What Will You Do When the Great Netflix Price Hike Happens?


Netflix subscribers learned something very unpleasant today. Starting in September, unlimited DVDs and unlimited streaming will now cost $15.98, a 60% increase over the current rate, $9.99. This is a significant price hike — much more than the most recent increase from $7.99 to $9.99 — and if you ask me, it’s a dealbreaker.

Let’s for a moment take a look at my viewing habits. I like to think of myself as the average inefficient Netflix user: I sometimes rapidly cycle through three or four DVDs in a month, only to go for stretches of weeks without opening that little red envelope. Sometimes, when in a fix for entertainment, I’ll hit up the Netflix streaming, which is highly convenient in that it can appear on my phone at the gym, on my laptop in bed, or on my Wii in the living room. The only problem is that there’s NEVER anything good to watch (unless, of course, you were just aching to finally see Thumbelina). I suppose streaming is good for catching up on old television shows and seasons, but once you’ve gone through the decent fare, it’s slim pickings. On occasion, I might stumble upon something noteworthy, but just as soon as it’s found (ie. Salt), a dustup with a studio (ie. Sony) causes the title to be swiftly pulled from the service without warning. This means that you have to actually move quickly on streaming movies, which sort of undermines the whole idea of “on demand.”

This brings me back to the fare hike. Do I really want to pay $15.98 for an albeit convenient but meager selection of on-demand streaming? And do I also want to drop that coin on DVDs I might take two months to watch? No. This is no longer a good value to me. So, I will choose one of the alternate plans: $7.99 for unlimited streaming or $7.99 for unlimited DVDs. But which to choose? I’m leaning toward the DVDs. Netflix Classic, if you will.

Where do you stand on the issue? Will you accept the price increase? Or will you opt for one of the alternate plans?

Ten Things You Should Stop Doing On Facebook

Every now and then, I like to get on my soap box and complain about Facebook etiquette. It’s been a little while; so I’m back with a new list of pet peeves. Some are retreads of previous complaints. Others are new. There’s certainly a chance I may alienate some of my own Facebook friends by merely posting this, but in my defense, I’ll say that this article is for their own good. Don’t be offended. Use it as a tool to grow. Constructive criticism is all it is!

After the jump, the top ten things you should stop doing on Facebook:

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Baz Luhrmann To Ruin ‘The Great Gatsby’


Many people adore director Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. Even more love his Romeo + Juliet. I am not one of those people. Something about Luhrmann’s style makes me want to stab my eyes out with Nicole Kidman’s stiletto heels. That’s why I cringed with disdain when I learned the director would be taking on one of my favorite books of all time, The Great Gatsby. To some, the pairing is rather perfect; Luhrmann taking on the decadent world of 1920s “West Egg,” (a.k.a. Great Neck, NY) seems like a task tailor-made for him. To others, like me, this seems like a recipe for an indulgent, frenetic disaster. I sincerely hope I’m proven wrong, especially since the rumored cast of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire actually seems somewhat perfect.

For more information on the film’s development, read the full article here.

WORST RUMOR EVER: Is The City Cancelled?

MTV needs a stern talking to. Rumors surfaced today that The City MAY BE CANCELLED. This is an outright horrific decision. The City is not only a fantastic show, but I’d wager to say that it’s the best series on MTV. Heck, I’d go so far to say that it has emerged as one of the best reality programs of all time. Yes, I said it. That’s no hyperbole. Since adjusting its format away from Whitney’s love life and towards the world of fashion, The City has consistently delivered us a nifty thirty minute package of passive-aggression and stern life lessons week after week in the most entertaining way. The combination of Kelly Cutrone’s sharp-tongued attacks mixed with the tense posturing between Erin and Olivia has been nothing short of a guilty pleasure. At its best, the show is a wonderfully succinct commentary on workplace politics. At its worst, it’s just plain fun.

In many ways, The City doesn’t even belong on MTV. The leads are too mature and urbane, and let’s face it: a huge amount of entertainment derives from the likes of Cutrone, Joe Zee, Robbie Myers, and the occasional Anne Slowey appearance. In other words, the old people. There’s no way MTV could possibly stomach so many non-Snooki types.

Of course, The City has its detractors. People complain that it’s too scripted (news flash: who cares?), and others feel that it’s boring. I can’t even address the latter critique — to me it’s like saying humans don’t need air to breathe. Ridiculous. However, dramatic reactions aside, I still must insist that The City is fantastic, and it at least deserves another season. We can’t be deprived of the petty feuds and professional tomfoolery. Reconsider, MTV. Reconsider.

Read More:

Vulture: The City Might Not Return for Another Season

(thanks to B-Side Blog reader Tiffany for the heads up)

RIP 'Top Design'

This weekend, Bravo made several announcements about its new and returning shows, and while all this was very exciting (viz. Gail Simmons), I couldn’t help but notice one precious gem missing from the list. I’m talking, of course, about Top Design, the addictive reality competition that pitted interior designers and artists against each other in an effort to achieve the eponymous crown. Now, I’m not gonna lie: season one of this show was miserable. Need I remind you of its deliriously ridiculous send-off line? Maybe I do: “See you later, decorator.” Seriously. That’s what Jonathan Adler, a giant in interior design, was forced to say every single week.
Not only was the tagline lame, but the challenges were too, often confined to the grim trappings of Los Angeles’s Pacific Design Center. This was not compelling TV.
Then came season two, which really came down to two words: India Hicks. The daughter of LORD DAVID HICKS (as she was fond of noting), India was a joy to watch, made even more so by a revamped format and look. Suddenly the crappy third cousin of Top Chef was now kind of awesome. The best change of all? The withering new sendoff that was as harsh as the previous one was silly. Seriously, I don’t think there’s been a goodbye in reality TV that has been so deflating, so devastating, and so utterly soul-destroying as what India Hicks seethed for several weeks on end. And so in memoriam of this fun show, I present to you the vicious elimination line in all its British glory (click the video above). Godspeed Top Design. Godspeed.
TV By The Numbers: Bravo Expands Unscripted Programming By 20% And Unveils Premiere Dates For Returning Shows

The Best of IndianJones

The Los Angeles crew lost a vital member of its community today. And by vital, I mean “stocky, even-keeled, and generally assholish.” Yes, I’m talking about the beloved IndianJones, who is currently driving northward to the icy climes of San Francisco where he has taken a job with Internet giant Yahoo! (exclamation theirs, not mine). These will be trying times for our group (formerly called the Lametourage until very recently when we decided that The VC, or Vicious Circle, best describes our badinage and dynamic). Point is, without IndianJones, we lose that certain je ne sais quoi (ironic since he hates the French). Who’s gonna be the first one to tell us that a girl is fat? Who’s gonna come over and turn off the oven timer FOR NO GOOD REASON WHEN SOMETHING IS BAKING? And who’s gonna babble incessantly about the multi-faceted glories of Tom Brady? No one, I tell you. No one.
And so it was with a heavy heart that The VC said its goodbyes to IndianJones last night. Burgers, kir royales, and macaroons were had (followed by awkward hugging — IndianJones doesn’t like personal contact). However, just because IndianJones is gone doesn’t mean he’s forgotten. In honor of his two influential years here in Los Angeles, I’ve gone back through my archives and dug out the best IndianJones photos I could find (and let me tell you, compared to my iPhoto library, these are just the tip of the iceberg).
Enjoy, if you would, this tribute to the man, the myth, the Masshole.

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For the past few days, I’ve been bedridden with an intermittent fever, and being the judicious hypochondriac that I am, I decided to get it checked out today. After all, I wouldn’t want to come down with the SWINE FLU. Luckily, I don’t have that (YET). But I do have pneumonia. I’ve been ordered to rest in bed for the next week; so I fear this may put a slight damper on my posting schedule / output. Blech.
Luckily I have moral support from Sly, who just wrote me, “I had it while working on an archaeological dig in Cyprus and had to sleep sitting up, it was so bad. On the plus side, i got out of sifting duty, b/c the dust plume would have killed me.”
I must now repair to the bed. Thank you for your patience.

Blagojevich Denied A Chance To Be A Reality Star; America Loses


It was all looking so wonderful. I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! had a dream cast in the works: Heidi, Spencer, Sanjaya, Dog The Bounty Hunter, Janice Dickinson, and of course, the biggest piece of the puzzle — the glue, the glory, the hair — Rod Blagojevich. But today, a judge informed the disgraced former governor that he was not allowed to participate in the show because he “wasn’t taking his criminal case seriously and because he needs to participate in his own defense.” And to that judge, I say STFU! Listen, if this guy wants to screw up his entire defense by going on a reality show this summer, that’s his choice. Who cares if he’s not taking it seriously? That’s his problem, not yours.
I am extremely disappointed in not just these turn of events, but the legal system as a whole. One word: petition.
For more information, check out Joe Adalian’s TV Week article here.

How Dumb Is CBS.com?


I’m really loving this latest season of The Amazing Race, but when it comes to building buzz on the Internet, CBS seems all backward. Absolutely none of the show’s videos can be embedded, and that goes for previews of upcoming episodes. What sort of marketing genius thought that up? Wouldn’t CBS want previews to be accessible on every site on the Internet? I imagine some myopic supervisor thought that by disabling embedding, it would draw traffic to CBS.com, but if there’s anything I learned from my TVgasm days, it’s that readers don’t like to do anything that’s inconvenient. Specifically, if you make content difficult to reach, it simply won’t be reached.
It’s bad enough that CBS posts only a handful of photos from each Amazing Race episode (usually three to four days after a show airs), but to deprive the blogosphere of usable video? That just seems cruel and unusual. It’s especially maddening when compared to how accessible the network makes content for Big Brother. When that show is in season, the webmasters deluge us with images (upwards of a hundred per episode) and video that can be embedded. Why the change of heart for Amazing Race?
(For a good recap, click here)

The Crusade Continues, Albeit with Perks

Free Starbucks!

Two weeks ago, I implored all of America to revolt against Starbucks and their straw-destroying lids. I was hoping to generate a crusade or at least a low-grade revolution, but sadly, the cause never really caught on with Digg and whatnot. Still, I got some traction — getting linkage from Eater LA and Serious Eats and some other blogs. Reading the comments on those sites, I was struck by how many people thought it was their fault that they couldn’t get their straws through their lids. Fear not, my fellow countrymen. It’s not you. It’s them. Shame on any corporation who lets the consumer take the blame for their own shortcomings!
Luckily, Starbucks has shown slight remorse. After I complained on their website, a customer representative sent me coupons for two free drinks. This is a step in the right direction. I would like to publicly thank Starbucks for throwing me a minor bone. Of course, while I’m always happy to get free nourishment, but I must face the realization that all I’m going to do is march over to the nearest ‘bucks, order a mocha frapuccino, and face the dreaded lid ALL OVER AGAIN. I suppose I could request the alternative domed lid, but honestly, why should I change my habits for their poor plastic choices? I refuse! Vive la resistance!
Nevertheless, I’ll keep all updated on the Starbucks front…