Pop Quiz Hotshot Pilot: Recap Part 2

After reading the first part of this recap, you must be thinking, “Well, this is horrible, but it can’t get much worse…

…can it?”

So we come back from commercial break to this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 2.49.21 PM

See, the crew only had $90,000. It’s not like they could a build a maze with the prize at the end OR DO I SERIOUSLY HAVE TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK FOR THEM? They don’t have to build a maze like something out of Legends of the Hidden Temple for it to still be fun and challenging, but they could have at least tried to spend more than the minimal effort they put into this.

Max wins again, and you know what he gets?

It’s at this point in the pilot where you can see that everyone is beginning to run out of fucks to give, especially Brad. He notes how PQH found the mazes at a truck stop and just made them really big, and I totally believe it. I mean take one look at this and tell me he’s lying:

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 2.49.52 PM
I just now noticed that they didn’t finish painting the set.

We are also introduced to Colonel Kink (and by introduced I mean you learn his name in the credits), and he’s shouting random German for a minute before disappearing until the end of the show to shout some more random German. He’s literally on screen for about 1% of the show and has more lines than the General, who’s on screen for the rest of the 99%. Anyway, it’s time to learn about our contestants halfway through the show! We learn that John is in sales, and that he tells a story about how he went to an opera to get John de Lancie’s autograph on his tenth anniversary. Max says that he nearly drowned in a bathroom in Ireland:

We were staying at a hotel at the time…and I just went to the bathroom and the door was locked, but I didn’t know this while I put the tub on, and I tried to turn the water off and the water wasn’t turning off either. So I almost drowned in this bathroom I was locked in.

You know what, I’m not going to give this kid a hard time about this, seeing as Brad is giving Max a hard time about his low score.

Brad: Oh, one more thing, if I said the line, “Push the button, Max,” would you know what I was referencing?

Max: *presses button*

Brad: Yes?

Max: Oh, is this a question? *ponders*

*buzzer sounds*

Brad: D’uh-uh-uhhh. We’re not going to take away any points away from you. You’re already at thirty. He’s got 200. I just had to know if you knew some sweet Great Race trivia.

Max has been pressing the button, but since John presses his button midway through the questions (and for some reason Brad finishes most of the questions anyway instead of letting John squirm), Max rarely gets a chance to answer. We can all see the writing on the (unfinished) wall: Max is going to lose, and we still have 14 minutes of bullshit to slog through.

Oh boy!

The 90’s questions start and Max hits the button early (can’t imagine why) and Brad admonishes him for a minute before letting Max answer the question. The answer for this question is Are You Afraid of the Dark? but both Max and Brad think it’s Alone in the Dark so Max gets points. Thankfully, not everyone on this show is completely incompetent and they make the correction later on. The show drags on and Brad starts doing my job for me by pointing out the flaws in the game show.

“That was a lot of words for ‘Who’s the lead singer of Queen?”

“That’s exactly what [Bill Cosby]’s known for now, too! Kids say the darndest things! Look, we  made these questions several months ago.”

We get to the box “”””””challenge”””””” and Brad sounds about as enthusiastic as a kid being surprised at school with a pop quiz. Max loses, again, and must face what’s in the box. So what’s in the box?

Answer every question like Rita from the Power Rangers.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 2.57.19 PM
Poor, sweet Max.


Brad: You ready for some more 90’s questions?

Jiminy Cricket I’m 22 minutes in a 31 minute video MAKE IT STOP. MAKE IT END–

Brad: In The Nightmare Before Christmas, who do Lock, Shock, and Barrel mistakenly kidnap first?

Max: The Easter Bunny.

Brad: It’s the Easter Bunny. It’s how I ended up with Miss Stockholm. Thought I was kidnapping the Easter Bunny.

Brad: The 1996 Summer Olympic Bombing occurred in what U.S. city?

I would like to note that Brad inserted a very fake laugh as he was reading this question, and suddenly it hit me. Whoever added these really weird questions about terrorists and bombings did so because they thought it was funny. It’s apparently funny to mix jarring questions about national tragedies because “ho ho! It’s so out of place and dark that it’s hilarious!”

 It is a last-ditch effort at dark humor that falls flat on its delicate candy ass, just like the rest of this fucking show.

Another horn blows and Brad (while looking SO tired of this shit) makes the Alone in the Dark correction but doesn’t take points away from Max because he’s so far behind John. Brad tells the General to go and shoot Max. At least Max is starting to play the part of “oh no gunna die,” but John’s just all “see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.”

Later, bitch.
Laterz, biyotch.

Brad makes more unfunny jokes about cleavage and announces that John will go against the Nostalgia Critic. We have one more commercial break and then see Brad with John and…and John looks so done, guys. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.19.09 PM Brad does get one last jab at John before the final round with Nostalgia Critic, tho.

Brad: John, are you ready to face off against the final boss–

John: I am–

Brad: –the Nostalgia Critic?

John: I am most ready.

Brad: I could tell, you cut off my sentence there.

The Nostalgia Critic comes out and whines that John’s not dead, though you might have to crank up the volume on your computer considering that NC has no mic. Brad and NC make unfunny chit-chat about killing John. John continues to not give a shit. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.19.33 PM We then learn what the only fucking prize in this “prize filled wonderland” is given to the winner. Oh man, guys. It’s great. It’s so fucking great. Make sure you write your will and finalize funeral plans because this prize is going to knock. you. dead.

Are you ready?

Are you ready ready?

The prize is…….(drumroll, please)


Oh, but it gets better. See, if John loses, then that hundred dollars rolls into the next episode, the future contestants could win two hundred dollars, and it keeps adding and adding until someone wins it. To quote Brad here:

“If it keeps going someone could win a million dollars on this thing.”

EXCEPT NOT REALLY. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.20.03 PM If you haven’t figured out that this game is rigged yet, you will soon. We FINALLY get to the last fucking challenge of this shit fest. Brad reads a couple of lyrics from Disney love songs and instead of buzzing in like before, Brad shoves his mic in the face of either NC or John. John gets Megara’s song from Hercules, but he thinks it’s from Mulan. Brad points the mic to NC.

Brad: “Love is an open door/Life can be so much more”

NC: *hammy blank face* Mulan?

Brad: Frozen.

Nostalgia Critic/Doug Walker created this show. He knows all the answers, but when Brad gives him a question, he makes this face like he’s constipated from eating too much ham: Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.21.42 PM And he answers just enough questions correctly so that he’s only one ahead of the other contestant. This is why that million dollars will not be a guarantee: no one is going to win it. It wouldn’t surprise me at this point if they cancel the show to make sure that no one wins it. No one even gets a consolation prize. We all just fucking lose. John loses, and his “I’m so done with this bullshit” face mirrors my own. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.23.49 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 11.47.10 PM Nostalgia Critic is crowned and celebrates not having to spend money on prizes. Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.24.02 PM You would think that this show would be over, but we’re not done screwing that knife in my back yet. CA must have figured that I would find Miss Stockholm’s character sexist, so they had another meeting after choosing the theme of the show and said, “Y’know, we haven’t ruffled the feathers of the Owl enough. We need to really piss her off.” They decided to add a bonus scene after the stinger with Brad visiting Miss Stockholm in the dungeon.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.25.01 PM
This will end well.

Miss Stockholm: Well, as a strong female character I really shouldn’t like this but I can’t get over these cuffs! So soft!

GOOD JOB OF OTHERING YOUR ONLY WOMAN CHARACTER FURTHER BY HAVING HER RECOGNIZE THAT SHE IS A FAILED PARODY OF A CHARACTER TROPE. YOU GUYS ALL DESERVE BONUSES–oh wait, you already gave yourself a $100 bonus, never mind. Brad and Miss Stockholm taste the wall because Brad says it’s cotton candy, but nope, it’s asbestos!

Brad: We’re all gonna die!

Miss Stockholm: Can’t wait!

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.25.34 PM
They’re serious. #FreeTamara #FreeBrad

There is no heart in this show. There is no love. There is no soul. There is no fun. There is only pain. But you want to know what’s really funny? CA planned making 40 episodes of this, but spent $47,767.67 by the time they finally released this turd. They’re also planning on starting the comic book-based show (52 episodes) and EVENTUALLY the video game show (40 episodes). I… I just…

21 thoughts on “Pop Quiz Hotshot Pilot: Recap Part 2

  1. While I think the show is Michaud’s crapped out bullshit not Doug’s (Lupa said only Michaud wanted to do it and nobody else), Doug is the worst type of Frozenfen and will not stop going on about the film, so even the most goodwilled of people would get that he was bullshitting on that one. (and of course he’ll know all the answers anyway so this was a pointless nitpick)

    Also I didn’t catch the stinger at the end first time and I share your rage. CA the past few years has been really bad at the “we’ve tried everything and we’re all out of ideas” lampshading, and it’s both depressing and migraine-inducing cos I loved them for like five years and know they can write/improvise better.

    ..I’ve written too many words I’m sorry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “(and of course he’ll know all the answers anyway so this was a pointless nitpick)”
      I pointed it out as further evidence that the show is rigged and no one can win if NC knows all the answers.

      “and it’s both depressing and migraine-inducing cos I loved them for like five years and know they can write/improvise better.”

      My thoughts exactly.

      “..I’ve written too many words I’m sorry.”

      Heck no! Your comments were great! Thank you very much for taking the time to comment.


  2. “spent $47,767.67 by the time they finally released this turd”

    Holy crap, on WHAT, exactly? That’s a lot of money to spend on an empty room, paint, and a large maze puzzle.

    There’s definitely a way to make game shows fun and entertaining. This wasn’t it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. it’s been said that they spent most of the money donated on previously amassed debt on other projects on the website and what not, then finally got around to making the show with whatever scraps were left (my guess? 2000 dollars mostly toward paying the cast). not only is that against any fundraising websites policy, it’s illegal. literally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “it’s been said that they spent most of the money donated on previously amassed debt on other projects on the website and what not, ”

      Can I have a source for this please? I’m gathering info for the next episode I recap (since according to their indiegogo they shot 5 full episodes all together).


  4. Yeah, this more or less sums up my final thoughts after seeing that show. I remember for a while they were building this project up big time, then it kind of just faded into obscurity, then every now and then you’d hear updates at the end of NC videos like, “By the way, that thing we talked about is still happening!” “Send in your auditions!” that sort of thing. And after a certain point, it became like, who even cares anymore?

    I can only imagine what a disappointment it would be for the Indiegogo supporters (I didn’t donate to that; I believe they were also doing the charity drive at the time and it just seemed a bit excessive to contribute to CA’s new projects when there was this more worthy fundraiser – you know the drill). At least they released something, I guess, or else there’d be more trouble from IGG.

    That being said, I didn’t take it as a cue to give up on the site’s producers or anything. Just decided to follow Rob W.’s advice about Michael Bay by not watching Pop Quiz Hotshot again or giving it more unnecessary views. I can’t make the call on the show being fully irredeemable down the road, but it does seem like a misfire and if it just fizzles out after they release the filmed episodes that sounds fine. I’m not really invested in its future either way.

    Maybe the set can be salvaged for another CA movie. Not Guaranteed: Confessions of a Slumdog Hundredaire.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Maybe the set can be salvaged for another CA movie. Not Guaranteed: Confessions of a Slumdog Hundredaire.”
      Lmao I would enjoy that movie very much.

      I remember when they first were all “this show’s gonna be great guys!” and then suddenly no word for ages. I’m hoping there’s nothing nefarious behind the scenes (but I’m rather suspicious at this point considering the cheap-ass product we were given and the amount of money they say they spent on it) and rather that they had no definite plans for how the game show was going to be run except for the set and blew money on useless crap.


  5. Oh, sounds really bad, and considering the other stuff they have yet to begin with. Maybe they should bail out on these “projects” while they can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well it’d save a lot of people work and worry, that’s for sure, but you might have donators who report the campaign as a scam. Only time will tell which path Doug, Rob, and Mike M. take.


  6. I just can’t wrap my brain around how haphazard and clueless this thing is on a conceptual level. I mean the technical fail is unforgivable, but the creative fail is almost inconceivable. How can you spend two years not having any better ideas than this? Do they just not have a creative process? I’ll buy that Doug and his crew are only making this because Michaud wants it, but that only accounts for so much.

    Like… how about sticking to one nostalgic thing per episode. Did nobody concider that? Because it’d make a lot more sense. It gives each episode an identity and a focus. You get two contestants who are fans of a nostalgic thing, you talk to them about their fandom, so the audience has something to connect to. Then you have them compete to show who’s the biggest fan, so the contestants have a drive. You can use the quiz to tell the audience a bunch of stuff about this thing. You’ve even got a theme to hang your skits on.

    And seriously, of all the things they could take from Red Letter Media, they went with the old murder basement schtick. Which a) can’t be milked for comedy and b) has nothing to do with the 80s and 90s. It’s just a drag, embarrasing at best and unpleasant at worst. If you must host this in-character (and you really mustn’t), make it something that’s positive, funny and fits with the theme. Say the host grew up when TV was king and is trying to recreate that through a webshow. Get a theme going where there’s nostalgia on the one hand but an appreciation for what we have now on the other.

    But I think the stupidest damn thing they’ve done here (well, maybe) is making the contestants the butt of the joke. That can work in some contexts but here it increases your antipathy towards the show itself, especially since it pretty much kills Brad’s ability to host it properly. At the very least they need to spend some time warming these guys up before the show. You can’t just plonk regular people down in front of a camera and shoot, especially in a situation this forced and disorganised. But I guess I file that under technical incompetence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ” I’ll buy that Doug and his crew are only making this because Michaud wants it, but that only accounts for so much.”
      THIIIIIIS so much.

      The thing about ripping off RLM’s murder basement is that you half-ass it, it destroys the suspension of disbelief. If that’s how you’re going to do it, find contestants that enjoy RP and have them create characters of themselves to do that sort of gameshow. Or fashion it after Knightmare only the game show host is evil and lobs challenges at you.

      I agree with misscaseyw that I love your idea for a nostalgia show, and it would be both fun and entertaining!


      1. That seems to be one of the weaker points of the NC team is that when they attempt parody or high-concept plotlines and story-arcs, they either don’t go far enough with it so that it feels inconsistent (like the dungeon theme in Pop Quiz Hotshot), or they rely too heavily on references that consist of little more than “substitute such-and-such names in this movie quote with something to do with critics or generic tropes” (which is what a lot of To Boldly Flee seemed to be about). And then they constantly lampshade their tropes – which is a way of saying “d’you get it? d’you get it? D’YOU GET IT?” (Case in point, Ms. Stockholm at the end there).

        Shows like Community can do lampshading and high-concept pretty well, even when it gets ridiculous you somehow just accept that their world operates on these bizarre situations. And while the NC reviews get criticized a lot for their use of these “plotlines”, they work far better in the context of a comedic review than in a three-hour movie about critics (see TBF again). I guess it comes down to “do what you do best” and at this point, reviews and shorter sketch comedy are their specialty while game shows and running storylines (i.e. Demo Reel) are almost a little out of their league. At the very least they require a different set of writing skills and acting than what they tend to go for in NC stuff. You could admire them for taking risks like that, unfortunately they don’t pay off quite as often as they probably hoped.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks (to both of you)! But to be fair it coming up with an idea _is_ the easy part. Making it work episode after episode is another matter. You’d have to research a subject every week, because at least some of your questions have to be tricky or obscure. It’s much more time-consuming than wiki-ing a bunch of 80s media.

        But then if they want to move beyond riffs and references, that’s what it takes. You can’t make more involved entertainment without a more involved creative process. TV shows aren’t written by a couple of guys in a day or two.


  7. I enjoyed your review of the game show. While I thought it was okay, I was happy to hear about someone else’s perspective on it. You have changed some of my opinions on it. While I still like the idea of having characters on a game show, I now believe that the depictions aren’t the best. I look forward to continuing to watch the show and read your blog! I’m sorry if I sound rude or annoying. Have a wonderful day!


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