Thumbs Up!
April 13, 2012 8:37 AM   Subscribe

Thumbs Up! is a documentary web series about David Choe and Harry Kim hitchhiking across North America and China. Season 1 - United States; Season 2 - Tijuana, United States and Canada; Season 3 - China; [might be NSFW]
posted by Cloud King (10 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I just recently marathon watched all three. I really enjoyed them, I wish there was more of this kind of thing to watch as it basically satisfies all my requirements for earnest weirdness, freight hopping and Korean dudes in dirty suits bumming rides while lugging around a tiny drum kit. I also like his forensic reconstruction of ancient racist/hornball graffiti.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:46 AM on April 13, 2012

Forgot to mention, the show is also on Netflix if you prefer to watch it there
posted by Cloud King at 8:55 AM on April 13, 2012

Harry Kim! Ahh Voyager, how we miss thee.
posted by marienbad at 8:57 AM on April 13, 2012 [6 favorites]

Season one and two were a blast, haven't checked out three yet.
posted by Think_Long at 9:05 AM on April 13, 2012

Oh woah. I didn't even know they'd gotten to season 2. Also, I'd have sworn I found out about this on MetaFilter.

But yeah. A weird, earnest, apparently-trustworthy-but-off guy and his nearly silent sidekick tagging porn stars' hotel rooms while their boyfriends are away and hopping freight trains while telling you how bad of an idea it is to do so. This is what Vice thinks it is.
posted by cmoj at 10:49 AM on April 13, 2012

I just watched the first episode of season two since I've been in Tijuana numerous times. Seems a little staged. I know I'm shocked! The "deep in Tijuana" was actually the one time famous tourist trap Avenida RevoluciĆ³n less than a mile from the border and about as dangerous as Bakersfield. The part about the Mexican guy that had been to Korea and then flashes his dick is completely plausible.

Unless Harry isn't a US citizen or legal resident of the US, they would have let him into the US w/o a passport. This was especially true back in 2007 when this was filmed. Of course that would be much more boring than a made up sneaking into the US after having taken testosterone shots. The fences they climb over isn't the border fence, but near the freeway well into the US. The train they hop one has to share the tracks north with the Trolley (freight is only from about 2-4am. There's not a lot of freight traffic as the tracks don't go to/from Mexico anymore there). And the railroad crossing sound in the clip if for an arriving Trolley. Also, on that siding there's a lot of rail cars that haven't moved in forever. But buying a Trolley ticket and taking the Trolley north to catch Amtrak to LA would have been much more boring than the idea of taking a freight train from SD to LA. Getting from LA to Fresnatch seemed sort of fake, too.

I'll watch the rest of it but I'll take it with a grain of salt.
posted by birdherder at 12:07 PM on April 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Forgot to mention, the show is also on Netflix if you prefer to watch it there

Actually, it seems to be presently out of rotation on Netflix. Which is a bummer.
posted by birdherder at 12:16 PM on April 13, 2012

David Choe is a true Bohemian, yet he's now worth hundreds of millions of dollars after getting Facebook stock working on commission for Sean Parker; it's another chapter in the quirky Facebook saga. Here's a funny interview of him on the Howard Stern show (it's a good interview regardless of the rest of the show).
posted by helot at 12:37 PM on April 13, 2012

I tried watching this, but I found choe smug and humorless. It's a really neat concept though.
posted by Betty_effn_White at 1:05 PM on April 13, 2012

I tried watching this, but I found choe smug and humorless. It's a really neat concept though.

There's a scene where he's in Eugene, OR and he complains about being kicked out of an empty restaurant because they're Asian. The more likely reason they kicked them out was because they're California douchebags.

After watching the complete series two, I found him trying too hard to be hardcore. My guess is they slept every night in a hotel and in addition to the short clips on trains and hitchhiking covered a lot of ground with the crew and all their gear. It felt as authentic as The Jersey Shore. Which is a shame because it dilutes from the real fascinating parts of meeting up with the really interesting people along the way.

His whole tirade about not being able to get into Canada because of his juvenile record seemed staged to be able to be able to skip Canada on the way to AK. In reality they probably went to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines instead of a the small plane that would take forever and require refueling in Canada (which would also mean he'd get in trouble with the Canadian government for illegally entering the country). If they wanted to fake the flight to AK, they could have just done said they were hitching a ride from the pilot and skipped all that douchebaggy drama. Then again, he seemed pretty happy about his fuck you Canada speech.

I love travel documentaries -- the Vice guide to North Korea was great. I really liked the old Lonely Planet and Rough Guides shows as well. Something a little rawer than Rick Steves (but I like his stuff too). I wonder if the China season is worth watching or if it will have as much staging as season two. Or will it be adventures of a douchebag in China.
posted by birdherder at 2:12 PM on April 13, 2012

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