Thursday, 27 March 2014

RIP the snark: Television Without Pity to close 4 April

Initiate the wailing and the renting of clothes: website Television Without Pity is closing. And that's a very very sad thing.

The tweet that make the internet weep

I first discovered Television Without Pity (TWoP) when I was watching and fangirling over The West Wing (far too) many years ago. I somehow stumbled into the TWoP forum for the show and found myself surrounded by fans who loved this show and wanted to talk about every single aspect of it. There were forum threads for every character, episode, relationship, actor, fanfiction, meetups and the fans shared their love, hate and angst with each other in a hilarious and sassy way. It was like a snark-encrusted heaven.

Snark according to the Urban Dictionary

Online fandom can be a scary place and sometimes unfriendly to newbies discovering their voice. But, to me, TWoP felt like a warm hug of snark where you could share any thought about a TV show without being accused of hating on a character if you didn't agree with what the writers were doing 

The Forum message to TWoP users

I haven't been into the TWoP forums for many years so I don't know if they were still a great place to share and snark, but a brief look into the Supernatural forum today makes me think that my experience is pretty much the status quo. Threads like "Sam Winchester: Sleep With Him And DIE", "Dean Winchester: Hotter Than Hell! Bitch" and "The Original Momma Flambe: Dead Mommy Winchester" are exactly what made TWoP great. 

And speaking of Supernatural, this was the show I followed most on TWoP thanks to the recaps and recaplets written and posted by the likes of Tippi Blevins, Cindy McLennan, Demian and Drunken Bee. Their recaps are hilarious but come from a place of love for the show - they can say when something is bad because they also appreciate when it's good. And they talk like I think, which makes their recaps even more part of my experience of the show. I used to watch an episode and wonder what the TWoP writer would think of it, and then spend about an hour reading their recap over and over through painful belly laughs. 

To My Sweet Baboo's great dismay, however, those walls are "layered in Enochian warding magic," so Castiel can't get in. "That's okay," Dean kindly reassures his deeply disappointed angelic boyfriend. "You did great -- we'll take it from here." And with that, Our Intrepid Heroes tear off through yet another filthy puddle somewhere else, deep within the protective embrace of The Impala.    (Supernatural recap S5 episode 10 by Demian)

Online fans can take themselves and their shows way too seriously, and what TWoP did was inject some much-needed sass into any discussion of fiction. Because we should remember that this IS fiction we're talking about. I wonder where the active users of the forums will go to regroup and start over? I hope they find a home, and I hope I find out where it is because wherever there's snarky TV appreciation is where I'd like to be. 

RIP Television Without Pity. I'm pretty sure you introduced me to the word "squee" and I am forever grateful.

Jared is also sad about TWoP closing, pic by me at Comic Con 2010

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