Back to One: Television Without Pity

We started a rewatch of Battlestar Galactica recently and I was reminded of how sorely I missed that old snarky website Television Without Pity. The show recaps were amazingly astute which to someone who had to work with some of those ”holier than thou” writers and showrunners – it was nice to see them brought down a few notches. The TWOP forums were also my first foray into internet commenting which has, I guess, ultimately led me here.

Television Without Pity started as a Dawson’s Creek fan website in 1998. It expanded to other shows and became TWOP in 2002. Like the other site that was near and dear to our hearts, the website was passed around among investors until it’s eventual demise in 2017 with Bravo/NBCUniversal buying it in 2007 and then Tribune Media in 2014. The archives survived for a while but have since been scrapped with only a few popping up on the Wayback Machine like these Deadwood recaps.

Our showrunner on One Tree Hill followed the recaps of our show religiously. I even got called to the principal’s office on more than one occasion because of a random snark about what someone was wearing in an episode. The main one I remember was that I had this cute crocheted poncho that I found at Nordstroms that I put on the character of Haley played by Bethany Joy Lenz. In the fitting, I had put it over a tank top and it was cute as hell and perfect for her colorful dressing character. We all loved it, including Joy. But, the day she was to wear it she decided that the tank top was too sexy(Narrator: it was not) and changed it out for a long sleeve shirt that I tried to fight but was told to “let her wear whatever she wants just get her ass on set ASAP.” Lo and behold, nothing was said about the costume until the recap for the episode came out on TWOP. Did Haley raid Mrs. Roper’s closet? was the comment that got me called into hot water. For those of you too young to know the reference – Mrs. Roper was a caftan wearing character in Three’s Company, a show from the 70’s. I think I got yelled at for that for three days, it haunted me until I quit the show at the end of the third season. They even made reference to it in a couple of shows after I left.

Mrs. Roper
Mrs. Roper’s poncho

Anyway, even though occasionally TWOP actually caused me some grief, I loved that site for the shows that I didn’t work on. Oh and just so you know – I still get an occasional email from fans after all these years asking me where I got that damn poncho.

Other than the mothership – what gone but not forgotten websites do you miss?



  1. The Onion is technically alive, but it’s just a zombie at this point.

    What’s infuriating about it and a lot of now dead or zombie sites is that it existed for a long time as a low cost production and there is no sound economic reason that it couldn’t still be alive and well, except it was swallowed up by vultures.

    It was arguably the greatest comedy shop of the end of the 20th Century, more so than SNL or various movie franchises. And yet all of the original writers were from Madison Wisconsin and represented just a tiny slice of people in the business. What mattered was they had a couple of editors with great senses of humor who stuck to their vision and didn’t work with an eye on making it in NYC or LA, or for that matter appeasing a million demographic profiles.

  2. ummm…i probably have some….. but i’ll remember them when i see them again

    i dont exactly miss things or people when i cant see them…

    its not that i dont care…its just how my brain works apparently

    (fun things ive learnt since getting diagnosed officially as adhd….i just figured i was a terrible heartless person before…lol)

    • Maybe we all grew up? And, those that have come after us – just don’t care about that kind of stuff anymore? I guess it’s all been replaced by twitter and instagram.

      • Yeah, blogs were a nice middle ground between the barren universe of “only corporate media” and the murderous avalanche of “everyone sharing an opinion on social media.” People could develop a community — some blogs kind of were a proto-social media form. And obviously still can, as we are here! But there just are fewer independent voices able to do what a lot of people were trying to do then.

        ETA: Social media can be better at community building when done correctly but then people who stood out either had a real voice or strong opinions or some way of standing out and now if you’re trying to make yourself known you’re either on Instagram taking selfies or Tik Tok doing a dance … it’s not even really the same game.

  3. …well, the clue is in the name & all that…but I only wound up at splinter because I used to spend a bunch of time on i09 & the AVClub…in fact it was a while before I figured out that fusion had evolved into splinter rather than the latter being “new”

    …but in some ways I’m not sure the online places I miss are necessarily gone so much as changed…once upon a time I quite liked slashdot…there were often pretty interesting threads to read & some pretty informed people who made them that way…& the whole thing was pretty stripped down & basic-looking…it’s…not the same last time I checked?

    …there are others but it’s sort of the same complaint so I might stop there

  4. used to be a place I wasted time on frequented for random laughs and quirky games.

    After a quarter of a century, today Bitch Media announced that they are shutting down operations. They started as a zine, then became a magazine and eventually failed to get with the times and create an online space for its readers. They did have an online presence but didn’t provide a forum for discussions, rants, raves, etc. I think that could have saved them. I’m sad about it. I donated to them every year for the past decade. Pour one out for Bitch.

  5. I used to really like Tom&Lorenzo. They did epic recaps that were both hilarious and insightful. They also had a series on old movies that was fantastic, But now they’ve mostly devolved into gofugyourself, which itself doesn’t seem nearly as entertaining as I remember it. I seem to remember they got folded into something, “New York Magazine” (of all things) maybe, and became paywalled, so I gave up. I just visited and they seem to be standalone again.

    I still miss the Gawker spinoffs, too, The Awl, The Hairpin, and oh yes, also Toast.

      • I’ll never forgive them for taking Curbed behind a paywall. They and The Hairpin were my two introductions to the joys of commenting, then I finally got blackened all over (old) Gawker. About a year ago I came across a Curbed article which was kind of the same old, same old, kind of real estate interests booster-ish, but it had precisely two comments, neither of them funny or interesting, and one was completely off-topic. In the old Curbed commenting days…

        I will never understand why sites like that drive their commenting communities away. I could see if the sites were somehow liable for the content that came out of the comments, but as of now they’re not. Gawker was sued into oblivion not by anything a commenter said but by their obsession with keeping available a Hulk Hogan sex tape. What a hill to die on.

  6. I used to have a ton of blogs I read regularly. Most are defunct. I don’t even have URLs anymore since I purged them from my browser. There was a super interesting one by an attorney who discussed the inner workings of her law firm (very carefully), but she shut it down years ago. I don’t remember the blog name. Others (and forgive my memory):

    This was a blog by a New York City bouncer, and it was often fascinating (at least to me). He even published a book. It moved from this address to WordPress and I guess has disappeared after the writer, Rob, died in 2014.

    This was written by screenwriter and comedian John Rogers, and was a interesting inside look at television but also some incredible commentary on life and politics. Rogers’ Crazyfication Factor has become part of popular culture. I cite it all the time.

    Alan Sepinwall. I read his reviews of NYPD Blue obsessively. He turned it into a career and now writes for Rolling Stone.

    Existing blogs:

    An examination of how real-world law affects superheroes. Updated intermittently.

    Ongoing commentary on Hollywood, comics, and a bunch of comic-related stuff by a screenwriter and animation director, Mark Evanier.

    Ongoing commentary by John Scalzi, a bestselling science fiction author, but the blog is wide-ranging.

    Originally written about a waiter’s career in high-end restaurants, he refocused the blog on other topics after leaving the restaurant world. Very smart guy.

    Hasn’t been updated in a while so it may be dead, but it’s a scientific look at superheroes and other fantastic fiction. Written by a teacher who used comics as examples to teach science.

    Ongoing commentary about old comics. That stuff was crazy.

  7. Before I started commenting on Gawker I was a regular at NYMag/Vulture. It used to have a fun, active comment community. It’s another one that’s merely a shadow of its former self.

  8. I miss any and every website on which the ignorant – who knew literally nothing about politics/history/science/cultures/or anything else – lame-as-fuck shit-posters were basically hidden from the mainstream because they were kept in check by the more clever and/or knowledgeable lame-as-fuck shit-posters.


    Social media does not make it possible because EVERYONE is on social media.

  9. OG Jezebel, even before Gawker acquired it.

    Also while I didn’t comment there, Homestarrunner was something my friends and I loved in college.

    Sidenote, coworkers of a similar age had a team project titled Trogdor and one day I asked when they were going to burninate the countryside with the thatched roof cottages, and you’d think it was Christmas morning they were so excited I knew the reference.

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