Friday, September 08, 2006

Jumping The Snark

As you might guess from Stephen Colbert's "On Notice" board below, Entertainment Weekly has gotten really shitty lately.

The great thing about Entertainment Weekly was the fact that you could read fluff without feeling like you were reading trash. Sure, it's all about TV, movies, music, and to a lesser extent, books, but it was smart and informative and had a sense of humor. Photo captions were painfully punny, but you could groan at them with some affection.

This year they've been retooling, and every change makes things worse. Start with the layout. It's meant to be clean and modern, with more white space. What it really means is that somehow the reviews section no longer seems to have any text in it. Ninety percent of the reviews are now capsule reviews. It's like the driving philosophy of the retool was "This is a nice magazine. But can you make it more like People?"

There is no content in the magazine anymore. They've expanded the News & Notes section and added all kinds of random little features that are sort of meant to be funny, except that they're not very funny and they offer no actual information.

And I'm getting really sick of snark. Snark is like comedy, except instead of being funny it's just smug and bitchy. It's supposed to be semi-affectionate, I guess, but after awhile it starts to feel very passive-aggressive, empty and pointless. See Best Week Ever or any Hollywood/celebrity/pop culture blog. Part of the problem is that there's so much more of it out there now than ever before. It's too much. Snark was better in small doses. Now everybody's getting in on it. Especially EW, although the EW PopWatch blog is even worse. Honestly, does everything I read about entertainment have to sound like it was written by a sassy gay man?

It's still exciting to get an Entertainment Weekly in the mail, but after you've read it you feel like you just ate a huge bag of potato chips by yourself. It's junk food reading. I mean, it was junk food reading before, but it was more delicious and satisfying. Now it's the greasy, nauseating kind.


lyan! said...

EW can suck a dick. That said, I wish my mom'd subscribe to that instead of People. It's strange to go urinate and have a mob comprising the usual suspects (Oprah, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston) stare back at me from above the toilet.

Akela said...


I'm going to try and read your blog on a regular basis more. Why? Because you're funny and I remembered you had a blog.

I still like EW, as long as it doesn't turn into my used to be favorite magazine US, which is totally gossipy and horrid. I don't know if you ever read US when it was a monthly magazine but now? It's just shit. Total and utter shit.

Plus, EW gave "Jericho" a good review and it's pick of the week so I feel obligated to support it, because they could be promoting me into a full time job (gotta get that back nine!!).

Though like you I don't like the new format and Dalton Ross isn't as funny as he thinks he is.

smashed goblet said...

great point about the snark. we love blogs for exactly that, the gossip sites anyway. but we've really launched into nasty overload. ho this, bitch that! EW was never my fav'rite thing but it was okay. US went weekly and lost a lot of credibility. Pretty sure that's because of the Bonnie Fuller madwoman touch.