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:: "fuzzy romance and brutal terror" : apparently, I can get behind that ::
The end of an era, I think. 
16th-May-2008 04:04 pm
Misc - winter tree
Am I the only person for whom pages at Television Without Pity take for-FREAKING-ever to load, now? Before, it was just visually unattractive - that header with the TVs would be OK on its own, but the overlapping banner ads look terrible, and the pages look cluttered and no longer have the unique feeling that they used to, and I think the drop-down lists are clumsier. Now, it's got this added irritation of being slow - it's even freezing my computer up. And it's been doing it for several days, so I'm guessing it's caused by a new feature/new coding, rather than being an issue that will be changed.

For three years, TWoP was a daily destination for me. I found writers whose work I loved, and read recaps of shows I didn't watch because they were written by people who I knew were witty, capable writers. I never would have become a Veronica Mars fan, or a Heroes fan, if it weren't for Couch Baron and Erin's hilariously bitchy yet thoughtful recaps.  And I've met a lot of fun users - I never would have met all you lovely people, if it hadn't been for TWoPers urging me to come over to LJ.

Now, though?  I can't even remember when I last read a recap there.  The last couple that I read, I remember being surprised that they were up so quickly after the episodes aired...and then thinking that the writers weren't nearly as funny as they used to be, which makes me feel that quality is being sacrificed for speed.  I've tried some of the new features, like the video week in review, and didn't really find those amusing either.

Sadly, I think I may be done with TWoP.  I've got my forum control panel bookmarked, so that I can pop in to see if anyone's posted in the forums without having to put up massively long loading times on the other pages.  But at this point, it's stopped being a fun site to visit.  And that makes me sad.

16th-May-2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
It's not slow for me, but I'm mostly fed up with it as well. I don't see any ads (Adblock Plus: live it, learn it, love it) but I agree about the drop-down lists and overall feel. Also, I've read a few recaps lately, and they're just not good anymore. The recappers seem to have lost their TWoPpiness. Probably around the same time that the site lost its TWoPpiness.
17th-May-2008 12:18 am (UTC)
And of course as soon as I say how they're not that slow, I realize just how long they actually do take to load.
17th-May-2008 06:33 am (UTC)
I worried for a while that I was just being all grumpy and hidebound and not wanting things to change. Or that I was just automatically assuming that because it was corporate-owned now, it would go downhill. And I admit that I tend to believe in "simpler is better" with regards to web site design, when websites in the NBC corporate family seem to go out of their way to be cluttered and complicated. But...the writing, which was what drew me in to TWoP in the first place, just doesn't make me laugh any more.

I may have to check out Adblock Plus. For the most part, I'm good at tuning out ads. But it's so visually unattractive, the way the ads are displayed at TWoP now, that it's not the ads themselves that bother me, but the ugly way they're plopped on top of the TV header. If that makes sense.
17th-May-2008 12:15 am (UTC)
Yeah, the pages kind of take awhile to load for me too, and while I mostly visit the Heroes boards and only read those recaps, the total re-vamping of the site has been a slight turn off for me as well. I go on LJ first now instead of TWoP; it's like my new internet home now :) Hopefully the recap writers will get their snark back when the new TV season starts up in the fall, even if the site doesn't ever go back to its simplified, convenient design.

In any case, I hope you don't stop posting on the Heroes threads - especially the Sylar and HoYay ones - because I've always found your posts very insightful and hilarious.
17th-May-2008 06:38 am (UTC)
Aw, thanks! :0) I'm definitely going to stick around the forums. But...I think my general unhappiness with the site is why I pretty much don't go anywhere except the Sylar and the Hoyay threads, any more. It's just sad because the recaps were what pulled me into talking to people on the forums in the first place. So I hate the fact that the recaps aren't interesting to me any more, because it means lost opportunities to giggle and have fun with even more people online. If that makes sense.
17th-May-2008 12:24 am (UTC)
I tend to visit TWoP for certain messageboards, but overall I've moved away from how I used to feel about the site. I can't remember the last time I read a recap (and I used to love reading those) because it's just not the same. Basically I understand the general frustration and sense of moving on.
17th-May-2008 06:43 am (UTC)
Yes, at this point, I pretty much just check a few boards and that's it. It makes me sad because there were certain recapppers who, even if I was having a horrible day, I knew I could depend on them to cheer me up. And anything Jacob recapped would be guaranteed to be borderline insane, but yet fascinating and lyrical. Now, though, I don't even bother to graze the main page.

They keep adding "user-based-content" stuff, like the wikis. But...you can find wikis all over the place. The recaps were the fun and unique thing that they had to offer, that made me want to come every day when I normally ignore entertainment websites. Sigh. Oh well.
17th-May-2008 01:26 am (UTC)
I agree that the site has lost a lot of what made it fun. I noticed that the recaps stopped being funny (even Erin's season 2 Heroes recaps were not nearly as great as her season 1 or Alias ones), but I didn't put that observation together with the new speediness with which they are posted until you pointed it out just now. That must be the reason. Other than Heroes, I have only ever read recaps for early seasons of Smallville (never watched though), Alias, Betty and Supernatural; the latter two, which are still on, have lost their interest for me. I wondered if it was because the shows stopped being interesting, or if it was the recappers, but I couldn't judge because I haven't watched either show all season.

Recently, I haven't had a loading problem. I've been having serious login problems. It signs me out every time I go to another page within the site. It isn't worth the effort anymore to go through singing in literally three times just to post. I can't even complain because I keep getting logged out when I try to post in the complaint threads.

I'm off the site, too, especially since I only ever posted about Heroes. I hope you come back in the fall for just a couple of threads though! Like the Hoyay thread and the Sylar thread and the photo contest thread. :(
17th-May-2008 06:50 am (UTC)
I noticed the drop in quality with Couch Baron, first. There were times when his VM recaps wouldn't go up till the day before the next episode aired...but dear Lord, they were fun reads. I even went back and read some shows he'd recapped before VM, and they were just as fun. I read several new things by him, was stunned at how boring they were...then realized they were going up within a few hours of the show airing.

I'll definitely be sticking around the threads I'm normally in! (At least as long as other fun people are posting too, at any rate.) But I think my general disatisfaction with the site is why I don't bother to try other threads, like the Mohinder thread or Mafia.

I used to really like Omar G's Smallville recaps, but haven't read any this season. If you're ever looking for vicious late-night entertainment in the archives, I recommend the recaps for 7th Heaven and for Sex In The City. 7th Heaven has the distinction of being the only show that I have had to turn off because I was furiously screaming obscenities at it, and the recappers all shared that opinion. And SitC...man, the descriptions of her outfits alone send me into hysterics.
17th-May-2008 04:37 am (UTC)
I never visited religiously, but I used to pop by now and then to read a few reviews. (First for...Buffy, I think...then Angel, then Supernatural, now Heroes.) The last ones I read were the S2 Heroes ones, and the most I've done since then is skim a few of the House ones. I used to refresh the recap pages constantly waiting for a new review to be posted, and the snark would slay me the whole way through. Now it's turned into "I might browse it if I have time", and the snark on my LJ f-list is more entertaining.

Yeah, the site's layout has gone to hell, too. There's that ginormous TV banner graphic that bumps all the forum content down (I can't even see the first post of any given thread without scrolling down past the clutter), the annoying drop-down menus (placed in a spot where it's easy to accidentally mouse-over them), the visually unappealing front page (whatever happened to the cute little graphics?), all those damn video links and things cluttering up the review pages, the load times... And probably a ton of ads that I can't see thanks to AdBlock Plus.
17th-May-2008 06:56 am (UTC)
I used to refresh the recap pages constantly waiting for a new review to be posted, and the snark would slay me the whole way through. Now it's turned into "I might browse it if I have time", and the snark on my LJ f-list is more entertaining.

That's it, exactly. I liked that they had recappers who could like a show but yet mock it at the same time. Now, though, they're either rushing and not taking the time to make it funny, or possibly have been defanged by TPTB.

I could block out the ads if they were just sitting there - I used to, with the old design. But they sit right at the top of that TV screen header, and it's just UGLY. And I react quicker to visual cues than to anything else.

I think what bothers me the most is that before, the site was unique. There are other sites where people would mock bad shows, but never with a cleverness that made me want to stick around. And the look of the site meant that it stuck in your mind. Now, though, there's nothing to set it apart. Ooh, they've added a wiki? Yeah, they're only several years behind Wikipedia and 18 months behind Heroes Wiki. I hate to place too much blame on corporate ownership, but at the same time, it feels like whoever's making the decisions now really doesn't understand what drew people in and is making the decisions based on what other sites are doing and what focus groups show people like. Before, it felt like something that had grown up organically.
17th-May-2008 07:19 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't even bother checking the "new content" like the videos and wiki. That's not what I started coming to the site for, and it's nothing that hasn't been done elsewhere and done better.

Adblock Plus should at least make the forum browsing more bearable. This is what it looks like to me. Still cluttered as hell (you can't even see the first thread!), but no ads. And if you really want to clear up the clutter, there's a Greasemonkey script you can run with Firefox that will make it look like this.
17th-May-2008 09:41 am (UTC)
I agree, it's changed, and it's a shame. I used to read quite a lot of recaps on there (procrastination YAY) but now it's just Supernatural and very occasionally Smallville, when I'm really bored and feel like reading some bitching.

I get the feeling you may get tempted to return when the new series of Heroes starts, though...
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