Episode 83 – Desperately Rebooting Susan


Mikey and Kris aren’t messing around this week. Things are serious… deadly serious… when Kris dies. Then is revived. After that, the boys:

  • Discuss what’s {wrong,right} with the depiction of air traffic control repair on the CBS drama </scorpion>
  • Try to figure out what the new fall shows are from just the titles
  • Take your topics to task with one you sent in! This time it’s shows and movies we’d remake or reboot. Send your topics to choose@chainsawsuit.com and we might use them on the show!

Special thanks to our patrons, among whom we count Jackson “Maxxin” Fenner, Marius “Hilarious” Furter, Michael “Bikehole” Koes, Kyle “Pile” Douglas, and Thomas “Thomas” Gilronan. Thanks all!

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50 Responses to Episode 83 – Desperately Rebooting Susan

  1. Peabody says:

    Mike Valverrrrde!

  2. Kyle_Douglas says:

    "That's why I was fine if the last Harry Potter had been split up into nine movies. I don't care. I want to spend more time with these people and if they're just playing chess for a whole movie, I'm perfectly okay with that."
    – Mikey

    It's interesting to have this come up right after last week. This type of attitude is basically the raw fuel for fanfiction. It takes a particular kind of engagement with characters and/or their world to be willing to read or write page after page devoted to what would normally be a rather brief scene. Like, say, a robot child being interviewed and detailed on a talk show.

    I don't think that type of deep immersion works very well for most fiction. The closest thing you tend to get is those "Locked in a Room" episodes of TV Series, but even that is always a stage for character studies, it's not Ron and Harry chatting over chess. You do occasionally get those long casual moments in video games with interactive dialogue, but I think the key there is interactivity.

    Jumping back a bit, it's always interesting to point out a perceived inconsistency or contradiction in someone's views or actions. But, I think it's also sometimes worth noting when something is consistent. The conversation near the start about performers and media sometimes making jokes or comments that you might be uncomfortable with is basically the same as the conversations about Lovecraft that have come up a couple of times except in a modern context. Kris and Mikey seemed to come to the same even-tempered conclusion that it's unfortunate and puts a dark cloud over it, but shouldn't necessarily stop you from enjoying the rest of the thing in question.

    Speaking of consistent: Mikey got mad about ghosts in 78 and now he's baggin' on aliens. I shudder to think what poor, unfortunate, totally-legit paranormality will be besmirched by 88.

    I was going to finally give in and watch Cabin in the Woods, but apparently it's no longer available on Netflix. So, I guess I'll be left opinionless on that topic for at least a whil—Oh! The Rocketeer is available on Netflix. Pfft, meta-horror stories? Whatever. It's time to jet!

    • Daphnetrodon says:

      I'm still not a huge fan of Cabin – I think it comes from not liking Joss Whedon's work/writing very much. I just can't get into him, I always feel like he's too proud of how clever he is. Kris described it once as Whedon coming off like he's looking right at the audience and winking at them, and I think that's the best description of it. Whedon writes great snark, but it's snark that feels… I don't know, it's hard to articulate. It's self-referential, but not in a good way, to me it's always come off as "Look how clever and funny I am for writing this". Cabin's a really well-made movie and you should probably check it out, because I know a ton of people who really loved it. It's not a BAD movie by any means, it's just not one I personally enjoyed overall. There's some great moments toward the end, though.

      I also just watched The Rocketeer last week on Netflix and oh my gosh was that a fun movie. That for sure I can't recommend enough.

    • Giggleloop says:

      Kyle, I think that might be a lot of the reason why I've read so much fanfiction over the last decade or so. Sometimes I love a show and its characters so much, I just want the rest of that universe to be filled out, instead of just seeing it for an hour a week. Those universes are so much bigger than that, and there are so many more stories to be told!

      It's not all just porn, honest! 😛

    • Giggleloop says:

      Thanks for the heads up about The Rocketeer being on Netflix btw. I haven't seen it in ages. I'll have to watch it this week! (Chainsawsuiter homework for the week: go watch Rocketeer, come back here & discuss!)

  3. Daphnetrodon says:

    I have to say I love when you guys take the time to dissect the writing process or comedy. It's a tricky subject for people, especially folks in my family – being black and a woman, it's hard for me to find comedians or stories that don't have something in it that's offensive or just unpalatable: it's sort of like I'm watching a show, minding my own business, and suddenly being smacked in the face and told "hey. This isn't FOR you. As far as the people who write this goes, you're weird and you don't matter". I know this isn't always the case but it's a difficult thing to surmount, and there's a lot of racially or sexually charged humor that just doesn't sit right with me.
    I think what it comes down to is knowing your audience. My parents are both pastors and when they talk to people who aren't part of their church, or religious, their phrasing and vocabulary is totally different from when they talk to people from church or religious leaders. They know who they can say what around, and a lot of comedians either don't want or don't care to find that out. But humor is most effective when it's aimed toward the audience that's currently involved, I think, and a lot of the 'why can't I say this offensive thing without people complaining?' questions I see comedians lament about online can be answered with 'because you're saying it in a place that isn't an echo chamber, and the people around you aren't always going to agree'.
    All this is to say that I really appreciate, once again, how thoughtful and self-aware you two are when you discuss your work and the writing process and comedy in general. I think that the both of you have always come off as nice, funny people with a lot of good stuff to say, and even on the rare (so rare I can't actually think of any instances) occasions a joke or something doesn't sit right with me, I know your hearts are in the right place. I think the way you guys are so sincere and honest while still being silly and having fun has earned that with the chainsawsuiters. At least, it has as far as I'm concerned.

    • thehess2 says:

      Nicely said, and I second the appreciation for Mikey & Kris giving us a look behind the curtain.

      In creative work, how aligned a creator's actual views are from the intent of the work can make a huge difference in both initial, and long term, audience acceptance (of them and/or the work):

      "I actually believe things that are objectively, quantitatively wrong" and "I incorporate those beliefs into my work". Not defendable in any way. Kyle referenced Lovecraft in his comment, which fits this bill – e.g. racism in author and content.

      "I have a range of beliefs, and I tolerate others" and "I create things that may provoke thought" = totally great. e.g. Chainsawsuit. :-)

      "I have a range of beliefs, and I tolerate others" and "I occasionally create something whose theme is questionable" = beliefs implied by the theme of the content become easily transferred by the audience onto the creator. Think Michael Richards, Daniel Tosh, etc. In the infinite backup, viral world of the internet, this bell is hard to un-ring. If this theme gets repeated, it starts to reinforce that it is the actual view of the creator, not just a one-off "criticize the art, not the artist" situation.

      "I actually believe things that are objectively, quantitatively wrong" and "I create(d) things that are orthogonal to those beliefs, and can objectively be considered beautiful separate from my persona" = murky waters. The example that came to mind, though not literature or comedy, is Richard Wagner. His music is incredibly beautiful, and the instrumental pieces especially have no political or racial context. However, his beliefs (not to mention being the favored composer of a genocidal maniac) have tainted his work to the current day.

  4. BostonSean says:

    I generally don't do this because I dont' think it's helpful usually but
    Mikey, this is an intervention.
    The Self-aware commercial announcer bit is old.
    i don't think you are aware how often you use this comedic device. Hearing the announcer sigh into the mic and say "or whatever" has become my center square in Chainsawsuit bingo.
    With all honesty from the bottom of my blackened heart, this is my one constant complaint about the show.
    I love every part of the show I will continue to be a Patreon I don't want you to think me a troll.
    But move on it's been over a year of commercial announcer breaking.

    • BostonSean says:

      ahh shoot i need an edit button, I love every OTHER part of the show…

    • ThomasG says:

      I get this point. Sometimes this doesn't work for me. a few of the earlier commercials were quite prone to this not helping.

      I thought it worked well this week. It can be kind of jarring when the guy's having a conversation with his script and the studio cuts the sound for his commentary, but (sort of spoilers?) this week's use of an interview dynamic made it more of a classic straight man / silly guy setup (or whatever the crap they call it)

      I loved the commercials this week.

  5. Tazsul says:

    Harry Potter 9: Harry Potter and Ron Weasley play Chess
    Starring Daniel Radcliff and Emma Watson
    Synopsis: Harry and Ron play a rousing game of wizard chess. Hermione reads a book and pets Crookshanks.
    Run time: 89m

    Now I want to make a movie poster.

  6. My own personal guess at CSI: CYBER:

    Danny Wyfi(pronounced WHY-IF-EE), an infamous hacker who plays by his own rules, is arrested for countless accounts of cyber-crime but is given the option to pay his dues by working for the cops. He is partnered with the by-the-book forensic scientist Marina Webber, who has no knowledge of computers, and together they have to take down the worst the information superhighway has to offer, by investigating crime scenes entirely through the internet. But they are always haunted by the infamous hacker ‘the Spider’, who killed Marina’s father all those years ago by sending him a deadly virus through his e-mail. Tagline: You can’t catch a web with a net.

    The pilot features the duo catching a hacker trying to steal the Pentagon’s secrets, culminating in a deadly hack-battle where Danny has to send the most 1s and 0s or else the terrorist will be able to assassinate the president by hacking his personal handgun.


    (first line)DETECTIVE WASHINGTON JEFFERSON: Mr. Johnson, I’m sorry. There’s been an American crime.

    DETECTIVE WASHINGTON JEFFERSON: But where did this crime take place?
    FORENSIC ANALYST ABRAHAM FRANKLIN: That’s the thing. It happened in America.

    DETECTIVE WASHINGTON JEFFERSON(voiceover): Crimes happen in America every day. But some crimes are more American than others.

    DETECTIVE WASHINGTON JEFFERSON: Looks like ‘the Patriot’ has claimed another victim.
    POLICE COMMISSIONER ROOSEVELT TRUMAN: But HOW, Jefferson?? How does this happen in AMERICA??

    DETECTIVE WASHINGTON JEFFERSON(bitterly examining corpse that was smothered with an American flag): Land of the free, home of the brave. More like land of the dead, home of the dead.

  8. Jor-El says:

    I'd like to see some of the comic films of the 80s/ 90s that failed or didn't do so well get a reboot, now that we have a better understanding of how to do a comic book film "correctly". Howard the Duck, The Shadow, or newer stuff like The Incredible Hulk for instance.

    • Giggleloop says:

      I absolutely second The Shadow. For a while, I got really into listening to the old radio serials and he's such a cool character. I'd love to see a decent Shadow movie.

  9. SorryMikey says:

    I don't like being negative but Mikey has been really really irritating lately.

    • Jor-El says:

      Well, it would maybe help if you explained what you found irritating.

    • MikeyNeumann says:

      Feel free to expand on that.

      • SorryMikey says:

        I guess I would have to say that you sound really downtrodden most of the time. I miss when you and Kriss joked back and forth. These last few months you've just been so much more serious. And I know that's a good thing once in a while, but it feels like it's becoming the norm. Like you're drifting apart. Maybe I'm just afraid of change.

        Anyway I love your work. Returners is really cool.

        • Giggleloop says:

          As a counterpoint to that, I would say that if their headspace has been more relaxed and less super funny lately, then I prefer the reality of that, to forcing and trying to go for laughs when they're not feeling it. No one should have to be "On" all the time, especially if they've got a lot of things going on, as I'm sure they both do.

          My feeling is that, the podcast works best (for me anyway, your mileage may vary) when it feels like just friends hanging out, and seeing what happens. Quizzes and games are always fun, but if it becomes a rut of "well, have to do another quiz this week because that's what we do now", that takes the joy out of it a bit. The reason Choose A Topic works so well is because you get to just see what comes out of it. Sometimes it's insanely hilarious, and sometimes it's super serious, or anywhere in between.

          Just my two cents. I didn't think this episode would be so divisive, I'm a bit surprised. But, keep on keeping on, fellas.

      • I've enjoyed the past few episodes thoroughly. But, I would say that over those same episodes there are about 4 or 5 times where Kris is joking and your response was to shut it down. Either with an "okay" or dissection. But, like Giggleloop says the realism could be nice, perhaps I'm feeling too much animosity from that and I don't like seeing Mommy and Daddy fight. (You guys can determine who has what role)

  10. Arzey says:

    It's challenging to find that you guys have misgivings about the RedLetterMedia crew. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, but it did bum me out a little to hear it. I enjoy Chainsawsuit and RLM both. In fact, I think I'd hold up both websites above all others as the funniest content on the web right now. You guys make a big effort not to be hurtful with your comedy, and I have a lot of respect for that. You make me laugh in very unique ways, and I think you should be proud of your style of humor.

    But I confess that some jokes courting the offensive also make me laugh. I've thought about why that is. Maybe it's because I'm a bad person. That is a possibility. But I've also heard it said that humor is a subversion of expectation? I don't know if that can be a complete definition of humor, but I can at least see how it is one valid example of humor. And if expectation and humor are closely linked, then is audacity not inherently kind of funny?

    Don't get me wrong. I do know what it means to be offended by a joke. There are certain jokes that I have to turn off the TV to avoid. I'm not just saying that. There really are. I don't want people to have to feel that way, and comedians shouldn't think they can just be mindlessly offensive and expect laughs. But I have to say, I'm okay with dangerous jokes, as long as the intention behind them is not truly malicious. I wonder how you guys feel about this.

    (First time making a serious comment please don't hate me! <3)

    • MikeyNeumann says:

      I hear ya. I still watch all of the RLM stuff; more just making an observation that they could stop with the down syndrome photos and calling things retarded. It's the aspect of their comedy that never lands with me and pulls me out of it — so I jumped in with the comments when it came up.

      Don't mean to bum you out. You're not being judged. Love what you love.

      • Arzey says:


        Actually I guess I don't recall those jokes. They do sound kind of mean-spirited. You're probably right in the first place.

      • Chloister says:

        I don't understand why an entertainer with an otherwise well-regarded repertoire of jokes and insights would bother hanging on to those other mean-spirited ones. I would never want to cater to the people who find that stuff funny. Plus being offensive for shock value is lazy and cheap.

        I'm pretty sensitive though. I haven't learned how to enjoy an entertainer while still being critical of some of the things they think and say. I just let it color my perception of them permanently, which isn't much fun for anyone.

  11. SheanaM says:

    Man, RedLetterMedia. They could be quite amazing reviews, funny as hell and well paced and plotted as well, but they seriously got way too into including some really cringe-worthy and completely unnecessary unpleasantness. Not just the autism mocking, either. I mean, who spends so much time and care in making such thoughtful work, and then also goes "you know what's missing from this review? a solid ten minutes of really unsettling and upsetting serial killer-style abuse of a kidnapped woman sobbing and screaming for her life"? The final straw for me was the Star Trek reboot "metaphorical short film" review that likened their experience with the movie to a woman getting mugged & raped and then going 'hey that wasn't so bad' afterwards. I mean, C'MON.

    It's a tough call when it comes to rebooting some '80s movies. There's a lot of the charm that doesn't quite exist today, as you mentioned! But then I think back to all the movies from then that I loved as a kid, like Short Circuit and The Goonies and Crocodile Dundee and the like, and then I go 'oh. ohhhhh.' Because hey turns out there was a LOT of pretty problematic stuff in those movies that would not fly in the slightest today. We need to find that sweet spot right in the middle!

  12. Giggleloop says:

    As I said above, I'm honestly surprised that this episode seemed to be so divisive for folks, as I enjoyed it. But then, as I've said before, I always enjoy when y'all go deep into a subject and just discuss it for a whole segment. So in that way, this didn't disappoint me at all.

    Liked your commercial, Mikey. They seriously need to rename History Channel at this point, or at least put it in some huge quotes: " History " Channel. (Also, feel free to just use that Texas voice on everything, & I'd be perfectly fine with that. I am the easiest of marks for that stuff.)

    Kudos to Shannon for being THE chosen topic this week. Good on ya, girl! :) Such great discussion. Cabin in the Woods would make a great MWM. If only so I can geek out and be a Joss fangirl for a bit. (OK and Drew Goddard)

    I enjoyed the aftershow discussion also. Talking about The Ending made me dive back into my reread today. Almost out of chapters now. Quinn questions abound in my brain, gee thanks 😛

    In closing, just wanna say thanks for streaming every week as part of the Patreon goodness. I'm sure it's not the easiest thing to juggle schedules around, and maybe things will settle into a routine in time, but I enjoy the hell out of hanging out with my fellow 'suiters & seeing the show be formed from the ground up. I want y'all to succeed, and if I had more to give, I'd gladly do so. But the smiles and fun I get in return for my investment are worth every penny. Y'all are the best. :)

    • StevenS says:

      I’ve listened the occasionally since around Episode 40, and recently I gave it another try and listened to Episode 70 up on through to today’s. I started because I’m a fan of Kris’s sense of humor. I’m not trying to be negative but I had some thoughts on this because I noticed it as well recently.

      I like this show best when Kris and Mikey riff on about stuff they can both get excited on. You can tell that they are having fun. But I get the sense sometimes that Mikey isn’t as interested in a fun conversation as he is in arguing he’s right or that he is knowledgable on the topic. Especially when they talk TV or movies, which happens a lot lately. Maybe that’s contributing to the serious mood.

      He can dominate Kris somewhat, and Kris is easy to dominate (Sorry Kris). This maybe isn’t a huge surprise to me since I used to listen to Webcomics Weekly where Kris talked the least even if he had the funniest thing to say when he finally did. But for a show named Chainsawsuit I didn’t expect him to be the quietest.

      The commercials are almost always funny and get laughs out of me. The quizzes feel tacked on at times somewhat. I would say do a quiz when you have a good idea for one, not because you need to have a quiz or a game or a skit every episode.

      It’s clear that it can be a great show and the Patreon campaign seems to be doing amazingly well. But I agree and think I like the podcast best when it’s doesn’t try to be something else. Quizzes, songs, improv sketches generally are ok and sometimes amazing, but are also the most inconsistent. Anyway sorry to be negative in my first comment. I don’t mean to troll but it seemed like some comments this week were reading my mind for some reason.

      • Giggleloop says:

        First, let me preface this by saying that I am notoriously crappy at giving constructive criticism, or often any criticism at all. I've never been good at it, maybe because I'm always super afraid to say something to hurt someone's feelings? So I tend to focus on the positives and things I *did* like instead. That's just me.

        That said, I don't think you're trolling at all. You did make some good points, absolutely, and I can see where you are coming from with all of them for sure. Mikey just by his nature tends to be more…I don't know if boisterous is the right word exactly, but definitely he feels comfortable taking the lead on the conversation. Similarly, Kris seems content most of the time to sit back and let that happen. So maybe honestly, both the guys need to work on that a bit?

        As you said, you like the podcast best when it doesn't try to be something else. I can agree with that – when things feel forced (episode 43 comes to mind just off the top of my head, having listened to it recently), you can tell. And if the two of you aren't feeling funny for whatever reason, that is okay. I prefer honesty over comedy any day. (Again, that's just me.)

  13. MikeyNeumann says:

    I'll try harder next week.

    • BostonSean says:

      I feel responsible for this, perhaps that's conceited to think that way but i feel i got the ball rolling on the "Do better Mikey"
      It was not my intention Mr. Neumann, not for everyone to jump down your throat this week.
      I think you are a brave man, braver then myself that's for certain, barring (baring?) your soul for us all every week regardless of the criticisms. You are an artist.
      and let's face it you are far better at communicating an idea than that Kris Straub hack! Who does he think he is anyway?

    • Chloister says:

      No, Mikey. You do you.

    • I have to agree with a lot of the posts that the show is fun when you guys are just two friends hanging out. I enjoyed the episodes where you felt like being serious just as much as the ones where you are both joking back and forth. I guess what I'm trying to say is be yourselves and do what feels right.

  14. Jor-El says:

    So, I suffered through the pilot of Scorpion (which is the planes that can't land episode) out of curiosity

    … And there is no reason given for why just one of the planes can't land at the clear runway they're doing the car hijinks on. Like, it basically landing already, just touch that thing down.

    Also, this is a universe where you can't just roll back to a previous version of the software because the older version gets perma-erased on the server side?

    • MikeyNeumann says:

      Then I stand wholly corrected … seems to have been misinterpreted pretty egregiously anyway.

      • Jor-El says:

        They do explain why they can't download it from another airport or from previously landed planes (but kind of in a bad way since again, why is the previous software version being wholly erased) so they at least gave that some thought.

  15. Giggleloop says:

    Just putting it out there too: if you guys do get well and truly swamped, especially with holidays approaching, I don't think any of us would begrudge you taking a break to recharge. Maybe that's naive, because I know that work doesn't just stop coming in, that there's no finite end to an ongoing job like being an artist, but if it's needed… your overall wellbeing & sanity are more important than amusing us. Ya goofs. ♡

  16. Giggleloop says:

    I wonder, those of you who feel like the tone has changed lately – do you think it's been since they started filming live for the patrons? Because maybe some of it could be attributed to the adjustment of knowing that they have viewers watching the process unfold, & maybe they're subdued as a result? I'm sure after 80 episodes (most without a live audience), it's a bit of a shift to get used to. Just a thought!

  17. frostyplum says:

    I'm so tempted to put off this comment until I can whip up a decent McEnroe (I know I'm spelling that wrong) Enterprises poster. Later, perhaps.

    I love that the remake segment went so long, but I think the sight may have been lost a little. It didn't have to be just charming '80s movies, it could be ANY movie, ever. Hell, you could reboot Casablanca (don't even think about it). '70s movies are ripe for this, to me. My thoughts immediately go to Logan's Run: I loved the concept, but the execution was ridiculous. I'd love to see a remake of Soylent Green, too; the iconic nature would be a big challenge, but I think it could be done. Personally, I'm *thrilled* for the Mad Max reboot, cuz you know what? Didn't like the original that much. That new trailer got me more excited over movies than I've been in a long time.

    Random notes:
    Kris: "Seattle's the wrong crowd for transgender jokes." Is there a "right" crowd? …Should there be?
    "The this planet" in Mikey's commercial got me, as did "Tuesday on CVS: Gummy worms, 59¢ a pack." And that blow…I kept listening to see if you guys'd come back, laughing the entire time. I'm on the fence about whether or not "coming to fruition" will catch on as a euphemism.
    I enjoyed Mikey's commercial, especially the back-and-forth and the "but when I talk like this it's all scary" bit, but I can see how it can sound like over-treading familiar ground. A break actually does sound kind of nice, especially over the holidays. Maybe after the Christmas special?

  18. krisstraub says:


    no, no. i didn't read these for much longer.

    our show will continue to evolve as we go, and it's one of the things i like about it. thank you for pretty much all of you keeping it civil. there was another civil comment i had to unapprove, but only because it mentioned The Movement That Does Vanity Searches Then Fights In Your Comments.

    i know i have difficulty asserting myself. it's my biggest problem. we've tried to be honest with you guys so i'm not surprised you're honest back!

  19. LMcCJ says:

    [Took me a while to finish. I'm baking cookies for Becky, blame her.]

    Loved the *2* buttons (is that the right word?) this episode. The one at the end of the Sinise mention and the one at the end of the show. Now that you've educated me about them I listen, constantly on edge, waiting, trying to guess. I've become a tense listener.

    And holy f'k, people, put the score cards away. Allow Kris and Mikey their multidimensionality.

    Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year 'suitors!

  20. Tyler Coleman says:

    I thought for sure your bit on American Crime was a mislabeled bit on American Crime Story, which is a dramatization of the OJ case (which features a young Californian couple being murdered and a bunch of racial politics), and you had just somehow found a synopsis that left out the whole 'OJ' thing.

  21. Elieux says:

    I was listening through my backlog of Chainsawsuit podcast episodes and I finished ep. 81 today and then I saw another 81 in my player. My confusion only grew when I listened to it and heard you talk about some of the things that you talked about in the other 81, again. (See the MP3 filename.) I like how the situation matches the episode's title.

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