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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Return of the Nostalgia Critic. No, really.

Well…..that didn’t last long. 

            Yes, it appears my dedication to the retirement of the Nostalgia Critic last September was somewhat premature.  Earlier this week, in lieu of a new episode of Demo Reels, the “successor” series to Nostalgia Critic, Doug uploaded a half-hour short film where the characters of Demo Reels essentially morph into the Nostalgia Critic, who then appears before Doug Walker himself to “negotiate” his return.  The film ends with an announcement that Nostalgia Critic will formally reappear on the site on February 5th.  This time, however, new videos will be biweekly instead of weekly, to give Doug more time to develop each video.  Furthermore, he’s removing the 2000 cutoff date that had previously limited what films he was “allowed” to consider nostalgic (and forcing him to “time travel” to be able to review The Room). 

            It’s certainly an unexpected announcement, and one that leaves me with mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I am very much excited to see what he does now with more material open to him and more time for each review.  On the other, I had already started to feel familiar with the various characters of Demo Reels, and was interested to see where his next series would go.  I don’t think he’s doing this to simply pander to the many requests he’s gotten to bring the character back, otherwise why would he retire him in the first place?   What the general reaction to this news is, I can’t say.  I suppose I could get a general sense of people’s reactions by reading the comments under the video, but as I still have a sense of self-worth, a public internet comment thread remains the last place you’ll find me. 

I did make one brave foray into that foul swamp to see what people were saying, and was immediately hit by the lack of enthusiasm (and sometimes major criticism of) Demo Reels, which I found rather unfortunate.  No, it’s not Nostalgia Critic, but it was never meant to be.  Although I sometimes found it funny, and sometimes not, I liked how he was branching out and trying out a different style of comedy, and I respected him for doing it.  

            What I’m curious to know is just how far ahead he planned this.  When did he decide to bring the character back, if he ever really did intent to retire him in the first place?  It’s not always easy to tell, because Doug and the other reviewers on his site have always done a very thorough job of tying together the inner logic of the Animaniacs-style alternate world they’ve created for themselves.  The short film accounting Nostalgia Critic’s return essentially ties the very existence of the characters of Demo Reels into the end of To Boldly Flee, which (SPOILER ALERT) ended with the Nostalgia Critic throwing himself into an alternate dimension, making Donnie Dupre’s entire character an alternate version of the Nostalgia Critic to begin with.  If it does end up being something he thought up after the fact to give Nostalgia Critic’s return some semblance of logic, I will be very impressed indeed. 

            For now, I will opt for cautious optimism.  By last summer I had already suspected Nostalgia Critic was running out of steam somewhat, so if a brief break was all Doug needed to revitalize the show, I’m all for it.  Let’s just hope he doesn’t end up regretting he stuck to keeping the Nostalgia Critic in retirement. 

-Judge Richard 

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