Television Without Pity: Wikis

  
  
  

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Television Without Pity
URL http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Online collection of television series recaps and related discussion forums
Registration Optional
Owner NBC Universal
Created by David T. Cole, Tara Ariano, Sarah D. Bunting, various contributors

Television Without Pity (often abbreviated TWoP) is a website that provides detailed recaps of select television dramas, situation comedies and reality TV shows, often by mocking them. In 2007 the site was purchased by the Bravo unit of NBC Universal.[1][2] The site began by recapping the television show Dawson's Creek and was originally called Dawson's Wrap; later it broadened its scope and changed names to Mighty Big TV before settling on the current moniker. The site is notable for its wide usage of the word "snark" to describe its typical style of sarcastic review. Their official motto is "Spare the snark, spoil the networks," a takeoff on "spare the rod, spoil the child."

The site's mascot is Tubeelzebub (a portmanteau of tube and Beelzebub - "Tubey" for short), a demonic television set replete with horns and a pointed tail.

The recaps and forums have their own jargon, detailed in the site's FAQ.[3] Recappers also commonly coin nicknames for show characters, based on inside jokes or an actor's previous work.

Contents

Famous visitors

Some actors and producers have been known to visit the website. The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin posted in the forums, but his relationship with the site eventually turned sour. His experience is believed to have inspired the episode "The U.S. Poet Laureate". In this episode, a character posts on his fansite and is vehemently attacked by members of the forum for his beliefs and his violation of the forum rules.[4] In contrast, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has more fully embraced the TWoP message board community, with a discussion thread in his show's forum[5] open to directly communicate with viewers. In addition, on the January 18, 2007 episode of My Name Is Earl, a character using the screen name WhoJackie was shown typing a post on the site's forums. As it turns out, a user by that same name had written the same post several days before the episode first aired.[6]

For the past several years, posters at the site have organized "TARCon" in New York City which is a viewing party for the season finale of the Amazing Race. The party has been attended by many of the show's contestants from current and past seasons.

Show recaps and forums

Recaps differ in styles: some of the recappers write shorter, more concise recaps while others write more comically, inserting references to their personal life, for example. Naturally, each style attracts different readers, with some preferring to use the site as information for episodes that they have missed, and others preferring the more humorous ones, which can be equally (or more) enjoyable to those who also watched the episode. Beginning in 2007, TWoP introduced "weecaps" — initially presented as single-page television series reviews written in real time. The abbreviated recap style — first used for coverage of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge and Dancing with the Stars during the spring — was later employed for a larger slate of summer replacement series, with eventual reconfiguring into multi-page entries. Shows with weecaps also gain dedicated forums with topic areas as with regularly recapped shows. The American version of Survivor used weecap coverage for the start of its China season but full recaps returned with that edition's 7th episode and have remained in place since then. Among the most recent series to be included in weecap coverage is the American version of The Office, marking the first situation comedy to be regularly recapped since the site covered the HBO series Entourage; several other comedies have since been added to the site's coverage, including My Name Is Earl, How I Met Your Mother, and Ugly Betty.

Shows canceled by the network (or deemed to be unpopular with the readers of TWoP) are considered to be in permanent hiatus, a status which is rarely reversed except for reality shows: The U.S. version of Big Brother returned to coverage in June 2006 when its All-Stars season began for the first time since its third season; Real World/Road Rules Challenge also returned to the active list in April 2007, with its recapping format switched to a shorter, real-time commentary; and while the site decided after the sixth edition of The Apprentice to stop recaps, the Celebrity Apprentice edition was brought back for coverage. Shows placed into permanent hiatus will generally have their forum threads readable but locked, and given a single dedicated thread in the appropriate miscellaneous forum categories; the recaps remain available on the site, though in the "Permanent hiatus" section. There are some exceptions; Doctor Who coverage was put into permanent hiatus after the 2nd season despite the popularity of the show on the site's boards and of Jacob's recaps for the show; Glark commented on the action of moving the show to permanent hiatus that "If you want to know what Bit Torrent is, ask a Doctor Who fan".[7] The full Doctor Who threaded forum was retained though moved into the Sci-Fi show category, and remains fully active with moderation. As of now, the 2005 remake of Night Stalker holds the record for the shortest run on TWoP having been PH'd after only one recap, although the 2005 series Sex, Love & Secrets was expunged before even one recap, due to incredibly low viewer response in the forums. The shows covered are almost exclusively American, with the exceptions of the new series of Doctor Who, which is a British import to US television, and the original UK version of Queer as Folk, which was a British import to Canadian television. Both shows are Russell T Davies productions.

At times, the site may offer a charity auction for "Tubey's Kids",[8] whereby the person with the largest donation can request a recap of a specific episode or show (no longer than one hour) by any specific recapper. The results of these recaps are posted as "Mondo Extras" on the site.

The forum for each active show include threads for each episode of a show, a speculation thread, spoiler information, media references to the show, character/contestant-specific threads, and a general "meet market" for forum users. The forums are heavily moderated by staff to avoid significant off-topic discussion, unprotected spoiler information, and flame wars.

2008 Staff changes and redesign

In a March 6, 2008, blog post, TWoP founders Wing Chun, Sars, and David T. Cole, known on the site as Wing Chun, Sars and Glark respectively, announced they were leaving the site on March 11, 2008. [9]

In April 2008, the TwOP site was redesigned and expanded to include features such as a wiki, videos, and a subsection "Movies without Pity."

Recappers

TWoP's writers and the shows they currently review:

Al Lowe Parenthood
Cindy McLennan How I Met Your Mother (weecaps), Lost, The Vampire Diaries (weecaps)
Couch Baron Dollhouse, Mad Men
Daniel The Bachelor (weecaps), The Bachelorette (weecaps), Fringe
DeAnn Welker The Apprentice (weecaps), Chuck (weecaps), Desperate Housewives (weecaps), Heroes, Hung (weecaps), Private Practice (weecaps)
Demian Glee, Supernatural
Drunken Bee Friday Night Lights
Jacob (aka Bayliss) American Idol (weecaps), Caprica, Gossip Girl, Nurse Jackie (weecaps), True Blood, Weeds (weecaps)
Jeff Long Hung (weecaps), Project Runway
Joe R. Dexter, Kell on Earth (weecaps), So You Think You Can Dance (weecaps)
Kim Dancing with the Stars (weecaps), Top Chef (weecaps), Top Chef Masters (weecaps)
Lady Lola 30 Rock (weecaps), 90210 (weecaps), The Hills (weecaps), Life Unexpected (weecaps)
Lauren S Grey's Anatomy
LTG Glee
LuluBates Brothers & Sisters, V
M. Giant (Jeff Alexander) 24, The Amazing Race, Big Brother (weecaps), Burn Notice, The Office (weecaps)
Montykins Hell's Kitchen (weecaps), Human Target (weecaps), Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (weecaps), So You Think You Can Dance (weecaps)
Pablo G. Melrose Place (weecaps)
Potes America's Next Top Model, The Biggest Loser (weecaps)
Sara M. Eureka, House, Launch My Line (weecaps), Survivor
Sobell FlashForward
Tippi Blevins Smallville

Criticism

Television Without Pity has long been the target of criticism. The site moderators have been accused of arbitrarily and unprofessionally applying the discussion forum rules and jumping too quickly to edit posts, and sanction and ban members who do not adhere to the many rules for posting on the site. Some of this criticism has claimed that the problematic moderating has increased since the site was acquired by Bravo in 2008, whereas others cite the decline in writing ability of the top moderators / editors. Critics have also charged that the site lost its "edge" after the Bravo acquisition.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

References

See also

External links








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