Wednesday, 20 April 2011

An(other) Open Letter To Bob Chipman

Dear Bob,

Listen, we're all worried about you. We've all been watching your "Anti-Thinker Saga", and... well, okay, that's not true. A lot of us just gave up when you started putting in a baffling evil-twin side-plot into your videos. What we HAVE seen is the fallout; your stubborn refusal to budge on something that is clearly not working. We have watched as your web series, which once focused on opening an intelligent dialogue on entertainment matters, developed into this... this cry for help. This ham-fisted, unironic, overdramatic enterprise so full of itself, so completely unaware of its own ineptitude it would make Tommy Wiseau cringe. We know not where your pain began, Mr. Chipman, but we hear your anguish.

But it's got to stop. You can't keep doing this to yourself. You can't keep doing the same thing that you know everyone hates and expect to get different results. I understand that every critic wants to be a film-maker. We get to a point where we think we could do better than those guys, and we try it, and it's terrible. But if we give up, that would be seen as a defeat. It might undermine whatever authority we have to speak on these matters.

I tried to convince myself when I got that itch that I was "too far in to quit now". Although it wasn't so much film-making for me as general story-telling. Comics, in fact. I was so convinced my years of pointing out failures in other people's works would mean my work would be spun gold. I should have known when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em. I would have spared the world one of the most humiliating chapters of my life, and on the internet that shit is not quickly forgotten. In fact, the failures of our species are archived for all to see.

I could not escape my hubris. I flew too close to the sun. But you sir, you who have made me and many others really stop and stroke our chins in contemplation, on subjects that aren't approached as thoughtfully as they should be, or as much, or at all. You, who dared to question if the greatest thing holding back video games are not merely the people who make and sell them, but those who consume them. You, whose videos have made us all want to put more effort into having sensible, thought-out beliefs on these things:


Listen, you and me haven't seen eye-to-eye on a few things. You think "Final Fight" would make a better movie than "Shadow of the Colossus", whereas I... think you should know better than that. But even I don't think you deserve this. No amount of sour grapes can make me will this cruelty on you, your series or your audience. You are too old and too talented to be making my amateur mistakes. You're better than this.

That, and the very idea of the Anti-Thinker is just impractical. He's a bloated, hit-over-the-head stereotype strawman, essentially saying your opinions backwards and with less eloquency. How is that an improvement over addressing to your audience, clearly and plainly, how you feel? When you did attempt to sneak in a point or two, they felt stifled by having to compete for the spotlight with your ridiculous "quest". It is actually hurting your ability to convey an opinion, which is what you do better than anything else!

I think the problem is that you tried out this storyline stuff in a series where it was never meant to happen. "The Game Overthinker" was never meant to be a story-based show. It's just a means for you to get a dialogue started on certain issues you think need more attention. If this amateur film-making self-indulgence were confined from your other content, there wouldn't be a problem. But shoe-horning it into your series on screwattack makes about as much sense as placing "Rapelay" into Super Mario Bros. 3. There may be a time and place for everything, but it wasn't here. 

Did you start to feel having "The Big Picture" accomplish the same goal made the Overthinker series redundant, and that a story would justify its continued existence? Were you just running out of stuff to talk about across three different shows? Is there seriously no better way you could think of to commemorate fifty episodes than by ruining the previous seven? Can we expect this clownshit from Escape to the Movies?

Like I said before, every critic wishes he could be a film-maker. Every one of us has that itch. But there's a reason why you are a critic instead. Please, heed these words well and know that in spite of everything, a few of us are still here for you. You are too valuable a reminder that the entertainment we consume is worthy of appreciating on a deeper level. In a world with Twitter and Facebook updates, we need people like you. But we can't help you until you can help yourself. 

"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem.They're in there every night, they see how it should be done every night, but they can't do it themselves."

-Behan, Brendan Francis



  1. Bob was interviewed by these "Armchair Thinkers" podcast guys, and he said that he "naively" thought it would be fun to have a storyline. He also knew that after he joined ScrewAttack, he would up his game and do bigger things. Personally, I don't know why he thought that having a storyline would "up his game" when really, the main reason he's there was because people liked his intellectual discussions. He was actually going to do it right after he joined ScrewAttack, but by that time, ThatGutWithTheGlasses exploded, and we all know what goes on over there.

    Also, he won't do any storyline for Escape to the Movies because he's actually getting paid for that sort of thing. The Big Picture, too. So basically he thinks that his Game Overthinker thing is his own little thing to test things and play around and have fun with them. Now, THAT I can respect and understand.

    But somehow, I can't help but hate the storyline, in that it adds nothing and only makes things more confusing and distracting. At this point, though, I doubt anything you say will change his mind. The only thing I can hope for is that after this, he'll get the idea that no one wants to see him do storylines. For me, personally, I wouldn't mind seeing a storyline... if he actually did it well. :|

  2. Smashmatt:

    ...You know, I hadn't thought of it like that. I guess it's fair for a man to entertain his weird experiments from time to time. Even if they are embarrassing to behold.

    I just wish it didn't have to eat into a project of his that I DO enjoy, and which it has no business being a part of. A story-based thing from him might even work, if I didn't get the sinking feeling I'm supposed to take it seriously. It's a story-arc in desperate need of a lampshade.

  3. Eh, Moviebob has sucked since he was infected by the "TEH 80S WUZ AWESOME AND HOOMANZ R BASTERDS CUZ I WAS BULLEED" Train that so many nerds on the internet fall victim too. What he really needs is Ganesha to somehow enlighten him

  4. The thing about the storyline is that I can't tell if he wants us to take it seriously, or if he's purposefully making a badly written stupid storyline as an artistic statement or something... You know, like all the other Internet shows you see out there, and he's just phoning it in, somewhat.

    I do know that he deliberately calls attention to some things, like how he apparently appeared at PAX East using an astral-projection technique, or how he knows that the light-saber cliche is overused. Some of it gets a bit too hard to swallow, especially when he calls attention to the fact that he SOMEHOW had Internet access and was able to find out all sorts of things while the Antithinker was taking over his show... Or that he somehow had a camera that was losing juice near the end of episode 48. Not to mention, when it all started out, it was clear that he wanted us to take it seriously, when he said "he discovered something that will change everything". I believed him, and thought it was important to gaming culture. But it turns out it was just the "discovery" that there really was a Wario's Woods. And I'm like "...Huh? ...What?" I mean, he's done 40 episodes of using facts and information to create arguments and thought experiments, but here... Why say something that's so OBVIOUSLY not true? When the Antithinker was introduced, I banged my head against the desk so many times, I couldn't see straight for a while.

    But the worst thing about the storyline are his attempts at humor. Bob's made jokes before, which I didn't really care for but ignored them because of the good (or insightful) things he was saying. But here, the only other thing to distract us from the bad humor is a bad storyline. So pick your poison! The worst example, for me anyway, was in episode 49. Having the old bald guy interrupt the video constantly was obnoxious as Hell, but the part that made me seething with rage was near the beginning, when he was thanking the old bald guy for the astral-projection technique he used to attend PAX East, and he turned and looked at the camera for a second or two, and I literally screamed out loud in my head "Oh my-GOD DAMMIT! BOB, YOU ARE NOT FUNNY! THIS IS NOT FUNNY! STOP WASTING MY FUCKING TIME!" Seriously, I don't know why it has me so pissed off, but the way he just looks at the screen expecting a laugh or something just makes me want to punch Bob in the fact! No words can describe how much I hate that scene, even though it only lasts a moment, it was pretty much then and there I made up my mind about Bob's humor. I hate it. I know it's his show and he can do what he wants with it, but... How often do you hear people, especially webcomic artists, use that excuse to go nuts and be obnoxious?

    You know what, nevermind, this comment is hate-filled and long enough as it is. I want to respect and appreciate MovieBob, but sometimes he's just making it so hard to do.

  5. Yeah, at this point the whole abortion of a story-arc is just tragic to watch knowing what could have been. The worst part is that the critic can't take critique and stubbornly pushes on.

    I used to respect Bob. Sure I didn't agree with everything he said but he always made his argument clear and never had to rely on this crap.

    I did kinda start to notice that his bitterness about things where shining trough the increasingly more transparent episodes. But I figured that everyone is entitled to go trough some rough times and so I decided to cut him some slack and just roll with it.

    Then the story started and it seemed like a cry for desperation. Bob possibly being tired of his routines in life and wanted to spice things up. To bad for Bob that the result is what it is.

    With the 50'th episode I know that I will see Bob's absolute low-point in his internet career. Mostly because Internet fight scenes are always awkward and insulting on both ends to watch.