We Couldn't Stop Watching 'Nailed It' and 'Homecoming'

It's Thursday, which means it's time for the first Waypoints recording of 2019! Austin and Rob haven't slept, because Rob decided to clean his apartment at midnight Austin stayed up watching the entirety of Amazon's new series from Sam Esmail: Homecoming, starring Julia Roberts. What does this postmodern corporate horror story have to say about life and work, and how does it differ from Esmail's celebrated USA show, Mr. Robot? Does it suffer from using the "War on Terror" as a backdrop without interrogating it? Meanwhile, the gang has also been watching Nailed It on Netflix, which features plenty of horror shows of its own. Watching amateur bakers come to grips with complicated recipes, Patrick is reminded of his own culinary journey so far.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/7xynae/we-couldnt-stop-watching-nailed-it-and-homecoming

The podcast is an interesting look into what TV watching is going to be like in 2019 and beyond, and I’m curious how that is going to affect the culture surrounding TV. Both shows talked about (Homecoming and Nailed It) are extremely my shit. Homecoming because of Sam Esmail’s previous work on Mr. Robot and Nailed It because I enjoy baking shows and Nicole Byer is hilarious. But I’m only ever going to watch Nailed It because I have Netflix but not Amazon.

Now of course there are plenty of people with both Amazon Prime and Netflix subscriptions, but this is only getting worse with CBS, Disney, and other companies launching their own streaming services. And I suspect that most people will only choose one or two of these services and ignore the stuff on offer elsewhere. Sure, I like Star Trek, but I’m good missing out on Discovery. Or yeah, Marvel stuff is great, but I don’t need to see Infinity War after it leaves theatres.

I’m curious how all this will shake out with regards to TV discourse. Will a good enough amount of people see an Emmy-worthy show like Homecoming to actually make a dent in the culture? Or are we getting into a situation like with video games where the average person really only needs one of the major platforms and will then miss out on a bunch of top tier exclusives? I dunno, with the cost of subscribing to multiple streaming services constantly rising, maybe cable somehow becomes the better bet.

Am I the only one who really hopes they make a version of Nailed It centering on video games, where they bring in shitty gamers and have them try to tackle some aspect of game development?Gimme them gaming just desserts please.

Also, I really do enjoy hearing about food misfortunes, so I’ll drop one of mine in here. Soooo…back in the day, there was a point in time where I did not know that you shouldn’t put foil in a microwave. Now to be fair, I also didn’t know that some fast food places use food wrappers that are a combination of paper and foil (paper on one side, foil on the other), so when it came time for me to reheat my leftover KFC Snacker chicken sandwich, I didn’t think twice about keeping it in the wrapper and throwing it in the microwave. The ensuing fireworks displays in my microwave was both awesome and terrifying, but I did learn a valuable food lesson that day! :innocent:

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I think we’re going to see fragmentation. Culture as it stands already has been fragmented a bit already as it’s a lot easier to just delve into your interests. I think we’re going to see a future where many people subscribe to one major service (Hulu or Netflix) with a possible secondary one that speaks to their interests. Even within these more niche ones there’s stronger and more visible ones (Crunchyroll) and less prominent ones (Funimation).

It’s quite possible we’ll get stuck in a loop of fragmentation then re-centering and so on. Anime streaming was a mess then fun and CR merged, and it became easier to subscribe to one. Because of that anime streaming became more profitable. This led to Amazon and Netflix trying to get it, and long-time supporters of CR, Sentai and Funimation, taking their shows and starting their own services.

Sometimes, Netflix feels so expansive and varied that part of me wonders if it might be hard to find what you like, or if the “good” bits of stuff get to anime but the "great"ones are locked away in other services. Thus leading to Netflix getting too thin and falling apart leading to a successor that is more focused.


Also, I love Nicole Byer and glad they pointed her out. The show knows that it’s pure fun and not some tour de force demonstration of cooking, and Nicole is both a source of fun and she also revels in the fun in the way that’s very enjoyable. She’s brash and matches the shows in a lot of way, and is a good fit in ways that a typical Food Network competition host wouldn’t be.

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While I see where you are coming from with regards to niche audiences, I genuinely don’t believe that most of the streaming audience is going to put much thought into which service has the most stuff they like. Netflix is a monolith that has probably 100 (?) good movies on it, and 2000 terrible movies; it has 20 (?) good shows on it, and 1000 mediocre ones. For most, it’s a matter of finding something that’s alright, not necessarily finding a repository of all that good shit they love.

A great recent example of this paradigm is Bird Box. This movie, which is, by nearly all accounts, completely average at best, absolutely EXPLODED (in part due to Netflix’s clever literal inception of social interest in it - a different subject for sure) partly because hundreds of thousands of people were in a house, off work, bored, and maybe depressed over the holidays, with nothing else to do besides flip on Netflix and see what’s on. Netflix showed them a new Sandra Bullock movie and told them it is good (98% match!). I think this is enough for most Netflix users: show me something to say “yes” to.

Anecdotally, I have had dozens of experiences trying to help people access the movies or shows they say they really want to watch on unconventional (to them) platforms, and nine times out of ten that person has decided, “eh fuck it, not worth it.” It’s frustrating to witness, just as it’s frustrating to watch as people shake their invisible chains at Netflix when it removes movies and shows from its service every month. Those things are usually available elsewhere, be it rental or another platform, but Netflix is what they’re accustomed to, so…

I do think niche services will continue to evolve, and hopefully flourish, and for that, I’m grateful, but I don’t expect a sea change due to content availability or quality. It really seems like convenience takes precedent over content appeal for most, so whichever service is most ubiquitous, easiest to use, and cheapest will probably be the one that rises to the top.


Me, I would just like to thank our fine podcasters for finally explaining to me what the hell that show is about because the ads for Homecoming are completely impenetrable.

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Nailed It is good and Nicole Byer is an absolute dream~ <3

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I mean, we’ve already started to see what the effect of fragmentation/niche services is and it turns out it’s piracy because it’s on the rise after declining for so long. Convenience has really always been the thing that netflix offered and it turns out people are just going to use illegal sites to watch everything they want in one place (for free) if it’s easier than just paying 1 central service.

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I’ve just begun watching Homecoming because of the discussion on this episode.

It is incredible how much this show is exactly my shit and I can’t fucking stop watching it. The big standouts for me so far are Walter Cruz (Stephan James) and Thomas Carrasco (Shea Whigham). James’ performance in his therapy sessions with certified shit psychiatrist Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) are tense on their own but paired with the sinister perfection of the Homecoming facility it elevates it to a Horror-like quality for me (those establishing shots in episode two goddamn) and Whigham fits so well into his role as a bumbling in-over-his-head investigator.

Also, the 2022 part of the narrative being shot at that weird 1:1 aspect ratio thing is such an interesting stylistic choice. Of course I’m immediately reminded of Instagram which makes me think of a sort of psudo-passive uncomfortable voyeuristic feeling I get when I fuck up and spend too much time online, but I’m still not sure exactly how I feel it fits thematically, if it does at all. At the very least it looks rad and basically erases any confusion that could potentially arise regarding time period, so I’m cool with it.

I know I’m an anomaly, at least for people my age and younger, but the rise of additional-pay-for streaming services with exclusive video content has just increased my apathy about “keeping on top of content”.
I never subscribed to Netflix, and I don’t subscribe to any other video streaming service; initially, it was annoying that I missed out on things which friends or acquaintances were seeing, but over time, it’s helped me realise that most media is entirely missable (or, delayable until it gets released on DVD as a collected series), and just reduced my interest in these kind of services entirely.
For example: if a TV series I have been watching on a channel I do get (like the BBC) is bought by a paid-for service, I just… stop watching it at that point. I’ve realised that the value of even following a series I’m theoretically invested isn’t anywhere near the “low” subscription costs for things like Netflix.

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Im starting to approach TV watching the same way. I look at it like with video games. For someone deep into games (like people on this forum), it’s not unusual to own more than one platform. But if you’re only somewhat interested in games, you’d buy one console/PC and ignore the rest. Similarly, I’m ok having Netflix as my only TV service and I care less and less about shows not on there.

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I’m so glad I got turned on to “Nailed It” through this podcast. It is something I have probably scrolled mindlessly past on listings countless times because I’ve not given a damn about a reality show competitions, but this is just a delight to watch. The energy and the humility on display is so infectious. I don’t know if it’s really clever editing or careful grooming of contestants, but it’s overwhelmingly positive from start to finish. Even when things are failing, and failing miserably, everyone is so happy and upbeat just to be there. There’s no tears or anger, even when there is a catastrophic failure they just roll with it and laugh it off. Two people fail to make a five tier rainbow colored cake and instead just show up with a bunch of half cooked cake slop in a pan, and they’re genuinely having a great time with it.

That said, there are two things that weirdly bother me about the show. First, they so rarely actually have to make a recipe from scratch that I often find the taste portion to be largely pointless. It’s less a test of whether it tastes good and more “was it in the oven for long enough” and “did you put buttercream in it.” They occasionally dip into flavoring the cake and such, but I do wish there was a little more to it than that. Also, and this might be on the contestants themselves, but there are often times where it seems literally impossible to actually make the target cake. I’m not talking about time constraints because that’s just a built in stress, but I often wonder if they even have enough materials. There’s a three tier cake they need to make that’s probably no less than two feet tall, and each contestant makes maybe eight inches worth of cake.

I grin every time Rob does his “Oh hello”-intro to Waypoints. I feel like part of him wants to do an entire podcast in a whispery late-night talk radio voice.

If you really enjoyed Homecoming’s style, I’d like to seriously recommend that you check out Kentucky Route Zero.