Monday, August 5, 2013

A Short Eulogy for "Yeah, It's That Bad"

The internet lost a great show last week when the movie review podcast Yeah, It's That Bad (or YITB to those in the know) went dead. Its website, YouTube catalog, and iTunes feed, along with all archived files just suddenly vanished. It lasted 2 1/2 years, 129 official episodes, 9 "After Dark" bonus episodes, and 4 Premium episodes.

Its last episode, The Mummy Returns, was released right on schedule, on a Tuesday, just as the show had consistently done just about every week. However, it began with an unfamiliar opening disclaimer by hosts Joel, Martin, and Kevin (no last names, as always), who came right to the point and explained that the show may soon be at its end. Beyond that, no explanation was offered. Martin insisted that there was a good reason for the vaguery, and that the issue somehow personally affected one host if not more. Soon afterwards, that episode and all previous episodes were yanked off of the web. Attempting to visit yeahitsthatbad.com left you at a Blogger "access restricted" page, and the updated feed on iTunes was suddenly and somewhat ominously renamed "Dead Air."

The show had, over its life, grown a moderate following of dedicated fans, who in the confusion or frustration of the past week gathered in the last bastion of YITB fandom that remains online, the show's Facebook page. Under the last group post, which linked (now broken) to the last episode on iTunes, the hosts had referred to the important announcement in the audio file. Fans soon began commenting on the post with their reactions, rangeing from confused innocence (Hey, I can’t access your site), to anger (What’s going on? We deserve an answer!!). But mostly fans wrote in to express their gratitude to the show and hopes that whatever was behind the end of it, it wasn’t too serious.

Within the same post, almost lost in the throngs of comments, the official YITB page then commented on its own post, seemingly confirming that the shutdown was for good and that, contrary to initial speculation, they were not being sued. Beyond that there was no further explanation as to the cause, whether they shut themselves down voluntarily or not, whether the show had affected their work life or personal life, or whether we would ever hear from them again. In the absence of answers, fans milled about the page over the next few days, airing their grief or saluting the show by quoting running jokes. Whatever the cause, we were suddenly and very personally reminded of how much we had invested ourselves in the show, many professing very strong degrees of sadness and the impression that they had literally lost some good friends. It is only right and proper that we should reflect back on the show and discuss why, to a select group of followers, it was so important.

There is no current lack of podcasts about movies out there, but I tend to lump three different shows together that stand out from the pack: How Did This Get Made?, Half in the Bag, and YITB. Each first appeared around the same time in early 2011, routinely discuss and review bad movies, relish in sneering at their worst elements, and are hosted by a group of close personal friends who are extremely funny, often by being shamelessly hyperbolic, ironic, occasionally scatological, and hypercritical. After that the differences and idiosyncrasies of the shows start to emerge, and you will permit me to compare and contrast them.

How Did This Get Made? is based out of LA and hosted by professional comedians and actors Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas. Paul Scheer is perhaps the best known of the three from his TV roles, such as on Human Giant. Their show is released biweekly, with a “mini-episode” in between revealing what the next episode will be. In full episodes they dive right into the plot of the movie, go over the main plot points, and highlight especially bizarre or confounding scenes, interjecting jokes and humorous commentary. They also invite a guest comedian or celebrity on for each full episode, usually someone they have worked with, but sometimes an actor or director involved with the film they are reviewing.

This is the show’s strength, as comedy nerds come for the distinct personalities and comic sensibilities of the hosts and guests, and movie nerds get some insider info on Hollywood. This also leads to the shows main weakness, which is that by being tied to the Hollywood system, the show’s hosts seem to self-censor themselves so as to not offend friends or associates who have worked on the movies they might review. Indeed, they steer clear on a lot of crap that are fodder for other podcasts because of this, instead directing their jokes at untouchable, A-list celebrities they would never be allowed to work with anyway, like Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, and Jennifer Lopez, or choosing safe films from the 80’s like Howard the Duck, Superman III, or Mac & Me.

They also tend to favor movies that are ridiculous or over-the-top, rather than just flat out bad (Gary Oldman played a dwarf in a movie called Tiptoes?!!). And while they have good rapport (Scheer and Raphael are married) and distinct individual personalities, episodes can sometimes get bogged down in minutiae as the hosts struggle just to agree between themselves what actually happened in the films, and occasionally there will be an episode where, if you haven’t personally seen the film in question, you might have no real idea what it really was about after an hour straying from the topic. The bi-weekly schedule of the full episodes also makes it fall behind the standards of many podcasters, though the difficulty of scheduling three or four professional television actors and comedians must be considerable. All in all, though, a great show for movie and comedy lovers.

Half in the Bag is actually a web video series rather than an audio podcast, based out of Milwaukee and hosted by the independent filmmakers Mike Stoklasa, Jay Bauman, and Rich Evans, all of Red Letter Media. The company and the filmmakers first gained internet fame from their analyses of the Star Trek movie franchise and especially the Star Wars prequels. Half in the Bag puts the hosts in front of the camera, where they review new releases, though sometimes thematically pairing them with an older, usually low budget film. The production value of the reviews is fairly high, with excellent lighting, sound, and camera work, and tightly written comedic sets that serve to frame the extemporaneous film reviews.

Coming from an independent background, the movies they review tend to be high-budget Hollywood blockbusters and comedies starring A-List actors. The films are not preselected for being bad films, but rather as typical films from the Hollywood system. Thus, they tend to subject the films to criticism of being “shlock,” dumbed down to appeal to a broad audience, or cynical in their effort to bring in big money rather than aim for quality storytelling. Though they can project a snobby, film-school air, they usually make valid points, and it is often hard to defend the products and practices of the megalithic studios they criticize. Far from them being elitist film scholars, however, they are obviously film geeks that love low-budget, so-bad-it’s-good movies, frequent comics and sci-fi conventions, and have a soft spot for auteurs like Sam Raimi and John Waters.

Scornful of Hollywood, and with no need to pander to it, they don’t hold punches like How Did This Get Made? does, yet as filmmakers they are still able to share insight on the movie-making process. And despite not being professional comedians, they have distinct personalities, are whip-smart, irreverently funny, and satirical. They are also lovably un-telegenic as far as Hollywood is concerned. However, they play the role of hosts well enough to rarely offer personal details about themselves. And rather than having a set schedule, episodes are released when they are released, though given the high-production values and the gaps in when notable film are released, this is understandable.

Fittingly, Yeah, It’s That Bad was geographically distinct from the other two shows, as it was based in New Jersey where the hosts live and grew up in. It was also distinct for being the show with the youngest hosts, and I think this slight generational difference is part of why the show has become so important to a select group of people. While How Did this Get Made?’s hosts range from their mid-thirties to early forties, and Half in the Bag’s hosts seem to be in around their mid-thirties, YITB’s crew was in around their late twenties, going on 30. This gave them a boyish air, while still being articulate and worldly enough to know what they were talking about.

Besides their ages, other information about their identities were released piecemeal through clues scattered throughout the course of the show. This getting to know them little by little allowed the listeners to feel as though they were meeting them personally, and their positions as young graduates transitioning into their professional lives made them especially kindred to the first generation of Facebook users. The perception of knowing them as close friends was magnified in other ways, despite how much of an effort the hosts made to keep a lid on details that would reveal their true identities.

Unlike the other two shows, YITB was created without much of a plan. Joel, the main host of the show, came across some audio equipment that he had intended to use for creating YouTube videos but had found to not be adequate, and rather than letting them go to waste he decided to host a podcast, despite having no experience doing so. Martin, who Joel had met and befriended in college, agreed to give it a go with him.

It is interesting to go back and hear the first couple episodes, which were noticeably ad-hoc, had no established format, and did not yet even have a name for the show. The guys knew enough that they liked talking about movies, so they picked some DVD’s lying around Joel’s apartment that had been picked up for cheap at a Blockbuster closing, and chose some to talk about. This included the somewhat obscure The Unborn, The Uninvited, and Whiteout (Joel must have started at the end of the alphabet at that store) as well as Vanilla Sky and Freddy Got Fingered. The dialogue between Joel and Martin was certainly friendly but somewhat unfocused, with them basically asking each other what they thought of the movie and then laughing at each other’s comments. Later listeners to the podcast would be surprised to hear the sub-par audio levels, gaps in conversation, lack of background music, and minimal editing that were typical of the first half dozen episodes. I must admit that having become an avid listener of the show once I discovered it, I took the hosts’ advice and skipped over most of these episodes.

Despite these early growing pains, a few elements that would persist throughout the show were introduced, including Joel’s gregarious, manic energy, contrasting with Martin’s more measured tone (given additional gravitas by the lower octave of his voice) which belied his somewhat obscure video game and Anime references, Joel’s infectious, hearty laugh, the evident familiarity between the two hosts and their mutual references to eclectic pop-culture, and their tendency to punctuate their conversation with somewhat juvenile jokes in a self-aware manner.

Once the concept of the show focused on re-evaluating movies that got a rotten consensus on Rotten Tomatoes and the show was given its title, its format gradually began to take form. Comedies were banned with the theory that something so subjective as comedy could not be adequately judged. Shows began by introducing the film with its principal actors and a brief synopsis of the plot and ended with their definitive evaluation of the film compared to the critics’ reviews, complete with a 1-5 score system borrowed from Netflix. But for a little while YITB was still finding its legs. On the Episode 5, Vanilla Sky, the guys were joined by Carissa, who later was revealed to be a girl Martin was dating at the time. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone enjoyed the experience, and she would not appear in any other episodes (nor did the courtship last).

The turning point turned out to be Episode 7, Gamer. This particular episode became infamous within the YITB community for apparently being so unfocused, vulgar, replete with “hootin’ and hollerin“, and so perceived as being chauvinistic, that it was panned by listener reviews and made Joel genuinely take a good look at his process. In fact, for a while there Joel completely removed the offending episode from the archives, until its notoriety outgrew its offensiveness and it was re-released. Honestly, after the initial uproar passed, it’s hard to see what the big deal is about.

In any case, Joel and Martin returned with Episode 8 committed to improving the show’s quality and gain back the respect of their listeners. They had previously announced the next film to be London starring Jason Statham, Dane Cook and Jessica Biel, but apparently changed their minds to review Twilight instead. Their choice was an inspired one and resulted in the tradition, starting with Episode 50, of reviewing each Twilight sequel every 25 episodes, effectively once every six months. Getting to the next chapter in the Saga became a kind of milestone, in which new announcements for the course of the show were announced, and it certainly provided some closure to fans that they managed to complete the Saga in Episode 125, four episodes before the show ended.

The Twilight episode contained a higher level of criticism of the film’s characters and plot, and went further into evaluating the actors than previous episodes. Their analysis of the character of Bella Swan and the theory that she acts as wish fulfillment character to author Stephenie Meyer and represented what in literature is called a “Mary Sue,” an overly idealized, flawless character, was particularly enthralling. And recapturing some respectability lost in Episode 7, they approached the subject of their review by acknowledging that they did not belong to the tween girl demographic that it was targeting, and treated their review with that knowledge. That made their subsequent ripping apart of the film that much more effective. They took a movie that I have never seen, and managed to talk about it so vividly that I felt as though I could see it play out in front of me in all its terrible glory.

In addition, Joel showed the first signs of streamlining the show through the use of tight editing, and the two hosts possessed more of a sense of command in their voices, confidence with turns of phrase, and other overlooked aspects of spoken language important to broadcasting. Joel also began involving the listeners more, inviting them to write in emails with their opinions and suggestions for future episodes, and demonstrating a seriousness in the show by promoting the use of iTunes ratings and Facebook likes. In addition, Joel announced that iTune’s had placed them on their “New and Notable” podcasts list, greatly expanded YITB’s listeners. The hosts themselves consider this episode to be the official beginning to the real show.

Following hard on the heels of such a good episode, Episode 9, Lost in Space was released and gave us our first introduction to Kevin. Kevin was originally intended to be something of an understudy to Martin, filling in when the latter was unavailable, but it soon became obvious that the new guy was as indispensable to the show as anyone else. In this episode, the boys furthered the tradition of giving some background about how they first became familiar with the movie in question, while simultaneously providing some interesting information on the relationship between Joel and Kevin, which goes even further back than that between Joel and Martin. Lost in Space was actually a rather important movie to their budding relationship in high school, being one of their first man-dates outside of class, and the oddities of the film left them equally befuddled and left them a kind of bad-movie blood brothers.

Kevin’s contribution to the podcast was immediately clear. Despite coming in several episodes into the show, he demonstrated a naturality with the format and revealed the long-standing rapport he had with Joel. Whereas Joel is the instigator and the more hyper of the three, with Martin the more dignified, cocky and judgmental, Kevin is the more skeptical, understated, and realistic voice of reason. He has a tendency to interject incredulously when the topic turns to something so stupid or without logic that it has to be brought up.

Thus the triumvirate was formed, though unbelievably it wasn’t until Episode 37, The Mummy, that the three would appear all together in one episode (it is therefore altogether fitting that their final episode was The Mummy Returns). Until then the show seemingly operated as it had originally intended to, with Kevin filling in when Martin was unavailable. From Episode 37 on, though, it was rarer that one would be missing than when all three were together. The unvarying constant was always Joel, who helmed and edited every episode.

Once they were all together, it was perfectly clear that instead of crowding the show, they checked and balanced each other perfectly. Joel was the snickering smart-mouth, preferring to goad his co-hosts into reacting to some absurdity he said and then laughing like a madman at their reactions. At other times he would challenge them on their statements, pressing for them to defend themselves. Martin mostly kept his cool with short, pithy declarations or dismissive remarks, which made it all the more gratifying when he would lose it and loudly vent his frustration, all while Joel cackled with delight. Kevin was always the most subdued, but when he chimed in he always made a good, though sometimes fussy, point. His pronounced stance against what he considered to be absurd and his tendency to get flustered at some perceived mistruth or injustice left him prone to Joel and Martin, whose mischievous attempts to level against him some unfounded claim would invariably get a rise out of him, at which point Joel would again cackle like a madman. Somewhat unfairly, Kevin would turn out to face the brunt of the listeners’ mockery, perhaps being perceived as a weak, weak man for his higher-pitched voice and stated commitment to monogamy with his wife.

Along the way YITB would increase their listener participation. A very old-school method that Joel set up early on was a voicemail number that listeners could call into and leave their opinions. Joel would then broadcast a compilation of different callers at the end of a review. I have no idea how much work Joel went into cutting together these calls. There was also a web poll that allowed listeners to vote between two different movies that were offered to them. Thus the majority got to decide to have the guys review Armageddon rather than Deep Impact, and Dante’s Peak rather than Volcano. While these features eventually fell to the wayside, listener emails were a regular staple that provided some terrific material to the mix, creating along the way a few semi-celebrities such as Myles, whose expert firearms knowledge proved a reliable source of Mythbusters-esque information whenever the guys had a gun related question about the films. The most successful listener interaction to take place was “Sponsor an Episode,” where Joel, who had spent a small fortune in time and money creating the free podcast, offered to review any (within reason) movie of the sponsor’s choice for a mere $50. The promotion was such a success that after the donations deadline passed after a few weeks in mid-2012, there were enough sponsored episodes to last for nearly a year. They were barely completed by the time the show came to an end. I myself put down $100 for them to review both Point Break and Art School Confidential.

As the show continued, it also breathed life into an ever expanding vocabulary of inside jokes and recurring jokes. The fact that these appeared naturally on the show, and that the hosts would never laugh between themselves at some personal inside joke that was unfamiliar to the audience, allowed the listeners to feel very involved with the hosts and as part of the group. Indeed, listener mail was often peppered with instances of these jokes. These included increasing levels of hyperbole (That car was going one thousand miles an hour/ten billion miles per second/one hundred trillion light years per nanosecond), alliteration (Piss poor performance perpetrated...), a beef-o-meter, weak weak weak men, ringing a bell, extremely high temperatures in YITB world headquarters, reverence for patron saints such as Nicolas Cage and Dennis Quaid, “Huh! It was you!”, “Pin me, pay me,” “Follow the money,” etc. etc. Detractors of the show usually pointed to the copious laughter as their reason to being annoyed. That same laughter, however, was a favorite of most fans, who found it demonstrated the genuine rapport between the hosts, while making the listener feel like part of the gang.

Besides these recurring sources of laughter, as time went on certain offhand remarks or references became spontaneous points of question or serendipitous causes for delight. One of these occasions was Kevin flippantly saying that he didn’t like The Pirates of the Caribbean for some unspecified reason. Listeners would periodically hound him for answers, until a sponsored episode reviewing the film was released this past May, and it was revealed to great groaning that the point of contention was the mere placement of a boat in a pivotal scene. In another case, Joel listed shaving as a hobby of his, and thus a running joke amongst listener mail was born that never really petered out.

Other factors that made the show so appealing was their ability to seamlessly transition from joke mode to seriousness so as to avoid offending any listeners. Otherwise, reviewing a movie like The Perfect Storm would have been impossible to tackle, given the true origin of the film. But in this case, they deftly persuaded the listener from the beginning that the parts they would be laughing about (piss-yellow beards, bad Boston accents, shooting sharks in the head with shotguns) were the results of choices made by the filmmakers, and not about the people they were portraying. Their ability to casually trade barbs and quips, while showing a sufficient amount of restraint to see that their jokes landed with the right effect on the right targets, demonstrated just how naturally gifted the guys were comically. Likewise, accusations against them of sexism, racism, homophobia, chauvinism, and snobbery were completely unfounded if you listened to what they actually said and what tone it was said in.

It is worth noting that none of the hosts of YITB are actually in the movie industry, unlike How Did This Get Made? and Half in the Bag. According to the hosts, Kevin is in accounting, while Joel and Martin took art courses in college and are now employed in some capacity in a design related field. Their experiences with movies were completely as spectators and fans, though they could still offer some helpful insights (don’t obsess over movie details before they come out; do not go into a movie having built it up in your mind, it will not live up to your expectations).

It’s also fair to point out that unlike the other shows, fans of YITB could claim that they were brought into the hosts’ lives as they went through somewhat momentous life changes. Over the course of the show, girlfriends were broken up with, jobs were changed, engagements were announced, then bachelor parties, weddings, pregnancies, and births, Wall Street was occupied, and heat waves and hurricanes were survived. Periodic “After Dark” episodes (recorded in broad daylight, naturally) were released, giving further details into the hosts personal lives and explaining things that were alluded to or winked at expectantly in earlier episodes. All in all, listeners were given an intimate and somewhat inclusive look at the men behind the show.

Which is amazing, given the levels of privacy that were built up by the hosts to preserve their actual identities. This particularly seemed to drive certain fans crazy, as they refused to believe that any damage could possibly be done in this day and age by letting people get a look behind the mask. From the get-go, we never learned the surnames of Joel, Martin, and Kevin. Besides learning they were from New Jersey, no specifics were given as to where they live (though one enterprising listener came spookily close to pinpointing their whereabouts based on slight nuances in their accents), and most importantly, they never showed a glimpse of their faces. This led to dozens of pieces of fan art and elucidating descriptions submitted via email, which the hosts delighted in sharing with their listeners, each depiction of course being one billion percent accurate.

In addition to protecting their identities, they also went to great lengths to protect their show from legal complications. Unlike other shows, they refrained from including audio clips in their reviews, at times doing dramatic re-readings instead. Presumably, including clips of the films could be defended as fair-use, but they avoided any entanglements nonetheless. Likewise, they only used free royalty-free music from musician Kevin McCloud at Incompetech.com to supply background accompaniment. Their website alone featured images from the films, merely to serve as cover art for each post.

Despite all these lengths, apparently something so dramatic occurred that it forced them to all but wipe away all traces of their existence from the internet. Left to speculate, questioning fans have come to some immediate theories, although each of these poses even more questions.

My first thought and others’ was that they were being harassed by a patent troll. The company Personal Audio has harassed podcasters such as Marc Maron and How Stuff Works, along with presumably hundreds of other notable podcasters. It’s possible that they targeted YITB for compensation for money the podcast made through donations and premium episodes, and that rather than pay for licensing fees or fighting back, the hosts simply sought to remove their presence from the web. However this seems to have been refuted by the hosts themselves.

Another theory that was shared on show’s Facebook page is that somebody who recognized the identity of the hosts heard the show and revealed their identities in a review on iTunes, where their reviews are still visible. The scuttlebutt is that some listeners saw the review, which has since been deleted. Obviously there is no proof of that now, but we must also ask why a listener would feel the need to expose them online if they knew them, beyond mere dickishness.

Along these lines, some speculate that by being recognized, one or more of the hosts was in danger of getting in trouble with their employer or with someone in their personal life. However it’s hard to see what they would be accountable for besides enjoying themselves in their spare time. It’s possible that one of them is running aground of some particularly intrusive company policy, seeing how corporations have shown their willingness to do so before. If pressed, I believe Martin once said he watched a movie for review at work. Would that be enough to spell trouble for him? As far as personal attacks go, there have been instances where Joel has referred to his old group of friends as “the tools,” and he insulted the maid-of-honor’s toast from Kevin’s wedding reception in one episode. But if these offending episodes were the case, why wouldn’t they just remove those specific episodes?

Others suggested that one was quitting the show or moving, but that obviously does not explain the suddenness of the departure or the need to remove all evidence of the show’s existence. Maybe the most outlandishly wild theory is that they personally offended one of the people working on a film in their review. But we of course have the First Amendment, and nothing they said could possibly be called libel.

Perhaps their decision to close up shop is related to one of these theories, but compounded by other factors that would make continuing the podcast more difficult. As a new father, it is probably very difficult, though not impossible, for Kevin to find time to complete his duties for the show. And all hosts have made it known that if one of them were to move, the show would effectively be cancelled. So there might have been multiple issues that collided.

In the end, though, until the source of their demise is revealed, us listeners will be left with nagging questions, which by themselves are almost as bad as the reality of not being able to hear one of our favorite shows again. This is one of the true mysteries of the internet age. Not to be melodramatic, but it’s the same human drive for closure that makes a relative of a person lost at war never relieved, even if they have accepted that their loved one has died, until they receive their remains, no matter how much time has gone by. We are plagued by the need to know, just to put our minds at ease.

While we can accept the passing of the show with gratitude for the countless hours of free entertainment it offered us, it was also comforting to know that it would always be there when we wanted to revisit it, or that we could share it with friends who hadn’t heard of it. For now, though, that no longer seems to be the case. Among other things, they inspired me to create fan art, write emails, sponsor episodes, and, despite not having any hope of creating any product nearly as good as theirs, they even inspired me to create my own podcast.

I echo the thanks and concerns of most listeners in wishing Joel, Martin, and Kevin the best, and the hope that we can hear them again one day. They made us feel welcome, included us, and got us through hours of drudgery, traffic, and work-outs. They reminded many of us, in our post-graduation diaspora, of the joy of being with a group of good friends. And they made us feel glad that such talented, funny, and good people could be out there creating joy not for money or for fame but just for fun. I always thought that if some savvy producer came across YITB, they would be stupid not to create a show for them in a heartbeat.

Here’s hoping for the best. Yeah, it was that good.


UPDATE:

Further explanations to the ending of the show can be found in the comments section.

UPDATE 2:

On August 13, the guys broke their radio silence to give a farewell address, which can be found here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/yeahitsthatbad/YITB_Final_Episode.mp3. In it they did not identify their reason for leaving the show, only to say that an event had occurred which made the show conflict with their personal and work lives. This suggests the explanations in the comments section are correct. While it was good to have closure and hear the guys' voices again, I was once more surprised at the emotional impact I felt after they signed off for the last time. I'll hope to hear from them again someday, perhaps in some other form, just to hear how things are going for them. Until then, they deserve to have their lives back. Thanks again, guys!

48 comments:

  1. This is a great article, sir! I and my fiance have been listening since #78 [whichever] Batman. We've grown with the in-jokes. I'll probably have a track from The Pirate Movie at my wedding. I picked up Armageddon AND Deep Impact, just because of that bit on Duncan's "Hoses" ADR. We were so broken by the cancellation, I've been asking, "Is this what it felt like when Firefly was cancelled?"
    Simply, what you've written is probably as good as anything in regards to closure. I'm glad to find there was a reply from the boys, "not getting sued."
    I shall be spreading this word to all my friends I introduced the show to.

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  2. A beautifully written piece. Many Thanks.

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  3. Thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate it, this post made me happy.

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  4. Great stuff hopefully someday we will a triumphant return.

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  5. Excellent article! Encapsulates so well, how many of us fans feel. Thanks so much for sharing on the FB fan page.

    I'm glad to see at least Joel got to see it. I can't imagine how many hours/days/decades/centuries! he must have put into the show! The guy deserves all the accolades he's received in the wake of the cancellation. Those other slackers Martin and Kevin on the other hand....

    Thanks,

    Jayme

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  6. That is a phenomenal piece and you put into words exactly how I felt the past few months I spent getting to know these guys.

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  7. Well that sums it up perfectly! Awesome post.

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  8. I totally agree. This abrupt cancellation of YITB leaves me feel like a kid who wakes up and is told by her parents "Today's moving day!" and we leave without having a chance to say goodbye.

    Joel, Kevin, and Martin, we're all gonna miss you. This makes me eight trillion times sadder than Old Yeller.

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  9. I am so happy to find this post. It expresses so well all the reasons that I loved this podcast. I used to listen to the podcast while I walked my dog and would literally be laughing like a fool as I walked. What a likable group of guys. They will be greatly missed.

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    1. I heard that Dennis Quaid sent Randy Quaid in with a crop duster to go all Independence Day on the Yeah It's That Bad World Headquarters

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  10. Nicely done. I'm bummed about the end of my favorite podcast. I'm not even a movie fan, I just liked those guys.

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  11. I stand by my statement that Roger Ebert is only qualified to be reviewing cool ranch doritos. Will miss the show guys.

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  12. I almost feel sad listening to the earlier episodes, which I am still catching up on. I am so glad I downloaded everything before it vanished. I, too, will miss these three guys terribly, as I almost would consider them friends, despite the fact I am almost two decades older than them and on the other side of the country. Gentlemen, thank you for all the hours of enjoyment.

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  13. My first episode was Episode 55: "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." I chose to listen to that because I was hoping they'd comment on the horrible scene where the jeep is shot through the air, and they didn't disappoint. I was hooked the moment they made a Malcolm Gladwell joke when they called Kevin an outlier and that his 10,000 hours of watching the film perfected his ability to review it.

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  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Useless twat. Thanks for ruining everyone's fun. Joel even said what would happen if you followed through, but instead of taking him at his word, you forged on ahead like the graceless, inconsiderate asshat you seem to be.

      Gee, I hope nobody comes along in your future and opens their stupid mouth and louses up something good in your life. Oh, wait...yeah I do.

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  15. Kat, I removed your post because if it's true, then you're effectively putting the guys back in jeopardy by repeating the information that put them in trouble in the first place. Here's your post with the pertinent info removed, since if it's true it explains a lot:


    THIS is what I found on iTunes last week! Not that this information matters anymore, but I think THIS is why they stopped the show. It's from someone named ****.
    ------------------

    Well, I warned them! My college friends and I have a pretty popular blog and need to do this. We listen to this show every week and love it, but, we didn't think it was fair that the guys remained such a mystery. That's really the only thing we all had a problem with. So, after months of digging, we were going to do an unveiling of the men behind the podcast on our own podcast on Wednesday, July 31! So, we sent Joel an email and he said that if we post this, that all their jobs were in jeopardy and they would be fired for doing this podcast. We knew that was bogus. So, for all you hardcore fans out there, here's some "Yeah, it's that bad trivia" to use at your next party! Martin **** - (no relation to the famous ****) he's the lead graphic designer working at **** somewhere in the Northeast. Kevin **** - he's a CPA and an operations manager for **** and used to work at **** a few years ago. We're still looking into Joel, who remains very undercover but we do know his last name is ****! We have some pictures of the guys, as well! See, they're just normal guys! We love the show and just wanted the hosts to not remain such a mystery anymore!!!!! Thanks guys!

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    1. You assholes. You couldn't let them carry on with what made this podcast so amazing?! I loved the fact that they were a mystery to us, it kept it simple and fun. Thank you for destroying the best podcast on the air.

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  16. Wow. Way to be a total dick and ruin it for everyone else "whoever you are"

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  17. Awesome eulogy - definitely sums up how I feel about the show and its demise. If the (now, in my opinion, correctly!) censored post is what caused us all to miss out on more YITB then that really is a piss poor performance perpetrated by the peabrains who went out of their way to reveal the triumvirate's identity. I, like you, gladly sponsored two episodes (Lawnmower Man and Fifth Element) and if these idiots ruined my enjoyment of this awesome show then I'd like to send them a heartfelt "screw you, hippies". Joel, Martin, Kevin - if you do see this, thanks for all the laughs, sorry to see you guys go.

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  18. John Huber posted the following of the YITB Facebook page:

    My friends and I did some digging of our own over the past couple of days and tracked down this "****" person and found this posted on one of their blogs. Apparently, they got in touch with Kevin and Kevin wrote the following to them and they posted it:

    I am writing in response to the email that was sent to the Yeah, It's That Bad email account. You clearly have some impressive detective skills. While I appreciate the effort that must have taken, I have to ask that you reconsider making any of that information public. There are two reasons we have chosen to keep our last names and our employers a secret. The first is that we all have regular jobs in regular offices, something we have made clear on the show. While I wish it wasn't the case, employers are a bit strict with employees voicing opinions in a public forum that may not align with company policies. The heart of our show is that we can say whatever we want without much of a filter. But a lot of what we say probably would not be acceptable in the minds of our employers' Human Resources departments. Additionally, any prospective employer's google search turning up results that bring them to the show could damage our careers. It would be difficult for a current or future manager to separate us from the podcast, and could end up jeopardizing our professional careers. We all really enjoy doing the show, but it is nothing more than a hobby and it cannot interfere with our actual jobs. As a result we have already discussed ending the show, rather abruptly this week. I hope that as a fan of the show you do not want it to end.

    The second reason we keep an air of mystery is that it makes the show more entertaining in our opinion, and in the opinion of many of the fans. People generally don't listen to our show to find out if they should watch Catwoman. They listen because it gives them the feeling that they are hanging out with friends. This is partly successful because people don't know much more than our first names. We are ambiguous and therefore can be anyone.

    Our anonymity is by design, and is not to frustrate people. I am sorry that it has frustrated you and your friends, but you have clearly illustrated that if someone wants to fill in the blanks of who we are, the information is out there and can find out if they truly want. As I mentioned, your email has caused us to plan to end the show if the information is public. This may seem like an overreaction to you, but our careers are the most important thing. It would be a shame for the show to end like this. I hope it does not come to that.

    I would appreciate it if you could please give me the courtesy of responding to this email today. We are recording tonight and it would be nice if we knew where we stood when the three of us get together to do the show.

    Thank you.

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  19. The two posts above sure seem to be all but confirm why the show ended.

    Sadly Kevin is right, you cannot hide from the internet and attempt to keep a job so I fully understand why they did it.

    But keep in mind the dynamic of the show works when all three are hosting and as of late they have been having trouble getting all three of them together. One of the last podcasts with two even had the outtake of the third on the phone talking about how he watched the movie but was unable to make it. Thus i am not sure the podcast would have survived their adult lives and careers. I even wrote them asking to make sure all three hosts are on each episode but they never aired or replied to me.

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  20. This was a really great eulogy, though utterly unfortunate that it had to be written. YITB was the first podcast I ever listened to, and to see it die is truly awful.

    After reading through the comments, I least I can now understand why it stopped, and can wish nothing but ill-will against those who revealed their identities; though I do kinda wish they'd released a statement or podcast episode explaining that this was the end, just for closure and so it was from them.

    Thank you, Yeah It's That Bad; only your light could ever outshine a supernova.

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  21. Great blog. I only started listening a few months ago and was hooked. I've gone through every episode and now am re-listening and still laugh and enjoy everything these guys have done. It's a shame that a few people had to ruin this for alot of us. Especially Joel Martin and Kevin. It would've ended eventually but would've been on their terms.

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  22. Short? At least ten quadrillion words long. But I loved every one of them. Man, I'll miss this show.

    It's a real bummer that such a fun program is now gone because being outed raises the prospect that Joel/Martin/Kevin's (rather innocuous) jokes may harm their professional lives. I wish them the best of luck with everything, and I'll miss them. If you know what e-discovery or doc review is, you can imagine how valuable podcasts are to a reviewer.

    Beyond that, it's rather terrifying and depressing that an innocuous online presence could harm anybody's professional lives. Makes me wonder how smart I am for using my last name on stuff like this. What a weak, weak, weak society we live in.

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  23. It was refreshing to listen to a threesome that worked so diligently at protecting their anonymity. Especially in a time in our evolution where human creatures are so hungry for notoriety as to post a picture of their bloodied wife on their face book page after murdering her. I do understand why smart, clever people like Joel, Martin, and Kevin need a release such as that found thru the YITB podcasts. I also understand their concerns, and maybe even fear, of being "outed" to their corporate employers. And finally, yes I understand that there are douchbags in our society who think of no one but themselves and DO want that notoriety, not unlike the person who would kill his wife and post her death picture on face book. Thank you gentlemen for the many hours of laughs and entertainment you gave me. And finally, Señor Spielbergo, well written sir.

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  24. What a great piece. I was in such a quandary over this. I agree, I'm going to miss these fellows. I admit I'd grown attached to their presence in the podcast world. They were funny, critical guys with a lot of gusto. Kudos to them for producing this show for the time that they did, and to you as well for a well written, thoughtful, eulogy.

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  25. this is news i wasn't ready for. i thought to myself "welp, at least i've been downloading copies of each episode on iTunes" but no, i've found that i have about 30 episodes saved at best. i should have started work on collecting the rest when i first heard the announcement during The Mummy Returns episode.

    whoever is responsible for destroying years of great work by 3 very talented podcasters, is a small, weak weak weak man, and i wish him nothing more than the ethical consequences he has brought on himself.

    and if anyone can point in the direction of downloadable episodes i, and many others i'm sure, would be very grateful.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. This is a pretty good source to start: http://www.blubrry.com/

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    3. Daniel Fritzen suggests Podfeed.net, I didn't want to include the whole URL for the boys but just search for it there

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  26. Wow, what kind of asshole does a thing like that? These guys made a fun podcast for you for free - just as a hobby - and you go and out them, just because? Even if their jobs are not put in jeopardy if their names are revealed, they still have the right to privacy for whatever reason they choose.

    Joel, Kevin, and Martin, thanks for all the laughs and all the time you put into this project. Good luck in your future lives, and I hope you all get together on Fridays and watch GOOD movies now.

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  27. At least for now the episodes are all still available online (get em while you still can) and while I lament their untimely passing it does mean that we'll not have to suffer them 'jumping the shark' and thank goodness they had finished their sponsored episode drive and don't owe refunds. It's a compliment that they were victims of their own success but I miss em all the same.

    So much for the land of the free.

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  28. I always thought Joel, Martin, and Kevin's anonymity was an odd (but tolerable) choice, but in retrospect it was necessary to keep the podcast alive. I can't say I share the same taste in movies as those guys, but damn if I didn't love their show every week. They'll be missed.

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  29. These guys gave us so much and asked for so little. I will truly miss their show as it was one of the highlights of my week. Kat and those folks that posted their ID's online in the first place should hang their heads in shame at destroying what they claimed to love. That's like slashing the tires on your favorite race car or tripping your favorite ballerina so they break their ankle, just cause you felt like it. I'm bored so I'll wreck everyones good time. Do you also pour punch on the stereo at a party? I hope the buzzkills responsible for deflating my favorite podcast lose their jobs, and die 100 deaths, no 1000 deaths, no 1,000,000 deaths. Yeah that sounds about fair. May the Quaid be with you.

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  30. I belive found episodes on podbean.

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  31. I just want the boys back

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  32. I found this review from googling YITB for whatever web presence is left. I just wanted to say that I loved your review of the podcast. I never thought that deeply about why I loved YITB so much, but you capture it quite well here.

    And I'm infuriated again after finding out the real backstory of how the podcast ended. They claim to be fans? A real fan would have allowed the men to remain anonymous. I cannot believe they exposed YITB even after Kevin's email. Immature jerks.

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  33. Thank you for your Eulogy. I was thinking about these guys as the Podcast Awards nominees are out right now and came across this article. I am so glad that there are true fans out there that really respected YITB for the hilarity it was. It's a little ridiculous how hard it is to let go of this podcast.

    For those who threatened to disclose the identities of these comic geniuses, you are truly terrible and petty. It is sad to me that you had to ruin this for everybody simply because you were curious as to who they were. It is sad to know that people like you exist in this world.

    Joel, Martin, Kevin... your incessant laughter will echo through my memory always.

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  34. I find both the reason, and explanation(s) for the death of this show to be very unsatisfying. Even if their identities were known, WGAS? I might be in the minority, but I am still unhappy with this decision. What are they NSA agents? FFS.

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  35. This really makes no sense. I've heard the show, they've never said anything controversial or edgy. I can't imagine an employer finding out they did this show would be an issue (unless they are employed by the studios that own the movies they review).

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  36. @ Anonymous:

    They offered the world a free podcast, and did everything that they could to stay on the air short of endangering their private lives and careers. It's unfortunate that you feel slighted, but I'm honestly not sure what else they could have done to satisfy you. Indeed, they were under no obligation to even offer their final farewell. They clearly only did it because they cared.

    It may not seem to you that they had anything to lose by revealing their identities (it certainly didn't occur to whoever it was that tried to 'out' them), but exactly as (it seems) the guys themselves said, some employers both present and future can look rather unfavourably on anything that appears even slightly subversive on a resume:

    'Oh, I see here that you like to publicly make fun of projects that you don't think are fantastic...'

    It's a stupid perspective to have, but no doubt the guys didn't want to have to take the gamble that every single future employee would bother to appreciate how great both they and their show were.

    (And considering that in one episode Joel did imply that he might have once worked in a film's graphic design department - there is a real possibility that working in the industry was a present or future goal.)

    Losing 'Yeah, It's That Bad' was a great shame, but it wasn't the guys who are to be condemned. They asked for nothing from their audience except the right to a private life - a price that the vast majority of their fans were more than willing to pay. If you want to be disappointed with anyone, I'd suggest starting (and ending) with the self-serving 'sleuths' who refused to respect that.

    And @ Senor Spielbergo:

    Thank you so much for this eulogy. It is a fantastic piece, and perfectly captures the characters and spirit of the show.

    I just wanted to do the courtesy of letting you know that I linked to your far superior page in a small write-up that I did about the end of 'Yeah, It's That Bad' on my own blog (http://drayfish.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/dont-you-know-who-i-am-a-look-back-at-the-year-of-the-selfie/). Again, it pales shamefully with your work (you get five out of five beefs, sir), but is my little toast to this fine trio's good work.

    Thanks again, and all the best.

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  37. Just discovered this show while searching for "movie" podcasts on iTunes. The whole archive is on there and I've gone through about half of it while in the midst of a move --- all the packing, then the drive, then the unpacking. So sad that it had to end, but I understand the reasons. Listening to the show is like hanging out with the friends I wish I had. Gentlemen, you are funnier than the funniest frolicking funnymen and you shine brighter than ten quadrillion suns.

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  38. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and sadly more than a few have ended. YITB is the only one that really hurt me when it ended. It really was like hanging out with friends. Even almost a year after it ended, I'm still occasionally googling YITB, and still hope for their triumphant return. It's also the only podcast I gave money to ($100, my two episodes were Wicker Park and Street Fighter).

    Maybe someday the light of Quaid will shine on us again, but at least I still have all the old times

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  39. Long afterwards, maybe one of you guys will trip across this and know that another person applauds the unique, entertaining, endearing and thoughtful job you all did. I also hope you find or have found employment that is not so stultifying in presuming to intrude on employees' outside interests, as nothing I ever heard would make me want to do anything except give you all jobs on the face of your intelligence and brilliance.

    Nice piece here, too. I appreciated the information - thanks.

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  40. When I first started my own podcast, it was spurred on by listening to this one. When they disappeared, it left a strange void in my life that I didn't think any media could. I made my show, in part, to continue the conversations they had started, using movies as a platform for discussion.

    I miss this show greatly, even after all this time. But at the same time, I thank them for both inspiring me and entertaining me more than I thought a podcast ever could.

    As far as the work danger goes, I have no idea what my employer's take is on having an opinion podcast, but the people I work with LOVE my show. And it's my true passion. I can understand if their careers were their passion, and that's why they took every precaution necessary. Privacy in today's world though...it's nearly impossible, so rather than try to stay hidden, I just embrace it.

    (Still waiting for the triumphant return, of course...)

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  41. It was just recently that I discovered these guys. The drama that unfolded is very unfortunate, but in a way a suitable ending to the show. For some reason them mysteriously vanishing just adds to the entertainment.

    That being said, I would have liked it much more if they were still around producing content. It's a shame that one asshole ruined the fun for everyone. I dont understand what the big deal was with them staying anon.

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  42. I miss this show more than any other. Blissfully they made enough episodes, that whenever I go back to one, there are some funny things, I had completely forgotten. ����
    Im permanently crossing my fingers for their triumphant return. Makes work fucking difficult, but it seems worth it. ��
    And to the asshat who so valiantly "exposed" the guys as just normal people : well no shit, Sherlock. The fuck else were they gonna be? As far as I know, only and exclusively people (as in human beings) do podcasts, so thanks for stating the obvious. You must feel like the biggest fan of all of a cast you helped ruin. Fucking moron.

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