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Honest Trailers - Harry Potter

Honest Trailers - Harry Potter

Season 1 of Honest Trailers featured several significant episodes, including Harry Potter, the first Honest Trailer written by key contributor Spencer Gilbert.

Season 1 of comedy web series Honest Trailers ran between 13 February, 2012 and 21 May, 2013. It consists of 26 episodes. Over the course of Season 1, Honest Trailers transitioned from being a one-time-only video (with The Phantom Menace), to a monthly series expected to last only 8 episodes (Twilight to Prometheus), to an ongoing fortnightly series. Season 1 episodes are the shortest of the entire series. They range from around 2 minutes to 4 minutes in length. Season 1 was not deliberately produced as a season of TV. Rather, the episodes were retrospectively grouped together in later years.

Watch Honest Trailers Season 1 on YouTube

Overview Edit

Voice and narration Edit

Season 1 is when Honest Trailers strove to find its voice - both figuratively and literally. On the figurative side, Season 1 initially featured a harsher tone with brutal criticisms and a more provocative style of Sophomoric humor. This lead to widespread criticism of the series, and an eventual shift to a softer tone. Furthermore, several episodes of Season 1 originally featured uncensored profanities. For example the Twilight Honest Trailer originally described Stephenie Meyer as "one of the shittiest authors of all time." However, the profanity was later bleeped out and pixelated. Censored profanities became standard practice for Honest Trailers in later seasons, presumably to ensure the videos remain monetized.

Season 1 is also when Honest Trailers found its voice in a more literal sense. Season 1 featured four different narrators: Ptolemy Slocum, Gannon Nickell, Dough Medlock and finally Jon Bailey, who has narrated the series ever since. Slocum left the series when it was mutually decided that his voice didn't suit the parody trailer format, while Nickell left due to his commitments to military service.

Writing Edit

A whopping total of 17 people are credited as writers on episodes of Season 1: Brett Weiner, Andy Signore, Alex Sargeant, Jess Lane, Jack Allison, Christian Lynch, Jason Mathews, Dan Perrault, Dave Child, Michael Busch, Gina Ippolito, Russell Eida, Todd Spence, Ian Weinreich, Daniel Hartley, Jason Shapiro and Spencer Gilbert. Along with Season 2, this is, by far, the highest turnover of writers in the series' history. Of all the writers, only Spencer Gilbert, Andy Signore, Brett Weiner and Ian Weinreich contributed to the series for any significant length of time. In particular, Spencer Gilbert became virtually indispensable to the series - he quickly became head writer and continues to write the series (and its spinoffs) in 2019.

Film selection Edit

Many of the movies chosen to receive the Honest Trailers treatment during Season 1 were among the most popular, widely-beloved movies of recent years, including Titanic, Avatar, The Avengers, Transformers, The Dark Knight, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Jurassic Park. Others were among the most widely-derided blockbuster movies of recent years, including The Phantom Menace, Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Prometheus, Iron Man 2 and the Twilight series. This is in total contrast to later seasons where Screen Junkies selected the subject matter for Honest Trailers based on trend surfing (that is, which movies were being released in cinemas or on Blu-ray/digital that week).

Popularity Edit

The very earliest episodes of Honest Trailers attracted a few hundred thousand views in their first week of release. This was considered moderately successful at the time. Since their initial uploading, all episodes of Season 1 have accumulated many millions of views each. The highest-viewed episode of Honest Trailers of all time is from Season 1: Ep 3, Titanic. In a 2013 interview with the NY Post, Honest Trailers co-creator Andy Signore was asked to explain why he thought Titanic was Screen Junkies most-viewed Honest Trailer. Signore replied, "I think its popularity was a combo of us writing really honest jokes about a film many people loved, and the fact that its thumbnail is of Kate Winslet’s bewbs!" The thumbnail was changed within days of Signore's termination amidst allegations of sexual misconduct in October 2017. In later seasons, the Honest Trailers series distanced itself from Signore's "boobs sell" approach to appealing to viewers.

Milestones Edit

Critical reception Edit

Season 1 is the most critically derided season of Honest Trailers. In fact, it is the only season of Honest Trailers to receive a significant number of negative write-ups, many of which disparaged the series' insulting attitude towards all movies, regardless of quality. For example, in response to the Skyfall Honest Trailer, Kevin P. Sullivan of MTV wrote an extensive article rebutting every point made in the Honest Trailer and called the series a "declaration of war against fun." Sullivan wrote that the Honest Trailers series was "originally intended to live up to its title and present previews in a way that more accurately represented the actual films. Somewhere along the way, 'Honest Trailers' has devolved into a series of nit-picky video essays that seemingly hates every aspect of the movies." (Kevin P. Sullivan, February 6, 2013, MTV).

Similarly, in mid-2013, Cameron Cook of Culture Mass argued that the early Honest Trailers were glaring examples of rising negativity culture. Cook wrote, "Youtube channel ScreenJunkies has been posting a series of Honest Trailers for everything from Harry Potter to Les Miserables, with one goal in mind–to say as many negative things about the movie as possible in a very short amount of time. They’re hugely popular. Sometimes the insults are warranted, but they’re often undeserved (or misinformed) jabs at pieces of popular culture that are easy targets to begin with.... Some movies are better than others, but when we can’t tell the difference anymore because of our need to make a snarky comment, we lose the love of that thing we had to begin with." (C. Cook, Mary 30, 2013, Nicolas Cage, Honest Trailers, and The Culture of Negativity, Culture Mass via the Wayback Machine).

In addition, some media commentators disparaged Season 1's style of "dude bro" humor, which included sexist comments, homophobic remarks, and rape jokes. For example, in response to the The Notebook Honest Trailer, Katey Rich of Cinema Blend asserted asserted that Screen Junkies misunderstood feminism and displayed a distorted perspective on relationships. Rich wrote "a woman calling herself stupid is not the end of feminism. Neither are Nicholas Sparks movies, particularly the decent ones like The Notebook." Rich also said "I'm bugged by the way this plays into the notion of a nation at battle, with girlfriends constantly trying to torture men with one sappy rom-com after another, and men sitting with their arms crossed wanting to watch Die Hard instead. Is that really what all of your relationships are like? Do you not ever find common ground?" (Katey Rich, CinemBlend). In response to the Skyfall Honest Trailer, MTV's Kevin Sullivan argued that Screen Junkies' comment that Silva "makes Bond gay" was "homophobic" and that Screen Junkies missed the point of the scene which was, in fact, a rape-threat scene.

Looking back on Season 1, the writers have said they agree the early Honest Trailers were too mean. For example, in a May 2017 interview with Polygon, Honest Trailers co-creator Andy Signore suggested, "there have been some cruel and mean-spirited jokes in their earlier videos that, in hindsight, the team probably didn’t need."

Awards Edit

Season 1 episodes Edit

# Movie / TV Show Date Uploaded
1 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace 3D 13 February 2012
2 Twilight 22 March 2012
3 Titanic 5 April 2012
4 Transformers 17 May 2012
5 Avatar 14 June 2012
6 The Dark Knight 16 July 2012
7 The Hunger Games 17 August 2012
8 The Avengers 24 September 2012
9 Prometheus 5 October 2012
10 Paranormal Activity 18 October 2012
11 The Amazing Spider-Man 1 November 2012
12 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 16 November 2012
13 The Twilight Saga: Eclipse 16 November 2012
14 The Dark Knight Rises (Feat. RedLetterMedia) 4 December 2012
15 The Lord of the Rings 11 December 2012
16 Inception 8 January 2013
17 Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull 22 January 2013
18 Skyfall 5 February 2013
19 The Notebook 12 February 2013
20 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 5 March 2013
21 Les Miserables 26 March 2013
22 Jurassic Park 2 April 2013
23 Harry Potter 16 April 2013
24 Iron Man 2 30 April 2013
25 Star Trek (2009) 7 May 2013
26 Fast Five (Feat. CinemaSins) 21 May 2013

See also Edit

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