Friday, April 07, 2006


In which I overexplain my process of writing the House episode reviews.

Amanda writes about my "Safe" review:
You wrote: "Mom cuts him off, pointing out that the one time she left her highly allergy-prone daughter alone on a weekend, she ate a peanut butter cookie, had a reaction, crashed her car, crushed her chest, and needed a heart transplant, proving to mom that she is, perhaps, underprotective."

However, it was a chocolate chip cookie that the daughter ate, which had peanut butter in the dough.

You also wrote: "But then House takes Wilson's jacket to sit on, so it's a never-ending cycle of smiles."

However, House took Wilson's pillow to sit on, not his jacket.

She also says nice stuff, and I completely don't mind if people point things out like that - feel free to put them in the comments so everyone can see them. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and would rather be corrected than protect my ego. And while I made the pillow change, I feel like in blogolandia, it's kind of more honest to leave the posts warts and all and have people point out where I'm an idiot in the comments. I don't know why I think that, though, so maybe it's silly.

I actually knew it was a chocolate chip cookie with peanut butter in it, so you could call that carelessness, but I just saw it as the simplest way to explain in an already long sentence. Peanut butter cookie versus cookie with peanut butter in the dough? I don't see my way as wrong, it's just not the whole truth - the chocolate chips weren't the important part. I waffled between pillow and jacket, thought I'd seen a sleeve, and didn't feel like rewatching. I write these reviews very quickly, posting them within a couple of hours of seeing the episodes, so lots of things creep in that make me cringe afterwards.

Though I have to say, those aren't really examples of that (well, maybe the pillow a little bit). I often catch spelling mistakes, stray clauses that should have been deleted which make the sentence make no sense, etc. that torment me afterwards.

For some reason it's errors in writing more than errors in show details that bug me. I guess because I watch the show once and write my instant reactions, so these aren't well-thought-out articles, and details are bound to escape me, and I accept the limitations of my decision to write them the same night the show airs. But I feel like I should always be able to string a sentence together. If I catch mistakes within a couple of days (which Amanda did in this case), I can make the changes myself on the Blogcritics posts. Beyond that, I need to get an editor to do it, and I wouldn't have asked them to do it for these instances, where it doesn't change the substance of what I'm trying to say.

To me, the glaring problem with the "Safe" review occurred to me even when I wrote it, but it's a structural problem I'm not going to try to fix now. It was sloppy writing to put the detail of Wilson filing House's cane before the summary of how he helped House with the case, since it made it seem like cause and effect, but it just flowed better that way since I wanted to continue on with discussion of the case afterwards. These aren't exactly recaps, in that I never write them as chronological summaries of the episode (they're not even exactly reviews – Blogcritics makes me call them that. I think of them as analyses). But still, I made it sound like Wilson was mollified after his practical joke, when I meant he was mollified after House revealed his motivation for tormenting him. With more time and thought, I could have rewritten it better, but at a certain point, I just want to go to bed.

In other mea culpa news, I was flat out wrong about there being more episodes than weeks until the end of May (though I expressed my doubt, so I feel like I'm covered). There are, however, more episodes than weeks left until the season finale on May 23. Vadim says in the comments that there's a double episode on May 2 and 3 – I can't find confirmation of that, but it explains the discrepancy. My math isn't really that bad, but I have odd number-related lapses, like I can't figure out time zones to save my life, and figuring out the number of weeks between two dates seems to be beyond me, too.

But yeah, don't hesitate to correct me on anything, whether it's a nitpick or a challenge to my opinions. I'm certainly not the voice of authority. Speaking of … in other reader mail, I've been asked a few times in both blunt and vague ways if I have any association with FOX or the show, and the answer is no, I'm not that cleverly secretive. I have no inside knowledge and my opinion means no more than yours.