When NBC aired a live musical last year for the first time in decades, it probably didn't expect what happened. With Carrie Underwood,There Klang there Music livewas meant to take a beloved holiday tradition and give it a new twist for a modern audience.
And by the ratings at least, it was a huge hit, attracting over 18 million viewers. But if you turned on Twitter while the musical was airing, it might have seemed like all these people were just watching to poke fun at it.
as i watch#TheSoundOfMusicLiveall I can think about is, Jesus, please take the wheel!– Ash Greyson (@AshGreyson)December 6, 2013
I'm Jewish, but I might have to root for the Nazis in this case#TheSoundOfMusicLive– David Brody (@David_Brody)December 6, 2013
"Julie Andrews twirls in her grave." "Julie Andrews is not dead." "She will be after seeing this."#TheSoundOfMusicLive– Brian Hall (@tauycreek)December 6, 2013
So, when NBC airedPeter-Pan-Live last week, cast and crew were well prepared.In fact, according to this interview with Allison Williams, who played the title role, everyone involved knew crowds of social media users were just waiting for the curtain to rise so they could start tweeting the Peter puns they were making had prepared all month .
"People love to hate things," she says. "People are very cynical. It makes TV a lot more fun that way.”
But unlike many expectedPeter-Pan-Livewas not a disaster. In fact, it was a lot better thanSound of Music Live. IfJessica Goldsteinnoticed at ThinkProgress, that was kind of a disappointment. "The biggest disappointment of the night was that it just wasn't disappointing enough. That wasn't the kind of thing to hate. That was a meh watch.”
Granted, that didn't mean there weren't hate tweets (examples below). It just means the hate tweets were kinda different than last year, as DC Theater critic John Dellaporta put itRemarks.
If last year was toxic, this year was just spicy. Haters will hate it, sure, but the general timbre of the tweets was lighter, like the kind of jokes you'd expect during a Tony Awards or Oscars airing or an episode ofScandal. ... you got the feeling that this time it was just for fun.
You see, hate watching, like so many things, is a continuum, from people who enjoy joking about something to outright meanness that doesn't keep the spirit of good criticism. Let's explain.
What is Hate Watching?
Hate-watching is watching a show or movie you don't think you'll like in order to be able to talk about how much you didn't like it, either during the show (on social media) or thereafter.
Hate watching often serves as an additional punchline to what is being observed. It is performative - almost as performative as the hate product. As a television criticRyan McGeetold me in an email: "It's meant to be consumed along with the show as an exclamation, punch line or lament about what happened on screen."
For example the pun heard during "around the world".Peter-Pan-Livewas a riff on "Walken the Plank". That particular joke was only vaguely amusing when Captain Hook (played by Christopher Walken) ... walked the plank.
can i see some examples
Secure. Here are some of the most hateful tweets about Peter Pan Live.
I wish I had worse seats.#PeterPanLive— Jesse Berney (@jesseberney)December 5, 2014
#PeterPanLivefeels like Liz Lemon is spending an entire episode talking Jack Donaghy out of it– Matt Ford (@fordm)December 5, 2014(Video) Velma and "Hate Watching"
"is he playing?" -the room#PeterPanLive— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes)December 5, 2014
#PeterPanLivemakes you nostalgic for the good old days#SoundOfMusicLiveEy.— JoeMyGod (@JoeMyGod)December 5, 2014
Are there different types of hate watching?
One possibility is a malicious form of hate watching, where you tune in to a show and really hope it sucks. That's the way many hatesound of music. Surely some tuned in out of sheer curiosity, wondering if the country pop star could reinvent the iconic role of Julie Andrews. But for the most part, the ethos on Twitter was OMG LOL WUT KILL ME.
However, there's also another type of hate watching where, even though you think the show is likely to be bad, you tune in hoping it will surprise you because, deep down, you really, secretly, want that she will be good. The difference is that the second type of hate-watching will reserve final judgment until the entire show—or at least a significant portion of it—has been seen. In the end, it seemed like most were watchingPeter-Pan-Liveand either found it better than expected or just kind of boring fell into this camp.
Christopher Walken and Allison Williams. (ABC)
Is that good criticism?
Hate-watching isn't really criticism — it's more like live-tweeting, as McGee noted. "Both are instantaneous, performative responses to a piece of pop culture that exist in parallel for a limited time.” A defining characteristic of hate watching is its immediacy. "It's based on both time zones and content," says McGee.
In contrast, he says, "criticism is thoughtful in nature and is written out after an entire episode or series has aired." He also notes that criticism aims to judge a play for what it is while it is Hate-watching, on the other hand, judges a play for what it isn't. A prime example of this would be the many tweets rightfully pointing out the brazenly obvious fact that Carrie Underwood isn't Julie Andrews. a critic might offer this as a discarded observation; For a hate watcher, it could be the subject of many tweets.
What is good criticism is even more difficult to answer.
Many brilliant theorists have grappled with this question for as long as there has been art to criticize. One of the authors whose thoughts on the subject are best known is Alexander Pope, who authored the bookAn essay on criticism in the early 18th century. This is how Pope begins his poem:
It's hard to say if the lack of skills is greater
appearing ill in writing or in judging,
But of the two the offense is less dangerous,
Tire our patience than deceive our mind:
A few in it, but numbers err in it,
Ten censure wrong for one who spells wrong;(Video) Hate Watching And Outrage Culture
A fool could once alone expose,
Now One in verse makes many more in prose.
In these opening lines, Pope asks his reader which is worse: to create a bad work of art or to create a bad work of criticism? The former is "less dangerous" for him than the latter because it's harmless. We look at a bad work of art and say, "Okay, that's bad." And then we assume it.
On the other hand, it is more difficult to detach from bad criticism because it affects our aesthetic sensibilities that accompany us throughout life. That's hate-watchingmaywork similar to criticism.
For example,Peter-Pan-LiveThe hate watchers were able to anticipate that, becauseSound of Music Livebecame primarilyrememberedfor everyone who hates it. It's hard to think aboutsound of musicwithout even thinking about the hate tweets. The hate-watching is more important to the show's legacy than the show itself.
You are too strict with hate watching!
Look, we're not saying there's no value in hate-watching or that you should never do it. As James Poniewozik notesTime, ThereIsa plea for snappy television—especially when the big bucks behind the network launch an offensive against the expected hate-watching. In response to Williams' anti-hate watching pleas, Poniewozik hadThesay:
Spare me. ...I won't blame anyone for being skeptical about a production when NBC has cast its news anchor's (very talented!) daughter as the lead, or when the network has been heavily promoting the musical on its specials, morning shows, and talk shows for weeks .
By all means, try to love things... [but] when celebrities and already powerful corporations vaccinate themselves against criticism on the grounds that "haters gonna hate"... snark isn't just allowed, it's mandatory.
Instead of trying to vaccinate in advance from hate watchers, Poniewozik told me networks should prove these critics wrong."Don't give your audience orders! Give them a production of a show good enough that they'll uncynically appreciate it on their own terms."
McGee agrees that producers and broadcasters should pay attention to hate watching as it is a valuable and "broader perspective beyond the writers' room or a production meeting.” Sometimes a show's most loyal viewers are the hate watchers, and it's probably a good idea for the networks to at least acknowledge them, says McGee.
I need a break. Can we talk about Christian Borle's biceps?
Good idea! Christian Borle, who played both Mr. Darling and Smee, caused quite a stir on Twitter — or at least he didhis sleeveless wardrobe did.
But did you know that you can useTwitterboth to the hate watchAndDo you follow Borles biceps? We're not kidding.
Shows that are often watched by hate know that they are watched by hate?
some do. Think aboutSharknado, who celebrated her social media frenzy. Or most reality TV. The producers who fund these shows know that people don't tune in to appease their discerning tastes.
What they want, on the other hand, is to see Ian Ziering slice his way through a fake-looking shark while delivering mindless one-liners.
At the same time, a hate watch product cannot betoaware of its badness - it can't "get in the joke" otherwise it's a camp product, which is another matter entirely. Emma Brockes noted thisThe guard: "To be successful, a tiny, delusional part of those responsible [for the Hate Watch product] must hold on to the hope that they have done something good."
Why do people hate shows?
Difficult question! Tim Goodman wondered the same thingHollywood-Reporter. How can you, he wonders, in addition to the shows you actually like, "have enough time left to hate a showIs that what annoys you the most?"
The answer is simple: because what you say you hate, you don't actually hate.
That's the irony of hate-watching, as McGeet told me: if you really hate a show, turn it off. "Nobody really hates something they actually hate," says McGee. "What they hate is the execution, not the premise, which means hate watching means grappling with the power of the idea versus the power of their reality."
As McGee notes, not all hate watching is necessarily motivated by malice. "Hate watching is really about a particular episode, show, or genre not living up to the high standards that a viewer, fair or unfair, holds for that piece of pop culture."
In other words, hate watching exists because shows that have skipped the shark exist. Those who hate see their way throughsmashedorThe newsroomdo so because they are frustrated with all the wasted potential.
Madeleine Davies offers a different perspectiveJezebel. Her hunch is that we secretly love the things we hate, but in order to "protect ourselves and our street beliefs," we feel we need to "coat our... tastes in a layer of irony."
There could be another reason for at least some of the hate. AccordinglyFrom the door, much of the backlash againstsound of musicAndPeter Panwas voiced by the theater community itself.
People in the theater community don't seem to respond well to "stunt casting," so to speak. We're in a tough game and I think it hits a primal nerve when someone doesn't have to go through the fight that we're having.
Is Hate Watching Problematic?
In general, there's probably nothing wrong with hating a show as long as it's fun. But two notes of caution here.
First, people who hate a show often decide the show is a disaster before it even airs.So the question is: are hate-watching audiences even open to having their minds changed?
Poniewozik told me he doesn't like this question because it "depends on reading the minds of people who don't agree with me. 'These guys can't really believe this! They're just trying to hate it!' How am I really?knowledgethat?" In other words, maybe all the people who hate that stuffreally, deep down, reallydespise what they see.
At the same time, Poniewozik sees where that could be a problem. "When you approach anything in life, entertainment or anything else, mainly from an 'I'm not going to be a sucker' point of view, and you preemptively deny everything in advance so that you can't be proven a sucker later. .. Yes that is sad."
Second, Hate Watching should be done in moderation, lest it become our default mode of observing—both on and off screen. A mind trained to first look for the bad in something will likely find it easy to find the bad in something. On the other hand, a mind trained to see the good... well, you get the point.
But in the end Poniewozik told me"I'm not sure if there's any less genuine enjoyment of really good things in the world because of hate-watching.
So enjoy hate-watching, by all means. But don't forget to enjoy things along the way — and to realize that a deep, dark part of you that thinks you despise what you're watching might secretly love it. Like everyone else, you are complicated. hug it
Vox journalism is free because we believe everyone deserves to understand the world they live in. This kind of knowledge helps create better citizens, neighbors, friends, parents, consumers, and stewards of this planet. In short: understanding benefits everyone. You can join this mission by making a financial donation to Vox today. Reader support helps keep our work free for everyone.
yes i give $120/Year
yes i give $120/Year