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Review: Attack of the Doc (2023)

Attack of the Doc, 2023 (Chris Gore/Zach Selwyn) Film Threat

When I had time to watch Attack of the Show, it was funny, and sexy, and clever, and irreverent. It’s interesting. I don’t think anybody was aware at the time that this was the end of pop culture. Pop culture died when politics entered the fray. It became unfashionable and then, ultimately, forbidden, to do certain things on television.

This is when a documentary gets high on its own supply. Beautiful models and skinny show hosts wear fat suits and wrestle in cottage cheese. It’s not quite Mary Tyler Moore being told she is paid less for her work because she’s a woman. It’s not Alex P. Keaton getting high on speed so he can study for his college entrance exams. No. It’s just fun for the sake of fun. Attack of the Show was also an incredible tribute to celebrity ass-kissing of the highest order, but that’s neither here nor there.

You know what I find interesting? I’m not being paid to review Gore’s film, but I had to pay Film Threat to have them review my films! Isn’t that weird? They couldn’t be that bad, could they? As far as I know, Film Threat doesn’t have any overhead, no production costs. Why do they need my money (and the money of other struggling, starving filmmakers)? They post their videos on YouTube the same as everybody else, but okay …

I have another question. Most of this is Gore, a handful of interview subjects, and a whole bunch of archive materials in a roughly 90-minute “Covid documentary*” Yet, there’s a crew? I mean, there’s a crew, an actual crew. The credits go on for a few minutes like people actually worked on this documentary. Weird. I’ll explain in the footnote.

Back to the ass-kissing … I think, maybe, Attack of the Show and the G4 network existed to put the flimsy veil between celebrity culture and geek culture on display for the rest of us to behold. This was the moment we realized the whole thing was made to sell out a disposable generation; somewhere in the vein of “X” and those unfortunate Millennial-types. Oh yeah, they took our money, and we were happy to give it to them, weren’t we? We give them an inch, they think they’re rulers.

Gore’s documentary is an interesting yet nervous stroll down a cobbled memory lane that had already started to show rot and weeds at G4’s inception. At the time, G4 was hard to find. Other than Olivia Munn wearing the Slave Leia outfit, that’s what I most remember. Attack of the Show’s demographic had to have included women, but I don’t think you’d ever know it, considering all the cheesecake on display.

The show ran for five seconds, or eight years depending on how you perceived time. The five seconds comes from the peak popularity of games, movies, television shows, comic books, and whatever else the chosen demographic would waste their money purchasing. Think of it as a home shopping network for pop culture enthusiasts of all stripe. It went over well enough with an audience watching a low-rated basic cable network.

When competition threatened to consume the chosen demographic as well as product gatekeeping (new for the time) by studios and developing platforms, G4 went the way of emo. It was an interesting time; the switch-over from antenna television to digital as well as standard video to high definition. Because of that, the archive footage pre-2010 looks dull compared to the vibrant tones of 720p.

Attack of the Show was Chris Gore’s peak of popularity; his last gasp of fame after the failure of My Big Fat Independent Movie and Film Threat DVD (which released my Ligeia movie, sufficed to say I’m not haggling with my hot tub contractors in my palatial Bel Air estate; making movies doesn’t make you rich). He is justifiably proud of his involvement on the show. Today, Gore is running a sub-variant of Film Threat on the aforementioned YouTube.

There is a website, but I’ll be damned if it ever shows up in my feed, but … the name means something, and they did uncover a lot of the chicanery going on with Disney—that’s great! I love it. Film Threat needs to expand on the idea of investigative journalism. That’s where they thrive. Not with the star-fucking bullshit of Attack of the Show. Time for cheesecake, also known as Olivia Munn. My God, do they go on about Olivia Munn. Yes, she’s very easy on the eyes, and she had a sense of humor, so you didn’t have to worry too much about offending her.

Until she eventually comes out with a major lawsuit about hostile work environments when she runs out of money, but we don’t want to think about that. For now, we’re permitted to revel in the idea of an attractive woman on a television show. Whatever. They keep insisting to me she has a movie career. The documentary insinuates that when Olivia left the show (to be followed shortly after by Kevin Pereira), people stopped caring, or that the company that bought G4 hated Attack of the Show.

Again, whatever, we don’t care. It’s not important. What actually matters, and what we care about has to do with the “reboot” of G4, and how “Indiana Juniper Black” (real name, like we care: Devin Mohr), otherwise known as Froskurinn, single-handedly torpedoed the revival with her “woke” feminist politics, but Gore’s documentary ignores all of that, probably because of threats of litigation. You know what’s funny? Everything is so terrible and lazy now that Attack of the Show could never make it look good.

Attack of the Show could never put a pretty bow on the box of shit that is now our current pop culture. It makes sense we can’t have a “reboot.” Chris Gore made a “Covid documentary” about a TV show that was popular for five seconds in the early 2000s. Fuck, if I asked anybody if they remembered this show, it would take them a while … and then they would probably confuse it with TechTV or Screen Savers.

It comes off sad like documentaries about Duran Duran or the Go-Gos being released these days. You don’t want to see these people old and lonely. You want them young and sexy and vital! Attack of the Show didn’t need a documentary to tell its story. All it needed was a five-second TikTok clip and everybody would’ve understood.

*The “Covid documentary” is a compilation of clips put together from various sources and given a feature-length running time. This was a popular practice during the lockdown. I made two documentaries, Echoic and (the much better) Echoic Sources about Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. Another great example is the David Bowie bullshit, Moonage Daydream (as well as recent documentaries about John Belushi and Robin Williams). Attack of the Doc is an obvious “Covid documentary” because it looks like it was made inside a computer. How Attack of the Doc has a crew is anybody’s guess. Re-recording mixer, indeed!


David Lawler has written for Film Threat, VHS Rewind, Second Union, and his own blog, Misadventures in BlissVille. Lawler has produced several podcasts including That Twilighty Show About That Zone, Two Davids Walk Into A Bar (with co-host David Anderson), EQ Lawler/Saltz (with Alex Saltz), and Upstairs at Froelich's (with co-host John Froelich).

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