Thursday, June 4, 2009

Shut Down By The Man: I’m a Cowardly Lawyer… Get Me Out of Here!

Goose here. Before Cline gets too deep into the whole sordid mess about why he has no entry in Round 2 of the "I'm a blogger get me out of here" contest even though he won his round, I wanted to give a quick set up.

After reading the requirements and the subject matter, for round 2 (a video blog entry, or "vlog" as assholes in skinny jeans refer to them as) we quickly went to work trying to come up with something unique and funny. We realized all the other entries were most likely going to consist of people eating the grossest foods they could find at Whole Foods and making yucky noises. (were we right? You be the judge.)

I definitely didn't want to regurgitate the same stuff, and I don't believe Cline did either. So even though we got disqualified (the story is below), we're putting it up here for you to take a look at and draw your own conclusions. For context, I think it's best if you do take a look at the entries that made it before you take a look at ours. Or at least take a quick peek. I'm not asking you to watch every one of them to the end, because I couldn't even do that. Just get a taste, to get an idea of the playing field we were in, and what we chose to do.

What happens to a dream not only deferred, but outright squashed? Does it shrivel like Janice Dickinson’s neck in the sun? What if that dream was as simple as meeting and applying sunscreen to a Baldwin?

Let’s just say I’m not the biggest fan of the suits at Granada America, NBC, or the Italian gentlemen who make the suits those spineless piles of mediocrity wear.

Find out why I’m being kept off the Round 2 Ballot of “I’m a Blogger…” like a Green Party candidate after the jump.

After kicking ass in Round 1, I know many of you were on the edge of your seats waiting to see what we could do with a video blog.

Round 2 Assignment: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Video Blog: 2-3 Minutes Length.

Most American’s never have to look their food in the face, but out in the jungle, these celebs will certainly have to. In many other cultures, however, a bit of face (or blood, guts, tongue, brain, etc.) on the plate is as normal as rice and beans. Research a culture known for its taste for offal (off-cuts, organ meat, etc.). Then, try looking dinner in the face yourself—either at a local restaurant serving the cuisine you studied or by buying a whole animal (chicken, fish or whatever you can get your hands on) and learning to prep and cook it. Who knows, maybe these celebs don’t have it all so bad after all?

We here at The Popcorn Trick are good at several things. Croquet, oral sex, and making fun of celebrities. Nowhere in that list was following directions closely or doing non-creative bits about eating some weird food. Nowhere.

So in a couple of hours Monday night, we threw this together:

Note that we pulled back from any outright profanity or blatant vulgarity. Sure, a lot was implied, but for us, it was pretty tame.

45 minutes after submitting it, I was told it was rejected, not for content, but because “It doesn't fulfill the required guidelines (you don't actually talk about food from another culture)”. We could re-submit if we wanted to.

After trying to find out the minimum we could to get the video accepted, we were also asked to “cut down on the celebrity commentary...” The real reason was beginning to emerge.

Never mind that I had done basically the same thing in Round 1, following only very loosely the guidelines and mostly making fun of the “celebs”.

So, on Tuesday after work (I was headed to NYC and Goose was busy ruining the lives of his offspring), I quickly recorded a slightly educational voice-over that Goose ADRed in. We re-submitted the re-edited video and I added some fact-ish Annotations:

I didn’t hear anything about the new version until this afternoon, so I figured we had a shot. I then found out it was turfed again, the reason cited being:

The video won't pass the standards set forth in the rules of the competition:

Answers containing material that is violent, pornographic, obscene, illegal, inappropriate, or racially or morally offensive or that does not comply with these Official Rules or meet Granada’s standards for any reason, as determined by Granada in its sole discretion, will be rejected as ineligible for consideration.

Granda was trying to ensure they don't get in trouble (with NBC, the contestants or with any random person who'd like to sue them because they don't understand the fine art of offensive jokes).

Is there any way you could cut out the offensive jokes? They're good with the phone calls to Janice, John, Torrie, Speidi -- but the rest would have to go.

This was my response:

Even if it were technically & logistically feasible to edit those bits (it's not), I'm nat going to take a flamethrower to our Sistine Chapel.

So let me get this straight. It's ok to call Janice Dickinson the Cryptkeeper and talk to Torrie about her panties, but mistaking 2 talentless "comediennes" for The Weather Girls is offensive? LDP's wife was gay. He talked about it freely on the Stern show and other media outlets. And for crying out loud, it's a known fact that the Baldwins are Pavlovian pants-droppers.

If that's their final decision, please tell them to cram it with walnuts and have fun with their milquetoast contest. Because God forbid anyone mock this bastion of cultural high ground. I'm sorry, I meant to say "this diseased goiter of a show". I've seen some Tijuana donkey shows that are put on with more class and restraint. Not all, but some.

And call me cynical, but wouldn't some threat of legal action or someone taking offense give NBC exactly what they're looking for? PUblicity? I thought there was no such thing as bad publicity.

It's just ridiculous that this show/contest exists, much less anyone takes it seriously.

So, my dream is over. The people I actually dealt with at Granada were very cool. They say they went to bat for us, and I believe them. It’s just too bad that creativity, even vulgar creativity, is something to be feared rather than encouraged. I watched a few of the entrants over at a site I’m not going to link to. And they were dull. Someone bought some mildly obnoxious food and ate it. Ooohh…

We probably wouldn’t have won, but it would have been nice to have competed.

Goose here again. Just a few more thoughts. The biggest problem I had was the first response to us about our video not being about the subject matter. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see through that smoke screen. Our fears were only verified later on when the powers that be began chirping about the "celebrity content."

Honestly, I didn't want to edit the movie. I didn't think it would work, and I didn't want to give in. And I wanted to write a terribly scathing email to the organizers full of profanity links to court cases that defended our content. I wanted to put our video up and work tirelessly to make it the largest viral video the world has ever seen. But I ultimately left the decision up to Cline, as he was the one entered in the competition, put in the work in round 1, and may have really truly wanted to go to Costa Rica.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy, it, wish you could have voted on it, and ask you to send it along to a friend if you could. In my dream world, it takes the world by storm, and NBC execs fire everyone involved for stifling Cline's dream to meet a Baldwin (and after tonight, he may have been able to meet 2! The mind spins at the thought!)


AJ said...

1 vote for the Popcorn Trick. As a consolation, my brother is friends with the Arquettes. Wouldn't meeting David be just as Thrilling as Stephen?

Goose said...

I'm gonna say "yes" in the off chance that you can make it happen for me.

Flav said...

I'm so sleeped deprived I kept reading Granada as Grandpa, and couldn't, for the life of me figure out how you did "not comply with these Official Rules or meet Grandpa’s standards"
Anyhoo, sorry you got censored.

kgolrick said...

that was pretty funny, i think it was funnier with the voice-over about what cline was making.

J-Man said...

Does this mean we'll get to see a new Von Klauten masterpiece titled "Feathers"?

Court said...

Mostly I'm concerned that they cut you even though you had so many damn cool hats. Please tell me they are going to Gender Blender with us this weekend.

casey said...

cline should have been wearing panties

Andrew said...

Dude, you should have just eaten frog's legs or something. They eat that in france...ooooh disgusting. Seriously, your video was fantastic, the others so stupid. Hopefully this gets sent around so people can see how stupid they are.