Qwikster (2011-2011)

Qwikster (2011-2011) (photo)

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In a surprising reversal, Netflix says it is forgoing the split it announced less than a month ago, in which its DVD-by-mail business would have been spun off to a new venture and website called Qwikster. In a blog post this morning, Netflix and Qwikster CEO Reed Hastings says that DVDs will now be staying at Netflix:

“It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password.. in other words, no Qwikster. While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.”

Obviously the question on everyone’s mind now is: why? Why go through the trouble of launching this terrible sounding new website and pissing off your customers only to change your mind before the terrible sounding new website even gets off the ground? Maybe too many customers were becoming ex-customers in the wake of the Qwikster announcement and they decided to bite the bullet now before things got any worse.

Netflix had built up a public image in recent years as a forward-thinking company. Their initial idea was brilliant, their service was superb, and their ability to see the viability of streaming film and television content early made them a major player in the entertainment industry. With all that said: what the hell is going on over at Netflix? Hastings has become convinced that DVD-by-mail is a dead-end, and it seems like the mad scramble to prepare for that reality has led him to make all kinds of poorly considered moves; first an extreme price hike (which Hastings still insists was necessary) and now this crazy boondoggle with Qwikster. Everything about the website was poorly conceived, from the name, to the weirdly casual video announcement, to the fact that they hadn’t secured the Qwikster handle on Twitter (leading customers who went looking for it to find a stoner with a potsmoking Elmo as its Twitter icon), to the bizarre double talk of Hastings’ blog post. Did he (and the rest of the company) really think that an “advantage of separate websites is simplicity for our members?” How did they not realize that the opposite was actually the truth?

What should Netflix do now? Glad you asked, no one at all! If I were sitting in charge of Netflix today, I would try to reverse this wave of bad publicity by finally installing some of the features that users have begged for for years but that the company, either in its laziness or arrogance, has never bothered to add. Each week, there should be an easy-to-find, easy-to-use list of the new titles available for DVD rental and streaming. We could also use a release calendar for upcoming titles arranged by date of availability. And master lists of every streaming title in alphabetical order would be great as well. As Hastings’ announcement this morning boasts, Netflix is adding new streaming content all the time. But how can you tell? There’s no easy way to find everything that’s been added without going to some third party website like the invaluable Instant Watcher. Just yesterday I discovered “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop,” a documentary I’ve been really looking forward to, was available on Netflix Watch Instantly. When did that happen? I don’t know; it just showed up. Netflix is an invaluable tool for movie and TV lovers, but it’s also become a bit user unfriendly. Now would be a great time to change that.

No word how the death of Qwikster will affect the one significant change to Netflix’s service that was announced with it: the addition of video game rentals. Hastings’ blog post made no mention of it. In the meantime, let’s all pour out a New Coke for Qwikster. We hardly knew ye. And ye will not be missed.

Will Qwikster’s demise affect the way you use your Netflix plan? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.