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FOX (ended 2014)

Dads S01E01 "Pilot"

Dads is not the worst new show of the fall 2013 season! Go ahead and take a victory lap, Seth MacFarlane and the rest of the creative team, specifically co-creators Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild—you may've birthed the most despised new show of the year according to my unofficial survey of television critics' tweets, TCA stories, and general sourness over the idea of Dads—but it's not the worst (more on that in the notes section, below). Give yourself the day off, you deserve it. 

However, Dads is morally absent, contains some of the laziest humor I've seen on TV in years, stains the resumés of several talented people, and just flat-out forgets to be funny. Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, two actors who have both achieved critical success over the course of their careers, play cool young dudes Eli and Warner, respectively, and they're held prisoner by the promise of a paycheck and humor that would make laughing gas cry. They play a pair of on-the-up video-game developers who don't really care for their dads, but then their dads move in with them! (The dads are played by Martin Mull and Peter Reigert in embarrassing roles that will probably inspire the AARP to revoke their memberships for the unfair portrayal of old people.) That's basically the premise, and yep, it stinks.

You could easily make it through the entire half-hour without laughing once, as I did, but is that really such a surprise when the attempted zingers involve Eli's maid thinking his dad looks like Eric Stoltz's radically deformed character from Mask? Or Mull's character Crawford defending his use of Warner's social security number because, "If I used mine, the IRS would be all over this place like flies on ham"? Or Crawford and Eli making their Asian female coworker (Brenda Song) dress up like a sexy Asian schoolgirl and giggle like a tease to impress Asian businessmen? Or Crawford thinking a new boxing video game is called Punch the Puerto Rican? Or Crawford reminiscing about the time he blew a business meeting because he mispronounced "Shi'ite"? Or both of the tightwad dads fighting to not pay a lunch bill for an excruciatingly long time but not quite long enough for you to find a sharp object that you can use to end the torture? Or Reigert's David saying that the hour from three to four is his "go time" in reference to when he defecates? Or the running gag that David, who otherwise spends the entire first episode acting like a lost curmudgeon from Grumpy Old Men, for some reason greets people with a gentle kiss on the mouth? I would go on, but I'm one memory recall of a Dads "joke" away from Dads-related PTSD.

But I'll defend Dads for one minute and say that I didn't find it nearly as offensive as lots of early reviews made it out to be. Instead, the racist jokes are just pitiful, like a lonely bigot boy lashing out because no one will play with him. The pilot undeniably targeted Asian people, or "Orientals," as Crawford said, but the gags were so sad because all the humor did was make picking on Asians seem incredibly lame. The episode's grand finale was a flurry of small Asian penis jokes after Song's Veronica received a dicture from the Asian businessmen's translator (her sexy schoolgirl outfit was a big hit), and it was probably the closest Dads got to being offensive. But really, it was just depressing. (Disclaimer: I'm part Asian. There, the truth is out.)

MacFarlane's frat-fart humor can work sometimes, particularly when it comes out of the mouth of a porky cartoon character or an animated dog. But when real flesh-and-blood human actors spit out the same words, the veil of anonymity is lifted and all that's left is the core hate that's disguised by brightly colored drawings in Family Guy et al. Yes, giving a cartoon a pass on controversial humor is contradictory, but I'm sure there's some science out there that proves cartoon characters and cute things can get away with murder and we're all okay with it. Put it this way: When a fluffy puppy poops on the carpet, it's kind of cute. When I drop a huge steaming whopper on the rug, all of a sudden I'm a revolting barbarian. Dads is kinda like me doing that.

But what was shocking about the pilot was just how little effort went into it, and how oblivious the people who made Dads or who approved Dads were to allow any minute of it to reach the air where the public could see it. Fox obviously has a special relationship with MacFarlane, so this must have been the product of a throw-in on a larger deal, and it might get a longer leash than it would've if it came from an unknown producer. Why? Because life is not fair, we all know that. Dads is bad, and we all know that, too. The bottom line is that comedies should make you happy, but Dads is just depressing.



NOTES

– Are we supposed to be mad at Brenda Song, an Asian-American, for being part of this? Are we supposed to be sad? Or do we say "Whatever, it's just Hollywood"? 

– For those of you who are wondering which new series earns the title of worst of the fall season now that I've told you it isn't Dads, here's a hint.

Dads Episode 2 is not much better; it involves lots of pot brownies. 

– Okay, which one of you internet heroes is going to post of copy of the pilot with the laugh track stripped?


What'd you think of the pilot? Was it everything you hoped or feared it would be?

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/17/2015

Season 1 : Episode 19

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This is such a talented cast that I was sure the reviews were being too harsh and negative.

WRONG!!


When I think of the humor of Seth Green, the talent of Ribisi, and the shows I have seen where both of them have demonstrated their talent and that were so well done, this is just so sad. And then Martin Mull, who goes back so far with so much excellence. And for me one of the very best: Peter Reigert, who has done movies that I have on DVD and have watched and enjoyed repeatedly. Now I don't know anything about Brenda Song, but from what I could tell she seemed quite talented, and when I Googled her I read that she has done some good work. So what happened? And it comes down to the culprit that so many others have mentioned: Seth MacFarlane.

Now could this concept have been funny with these people? I say absolutely. But I can't imagine what they thought when they had already signed on the dotted line to be in this, and then read that first script. Does the phrase, "Sold a Bill of Goods" ring a bell? I'm sure this was sold to the actors as a funny concept, which it is. But I can't imagine how terrible they felt when they sat for the first script reading and realized that the writing and plot were,....well to use the biblical word: DUNG! And then you're stuck with a contract and have to perform and try to make the best of a bad situation. So what I felt with all of this was that the performers were trying to make the very best of it, but there was no way to succeed.

I would enjoy seeing this same group in something, even this same concept, with a really good script. But it won't happen, and so I feel sorry for them having wasted their time. I hope they made a ton of money for signing up for this because this is flat out embarrassing.

Dead pool for sure!!!!
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I'm not sure. But it was a better start than Mom.
First class eyecandy.
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It amazes me that the big companies (it's only them isn't it?) keep putting laugh tracks on their comedies. Seinfeld didn't suffer from it because the material was excellent, but for 'mere mortal' comedies it's an horrendous negative.
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My expectations were so low after all the negativity from critics, that I ended up thinking it was ok in parts, I even smiled a couple of times. I really like both Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi, so if the got rid of the dads I might actually watch another episode. Yes I know that's the premise of the show, but the premise is so bad...
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I watched it because I wanted to know if it was THAT bad. And to be honest, I don't think that it was.
Don't get me wrong, I can't for the life of me think about a scenario were I would voluntarily watch another episode. But - I really don't find it any worse than, say, Two and a half men, which for some reason still manage to be one of the most tuned in shows not only in the US, but - I guess - in the world. And if 2.5Men manages to stay on air for 11 seasons, I don't see any reason why Dads will not manage; Its sexist, racist (although I guess 2.5 don't get that many chances to prove it), and latent homophobic.... The acting is there, and McFarlane's name is there.
Their are really to main mysteries surrounding this show, IMO:
1 - that awful, awful laugh track.... How could ANYONE NOT be annoyed by that? and
2 - what's the logic behind pairing this with Brooklyn 9-9? They speak not only to different audience, but totally separate of the brain (and, most probably, the soul). Granted, Dads is somewhat an odd man out in Fox' schedule, but Surviving Jack seems like a much more logic choice to pair with it. And ANYTHING would be better for B99.


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In this show, they make fun of Asian people ; in others, it's the Muslim who are all terrorists (NCIS).
In all, the women are used as puppets because the only way to win a deal is to put a girl with big boobs. Sad, extremely sad...
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Well If I'm the only person That LIKED THE SHOW , THEN I 'll Stand On that lonely Island by Myself ... I really Liked the show , and I won't allow people who're unknown to me sway my Like of it...
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Then why read the review?
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My DECISION TO LIKE THE SHOW IS INDEPENDENT OF WHATEVER PEOPLE DO, . My Decision to read reviews Is to ascertain what of people think ..
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WHY NOT ?
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It's a Seth macFarlane show. Of course it was horrible.

Look for FOX to pretend it's "controversial" and "edgy" and renew it like they've renewed every MacFarlane flop like Family Guy.
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You can't call Family Guy a flop. Like it or not it's an award winning juggernaut that's been going for something ridiculous like 11 seasons. I haven't seen Dad's and have no intention on seeing it because it looks terrible but MacFarlane's cartoons (well, American Dad and Family Guy) are a success in every way.
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The best word that's been used to describe this pilot is "lazy". The writing, acting, direction, everything was lazy. I chose my Dead Pool picks before I watched this pilot and was kicking myself for not choosing Dads, but having watched it I'm glad I didn't. It's not offensive enough to drive viewers away, MacFarlane is too well loved at FOX for the series to be canned before showing all 13 episodes (I'm assuming it's 13, don't hold me to it) of it's only season, Ribisi and Green can only improve (again, I'm assuming) and Brenda Song is definitely sexy enough to keep the frat boys coming back. (I really wish she was in something else so I could keep watching her every week!)
So, I don't think it will get cancelled before airing all of it's episodes, although I doubt that they will continue in the current time slot (Friday or Saturday nights are more likely) until the end of the season, but I really didn't see anything I liked in the pilot. This one definitely doesn't need the "4 Episode Test".

Note: "Punch the Puerto Rican" Why? Just... Why?
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Of course it was lazy. seth MacFarlane has connections. He doesn't need to be funny or try hard. His voices in animation are lazy. His shows are highly unfunny. What else is new.

The only question is why nobody is trying to find out why Seth MacFarlane keeps being hired by FOX in spite of his lack of talent or results.
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troll
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it was just not funny and racist
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I didn't watch this, it looked from its promo materials exactly as you described it, and live-action doesn't ever work for me with this type of humor, only animation gets away with it.

Don't be mad at Brenda Song though, she's an up-and-coming actress who is parlaying her Disney Channel fame into a real career, taking jobs that keep her in the limelight where she can get them. She was probably upsold on this role on the idea of lampooning the ideas that ultimately they ended up using on their face instead.
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I didn't watch the pilot but I read that the ratings actually weren't too bad. But I doubt it can compete, once next week's premieres (SHIELD and NCIS) air in the same timeslot.
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I'm sorry but I actually enjoyed it. Like the rest I loathed the laugh track, but I enjoyed the pilot. I laughed more than once. I don't understand why everyone hates it so much, or calls it the worst show of 2013. The scene where the Dads tried to get out of paying the check was pretty entertaining. And it's Seth MacFarlane people, did you really expect to tune in and NOT be offended at least a dozen times?
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I agree with those saying it's worst problem wasn't it's offensiveness. There was nothing really worth getting upset about. To say it was offensive almost gives it a cache it doesn't deserve, it was dull, predicatable and lazy with it's jokes rather than offensive or edgy. It was the a pilot though, which always has the problem of establishing plot and character, so deserves a chance, but the set-up is so run-of-the-mill and the characters so bland, I wa svery disappointed
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I don't watch what i know is going to be pathetic, embarrassing and for years I have wondered why the Simpsons and Family Guy remain so popular, they are morally bereft and encourage children, not to mention adults, to be disrespectful and generally abrasive. How did humor become so despicable. This isn't even laughing at ourselves, this type of humor drags everyone into its ugly depths.
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MacFarlane along with Jeselnik thinks that saying offensive crude things is kinda courageous edgy humor. These turds're confusing rudeness and bias with honest humor (when people say things like they are).


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It was cringe-worthy.....
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I'll be giving it another shot, mostly because of the cast, but one more episode is about it.
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Oddly enough, I didn't find it that much worse than Brooklyn Nine-Nine. But still... yuck. I still like the cast, but I didn't find anything particularly funny... or clever... or even cute.
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I'm with you, it wasn't as bad as I expected, but I really really hated the laugh track. HATED.
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And I thought I was the only one who didn't think Dads was that funny. I may watch the next episode to see if it gets any better but I'm not sticking it on my DVR list just yet. Have to admit, a bit disappointed considering how much I like other things Seth Green does like Family Guy and Robot Chicken.
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Did Seth MacFarlane create this awful show for the sole purpose of making new episodes of Family Guy seem funny by comparison?
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Best. Comment. Ever.
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"It's just not funny. You can't make a joke out of everything."
At least MacFarlane had the honesty to recognise the show is a steaming turd, and include the self-critique in the pilot script
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Tim, which part of you is Asian? ;)

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I didn't watch it and I'm glad about it.
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"When I drop a huge steaming whopper on the rug, all of a sudden I'm a revolting barbarian"
I love you Tim
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I honestly don't care if a show uses "comedy cliche's" If it's funny its funny plain and simple. This debut however was not and it's not because of the humor used more so the writing or lack there of and very distracting laugh track. The writing was just awful and I hope it was just the first episode jitters but I have my severe doubts. Martin Mull tried his hardest and I'll give him props for that Seth Green and Ribsi really disapointed me as I like them a lot so as a kind gesture to the actors I''ll give it ONE more episode to reedem itself.
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I think this site has kind of a "mob mentality" when it comes to a lot of these shows. It was bad, but not near as bad as people on here made it out to be as the spawn of Satan. Yes, the dads that were represented were pretty cringe-worthy, but Seth Green got a few half-smiles out of me, but maybe that's just because his ebullient character is fun to watch in small doses. I agree with bellin-luvy, the humor was pretty lazy and the plots were pretty boring, but don't feel the show was as gag-inducing as some others.
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I agree, but the laugh track was uncomfortable for me.
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i agree, Seth green was the funniest character, unlike Giovanni who i think was bored making the pilot
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I hated it. I really wanted to like it being attached to Seth Mac's name but NO!!! just, NO!!!
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I am not a big fan of Seth McFarland work but I didn't consider the pilot as bad as everyone made it out to be. I will admit, the humor was pretty lazy and the plots were a little boring. However, I feel that the show has some really good actors and characters.
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This was horrible. I Guess we have our first cancelation of the season. I have to admit... I laugh with "Eli"'s face twice... but thats not enough!! Please kill both dads, both sons and make a completly different show!
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I love Martin Mull, he deserves a quality vehicle!!!! The dude is a funny guy!
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I am not a big fan of Seth McFarlane and I was never even going to bother watching this anyway. This is definitely this years Work It.
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I watched the whole thing and all I can say is that it was worse than the trailer; worse than what the critics said; and more racist and insensitive than I could have imagined. Family Guy is funny and offensive but it's a cartoon and its absurd with talking dogs, babies, etc... That ratchet humor does not translate well as a live action series. The actors all have a look on their face like they know this is really bad but it's Seth MacFarlane. I guess people are scared to tell him the truth. This show will go down in flames faster than his show, "The Winner" yeah I bet you don't remember that one that's how fast it was off TV; Google it.

The acting is really bad despite having good actors; the plot is unwatchable, the idea that this will continue as a series is unthinkable and at its core the show lacks heart; I was waiting for that moment when the Dad's turn it around but guess what; "They are just assholes that ruin everything with no redeeming qualities." What's the point?

Every week tune in and see how worse these Dad's can get? The sons are no better; for the most part they are pussies because they can't stand up to their dad's and that's not a good thing. There is no one to root for not even the wives.

What were they thinking?
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Sounds awful... glad I didn't watch it. If it gets cancelled it would really help my Dead Pool!
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mine too
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Regardless of who the EP is (Seth MacFarlane in this case), bad is bad and networks should stop the practice of filling their schedules with crap just to appease some "big name" behind the scenes. This show should never even have gotten past the idea stage.

The same is equally true of Daniel Tosh's unwatchable Brickleberry over on Comedy Central. And that steaming pile of merde actually got a second season. The gods wept.
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I think Tosh is as revered at Comedy Central as McFarlane is at fox. Not sure either is deserved.
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I love Giovanni and Seth Green but I can't do it. I tried, I really, really tried. But its so bad. I'm 6 minutes in and I'm done...
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This is the second time this year I've tuned into a new sitcom pilot and not even gotten halfway through it (the first was Trophy Wife). It was really quite terrible, and I will shed no tears next week when it loses all its viewers to NCIS and SHIELD.
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Well, duh, of course it was awful yet still worth it to put Brenda Song in that sexy schoolgirl outfit. Bravo!
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I only caught the last 3 minutes b/c I wanted to check out Brooklyn nine-nine and watch New Girl. But from what I saw was BAD.... it was kind of like watching jokes that I could only imagine are somewhat funny to a middle school boy but that's giving the show to much credit (and I think I just insulted all middle school boys out there.. sorry guys).
Im actually surprised at how many good actors are on this show, it really makes me sad
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Absolutely awful
I think this is where funny went to live with its grown up son.......and then died because it was so unfunny.
I got through the first 10 minutes before i had to turn it off.
I now feel unclean
I also think that this actually counted as a form of punishment

1/10 (and i am being generous)
Helloooo Deadpool
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wow , that was just horrible. not at all funny. maybe some smart executive will buy the rights and bring back rules of engagement.
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The only thing offensive about Dads, was how unfunny it was, and it is a shame because it has a rather talented cast.
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There's terrible, there's bad, and then there's "terribad." Dads is terribad. The jokes were almost wholly lethargic, poorly-constructed and cringe-inducing, it was as if the actors didn't even want to be there. I admit that I did laugh at hearing the word "Oriental," but only because of how misplaced it was. Another face-palming moment, in other words.
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Oh no, no no no no no, the awful laughter after every quip, I couldn't take it after the first 5 minutes, I'm not even giving it a second chance
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COuldn't agree more. Laugh track = awful
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I think the only show I watch now with a laugh track is HIMYM. So after this year the horrendous laugh track will be blissfully devoid in my TV schedule.
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I agree, and it actually bothers me on HIMYM too, just not as much. I can't watch Big Bang Theory because of it (and I don't really like it) but my husband loves that show.
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What I really hate, maybe even more than the annoying sound of the laugh track itself, is the way the actors on these shows are forced to *time* their lines around the track.

Set-up, set-up, set-up, PUNCH-LINE! Pause for the artificial laughter... and continue and repeat.

I also hate the whole practice on principle, as well. You shouldn't *need* to be told when to laugh or what is funny. It inherently dumbs down the content.

There are a select few shows nowadays when the laugh track is tolerable, and thankfully it seems to be dying out. Good riddance I say.
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I'm sure that it is. HIMYM it doesn't bother me like it does here, but that might be because most of the jokes at least I could see why someone would laugh, even if I am not.
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I love HIMYM, and for some reason the laugh track on it has never bothered me but on this it seemed highly intrusive. Maybe because I usually laugh along with HIMYM and on Dads it was noticeable because I wasn't laighing?
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I came here to make a quick noise about the title. Here it is:

*snort*

OK, I'm off.
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yea I stopped watching 10 minutes in.... maybe not even that much. I even stopped reading this review after the first paragraph because I didn't even wanna read about it. yea, it was THAT bad. *sigh I tried Seth! Sorry!

Also Sorry Tim about not reading all of your review about it, Im sure you infused your sarcastic humor and cynicism that I love so much ;) Next One Though!!!
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