Today in Terrible PR Pitches: Netflix's Sexist Guide to What to Watch During the Day Without Sports
Journalists receive a lot of pitches from PR firms. Most of them are harmless, ephemeral, easily discarded or otherwise dealt with. Every once in a while, though, a real doozy of a pitch e-mail appears in your inbox, like this one from a PR firm that works with Netflix. The word "problematic" is seeing a lot of use these days, so at the risk of pushing it into "overused" territory, let us say: This e-mail is extremely problematic, for many, many reasons, and all of them are enumerated here. (All quotes are [sic].)
We immediately start on the wrong foot:
No one in recorded history has ever had a happy Monday.
Netflix wanted to share a couple fun lists, in anticipation of July 15th: That one day a year that sports enthusiasts fear most…The Day Without Sports. On this day, fans will see no professional sports on television as a part of the MLB All-Star break.
A day without a professional sports game is indeed a bummer. But for those in need of sports-adjacent programming, the ESPYs are airing on ABC that night at 8/7c.
Men be warned: girlfriends and wives around the U.S. are going to take “no sports on TV” as an invitation to gain some serious TV power – whether by recommending a favorite rom-com or multiple episodes from a favorite drama series.
Oh no. This indicates that:
1. These lists are only for heterosexual couples.
2. Straight women are constantly looking for an excuse to shove their favorite shows and movies down their significant others' throats, rather than merely watching what they want and not giving even a single damn about whether he joins them or not.
3. Straight men have no desire to ever broaden their pop culture horizons.
4. There is some weird power dynamic at play in straight relationships that is entirely contingent upon who watches what, and men should be on the lookout for anything that could shift this dynamic, i.e. a significant other wanting to share in a viewing experience with him.
5. Women aren't just as bummed about there not being sports on as men are.
And, women be empowered! Sports will not be there to savehim this time.
So, men should be warned against the She-Beasts forcing him to consume certain entertainment, but women should absolutely force their knuckledraggers to consume that same entertainment? Sounds like they're agitating for a War of the Sexes.
Furthermore, if your boyfriend or husband always uses "I want to watch the game," as an excuse to not watch something with you, either he genuinely loves sporting events of all kinds, or he has money on all the games and you should watch for signs of a potential gambling problem. You could also just respect his televisual preferences.
For the men, Netflix has put together a list of content that will help you and your girlfriend compromise on your entertainment:
• Silver Linings Playbook – Satisfy her need for romance, and you’ll get the added opportunity to view Jennifer Lawrence the entire time.
• Peaky Blinders – By calling out all of the good looking guys, you might be able to convince her to watch this Netflix original that’s packed with crime and action.
• Scandal – Multiple episodes and scenes with the beautiful Kerry Washington. Enough said.
• Rudy – Get her to realize that everyone loves a good underdog story so you can watch some football.
• Friday Night Lights – Another great way to get some football in while providing the drama she loves.
• One Tree Hill – If you’re more of a basketball fan, this one’s for you, as it’s packed with drama both on and off the court. Plus, Sophia Bush.
• Rocky – Use words like “uplifting” and “heartfelt” to convince her this is the movie for you guys to watch
-Three of these recommendations (Silver Linings Playbook, Scandal, and One Tree Hill) imply that men cannot simply enjoy film or television on a level other than "HOT CHICK TO STARE AT," which feels a little condescending.
-The Peaky Blinders line implies the reverse, i.e. women are only interested in shows for man-flesh.
-Rudy and Friday Night Lights imply women aren't into football, despite women composing 45 percent of the NFL's audience. And if you're going to try to lure women in with attractive men, you should at least mention Taylor Kitsch and Kyle Chandler.
-One Tree Hill is more a source of humor than quality basketball.
Also, just as an FYI - there’s more than 50 of ESPN’s 30 for 30 titles on Netflix if you plan to just stream on your phone or laptop while she takes over the living room.
For the women, this is your day, ladies. Get him hooked on some of your favorite TV shows or get him to finally watch that romantic comedy you’ve been dying to share with him. Netflix has put together a list of some of the best content to share with your guy on the one day a year the TV is yours, no excuses.
If you only have control over the TV one day a year, your relationship probably has a much more serious problem than you think. Compromise is vital to relationships, and if he's going to be a dick about "letting" you watch Grey's Anatomy live and on a bigger screen because of some completely inconsequential April baseball game, well, it might be time to rethink this whole thing. Or just get another TV and cable box, if it's that important to you both, jeez.
• One Tree Hill
• Grey’s Anatomy
• Gilmore Girls
• Friday Night Lights
• Pretty Little Liars
• High Fidelity
• Silver Linings Playbook
• Employee of the Month
• 50 First Dates
• The Switch
• 13 Going on 30
• Jerry McGuire
• Annie Hall
• Don Jon
• Good Luck Chuck
• The Best of Me
• Labor Day
• Thanks for Sharing
• Maid in Manhattan
• Legally Blonde I & II
-Friends has been around for 21 years. If he isn't into it by now, he isn't going to suddenly want to watch the Central Perk gang's antics because large adult men aren't hitting each other on the TV.
-It's odd that there are so many duplicates from the list for men to recommend: One Tree Hill, Scandal, Silver Linings Playbook.
-Jerry Maguire, not McGuire.
-Annie Hall is pretty gender-neutral, and also a cinematic staple (feelings on Woody Allen aside).
-No one should ever watch Good Luck Chuck, The Switch, or Labor Day, irrespective of gender.
-Several others are good movies, but hardly worth "forcing" someone to sit through. 13 Going on 30 is charming! But no one's life is poorer by not having seen it, and you are not going to form a deeper bond while watching Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo being adorable together.
Putting aside the sexism for a moment, the whole premise of this pitch is built on a very strange, unstable foundation—that couples who live together have such disparate entertainment interests that they must force each other to assimilate, and they only have this one day a year to do it. Odds are, if you live together, you share at least some common ground where pop culture is concerned, and you've probably already figured out what that ground is. And if you don't, you've probably come to accept that and don't view it as an important facet of your relationship.
Back to the sexism. This reads like someone was transported out of a 90's sitcom and into our current world, and that is a Bad Thing.
Here are our suggestions, and they apply to all sexualities and genders and fandoms: Netflix has an awful lot of good stuff to watch, and we recommend watching whatever you want, whenever you want, and never letting anyone make you feel bad about it.
Below is a screenshot of the e-mail, for those who refuse to believe this was an actual thing sent to journalists. We've reached out to Netflix, but so far no word on what could possibly have made this seem like a good idea.