In previous months, Christopher Taylor's reviews, perhaps guided by some aspiration for the pages of the New York Times, were more starch than fabric, and often took longer to read than it took to watch whatever he didn't like. This month, he's cut a few sandbags worth of 90 IQ Frasierisms and has graduated from "saying little clearly" to "clearly saying little." It is this reviewer's opinion, however, that this reviewer still leaves much to be desired.
Topping my two item wishlist for Taylor's future reviews is that he review ALL of the shows in a given month, not just the five that have been voted back. Taylor moves obediently down Channel 101's pre-ordered top five, giving the number 1 show a grade of D and the number five show an A, establishing potentially valuable if predictably independent tastes. Then, however, he completely ignores everything that "failed" in the eyes of the voters, an absurd decision given that the voters put his least favorite show at number one. What grade would Assassinz have gotten? Would the Duncan Brothers get some post-screening recognition of their brilliance, or some objective insight into where their pilot might have failed? We can never know because Taylor is either not very bright or blinded by agenda- as if Leonard Maltin only watched movies that got a thumbs up from Roger Ebert.
I would also like to give an "F minus" to Taylor's ill conceived grading system. Channel 101 audiences watch all the shows, and pick 5 to return. When they discuss Channel 101 content, they talk about what should have come back and why. It stands to pretty simple reason that a "Channel 101 reviewer" would do likewise, not "grade" the only things we already know are coming back. Maybe if Taylor bothered to "grade" all ten shows, we could at least look at the top five and know how he would have voted, then his opinion would have as much value as those of every other internet viewer. His decision to do his job wrong AND halfway indicates either stupidity or passive aggression, and in either case, the reader's faith is shaken.
I dream of the day when Channel 101 can have its own critic, and perhaps my criticism of his criticism can help him grow into that role, but right now, Christopher Taylor's "round-ups" are overwritten YouTube comments from a boy sitting up in a bed shaped like a race car. He takes an entire paragraph to tell us that the best part of Cautionary Tales was when they played the Batman music. He seems to use a highly abridged and often erroneous thesaurus to change random words, possibly due to his perception that smart people take a long time to say stuff. He can't be bothered to check for typographical errors but he strains to pad his sentences with meaningless modifiers, as in "The decision to morph into a vigilante program has become a straightforward mistake." Most of the time, you can figure out what he's trying to say because English is a contextual language and because his sweaty fumblings for criticspeak are well enough worn, but sometimes, he strikes upon a typo that makes his sentence actual, bona fide, indecipherable gibberish, as in "The better humor and heart in the latest Stop It came from Mike Rose's portrayal of an elderly man than came from the addition-of-the-month." I can picture Mike Rose squinting at his monitor, going over each word, wanting to participate in Taylor's critic fantasy but not knowing how to react to this scathing/celebratory cheer/jeer.
Channel 101 is a community of filmmakers that embrace feedback. The audience gives them a pass or fail grade in cold, hard, ego-testing numbers. The weak ones run away from it and the strong ones use it to make themselves stronger. If "Yodelling Llama" is a critic worthy of Channel 101, he'll use this critic's comments to refine the "show" called "Yodelling Llama" and make it a little easier to buy into.
He could start with a less gay name.
- By Dan Harmon