Tuesday, May 3, 2011

F#@ked by Ray Bradbury?

I'm alluding, above, to one of the recent Hugo nominees for best short-form dramatic presentation: a music video titled "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury."

The video is ... well, exactly what it sounds like. It's an explicit proposition by writer Rachel Bloom, set to music, posted on YouTube for Bradbury's 90th birthday. It's explicit enough, I'm surprised the author survived watching it. It's also fun -- a bit of a kick. It's nice to see sci-fi getting some love from the distaff side, and to see reading getting some love from the high auto-insurance premium generation. (And by love, I mean ... er, let's move on.)

Historically, short-form nominees have been TV episodes and a few scattered short films. A couple of years ago, though, the Internet sensation Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog won, and that may have been a harbinger of things to come. (And by come, I mean "arrive." Stay focused, people.)

I think "Fuck me" might win. I'm not sure it ought to, good as it is, but I think it will, and I think the reason is worth some attention.

Bloom's erotic tribute is up against three television episodes and a short animated film ("The Lost Thing" by Shaun Tan) for the short-form award. All three TV nominations are for Doctor Who eps: two by three-time winner Steven Moffat and one by Richard Curtis (writer of Love, Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral).

I haven't seen "The Lost Thing," but I've seen the other four. I think all three Doctor Who episodes are probably better than "Fuck Me." I personally would vote for Moffat's "A Christmas Carol." I know other people who would vote for "Vincent and the Doctor." I'll be stunned if any of the Who episodes wins.

Surprisingly, I'm not saying this because Doctor Who is up against itself, and will divvy up the Doctor Who fan vote. That's certainly a reliable pattern for the Academy Awards, but it's not quite as true for the Hugos, which often sees episodes beating up their siblings. (Doctor Who won last year despite having three nominations, for instance. And last year, I would have given the prize to Joss Whedon's "Epitaph One" for Dollhouse.)

So why do I think three-time winner Moffat will do worse this year?

Because the winner is determined by a vote of Hugo members, not by a panel of judges. A panel of judges might watch all five and compare them, but with a large membership, odds favor the show with the most viewers.

This year, that strange physics favors Bloom's let's-have-sex tape, which is likely to end up with far more viewers than any other nominee (in any category, really).

Let's put it this way: Which one of those nominees has a link on this page? A link directly to the nominated performance? "Fuck Me," that's the one. If you haven't been watching Doctor Who, no link will take you to a free, online, convenient performance. You'd have to rent it, or catch it on a TV repeat. And if you want to watch "The Lost Thing," you'll have to buy a copy on iTunes, which I haven't done yet. Have you? It might be the best of the five, but you have to go out of your way a bit to test that.

Now look at the official list of Hugo nominees. Only one of the five nominees has a "Watch now" link next to it: Bloom's. That immediate link, right on the virtual ballot, is going to give Bloom a "Fuck Me" pump that'll be hard to beat. (And by "beat," I mean rhythm. Really. I'm sure the sentence makes sense that way.)

I'm not sure it's fair to match 45-minute episodes only available on BBC and DVD, or short films only available to people at film festivals, against a YouTube video available to everyone with a computer. We'll see how this year goes; maybe I'll be wrong.

But if Ms. Bloom wins, along with sending her congratulations -- honest congrats, as the video is cool -- we might want to send Hugo a recommendation to come up with a new category for the free online stuff.

After all, we want to be fair to Mr. Moffat. He's only won three times.

1 comment:

  1. Update: I'm happy to say my prediction above was incorrect. Bloom lost to Moffat in the Hugo race. I'm still stunned, and still think there should be a separate category for free, online material, particularly items that might have links right on the Hugo ballot. - Gray Scott