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Getting Shit On

For nearly a year now, I’ve been writing a weekly column about television. Similar to Zap2It’s TV Gal, but way less retarded, it’s basically an uncompromising look at the TV shows I waste my time watching. It’s not a big thing; mostly, it exists to lend enough legitimacy to myself to apply for the TCA, get in, get invited to the upfronts, then hobnob until I can get a good job and shake off the dust of this shitty review website. It’s a sound plan.

Now, I’ve mentioned this site and the occasional runinsI’ve had with the site founder, but man did he rile me up last week—and he tried again this week.

USA Network’s publicist sent me some screeners to promote the upcoming seasons of Burn Notice, Monk and Psych. Now, I’ve asked him specifically—multiple times—that anything coming his way that involves television, he can forward to me and I’ll take it. I don’t care if I’ve never seen the show before or if I’ve watched it since episode one. I’ll take a look at it and use it, in some way, in the column.

He hasn’t listened to that. At all. So I have to fight to get these screeners. It’s a little frustrating. On top of that, he doesn’t strictly want me to use these TV reviews with the column; look, at the end of the day, I’ve been doing the column for nearly a year, and he couldn’t give two shits about it. For months, he only provided one link to it, and that link directed everyone to my very first column, way back in September. I asked him repeatedly to point the links to an index page with a list of columns; he never, ever did it. I solved that problem by using the file the link did point to as the index.

Worse than that, I’ve written at least quite a few reviews, separate from my column, but in order to help him, I’ve put them into his cruddy HTML templates myself, uploaded them, then e-mailed the links, asking him to make sure to put them on the main pages. He hasn’t done this since September of last year, and I’ve written at least a half-dozen reviews since then (in fact, one of the people from a distributor recently came to me wondering where my review was; I pointed her to the review, and though she was effusive, it really pissed me off because the review was more than a month old). And it’s for this reason, and this reason alone, that I posted my Juno rant on this blog instead of his site. I wouldn’t be ashamed to put my name of it, I wouldn’t be ashamed to unleash the hate on a semi-legitimate site, especially one that has a monthly column called The Rant. But fuck it. Even if he put up a proper link to it, I’m just starting to get disillusioned by the shoddiness and the total disinterest the webmaster takes in his own site. There are certain things I get out of the site that compel me to continue doing work for it, but I’m not going to donate any unsolicited material to him. I know now that his acceptance of it means very little; he’ll post pretty much everything without question.

I needed to go into some of that background so what happened last week is perfectly clear. Per usual, I posted my weekly column—this one a special edition on Burn Notice—on Sunday, like I usually do. (Okay, on Monday but backdated to Sunday—deal with it.) To find it, all you have to do is click the link to the column, click the link on the index page that takes you to the newest one, and you’re there.

So I was a little surprised when The Webmaster e-mailed me on Tuesday evening. He was forwarding me a promotional e-mail from the publicist regarding Burn Notice, along with a sternly worded note basically telling me, “You haven’t done this, so do it ASAP.” He CC’ed it to two people from the publicity firm.

Now, I know why he did this. He wants to create the illusion that he’s a stern taskmaster, fully in charge of the site and deserving to wear the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF propellor-beanie. Although I don’t believe he had to word it quite as strongly as he did, especially since I had already written and posted it, I tried not to take offense. I wrote him back, telling him I’d done it and posted it as part of the column.

Here’s the part that pissed me off: on the rare occasions that this has happened, first of all, he hasn’t CC’ed others; secondly, I usually just send him the link and he says, “Great, thanks!” and forwards it to whoever’s asking about it. This time, he replied—again, CC’ing them, even though I hadn’t done a “reply all”—with a snippy, “We do main-page links for things like this.” Just like he does main-page links for the seven reviews I’ve written since September, right?

I wrote him back saying, “Fine, just add a direct link to the column review,” also adding that I intended to do the same thing with the following week’s reviews of Monk and Psych. (And by the way, he never added a main-page link to the review.) So what happened, a week later, when the USA publicity people sent another e-mail about the upcoming premieres of Monk and Psych? Sends me a CC’ed e-mail “reminding” me to let him know when I’ve posted the new column. The new column that I had already posted. And, again, no main-page link to it.

For me, it comes down to basic etiquette. I don’t mind people treating me like shit if I’ve done something wrong, and I fully admit that it was wrong to merely post a review of something as part of a column without telling anybody (but I felt justified because this was the only way anyone would see the review). Where my problem lies is in the lack of follow-through. The Webmaster wasn’t bitching me out because he was truly angry or annoyed; he was bitching me out so he looked good in front of those USA Network people. But what looks better? Publicly bitching at some dude they’ve never heard of because of a review he has already written, or privately saying, “Hey, did you do this?” and then just sending them back a link, and making sure to post a link from the main page.

I know I should just let shit like this roll of my back, but it bugs me, and this is my outlet for shit that bugs me. Deal with it.

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