Tim Kring and the Saps and Dipsh*ts Controversy

Tim Kring seems to have stepped into it, and didn’t even realized it until the blogosphere picked up his comments and (as they are wont to do) sensationalized the story to within an inch of its life. The comments made by Kring happened during the Creative Screenwriting’s 2008 Screenwriting Expo held last week, where the topic was the process of screenwriting. Understandably, the drama going on behind the scenes at Heroes and NBC were kept off the table, and did not become an issue. But while Kring indeed kept the topic to screenwriting, the question of creating a serialized show in this day and age of DVR and online viewing came up, and one of Kring’s comments have set off a firestorm of criticism. The phrase in question? Kring’s offhanded (and clearly a stab at humor) reference to viewers who do not employ DVR and online viewing as “saps and dipsh*ts”.

Here is the full comment by Tim Kring via IGN, who was at the event and reported on the happenings late last week:

“What was I thinking?” noting that a serialized show is “an absolute bear to do.” Kring said he’s also finding, “It’s a very flawed way of telling stories on network television right now, because of the advent of the DVR and online streaming. The engine that drove [serialized TV] was you had to be in front of the TV [when it aired]. Now you can watch it when you want, where you want, how you want to watch it, and almost all of those ways are superior to watching it on air. So [watching it] on air is related to the saps and the dips**s who can’t figure out how to watch it in a superior way.”

I don’t really have a whole lot of issue with what Kring has said. Really, I don’t. I think he made a bad joke that didn’t translate well. It’s hard to “translate” jokes on the net, when everything is printed and nuances are non-existent. No surprise, then, that this comment has been transcribed with all sorts of “insults” to Heroes viewers by the blogosphere.

But I’ll leave it up to you to translate what you believe Kring has said. Did he insult Heroes viewers? Or did he make a bad joke that people are now using to bludgeon him because it has become an accepted thing to remark on Heroes’ ratings troubles in its third year?

Update: 11/24/08

Tim Kring has since apologized for what he calls “mangled quotes”.

“It was made while trying to explain the rise in DVR and online audience for the show. I was making the point that these platforms now offer a superior way to watch the show (without commercials, with extra content, commentary, at the audience’s convenience, etc.) And went on to say how it’s getting to the point where ‘watching the show on the air is relegated to the poor saps and dipshits who can’t figure out how to program their DVRs.’

It was a boneheaded attempt at being cute and making a point. Instead, it turned out to be just plain insulting and stupid. I know now how it sounded, but I truly never meant to suggest anything bad about our audience.

No one cares more about the fans than we do at ‘Heroes,’ and no one appreciates them more than me. We are grateful for whatever way people are finding our show. Now more than ever.”

So there you have it.


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  • Withaz08

    Does anyone really care?

    I think he’s trying to say that all the clever people watch it online or record it for later viewing and that watching it live on the T.V is becoming a thing of the past….?

    Regardless of what he meant, I personally don’t care…I still love Heroes!

  • Withaz08

    Does anyone really care?

    I think he’s trying to say that all the clever people watch it online or record it for later viewing and that watching it live on the T.V is becoming a thing of the past….?

    Regardless of what he meant, I personally don’t care…I still love Heroes!

  • xericho

    hes saying that the shows ratings are down cuz the majority of the shows fans are comic book nerds who watch it on the net by streaming or dling torrents.

    frankly, he’s right

    • 311

      Right on.

  • xericho

    hes saying that the shows ratings are down cuz the majority of the shows fans are comic book nerds who watch it on the net by streaming or dling torrents.

    frankly, he’s right

    • 311

      Right on.

  • Kyle Maloney

    I don’t feel insulted as much as I am just confused. I don’t get how anyone can think other methods of watching the show are superior to watching it live as it airs. the alternatives are either DVR, which just means delaying your watching of the episodes, or online viewing, which means a lower res crappy version of the show. why would I want to watch the show on anything other than my tv? I do watch the commentaries they post on Tuesdays, but its not an alternate way, just an additional way to hear more about process they went through for particular eps.

  • Kyle Maloney

    I don’t feel insulted as much as I am just confused. I don’t get how anyone can think other methods of watching the show are superior to watching it live as it airs. the alternatives are either DVR, which just means delaying your watching of the episodes, or online viewing, which means a lower res crappy version of the show. why would I want to watch the show on anything other than my tv? I do watch the commentaries they post on Tuesdays, but its not an alternate way, just an additional way to hear more about process they went through for particular eps.

  • wtfing

    so kring recommends us to watch on dvdr or online after it’s aired, bypassing the commercials. I watch live on aired, then the next day I download the 720p version and watch again. no need to buy the blu-ray…haha Kring rocks.

  • wtfing

    so kring recommends us to watch on dvdr or online after it’s aired, bypassing the commercials. I watch live on aired, then the next day I download the 720p version and watch again. no need to buy the blu-ray…haha Kring rocks.

  • avoidz

    The show stinks at the moment and most people know it. Instead, Kring is blaming fans watching the show from online sources for its lousy ratings rather than fixing the show’s story and character problems – and high per-ep budget. We’ll see if there’s a season 4…

  • avoidz

    The show stinks at the moment and most people know it. Instead, Kring is blaming fans watching the show from online sources for its lousy ratings rather than fixing the show’s story and character problems – and high per-ep budget. We’ll see if there’s a season 4…

  • Susan

    sad people took it the wrong way. Hearing (reading) it verbatim it is clearly meant as a joke. It is a shame other places where I first read about this are making it into something it isn’t.

  • Susan

    sad people took it the wrong way. Hearing (reading) it verbatim it is clearly meant as a joke. It is a shame other places where I first read about this are making it into something it isn’t.

  • avoidz

    Couldn’t have come at a worse time for the show, though; struggling as it is in its third convoluted season.

  • avoidz

    Couldn’t have come at a worse time for the show, though; struggling as it is in its third convoluted season.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tarot999 Tarot

    I suppose can ignore the bad remarks. I just hope, mistranslated/misquoted or whatever that we don’t wind up losing more fans. I’m really bothered by all the negativity, and I don’t just mean this instance I mean what’s shown up like everywhere. There has to be a way to get some positivity going again.

  • http://www.myspace.com/tarot999 Tarot

    I suppose can ignore the bad remarks. I just hope, mistranslated/misquoted or whatever that we don’t wind up losing more fans. I’m really bothered by all the negativity, and I don’t just mean this instance I mean what’s shown up like everywhere. There has to be a way to get some positivity going again.

  • rick

    I don’t think every time there is an eclipse, the results are the same. I think the Hatian was on to something, He said the universe has decided their fate. Which means the eclipse is more of a sign. i.e. the world will be destroyed if the Heores don’t get it right. That’s my take, I at first thought the eclipse was an old thing, but I think in the new heroes generation, its new.

  • rick

    I don’t think every time there is an eclipse, the results are the same. I think the Hatian was on to something, He said the universe has decided their fate. Which means the eclipse is more of a sign. i.e. the world will be destroyed if the Heores don’t get it right. That’s my take, I at first thought the eclipse was an old thing, but I think in the new heroes generation, its new.

  • azalea

    Personally, I like to watch it on air. Not out of inferiority, but because a. the nbc player doesn’t stream to my computer b. the only way i can record things is on suckish VHS tapes and c. i want to support the show in its “hard times.”
    I’m not mad at Tim Kring. He’s the one who’s mad. I think that comment was sarcastic; satirical. The show isn’t doing any worse than it was before (in my opinion), people are just busy and also like to save things for later. This begs the question: when polls are taken of a TV show’s popularity, does it only include the on-air viewers? I hope that’s the case.
    One more thing: maybe it’s just me, but when I start a series, even if I start to grow bored of it(I don’t have to worry about that with Heroes), I still want to know what happens. If anything, Heroes has picked up fans from people telling their friends who tell their friends etc.
    O.K., I lied; one more final thing: it is depressing to me that people today are complaining about how complicated a TV show is. A TV SHOW. How lazy are we getting if we can’t even concentrate on a TV SHOW, even if it is awesome? >:|

    • avoidz

      Viewers often invest a lot of time and thought to shows they watch and get involved in, so, yes, complaints are normal when the show goes sideways all of a sudden (in Heroes’ case, the last season and the current one).

      Too many storylines that go nowhere, a surfeit of characters (who die and then come back), flash forwards/backwards/sideways… The show needs to be brought back under control otherwise it is doomed to fail.

  • azalea

    Personally, I like to watch it on air. Not out of inferiority, but because a. the nbc player doesn’t stream to my computer b. the only way i can record things is on suckish VHS tapes and c. i want to support the show in its “hard times.”
    I’m not mad at Tim Kring. He’s the one who’s mad. I think that comment was sarcastic; satirical. The show isn’t doing any worse than it was before (in my opinion), people are just busy and also like to save things for later. This begs the question: when polls are taken of a TV show’s popularity, does it only include the on-air viewers? I hope that’s the case.
    One more thing: maybe it’s just me, but when I start a series, even if I start to grow bored of it(I don’t have to worry about that with Heroes), I still want to know what happens. If anything, Heroes has picked up fans from people telling their friends who tell their friends etc.
    O.K., I lied; one more final thing: it is depressing to me that people today are complaining about how complicated a TV show is. A TV SHOW. How lazy are we getting if we can’t even concentrate on a TV SHOW, even if it is awesome? >:|

    • avoidz

      Viewers often invest a lot of time and thought to shows they watch and get involved in, so, yes, complaints are normal when the show goes sideways all of a sudden (in Heroes’ case, the last season and the current one).

      Too many storylines that go nowhere, a surfeit of characters (who die and then come back), flash forwards/backwards/sideways… The show needs to be brought back under control otherwise it is doomed to fail.