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Hot Takes: Dr. Death

If you’re afraid of doctors, this is definitely not the limited series for you.

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1) Not me reviewing a limited series about the way awful doctors have no consequences right in the middle of a pandemic where people don’t trust doctors!

2) I listened to this podcast last year (or the year before? what is time at this point anyway?) and I was absolutely riveted. I usually only listen to podcasts in very specific instances where I have a along stretch of time when I can’t do anything else — riding a bike, driving during a road trip, waiting in a long line for something — but I was listening to Dr. Death in my free time because the story was bonkers. I don’t love some of the artistic and directional choices in this Peacock Limited Series, but I’m also biased toward the bare bones storytelling of the podcast with Just The Facts and no dramatic license. If you’ve never listened to the podcast, I think the series is probably like 30% more enjoyable.

3) Oh wow a random penis. I didn’t even know you could put nudity on there because I thought it was an extension of NBC, as in basic cable with no dicks, but I guess they wanted to put the cock in Peacock forreal.

4) Whether Dr. Death was intentionally screwing up his patients or he had some physical limitations coupled with extreme hubris and narcissism, the fact that he was allowed to do it 30 times is terrifying. Medical error is like the 3rd leading cause of death and we can’t do anything about it!

5) Any woman who ever has sex with anybody is just not to be trusted, according to Every Narrative In The World. I don’t care what the story is, they will find a way to put a woman’s sex life on trial as a way to invalidate anything she has to say that isn’t even related to what she did with her good china.

6) Alec Baldwin is not likeable as an actor anymore. Please stop casting him. I don’t ever need to see a Baldwin do anything again in this life or the next.

7) If there’s a database that shows what complaints and malpractice issues a doctor has on his record, shouldn’t I, as the patient choosing a doctor, have access to that? Limiting access to hospitals and other doctors does not help me make an informed decision to pick the right healthcare provider. In any other industry, if you get bad reviews, you’ll eventually go out of business, because people stop going to you. But surgeons can leave sponges in people, slice an artery by accident, take out chunks of muscle, and nearly decapitate people, and we just have to trust that the hospital — whose bottom line depends on expensive surgeries — chose the best person for the job? When they have a financial and legal interest in covering their own ass? I don’t like that at all and I need to research politicians who are actively tackling it. I can’t think of any reason why there shouldn’t be more transparency into your surgeon’s history and past results.

9) Christian Bale really knows how to play an asshole who has the moral high ground.

10) I don’t really know if this kinda series is everybody’s cup of tea. I very much understand those folks who avoid things like this because they get anxious easily and they don’t need this extra stress of wondering if their surgeon is qualified. But, if you’re not that person, I still think this series moves so much more slowly than the podcast ,and the timeline is so clunky, you have to pay attention to it. I like to knit while I watch TV. I couldn’t do that, because the timeline jumps back and forth so much that if you look down when the “April 2012” cue comes up, you get lost and have to rewind. What surgery is this? Is this med school or his 4th hospital? Has he killed anybody yet? Dr. Death is not the kind of prestige television I need to be glued to the TV set for, and yet it forced me to sit there and stare at it against my will. And I don’t like that either. I say just listen to the podcast.

11) The only character you really care about is the Black woman who is about to go on vacation. They way they set up her story is the way they should’ve introduced all of his victims. Both of the “good” doctors are obnoxious pricks, the baby mama is white trash, his whole family is uptight Conservative Christian, and his best friend is a complete dumbass. Mamie Gummer almost made me feel a little something, but that’s mostly because misogyny and slutshaming get under my skin.

12) If you loved Dr. Death, let me know why! I’m curious and maybe I was ignoring the good things because it was too far away from the spirit of the podcast.

Score: 5.5/10 (The podcast is a solid 8 though.)

 

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Hot Takes: LuLaRich

Compared to NXIVM and Scientology, this is a much calmer Escaping the Cult documentary.

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1. Not to get on my lil Atheist Soapbox so early on the Lord’s Day or anything, but damn. Y’all really do ruin a lot of stuff by randomly throwing religion into things where it simply does not belong whatsoever. There’s no reason to quote the Book of Mormon to women who just wanna sell ugly leggings.

2. The girl who designs the ugly leggings is such a stoner and I’m obsessed with her. I’m one-thousand percent sure she hates 98% of the LuLaRoe customer base, so she’s great in my book.

3. Last night when we watched it, my main takeaway was that Money Corrupts. This perfectly wholesome maxi-dress company for stay-at-home moms ballooned into a cult-like pyramid scheme where the owners took zero responsibility for problems within the organization all because of greed. I was actually very impressed with the startup story of how DeAnne created LuLaRoe and I honestly believe she and her husband only had the best of intentions. I don’t think they set out to defraud anybody or steal money from anyone at all, and then the company got away from them and they couldn’t admit their failures or own up to the things they were doing badly.

4. This morning after I’ve slept on it, I’m walking that back, because money can’t corrupt you out of nowhere. All the seeds where already there in the Stidham’s belief system: patriarchy, bootstraps, and unacknowledged white supremacy. If DeAnne and Mark ran LuLaRoe the way she ran it when she had 3 sellers, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about how disgusting they are. But they also wouldn’t be sitting on a billion dollar business.

5. The pot-selling nephew is a joke. The whole family is a joke but he’s such an obnoxious piece of human.

6. MLMs are pyramid schemes. It is what it is. I grew up in the Rural South. I am so *so!* familiar with pyramid schemes. I can’t tell you how many “meetings” I went to with my grandma, held in some small conference room of a Howard Johnson or Holiday Inn, where the scammer of the month rolled through with a new product to “sell” based on a structure that was essentially just a money tree. You put $10 in this week and get $100 back in three weeks! Some are worse than others and LuLaRoe is definitely toward the crappier end of things, but I wanna make a lil sidenote about MLMs — not everybody goes into it wanting to be a seller. A lot of them are structured just like LuLaRoe, where you make more money by bringing in people under you than you make from selling the clothes, but whereas LuLaRoe worked on this massive startup cost of thousands of dollars with a truckload of clothes you would never personally use, some MLMs have more reasonable startup costs and a small buy-in of product that some “sellers” use just for themselves. If you’re in a pyramid scheme selling fancy coffee beans and you try to sell me some, maybe I like the product and I buy a couple of bags for $20 a piece. Then you say, “you know, you could make some money and be a seller too. I buy these from the company for $10 a piece, so I make $10 profit on each one. It’s only $100 to sign up.” Well to me that sounds like I can become a “seller” and get these beans for half off, and now I have ten bags of coffee. If I sell it, fine, but it’s really just for my household. So many MLMs have a huge “seller” base that never intends to actually sell anything. LuLaRoe isn’t one of them, but I kinda wish that point had been made in the documentary because it shows LuLaRoe is even more unscrupulous by comparison.

7. I don’t think we’d be watching this documentary after 50 lawsuits if they hadn’t let the product quality slip while also refusing to acknowledge the product quality slipped. If you send me stuff that smells, stuff that’s wet, stuff with holes in it, etc. and then cop a smarmy little attitude when I can’t sell it or complain about the merchandise, I’m gonna assume (rightfully) that you’re a pisspot little human and I no longer care about your company. You’re a crook and I want you to go down for taking advantage of me and everyone else. LuLaRoe expanded too quickly to keep up with quality control. If they had just admitted that and taken the loss (which they could absolutely afford to do!) they would still be as big as they were three years ago

8. I wore a pair of the low-quality leggings and they ripped after 30 minutes of walking. My Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were just out of control on 8th Avenue for everybody to see. I had to run into a shop and buy some shorts.

9. To reiterate! LuLaRoe is a cult of patriarchy and white supremacy, but they would still be a wildly successful MLM if they had handled the quality control issues with any amount of grace and empathy. It’s hard for me to feel bad for women who got in over their heads with a company that is so clearly exclusionary from all of the promotional materials and advertisements they make. You joined a White Jesus Cult. I don’t really care about the consequences of that terrible decision.

10. Y’all were buying ugly clothes off FACEBOOK! I just have to laugh.

11. LuLaRich doesn’t have the same kind of forward motion that Fyre Fraud did (the same team did both documentaries). I wasn’t quite as engaged over the course of the 4-episode series as I was with Fyre Fraud, but it was still interesting to watch it come together and fall apart. It’s not an absolute Must-See, but still enjoyable, especially if you like to see people talk about cults they were in. As far as the genre of Escaping a Cult goes, this is a lot easier to watch than the ones about NXIVM and Scientology, because the stakes are more along the lines of ruining your credit as opposed to ruining your entire life.

12. How long has this lady had braces? That’s not a read, because she is so cute and fun, but I’m genuinely curious.

Score: 6.5 / 10

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Watch: LuLaRich Trailer

Let me get into this MLM documentary. Y’all know I love white mess.

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LuLaRoe makes trash leggings. Know how I know? I swiped a pair from a girl I was hooking up with, and after about thirty minutes of wear, my ham candle came right on out to light up the world and say hi to the people.  Now, I’m aware that women’s leggings are not exactly shaped to hold a penis, but I have many, many, many pairs of women’s leggings (I wear then fairly often in the winter under jeans or under some of my flowy summer outfits I still want to wear in cooler weather) and all of them lasted more than 30 minutes.

So that’s point one. I’m invested in this documentary as a person who is confused about how this company got so big selling a garbage product.

Point two is, I don’t know why, but I love a White Fraud Exposé. Fyre Festival, Theranos, WeWork, Caroline Calloway, Anna Delvey — inject them all directly into my veins. As far as a I know, LuLaRoe has not risen to (or been exposed as) a fraud on the same scale as some of the others, but any business whose model is based on white women drumming up business via Facebook Messenger is not a business planted firmly on good practices and ethical treatment of its sellers.

The documentary comes out on September 10th via Amazon Prime, and I think I’m gonna have a ball. Plus, look at the trailer.

“I did turn down the cruise….I love white people to death. Just bein on a boat in the middle of nowhere? I’ll see y’all when y’all get back. ”  

LuLaRich sounds like appointment viewing!

 

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Hot Takes: Bob Ross – Happy Accidents, Betrayal, and Greed

A cautionary tale about being careful who you go into business with.

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1. It never occurred to me that people were painting along with Bob Ross? I thought we were all just watching The Joy of Painting like we watch cooking shows. Unless y’all be cooking from them shows too???? Let me re-examine everything I know about life and get back to you.

2. LOL @ Bob Ross talking like that trying to be sexy! I thought he was trying to put me to sleep, not trying to make the lunchlady wet.

3. Speaking of sleep, it actually took me three tries to finish this documentary because I fell asleep the first two times. Something about it just didn’t grab me the way most Netflix documentaries do, and I think it’s because there are no personalities to hold my attention. Everyone featured is a calm, measured, everyday kind of person. No one really has the energy to make it compelling television, so you have to be wholly invested in the story instead.

4. I’m not invested in the story. Bob Ross got into business with greedy, unscrupulous people. That sounds like An Average Day In America, but it can definitely serve as a reminder to have a lawyer draw up your wills, contracts, successions, etc. in such a way that every contingency is planned for. If you don’t want one person to be able to sign away your rights without input from the other people, plan for that.

5. Affairs really do happen in the unlikeliest of places, and y’all want me to care about marriage or monogamy! Tch!

6. You don’t sue people all the time if you have nothing to hide. The only people who file lawsuits all the time are people who are trying to use the legal system to intimidate and silence others who would expose them for the crooks they are. The Kowalskis who own Bob Ross’s name are crooks. If you have stolen a man’s name and it’s making you millions of dollars but you haven’t given that man’s son any of the profits, you are an amoral human being.

7. Unfortunately, this is probably a skip. The most interesting thing is honestly learning that his wet-on-wet oil painting style is a very old technique called alla prima that they first started using centuries ago to depict hair and fabric. You don’t need to spend 90 minutes watching it — just read a synopsis.

8. Imagine a white man today perming his hair so he could have an afro on TV. I’m hollering. 🤣🤣🤣

Score: 5/10 

 

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