It was at a New Year’s Eve party, in the waning hours of 2014, when this website’s own Agent Justin said something to me that would radically alter my podcast listening in the early part of this year. “Have you heard of the podcast where two guys watch and review Grown Ups 2 every week?”
Immediately, I looked it up. It was called The Worst Idea of All Time. The hosts were Tim Batt and Guy Montgomery, two comedians and brave souls from New Zealand. They were watching the movie once a week, every week for one year. And they hadn’t even seen Grown Ups 1.
Over the two weeks it took me to catch up on the back episodes of the show, I became fascinated with the lives of these two heroes as they hit highs and lows grappling with the four headed beast that is Grown Ups 2. They had precious few allies to help them in the movie itself: Jon Lovitz, who made the best of bad material. Patrick Schwarzenegger, whom they called Patty Schwartz, and whose wild nature captivated them. And Tanya Akim, whose face is never seen on screen, but who makes a fun noise when the back of her head is hit by an ice cream scoop.
Not long after I started listening, they announced their intentions to see the movie for the 52nd and final time with an audience at the Cinefamily Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles, a city very close to where I live.
So, on February 17th, 2015 I sat directly behind Tim and Guy as they watched the movie one last time. Seeing the movie with that audience was fun. We cheered for Jon Lovitz. We delighted in Braden Higgens’ apparent water warlock abilities (a theory put forth by Tim after a few dozen watches). We, and this is not a joke, chanted “Tanya” over and over again for what must have been a solid minute after she was hit with the ice cream scoop.
Seeing Tim and Guy watch the movie one last time was weirdly moving. I’ll never forget during the last scene of the film, as Adam Sandler is talking to Salma Hayek’s pregnant belly (spoilers?), I looked down and I saw Tim lean over, kiss Guy on the forehead, and say, “We did it, buddy.” It was a beautiful moment.
When the movie finished, they recorded episode 52 of the podcast live on stage and then showed a little video packet that ended in a big reveal. The Worst Idea of All Time would continue for a second season, where Tim and Guy will watch Sex and the City 2 52 times. The crowd went nuts.
They’re now 27 episodes into that second season. It’s been a rough ride for them. Sex and the City 2 is about 45 minutes longer than Grown Ups 2 and it’s taking its toll on the boys. Even in season one, there were several episodes where they seemed genuinely distressed. And that’s what got me thinking: What is the appeal of this podcast?
I clearly like Tim and Guy a lot, so why do I enjoy hearing them suffer? Is it schadenfreude? Is the point of the show to listen to these two men lament wasting another two and a half hours of their lives on this garbage movie and laugh at their misfortune? I don’t think so.
Nobody asked them to host this podcast. What they’re doing doesn’t help anybody in any kind of practical sense. And the only reward they get for watching Grown Ups 2 or Sex and the City 2 52 times is that they don’t have to watch them anymore, a reward that you or I can get every day by simply choosing not to watch them.
Yet, still they do it. Plugging away every week for no other reason than that this was an idea they had. There’s something admirable about that level of commitment. There are so many podcast that are just people sitting around talking. At this point, Tim Batt and Guy Montgomery have spent over 150 hours cramming this awful fluff, the entertainment equivalent of asbestos, into their brains simply because they said they would. Hearing someone accomplish that much by setting their mind to it, regardless of how pointless it may be, is inspiring.
Oh, yeah. The podcast is also really, really funny.