Movie Trivia Schmoedown – where is the line between entertainment & reality?

For those of you that have read the ‘About‘ page on this blog know, I am not the huge cinema fan that many of those who both compete in and support the Movie Trivia Schmoedown are. I have stumbled my way into the realm of film fandom relatively recently having been sports-obsessed for the majority of my 26 years, and the Schmoedown is a show that perfectly blends my newest passion with my main hobby and occupation.

MTS-TITLE-2For those of you that do not already know, I work full-time as a sports journalist in the UK. Having covered a range of sports since graduating from university, for the past three years my concentration has largely been on football (or soccer!), and I am fully aware of how lucky I am that I get paid to go watch matches in the Premier League and Champions League on an almost weekly basis. My role is to provide analysis and insight to those fans who are not in my position, and though I am nowhere near as close to those who make the Schmoedown as I am to the biggest sport stories, hopefully this blog has provided those who have read it with that same satisfaction.

Now, while the Schmoedown and professional sport share themes, they are not the same thing. Sure, they both have the competitive aspects and those who show consistent skill eventually emerge as triumphant, but that’s about where it ends.

First of all, competitors in the Schmoedown are not picking up the millions that many at the top-level of professional sport are earning, yet they are performing for thousands of viewers whenever they take to the ring. I am not privy to how much those who appear on the show are earning or if they are even earning anything more than a great platform to showcase themselves, and nor would I ever ask or want to know. Given the entertainment they provide myself and thousands others like me, I’d wager – and this is by no means a slight at anyone – it’s probably not enough.

When sat in a press box, I enjoy nothing more than being able to write a critical article hitting out at a player, manager or team. It’s not that I am a nasty person – writing negatively is far easier than ever giving praise, and I imagine those who write or post film reviews online who are reading this are nodding along. When doing this in my day job it is never a personal attack on a player or team – it’s just my opinion on the day. I’ve written scathing articles on the team I have followed since I was a boy and gushed with praise when the side I was raised to hate have been deserving of it.

With the Schmoedown, however, things are different. I am not writing about people who are earning millions yet failing to perform when it matters most. This blog is about analysing the Movie Trivia Schmoedown, speculating as to what will happen next and praising those who perform well. Obviously not everyone can be at the top of their game all the time, but I take this show for what it is and would never chastise a performer for struggling under the lights.

Hayberg HorsemenSome fans may still argue that the Schmoedown is far more similar to wrestling than traditional team sports, and I would agree. There are a number of – for the most part – manufactured storylines, though these are dictated by the results of the matches and not vice-versa. That, however, does not give fans the right to go over the top with their criticism of certain competitors.

Professional wrestlers are just that – professionals. They are paid extortionate amounts to perform on an almost daily basis, and credit to them that they largely maintain their personas away from the cameras on social media etc.

A number of Schmoedown competitors have been able to effectively replicate this themselves, particularly when corresponding with one another regarding previous or upcoming matches. But at the end of the day these are real people with real jobs, even if you see them on YouTube every day. And most importantly, their characters on the Schmoedown are not – for the most part – their real personalities.

Robert Meyer Burnett does not go around screaming at everyone in the street. Jay Washington is not routinely hijacking random people’s conversations to push his own agenda. I’m pretty sure Tom Dagnino is not a reprehensible human being in every way possible, though that is perhaps a grey area! You get my point.

Lion's DenAs an example, anyone who has listened to John Rocha’s appearance on the No.1 podcast on the SK Plus network, ‘Don’t Be a Beardo‘, knows that the real Rocha is not the same person as “The Outlaw”. Even on this week’s episode of the Rundown it is interesting to hear William Bibbiani answer certain questions as himself and others as “The Beast”.

If you do not like a certain competitor’s attitude to anything Schmoedown-related, it’s always best taken with a pinch of salt. Professional wrestlers may react to your attacks on social media as it is part of their job. Schmoedown competitors are not the same as wrestlers. They are at most actors playing a part in a YouTube soap drama, at least just film fans having fun for others’ entertainment. The fact that they go out of their way to interract with fans at all is testament to them as individuals and entertainers.

I’d be lying if I did not say that certain elements of the show frustrate me as a fan. Though I rarely pull for anyone in particular in the matches, as someone who has been trained to read too much into everything that is said not only on the show but on its various spin-offs, I can then be upset if my own predictions or expectations are not met on screen. But then I could say the same for Game of Thrones, which is probably the best way to illustrate how I would categorise the non-competitive aspects of the Schmoedown.

I very much doubt any film or television fan who watches the Schmoedown would reach out to the actor who played a despicable villain on screen and send them waves of abuse. It’s the character, not them, that is performing such derisory acts. The Schmoedown is exactly the same – the names of the characters might be real but the beliefs and attitudes almost certainly are not.

Hopefully this did not come across as too self-righteous. The Schmoedown is a great show, and writing about it and receiving feedback from both fans and competitors just makes me want to write more.

This is a piece I had been thinking about doing for a while but after Jenn Sterger’s excellent post within the MTS Facebook group today it felt like the right time to get it out there. It’s also not an attack on any one fan or particular group of fans – the majority of Schmoedown supporters I have interacted with since starting this blog have been great and I look forward to speaking to more of you as time goes on.