June 20, 2023
Crooked Media’s Jon Lovett is a podcast host, TV writer, former presidential speechwriter… and Survivor superfan?! Who knew! In addition to Survivor, Jon talks with Ashley about the WGA strike, why it’s suddenly so hard to make a TV show about American politics, the insanity that is the show Mrs. Davis, and much more. Plus, Ashley gives Jon a taste of his own medicine and makes him defend some horrible hot takes.
Buy tickets to Lovett or Leave It: The Errors Tour
$1 of every ticket sold will be donated to the Vote Save America F*ck Bans: Leave Queer Kids Alone Fund to support organizations that are protecting trans people and fighting rightwing campaigns against parents, doctors, teachers and kids.
What We Watched:
You, Me & My Ex
The Other Two
The Other Two
The Bear (Season 2)
The Curious Case of Natalia Grace
Donate to Hollywood crew members in need at The Entertainment Community Fund.
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S2E48 — Content Hogs w/ Jon Lovett
Ashley Ray [00:00:27] Welcome to TV, I Say with Ashley Ray–your go-to podcast for discovering what to watch on TV and getting behind the scenes insight from the people who make the shows you love. Before we dive in, your weekly reminder that the WGA–well, we’re still on strike. So please go to entertainmentcommunity.org and donate to Hollywood crew members in need. Help us get groceries. It’s going to be a long fight, so please help us out. Go donate. Today I am joined by the one and only Jon Lovett. Yes. You know John as a TV writer and host of the Pod Save America Podcast and Lovett or Leave It, which you probably have heard me on a few times. Starting June 22nd, Lovett or Leave It is kicking off a slew of live shows across the country. And $1 of every ticket sold will be donated directly to Vote Save America’s Fund to protect queer and trans youth from discriminatory legislation. So welcome to TV Club.
Jon Lovett [00:01:15] Hi. So good to see you.
Ashley Ray [00:01:16] I’m so glad to be on the other side of it.
Jon Lovett [00:01:20] Now let’s see how you host.
Ashley Ray [00:01:22] Right? Maybe I’ll make you play a bunch of games and. get in trouble for your hot takes.
Jon Lovett [00:01:27] Oh, yeah. Well, listen, you get yourself in trouble. No one puts a gun to your head and makes you issue hot takes.
Ashley Ray [00:01:32] Yeah, that’s very true. It is my own hot TV takes, and I got a few of them today. We’re hot TV taking it up. There’s a lot to get into. I do want to start, though. This past weekend, I was at my ten-year college reunion. I’m bringing that up because we are both Williams College alumni.
Jon Lovett [00:01:49] Williams College alumni.
Ashley Ray [00:01:50] The weirdest little place in the world.
Jon Lovett [00:01:52] I think for different reasons… I’m glad, and I had a really great time ultimately at Williams. But what the fuck were either one of us doing at Williams College? What was wrong with our 17-year-old brains that we looked at the whole world–spun a globe–and were like, “Sports school. Rural Massachusetts.”
Ashley Ray [00:02:10] This one right here where you get off in Albany at the airport, you drive an hour and a half from there through the mountains, and then you get there and you’re like, “Why am I in this bubble?” “A purple bubble,” as we call it.
Jon Lovett [00:02:23] There was news that there’s Thai food. “Have you heard the news? We have Thai food.”
Ashley Ray [00:02:27] here’s a dispensary in Williamstown now. Yeah, that was the big news this trip. And there’s two coffee shops instead of just one now.
Jon Lovett [00:02:36] Wow. Things are changing.
Ashley Ray [00:02:36] Did Williams in any way inspire you to be a TV writer? Did they help you be creative?
Jon Lovett [00:02:42] Yes. I mean, Williams was great for me. I think looking back on it, I thought it was the right place, then I thought it was the wrong place, but now I know it was the right place. And I think for me it was a safe place to work through some of the issues around insecurities–sexual identity–that I think that if I’d gone to, like, a school in New York, it would have eaten me alive
Ashley Ray [00:03:11] It would have eaten me alive.
Jon Lovett [00:03:14] You think you’re ready. You’re not. I was a child.
Ashley Ray [00:03:17] I was a child. I did the same at Williams. My first year, I was like, “This is where I’m supposed to be.” And by the time I graduated, I was like, “I hate this. Take me off every alumni email list. Don’t ever contact me again. I will never be back here.” And then two years later, I’m like, “Actually, it was pretty great. I met some really amazing people. Put me back on the list. What’s going on? Why don’t I get invited to things?”
Jon Lovett [00:03:36] And I do think it was nice for me to be in a small pond. Like, I did math, which ended up being, I think, a really good thing for me.
Ashley Ray [00:03:46] Okay, Div III.
Jon Lovett [00:03:49] And that’s not something I did before or could have done since, so I’m glad I had that experience.
Ashley Ray [00:03:55] Yeah. Oh wow. I was a Div I girl just, you know, making up a history major. I was just like, “I want to study TV. Is that cool?” And they were like, “Sure.”
Jon Lovett [00:04:04] That’s nice. You studied television?
Ashley Ray [00:04:05] I did. Yeah, my thesis was, like, the history of Black TV. And I basically just made it up. But they let me do it.
Jon Lovett [00:04:12] And now you’re using your degree every goddamn day.
Ashley Ray [00:04:13] Every day. Every day. So, there we go. Let’s get into the watchlist. What a beautiful walk down memory lane. Down Spring Street for us.
Ashley Ray [00:04:21] Down Spring Street for us. The food is still bad on campus. Watchlist. What is on your watchlist? What did you do in the last week?
Jon Lovett [00:04:29] I am crushing Mrs. Davis. I love that show. I love that show. It is, like, made for me. It is so funny. It is out to fucking lunch.
Ashley Ray [00:04:43] Yes.
Jon Lovett [00:04:44] I love a show that just says “Yeah. This is absolutely off the walls bananas.” If you try to explain what you are watching to another person, you seem like you have lost touch with reality. They’re so good. But the thing about it is inside of this batshit universe that at times is just very funny–but then at times actually takes itself seriously in a way that works for me–it does something that I think a lot of dramas now give short shrift, which is that the characters are excellent. They’re excellent, and a lot of the moments–even inside of this plot that’s just outlandish and enormous and there’s tons of plot in every episode, which makes it exciting and fun–a lot of the turns and a lot of the moments are just based on relationships and the way these characters know each other that actually has been established slowly over eight episodes. And there are tons of small dramas that don’t do the same character development. And there are tons of big shows that are so up their own asses, they don’t give you as much plot. I’s just so fucking good.
Ashley Ray [00:05:54] Yeah. And that felt like kind of a dig at Succession–a show I love. But this last season–very little plot. If I heard “Gojo” one more time in that last season of Succession, I was going to kill myself. I was like, “Do something else.”
Jon Lovett [00:06:04] My view of Succession is I don’t speak ill of the dead. Don’t be sad that it’s over, smile because it happens. That’s how I feel about Succession.
Ashley Ray [00:06:13] We’re getting hot TV takes.
Jon Lovett [00:06:15] Just, like, given the fucking quantity–not quality–universe that we now live in, I hear what you’re saying, I acknowledge it, I receive it, but that’s all that I can do.
Ashley Ray [00:06:28] Fair. And honestly, Mrs. Davis–it was my number one show and finale of…
Jon Lovett [00:06:33] I haven’t seen the finale. I have one episode left. Just know that sincerely no spoilers.
Ashley Ray [00:06:36] Sincerely, I will not spoil it.
Jon Lovett [00:06:38] I was so excited for this last episode.
Ashley Ray [00:06:39] And it is so, so good. It is the show and finale that for me just was, like, perfect landing. You’re watching, and you’re like, “How are they going to get all these threads to make sense? There’s one episode.” They nail it. Stick the landing. If you haven’t watched Mrs. Davis, which means you aren’t listening to me because I’ve been telling you to watch it… But if you haven’t, it’s about a nun who is trying to defeat AI by finding the Holy Grail.
Jon Lovett [00:07:05] The actual Holy Grail.
Ashley Ray [00:07:07] The actual Holy Grail. That’s, like, the top line summary of the show.
Jon Lovett [00:07:11] And of course, she does it with the help of her husband, who is…
Ashley Ray [00:07:14] The hot guy from Greek. Oh. Well… And her literal husband, Jesus.
Jon Lovett [00:07:20] Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Ever heard of him? She’s legit married to him. Her husband.
Ashley Ray [00:07:28] Who is, like, actually played by a middle Eastern actor. And then on top of that, he’s a non-monogamous Jesus.
Jon Lovett [00:07:32] Oh, yeah. Jesus in this believes in compersion.
Ashley Ray [00:07:36] Yes. He believes in compersion. He is having sex.
Jon Lovett [00:07:43] Look, here’s the thing you have to understand about Peacock, which means here’s what you have to understand about Comcast. Comcast believes that Jesus fucks.
Ashley Ray [00:07:50] Yes.
Jon Lovett [00:07:52] That’s a tenet of Comcast out of Philadelphia. It’s something that they believe in.
Ashley Ray [00:07:56] Yeah. And you see it across all their programming. All of it.
Jon Lovett [00:08:00] Sports, weather.
Ashley Ray [00:08:02] And again, Jesus fucks.
Jon Lovett [00:08:04] Jesus has sex.
Ashley Ray [00:08:05] Yeah. And once you get to the Jesus part, you’re like, “What is going on here?” And then there’s a whale. But all of that sounds crazy, but at the end of the day, the relationship that meant the most to me was the one between her and her mom. And it is so, so beautiful. I think it’s Anjelica Huston?
Jon Lovett [00:08:27] No. It’s definitely 100%, zero out of ten not even fucking close.
Ashley Ray [00:08:31] What is her name?
Jon Lovett [00:08:32] I mean, I don’t know the actor’s name. She just does a wonderful job.
Ashley Ray [00:08:40] She kind of looks like Anjelica Huston.
Jon Lovett [00:08:41] I guess, like, in the sense that, like, she’s maybe tall.
Ashley Ray [00:08:44] She’s kind of mean and has black hair.
Jon Lovett [00:08:46] She’s tall and she has an imposing presence as an actor.
Ashley Ray [00:08:53] “Elizabeth Marvel.”
Jon Lovett [00:08:54] Elizabeth Marvel. She’s great in it.
Ashley Ray [00:08:56] She is great in it. Oh, she’s so good in so many things. We love Elizabeth Marvel here. Love & Death. She was in The Dropout, of course. Loved The Dropout.
Jon Lovett [00:09:05] Loved, loved The Dropout.
Ashley Ray [00:09:08] Oh, that was so good.
Jon Lovett [00:09:10] The Dropout was like a revelation. A story that I thought had been told to death in the hands of Liz Meriwether.
Ashley Ray [00:09:18] And Michael Showalter. Two brilliant comics.
Jon Lovett [00:09:22] The episode that was just basically about male insecurity–the different ways in which, like, men perform for each other–was so interesting. And, like, the way that episode, like, changed the perspective of the show, and all of a sudden you just… I’d never seen that satirized that way before. You’ve seen it made fun of almost, like, from a male point of view. But it was like, “Oh my God. This is what these guys seem like.”
Ashley Ray [00:09:48] This is truly what it’s like. And you don’t really get sympathy for Elizabeth Holmes, which I liked. They are honest about how she was horrible. She just went to prison. She just had her sentencing day, like, last week, so…
Jon Lovett [00:10:03] Going out for a real lunch.
Ashley Ray [00:10:06] I mean, now she’ll have enough time to watch the series.
Jon Lovett [00:10:08] I wonder… I bet she’s watched it.
Ashley Ray [00:10:09] I bet she’s watched it.
Jon Lovett [00:10:11] Here’s the thing I don’t understand–and I know we’re off topic–but the fact that she managed in the midst of all of this to ensnare a handsome, wealthy husband.
Ashley Ray [00:10:21] Right?
Jon Lovett [00:10:22] What the hell?
Ashley Ray [00:10:23] Goals.
Jon Lovett [00:10:24] Incredible.
Ashley Ray [00:10:25] She got a rich guy. I was at the Williams College reunion going to every older 10–’93 and back–like, “Who is a single? Who has money? Well, how much property do you own? You a widow? Let’s make this happen.”
Jon Lovett [00:10:38] I think you have to work your way up to “Are you a widow?”
Ashley Ray [00:10:40] Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:10:42] “Are you a widow?”
Ashley Ray [00:10:43] “Are you a widow? Are you looking? Do you have, like, a trust that I could be in? Your will, please?” A show my watch list–I have been getting very into You, Me & My Ex. It’s on TLC. It is about people who have inappropriately close relationships with their exes, even though they are in new relationships. It is the wildest reality show out right now. The center couple is this couple where originally the woman stole her neighbor’s husband but was still good friends with her ex-husband. And then she became friends with the new husband’s ex-wife. And then she started dating the ex-wife. And then the new husband gets angry. And it’s just this weird polycule of people. But they’re also just this southern Georgia couple, which is my favorite because it reminds me there are people in the South in these places that are supposed to be so conservative who are all over TLC, like, singing about their kink life–how they’re swingers. And I’m just like, “Wow, this is really bridging me to some people.”
Jon Lovett [00:11:50] It’s interesting to me–the people that need to have the rules to break.
Ashley Ray [00:11:56] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:11:57] That somehow that helps them understand that to be in a relationship with one person and have a relationship with someone else without one of them being a violation–there’s just something about what is allowed and what is not that creates the safety of knowing that they won’t abandon the main or first or appropriate relationship. Somehow, it’s like the breaking of a rule is, ironically, a protection of the rule.
Ashley Ray [00:12:22] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:12:23] You know, it’s an old joke that, you know, in the gay world, they’re open relationships–and then in straight world, they cheat. And I understand; I don’t judge. People can pursue whatever they want. The ones that, like, just from a kind of emotional labor don’t make sense to me… Like, open relationships–that checks out, but the people that are like, “Yes, I have two very intense and complicated relationships right now.” It’s like, “You are getting twice the hard part and only half the good parts here.”
Ashley Ray [00:12:52] “Why are you doing this?” Like, there’s someone in the show who is in couples therapy with their first wife, they’re in couples therapy with their second partner, and then they all do couples therapy–the three of them together. And then the two women will do therapy together, too, sometimes–just to be like, “How are we all feeling?” And beyond wanting to watch that on television? I mean, I do love the show Couples Therapy, which again, if you’re not watching, you need to watch Couples Therapy. But I need to see this crazy polydynamic of like, “Why are you in therapy four days a week just to have two relationships?”
Jon Lovett [00:13:28] I was at the beach a couple of weeks ago, and there was a woman at the beach. And she went into the water, but she had massive, massive, dangling earrings–just, like, big, dangling earrings. And I just was like, “I don’t know how I know this, but I just have this feeling that you make your life harder than it has to be.”
Ashley Ray [00:13:50] Yeah. You’re just making things.
Jon Lovett [00:13:54] You’re just making your life a little harder than it has to be.
Ashley Ray [00:13:57] And that is all of You, Me & My Ex. It’s like, “You don’t have to let your ex-wife move in with your new girlfriend. You’re making things hard.”
Jon Lovett [00:14:04] There’s a pattern there. Why is this how you feel?
Ashley Ray [00:14:08] It’s so good. Thank you, TLC, for not teaching us anything anymore, because I…
Jon Lovett [00:14:13] They don’t teach us a goddamn thing.
Ashley Ray [00:14:14] Not a goddamn thing. I mean, if you want to learn how to forge canine papers and get someone a K-1 visa and get someone in the country, you could learn how to do that from 90 Day Fiancé.
Jon Lovett [00:14:24] Yeah. And that’s a skill.
Ashley Ray [00:14:25] Yeah, that’s a skill. What else is on your watchlist?
Jon Lovett [00:14:27] What’s on my watchlist? So, I’m doing a full rewatch of Survivor.
Ashley Ray [00:14:33] Wow. Okay.
Jon Lovett [00:14:34] So I watched Season One when it originally aired.
Ashley Ray [00:14:37] Same.
Jon Lovett [00:14:37] In the year ’99 or 2000? I think 2000.
Ashley Ray [00:14:40] I think 2000.
Jon Lovett [00:14:41] In the year 2000, I watched the original first season of Survivor. It was a revelation when Richard Hatch… Spoiler alert for the very first season of Survivor.
Ashley Ray [00:14:50] If you haven’t seen.
Jon Lovett [00:14:51] Richard Hatch wins Survivor.
Ashley Ray [00:14:53] And also, by the way, Rockford, Illinois–he’s from there. My hometown.
Jon Lovett [00:14:57] Yeah. Not only did he win $1,000,000 in Survivor, he also famously did not pay taxes on it, which is, like, an incredible move–to be on a show watched by ten times, three, 10, 20 times as many people that have ever seen Succession and be like, “Nope. It’s a secret.”
Ashley Ray [00:15:13] “It’s a secret. Nobody knows.”
Jon Lovett [00:15:15] But I watched the second season, the third season, then I gave it up, and I’m coming back to it now, I guess 20 years later.
Ashley Ray [00:15:23] What is it like to watch a reality show that old?
Jon Lovett [00:15:25] So first of all, you feel after that first season how it just changed television. You just watch these people in the first season–I mean, really over the course of the first, like, 10 seasons–you watch people discover how to be on television. It’s true of Drag Race as well.
Ashley Ray [00:15:45] Oh, yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:15:46] Especially those early seasons of Drag Race when it was, like, on Logo, if you’re lucky and nobody was seeing it.
Ashley Ray [00:15:54] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:15:54] And obviously Drag Race changed. They put it in front of so many people. But really those early seasons of Drag Race were a competition to win in front of RuPaul on Drag Race–the cameras being there almost, like, ancillary to the experience. And it was over a couple of years that the people on Drag Race and also on Survivor slowly started realizing, “Oh, there’s two games here. There’s the game, and then there’s the metagame of being on Survivor and being part of the history of Survivor.” And so, like, it’s been interesting. So, the first season, they don’t know how to vote. They don’t know how to form alliances. Like, nobody’s talking beforehand. It’s only Richard actually that starts cracking like, “Holy shit, I’m going to run this fucking town. I’m going to run this island.”
Ashley Ray [00:16:41] That’s how winners think.
Jon Lovett [00:16:42] And then that slowly evolves, which is really interesting. And then you get to the later seasons, and you really feel the country having watched two decades of reality TV, and they are coming in with a storyline. Like, over the years of reality TV shows across the board, it used to be Episode Seven, Episode Eight that the characters would sit down and have a moment. And they’d be like, “You know, I’m only here because my sister is sick.” And now, like, the first episode, a tear goes down their eyes, like, “I’m sorry I snapped at you about the fact that we just met. My mom is sick. I’m doing this for her.”
Ashley Ray [00:17:22] “It just reminded me of my sister who’s ill and always wanted me to be on Survivor.” And it’s like, “Okay.” It’s like the girls on Drag Race. They come already with, like, their catchphrases. They’re ready to be on TV, they’re ready to become a gif, and that kind of takes away from the fun of it for me. Like, that’s kind of why I fell off of Survivor. I did go back and watch the Mike White season.
Jon Lovett [00:17:42] That’s my next season.
Ashley Ray [00:17:43] Oh my God. That one was really fun, too.
Jon Lovett [00:17:46] Because now I’m in the 30s. A lot of Survivor out there.
Ashley Ray [00:17:50] Yeah, a lot of Survivor. The Mike White season though? Watching this guy who clearly at the time is like, “I’m basically a failed TV writer. I am here to do what I can.”
Jon Lovett [00:18:02] So I saw Mike White on The Amazing Race. He was also on The Amazing Race. And I remember… Do you remember the beginning of it?
Ashley Ray [00:18:09] Oh my God. I didn’t know that. It feels like there should be some rule or something.
Jon Lovett [00:18:13] Well, I think the rule is if they like someone on Survivor, they’re like, “Let’s put them on The Amazing Race and vice versa.” But I remember watching that. And I think… I may get this wrong, but I remember it was a big deal to me because, I think, he went on with his dad and it was he was gay. And it was like, “I’m gay, and I’m here with my dad.” And that was a big deal at the time. I don’t remember what year that was. I think it was before his Survivor season. It was years earlier, I think. Check me in the comments.
Ashley Ray [00:18:38] Yeah. Yeah. If that’s not correct, they’ll let me know. They let me know everything. They’re very, very mean.
Jon Lovett [00:18:44] Cool. Yeah, that checks out.
Ashley Ray [00:18:53] I did also rewatch Kid Nation. Like, right now everyone is like, “Oh, with this writers strike, reality TV is going to dominate again. TV’s going to be horrible.” How do you feel about that? Everyone’s saying it’s, like, the death of peak TV, and now we’re all just going to be, like, tied to our couches watching Kid Nation 2.
Jon Lovett [00:19:14] I don’t know what’s going to happen, obviously. I think it’s all a little bit exaggerated. First of all, there’s a lot to, like… And I’m not an expert in any of this. But there’s a lot of, like, narratives that forget that this isn’t… Obviously there are heroes and villains in this story, but ultimately this is a math story, which is there was a competition and a frenzy, and they spent more on content that they made. And yeah, a big part of that is the fact that these models are changing and we’re moving away from cable and we’re moving towards streaming and they replaced a model that worked with one that isn’t working yet. And then there’s this conversation about how, like, if you have a hit, you don’t make the money anymore. Now, that’s all true. And… So, there’s two things that are being said. If there’s a hit, you’re not making money anymore because of this new business model of streaming. And it’s hard for writers getting started to make a living. Those two things are in tension because right now… And, like, there’s nuance to this; these companies are rapacious. But to some extent, the money that’s not going to the hit makers after a hit–it actually isn’t in all cases going to the bottom line of these companies. It’s going to subsidize the shows that wouldn’t have gotten made in the old version of this because the reality is there’s just more being made than ever before. Now, I believe in the writers cause, and I think the strike is completely just. I think the goal here has to be to set lines to make sure that being a professional television and film writer is a sustainable, stable career and one that is lucrative in an industry that makes billions and billions and billions of dollars–one that is incredibly powerful culturally. If a group of people that are highly intelligent and incredibly skilled provide a service that creates billions of value–if that group of people can’t get together and take some power back from major corporations, then everyone is pretty fucked. That is important. That is totally true. But I do worry that when the dust settles, what is going to happen is a right sizing in the sense that whatever was being made that made these companies–the streaming aspect of this business–not profitable, they’re going to try to make less. And when they do, I don’t know what happens. Like, I think there’s just going to be less scripted television.
Ashley Ray [00:22:07] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:22:07] And the writers who work on those, I think, will be better protected by a better deal. But I do worry that some of the people that have gotten their first or second gig–not gotten another–are now striking… I worry that some of those people may not find work again and that in a lot of ways they’re striking not for themselves but for another generation or another group of writers coming up. And that’s a noble thing to do, but it doesn’t feel like it’s part of the conversation.
Ashley Ray [00:22:39] Yeah, people aren’t talking about this aspect where during the strike we’re seeing just last week, I think, ABC canceled four new shows that were about to go into their third season that had writers who, again, are second job, third job, who were counting on that, who were like, “Well, yeah, I know we’re on strike, but I thought there was no way they would cancel Grand Crew. There was no way they would cancel Young Rock. It’s the Rock.” I watch both of those shows. I’m very sad they were canceled.
Jon Lovett [00:23:06] I didn’t.
Ashley Ray [00:23:06] You didn’t get into the Young Rock?
Jon Lovett [00:23:09] I’m not… I felt as though I couldn’t watch Young Rock without first seeing Rock and Old Rock.
Ashley Ray [00:23:14] Yes. Yes.
Jon Lovett [00:23:15] Because I wouldn’t have understood.
Ashley Ray [00:23:16] You wouldn’t have understood the background. Yeah. It is a lot to get into. You know, it’s not like your Young Sheldon, where you can just jump right in.
Jon Lovett [00:23:23] People think you need to watch Sheldon to see Young Sheldon. Actually, you don’t. And we’ve always said that.
Ashley Ray [00:23:28] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. But Young Rock–it was a bit too much for the American public, I guess. And Grand Crew–people said it was basically the new, Black Happy Endings. It was, you know, a hilarious show that’ll now just be, like, a big cult hit. But it did well with ratings. There’s no reason to cancel it except, “Oh, everyone’s on strike. And we know that things are going to be different. We have too much TV. We really only need one hit now, and it’s Abbott Elementary.” That’s how these networks are sort of recalculating things. And people don’t seem to realize for every, like, Ted Lasso, you have to have the show people aren’t watching.
Jon Lovett [00:24:02] Well, this is the thing. Even with the fact that, like, there’s a challenge to the business model, again, the writers are asking for, such a– Like, it’s about money. This is about money. And ultimately what they’re asking for is such a small percentage increase given the overall revenue of these companies. But there is a little bit of, like, a Stalin doing farming thing, where Stalin’s like, “If you plant twice as much wheat in the same place, twice as much wheat.” And it’s like, “No, no, no. Now you killed all the fucking wheat.” Everyone once in a while, there’s an executive who comes up with a really brilliant idea: Make more hits and fewer misses.
Ashley Ray [00:24:44] Who thought?
Jon Lovett [00:24:46] That’s a really good idea. So, I do, like… I don’t know how you end up with… Do you get a swing like Mrs. Davis in a world where they’re making less, maybe because the creators have real cache?
Ashley Ray [00:24:59] Big names. That’s what it takes now.
Jon Lovett [00:25:00] But I don’t think you get a Bear.
Ashley Ray [00:25:02] No, you don’t get The Bear. You don’t get Killing It–also on Peacock–which is really good.
Jon Lovett [00:25:07] Yeah. Like, I don’t know. The things that break out… The bubble choices that break out in a kind of list of things that didn’t–I don’t know how many of those you get like. There was a moment where I was like, “I cannot believe how good television is right now.” What happens when they’re making 10%, 20%, 30% less? I think there’s just 10%, 20%, 30% less of hits and misses.
Ashley Ray [00:25:33] Exactly.
Jon Lovett [00:25:34] You can’t just make more hits.
Ashley Ray [00:25:35] You can’t. I wish, but no. I think we’re just about to see a lot of mid-range, sort of mediocre shows with big names in them. And that’s where these platforms are throwing money at. That seems to be the Apple TV game plan.
Jon Lovett [00:25:51] That’s the other thing about all this. It’s like Apple and Amazon have a totally different set of equities to Netflix, which is a totally different set of incentives to the networks. It’s all very confusing. They’re all negotiating together, but they want different things out of this. I don’t know how that all shakes out.
Ashley Ray [00:26:16] Did you watch Ted Lasso?
Jon Lovett [00:26:17] I watched the first season. I’m now finally watching Ted Lasso. The universal praise turned me off. Whenever someone tells me, like, “It’s feel good,” I’m always like, “That’s not for me.” But it’s great. It is actually great. Of course, it’s great.
Ashley Ray [00:26:36] I would say if you watched the first two seasons, honestly, you can stop there.
Jon Lovett [00:26:38] Okay.
Ashley Ray [00:26:42] I had a special request to talk about the third season of Ted Lasso. I guess people deeply want to know what I thought. I won’t spoil anything for you, but I’ll say it is clear there were big shifts in the writers room between Season Two and Three. They basically started making Shrinking’s Brett Goldstein as a producer on that. Bill Lawrence–he left Ted Lasso completely to go work on Shrinking. And those were, I think, the people who really understood TV and structure and sort of the sitcom-esque joke element that Ted Lasso is really good at. And with them gone, they stretched the 30 minute episodes out to an hour.
Jon Lovett [00:27:18] Always a mistake.
Ashley Ray [00:27:19] Always a mistake.
Jon Lovett [00:27:20] Orange is the New Black did that. And I was like, “You know what? If this had to be on a network and they had to cut these one hour, eight-minute episodes down to 51 minutes, this whole thing would be so much stronger.”
Ashley Ray [00:27:30] And yeah, Ted Lasso suffers from that.
Jon Lovett [00:27:33] Kill your darlings, people.
Ashley Ray [00:27:34] Yeah. If you’re truly watching an episode and you’re like, “How is this an hour and 20 minutes? How is this a Ted Lasso movie, and nothing has happened in this episode?” For me. I didn’t think much happened in this final season. It kind of just closes out how you think it is. They just kind of lay out, you know, Ted is going to do this, Rebecca is going to do this, and then everything just happens how you knew it would happen. This upset fans who were angry that the show did not eventually do Tedbecca, the romance between those two.
Jon Lovett [00:28:05] Yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:28:06] I got angry letters from people that were like, “No, there were signs. Tedbecca was going to happen. There’s this part where they, like, look at each other. That was a sign that they were always going to get married.” And I was like, “I don’t think that’s how TV works.”
Jon Lovett [00:28:18] Yeah. There are things I thought I was watching in the first season. I thought they were building towards something. And I was like, “Oh, that was just me reading something, I think, a little more into this show than what was there.”
Ashley Ray [00:28:28] Yeah. It’s a lighthearted show.
Jon Lovett [00:28:30] Let it be what it wants to be.
Ashley Ray [00:28:30] Yeah. And so, the fans… The final episode, there’s this sequence at the end where Ted gets on a plane, and we see the future–everybody–what happens to them. Like, “Oh, Rebecca’s dating this guy.” And fans were so angry about the end, they started a theory that the end is a dream sequence and none of it happens. And they were writing all of these things, like, “Oh, this is a sign that it’s a dream. It’s a dream.” And it got to the point where the writers had to go online and be like, “It was not a dream.” All of that stuff actually happened, which I always love on TV shows. After the season airs, it has to come out and be like, “Oh no. This is what this meant. This is what this character did.”
Jon Lovett [00:29:08] There are so many shows… I mean, Game of Thrones, I think, obviously famously didn’t stick the landing. I thought Mad Men didn’t know how to wrap itself up.
Ashley Ray [00:29:17] Oh, wow. Okay.
Jon Lovett [00:29:18] I’ll say it.
Ashley Ray [00:29:19] Yeah. Yeah. Wow. That’s kind of a hot take. I loved the Mad Men finale.
Jon Lovett [00:29:23] I also should say that I loved the finale episode, but I found it separated Don and Peggy–the heart of the show.
Ashley Ray [00:29:32] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:29:33] Divided it in half. And it was like, “Hey, you know, this world isn’t real. You can just make up a reason for them to be together.”
Ashley Ray [00:29:43] You could literally put Peggy on a plane ticket to California for whatever reason. I don’t know There’s a pitch or something.
Jon Lovett [00:29:47] Get them to work together for a while. We like how good they were together. They’re two of the best actors. She’s incredible. Can we get them back together?
Ashley Ray [00:29:56] Let’s do something like that. Even when he’s mean to her, I want to see it. And instead, they just kind of sidelined him with that chick’s niece or something. And you’re like, “God, I hope he doesn’t sleep with her.” Oh, God. Mad Men. I do feel that Ted Lasso… Yeah, a lot of hype. Couldn’t live up to it. It happens. I think we’re kind of coming down from that crash of the quarantine TV. Like, there were all these shows that were perfect for early quarantine, and now we’re all just like, “Ooh, why did we watch that?”
Jon Lovett [00:30:27] I do think that because all of these networks and streamers went through this period where they couldn’t shoot anything for a while, and then they came roaring back and they’re like, “We got through the pandemic. We can get through the strike.” And I do think there’s a little bit of false optimism about what’s going to happen in six to eight months when we hit the hole–things that aren’t being made. Like, I don’t know.
Ashley Ray [00:30:51] It’s on the way.
Jon Lovett [00:30:54] I just want it to be resolved, like, as soon as possible. I also just want shit to be shot in New York and LA and not fucking Toronto. I want our country to have a big, thriving TV and film business. Like, I want the writers to get their fair share. I want these companies to give more information about what’s working and what’s not, even though I do think it’s not because they’re afraid of telling you about the hits. I think it’s about revealing the misses.
Ashley Ray [00:31:20] I truly think if they let those numbers out and people see, like, “This wasn’t a hit. Why did they renew it? Why did this get the money and Santa Clarita Diet was canceled when it was doing these numbers?” it would be chaos.
Jon Lovett [00:31:30] Yeah, especially when there’s, like, every person on Twitter is a studio executive, who knows exactly how to run these companies. And like, “Hey, okay, you want the option to use AI, even though right now no one has a fucking clue how? Just say won’t for a while. Can you just get people back to fucking work?”
Ashley Ray [00:31:52] Get them to work.
Jon Lovett [00:31:53] No, you can’t use AI.
Ashley Ray [00:31:55] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:31:56] Like, I’m sorry, you can’t go to a computer and say, “Give me a bank heist movie.” You can’t do it.
Ashley Ray [00:32:01] You can’t. Even the people who want to believe that the technology will be there someday… It’s not.
Jon Lovett [00:32:06] So I think people have gotten this idea that they’re going to replace screenwriters and have AI write scripts. And I do think we’re a ways from that, although I think people are overestimating how bad bad shit is. I’m sorry, they’re overestimating how hard it is to write bad shit–underestimating how bad bad shit can be and how bad the writing can be to still be a movie. I mean, writing well is impossible.
Ashley Ray [00:32:30] Is impossible.
Jon Lovett [00:32:31] Yeah but writing something bad is not as hard.
Ashley Ray [00:32:33] It’s not as hard. And there’s a lot of bad stuff that gets out.
Jon Lovett [00:32:36] Like, you know, AI can pass the bar. It can write like a terrible writer at some point pretty soon. But I’m more worried about basically the studios having AI in a way in which they control the rights. So basically, when they’re looking for something to adapt, instead of having to buy a book or buy a story or buy a pitch, they can own outright a story document that they created. And I don’t know what the legal and kind of ownership property implications are for something like that. But that is my fear–that the writing, the work, will be done by a person, but the studio owns a greater share of whatever they make because the originating concept will come from the corporation itself. And I think that is fucking bleak.
Ashley Ray [00:33:26] That is bleak.
Jon Lovett [00:33:27] And the fact that the writers were like, “Hey, look, obviously no one’s doing this, but maybe just for a while not using AI?” And they’re like, “No.”
Ashley Ray [00:33:36] “We won’t even talk about it.”
Jon Lovett [00:33:38] “We remain. We like the option. Thank you.” “Oh no, we got to fight on this one. We didn’t even know you wanted that.”
Ashley Ray [00:33:45] Exactly. On the commercial agency side, I’ve already been working with brands that come to me and they’re like, “So we had ChatGPT make this script. Can you make it make sense and make it better?” And it’s like, “You know, I could have just written it. And then we wouldn’t have to have me editing a computer.”
Jon Lovett [00:34:02] Yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:34:03] So, well, that was all a very depressing look at the future of television.
Jon Lovett [00:34:10] Let me just… On a positive note, I will say this. In the ’90s, no one thought they were living through a golden age of movies. Or in the early 2000s, no one’s like, “Oh my God. There’ll never be another time like this.” Meanwhile, 2007, there’s No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood in the same year. Or, you know, now we look back on the top ten movies from any year before the year 2000, we’re like, “Oh my God. There’s not a marvel movie in sight. Look how fun and cool and different all these movies were.” At the time, it was like, “What happened to the ’70s? What happened to the last golden age?” This industry is always collapsing, and it is always being described as “the last gasps of a bygone industry.” And yet incredible writers and incredible stories still seem to happen year after year. I mean–I don’t think it’d be great–but, like, there could be half as many dramas and comedies, and it would still be three times as many as there were when we were kids. And obviously I want there to be more, but the obituary for Hollywood has been written many times, and I just think there will be a new golden age. And we’ll be like, “I can’t believe how good this stuff is.” I mean, obviously it’s in my retina. I have to watch an ad.
Ashley Ray [00:35:38] Yeah, you have to watch, like, five ads.
Jon Lovett [00:35:39] I have to watch a BP ad, and if I close my eyes, they pause it. But, man… “This show rules.”
Ashley Ray [00:35:46] It’s going to be amazing.
Jon Lovett [00:35:48] “Have you seen the new Blue Ivy show? It’s incredible.”
Ashley Ray [00:35:50] “Oh, so, so good. Her and Malia. Gosh, they really are incredible.” Anything else on your watchlist?
Jon Lovett [00:35:59] I think that’s it.
Ashley Ray [00:36:00] I do want to say The Other Two on Max. Now, if you are watching The Other Two, it is so, so funny. It’s basically about these two older siblings of a young, pop star, Justin Bieber type. In this new season, they’ve really been digging into the idea of the gay villain, and it is brilliant. Cary, the main character, has just been getting more and more self-involved and evil. The last episode was just taking down Disney.
Jon Lovett [00:36:25] I’m excited. I, like, watched the first season, and I’m so excited to have so many episodes to watch. I cannot wait.
Ashley Ray [00:36:32] This new season is… Each one just gets better. They do this whole thing where… You know how Disney was like, “This is our first openly gay character in an animated show”? And it was like, “How is it gay?” Like, it was just a ghost. And it’s like, “How is the ghost gay?” And they have Cary play this character Globby, who is just like, “Yeah, Globby is here. He’s queer. He’s Globby. Like, he’s a glob who dates other globs, and that’s what makes him gay.”
Jon Lovett [00:37:01] You see that in the new Spider-Man multiverse movie–it’s unspoken–but there might be a trans spider person?
Ashley Ray [00:37:10] Yes, there might be a trans spider person.
Jon Lovett [00:37:11] But it never remarked upon.
Ashley Ray [00:37:13] It’s never remarked. There’s a flag, and the character’s father has a Protect Trans Kids pin.
Jon Lovett [00:37:19] That’s cool.
Ashley Ray [00:37:19] Yeah. So, people are like, “That’s cool. But also, they aren’t going to say it.” And then you have the people who are like, “Well, they use bisexual lighting in this scene. So that has to be…”
Jon Lovett [00:37:28] Okay. All right. Bisexual lighting. Everyone, calm down. It’s like, “There was a pink light in that scene.”
Ashley Ray [00:37:42] There’s a part, I guess, where Miles has… The colors look like the lesbian flag. And people are like, “This is their way of saying that actually Miles is a lesbian transmasc butch.” And I was just like, “You guys…”
Jon Lovett [00:37:58] Well, the other thing, too, is take solace. These movies take place in a multiverse.
Ashley Ray [00:38:02] True.
Jon Lovett [00:38:03] There are many trans Spider-People. Any Spider-Person you can imagine exists because it takes place in the multiverse–a stupid idea that removes the stakes of every movie Marvel makes.
Ashley Ray [00:38:15] I also am not a multiverse fan.
Jon Lovett [00:38:19] The multiverse makes me absolutely fucking crazy. “Hey, guys. You just told us that every time our hero wins, there’s an identical place where our hero loses. You just told me that. So that also means there’s a place where Spider-Man is a white nationalist.”
Ashley Ray [00:38:38] “And you want me to be okay with that?”
Jon Lovett [00:38:40] “And trans. There’s a place where Spider-Man killed Elvis.”
Ashley Ray [00:38:45] I would watch that one. That’s a really good movie. I would actually completely watch that. Yeah. For me, the multiverse got tired with Rick and Morty, which–yes–I watch.
Jon Lovett [00:38:56] Spider-Man rips off the mask… It’s Vladimir Putin. That exists in the multiverse.
Ashley Ray [00:39:01] Yeah. So, moving on, I want to talk about political TV shows. Listeners, if you do not know, John co-created 1600 Penn and also wrote on the Newsroom.
Jon Lovett [00:39:30] I was also a speechwriter before.
Ashley Ray [00:39:31] You were also a speechwriter, and you did some very important things for Obama. They told me, you know, you secretly officiated the first same-sex marriage in the White House before the Obama administration officially endorsed marriage equality.
Jon Lovett [00:39:43] You know that?
Ashley Ray [00:39:43] Well, my producers do their homework. So how did you do that secretly? Did you just, like, sneak your friends in?
Jon Lovett [00:39:51] Brought them on a tour.
Ashley Ray [00:39:52] Did you ever get caught? Was anyone just like, “Jon!”
Jon Lovett [00:39:54] I didn’t get caught, but I told the story. Then I was like, “Oh, I shouldn’t tell the story. I should have kept it a secret.”
Ashley Ray [00:40:00] Obama is going to come out and be like, “Your marriage doesn’t count anymore.”
Jon Lovett [00:40:03] “It’s null and void.”
Ashley Ray [00:40:04] But I feel like today we aren’t really getting the same type of political show that we used to kind of around that time of, like, The West Wing, The Network, the things that tried to give you positivity and optimism about the American democratic process. I feel like now every show that is sort of somewhat political is really just about rich people, like Succession or Billions. I’ve been watching White House Plumbers, which is about the Watergate scandal, and it’s just very funny. It’s a lot of that type of stuff but nothing that really looks at what we had to endure under Trump, what we’re looking at next year, or anything that’s trying to make us believe that Joe Biden is a President Bartlet or something.
Jon Lovett [00:40:50] Yeah, I think it’s a very hard moment to do a serious drama about American politics because of how hyperreal Trump has been. Trump is a ridiculous, overwritten… I mean, look, it’s one of the most played out fucking jokes in the history of social media, but “the writers sure went a little zany this season on America.”
Ashley Ray [00:41:21] Yeah, I hate that joke. “That pitch wouldn’t have worked in my writers room.”
Jon Lovett [00:41:25] The worst. But I think the challenge was… Not that if someone was going to crack, it was going to be me. I wasn’t a very good drama writer. I should’ve stuck to comedy. But I was working on a pilot in 2015. It’s actually a drama about a contested American election between a Democrat and a Republican who both declared victory, and then it descended into a version of an insurrection.
Ashley Ray [00:41:50] Wow.
Jon Lovett [00:41:54] If it had happened, it had been so fucking cool and so prescient. But it didn’t because I couldn’t fucking crack it because it was so hard figuring out how to dramatize American politics while Trump was rising. Either you are ignoring what Trump is and coming up with a story that doesn’t feel like our world anymore, or you’re creating a parody of Trump, which is impossible because Trump is a parody of himself. And so, I think that has made it really hard to figure out how to find an access point to do what The West Wing did. I mean, there are people now that, I think, are critical of The West Wing, and that’s all fine. But what makes the West Wing, I think, such an amazing and impressive show is what that show pulls off–the hard parts it deals with without you noticing–creating an alternate universe that feels both of that era but kind of timeless that exists in parallel. Actually, the similar thing that played out with Trump played out after 9/11. Once 9/11 happens, all of a sudden, the kind of end of history energy of The West Wing–the, like, post-Cold War, Bill Clinton, sort of success of the liberal order, era of peace and prosperity, politics, the stakes have been lowered… All of that–which ultimately wasn’t true–that was a myth. But the collective sense that that was the kind of stable world we live in was erased. And once that was done, The West Wing existing in parallel to the real world became harder to kind of abide. And they did that episode right after 9/11 about but not about 9/11, and then they kind of moved past it. But the show was never the same because the world got harder. The world got darker. And the show had to as well.
Ashley Ray [00:43:59] Yeah. And I think today… I don’t know. I mean, in a world where we’re dealing with quarantines people want the feel good, Ted Lasso TV, and everyone’s talking about, like, the Ted Lassoification of television, I don’t think you could do a dark political show these days.
Jon Lovett [00:44:16] Right. You couldn’t also make The West Wing now, either.
Ashley Ray [00:44:19] You couldn’t.
Jon Lovett [00:44:19] It’s also, I think, we’re all a little bit… Our eyes are a little too open. That’s a social media thing, too. You know, we’ve all met these people up close and personally–all of them–the ones we love, the ones we hate, and the ones we think are fine. And that makes it much harder to create the Capra kind of American president world–the fantasy world–of the White House. The only places where it doesn’t succeed for me, but I think it succeeds, is the White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen version. That can succeed because it just basically glorifies the power of the American presidency–not the role or the politics.
Ashley Ray [00:45:07] It’s the responsibility. And, in fact, my producer made a list of the shows that, like, have somewhat had success. And the biggest one is, like, Designated Survivor, which is just when everyone dies and, like, the nicest guy who happens to be–I don’t know–a secretary in the House of Representatives gets made president because he just happens to be the only one who lives.
Jon Lovett [00:45:31] Well, he’s the designated survivor. He must have been, like, Veterans Affairs or Interior or something.
Ashley Ray [00:45:35] I’m going to trust you on this because I don’t know the order of how it goes.
Jon Lovett [00:45:40] I don’t know either.
Ashley Ray [00:45:41] But, you know, I feel like all of the shows now–Designated Survivor, Madam Secretary–are all just like, “The White House blew up. All the presidents are dead. We have no choice but to listen to this one person.” And it’s so interesting to me when I compare that to, like, Veep and Parks and Recreation and how we could kind of have this, like, lighthearted version of local politics and we could be like, “Aw, yeah, the Veep presidential people–they all sucks. Politics suck. It’s just fun to laugh at.” And now we’re just like, “No. Blow it all up. I hate them.”
Jon Lovett [00:46:14] It is sad. I do think it’s actually sad. There was a moment when Biden… There were two stories in a row, one where I think it was, like, Bring Your Kids to Work Day. And there’s a little kid dressed as a Secret Service agent and then, like, standing in front of Biden with sunglasses. And then there was right around then the South Korean president has a state dinner at the White House, and he sang American Pie with the president. And it was like… I had this moment. And, you know, look, the internet punishes any earnestness or hope that there could be a better world and a brief moment of fantasy of living in such a place. But I watched that, and what I felt in seeing it was imagine what it would be like. And I think actually it’d be good if more progressives did this. Like, imagine how politics would feel if the stakes were lower. Imagine how it would feel if we were able to so thoroughly defeat the revanchist right wing movement in this country, that we didn’t have to live in terror, that every election might be our last if our fuckin TikTok screens and social media feeds weren’t filled with just reminders–both in terms of people making scenes at supermarkets and people making scenes on the House floor of Congress–that there’s this 30% to 40% of this country that would just rather the country burn up than see liberals happy.
Ashley Ray [00:47:52] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:47:54] Just imagine what it would feel like to lower the stakes by so thoroughly defeating this version of Republicanism that the only choice they had was to figure out how to be normal.
Ashley Ray [00:48:05] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:48:07] It’s such a fantasy. But I just want to take a second, like, to imagine what it would be like. because the other option is just to assume it’ll be like this. Maybe it will, but I want to hold on to that little glimmer that when I see Joe Biden singing a song with the South Korean president, I can be like, “There’s our guy, and everything’s going to be okay. No one’s going to stop this grandpa. He’s my grandpa. He’s America’s grandpa. And no grandpa could beat him. I would never vote for that other grandpa. The indicted one. The one that sucks.”
Ashley Ray [00:48:37] “The one that’s getting arraigned today.”
Jon Lovett [00:48:39] Happy Arraignment Day.
Ashley Ray [00:48:41] We’re counting down the clock. I think it’s 3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Before we go, I do want to do some hot takes with you. I want to put you in the hot seat based on what we’ve just said.
Jon Lovett [00:48:54] What’s going to happen?
Ashley Ray [00:48:54] If you have listened to Lovett or Leave It, there’s a segment of game where John has us defend hot takes we don’t really believe in. So, I’d like to do this now. Usually it’ll be something like, “Oh, Twitter’s the best thing in the world.” And I have to lie and act like it is. And so, for you, the first one: Succession is the best show ever made.
Jon Lovett [00:49:17] Succession is the best show ever made. There have been shows that have excellent performances, there have been shows that have been exquisitely written, and there have been shows that have brought a beautiful direction and kind of sense of place. But there’s never been a show that has managed to do all three so well. This is the best written show on television. And I think it is instructive that–the first season–it took people a little while to come to appreciate it because they didn’t realize how sophisticated the show was. They didn’t understand because the show trusted the audience enough to not give us reaction shots, to let us watch these people flounder and make fools of themselves and be embarrassing without showing us a character going, “Uh oh,” because in the real world, people with this much money–one of the things it buys you is straight faces from employees who know that they’re full of shit. It’s the best show ever made. There’s never been a drama as funny. There’s never been a comedy as well dramatized. Boom.
Ashley Ray [00:50:25] I like that. Yeah, that works. That works. And the last one: Max is the best streaming platform with an easy-to-use interface.
Jon Lovett [00:50:34] Here’s what I think. There are people out there that think going from HBO to HBO Go/Now to HBO Max to Max was a series of blunders. Not me. I think it makes a ton of sense. And I also think when they decided to switch from HBO to Max because they wanted more people to watch fishing it’s cool that when you go into Max, they didn’t do what Disney did, which is say, “Here’s Disney. Here’s Star Wars. Here’s Nat Geo. Here is Marvel. You know that we have all these different amazing brands, and we’re going to support and nurture each one so that it continues to stand on its own inside of this big, beautiful, simple to use Disney+.” No. “What we’re going to do is we’re going to mix it all up. And even though it’s no longer called Max, there’s going to be Max originals. Even though it’s not called HBO, there’s going to be HBO stuff. But it’s going to be all mixed together because it needs to be a big fucking mess.” And people love that. You know, people don’t want a buffet. They want a stew. They want all the foods in the one pot.
Ashley Ray [00:51:37] Yes.
Jon Lovett [00:51:38] Including dessert.
Ashley Ray [00:51:39] Yeah.
Jon Lovett [00:51:40] Just one big vat of content.
Ashley Ray [00:51:43] Your Succession, your 90 Day Fiancé…
Jon Lovett [00:51:45] Here’s the thing. You are a hog for content, and they are going to put delicious, delicious slop in the trough for you. And troughs don’t have appetizers and entrees. It’s one fucking dish. And so, we are all content hogs on the farm of the internet. And Max is giving us the respect of filling our trough all the way to the brim every goddamn day. And you know what you do, fellow hog? You oink your way up to that fucking trough, and you eat.
Ashley Ray [00:52:18] That was beautiful. That was beautiful. That was the best defense I’ve heard of Max as a platform. Thank you so much for joining me. This was so much fun… “This was so much fun.”
Jon Lovett [00:52:33] Please leave it in. She said, “This was so much fun.” Then she looked at her notes and read, “This was so much fun,” which was really convincing. Thanks, Ashley.
Ashley Ray [00:52:40] You know, they want you to tell everybody we had fun.
Jon Lovett [00:52:44] Yeah, that’s all. You know, the thing about fun is you got to tell people when you’ve had.
Ashley Ray [00:52:46] When you’ve had it, you got to let people know. And you also got to let people know to listen to Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It wherever you get your podcasts. John, tell everyone how they can buy tickets to your Lovett or Leave It tour and how they can donate to Vote Save America’s Fund to Protect Queer Youth from Harmful Legislation.
Jon Lovett [00:53:01] Everybody go to cricket.com/events. You can buy tickets there for our Errors Tour. You get it. We’ll be all across the country. We’re starting in S.F. in a week or two depending on when this comes out. And a portion every ticket goes to the F*ck Bands Fund. It’s the Vote Save America F*ck Bands Fund. It goes to a bunch of great groups, and it goes to trans organizations that are on the ground run by and for trans people that are doing direct legal aid, direct support. Also, we have a fund that goes to the political organizations that are fighting the fight. And we set a goal of 50,000. We blew through it. We set a goal for 100,000. We’re almost there. We’re probably going to blow through that, too. And we’re only at the very beginning of pride. So, you know, you can go to cricket.com/events to come see us on tour or go to Vote Save America to sign up. And you should sign up. You don’t have to give money to sign up. We’d love you to donate, but just go to Vote Save America and sign up because then you’ll get emails telling you what to do. And the promise of Vote Save America is we only tell you to do the things that will really help. We promise. We don’t want to waste our time. When we point you to a campaign–when we point you to a place to donate or volunteer–we want you to know that you can come to us to trust us.
Ashley Ray [00:54:03] They’re never going to tell you to give money to Shaun King. And you should go to the tour. I got to do some shows last year. It was so, so fun. It is the best time. Hilarious people. You want to go. Anything else you want to plug? Social media handles?
Jon Lovett [00:54:16] No. Find me if you want.
Ashley Ray [00:54:18] People know where to find you. You know, your homework this week… I was on my college campus getting drunk and doing drugs all weekend, so I did not watch a lot of TV. So, I am going to tell you to watch The Other Two. We have Season Two of The Bear coming out by the time you are listening to this.
Jon Lovett [00:54:35] Oooh.
Ashley Ray [00:54:35] Really excited for that one. And I’m also once again going to ask you to watch The Curious Case of Natalia Grace on Max. We did a deep dive with the legal analyst behind that crazy, crazy case. She answers all your questions. Is Natalia actually a child? Is she an adult pretending to be a child? I got the answers. So, watch the Curious Case of Natalia Grace, and that’s your homework. Thank you so much for listening. We’ll be back next week with another episode.
Ashley Ray [00:55:08] TV, I Say with Ashley Ray is an Earwolf production made by me, Ashley Ray-Harris. It’s engineered by Abby Aguilar, produced by Scott Sonne, executive produced by Amelia Chappelow. And our original theme song is by RaFia. It means so much to me if you go rate, review, subscribe. Follow TV, I Say. Let us know what you think and tell your friends. Share with your Golden Girls. Tell your Boys. If you love my TV recommendations, let everyone you know know. For special TV Club members, join my Patreon. And you can also find my full archive of ad free episodes of TV, I Say over on Stitcher Premium. Use Promo code “tvisay”–all one word–for a one-month free trial at stitcher.com/premium
September 19, 2023
It’s almost time for the ‘The Golden Bachelor,’ and Ashley Ray couldn’t be more excited! TV Lover and host of High and Mighty, Jon Gabrus joins the pod to discuss why older women are sexy, cringey reality show kissing, and his love for ‘Project Runway All Stars.’
September 12, 2023
Guest Anthony Atamanuik
Things that don’t make Ashley Ray panic? Cult documentaries! ‘Don’t Panic’ host Anthony Atamanuik joins the podcast to discuss the story of Teal Swan, who made the best NXIVM doc, and whether or not he’d join a cult.