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Ze End of The Show 47

Posted by Zonk
from the no-more-ride-the-fire-eagle-danger-day dept.
theodp writes "Before YouTube caught on, there was Ze Frank. Slate mourns the loss of The Show, which came to an end last week after a 365-day run. Sorry, Sports Racers. 'The result was a new kind of improvised conversation/performance art. Ze beamed himself out to a worldwide audience and gathered them into a universe of his own devising. A wiki sprung up, with fans completing a transcript of every episode. Ze also gave out missions, such as creating the ugliest MySpace page and building an "Earth sandwich," which consisted of placing pieces of bread on exact opposite points of the globe. It was this "live" element that made the project not-televison, not-boring, and ultimately fleeting.'"
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Ze End of The Show

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  • Hi, I don't suppose anyone has some images or cached pages of the ugliest myspace pages? I mean I'd actually be impressed if the worst myspace I'd ever seen was intentional, after some of the ones I've seen. Trouble is, the links to the spaces on his site are either all dead, or they link to new spaces, as the old ones seem to have been removed/expired.
  • Funny Stuff (Score:3, Informative)

    by pandrijeczko (588093) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @06:48AM (#18469363)
    I'm normally quite cynical about "average Joes" trying to turn themselves into celebrities on the Internet.

    I'd never heard of this guy until this topic came up, but I just watched his first show and must admit that it was pretty amusing stuff.

    • by FudRucker (866063)
      i watched ZeFrank a few times, he is cool, can be insightful sometimes, other times he can have a good sense of humor (made me lol a few times)...
    • Re:Funny Stuff (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thegnu (557446) <thegnu@ g m a il.com> on Saturday March 24, 2007 @07:30AM (#18469493) Journal
      I'm normally quite cynical about "average Joes" trying to turn themselves into celebrities on the Internet.

      Well, yeah, me too. But Ze Frank was around for YEARS making funny little video clips, cool flash animations, etc. before I ever heard his speak. I just found out about The Show on Valentine's day (Googe, anyone?), and I'm mega depressed that it exists no more.

      I guess I mean that Ze is not an average man, he's a super man. Or no, he's not a celebrity. Or something. Plus, who's NOT an average joe (besides, of course, Orlando Bloom, because that man is sexy)?
    • by fluxrad (125130)
      I wouldn't call Ze an average joe. It's pretty clear from his site that he'd been doing the "Ze Frank" thing for years, if I can be as obscure as possible about naming what it is he does for a living. Better yet, you'll notice that in one of the last episodes of his show he's got Johnathan Coulton playing 10 minutes of guitar. In another episode, they have a cameo by Jack Black. Methinks Ze is one of those individuals that's simply too cool to ever be an average joe.
  • especially for all zee Germans!
    • by ronocdh (906309)
      I don't mean to troll, but I think your impression would benefit from changing it to "zuh Germans." As a phonetic sample, "zuh" in this regard is much more highly attested than "zee."

      Happy Kraut bashing! =)
  • I was lucky enough to be introduced to the Show near its start, it was actually the show that convinced me to get a video iPod as an emergency distraction for a two week family vacation.

    Ze's brand of humor really has a way of getting me to smile and the 'projects' that he he came up for the sports racers were often touching in a way. I think my favorites were the ones tied to the whole saga [zefrank.com] of [zefrank.com] Ray [zefrank.com] and not just cause it produced laughs.

    I'm going to miss having a daily dose of Ze humor to cap the day with, but since the ORG [zefrank.org] will still be around, I think I'll be able to manage.
  • Anyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PoopDaddy (1064616)
    What about TV's Frank?
    • I was young when he left MST3K. Maybe I'm remembering this incorrectly, but I remember the last episode with him being horribly depressing for some reason.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FuturePastNow (836765)
      Frank Conniff [wikipedia.org]
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      I don't get it.

      What about TV's Frank?

      What does MST3K have to do with this article? Is "Ze" played by the same actor or something? (I've never seen, nor heard of, the show before reading this article.)

      Could the moderator who marked this "Interesting" please instead post why it's interesting?
      • by dosboot (973832)
        All together now: TV Frank = Frank Conniff != Hosea Jan Frank = Ze Frank
      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by Rhesusmonkey (1028378)
        It doesn't matter how off topic or irrelevant it is, any refrence to MST3K is worth while. :)

        Chief? McCloud!
  • My favorite (Score:4, Informative)

    by dr_strang (32799) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @08:35AM (#18469735)
    My favorite episode was the Scrabble one. I watched it over and over, like fifty times, laughing myself sick.
  • by my_2_cent (955472) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:01AM (#18469833)

    I used to watch zefrank. I liked it so much, I wanted to download the show to my computer so I could watch it when -- well, when I watch *shows*. I don't watch shows when browsing.

    So I asked ze about making his show available to BitTorrents. Yeah, I know, but he said he wanted to control his thing and I respected that. He wanted everyone to come to his little carnival tent and sit down on the benches, watch his amusing show, and then sit there and watch the dog & pony show. d&p was essential, because it paid the bills. Plus the web site was where "the community" would develop, and it did.

    But ze burned himself out (IMO) because not only was he making the content, he was building and running the web site, building his community and paying large bills for bandwidth.

    I don't watch TV when I browse the Internet. If I can't download it and watch it when I want, I won't watch. That is why I stopped watching the show. Did that kill the show? I'm sure it didn't, but we should all really care about why ze frank stopped the show. ze frank was a perfect example of a slick little gem of a performance idea that had legs. If it died because ze frank just got tired, well, OK. But if it died because it didn't ever have a hope of turning into something that sustained ze, then we should all be concerned and try to figure out why.

    YouTube isn't the answer. Not everyone can get a slot on The Daily Show or the Colbert Report. Most talented folk don't have the stamina to do it all themselves -- content, bandwidth, webmastering, selling advertising. What is the answer? Maybe ze will come up with it. I hope so.

    • by wootest (694923) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @09:41AM (#18469995)

      [W]e should all really care about why ze frank stopped the show. ze frank was a perfect example of a slick little gem of a performance idea that had legs. If it died because ze frank just got tired, well, OK. But if it died because it didn't ever have a hope of turning into something that sustained ze, then we should all be concerned and try to figure out why.

      It 'died' because Ze had his mind set from very early on to run it for a full year. I'm not going to tell you Ze didn't want to continue. It seems fairly obvious to me that he wanted to.

      A recent article said Ze's got some kind of gig in Tinseltown now. I have no idea what exactly it is, or if he's a producer or writer or performer, but there are two basic outcomes: He falls victim of dramatic Hollywoodization, or he keeps going, doing his own tremendous thing, bringing his stuff more or less to the masses. I know what I'm rooting for.

    • by kylner (639495)
      If I'm not mistaken he said from the get go that it would only be a year long experiment. He finished his year and rather than being a liar he stuck to what he said and ended it.
    • There is (was) an RSS feed [zefrank.com] which I used with DemocracyTV [getdemocracy.com] to watch The Show. Sure beat a little video window in the browser. However, I don't think the feed became available until sometime after the half way mark in the life of The Show ... Ze must have changed his tune a little from the initial website-only policy.
    • by Nevtje(hr (869571)
      Did it ever occur to you that maybe he had the taste to quit while it was good and fun?

      I mean, look at a lot of TV shows... running past 5 seasons and not really good but sustained by viewer numbers and I don't know what.

      I say, quit at the peak. I'd rather watch reruns that amuse me and thrill me than watch a show (comedy or drama, whatever it be) get watered out only to stop breathing well past its prime.

      I've watched far from all of ZeFrank's episodes, but some of them are really worth remembering. Good, o
    • by dangermouse (2242)
      That was a lot of words for "the show died because Ze didn't distribute it via bittorrent like I wanted him to."

      a) the show ended exactly when it was supposed to, on the schedule set when it started.
      b) seriously?

    • It was quite easy to download the show, at least when it was hosted on revver... I never tried after that. Just look at the page source and wget the quicktime file. There are several firefox extensions which automate that sort of thing, as well. I'm guessing your point was that ze didn't provide the means himself.

      As far as the show sustaining ze-- by the end, between sponsorship, Gimme Some Candy, and sales of meaningless merchandise, I think he was doing rather well. Not Hollywood rich-- that is next

    • by slumberer (859696)

      If I can't download it and watch it when I want, I won't watch. That is why I stopped watching the show.

      I only watched the show towards the end but I just subscribed to the video podcast and watched it when I felt like it.
    • by chowda (161971)
      You can use CastCluster to tag youtube and google video for download through itunes (or whatever)... *cough*Apple TV*cough*

      http://code.google.com/p/castcluster/ [google.com]

      there are some screenshots of the bookmarklet injector thingy here:

      http://castcluster.blogspot.com/2007/03/after-read ing-this-article-httpwww.html [blogspot.com]
  • Ze produced one of my favorite "things" ever on the internet. He is quite the genius. I'm excited for whatever he decides to do next.

    ...maybe a movie?

    Mr. Frank has decided since then to focus on feature films for his first foray into the mainstream.
    I'm hoping! [nyobserver.com]
    • A movie? Hell why not an Imax film. That way his non-blinking closeup image can be blown up 110 feet high. That should give the kids real nightmare fuel.

      (oh an I loved the Scrabble episode too - BLARG! Second fave - Austrian Arrow (with a german accent) "We call ourselves arrows, because they fly though the air - like our planes")
  • by Lisandro (799651) on Saturday March 24, 2007 @05:56PM (#18473661)
    My brother introduced me to ZeFranks' world. I usually hate useless blogs, podcasts and "web stars" sites with a passion, but this guy had a genuinely funny and witty show, and it's well worth a look through the archives if you've never seen it before. It's even more interesting when you consider it was a one-year, five-episodes-per-week "experiment", and that he actually managed to keep it funny and interesting all the way.

    "Do you feel safe drinking your tap water?"
    "Not always..."

    Thanks you for all the laughs, Frank.

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