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?
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.