Nostalgia Critic Retires
I’m Not Angry
Since the film department here doesn’t really believe in mid-term exams, it’s given me a lot of time to catch up on the internet. Rather than getting pissed off at online gamers, stupid videos, racist message boards, and undeservingly famous hacks (but believe me, it wouldn’t be hard to do), I think that it’s time I delivered a long overdue eulogy for one great reviewer. I’ll go back to being angry soon, I promise. But for now, I need to make things right by me.
It all started with a job at Circuit City. Well, more specifically, termination from a job at Circuit City. Mike Michaud had a decision to make; he could keep working part-time jobs, or do something he loved. The website Channel Awesome was started in 2008 by Michaud and other Circuit City alumnus. Michaud has since stated in interviews that, “If we didn't lose our jobs, [the business] wouldn't have happened anytime soon.”
Now, Doug Walker’s first appearance was on YouTube in 2007. The first video Walker posted was a review for Michael Bay’s Transformers movie, which had recently hit theatres. The review was simple: Walker in a poorly lit room with one camera, rapid-firing a synopsis and the occasional criticism of the film before passing out from the strain. The video was rough around the edges, and follow-up videos were sporadic. Though of course, with anything even remotely popular, when there was even a whiff of copyright infringement, movie studios had Walker’s subsequent reviews removed almost immediately after their publication.
Walker and his brother Rob founded the site, That Guy with the Glasses (TGWTG) in partnership with the Channel Awesome (see? That bit was relevant.), and Walker’s new Nostalgia Critic reviews were produced exclusively on the site from then on. The videos featured Walker as the Nostalgia Critic reviewing videos, cartoons, commercials, and other media primarily from the ’80s and ’90s. The Nostalgia Critic was an insulting, sarcastic, foul-mouthed critic raised by pop culture. The episodes usually focused on the Critic watching the film and picking apart all the flaws with it while also constantly insulting the film's creators, the film itself, and the audience. The formula occasionally changed (top 11 videos, old vs. new, and crossover reviews), but the formula always remained the same – pure, unadulterated vitriol. By 2012, the Nostalgia Critic reviews saw between 100,000 and 300,000 views per episode, and TGWTG had over one million unique views a month.
Once a year, That Guy with the Glasses hosted an anniversary special, by way of a feature-length film. In 2012, TGWTG released their three-hour science-fiction epic, To Boldly Flee, which I actually sort of got to review this year. In the film, the Nostalgia Critic sacrifices himself to save the very fabric of reviewing. This led to much fan speculation about the end of the Nostalgia Critic series. In a separate video post, Doug Walker did, in fact, say that the Nostalgia Critic character was being retired, as he and his brother felt that the series had run its natural course. Walker was very careful to say that the Critic wasn’t being killed off and would make occasional appearances in other specials.
On Jan. 22, 2013, a new video titled “The Review Must Go On,” appeared on the site. It announced the triumphant return of the Nostalgia Critic, who released his first new review in months on Feb. 5. So, in many ways, this eulogy isn’t really overdue, but premature. Regardless, I’d still like to take this opportunity to say thank you in a public forum. Doug Walker’s Nostalgia Critic made it acceptable to be an angry nerdy social outcast. His hatred for things that people’s childhoods wouldn’t let go of made the internet a better place for people like me to be. Will he ever read this? Doubtful. But all the same: thank you Doug Walker. You would have been missed. I’m not angry. I myself was just feeling, well, a little nostalgic.
Photo courtesy of nextupmovies.blogspot.ca