I tend to watch more of the G4 Network than I really should. I’m still in mourning over the loss of TechTV, and I ought to boycott the whole damned thing in protest. It’s very telling that the only thing I really watch on that network is ten year-old reruns of Cops and headache-inducing episodes of Unbeatable Banzuke, and really, I could watch Cops anywhere.
I don’t even bother with their flagship shows. G4 has really put all their horses behind Attack of the Show, hoping against hope that you’re tuning in nightly to watch Olivia Munn deep-throat a bratwurst. Olivia’s cute, I’ll grant you, and she has a comfortable one-of-the-dudes personality, but the show is nothing more than a televised version of a couple of annoying fuckers sending you links to funny shit they found on YouTube (in fact, they probably have a segment entitled “Funny Shit We Found on YouTube.”) X-Play is boring and overproduced, and lost their “brutally honest” credibility long ago when they stopped reviewing games and started doing theme episodes where they review one game a show if you’re lucky. The only worthwhile part of X-Play anymore is Sessler’s Soapbox online, which is Adam Sessler’s blog where he can finally talk off the record and give his real opinion for a change. And that’s all we ask out of X-Play or any game review show: a fucking honest opinion.
G4 has tried expanding out to a few new areas. My favorite is the “Movies That Don’t Suck” gimmick, which is really just an excuse to play old action flicks with retro NBC Mystery Movie lead-ins. The problem with that is that they don’t vary the chosen film nearly enough, and they tend to re-run the films well past their expiration date. They must have shown Return of the Dragon twice a day for about a month straight. The Onion Movie is cute, but worthless when the profanity is bleeped out and we can’t even call Steven Seagal “Cockpuncher.” And someone explain to me how Robocop 3 DOESN’T suck. Because it does, cyborg ninjas notwithstanding.
They’ve also been running promos for a new show featuring Morgan Webb for about two months now (the exact same promo for that entire time, in fact) called G4 Underground, a show that wants desperately to be a hard-hitting, extreme exposé program about “subjects the other networks won’t touch.” The promos are hilariously bad, and there’s a strange air of shame that permeates the entire production. They’re really playing up the dark, forbidden nature of their subject matter, which is all the funnier because Morgan looks about as street as Nancy Grace. She looks like the sort of chick who would ask you to help smoosh a spider in her bathroom, not run around scummy S&M sex clubs and slum around underground fight clubs.
And maybe there’d be some value in watching that; it might be pretty funny watching Morgan’s “oooh yucky” reaction to the sleazy things she’s forced to immerse herself in. It’s one of the major reasons I like Dirty Jobs so much, not necessarily because I care about the jobs, but because we like Mike Rowe and because we love watching him suffer by forcing himself to do the world’s most nauseating things. Morgan has all the personality of burnt toast, but the argument is rendered moot by the fact that she’s not even in the show.
I tried watching one episode and found it so painful that I suddenly started cleaning the entire house and left the show running in the background. I didn’t see the whole thing, but from what I saw, Morgan’s not even in it. Oh, she hosts the intro and outro sequences that bookend each story, but she’s never actually there when the story is taking place. The segments I saw were sit-down interviews with an anonymous, off-screen person, or just people talking directly to the camera. Of course, when you do see Morgan in these lead-in segments, they’ve done their best to street her up, by dressing her in a designer leather jacket (because people who wear leather are STREET!) and putting her on a sidewalk outside at night (See? She’s near a street! She must be street as well!) But even my brother voiced doubts as to whether or not she was really outside, wondering if they even got her that far outside the door instead of just a green screen.
As for the shocking, unspeakable stories getting blown wide open by the G4 Underground? Hold onto your hats, folks, because these were the stories covered in their premiere show:
1) Amateur pornographers - Microbudget filmmakers who create and sell their own porn films, Zack and Miri-style. Yeah, that’s provocative. There’s nothing scandalous here, it’s just two people who like to set up a tripod and a DV camera and tape themselves when they fuck. Okay, so instead of keeping it for personal use they put it up on their website for sale, but come on, amateur porn? That’s what you got? Two people fucking in a Motel 6? The Internet desensitized us to amateur porn a decade ago. I’ve googled more perverted shit than that just researching Final Fantasy 8.
2) “Real-Life” Superheroes - This is where the show just got hilarious, following a couple of self-styled vigilante heroes who stalk around the streets of the city wearing homemade superhero costumes to fight crime. This is where you’d just love to see the host’s reaction as she sits down and tries to talk rationally to a guy wearing crime-fighting goggles and a flowing cape. It was at this point I started wondering whether or not the show had already completely run out of ideas and was just making stuff up to fill time, because this was just so silly that you’d almost expect it to be an ancillary news story on The Onion.
C’mon, this is the shocking truth behind closed doors? I know why these are the stories the other networks won’t touch, because these stories are fucking stupid.
Next time, they explore the world of “ultra wrestling,” which appears to be nothing more than the gory, disgusting brand of backyard wrestling involving cheese graters and fluorescent light tubes. Everyone’s heard of it, and really, once you’ve seen a single match of two people maiming themselves in this crap, you’ve seen them all. There’s nothing shocking about it, except how shockingly stupid these people are, and I highly doubt the show would have the balls to explore the real dark side of backyard wrestling: the people who have hopelessly crippled themselves jumping off roofs or been paralyzed taking a botched Styles Clash.
Even the website is inept, with exactly zero online features and “undefined” news stories for the next show. Kinda shows you how much faith G4 has in this one, doesn’t it?