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13 February 2013

My Thoughts on Nitpicking

Hello everyone and welcome to “My thoughts on...

This is a series of editorials that I will be doing during the dreadful pony drought of 2013, a time during which Season 4 is being produced and people might or might not jump out of the boat that is the Brony fandom. I use the word “editorials” with a lot of freedom, because they are not complete editorials per se. They are more opinion articles than editorials. That’s the reason why they are titled “My thoughts on...

They won’t always be about pony, though. Sometimes they will be about movies, books, artwork, people, and other subjects. But since I became sort-of-well known in the fanbase for doing reviews on pony, I guess most of these articles will be about our beloved colourful miniature equines, and everything that surrounds them. So, if that sounds interesting to you, feel free to check the article after the page break.

A few years ago a new trend started to get popular on the internet. For years, for decades, we have watched in our TV’s how critics and reviewers in general torn our main sources of entertainment (movies, TV shows, books, videogames) to pieces, ripping them apart and basically telling you why you shouldn’t waste your time reading, watching or playing them. But then the internet appeared, everyone loved it, and what was the second thing people did with it (the first one being looking for porn)? They went and posted reviews of their favourite things on it. This went on and on for as long as one can remember as it is in our nature to share our opinion, if not downright shoving it down the readers’ throats. We also like to think our opinion is the right one, no matter how objective we try to be. We can try and see the big picture, but we are not Vulcan, we can’t hide our emotions guys, and if we hate something that hate is going to be visible. That’s why the early reviews happened to be nothing but an endless circle-jerk of pure hate.

That was one of the reasons why reviewing on the internet wasn’t that very popular and things didn’t seem to really catch on. I think the only internet reviewer who really hit it big time first was Harry Knowles from “Ain’t it cool news!” but this is mostly because, well, the best way to describe his style of reviewing is that he loved everything. That’s fine, I have no problems with that, but I really can’t remember anything negative coming from him. The guy loved “Van Helsing” for Pete’s sake. I like a lot of stuff. I love the Michael Bay “Transformers” movies and “Aliens VS Predator: Requiem”, but I don’t like “Van Helsing”! This goes to proof that being overly positive is as bad as being overly negative. And that’s why I am going to talk about internet reviewers, and most specifically, how people misinterpret this concept. It will just be a paragraph, so don’t fret.

I think I will bring up the most popular example, the one that I think brought it all up and made the concept popular. In 2005, James Rolfe created “The Angry Videogame Nerd”. Back then it was called “The Angry Nintendo Nerd”, but after Nintendo contacted him about using their name in his title, he changed it and thus opened the door to review more than just Nintendo games. This character he created was a parody of the stereotype that people have about gamers. He is angry, he is asocial, he swears a lot, he just plays videogames, he lives in a basement, and he is obsessed with finishing each and every game he plays. He made the concept very popular because of how interesting his takes were on each game he reviewed. He was fun, he had the exact amount of dirty jokes, and he knew how to shot a video with good production values and really well planed direction.

He did a great job.

So of course, people started to come out of the woodwork to follow on his footsteps. Now internet reviewing was hip, they all wanted to jump in on it. They all wanted a piece of the cake. Some of them are actually really good, like Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic, or Noah Antwiler’s Spoony One. But these good reviewers are very few compared to the worryingly huge and dreadful bunch of internet reviewers that are not just horrible, but offensive and unnecessary. I’m talking about people like Yahtzee or Movie Bob, people who are not reviewers, who don’t tell you both the good and the bad of what they are reviewing, people who just focus on every single, solitary, goddamn negative aspect of every videogame, movie or TV show and dwell and bask on it like a pig on a mud puddle. These people are disgusting. They are not objective, they don’t see the big picture; they are not fair; they just want to rip apart whatever it is they are watching or playing because it attracts people. They do it because they think it’s funny to see a monkey take his own shit and fling it at something else.

And these people are everywhere. They are all over the place, and they are a plague. Their only purpose in life is nitpick the hell out of things. You know when you are in a clothes shop, you are trying on a new pair of trousers, and this self-entitled bitch looks at you and says “That makes you look like a barrel”? Yeah, those people. Or when you go buy a videogame and this backwards-cap wearing douchebag looks at it and says “You like Mass Effect? If you want a good RPG buy a Final Fantasy game”. Or when you are buying a movie and this greasy-hair, glass pushing prick looks at it and says “You are buying a Pokémon film, that’s because you are a kid and never grew up”. These are the people that wave their opinions like they are the norm. These people think that what they say is the right thing, and what you say is wrong. There are only a few things where one can be absolutely right or wrong. One can be right or wrong when it comes to science, or math. You can’t say that one plus one equals three because that’s wrong. However, you can’t say the Phantom Menace is worse than Revenge of the Sith, because that’s an opinion, and opinions are never right or wrong. They are just opinions. It’s right to say that Steven Spielberg directed Schindler’s List, because he actually directed it. But you can’t say that his best work is Jurassic Park because that’s an opinion.

 Opinions are not facts.

This is what those nitpicking internet critics don’t get into their thick skulls. That’s why nitpicking is something I hate. I don’t like nitpicking at all, and I am trampling over my own words because I am nitpicking the fact that I hate nitpicking, but here is the difference. I never say nitpicking is wrong. I just say nitpicking is something I hate to see, especially when it’s done in my general direction. I don’t mind people telling me how to spell a word correctly, or phrase something better. I appreciate that. What I don’t like is when people go out of their ways to over-analyze and criticize a cartoon about pastel coloured horses. I have seen people within the community spend too much time trying to make sense out of this cartoon and I am still trying to figure out why they do this. I take they do it because it can be entertaining, but then why do they get bent out of shape when somebody says their opinion is different?

That’s not what we are here for people. We are here to have fun, share opinions and tell each other whether or not we liked an episode and why. We are not here to discuss what the currency is in Equestria, what kind of magic spell-caster Twilight Sparkle is, what the logic is behind Pinkie Pie’s fourth-wall-breaking powers, or why Rarity didn’t have an episode during 2012. We are here to have fun, tell jokes, give me advice on how to improve my reviews, and basically not being like those internet reviewers. This is a pit-stop away from all that cynicism. That’s my intention with this website, and if I have to delete a comment and moderate somebody, I’ll do it. I have had to delete vindictive comments ever since I started doing this. I still leave anonymous comments open because some of my most faithful followers want to remain anonymous and I don’t want to strip their right to comment on my blog. And if you still want to post an overanalyzing, negative, vindictive comment in my blog the worst thing I will do is just delete it, so if you don’t want to stop posting those comments that’s alright, I’ve got you covered.

Bottom line, share your opinion but don’t be an asshole about it. It’s possible. If I can do it so can you.


  1. I actually think that internet reviewers, pretty much all those mentioned here, have been a formative part of my Internet experience and have actually helped me have a better appreciation for a lot of the entertainment that I consume. I don't always agree with them, but that's the idea. I think it's a good thing that we can have intelligent, critical discussions about the media we consume everyday. It's a very healthy thing to know that you can like something while having an element or part that you don't like.

    I'm assuming this is what you are referring to when you say "nitpicking".


    I also maintain that the real problem with Internet critics is that everyone thinks they are a critic and the only thing they need to prove it is an Internet connection and a camera. This doesn't make them smart or engaging, especially when most of these people seem to be talking based on their impulses rather than letting their emotions even out and transfer them into rational thoughts.

  2. However, when it comes to MLP, I seem to take a very different approach to the other media I frequent, particularly because MLP is very different from most of the media I consume. This is the first time in a long time that I find myself engaged on a show that's technically just part of a brand that sells toys. Of course, I was into a lot of shows like that when I was younger (ex. Power Rangers) and I wasn't aware of the whole idea of television shows trying to sell me something until just a few years ago. This now forces me to get into a mentality where I can be aware that a show is trying to sell me something but I just want to judge the show on its own terms, regardless of whatever marketing decision happened behind the scenes. This has caused me an unhealthy amount of grief in the past, a good part of it towards MLP, "ignorance is bliss" and all that.

    1. (this is going to take a while, so please, bare with me)
      TL;DR: Fuck you, CR

      However, a lot of that grief came from my fondness of Internet critics, particularly my one truly negative experience with an Internet Critic. About a year ago, one Chad Rocco (aka CR from ThatGuyWithTheGlasses) caught my attention with a video discussing FiM, where he said some of the most intelligent, positive things I'd heard anyone say about the show. He would later follow up with smaller MLP related videos, mostly episode reviews. Recently, through his Twitter account, he has commented on his declining interest in the show, particularly because he can't seem to separate the cartoon itself from the overall brand that's being controlled by Hasbro. To be fair, there is a point where you kinda can't separate the two, and yes, it's only his opinion and I shouldn't let it get to me, but it still hurt me to hear about this, especially when I'm still enjoying the series. I'd even say that I may have gotten a bit depressed from this, particularly because he'd say some very hurtful things about aspects/episodes of the show that I like, to the point where I began to take those opinions as my own.
      When I realized what was going on, I realized I was being an idiot. I would sit there, staring at my computer screen while shouting something along the lines of "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!". I decided to just ignore him and let him have his opinion and post as many snarky tweets about MLP as he wanted, "nitpicking" if you will...

      but then he had to step over "the line". And throw up on it.

      In the wake of the Princess Twilight debacle, Deviantart artist Pixelkitties created the "I Believe in MA Larson" button as a symbol to indicate that regardless of whatever Hasbro would do, the show's staff, particularly Larson, could take it and turn it into something good. Now obviously, the button's design is based on the Harvey Dent button from TDK, something that Pixelkitties is all to aware of. CR just had to show up right on PKs official post of the design and ruin everyone's fun and enthusiasm by pointing out how the Harvey Dent button represents "Herd mentality, misplacement of trust, and hypocrisy" and how it's a brilliant parralel to the whole Princess Twilight situation. He did this across multiple social networks.
      My jaw dropped. In all my days submerged in Internet culture, I had never seen an Internet Critic, the kind of people who pride themselves on being smarter than their audience, doing the job of INTERNET TROLLS. What a fucking disgrace. Never before had I felt the urge of sticking my fist through my screen with the hopes of giving him the virtual equivalent of a broken nose.

    2. I will admit that I am protective of Friendship is Magic. It's the first series on television that has sparked genuine enthusiasm and fondness in me in a long time. Discovering the series and its many Brony fans made me realize that I was kind of a bastard and I needed a serious attitude adjustment. I wanted to better myself and be more like the Mane 6, those wonderful girls that taught me that I can be sweet, bold, silly, studious, hardworking and artistic. To this day, they remain a high-water mark for me in terms of personal development in my everyday life. That's how much the show means to me. I think we are genuinely lucky to receive a show like this
      in this day and age.
      However, at the end of the day this is still a children's show and it shouldn't demand much meditation or profound thought, in theory anyway. As bronies, we've all gotten swept up on how wonderful our odd little discovery is and how it's something to be truly admired, but in many ways, I don't think it deserves to be thrown into the hostile, cynical world of the Internet, where everything is sacred, but also nothing is sacred. Honestly, I don't think the Internet Critic masses even DESERVE to engage with this show.
      When I watch MLP, I know I'm watching a children's show that just so happens to rise above and be something truly unique. I want to judge this show no differently than I would judge other children's shows and not let my preconceptions and Critic mentality get in the way. Yes, I have my share of things I don't like and I will say the show has produced a couple of stinkers, but this wasn't a show designed to be nitpicked, at least on the level a lot of people seem to be doing. I know it may sound like I'm contradicting myself, and yes, just because it's for children doesn't mean it's automatically critic-proof, but if you can't bring yourself to just watch a children's show without tearing it apart at any opportunity, chances are I don't really care for you as a person.

  3. If there's a reason why I keep coming back to this blog is because I've found someone who's smart enough to engage the series in a thoughtful way, both the good and the bad, while still having fun and acknowledging that, at the end of the day, we're all just talking about a little children's show, one that doesn't demand profound analysis or scrutiny, that we just so happen to love. And there is nothing wrong with that.

    So, thank you, James.

    1. Thank you, Arturo, for coming back to my blog. It's for people like you that I write these articles.

      Regarding CR, yeah, I agree with you. It's funny how he is perpetuating the estereotype of maladjusted, anti-social, nitpicking nerd who throws fit of rage over things that don't even matter. What he did to PixelKitties is disgusting, especially when she is one of the most lovable, likable people in the fandom who gives without asking back. I am going to make an article regarding CR, but it won't adress him directly. You'll see.

    2. If you think that CR is being a twat, you should see his lackey Don East. He's the worst of the two. He does the same shit (bashing Meghan McCarthy and MA Larson via Twitter and deflecting the negative criticism of his negative opinion on Twilicorn by saying "So much for love and tolerance! Using anti-brony troll argument tactics, classy!)but unlike CR, he was actually willing to forgive season 3 up until that announcement, saying he enjoyed Too Many Pinkie Pies, Sleepless in Ponyville and even Keep Calm and Flutter On which some bronies think is an even bigger shark jump than Twilicorn. But as soon as that was announced, he flipped his shit and actually proclaimed he would 'turn in his brony card' once it aired. Just goes to show there is a shallow and mean-spirited side to this fandom that bubbles it's way to the surface now and then! Then while Games Ponies Play was playing he made a load of tweets saying how the episode sucked and was painful to watch. While that episode wasn't the best, I still enjoyed it just like I've enjoyed the majority of this series and him saying all that stuff about the episode that he did pissed me off so much.

      This truly saddens me (not Don East, couldn't give a toss about him) because CR was one of the people who re-affirmed my love of the show and to see him going off on it the way he is, saying the whole of Season 3 has been shit which many other intelligent brony reviewers like you and DigitalBrony and AnYPony can disprove that statement, is a damn shame and it shows the fickle side of the fandom in droves! He seemed like one of the more nicer and approachable members of TGWTG, but he can be just as horrid as The Distressed Watcher.

      Some bronies who aren't a fan of the Twilicorn thing, but will stick around because of the kind, supportive and talented people in the fandom and made some great friends here, that's how you're meant to go about it. Jaxblade07, who is the best example of this put it best "Come for the ponies, stay for the people." I know CR and Don East are more part of the Critic community than the brony community but they couldn't have gone about this situation in a way that would made them look more like nitpicking, mean-spirited, shallow, vindictive assholes! Personally at this point, I think CR should take his MLP videos down because he clearly is not positive about the show now like he was back then and the fact he still has videos with opinions he does not hold by now, he is also a hypocrite. I guess it's all about the money and AdSense with these guys.

      Good article too as well on a more positive note. :)

    3. Wait, you mean this Don East?

    4. Yeah that sounds like him. I know he comes across there as a guy just putting across his opinion, but he's just as bad as CR. At least CR has been a consistent douchebag throughout the airing of this season. Don has only now started to directly bash the staff and 're-but' people with opposing opinions over Twitter since the Twilicorn debacle (before that, he'd been willing to forgive the season and enjoyed a number of episodes). It comes across as disngenuous and very unlikeable.

    5. While I am annoyed with some of his comments, CR is nowhere near as bad as the Distressed Watcher. That guy, among many things, has insulted fans for liking Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, said that a movie was worse than his father's death, said a Sex and the City sequel was worse than 9/11, insulted Texans, said that he hoped the actor who played Anakin Skywalker, in the Phantom Menace, became addicted to drugs, and that's not even getting into some of the stuff he's done as the Amazing Athiest.

      Now, I understand why people are annoyed with him and Don East. Their comments toward Meghan McCarthy and MA Larson are kind of rude, and some of their actions toward the fan base, specifically PixelKitties is a little out of line. That being said, it seems like a lot of what they are doing is just being critical. Unfortunately, it's what happens. A show goes in a different direction, and that direction just doesn't satisfy certain viewers, and they stop watching the show. It happened during Season 2, and it's happening right now, with Season 3. The best thing we can do is enjoy the show as it is, maybe come up with some arguments as to why we enjoy it, and hope for the best.

  4. Overanalyze everything in FiM.

  5. The one truly positive thing that came out of the whole CR thing is that I now have a better appreciation for Wonderbolt Academy.

  6. I feel bad about all this, because it seems like I started this, and for that I'm sorry.

    1. You motivated me to create a new type of article for the blog.

      For that, I thank you ;D

  7. Pero si nosotros no sobreanalizamos una caricatura sobre caballitos parlantes... ¿quién lo hará?

    1. Podemos pasarle el relevo al fandom de Sonic.