Looking back at how things ended for me at Reality News Online, I wish that I had more control over my departure. Maybe with a letter to the head guy:
I know that we've had arguments on the Yahoo message board. I know that I have managed to irritate you and almost all of the other recappers. So I'm tapping out. While I feel that I'm still the best person to recap Real World/Road Rules Challenge, while I'm ready to go for another season, I don't think either of us would be happy. I would express strong opinions on the board, I would take my time writing the recaps, and all of you would consider me to be an asshole. I have to stress that being an asshole was never my intent.
Good luck with the site. I'll figure out how to recap on my terms.
Or I could have gone a little more aggressive. Maybe something like this:
Fuck you. Fuck you, fuck the others. I'm tired of being smacked around on the board. I'm tired of being framed as the lunatic fringe of the group. Why do I take my time with my recaps? Because I want to get a much detail as I possibly can, and that is more important to me than getting the recap written overnight. Why am I negative? Because Battle Of The Sexes 2 was utter shit. If you had to put up with Eric Fucking Nies every fucking week, you'd be negative too. And I am SO SORRY that I'm heavy into Television Without Pity. The people who post in those forums aren't the illiterate twits you'd see on other boards. At the very least, they would NEVER attack me that way I've been treated for the last year by you guys.
Are you upset? Are you horrified by my behavior here? Fuck you. You assholes made me out to be the bad guy, so I might as well say what I feel. Fuck you, fuck [redacted], fuck [redacted & redacted], fuck [redacted], and fuck [redacted names of anyone I missed]. You let them know. I might not have been the fastest writer, I probably wasn't the best recapper on the site, but I fucking cared the most about what I wrote. You can get one of your jerkoffs to replace me. I'll figure out a way to do it on my terms.
Eat Shit & Die,
I did not go with either of those options. My recap was posted, lines were cut from my final paragraph, I was locked out of the Yahoo group, and the head guy formally dismissed me. Three weeks later, I wrote back, and I probably came off as a huge wiener.
That was not a good time for me. A few days later, I attended TARCon 6, a season finale party host by fans for The Amazing Race. In addition to putting up with a bullshit ending (Freddy & Kendra lucking into $1 million), I had to tell people that I had been "fired." A few people saw my user name, and they told me how much they liked my recaps. Looking back, they could have been saying they were fans and not have really meant it. Given the lack of feedback I got from readers (as well as an edict by moderators of the Television Without Pity forums not to "pimp" stuff like my recaps), I appreciated the compliments. My head wasn't swollen. I just liked the idea that people read my stuff. My first "gig" at recapping on RNO was Dog Days. I believe my peak back then was when I went to the forums on Animal Planet and found that one of the couples on the show actually read my stuff to their dog.
I don't remember how long it took for me to start this blog. "Closet Optimist" was the title because as pessimistic as I could be, I usually wanted to feel better about things. I wasn't "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by any means, but I wanted to feel good. The initial goal of my blog was simple: to continue recapping Real World/Road Rules Challenge. A few months after getting kicked out of RNO, I began with Inferno II, a season that turned out to be far better than Battle Of The Sexes 2. Speaking of RNO, one of the other recappers took over my beat. He always struck me as a toady who would kick a person when he was down after the bigger bully worked that guy over. This is the lead from his first recap in March 2005:
Yes, I admit that three shows is a little much for me, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. At least, that’s what I’m told. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the BIGGEST fan of Bunim/Murray, but I’m willing to give it a go. However, don’t expect me to wax poetically about how much I hate certain people or gush over those that I love. Well, of course I’ll gush over those that I love. But this recap might be a bit different than previous seasons. Oh, and I don’t know everyone’s last names. Sorry – I’m sure that ruined the recap for you.
I have thin skin. I will admit that freely. But what he did was basically insult my writing and my methods. This was unforgivable. I think I had met the guy once at a TARCon, and our paths would never crossed again. As much as I veer away from actual conflict, I would have made an exception with him. I still would. And I know it's petty of me to hold a grudge about that fifteen years later, but here I am. He's a scumbag. When I was on the Yahoo group, he mentioned that he had auditioned for Survivor and gotten far. I didn't question that at the time, and I believe him now. For years after that recap, I wanted him to get, just so I could light him up like a damn Christmas tree.Most of the recappers at RNO were low to me, especially after I disagreed with several of Donald Trump's decisions o The Apprentice. I firmly believe most of them voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. I wouldn't be surprised if a few of them are among the butthurt MAGA crowd that insists Joe Biden stole the presidency from Trump. But this one asshole in particular aimed below my belt. To be honest, I haven't looked up what he's done more recently. Why give myself more agita than I already have?
I went on to recap Inferno II, and I had my feelings validated at TARCon 7 in May 2005, when some of my fans were horrified that I had been replaced. I didn't follow the asshole's recaps. I remember he was a fan of Beth Stolarczyk, which basically invalidated every opinion he'd ever have. He recapped for a few seasons, then he was replaced by someone whom I had steered towards RNO. I think she might have been the only regular writer there at that time that I didn't hate.
As for me? I covered Inferno II, and then I made the mistake of recapping Gauntlet 2. If I had not been fired for my negativity in BOTS2, Gauntlet 2 would have done it. A few weeks before Fresh Meat, I decided that I was done with recapping. I would try to make a new start with Who Wants To Be A Superhero? in 2006, but I wound up stopping halfway through the first season. That was mostly out of laziness.
That's basically it for my recapping days. I still watch The Challenge, which has gotten a lot bigger over the years, to the point where my stint covering it could be considered prehistory (especially since episode from the series start streaming from Inferno II). I still watch. I get pissed off by it on a regular basis, but I can never seem to let it go. In the last few years, I've been on a Challenge-centered group on Facebook. It's fun for me there. I say my piece and I seldom get attacked for it. When episodes air, I post my opinions "live" as the action unfolds.
I don't really know how to end this essay. I'm probably not going to recap again. I'm going to try and contribute more material to Saniac Podcast in relation to The Challenge. And I should try to write more, period. While I did bitch and moan quite often in the six seasons I recapped, I don't regret doing that. I'm happy with the way I recapped, putting in enough detail for anyone who hasn't watched the episodes. Why else would I hit Archive.org and pull my old material from the abyss? As sad as it might sound, the recaps are my legacy, and I hope you like reading them.
PS: If you haven't read my stuff, hit "HOME" and look to the right. All six seasons are available. Maybe I'll get around to re-posting my other old stuff.