Knowing Your Audience

So as I’ve mentioned before, whenever something we’re watching focuses on anything like a newspaper or magazine article, source code, a computer screen, a dating profile, etc., I am always compelled to pause the video and go have a closer look. Normally what’s displayed is word-like filler material, but finally—finally!—I found a show that really, really knows its audience. That show would be Doom Patrol on HBO Max.

Now, Doom Patrol is, technically, a superhero show, but it’s not like other superhero shows. I mean, yes, they’re dysfunctional like The Umbrella Academy; and yes, they’ve been assembled by a wheelchair-bound genius like the X-Men; and yes, it’s quite violent and quite funny (often both at the same time) like The Boys; and yes, they swear all the fucking time like Deadpool ― in fact, they swear so much they would probably make Deadpool blush, for example, in this little tidbit where Jane and Cliff are discussing another character’s daughter, who has some, uh, let’s call them unusual characteristics:

Jane: “He fucked somebody to get her. What the fuck do you have to fuck to get fuckin’ that?!”
Cliff: “I do not know!”
Jane: “OK, OK, on the count of three, we both blurt out what we think he fucked.”
Wife (who happens to be in the room while I was watching Doom Patrol for once): “If anyone tried to play that drinking game* with this show they would die.”

Although my wife was by chance present for that scene, I unfortunately cannot do a “Not a Review” of this show because in general she doesn’t even try to pay attention to it, although I have explained a few things about it to her; for instance, about how the aforementioned Jane has something like 62 personalities, each of which has one, and only one, superpower.

Wife: “That’s interesting.”

And also about how another character, Danny the Street, is, literally, a sentient genderqueer teleporting street who hops around the world keeping their inhabitants safe from persecution by the outside world.

Wife: “That’s interesting.”

But neither thing is interesting enough for her to watch it.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about how long it takes Doom Patrol to put my wife to sleep or how frequently the characters swear. This is a post about what happened when one of them was reading a magazine and I paused the show so I could read it too:

This is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen in a video that I’ve paused, so naturally I had to read it to my wife**. Now of course I’m not going to ask you to squint at that blurry image to read the text of the article. And I also didn’t feel like squinting at it myself to re-read it while writing this post so that I could type it all out. Figuring somebody on the Internet must have already posted the text, I did a search for it, and lo! Somebody on the Internet did. Here is the relevant portion:

Born in Sweden, New York, to unexceptional parents, Larson was destined to lead an unexceptional life of [h]is own. If you have screen-capped this in order to read the text of this article, congratulations! We the writers of Doom Patrol have a super secret message just for you. And that message is this: Please, please, please, please renew your DCU membership. We’d really like to do another season of this foolishness. We get to say ‘fuck’ a lot. Anyway, thanks a bunch for watching. We should probably get back to writing this bogus article.

Doom Patrol

They did get to do another season of that foolishness; in fact, they did three more. And man oh man do they take full advantage of being allowed to say “fuck” a lot.

* This would of course be the drinking game where you take a shot every time somebody says “fuck”.
** As you can probably guess, she could quite clearly not have cared less.

7 thoughts on “Knowing Your Audience

  1. The thing that struck me when reading that excerpt from the freeze frame wasn’t what the writers of the series wrote about their hopes, but rather the first sentence. Sweden, NY is in the county I live in, so I wonder why they picked that town. Is one of the writers from there? I also bet that people from that town might take exception to the notion that living there would be “an unexceptional life”.

    It looks like a fun series so I might have to put it on my watch list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I looked up the writers for this episode and the ones whose bios said where they were born weren’t from that area, but there were a lot of writers, so it’s certainly possible! I remember when I found out one of the writers on “The Simpsons” is from the village where I grew up (and, sadly, is not me), via an episode where the family drove through it. Pretty weird seeing the hometown park, fire house, etc., rendered in Simpsons form …


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