September 12, 2023
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. They also debate ‘Below Deck’s’ Captain Sandy vs. Captain Lee and explain why CNN news alerts on HBO Max aren’t appealing.
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S2E60 — Cult Documentaries Make Me Happy w/ Anthony Atamanuik
Anthony Atamanuik [00:00:03] Have you seen the other one about what’s-her-name, though? The blue something?
Ashley Ray [00:00:10] Oh, Teal Swan.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:00:11] Teal Swan!
Ashley Ray [00:00:15] We’re talking cult docs now. This is going great.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:00:16] I’m sorry. I know we’re supposed to talk disasters, but cults…
Ashley Ray [00:00:20] Things that don’t make me panic? Cult documentaries. They make me incredibly happy. 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–you know what it is–from the people who make the shows you love. You just heard a little tease of my chat with Don’t Panic host Anthony Atamanuik. I absolutely love speaking with him. I love Don’t Panic already. So, we had to discuss some of the situations that might make me panic, like being in the OceanGate submersible and how I might survive that. And oh, you know that whole thing where if HBO Max starts putting CNN news alerts on my TV shows, I will lose my mind? It will cause me to panic constantly. So, we get into that, some of our favorite shows we’re watching right now–Traitors–and really, we get into some cult docs. And if you’ve missed some of the best cult docs of the year, you’re going to want to listen to this episode. Okay, let’s get into it. Enjoy my interview with Anthony Atamanuik. Anthony Atamanuik, welcome to TV Club! I’m so glad you’re here. I’ve been listening to your podcast. I absolutely love it. The Alison Leiby episode, the Colton Dunn one… Good, good stuff you’re doing over there. But, for my listeners, why don’t you tell me about the podcast, Don’t Panic?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:01:52] Yeah, I mean Don’t Panic is a fun combination of sort of improv scenario, comedic interview, but also sort of a deep dive into the roots of people’s, you know, panic and fear. And are they fear-based people? You know, it’s interesting to see what scares people, what doesn’t–to also see how people react in panic scenarios. So, the improv part is sort of… I like it because we’re also surprising the guest with the scenario. So, the guest has no idea what’s coming their way. And even if they’re not an improviser because we’ve had people who aren’t improvisers–stand-ups and so on–everyone always rises to the occasion. We have incredible sound design. We introduced this situation in the Leiby episode, which I think is up right now, being trapped in the subway, which is a New Yorker’s nightmare.
Ashley Ray [00:02:55] Oh, yeah. Every time I’m there, I’m afraid of that.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:02:58] Oh, yeah. And it’s… Let me tell you when you hear the episode… It’s true. Both of us have had moments like that. And it really is like time slows, you don’t know what’s going on… And then we end the episode by sort of getting real answers to how would you actually save yourself in this situation? And then sometimes we apply it in the scene, other times we don’t so successfully apply it. But that’s why it’s a comedy show. And, you know, although there is great advice in it, it is not an actual, you know… This should be part of a number of resources you go to.
Ashley Ray [00:03:35] You’re not the source for accident survival.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:03:39] And I should say that you can listen to episodes of Don’t Panic ad free on Wondery+ and everywhere you listen to podcasts every week. Prime members, by the way, can listen to new episodes ad free on Amazon music. And if that didn’t sound natural, it’s because I read it.
Ashley Ray [00:03:57] Hey, I’m called to action. I feel a call to action with that one.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:04:00] Oh, I’ll call everybody to action. Trust me.
Ashley Ray [00:04:04] So, I mean, I’m actually obsessed with shows that are about how to survive different accidents. I can’t stop watching them. I’m obsessed with right now Air Disasters, which is all about people surviving insane plane crashes.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:04:19] Yes! Is this on Freevee? Is that on Freevee?
Ashley Ray [00:04:22] Yes. It’s on Freevee.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:04:23] We just discovered Freevee the other day!
Ashley Ray [00:04:26] It’s the best thing in the world, right? I mean, not to do a call to action, but they have really good shows on that thing, and nobody knows what it is. Everyone’s just like, “What? It’s in Amazon Prime, but, like, what is it?” And then you go, and they have the best comedies but also Air Disasters.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:04:42] Oh, it’s so funny. I looked at Air Disasters just the other day. I haven’t done it yet because right now I’m on the Seven Signs That Christ is Returning, which was made in 2002. But wait, this is the other thing about Freevee. I watched a documentary on psychopaths made in 1997 where they literally at one point are like, “Business psychopaths are…” And they cut to the Twin Towers. And my wife kept saying, “This was made in the ’90s.” I’m like, “No, I don’t think this was made in the ’90s.” They referred to the Twin Towers. It’s not like, “Oh, back in the day…” And the other thing about that show was no one was on phones.
Ashley Ray [00:05:31] Because there were no phones.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:05:33] So Freevee is a repository of some of the most arcane, bizarre old stuff. But anyway, get into this Air Disasters because I’m psyched to watch.
Ashley Ray [00:05:45] There’s a few things on there that I feel are disaster related because I started watching Hotel Hell, which is with Gordon Ramsay, and I had no idea about it. And then at one point in an episode, he’s asking someone if the owner smokes pot. And he’s like, “Is marijuana legal?” And I noticed someone pulled out the oldest flip phone. And I had to look, and I was like, “When did this show come out?” And it’s over a decade old, and I had no idea. But these are two situations that I find myself in a lot that cause me panic. I’m traveling a lot by plane, and I just watched an episode where the top of a plane came off like a tuna can.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:06:22] Sheared off.
Ashley Ray [00:06:23] Sheared off, but only one person died. And everybody else just had to ride the rest of the flight with the top of the plane missing.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:06:30] What kind of plane was it, by the way? I’m always curious about that.
Ashley Ray [00:06:33] So it was like a Boeing 757–the one that’s always having problems. But this was back in the ’90s, I think.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:06:41] 757 back in the–? Or 737 probably.
Ashley Ray [00:06:44] Yeah, that’s probably that.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:06:45] Well, you know, it’s interesting because I would research the plane, so I knew, “Okay I’m in a 175 which means that there’s two exits…” I know I am so scared to fly, and one of the ways that I’ve gotten over my fear of flying is that I do research. I have a turbulence report app that gives me up to date pilot reports on where turbulence is. I will change flights based on the turbulence map.
Ashley Ray [00:07:14] I mean, that’s smart.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:07:16] I’m hardcore when it comes to freaking out about planes. Well, you’ve seen there’s another show–oh, God, I wish I could remember the name of this show–on the Weather Channel that breaks down… It’s sort of like my podcast. It’s like, “Here’s your weather scenario. Here’s your tsunami. What would you do in a tsunami?” And then it gives you like it gives you, like, four choices. It’s like, “Stay in the tsunami. Get to higher ground.” And there’s always one that’s like, “Get a good tan.” And you’re like, “Why are you bothering?”
Ashley Ray [00:07:54] “This isn’t a time for jokes. Okay, Weather Channel? I’m trying to learn to save myself.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:08:01] I thought this the other day about television when the hurricane was hitting Florida. Why is CNN, MSNBC, everyone, and their brother reporting on this Florida hurricane when we have two dedicated weather channels? We have AccuWeather and Weather Channel. And I know that they have to have parent companies that are in collusion with each other.
Ashley Ray [00:08:29] They know when the weather’s hot–when it’s hot news.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:08:32] Why doesn’t CNN or whoever go, “Okay, well, go to the Weather Channel now”?
Ashley Ray [00:08:36] Because they need the views. You know, when we had our stuff here in LA–when it was the hurriquake–I was actually watching, you know, CNN because they were actually talking about it, even though it was really just a little bit of rain and then we had a normal earthquake. But, you know, I want it in the moment. I was like, “I need someone who’s addressing this with the same kind of urgency.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:08:56] Yeah.
Ashley Ray [00:08:58] And I don’t even know that I get the Weather Channel because I’m a cord cutter, so, like, I don’t even know how to do it.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:09:06] Oh, you see, I come from… I don’t know what it is. I think because I grew up not with a lot of dough, the big sign of success was that my grandfather had cable. Like, that was the big thing–that he had cable. And so, I remember when I was little… I’m 49. So, I remember being 12 or 13 and being like, “When I make it, I’ll have every cable channel, and that’ll be how I’ve made it.” Like, no one in my family ever had all the movie channels, right?
Ashley Ray [00:09:40] Do you have them? You got them?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:09:42] Not only do I have them, my wife is like, “Why do we have this? We don’t even watch cable.”
Ashley Ray [00:09:52] You have the Starz package?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:09:55] But you know, Starz has got a lot of good programming.
Ashley Ray [00:09:57] They actually do have some good stuff now. I mean, Minx moved over there, so I’ve been watching other stuff. And they had the Party Down reboot.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:10:05] In my opinion, they had the better NXIVM doc.
Ashley Ray [00:10:09] Oh. Tony. Tony, I could talk about this all day. I can talk about this all day–how Seduced, the NXIVM doc on Starz, is way better than The Vow, which wasted our time for two seasons. 10 hours of two seasons! And Seduced had this thing we’ll all nail down in four episodes. I wrote an entire article about this for The A.V. Club. I was so angry.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:10:35] I mean, Seduced was brilliant and also, I think, more honest because I believed that the other NXIVM doc is weirdly them trying to parlay.
Ashley Ray [00:10:49] It’s propaganda.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:10:49] Parlay and basically separate what’s-his-name…
Ashley Ray [00:10:53] Mark Vicente.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:10:57] Yes. I think I taught Mark Vicente improv because I remember there being a couple in an improv class, and he looked so familiar to me.
Ashley Ray [00:11:06] I mean, absolutely.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:11:07] And it makes sense. They were only, like, 20 minutes, 30 minutes away from the city. It was an intensive that I taught. So it was, like, a week. It was, you know, a level one intensive. I swear I taught NXIVM people improv.
Ashley Ray [00:11:20] I would believe it. The cult in Albany was really close where I went to college. And they would come to our campus and, like, try to recruit us. Our campus was so far away from Albany or any real city that you could tempt kids by being like, “We’ll give you a ride to the mall.” And kids would be like, “Fine. A ride to the mall, and all I have to do is, like, listen to a NXIVM tape?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:11:40] Where’d you go to school?
Ashley Ray [00:11:42] Williams College in Western Mass.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:11:43] Yeah, I know Williams. I’m from Massachusetts.
Ashley Ray [00:11:47] Oh, okay. Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, it’s, like, as far west as you can be.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:11:51] Far out there.
Ashley Ray [00:11:52] Middle of nowhere. And so, they’d come to campus and be like, “Hey, come do a cappella with us and we’ll take you to Chipotle.” And they were so into, like, nerdy college campus things for team building. And so, I could totally see him doing improv.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:12:09] Oh, have you seen the other one about what’s-her-name. Blue something.
Ashley Ray [00:12:16] Oh, Teal Swan.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:12:18] Teal Swan!
Ashley Ray [00:12:22] We’re talking cult docs now. This is going great.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:12:23] I’m sorry, I know we’re supposed to talk disaster but…
Ashley Ray [00:12:26] Things that don’t make me panic? Cult documentaries. They make me incredibly happy.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:12:30] Yes!
Ashley Ray [00:12:34] The Teal Swan doc was actually my number one doc of last year because it’s the most just intimate look at a cult that we have ever, I think, seen recorded. The whole premise of her being like, “I’m going to prove we’re not a cult by hiring a documentary crew to record us not being a cult.” And then even the documentary crew is like, “You’re a cult. We just have to call it what it is.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:12:58] Well, my favorite is the Miss Marple investigator who, like… I love how she really, to me, exemplified the sort of, like, “I’m going to come into this totally without a judgment, and I’m really going to live by that principle and then see what I find,” so that when she gets to the point where she’s like, “Listen, you’re a cult,” the conclusion is so clear.
Ashley Ray [00:13:28] Yeah.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:13:29] And you’re like, “This woman is 100,000% accurate because she so clearly communicated her impartiality in the beginning.” And she’s still going!
Ashley Ray [00:13:44] She’s still going! She’s not even bigger. She just used that documentary and was like, “See how much they hate me because I’m telling the truth?” And that’s what they always do.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:13:56] See, now, that panics me. In my view, real panic–real fear–is, like, you found yourself in a cult.
Ashley Ray [00:14:06] You think that would happen to you? You’d find yourself in a cult?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:14:08] No. I don’t know. I’m way, way, way, way, way too cynical. I mean, some people say UCB. But UCB didn’t have the criteria of a cult in the basic criteria of a cult, which is that there was no keeping you there. People were free to come and go as they pleased.
Ashley Ray [00:14:29] Yeah. You’re not, like, selling your house.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:14:32] Nobody was giving up their life for, you know… I mean if you were, you were voluntarily doing that. Like, nobody was ever going, like, “Give up your money.” And the only problem was actually, I think, that near the end, the big mistake was that they broke the bond between the free performing and the free… Like, when they started to penalize people for not showing up for shows and things like that, financially, you can’t do that. And I don’t think that meant that they were culty. I think it meant that they made a bad decision.
Ashley Ray [00:15:05] They made a bad choice.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:15:07] That opened up the door for people who had that weird edge about it to then make that accusation. But so, no, I don’t think so.
Ashley Ray [00:15:19] Yeah, because I don’t think I’d end up in a cult. I just hate people telling me what to do. That’s my thing.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:15:25] And my thing is the minute someone says, “I have the answer,” I’m like, “Oh, no, you don’t.”
Ashley Ray [00:15:30] “No you don’t!”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:15:32] “And also, like, you want to have sex with me? No way.”
Ashley Ray [00:15:35] No. No. I hate Keith Raniere so much. I feel like I was put on Earth just to destroy him. I mean, yeah, he’s in prison for, like, 100 years. But I just feel like I need to be mean to him all the time. He’s just one of the worst cult leaders. Every time they would show a clip of him being like, “I have such a high IQ,” I was like, “Put me in there. I would tear him down.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:16:01] Well, it’s such a bullshit– I mean, listen, I could get into the real social constructs of why the demographic of cult leaders tend to be a particular race–a particular gender. They tend to be white men who have the balls…
Ashley Ray [00:16:19] To lie.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:16:21] Because they feel so comfortable. And what’s crazy is that we have a system that’s inherently designed to buttress that. And actually, reinforce it so that then no one questions it, which is the craziest part.
Ashley Ray [00:16:39] And then people like him end up on the cover of Forbes and stuff. I’m curious, have you watched any of this year’s cult docs? Did you see Shiny happy people?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:16:47] Yes! I did see Shiny Happy People.
Ashley Ray [00:16:49] I don’t know if that’s Freevee or Prime Video, but it’s on there.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:16:52] That’s on Prime Video. Remind me of what group it was?
Ashley Ray [00:16:55] It’s about the Duggars and the Quiverfull people who believe in having as many children as possible.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:17:01] Well, you know, the thing tonight that is coming back on HBO Max is that other family… You know what I’m talking about.
Ashley Ray [00:17:08] Yes. Welcome to Plathville.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:17:10] Welcome to Plathville, and things are falling apart over there.
Ashley Ray [00:17:15] Oh, I can’t wait for this new season. I got obsessed with that show kind of all at once, and I watched the last four seasons. I never got into the Duggars. I was just like, “Who cares? You got a bunch of kids. A lot of people have a bunch of kids.” And then you find out, “Oh, it’s because they raised them all in a cult and everybody is just watching, being like, ‘What? Why aren’t you teaching your daughters math?’” Vice did have a really good cult doc, and I cannot remember the name.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:17:46] What was that? I love every cult doc.
Ashley Ray [00:17:51] This one was so, so good. It’s called The Devil You Know. It was two seasons, but it basically is about Sherry Shriner and the alien reptile cult. And it goes from how she started this call in the ’90s and it led to QAnon and how a bunch of QAnon people are like, “Oh. No, basically our movement came from this woman, Sherry Shriner.” It talks about the people that she basically had killed. It is really well done. And that was one of the few Vice docs where I was like, “Okay, they’re really laying it out here.” People said that OceanGate–the submersible that exploded trying to see the Titanic–people said that this was a conspiracy to distract the public from bigger news and that all of these million billionaires faked their deaths so that they could go live on a pod on Mars or somewhere else because the planet’s ending. So, all these billionaires are trying to do this. So, the first question, is it a cult? Second question, you’re on the OceanGate submersible–what do you do to not panic? How do you save yourself in this situation?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:18:56] Well, the first thing is, no, I don’t believe that that’s real. I never believe in “this happened as a distraction from other news” because, again, that’s so narrow, right?
Ashley Ray [00:19:11] What about they did know that they were dead the first day, and then the news just didn’t tell anyone and kept the news going? A little suspicious.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:19:21] I think what it had to do more so was… This is more operative, which is they want to have evidence, right? So, the whole idea was we’re not going to officially– It’s like the Maui death count, right? I mean, that’s terrible what happened in Maui. I’m not being glib about it. But they say there’s, like, a hundred people or something dead. There’s probably close to a thousand people dead. But they’re not going to say that, right? They’re going to qualify it as missing until it’s confirmed.
Ashley Ray [00:19:57] That’s what they did in Puerto Rico. And then everybody was like, “See? It’s a conspiracy. They lied to us.” And it was like, “Well, no, if you just paid attention to, like, a few weeks later when they updated the number and they were like, ‘This is the number.’”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:20:10] It’s our addiction to immediate information. And then I think the second thing is, I don’t know if you also watched the documentary on the German or Swedish guy who built the submarine and then shot that woman’s head off in there.
Ashley Ray [00:20:22] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I watched that one. The Deep, I believe, on Netflix. Really good documentary.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:20:29] I mean, I don’t mean to be glib, but it’s like, “What is up with submarine people? Why are they so crazy?”
Ashley Ray [00:20:35] He was Danish, I think.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:20:37] Why are submarine people so fucking weird? If someone’s like, “I’m working on a submarine,” I’m like, “Okay, so you’re a serial killer.”
Ashley Ray [00:20:47] The way he truly believed he was going to get away with it–there was just that one forensic woman who was like, “I knew I was going to get his ass.” And she was just so passionate about, like, being like, “I know…” And she was just like, “Not only am I a mastermind at criminal crime scenes and then forensics, I’m also a sub expert. I know all about your little sub.” And I was like, “What happened that that those were your hobbies?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:21:14] So I would never get in the sub. But let’s say I got in the sub.
Ashley Ray [00:21:17] You’re in the sub.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:21:18] Okay. If I’m in the sub and they start lowering it into the water…
Ashley Ray [00:21:24] You see the PlayStation controller.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:21:25] I’d be like, “Let me out. I’ve decided I don’t want to go.” Now let’s say we’re all underneath–we’re in there–and he’s like, “Uh oh, it’s not working.”
Ashley Ray [00:21:36] “Uh oh. That’s our acoustic crack alarm telling me that there’s been a breach.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:21:46] I think I probably would fold into myself and just accept that I won’t know when I’ve died. There is no escape because you cannot get out. You can’t escape because you’ll get crushed. You’re too far down. And also no one’s in scuba gear. There’s no scuba gear, so that’s a death sentence. There’s no getting out of that.
Ashley Ray [00:22:10] I did love that so many people on the internet were just like, “I think I could survive this.” There’s just so many people that were like, “Look, I’m built different. I would have done, like, a barrel roll.” And there was one guy who was like, “I would have escaped through an air bubble as the explosion was happening.” First of all, it’s an implosion.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:22:30] “I would’ve escaped through an air bubble.” What an asshole. I want to go back to plane disasters for a second because I forgot to… So, one, there is that video of the person who was able to open the door? Well, the reason they were able to open it was because they were so close to landing. So, the reason you don’t have to worry about someone being able to open that door up in the air, like, at 35,000 feet is because the pressure on the door is so extreme there would be no way for you to open the door, right? So that was reassuring. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this situation. I watched a woman who had had too many walk up and go and start to pull on the emergency door.
Ashley Ray [00:23:27] No, I’ve never been in that situation. I would lose it.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:23:32] I stood up, and I started screaming. I literally stood up and started screaming, “Look what she’s doing! Look what she’s doing!” And the flight attendant ran over and said, “Sir, you need to sit down.” I said, “No, no, no, no, no. This is not about me. Do you see that? Do you see that?” And the steward literally went, “Oh,” and then ran, like…
Ashley Ray [00:23:56] “Oh, you’re being a hero actually. You’re doing your job as a global citizen who sees something and says something.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:24:05] Oh my God.
Ashley Ray [00:24:07] You know, you were talking about how, you know, these conspiracy-esque news stories have become basically what is treated as a real documentary today. Like, have you noticed that TMZ has been making actual news documentaries for NBC? And they did one that was about a 9/11 plane that was supposed to be the fifth plane or something. And they were like, “It got hijacked. But then some people said that people were being weird, and they just let us off the plane and nothing happened.” And then they actually talked to investigators, and they’re like, “No, nothing happened. Those people just thought there was some weird lady on their plane. That was literally all it was.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:24:52] TMZ should stick to interviewing Rachel outside of the Laundromat about Scandoval. TMZ is very good at that. That’s what they’re good at. They don’t need to do news documentaries. I mean, the notion that Harvey Levin, who essentially was a poor man’s Doug Llewellyn… That’s all he was–a poor man’s Doug Llewellyn. When Jerry Sheindlin hosted the reboot of People’s Court because Judge Judy was like, “Jerry should have a show, too,” and Harvey Levin would stand at that fucking shitty Herald Square Mall kiosk and interview people and later TMZ shows up, I’m like, “That’s the fucking People’s Court guy!”
Ashley Ray [00:25:38] And now he’s, like, a news media maker and is like, “I do important documentaries about the secret person controlling Britney Spears’s life or something.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:25:48] But here’s the weird thing. Here’s the weird thing about it because, you know, there’s so many things like this that have happened where then later you’re like, “Wow, I actually wish that still existed.” I feel like TMZ is one of those things where it’s like something way worse is going to come along that’s going to usurp it–that’s going to be just fucking crazy.
Ashley Ray [00:26:06] It’ll be like, “Well, at least with TMZ, we could trust them when they said maybe it was unethical the way they got their information, but you could trust the information.” It was checked. And now it’s all being replaced by Twitter accounts.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:26:21] Well, X is gonna… I don’t know what’s going to happen.
Ashley Ray [00:26:25] I really respect you using the new name. That’s really big of you.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:26:28] I actually don’t… A lot of people call it Twitter, and I went through a thing where I went, “I don’t want to call it Twitter because that’s an insult to Twitter.”
Ashley Ray [00:26:38] And it’s starting to get real bad to the point where it’s like, “I don’t want to be affiliated with Elon Musk and the things happening here. It’s just embarrassing.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:26:47] Well, there’s some new terms of service thing about using your stuff.
Ashley Ray [00:26:51] Yeah. Your biometrics and your jobs and your career history. And it’s so weird. It’s impossible to use it now. If you try to search anything, it’s all spam and bots. You can’t even tell who’s a real person because it’s just so many people being like, “Oh, want to know the weather in Southern California? Text me.” And it’s like, “What?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:27:10] And the good thing is it’s failing. One thing about TV is… And I know that cable and streaming and all this– Okay, whatever. But still there is something where it cannot work. Like, Twitter has people trying to broadcast for two hours, three hours on end. It doesn’t work. I had a Twitch channel. Trust me. I know. I had a Twitch channel. You know, unless you’re in a hot tub in a bikini–which was the primary thing on Twitch that actually was successful–if you’re trying to do a show, people just want to watch you play video games, they don’t care.
Ashley Ray [00:27:51] Yeah. They don’t want to watch you watch a TV show.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:27:54] No. And on YouTube, yes, there are shows that show up on YouTube. But if something succeeded on YouTube, it moved to streaming. So, there is still a world where we want to watch things on TV. You know, we want to consume them on TV. And there’s a certain vibe about TV that just is unique.
Ashley Ray [00:28:17] So I wanted to ask you about this TV controversy that I think kind of ties in with everything we’ve been talking about. Max just announced that they’re going to start testing CNN breaking news alerts while you’re watching their shows. How are you feeling about this, yay or nay? As someone who’s trying to encourage people not to panic, do you think it’s a good idea to have breaking news while you’re, you know, binge watching Golden Girls?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:28:47] No. And here’s why. The reason why I have a streaming app on is because I don’t want interference. I don’t want anything to interfere. Secondly, my phone will notify me. If there’s a nuke or something heading somewhere, the phone will let you know.
Ashley Ray [00:29:02] The phone is right there. And they know I’m looking at my phone.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:29:06] Right. And the other thing to me is breaking news has evolved from actual important information that used to be communicated… Again, I’m old. In the 20th century, breaking news was reserved for serious news. Then 9/11 happened and all the cable companies went, “Oh, you know, we should say breaking news about everything.” And so, over the course of the next ten years, breaking news became–okay–the anthrax thing. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Oh, wait, no. Now it’s, you know, a famous person did this. Okay, now it’s that, you know, breaking news, someone’s arriving back at the White House. And also, the ticker was born out of that.
Ashley Ray [00:29:57] Just to give us some examples here, some breaking news alerts I’ve gotten on my phone in just the past 20 minutes: “Heavy Rains,” “Ebola Rumors,” “This Year’s Burning Man Fiasco Turned into the Ultimate Tech Culture Clash…” My thoughts and prayers with everyone who had to survive Burning Man this year. BuzzFeed: “I Practically Spit Out My Coffee Scrolling Through These 24 Hilarious Tweets from This week.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:30:21] “Breaking news.”
Ashley Ray [00:30:22] CNBC: “68-Year-Old Who Unretired Shares His Secrets to Living a Happy Regret-Free Life,” which just sounds like propaganda to get me not to retire.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:30:33] Yeah. Yeah, well, it’s propaganda to raise the age of retirement, too.
Ashley Ray [00:30:39] This 68-year-old said, “I’m still kicking!”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:30:43] Yeah. Listen, I think Zaslav is a fucking moron. I mean, they’ve completely sullied the name of HBO. HBO has been a shell of itself for a while anyway.
Ashley Ray [00:31:00] Watching it just fold in with Discovery and now Max… And I open the app, and it’s like, “Oh, do you want to watch Sister Wives next to The Sopranos?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:31:10] It’s like the Enquirer merged with, like, you know, The Washington Post. It’s like, “What? Why is the Enquirer news stories on The Washington Post?” So, I mean, why in God’s name would I want to be watching a show and get a news alert? All you’re going to do is people are going to go, “I don’t want to watch this app anymore because now I don’t want to be bothered with this shit. I’m trying to watch it.” And also, this is the whole point. I do not understand this. So, it used to be that you paid for the cable, right? Or you watch TV for free on antenna. And then you went to the movies. And the point was that you spent–back in the day–5.50, 6.50 for a ticket. And that meant that you got ads for the movie theater.
Ashley Ray [00:32:03] Local businesses before the show.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:32:05] But that was it. And then the movie started, and you watched the previews, you watched the movie, and that was it. And then it started to be, “Okay. There’s a Coca-Cola commercial now or there’s a commercial that was on TV, and now it’s showing beforehand.” And they tricked it out by going, “Oh, well, we’ll give you a word jumble about Jack Nicholson in The Shining and all this bullshit, right?” And now you go to the movies, it’s just literally straight up 20 minutes of fucking ads.
Ashley Ray [00:32:38] Before you even get to the trailer. And then, yeah, you’re paying 35, 40 bucks a ticket now.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:32:45] Then you’re paying to watch ads. So, my thing is I thought the whole point of the streaming services–and particularly HBO–there are two tiers, right? There’s an ad tier and there’s a non-ad tier. So, if I’m paying for the non-ad tier, why the fuck do you think…? If I’m the demographic of person who’s like, “I don’t want to be bothered?” you’re like, “Oh, but you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to bother you because now we’re cable, right?” You know, if you watch Bravo–if you’re watching Housewives…
Ashley Ray [00:33:16] Oh, there’s pop-ups all over the screen.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:33:18] There’s a popup on the left. There’s a thing on the right.
Ashley Ray [00:33:20] It’s all over the place.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:33:21] It shrinks in. And then you’re seeing Andy Cohen in the clubhouse looking at one of his guests.
Ashley Ray [00:33:28] It’s truly just like a little popup constantly just like, “Andy Cohen. Below Beck. Below deck. Look at Captain Sandy. Look at Captain Sandy dance.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:33:36] Captain Sandy. I’m a Captain Lee guy myself, okay?
Ashley Ray [00:33:39] I mean, Captain Lee is my second favorite. Captain Sandy is number one for me.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:33:43] But you know what? I’ve never actually experienced Captain Sandy, so I don’t know. I have to watch.
Ashley Ray [00:33:49] I feel it is a controversial choice for me to say I love her. People tend to not like her. I think it’s misogyny. But also, she, like, fired a girl because she had a vape pen. And so, everyone is like, “That was really rude.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:34:02] Is she Mediterranean?
Ashley Ray [00:34:05] Yeah. She’s Below Deck Med. And then this current season of Below Deck Down Under–it’s been a really good one. There’s just a lot happening.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:34:15] It’s the assault, right?
Ashley Ray [00:34:16] Oh yeah. There was the assault. This past episode, one of the charter guests had a seizure, like, during the meal, so people thought he was choking. And he has a seizure.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:34:26] This is Kate, right?
Ashley Ray [00:34:27] This is Aesha. She’s the chief stew. And then Jason is the captain.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:34:34] Okay.
Ashley Ray [00:34:35] And then Aesha started having a breakdown because her brother died from a seizure, so it, like, triggered her. And then the girl who was assaulted–she has still been, like, processing that. And the guy who did it has been contacting her. So, she starts drinking during the charter, which, you know… Yeah. You can’t do that.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:34:57] And he’s gone. He got put off the boat.
Ashley Ray [00:35:00] Immediately. As soon as Captain Jason found out, he was like, “You’re getting off the boat. You’re fired.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:35:05] Bravo didn’t give a shit, though.
Ashley Ray [00:35:06] Yeah, no, Bravo was like, “We have the footage.” I mean, a Bravo producer did stop it, but it very much felt like…
Anthony Atamanuik [00:35:14] It ran up to the edge.
Ashley Ray [00:35:16] Yeah, that a Bravo producer stopped it because they were like, “You know what? We’ve had this happen a lot before.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:35:24] Well, it’s like the reforming of the image of James Kennedy, who clearly has been physical with previous girlfriends. And I mean, it’s inferred… This is alleged, obviously. I can’t say it’s true. But it’s inferred that he has been physical. And yet because Raquel and Tom did their thing–which in the grand scheme of things, I have to say, now having distance from Scandoval…
Ashley Ray [00:35:59] Oh, yeah. Like…
Anthony Atamanuik [00:36:02] And it’s also like, I mean, Ariana seemed to do quite well. I mean, she’s got multiple endorsements for a person who’s not married and doesn’t have kids with the person. That’s a pretty good deal. You have, like, multiple endorsements.
Ashley Ray [00:36:17] Yeah. And, you know, you’re at the stage and age where, like, I don’t know… You’re really this shocked that this is how this went down?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:36:26] I mean, I know them both, so I have to be judicious. I have to be balanced when it comes to.
Ashley Ray [00:36:35] You don’t take a side here.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:36:37] I mean, I will say I wrote Tom and condemned him. I wrote him and told him what I thought about what he did because it was toxic and fucked up. And that was it. I mean, I left it at that.
Ashley Ray [00:36:52] You know, you got to your friends accountable.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:36:56] I wouldn’t say a “friend,” but an “acquaintance.”
Ashley Ray [00:37:00] But I watched the other Vanderpump Rules documentary about the other scandal with…
Anthony Atamanuik [00:37:10] Oh, The Randall Scandal. I haven’t watched The Randall Scandal.
Ashley Ray [00:37:13] I thought that one was really good. And it was, like, way worse than the Tom stuff. I was like, “This is the worst controversy here.” But I guess he, like, isn’t exciting, and he, like, left the show, so people just didn’t really care as much.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:37:30] I think the problem was there was a lot of cease-and-desist stuff that came from Randall. So, I think that it couldn’t be talked about as much. I think Lala has restrictions on what she can talk about. Even on her podcast she doesn’t discuss it much.
Ashley Ray [00:37:44] Yeah. And she talks about that. She was like, “There’s still legal stuff he’s threatening her with.” And she had a kid with him, so it’s a whole real mess. But that I think got too real. It got too real for me.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:37:56] That got too real.
Ashley Ray [00:37:58] I do want to talk about your watchlist before we wrap up here. We are going to talk about some TV.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:38:06] We’re starting to cover it already.
Ashley Ray [00:38:07] We got so into the cult docs, and there’s so many good ones.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:38:12] You have to send me a list because I’m always looking, and I feel like there’s some I’ve missed.
Ashley Ray [00:38:17] Oh, yeah. I mean, did you do Sex, Lies and the College Cult?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:38:22] Of course.
Ashley Ray [00:38:22] Yeah, well, that’s the Peacock one. But did you do the better one on Hulu?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:38:27] Yeah. No, we did both.
Ashley Ray [00:38:28] Okay. Okay. You’re really about it.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:38:33] I really feel like that guy in particular… Talk about conspiracy. I’m like, “What’s his deal?” What’s his setup? He seems like some sort of asset or something. He’s manipulating people.
Ashley Ray [00:38:48] And, like, he randomly does have photos with, like, important people.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:38:52] And he knows Bernie Kerik. Bernie Kerik in the one doc has to distance himself. But Bernie Kerik is a dark individual, who did some dirty shit, including sleeping with some woman during 9/11, like, instead of being where he was supposed to be. Everyone knows about that. But that Bernie Kerik was at his, like, mistress’s apartment while the towers were collapsing.
Ashley Ray [00:39:17] Wow.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:39:17] Bernie Kerik is also friends with New Jersey housewife Caroline Manzo and her husband and also connected with Giuliani.
Ashley Ray [00:39:31] That one was really top notch. And I love that there were two, so you get the comparison again like Seduced and The Vow. But I don’t know. We’re in a kind of a lull right now. I think we found all the cults that are willing to talk. Well, I want to talk about your watchlist. They sent a few things over. What I really want to hit on is that you just finished And Just Like That. Tell me what you think because you don’t seem like the core demographic to me. So, I’m really curious about your perspective.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:40:18] One, I am not the core demographic. So, my wife watched Sex and the City. And then when And Just Like That was coming out, she did a rewatch. And I said, “What the fuck is with this show?” And I started watching it, and I went, “Holy shit, this is a great show.”
Ashley Ray [00:40:32] It’s a great show.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:40:34] It’s a great show. And I think one nice thing about hitting the middle of your life is that you can shed… I mean, this is a deeper discussion. But like, I think, you know, one underreported thing is how as a young man, you’re raised to basically narrow yourself into this emotionless husk. And then, of course, why do we think there’s so much hatred of women and homophobia and all this is because we see other people getting to live their full emotional Pantone book. We get other people who get to… And I think that what happens is if you unfurl yourself, you stop identifying sort of weird judgments about television or what you consume with who you are as a person. And so, Sex in the City was something I remember, I’m sure, having a very patent flash judgment, going, “I don’t watch that shit.”
Ashley Ray [00:41:35] Same! I was one of those teen girls who was like, “Sex in the City? I like Daria. I would never watch something like that.” And now I’m like, “I wish I had watched it when I was a teenager.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:41:49] It’s so great. My friend Mario plays Anthony on it.
Ashley Ray [00:41:53] I love Mario Cantone.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:41:55] And, you know, Mario is the best. And he played, you know, The Mooch on The President Show. And he’s my mother’s student at Emerson. So, I knew Mario when I was, like, eight years old and he was a student at Emerson College. And, like, I’ve known him my whole life. And so, then And Just Like That is, like, some crazy postmodern fever dream of the show. And also, it is like a boomer roadmap for every misguided decision about orientation and race that you could make.
Ashley Ray [00:42:33] Career. Everything.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:42:36] Listen, I’m going to say some things that may be controversial, but this season, I think there was a part where I was like, “Wow, they’re, like, segregating the black cast members.”
Ashley Ray [00:42:48] Yeah! Mia never left her apartment. She never did anything. Mia just sat in her apartment, and then Miranda would come back and be like, “Oh, I had a tough day.” And she’d be like, “I’m here to talk about it or I’m having sex. That’s what I’m here to do.” It was like, “Why?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:43:04] This woman is a professor at Columbia, and she’s, like, worried about her boyfriend and a baby. What the fuck are we talking about? But then also the couple that loses the baby and yet, like, they’re just in her closet?
Ashley Ray [00:43:17] They’re just in her closet walk-in bedroom, like, the whole time. And it’s just their whole relationship is just them back and forth going, “But I have a meeting.” “But I have a meeting.” “But you said you’d be at my meeting.” “But you said you’d be at my gala.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:43:30] Che is like a hate crime. Like, the character of Che is a hate crime.
Ashley Ray [00:43:35] I hate that you’re about to make me log in as the Che defender, but I viciously love, protect, and serve Che Diaz. There’s a reason Che is so polarizing as a character and that’s because they are such an amazing character. And I know everyone is hoping that they write Che Diaz off.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:43:57] No, I want more Che. Are you kidding me?
Ashley Ray [00:43:59] Thank you!
Anthony Atamanuik [00:44:00] It’s not about that. Here’s the thing. To me, I can love how insane… There’s a moment where Che is watching their stand-up from before they were–
Ashley Ray [00:44:11] They came out as non-binary.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:44:13] And that Che, which is essentially Rosie O’Donnell…
Ashley Ray [00:44:21] Yeah.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:44:23] They might as well be Rosie. The hair. And the material!
Ashley Ray [00:44:30] I was like, “What are you trying to tell us? That Che Diaz was doing standup in the ’90s? Like, I don’t think Che is that old.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:44:39] And then there’s a moment where it cuts back, and Che fucking hits that joint so ridiculously hard that you can see that the actor reacts to it. Like, it’s not Che. It’s just the actor going like, “Jesus Christ.” And that’s what I love about the show. At one level, it does things that are such crazy big swings that you’re like, “What the fuck are they doing?” Then another moment you’re like, “I can see through everything. It’s not even like anyone’s acting. There’s no acting going on.”
Ashley Ray [00:45:14] I am pretty sure they brought back the guy who plays Aidan, and he was just like, “Really? You okay?” In every scene he’s in, he’s not acting. He’s just kind of like, “You want me to say this?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:45:25] My friend, Mary, called him “Aidan Scissorhands” when he was in that first outfit.
Ashley Ray [00:45:30] Oh yeah, when she finally runs into him on the street, and he looks like a villain or a murderer.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:45:35] Oh, my God. First off, you know that they initially wrote that Aidan’s son was a fucking school shooter, and then they did a rewrite because, like, Aidan’s son comes up on the thing, and it’s like, “Dad, I’m going to shoot the school up.” And, like, they were like, “Oh, I guess we can’t do that. We’ll just have him, like, take mushrooms and crash his car.”
Ashley Ray [00:45:53] And then have Aidan be like, “How did you even get psilocybin?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:45:58] “What the fuck are you talking about?”
Ashley Ray [00:46:00] And him just freaking out like, “I can’t believe he’s doing this.” And he’s 14.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:46:05] My favorite is the physical comedy of Miranda coming out of that deprivation tank. And I turned to Flossie, and I was like, “This woman ran for governor of New York. What the fuck? Where is the dignity?”
Ashley Ray [00:46:22] And now she’s trying on strap-ons and getting fingered in kitchens while Carrie pees in a Snapple bottle.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:46:29] Why is she waiting in line for the fucking sitcom pilot taping?
Ashley Ray [00:46:34] Oh, that part bothered me so much. I was like, “First of all, why wouldn’t Che hook Miranda up with, like, ‘You’re going to be, you know, in my trailer. You’re going to come on set with me.”? What is happening? Oh, but still, when Che, like, approaches Miranda after and is like, “You ruined the family scene.” I will randomly think to myself, “You ruined the family scene.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:47:04] That was the problem with this fucking sitcom–not that the showrunner in the middle of the taping was like, “This person is a terrible actor and can’t do the scene…” Tony Danza was incredible. And Tony Danza was really fantastic in the show. What a get. And this is the other thing. When has it ever taken five months to film a pilot? Okay. What are we talking about reshoots and–?
Ashley Ray [00:47:38] Yeah. Rewrites and reshoots. And then Che buying an apartment not even after it’s sold. It just made no sense to me.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:47:49] I love everything about that show. I love the Mario storyline.
Ashley Ray [00:47:55] Mario’ storyline of this last season was my favorite. Everything was Stanford going away to become a monk.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:48:03] He’s dead.
Ashley Ray [00:48:04] He’s dead. Yes, he died. And to me, it’s like, “Just let him die.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:48:09] Let him rest! What are you doing?
Ashley Ray [00:48:10] The writers said in one of the after-show podcasts that that actor specifically said he did not want to be written off even if he died. He did not want to be killed in the script. He wanted to remain in the universe even if he’s dead. But so, they respected that and decided to make him a monk because Michael Patrick King and Sarah Jessica Parker went on a trip to Japan after Sex in the City 2 came out. And the monasteries inspired him so much that he was like, “This is what we have to do for Stanford.” And I love that really all that is used for is to make Anthony go, “You know what? I should bottom.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:48:50] My favorite line is when Anthony goes, “Well, because I’m the man and you’re the woman.” The craziest line in the world. It was the craziest in the world–and yet the truest to an old queen that yeah you could think of.
Ashley Ray [00:49:08] It was realistic to me. There are older queer people who view the world still this way.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:49:15] Sorry I said “old queen,” guys, but…
Ashley Ray [00:49:18] I think it is okay.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:49:19] It’s all right.
Ashley Ray [00:49:20] You’re talking about Mario Cantone. I think that’s appropriate.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:49:22] Although Mario looks very good. He looks amazing.
Ashley Ray [00:49:26] He looks, honestly, the best on the show.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:49:29] He does look the best on the show. Oh, there was also the episode where they pick up the two young Australian footballers, which I can’t imagine that the two Australian rugby players had in mind that they were going to pick up women that were their grandmother’s age at an Italian restaurant. And I don’t mean to be ageist, but let’s be realistic about two 20-year-old Australian footballers who are fresh on their trip. I could see something where they sort of are forced together and then maybe… But they’re coming over and going, “Hey, mate.”
Ashley Ray [00:50:10] I can see it for our lady’s! Yeah!
Anthony Atamanuik [00:50:12] No, I cannot. No.
Ashley Ray [00:50:16] There are our ladies. Their fashions have a distinct style and charm.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:50:21] But I refuse to accept it. I refuse to accept it. But again, it’s like love for a family member. Like, I want this show again for, like, ten seasons.
Ashley Ray [00:50:32] I want a million episodes.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:50:33] I want the finale to just be 30 minutes of just still shots on coffins.
Ashley Ray [00:50:39] Truly.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:50:40] Just like all of them in their coffins. They’re all dead.
Ashley Ray [00:50:44] I want the Six Feet Under ending where I get to see all of the conclusions. I want every moment with them. They’re my girls.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:50:53] So I lie. I’m all in. I’m fine. I’m all right. I mean, all my television, you’re going to be like, “Jesus, Real Housewives of New York?”
Ashley Ray [00:51:03] You got Real Housewives of New York and Orange County. You’re midway through Jack Ryan. The Diplomat. You got The Last of Us. Love & Death, which I still need to watch, actually.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:51:14] Ooh, Love & Death is good because, you know, they have the other one. That’s another twofer.
Ashley Ray [00:51:18] Yeah, that’s another one.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:51:19] Candy.
Ashley Ray [00:51:20] Didn’t watch that.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:51:22] Watch Candy and Love & Death because they completely approach it from different perspectives.
Ashley Ray [00:51:26] Okay. This is the first time I’m actually feeling pulled in. I was going to do Love & Death because, you know, it has Elizabeth and has Jesse Plemons. So, I was like, “That’s the one to do.” And I don’t know, Hulu’s a little hit or miss. But I mean, I would do both. Yeah.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:51:39] Well, what’s interesting is, you know, Jessica Biel also produces the Bill Pullman vehicle, The Sinner. So, she starred in The Sinner, but she created it, too–or she’s one of the executive producers. And so, it’s interesting because she’s gotten more involved in making true crime stuff. It’s a very interesting turn for Jessica Biel. So, it’s interesting–her take in that versus the Elizabeth Olsen one. And I think they’re both very interesting. Hers is a little broader. Yeah. It’s weird. Either I like reality or hardcore spy shit. Like, I’m very weird.
Ashley Ray [00:52:30] It is really just like reality or dad shows. Jack Ryan, The Diplomat…
Anthony Atamanuik [00:52:38] Although the one there that I really recommend everybody watch on Peacock– By the way, Peacock, in my view? Again, this is not a call to action. Peacock is… You want to talk Freevee? That’s the place where it all lives.
Ashley Ray [00:52:52] Peacock is killing it. This is not a call to action because of the strikes. And so, I’m not asking you to watch anything on these platforms.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:53:00] No, I think they’re all garbage when it comes to paying people.
Ashley Ray [00:53:05] They’re all garbage. Don’t watch these shows until we get a fair deal. But…
Anthony Atamanuik [00:53:13] But The Traitors.
Ashley Ray [00:53:15] Oh. The Traitors is on Peacock.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:53:14] First off, the best one is the Australian one.
Ashley Ray [00:53:17] Agreed.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:53:19] Although it’s actually originally a Dutch show. And it was conceptually supposed to be originally set on a pirate ship, where there was, like, saboteurs.
Ashley Ray [00:53:31] Are they going to sink the ship?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:53:32] They had to walk a plank and all this stuff. It was still a land-based pirate ship.
Ashley Ray [00:53:39] So then they decided to make it about the castle?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:53:44] Well, yes. Basically, the pitch from the producers was like, “This is too weird, but let’s make it Traitors.” But it’s actually been now I think in 15 different countries.
Ashley Ray [00:54:02] There’s a bunch of Traitors. Yeah.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:54:03] Okay. But the Australian one? Incredible.
Ashley Ray [00:54:06] That was my favorite.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:54:07] They are brutal people. They really are tough people. I sound like Trump right there. “They’re very tough people.” And then you get into the UK. I don’t understand the U.S. one–why they are doing half reality people.
Ashley Ray [00:54:23] Yeah, it wasn’t really necessary.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:54:27] It’s putting amateurs in professionally.
Ashley Ray [00:54:29] Yeah, it just made people automatically distrust some of the celebrities. Like, I know Kate Chastain because I watch Below Deck, and I would trust her with my life. I knew that she was on the side of good and I would be in there being like, “You guys, I know she seems bitchy, but that’s because you don’t know Kate.” But Kate is not a traitor. And they all just kind of were like, “Well, I don’t really know her, I don’t really know her show, and I don’t trust her. No.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:54:53] Well, the interesting thing about The Traitors is that… You know, for people who don’t understand what it is, it’s basically they have to do sort of challenges. So, I know a lot of people don’t like challenge-based– The challenges are annoying. But it’s mostly about these interpersonal dynamics, while there are a group of people who have been tapped to quietly meet. Nobody knows who they are. So, everyone doesn’t know who the traitors are, and they eliminate people every night. But there’s also a council meeting where they can eliminate. Everyone can eliminate one person who they think is a traitor. And the traitors have a huge advantage. But what’s also really interesting to me is the dynamics, which always boil down to either it is: “Oh, you’re heavy or you’re ugly or you’re not sociable. You must be a traitor.”
Ashley Ray [00:55:43] Yeah, right. It’s always like, “You’re kind of weird, so you must be a traitor. Like, I notice that when everybody else opened their eyes, you kind of open your eyes slowly. So, I just think you’re a traitor.” It never is anything that makes sense.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:56:00] It never makes sense. And they always go, “I have the evidence. I’ve seen the evidence” But what evidence? No one ever cites it. No one ever cites anything. They just go, “I know the evidence is clear.” And you’re like, “What?”
Ashley Ray [00:56:14] It’s like, “What evidence? They looked at you kind of weird?”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:56:18] Oh, God. Everyone should watch The Traitors.
Ashley Ray [00:56:25] It’s so, so good.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:56:26] The American one is just worth it for Alan Cummings’s behavior during the show, which is crazy.
Ashley Ray [00:56:33] He’s batshit. He’s an amazing host. It’s truly like they were just like, “You know what, Alan? Do your thing.”
Anthony Atamanuik [00:56:39] Can I do this show every week? Can I just do this show every week? I would gladly talk about television with you every week.
Ashley Ray [00:56:47] You got to be a regular guest because I have a million other shows, but we got to wrap this up.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:56:52] Oh, yeah. Okay. I’m sorry. I’m such a Chatty Cathy. I apologize.
Ashley Ray [00:56:55] I mean, I feel like the listeners got a lot of good recommendations out of this one. And I mean, I’m always happy when I get to talk cult docs. So, thank you so much for joining me today. And also, just want to say to my listeners, if you want to support the actors and writers, we are still on strike. Anyone in LA or New York can join a picket line or drop off food and water. And you can donate money to the Entertainment Community Fund, which helps non-actor Hollywood crew members who suffer hardships due to the strike. You can donate at entertainmentcommunity.org. And make sure to direct your gift to the film and television category when asked. Tony, do you have any other plugs? Where can the people follow you? What should they know?
Anthony Atamanuik [00:57:31] Well, you know, you can always go to the realactualtony on Instagram. And that’s where I also promote Don’t Panic. And yeah, listen to Don’t Panic wherever you get your podcasts.
Ashley Ray [00:57:42] Thank you so much for joining me. Thanks for coming to TV Club. And you know, TV Club, there’s a lot of TV coming up. I want to make sure you’re caught up on The Boys because we have Gen V coming out on Prime Video, which is the spinoff of The Boys. And we also have Invincible coming back. So, if you didn’t watch the first season of Invincible and then also Atom Eve and Invincible.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:58:05] Atom Eve!
Ashley Ray [00:58:06] Make sure you’re all caught up on that because you know, I’m about to go hard for those shows. Okay. You know it. We also have Below Deck Down Under ending. But don’t worry because Below Deck Mediterranean is coming to take its place. Captain Sandy will be back in our hearts and just there to tell us everything’s going to be okay. So, we’re just waiting. And we’re going to get back to Captain Sandy so soon. But they released a trailer, and it’s going to be good. It’s going to be a good, good season. Just the crew they have together–I know there’s going to be drama, so I’m really excited. That’s all I’m going to give you this week for TV homework. I think that’s enough. And also keep up on all the 90 Day Fiancé stuff because let me tell you, this next episode of 90 Day Fiancé: The Last Resort–I had the pleasure of seeing it early, and it is one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen on my American television.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:59:01] The hot tub?
Ashley Ray [00:59:02] Oh, this is after the hot tub. Let me tell you that it gets even wilder. Yeah. Big Ed. They decided to give these people sex lessons at the resort. That’s all I got to say.
Anthony Atamanuik [00:59:14] Oh my God. We could do a whole…
Ashley Ray [00:59:16] We could honestly just talk 90 Day for another hour. Okay. We’re wrapping this up. I want to thank you all so much for listening. And we’ll be back next week with another episode. Thank you so much for joining me. And we’ll be back next week with another episode. TV, I Say with Ashley Ray is an Earwolf production made by me, Ashley Ray-Harris. It’s engineered by Abby Aguilar, produced by Anita Flores, 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. For special TV Club members, join my Patreon.
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 5, 2023
The Roys, the Lyons, The Righteous Gemstones, who’s your favorite TV family dynasty? ‘Even the Rich’ hosts Brooke Siffrinn and Aricia Skidmore-Williams join Ashley to discuss real and fictional family dynasties, the worst actor on Sex & the City, and Hulu’s current obsession with turning everything into a docu-series.
August 29, 2023
Remember sex before the internet? ‘After Hours’ host Zach Noe Towers joins Ashley to discuss ‘The L Word’ and ‘Queer as Folk’ late night viewings, why TV needs more sluts, and the rise of kinky Charlotte York.