attack her, nor do I encourage anyone else to do so. This is, unfortunately, a very popular trend
as of late, and I chose Lily’s video because I think it’s a microcosm of a lot of the
problems with this particular type of media criticism. From the fact that her video imitates the
aesthetic structure, but not the analytical substance, of well-made media criticism to
the unnecessary personal attacks on the show’s creator, this video exemplifies many common
issues in “critical” communities. One important thing about Lily’s video,
as well as many other similar videos, is that they’re made by people with a very limited understanding
of what the process of creating shows or movies is actually like. That doesn’t mean you can’t be a media
critic unless you went to film school or whatever, but it does mean you should do your research
about how the industry works if you’re going to talk about it. For example, a substantial chunk of her video
is dedicated to criticizing the fact that Steven Universe goes on extremely long hiatuses
punctuated with large bursts of episodes all at once, which makes the show’s pacing awkward. In and of itself, this is a perfectly good point,
and it’s a valid reason to not enjoy watching the show. But then, Lilly turns around and blames this
on the show’s animators and storyboarders, claiming that this is somehow emblematic of their
laziness. But this is just factually incorrect. The show’s crew has repeatedly stated that
they have no control over the scheduling of their show, and that those decisions are entirely
up to the network. This video regularly performs these kinds
of factually incorrect overextensions; for example, Lilly blames showrunner Rebecca Sugar
for designing a contentious scrapped character that many felt evoked racist imagery, despite
the fact that the character was created by Lamar Abrams and Hilary Florido. She then criticizes the animation, pointing
out some size inconsistencies in certain characters and a few animation mistakes. Fair. But, she then ascribes all of the animation
errors present on the show to Rebecca Sugar specifically, because Sugar draws the key
frames. If you have literally any knowledge of how the animation
industry works, you know that this is just not true. You just cannot blame one person for all of
the animation problems within a show, and repeatedly singling out one person expresses
more of a personal problem with them than anything supported by fact. Furthermore, Lily claims that Rebecca Sugar
stole several gamebreaking twists, such as character Rose Quartz being the alter-ego of supposedly
dead leader Pink Diamond, from fans, pointing to the fact that fans had theorized about
the twist years before it was revealed. Now, besides the fact that Lily seems to think
that foreshadowing working exactly as it was intended to somehow means the show stole the
theory from its fans, you would know this happening is literally impossible if you did
even five minutes of light Googling on how long it takes between an animated episode
being planned and the episode airing. It can quite literally take over a year for
an episode to be written, storyboarded, voice acted, sent to Korea for animation, produced,
rendered, and sent off to the network for airing. This means that while the episodes that hinted
at Rose being Pink Diamond were airing and theories were developing, the episode revealing
the twist was already in production. Lily either doesn’t know this because she
chose not to do any research, or knows this and does not care because the truth of the
matter can’t be used to insult Rebecca Sugar. And this is a theme that’s consistent throughout
this video, and many others. Lily clearly hates Rebecca Sugar, calling
her a fascism apologist and a “thoroughly loathsome person”, among other things. And because of Lily’s personal dislike for
Sugar, she’s turned to ascribing characters and episodes that Sugar didn’t even create
as “proof” of her detestability. In short, she’s taken an unconstructive
personal opinion, and tried to back it up with factually incorrect evidence that she’s
framed as objectivity. This kind of “tear-down” video has unfortunately
become more and more common. Instead of explaining why something didn’t
work in a productive way, a lot of media criticism has devolved into a desire to definitively
destroy something. [softly] That was a very alliterative sentence. Failures in storytelling or animation are
frequently ascribed to one singular person- this is a common theme in Nostalgia Critic
reviews- and creators are often described with personal attacks on their character. And because this media criticism is often
made by people who are uninformed about the entertainment industry and have chosen not to do any research,
they feel more like personal opinions than well-substantiated essays. Unfortunately, this illusion of authority
has real effects. As it turns out, as long as you speak in an
authoritative tone of voice, have some cool background music going on, and play some clips
from whatever it is you’re talking about, people tend to assume you know what you’re
doing. That’s not to say everyone who uses this
structure is being disingenuous. A lot of really great video essayists use
this structure! I use this structure! And it’s precisely the fact that people
are imitating that structure, imitating the aesthetic of a well-supported essay, but their
actual content is filled with inaccurate information and personal attacks, that is so deeply frustrating. Now, just to be clear, everyone is entitled
to their own opinions about whatever they watch, and I’m not saying you’re not allowed
to complain about something you didn’t like if you’re not an expert on the entertainment
industry. On the other hand, these people frequently
frame their personal opinions as objective truth. It’s not “I don’t like Steven Universe”,
it’s “Steven Universe is objectively horrible”. You might be able to get away with that if
you’re backing up whatever you’re saying with evidence, like Lindsay Ellis and other video
essayists do. But when your video is just about trying to
tear something you don’t like down instead of providing any real analysis, it’s not
reasonable to frame what you’re saying as if it’s just objectively correct. Overall, YouTube allows pretty much anyone to make videos
and talk about things that interest them. And that’s overwhelmingly a good thing,
because it makes knowledge more accessible and doesn’t restrict one’s ability to
express oneself to a select few with connections. It wouldn’t be right to claim that only
people who review movies for newspapers for a living, or people working in the entertainment industry,
are allowed to criticize things, and it’s great that more people are able to build a
platform based on well-made content. The downside of that is that anyone who knows
enough tricks to sound authoritative can be taken seriously, even when there’s
very little substance there. I mean, if I were a casual viewer watching
Lily Orchard’s video and I hadn’t done any research into how the animation industry
worked, I probably would have believed her when she said the show’s animation was bad
because of Rebecca Sugar. And when people are only interested in tearing
down something that they hate, and they do so in a way where they frame their personal opinion
as objective truth, they’re not creating a positive contribution to media criticism. It’s not about thinking up ways media could
be better, or helping foster empathy for other people. It’s just disingenuous and frustrating,
and it contributes to a culture of personal attacks and misinformation. YouTube is great because anyone can make a
video and talk about whatever they want. And YouTube is terrible because anyone can
make a video and talk about whatever they want. As a whole, the nature of this website has
shaped the way we criticize things, and has even shaped the way TV shows and movies are
made. There is a lot of really great work on YouTube
centred around analyzing and criticizing various forms of media, be it looking at the technical
elements that went into making certain shows, thinking about the real-world implications
of certain art forms, or focusing on story and performance. But, there is also a lot of work that doesn’t
seem concerned with making good content, and instead focuses on either low-effort criticism
that generates the most clicks, or “tearing down” art that the reviewer personally doesn’t
like. Both of these types of work are often filled
with incorrect information that might not be immediately obvious to a viewer. And both of these criticisms often have a lot of aesthetic
similarities to more well-made content, and present their opinions as objective fact. That is bad. Now, I know Cinemasins isn’t going to stop
making nitpick videos any time soon, and people aren’t going to stop watching them either. I’m not asking anyone who watches this to
unsubscribe from their favourite channel. But we should remember that those channels are kind of like potato chips: they’re a fun snack and there’s nothing wrong with
enjoying them, but just because they’re easy to digest doesn’t mean we should think
they’re healthy and have them for every meal. If people can take one thing from my video,
it would be to check out some really great media criticism channels as well, and I’ve
linked some of my favourites in the description. The potato chip metaphor has made me hungry,
so I think I’m going to go grab some and binge some Lindsay Ellis. Or do some more CalArts doodles. I think I may be onto something here. On top of a special thank-you to all my patrons, I would also like to specifically thank Jacob Benck and Jacob Furtado for joining my $20+ tier. Welcome. I hope the Discord server is fun.

100 thoughts on “Bad Media Criticism

  1. This was all so amazingly dishonest. One could only assume you either:
    a. Didn’t watch any of these people’s vids all the way through and are ignorant to what’s going on in them as a result or
    b. Have some personal issues with them and are purposely being misleading.

  2. No offense honestly, but there are problems with Sugar and with the show. Which is why I liked Lilly’s video, with this video it’s like you’re just saying there’s nothing wrong with the show because you like the writer and the show. Is that just me, again no offense it’s just what I see.

  3. anyone remember the time Music Video Sins asked why Taylor Swift was in a music vid for a song she wrote? haha me neither…

  4. After watching the Steven Universe video (TWO HOURS!!) and feeling like garbage, someone recommended this video to me and it really helped lift my spirit, so thank you!

  5. i agree with this video, but i saw you have alex meyers in your thumbnail and he’s not so much of a “serious movie critique”, he more makes fun of dumb things in teen media, like riverdale and PLL. some people take it seriously, even if it isn’t.

  6. I dunno if I'm missing the point of CinemaSins but personally I think it's fun to think about all the little inconsistencies and mistakes in the movies I watch. I never felt like it was meant to be taken as legitimate criticism of the films.
    Addendum: Just got to the part where you mentioned the factually incorrect sins and the absolutely ridiculous explanation for them. Yeah I see exactly where you're coming from now.

  7. The hbomberguy video abt sherlock was actually super soothing to me 'cos I was really worked up after season 4, I'd been very invested to the point where it was kind of part of my identity. [Peter Coffin has warned me not to do that! Alas, he was too late.]
    So basically after the mess of season four it felt nice to be able to just be justifiably mad about stuff, even if not all the points he made were dead on the money.

  8. I personally loathe Red Letter Media but I am also really surprised that you didn't cite the Plinkett reviews as a key precursor to the video essay format. Also, while Blip may be outside the scope, that platform is hugely important to this conversation, at least in part because creators like Dan Olson and my boy Kyle Kallgren (maybe the best creator in this style, in my humble opinion) started out there before their forced migration to YouTube (or in Lindsay's case, back to YouTube) in the wake of the Maker Studios debacle.

    Also! Anitube! The history and lore there and how the movement from reviews to rants and essays affected that community really could be its own video.

  9. the hottest take to this day is, in my opinion, when jenny said she did not have a hot take about avengers endgame, queen of subversion~

  10. Was that intro a Star vs tfoe reference? Her headband was a different color every season and she's a magical butterfly princess..
    Also, this video and the comments made me realize just how many video essay channels I'm subscribed to. Weird

  11. At first I thought you were going to say that the Good Christian Fun podcast was bad criticism, and I was like “Noooooo, I love them!” But then you just talked about how niche branding wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and moved on. Phew.

  12. Look i will be honest i dont really watch cinemasins but i dont think it is a fair point you are making, i think even if you make the argument that it contains their actual opinions it is not meant to be seen as serious critic and the fact is satire does not need to only go one way.

    I also think its kind of in bad faith to associate what is at its worse a situation where people take something more seriously than it is intended to be, with someone who is using incidental problems to attack an actual person in quite a vicious way.

    I mean you can argue the responsibility a creator has to how serious their content is taken when it should not be taken super seriously but i dont think its a particularly reasonable thing to conflate that with attacking people. And i mean conflate by putting them in a video together and making no real distinction between the two.

  13. My favorite thoughtful video essayist talking about films is Kyle Kallgren of Brows Held High. He talks mostly about what might be called ”art house” films, but his videos are well researched and often put the films in a larger cultural context. I’ve learned so much from him and found so many interesting works and creators through his videos, I highly recommend watching his stuff.

  14. I get the sense that the old guard — I.E. Nostalgia Critic and Cinema Sins — have failed to evolve with the medium in any substantial way. They rely almost entirely on surface level nitpicking and shallow commentary on films, all the while content creators like Lindsay Ellis, who got her start with Channel Awesome, has evolved into a critic to be reckoned with her in-depth dives into ACTUAL analysis. The other channels are just not up to snuff with how our tastes has evolved with video essays. I know for my own part Nostalgia Critic is downright unwatchable.

  15. My favorite essay youtuber Tehsnakerer who makes his "playing" series where he talks about wierd or junky or unknown games. 100% recomend him.

  16. Slight error in the comparison between AVGN and the Nostalgia Critic: the actual salient difference between the two is that the AVGN is funny.

  17. 13:50 Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-"It's Satire!"

    This (Sarah's) comment is such a concise and apt way of describing the phenomenon of "I was joking (unless you agree with me)" that I'm just happy with words right now.

  18. Thoughts on Red Letter Media? I feel the plinkett reviews they made really influenced a certain part of the long form critique style

  19. I think you've missed some nuance in criticising the early Video Game Nerd and Nostalgia Critic (who gave Lindsey Ellis her original platform for success and a fan base), that while they were nerds and that was the butt of the jokes, it's that within their comments was something truthful about the flaws of the media they reviewed from the past.

  20. I usually watch Cinema Sins as a game of nitpicking. I think, 1/ did i enjoy it anyway, 2/ why didn't I notice it (can be a way of spotting my own biases), 3/ was their point invalid.

    Do people really watch Cinema Sins and think "omg, now i know that was a terrible movie?".

    Liked this video thanks Sarah Z

  21. I've heard "I'm one well-made documentary away from believing anything" a few times; the same could be said about some people and well-made video essays.

  22. But Lily doesn't hate Rebecca Sugar for no reason, in fact her hatred is directly connected to her dislike of the show.
    I'm not saying that I fully agree with Lily, but the point is that she isn't some irrational screaming fascist-calling ripoff. She provides criticism that leads into her being furious with the show's creator. Agree or disagree – it is justified.
    Also, in this video you've made multiple factual mistakes about the video, such as pointing out that Lily is criticizing Sugar for designing a character that is blatantly racist. This is not quite true. She mentiones, that she does know of the fact that said character was designed by people other than Rebecca, but blames her for letting that character in the book. Also, she's never implied that Sugar alone is guilty for the inconsistencies in the character design, rather she says that the storyboarders don't care much about their work, and Sugar lets them work that way.

  23. Well… Hbomberguy has a dark souls 2 video where he argues in bad faith and takes out of context another youtuber, not to mention half his stuff is responding to anti-sjw in the same manner so i don't know what you are up to

  24. I don’t think CinemaSins should be included mostly because their criticisms are actually jokes. The whole channel is pretty much just satire

  25. So I object to the whole "X is Garbage" approach to criticism in general. There's a serious problem on the Internet with people being rude, where people say things rude things online that they would never say in person (unless they're really unpleasant people). I can't imagine going up to someone in person and (like HBomberguy) saying to them, "that thing you spent years working on is GARBAGE!" That would be rude. It being online doesn't make it less rude. I think Lindsay Ellis has a much better approach, calling things "A Mistake" or saying it "Doesn't Work." I don't understand why it is OK to say stuff in an online video essay that you wouldn't say in person (unless you were a colossal jerk). Hiding behind the screen or the pen (in old-fashioned newspaper criticism days) doesn't make you less rude. It just makes you both rude and a coward. It's not like people don't have the right to be rude on the Internet (or in print if you want to go old-school). You have the right to be a colossal jerk — but you shouldn't. Don't say anything online you wouldn't say in person, and, frankly don't be "that guy" in person either, even if it gets you elected…. TL;DR — Be classy like Lindsay Ellis not rude like HBomberguy. Note that Sarah Z being Canadian (and not Don Cherry) is pretty much always polite and not rude….

  26. I've always preferred videos that talk about why movies and shows are great, and CinemaWins is way better than CinemaSins in my opinion, that dude deserves so much more attention than he gets.

  27. >A completely uncontroversial look into what happens when nitpicks net popularity.
    >Proceeds to edit video in a way that doesn't require actual argument and only is meant to stir up the group of individuals who already disagree with the subject of the video being talked about.

    You have no integrity.

  28. Lindsay Ellis is like the Radiohead of media criticism. Her early stuff was okay, good, albeit uninspired especially during that early era of online reviewing, but she slowly became better and better, to the point where she's pushing boundaries and refining what we think of media critcism, much like Radiohead's growth in the 90s.

  29. There is no wrong way to interpret and criticize media. An angry screaming dude can bring up nuanced points and provide needed insight – it's your decision to throw the baby out with the bathwater when tone of voice triggers your sensibilities. Nobody in those early days handled their audience with kid gloves.

  30. I'm a bad person because while this was interesting and researched and thought out, I ended eventually going, "This person is Canadian as fuck, isn't she?" because I'm weirdly obsessed with the Canadian accent. But the accent along with a video about how meanness is unproductive? That's so Canadian…

    Also, good video. I apparently just now have discovered the video essay and am bummed I'm not smart enough for it. I apparently missed my window to be an angry white dude screaming at a camera…I guess I'll just have to watch a bunch of smart people and learn stuff instead.

    Still like CinemaSins though, but never considered it legit criticism but nitpicky nonsense. I get the argument, though.

  31. As someone who has watched both of Lily's SU and LoK videos, please do not judge her by how Sarah portrays her here. Sarah cut out a lot of the context explaining why Lily's so frustrated, like how she screamed "Sugar you're such a creep" was actually after the part she talks about the sexualization of Stevonnie (who consists of TWO minors, no matter what Sugar says about Stevonnie being 26 cause it's steven and connie's ages combined) and how Sugar says Stevonnie is supposed to represent puberty and the sudden change of having an adult body (which isn't really how puberty works) and the feelings that go along with that (she really had no choice besides the TWO FUCKING *MINORS*???).

    Before you all judge her, at least hear out both sides before you start casting shade. And no, this isn't invalid simply because the person I'm defending is Lily Orchard. Lily also has a video that replies to Sarah's, just search the "bad media criticism glass of water".

  32. Oof you shouldn't have chosen Lily. I'd barely watched 2 of her videos before I knew how she was going to react to this.

    She doesn't take critism well and has enough time on her hands and enough skill and motivation to make scathing retorts.

    Sorry about the backlash Sarah. You seem like a good apple.

  33. Lily's video was taken hugely out of context here, and that's incredibly disappointing. Like…I kind of doubt Sarah even bothered to fully watch Lily's video, everything she says here is either misrepresentation or outright lies. I'd encourage people to actually watch Lily's video themselves instead of letting Sarah make their opinions for them.

  34. I have mixed feelings.

    On the one hand, I think we should grant as much empathy and understanding to the creators of passion projects and media which is actually trying something new and creative and taking risks, even if the end product is bad. I think those people/studios/etc who create such media should absolutely be encouraged and given as much guidance and help as possible to make better products in the future.

    On the other hand, when big companies like Disney are just churning out lazy cash grabs, I do not think that should be encouraged. Not even if the works they make are of reasonably decent quality. Because not only do they have added cheat codes from being a major and wealthy company which gives them better resources and staff and marketability than most other creators, but they are not even making use of those highly advantageous cheat codes to make something new and interesting and heart felt. I hate the idea of already powerful groups getting more powerful by not even needing to try very hard anymore. And I welcome people bashing that kind of thing as much as possible.

  35. Guys, remember the CinemaSins video for Finding Nemo when Jeremy mentioned doing research for the video? Even before I stopped liking their content, that made me laugh.

  36. Oh my god i didn't know that thing about Pink Diamond and Rose Quartz and I feel so sad to have found out like this. I know it's old but they haven't put the new episodes on Hulu yet 🙁 I'm loving the video, just very bummed to have been spoiled.

  37. Can I give a shout out to Cinema Wins? His videos are great and since they are positive they are fun to binge and maybe find a great movie you missed.

    If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have watched the new Judge Dred movie. That would have been a crime.

  38. Are you serious with this video? Look, I don't want to be a dick but your content is very similar to the content you are criticizing. I do think Cinemasins is good for a laugh sometimes, however I would never look at them as a legitime criticism, also I only ocasionally watch their videos after seeing the movie in question. I do think this is a good discussion, however you do need to rethink your content if It bothers you so much.

    Ps: Sorry for my bad english, not my native language.

  39. -Compares characters being completely different sizes every scene to a sash going from sky blue to cerulean
    All credibility immediately lost

  40. The guys at RedLetterMedia went to film school and regulaly bring actots, film directors and writers to discuss with them.
    Just sayin'

  41. The assumption that making a movie honest trailers proof is automatically a detriment to the art is not one I'll take without some evidence to back that up.

  42. Hbomberguy’s Sherlock review stopped being “good faith” when he started ascribing that the producers of the show think you’re stupid.

  43. Firstly, this is great!
    I think the influence of AVGN, Nostalgia Critic, etc is very clear, but I also think the "genuine vs. satire" binary is too restrictive here. It's rarely ever the case that we're supposed to be laughing at either the character or the media they are reviewing, at least with each of these creators early formulas. In the case of AVGN/Nostalgia Critic, it's most often the exaggeration of a genuine opinion that is played for laughs. What I think the biggest influence of this content was on that first wave of imitators was the exaggerated opinions/reactions, which remained despite the loss of the staging/scripting/gags. This is what lead to a lot of "dudes yelling" formats. I wouldn't say that AVGN and Nostalgia Critic were satire though, the media criticism environment that exists today isn't what inspired their formats. If AVGN is a satire of anything, I would say it's more so a caricature of the reactions people have when actually playing the games, not when reviewing/critiquing them.

  44. Lindsey Ellis actually wrecked Cinema Sins for me, she pointed their flaws out and I just couldn’t sit through it after that

  45. All these big name drops in this video have my head spinning. I barely know of HBomberguy and yet here he is getting talked about in this video from waaaay before I even know he was a channel. It appears you've done your research with this one. I don't mean to say your other videos aren't researched. I'm just surprised at the depth to this topic.

  46. Just coming back here once again to point out that this woman maliciously Lies over and over and over again in this video explicitly for the purpose of pushing her own narrative. She is a worthless wretch,

  47. I don't think you're supposed to take Cinema Sins seriously. Im in love with almost all of the movies they criticize, but still think their videos are funny. I think it is mostly to an extent actual satire. Im not saying I think this completely destroys your argument for I still agree, but I think you might take them a little too seriously.

  48. Spoken from my heart! I can't believe that fake condescension has become so widespread in media criticism.

    I prefer real condescension. Some people ARE better than others and should just be honest about it. Most of them don't become media critics on YouTube though..

  49. If a guy makes a OVER 1 HOUR LONG video content of wich can be summarized as "tv show bad" he should seriously reconsider what's he doing with his life, as well as anybody who for some strange reason watched it till the end

  50. and then came the videos like this that critique youtube videos which spawned a new generation of video essays with characters that angrily critique the youtube critique videos critiques. But people really identified with those characters which lead to videos dropping the character angle alltogether and instead just unironically critique youtube video critiques critiques and those received a massive boost of followers and imitators and critiques.

    Those channels which make videos that are critiques of movies using a character have now started to critique the videos that were unironic critiques of youtube video critique critiques as video essays with comparisons to their impact on youtube culture as a whole and the only next logical step is for channels to arise which critique the lighting, sound and character of characters which critique video critique critique critiques of youtube video critiques… which were originally critiques of movie critiques.

    What's so toxic about this is that as an excuse to avoid criticism of their critiques critique the channels will say that they put them in on purpose as characters. This leads to critique critique channels making their critiques critique criticism critique proof! Imagine if a satirical critique of a critique critique criticism sometimes put in real critique critique criticism just to avoid criticism of a critique critique that is genuine!

  51. I enjoyed watching CinemaSins.
    Then I realised people actually, let those videos affect their opinions of movies for some reason???
    I just found them funny.

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