The buttery and soothing tones of Brooke Gladstone’s voice informed me tonight on the drive home from work that Television Without Pity is no more. The archives will stay up but NBC Universal, which owns the site (?????), has shuttered it and there will be no new recaps.
I haven’t been on TWoP in years but this still hurts my heart all the same. I suppose it is just another fact of life when you’ve been on the internet for forever. Even though things on the internet can live forever doesn’t mean they will. Sites I loved so hard (Google Reader, I’m still not over you) are going to come and go as the nerdy ephemera of the internet mimics more and more the ebb and tide of real-life brick and mortar gathering spaces through time.
My introduction to TWoP came in college from the editor of the student newspaper. She was a HUGE Buffy fan and read the recaps religiously. I checked out the site and found myself quickly hooked on Six Feet Under recaps and would read them instead of watching the actual new episodes, since we didn’t have HBO. They were so good back in the day. So funny and easy to digest.
Recaps of 7th Heaven were my longtime guilty pleasure, since I loved to hate to love that show. The best recappers had a way of giving you every important detail of the show so that you could build the episode scene by scene in your head, while delivering some of the sharpest criticism and hilarious writing I’ve ever read on these tubes.
TWoP recaps opened up a perverse and embarrassing new vocabulary world for me. That site was the first place I ever saw the word “snark” used purposefully. And that site was where I let those obnoxious abbreviations — totes, whatevs, adorbs — seep into my vernacular. (It didn’t take much prodding, if I’m being honest.) I still to this day say “Whatevs, Revs,” which makes NO SENSE in any context except to someone who might have also read it in a hilarious 7th Heaven recap.
I am sad to see the site go, as in its heyday it was brilliant. Television is currently putting out so much fucking great stuff that a robust, at-its-best TWoP could be INCREDIBLE, but that is not really how the universe works, is it? After all, you could argue that the heyday of TWoP led to the current crop of INCREDIBLE television, couldn’t you?
RIP TWoP. You were a cornerstone of my bookmarks for a long time and you were one of a handful of sites that made the internet important to me.