Television Without Pity
|Type of site||Online collection of television series recaps and related discussion forums|
|Created by||David T. Cole, Tara Ariano, Sarah D. Bunting, various contributors|
|Alexa rank||20,517 (April 2014[update])|
Television Without Pity (often abbreviated TWoP) is a website that provides detailed recaps of select television dramas, situation comedies and reality TV shows, originally by mocking them. In 2007 the site was purchased by the Bravo unit of NBCUniversal. The site began by recapping the television show Dawson's Creek and was originally called Dawson's Wrap; later it broadened its scope and changed names to Mighty Big TV before settling on the current moniker. The site is notable for its wide usage of the word "snark" to describe its typical style of sarcastic review. Their official motto is "Spare the snark, spoil the networks," a takeoff on "spare the rod, spoil the child."
On March 27, 2014, it was announced that operations would cease on April 4, 2014, with forums remaining open until May 31, 2014. It was later confirmed, however, that the site's already published content would remain available as an archive, but the forums are no longer available as of May 31.
The recaps and forums have their own jargon, detailed in the site's help section. Recappers also commonly coin nicknames for show characters, based on inside jokes or an actor's previous work. Some of these terms arise from episode-specific forum discussions among non-staff television viewers and make their way into common usage (and sometimes into the recaps as well).
Show recaps and forums
Recaps differ in styles: some of the recappers write shorter, more concise recaps while others write more comically, inserting references to their personal life, for example. Naturally, each style attracts different readers, with some preferring to use the site as information for episodes that they have missed, and others preferring the more humorous ones, which can be equally (or more) enjoyable to those who also watched the episode. Beginning in 2007, TWoP introduced "weecaps" – initially presented as single-page television series reviews written in real time. The abbreviated recap style – first used for coverage of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge and Dancing with the Stars during the spring – was later employed for a larger slate of summer replacement series, with eventual reconfiguring into multi-page entries. Shows with weecaps also gain dedicated forums with topic areas as with regularly recapped shows. The American version of Survivor used weecap coverage for the start of its China season but full recaps returned with that edition's 7th episode and have remained in place since then.
Shows canceled by the network (or deemed to be unpopular with the readers of TWoP) are considered to be in permanent hiatus, a status which is rarely reversed except for reality shows: the U.S. version of Big Brother returned to coverage in June 2006 when its All-Stars season began for the first time since its third season; Real World/Road Rules Challenge also returned to the active list in April 2007, with its recapping format switched to a shorter, real-time commentary; and while the site decided after the sixth edition of The Apprentice to stop recaps, the Celebrity Apprentice edition was brought back for coverage. Shows placed into permanent hiatus will generally have their forum threads readable but locked, and given a single dedicated thread in the appropriate miscellaneous forum categories; the recaps remain available on the site, though in the "Permanent hiatus" section. There are some exceptions; Doctor Who coverage was put into permanent hiatus after the 2nd season; Glark commented on the action of moving the show to permanent hiatus that "If you want to know what Bit Torrent is, ask a Doctor Who fan". The full Doctor Who threaded forum was retained though moved into the Sci-Fi show category, and remains fully active with moderation. As of now, the 2005 remake of Night Stalker holds the record for the shortest run on TWoP, having been put on Permanent Hiatus after only one recap, although the 2005 series Sex, Love & Secrets was expunged before even one recap, due to incredibly low viewer response in the forums. The shows covered are almost exclusively American, with the exceptions of the new series of Doctor Who, which is a British import to US television, and the original UK version of Queer as Folk, which was a British import to Canadian television. Both shows are Russell T Davies productions.
At times, the site may offer a charity auction for "Tubey's Kids", whereby the person with the largest donation can request a recap of a specific episode or show (no longer than one hour) by any specific recapper. The results of these recaps are posted as "Mondo Extras" on the site.
The forum for each active show include threads for each episode of a show, a speculation thread, spoiler information, media references to the show, character/contestant-specific threads, and a general "meet market" for forum users. The forums are heavily moderated by staff to avoid significant off-topic discussion, unprotected spoiler information, and flame wars.
Some actors and producers have been known to visit the website. The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin posted in the forums, but his relationship with the site eventually turned sour. His experience is believed to have inspired the episode "The U.S. Poet Laureate". In this episode, a character posts on White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman's fansite and is vehemently attacked by members of the forum for his beliefs and his violation of the forum rules. In contrast, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has more fully embraced the TWoP message board community, with a discussion thread in his show's forum open to directly communicate with viewers. In addition, on the January 18, 2007 episode of My Name Is Earl, a character using the screen name WhoJackie was shown typing a post on the site's forums. As it turns out, a user by that same name had written the same post several days before the episode first aired. Jack Coleman, star of Heroes also maintained a blog at the site for some time.
For the past several years, posters at the site have organized "TARCon" in New York City which is a viewing party for the season finale of the Amazing Race. The party has been attended by many of the show's contestants from current and past seasons.
2008 Staff changes and redesign
In April 2008, the TWoP site was redesigned and expanded to include features such as a wiki, videos, and a subsection "Movies without Pity."
Television Without Pity had a history of being the target of criticism. The site moderators were accused of arbitrarily and unprofessionally applying the discussion forum rules and jumping too quickly to edit posts, and sanction and ban members who did not adhere to the many rules for posting on the site. Moderators were also criticized for engaging in apparently retaliatory behavior, sanctioning or banning members who offered negative feedback or questioned the moderators' actions. Some of this criticism claimed that the problematic moderating increased after the site was acquired by Bravo in 2008, whereas others cite the decline in writing ability of the top moderators / editors. Critics also charged that the site lost its "edge" after the Bravo acquisition.
- "Televisionwithoutpity.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- TWoP Announcement on Bravo acquisition[dead link]
- Adalian, Josef (March 13, 2007). "Bravo nabs popular TV Web site". Variety. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- "Twitter / TVWithoutPity: TWOP will cease operations...". 27 Mar 2014. Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
- "Television Without Pity". Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. Retrieved 3 April 2014. "our archives will stay up. Plus: our forums will remain open till May 31."
- TWoP Pembleton (2014). "Announcement: TWoP Content Staying Online; Site Still Closing". Archived from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2014. "the forums will not be available after May 31st"
- "Television Without Pity Help: Lexicon".
- Glark (July 4, 2007). "Doctor Who sent to PH". Retrieved September 5, 2007.
- – TWoP – Tubey's Kids[dead link]
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- "The Old My Name is Earl Thread – TWoP Forums". Forums.televisionwithoutpity.com. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
- Coleman, Jack. "The H.R.G. Files, Heroes TV Show, Heroes News, Heroes Blog | TWoP – Archives". Televisionwithoutpity.com. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
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- Television Without Pity (Or Sense) [Or Me] – STRANAHAN dot com
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- WTF, TWoP?[dead link]
- "List of criticisms and complaints against TwoP". Imaginarylands.wordpress.com. Retrieved November 29, 2011.