Don’t do what you’re doing, Netflix

Yesterday I had a rare Saturday evening off work. But did I spend it catching up on the sea of current shows I’ve fallen behind on, continuing binge watches of shows that haven’t had new episodes in years, read a book or clean my house?

No, I spend the better part of the evening trying to figure out what had gone so wrong with Netflix and why nobody else was talking about it.

All I wanted to do was sit down and find a good standup comedy special (I’m a big fan of Mike Birbiglia’s “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” and Patton Oswalt’s “My Weakness is Strong.” Also Hal Sparks’ “Charmageddon, but that’s a Youtube view). Typically what that means is I go to the comedy category and the subgenre for, predictably, “standup comedy.” Imagine my surprise when see this:


“That’s odd, but I guess I want Fun & Laughs,” I said to myself. Clicking on it brought me to a mishmash of standup specials, movies and sitcoms that I didn’t feel like wading through, so I headed to the trusty subgenre dropdown:


Irritated, I went through and checked every other category, and all of their subgenres could be described as “Movies” and “Not Movies.” Who needs nuance, after all?

And then I gook to Facebook and Google, and what I found was that nobody was talking about these bizarro sort methods. And when I straight up asked some people at a different community I frequent, people were saying it all looked normal to them. Finally, some kind, sweet soul said maybe I was part of a test group for a new rollout of features and told me how to check and turn it off (your account>>settings>test participation), which I did, because this is a horrible search function.

Using the new thing, it took me all of 1 minute to miss the days when Netflix was like “Oh, you want comedies! May I interest you in this collection of standup? How about slapstick? Raunchy comedies, maybe? Dramas you say? How about something cerebral? Would you like slasher horror, B-movies or creature features? The world is your neatly organized oyster!”

Because not only is the tester absolute garbage for refining a broad search, I question its accuracy. Someone wondered what Netflix thought an absurd movie was, and with all the freedom a Saturday evening off allows, I decided to find out.

If you hit the subgenres, it becomes “absurd & Irreverent,” and under movies there is a metric ton of standup comedy peppered here and there with a few movies like Hot Fuzz, The Interview, The Cobbler and – I suspect curiously – Django Unchained.

If you don’t pick a subgenre, there are still a bunch of standup specials, a sprinkling of movies and a bunch of shows like Family Guy, Nurse Jackie, Futurama, Orange is The New Black, The Office and That 70s Show.

Just hitting absurd TV also gets you Buffy, Bones, Grace and Frankie, and other shows that may or may not actually be absurd or irreverent.

Has anyone else been a part of this test? What did you think? If you hated it as much as I do, I urge you to use your social media commenting platform of choice to let Netflix know. And if you’re reading this Netflix, let it be known that, should this test become the real deal, I’m out. Don’t worry, I’ll keep ordering your discs and never returning them until I could have probably bought them three times over, but my streaming game will be straight up Hulu and Amazon.

And I don’t think that’s what you intended.

Leisure Time is on Twitter! Follow @theLTtweet for post updates and smaller thoughts.




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