So here I am, minding my own business while binge watching Steven Universe when my phone alerts me to a new comment here on The Giddy Owl. I pause my binge watching and read this:
I thought I was free. I honestly thought they bailed since Rob Walker (Doug Walker’s aka Nostalgia Critic’s brother and one of the big three that run Channel Awesome) put up a Facebook post about reshooting the first week of May, with the goal of four episode in one go to be released over the month. I don’t check in with CA anymore and none of the producers I follow mentioned anything on Twitter, so I genuinely forgot about it. Until today. Anyway, let’s start of with Brad Jones and the pointless min–
Wait, what the hell?
Oh my god it is a microphone! I can actually hear him introduce our contestants, Ryan and Tom, before he jabbers away as our contestants race each other to take off all of Batman’s Bat Nipples. No, I’m serious.
It’s a ridiculous game that’s clumsily shot with NC jabbering on in the background, but my god, it works! It’s fun and a little funny two watch two strangers race each other to pick up the most Bat Nipples from handmade Batman cardboard cut-outs. So far, a better step forward than the pilot episode–until we hit the opening that explains the theme of the show:
I’m the Nostalgia Critic, and ever since I was a child I always wanted to play games, quoting movies and TV with my friends. The only problem was I had no friends.
Nostalgia Critic then boasts that now that he has “power” he can kidnap all the friends he wants with the help of his pal General Anesthetic (I’m guessing his power is money since he paid off the General), and make them play his games in his Saved By the Bell style set.
No, this doesn’t need an explanation. It really just highlights how far you’re reaching to excuse the simpleness of the set design. NONE of this needs this superfluous backstory bullshit. All this show needs is, “Hi! I’m [the host], and it’s time for a Pop Quiz, Hotshot!”
The show begins and instantly you see as well as hear the improvements. You can hear everyone much clearer now. The shadow in the background really helps hide the flaws the set as well as make it easier on the eyes to watch. Oh, and the biggest improvement? EVERYONE LOOKS LIKE THEY WANT TO BE THERE.
The show hasn’t even started and the two contestants are hamming it up as being captured by the NC (in front of an actual audience that consists of more than two people), playing off him as NC explains to them how much he wants friends, and they’re his friends now, aren’t they? This is not to say that our previous contestants, Max and John, didn’t want to be there. They did want to be there and were trying to make the show fun, but that it fell flat due to exhaustion and Brad Jones not really engaging well with the contestants. It also doesn’t help that Brad Jones looked like he was more and more done with the show the longer it ran on.
I know that there are people who are disappointed that NC took the helm as host when Brad Jones was the best thing about the previous episode. However, I’d rather have a host who looks like he actually wants to be there (especially if he doesn’t want the project to go belly-up), than a host who clearly doesn’t want to be there and likened it to having Battlefield Earth on a résumé.
Anyway, let’s learn about our–WAIT, WE’RE ACTUALLY BEING INTRODUCED TO OUR CONTESTANTS FROM THE GET-GO?
RYAN: I do work as an engineer for a Popeye radio broadcast we do for the Popeye Fan Club. Every year the weekend after Labor Day there’s a three-day Popeye festival in Chester, Illinois, the creator’s home town, and we have a live radio broadcasting character voice and I am the broadcast engineer for that.
I wonder if Tom can top tha–wait a minute, Tom got points for winning the mini-game? Oh my god. OH MY GOD, A GAME WITHIN A GAME SHOW HAS A PURPOSE!
Tom goes into how he was born to a Dr. Pepper and that his last name (beverage) is spelt differently. Nostalgia Critic says he’s lucky that they aren’t kidnapping people and hopefully one of them will make it out alive, but first we have to have General Anesthetic go over the rules. Wait, wait, wait, wait. General Anesthetic actually gets a SPEAKING ROLE?!?!?!
You want to know what else is a goddamn miracle? The rules have even improved.
Each contestant is given a nostalgia based question, and the contestant has to either answer correctly or make the NC laugh. No more contestants hitting the buzzer before the question is finished, plus a chance for the losing contestant to make up points and make the game challenging. Everything is looking up until we learn about the Spazzies.
When they appear, each contestant has to hit their buzzer. The first to hit their buzzer ends the first round and avoids a “spaz attack,” while the other contestant has to pay a penalty for round two. I’ve got a bad feeling about these Spazzies.
In the second round, the questions become harder. The contestant with the most points wins the chance to go against the Nostalgia Critic. If the contestant wins, they walk out with a cash prize and their lives. If they lose, the cash prize is added to the next game’s winnings.
The game gets started and even the questions are much more succinct that before. To compare, here’s a question from the pilot:
Made In Heaven was the first album by the rock group that contained posthumous vocals for the lead singer who died before its release.
And here’s a question in this current episode:
In The Avengers, what character said, “We have a hulk?”
The questions are mainly about identifying movie quotes in this first round. Tom seems to know the majority of these quotes. Ryan, unfortunately, doesn’t know as much as Tom, but when he doesn’t know something he tries to make something funny out of it. I mean sure, a few of these fall flat but when they hit their mark like so:
NC: Ryan, In Being John Malkovich which character said, “I have seen a world that no man should see.
Ryan: Santa Christ.
It’s great. Having the contestants add their own jokes to the show adds some variety to the show as a whole and helps the audience connect with the contestants a bit more because now you’re seeing their personalities. I also have to mention that the show just seems so much more livelier now that we have a sizable audience laughing along and music in the background to replace any dea–
Fucking Spazzies. *clutches chest*
Tom avoids the spaz attack, meaning Ryan gets punished. Exactly how will he get punished, you ask? Find out next time in Part 2 of this recap, coming a lot sooner than this first part I promise.