Film and television content creators are bracing their egos for the latest innovation in streaming video technology. According to an anonymous source at Netflix, the streaming entertainment giant will soon let makers of TV shows and movies know at what point viewers have given up on their lame-ass excuses for quality programming-- and simply decided to stop watching, or to fast-forward through entire scenes or even entire shows or movies.
"So much content is streamed now," said the source. "We can monitor every aspect of our viewers' behavior, including every time they clearly cannot stomach another millisecond of some reprehensible mediocrity, and have no option but to halt the viewing process, or fast-forward the living crap out of a movie or TV show in the hopes of making the pain stop a little sooner."
"Now is the time to share these extremely telling user viewing decisions with the very people who provided this obviously substandard entertainment," the source added. "Only by showing the makers of the content exactly where a viewer has lost interest--exactly where the storyteller has bored the living sh*t out of everybody--can we hope to make the quality of our offerings improve."
"I've talked to the writers, directors and producers in this town, and they are terrified," said syndicated entertainment reporter Thad Foucault. "I can't name any names right now, but I've already received more than two dozen middle-of-the-night calls from content creators, all of whom are sobbing their eyes out."
According to Foucault, there are two basic blubbering fears expressed by the makers of television and film content. One is that they "knew the project sucked when they made it and now they will have to suffer the indignity of knowing the exact point at which everybody else realized it, too," or the worry on the other end of the spectrum is that "I don't expect my genius to be recognized, but that doesn't mean I want hard data on how soon into my masterpiece everybody wrote me off as a pretentious douchebag."
But to movie and TV consumers, this is the mother lode of fan involvement in the making of their favorites.
"It's about time," said Jennifer Teasdale, a retail clerk in Fairfield, Connecticut. "I've been posting my reviews on Netflix for, like, ten years and the only people who give a rat's ass are the other sad little losers like me who want to try their hand at sounding like Manohla Dargis or whatever. Now, we're going to hold all the power in our opposable thumbs and shut down these morons who keep wasting our time with below-average content."
"That's right," echoes Paul Unguent, a lawyer in Grand Rapids. "Let's see how they like it, knowing when I've reached my limit with their unwatchable garbage. Which, in some cases, is, like two minutes in, by the way."
The ways in which viewers have been dictating digital programming have become fluid and far-reaching over the last few years, from Kickstarter to fans demanding reboots, but this, industry insiders say, is an entirely new and frightful prospect.
"Just imagine some 12-year-old punk fast-forwarding through Chinatown because he think it's boring," posits Hollywood literary agent Maureen Shupen. "Or someone who has a grudge against a certain director repeatedly dumping out of his or her film after eight seconds, just to get the metrics on Netflix all screwed up. This isn't simply about improving the quality of programming, this is a set-up for a total rewriting of film history through the remote-control whims of millions of brainless fools."
While some find Shupen's views elitist, there is no denying that this revolutionary method of letting the people who make our entertainment know how soon and how often we have completely checked out of their unforgivable drivel will have far-reaching repercussions.
There is no word yet on whether or not other streaming services such as Amazon Prime or Hulu will follow suit with this option of interacting with the filmmaking community.
However, Netflix is reportedly planning to add a right hand sidebar to every subscriber's home page entitled "You May Also Despise These Titles."
More of James Napoli's comedy content for the Web can be found here.