a podcast for people who are scared to watch horror movies
May 5, 2020 12:19 PM   Subscribe

The Scaredy Cats Horror Show is a new Gimlet podcast from the hosts of Reply All, where PJ Vogt (self-declared scaredy cat and non-horror movie watcher) watches a horror movie and then discusses it with Alex Goldman (horror fan) in an attempt to see if PJ can possibly learn to enjoy scary movies. First episode: The Exorcist, with guest host Jason Mantzoukas. Next week will be Nightmare on Elm Street.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl (35 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I love these two guys. Their banter is very reminiscent of what my shared office sounded like years and years ago - a bunch of techs and sysadmins each with Deep Nerd interests BS'ing, dragging on each other, and (occasionally) doing some brilliant work. I haven't finished the first episode yet but anything that brings more Alex and PJ is A-OK by me. What I've heard so far is great, and I'm probably somewhere between Jason M and PJ on the horror-genre spectrum.
posted by jquinby at 12:24 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]

When I heard about this podcast (on Reply All) I was like THIS WAS MADE FOR ME. I can totally relate when PJ explains that he would actually like to be able to watch horror because he often feels like he’s missing out on really good movies. Like him, I regret not being able to watch Get Out, or Us, or Midsommar, which are all highly acclaimed and deal with interesting themes like race, class and gender.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:28 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]

First episode: The Exorcist is like, I want to try hot peppers. Think I'll start with a Carolina Reaper. Never rode a motorcycle before, think I'll try this Vincent Black Shadow.
posted by Splunge at 12:29 PM on May 5 [18 favorites]

As Jason said, "This first episode is an utter train-wreck and disaster!" :-p

It's such a good combination of personalities and ideas. I too feel like someone made this just for me. I'm excited to listen to this adventure. I have no doubt that PJ will continue to cheat and watch films in the day and take many breaks.
posted by Fizz at 12:29 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]

You forgot to add MeFi's Own™ to the mention of Alex Goldman.
posted by slogger at 12:41 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]

I am annoyed that they are trying to take the name from a small horror YouTube creator whose channel predates them. This illustrates a lot of problems with power dynamics on the internet. Due to this, I won't be tuning in.
posted by gohabsgo at 12:42 PM on May 5 [20 favorites]

First episode was fun, but it's also fair to mention that it has the same premise as The Horror Virgin podcast, which has 100+ episodes.
posted by Pryde at 12:44 PM on May 5 [7 favorites]

Hmm. This seems awfully similar to the premise of a podcast I listen to called Too Scary; Didn't Watch.

Not saying it's a straight-up rip-off, but it is annoying that a good little show that's been around for awhile and is starting to get some buzz and is hosted by three women will probably get steam-rolled by what's basically the same show, only hosted by two dudes who are already podcast "celebrities" and backed by a large media network that's a subsidiary of Spotify.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:46 PM on May 5 [19 favorites]

I am annoyed that they are trying to take the name from a small horror YouTube creator whose channel predates them. This illustrates a lot of problems with power dynamics on the internet.

The idea is definitely familiar and it's been done in various forms here and there (as evidenced by The Horror Virgin podcast that Pryde linked to), but I had not heard about the name being taken from another content creator. That party is pretty shit.
posted by Fizz at 12:47 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

I love Reply All and would even say it's one of my top all time podcasts .... but this doesn't have legs in its current form. They need structure and producers and clearly an editor. If you can't even make Jason funny on an episode you have failed. He was "jokingly" pointing out the flaws in the episode and I was shaking my head in agreement.

Sad, as I was honestly very excited about this. Hopefully they're able to tweak it and make it work.

Also, if we're going to say "show ideas" are somehow proprietary, the Mcelroys and the Flophouse guys should hire a lawyer and collect 80% of current podcast revenues.
posted by lattiboy at 12:54 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

PJ did respond to this criticism regarding the name & premise of their show via twitter:
“@ScaredyCatsYT Hey man, I’m sorry you’re upset. No intention to steamroll — had not heard about your show until now. But also wasn’t negligent — if you google “scaredy cats show” you’ll see a lot of people beat both of us to the idea of using this phrase in a title. (1/2)

Which makes sense, it's a pretty generic phrase. Anyway, I think Scaredy Cats Horror Show and Scaredy Cats the YouTube channel and The Scaredy Cats Podcast, and The ScaredyCast can all co-exist peacefully. (2/2)”
posted by Fizz at 1:03 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]

I'm not super impressed with that reply, and based on responses to those tweets, I'm not alone. I may have to skip out on listening to this because ugh.
posted by Fizz at 1:07 PM on May 5 [10 favorites]

Yeah, they need to work on the structure here. Otherwise it's just Chris Farley-esque "Remember that part where the thing jumped out? That was scary."
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:14 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]

I kind of dropped off listening to Reply All because it became mostly one of them (or one of their producers) presenting a story that was often interesting, but the great banter was mostly reserved for Yes Yes No, which I always thought was the dumbest segment ever. The joshing between the two of them is my favorite part, and it's always best when Alex has the upper hand because PJ can sometimes come off as overly mean. So I like the idea of it, maybe I'll check it out once they hone it a little more.
posted by rikschell at 1:21 PM on May 5

The rise of corporate-funded podcasts has a bunch of smaller fish, people who make their living doing the thing, really scared that their share of the electric toothbrush windfall is about to dissipate. The splash a new, well funded (or celebrity helmed) podcast is able to make can be enough to blow people who have been working at it for years out of the water.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:29 PM on May 5 [9 favorites]

Yeah, robocop is bleeding, I'm really curious/worried to see how the podcast boom is going to weather this big recession, because even high-end podcasting networks seem to rely heavily on flush advertising budgets from big companies or at least small companies with VR capital to burn. Is Big Mattress going to be funding so many projects in six months?
posted by skewed at 1:36 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]

The whole podcast business is kind of crumbling from what I can tell. I was listening to This Week in Tech and Leo Laporte said that they only had 2 of 4 advertising slots sold on that show, which is by far their most popular (something like 300k listens a week I believe).

I think Gimlet made out like absolute bandits with the timing of their big Spotify acquisition.
posted by lattiboy at 1:52 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]

That apology is terrible, from an outside point of view. I've got no stake in the game. "I'm sorry you're upset"... didn't we all agree some 4-5 years ago that apologizing for feelings is a shitty thing to do? And intent doesn't matter? I mean it really truly is just a hallmark example of How Not to Apologize: 101
posted by FirstMateKate at 2:02 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]

I don't doubt that advertiser-based podcast revenues are sinking fast. The listener-funded model (Patreon, et al.) has really taken off in the past couple of years and would seem to be a more sustainable and profitable income source for creators going forward.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:05 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

I have to imagine the download numbers are going down a lot, too. I did all my podcast listening on my commute, now I listen to like one or two episodes a week.
posted by theodolite at 2:09 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]

I mean, a random tiny producer is accusing them of basically plagiarism based on them choosing the same common phrase in their name, and as pointed out, a simple Googling reveals that none of them are remotely the first to do so. A bit of a :-| reaction seems reasonable. Nicest possible sweetheart response ever? No. Horrible abuse that requires shunning/refusing to listen? Also no. Taking the time to reply and apologize at all seems to be going beyond the strictest requirements of social interaction and puts them in "nicer than average", in my opinion.

(As a note, I have no dog at all in this fight, as I've never listened to any of these people before and don't intend to.)
posted by Scattercat at 2:10 PM on May 5 [20 favorites]

The splash a new, well funded (or celebrity helmed) podcast is able to make can be enough to blow people who have been working at it for years out of the water.

Are you implying that iHeartRadio's Ron Burgundy Podcast starring Will Ferrell is not a labor of love?
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:34 PM on May 5 [6 favorites]

I used to love Reply all- and long ago during the dark days of 2016 I pressed play on an episode about god knows what until for whatever reason they got on the topic of HRC and her making the deplorables comment, and they. would. not. let. up. The absolute disgust in their voices for HRC came through loud and clear, and more accurately the disgust they had that she'd rightfully called out the bad behavior on the right- it was this huge tonal shift. I was shocked, but the more I listened, the more I saw the types of stories they covered, the sorts of things they understood/didn't understand, and the tone in their voices when pressed with certain topics/people- and I got what they were all about, and I unsubscribed from the podcast. The subsequent union-busting and intellectual theft from smaller content creators does not surprise me at all.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 3:16 PM on May 5 [7 favorites]

The steamrolling "this is our brand now" thing is not a great look, nope!

This particular podcast, I tapped out after a short while; there was a lot of "we all laugh uproariously at any of us saying anything at all" energy right out the gate which I will grant seems a really popular podcast approach so the market may have decided there.
posted by Drastic at 3:35 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]

I think the premise is fair game, just not as original as it might seem to some Gimlet listeners who haven't been exposed to all the other podcasts out there. In a perfect world, the Reply All gang dipping their toes into horror movies would actually spark more interest in those listeners exploring other podcasts that have been doing similar things.

I hadn't tried out the Too Scary; Didn't Watch one Atom Eyes mentioned, but I will now. For anyone who would like to listen to other women-hosted horror movie podcasts (without the hook of a scared newbie viewer) I'd also recommend Final Girls Horrorcast and, for an academic bent, Faculty of Horror.
posted by Pryde at 6:13 PM on May 5 [8 favorites]

Next week will be Nightmare on Elm Street.

Yes, but which one? The original is straight up actually great, a dream journal of night terrors that might actually kill you. The remake is... um... a remake with all the problems implied in that.
posted by hippybear at 6:25 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed the first episode and am looking forward to more; I've enjoyed TL;DR and Reply-All a lot over the years so that's not a big shocker, but I think part of how the new show reads probably depends on whether that's the banter aesthetic you're looking for. Like I don't even know how PJ and Alex needling one another would sound out of the context of that being their whole thing; I think (like someone mentioned up thread) that PJ is often the guy who likes to dunk (if jocularly) on Alex too much so having him being in the knowingly vulnerable position for this is kind of interesting?

But maybe more specifically knowing this is a thing that PJ has talked about on their show before, that the idea of tackling this isn't so much a "what if we came up with a monetizable premise" so much as "okay, let's try again to do this thing we've tried before and never found our footing on", makes it really interesting as a fan of their work. Somewhere on the same wavelength as Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott's "U Talking U2 To Me?" etc. stuff.

The title thing sucks a bit but I think it sucks more in a structural inequality way (major label podcasters vs. literally anyone else is a weird dynamic whenever it plays out, and podcasting is still in some sense young enough that the bite it takes out of scrappy indies stings more at this point) than because there's an inherent problem with choosing the same obvious idiom that other folks have chosen before in naming a thing. The premise beyond that has to have been done too many times to count; years ago me and griphus started a Hellraiser-specific horror podcast on a whim and we were like the fourth group of people to do that, so the broad realm of horror and horror-immersion trip reports has got to be really broadly saturated.
posted by cortex at 6:59 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

Thought Slime/Scaredy Cats is one of my fave YouTubers and I'm kind of bummed this has happened. This podcast might very well be perfectly good but yeah, I'm on Team Slime. I hope it can be worked out.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:34 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]

Well, I discovered Too Scary; Didn't Watch from this thread, it kept me company during a run this afternoon, and I’m looking forward to listening to more of it. Thanks, Atom Eyes!
posted by Songdog at 9:18 PM on May 5

I was about two thirds through the first episode before I dipped into the comments here. Oof, quite a lot to unpack and I have no room left on my brain shelves.

I'm not super into podcasts, so I don't really have the ability to fully assess all of the industry implications being thrown around. So far, the subject matter (horror movies) and the hosts, and especially the guest, are entertaining. But it could definitely use a good producer or editor or whatever. Someone to add structure and a consistent thread to follow.

At first, I also had trouble telling the two hosts apart, though eventually I mostly could. But that kind of annoys me, and paired hosts for radio/podcasts should probably have more audibly distinct voices if possible.
posted by Godspeed.You!Black.Emperor.Penguin at 9:19 PM on May 5

Sorry not sorry we didn’t do our research we just naturally thought our ideas were original and enthralling because that’s how it’s always been. And our fans agree! There’s nobody else on this island. Oh, excuse me.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:15 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]

Maybe I listen to too many horror podcasts already because Scaredy Cats Horror Show/Too Scary; Didn't Watch don't feel mutually exclusive to me. I'll give both a listen (because what's two more horror podcasts), so thanks for putting both on my radar.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:32 AM on May 6

I appreciate all the links to other shows that did it first, especially the ones hosted by women—I’m looking forward to checking them out. I’m also glad to have the info about the ways that Reply All’s/Gimlet’s approach to podcasting has been problematic.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:29 PM on May 6 [3 favorites]

I hope it didn't seem like my comment was in any way criticizing you for your post. I just wanted to give some credit to an entertaining, little-known podcast that may have helped pave the way for this and other similar shows. But I'm always interested to learn about whatever new podcasts other people are listening to currently!
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:56 PM on May 6 [2 favorites]

No, no, it didn’t at all, Atom Eyes! I would always prefer to know when things are problematic, even if I like them, and I am glad to be introduced to good alternatives.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:20 PM on May 7 [3 favorites]

« Older This House is on a Rent Strike   |   Team Deakins podcast Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments