The Spoony Experiment
The once high reviewer, now wallowing in the muck.
Spoony, known IRL as Noah Antwiler, is an internet reviewer that was a member of Channel Awesome. Unlike most of the "unwashed" masses at Channel Awesome, Spoony was a part of the Big Three, that is, one of the three most popular reviewers on the site. It can be arguably said Spoony went through two era's, excluding his origins, and now possibly a new third era.
The Scarlett Era
In late October 2008, Spoony was fired from his job. Instead of looking for a new one, which he could easily do having a computer science degree from Arizona State College, he decided to work on his videos full time and live on donations and sale of merchandise. Around the same time he met and got into a (later serious) relationship with a ladyfriend named Scarlett, whom he eventually put in charge of maintaining his website and moderating his forums.
Now having a lot of free time on his hand, Spoony began to update his site regularly, not with comedic reviews of video games and movies, the stuff that had earned him his internet fame, but with vlogs. Oh, these weren't ordinary vlogs either, these were 40 minutes leviathans of rage in which Spoony would rant about a single thing. Somehow, his one's on wrestling were successful, and Spoony founded a spin-off site called Wrestle! Wrestle! It was around here Spoony stopped being funny, and stopped updating with actual videos. But the storm only just begun...
The Mashable Awards Scandal
In 2009, Spoony won the "Funniest Person to Follow" title from the Mashable Awards show. After Spoony heard, he released a video with Scarlett commemorating the victory. But it was a hollow victory for Spoony, as his world crashed around him. Some people on the internet said his girlfriend was ugly! The video was only up for about an hour before being pulled, and Spoony scolded his fans for not much really. Back-ups of it are non-existent, as no one expected such a reaction from Spoony. It was the first real signs of something wrong.
The Spoony Experiment Forums and the Great Banning
The Spoony Experiment forums exist in strange dimension of their own reality. Mainly due to the site's insane arbitrary rules. Such as:
- Not signature exceeding X length because...BECAUSE!
- No discussions about politics, religion, or the news. Only movie and game talk! We can't have people disagreeing and discussing relevant issues!
- No mention of ED! INSTANT BAN! THEY ARE STUPID MEANIE TROLLS!
- Complaining about the ads and/or saying the ads are NSFW! That is how Spoony makes money you insensitive troll!
- No criticism of TGWTG reviewers! That's trolling!
- And whatever else mods feel like that day!
Most, if not all, of these rules were enacted by Scarlett as she had complete control over the forums. Spoony rarely visited the forums, but when he does bans happen.
Such was the case in 2009, when two posters took to disagreeing with Spoony over the use of an alternate version of his theme song in one of his videos, and the amount of cameos Spoony was doing.
—On the TGWTG crossovers.
—On the poor rendition of Spoony's theme used for his Mazes & Monsters review.
—HOW DARE YOU PEOPLE DISAGREE!
Taking this to heart, any person who has ever disagreed was permabanned. Spoony went rampaging through his forum halls smashing everything with his banhammer, and when the dust settled, nothing was left besides the most hardcore fanboys. Reviews ceased, and Spoony began covering video game cons and dabbling in "video game journalism", most likely on Blistered Thumbs' behalf. However, due to Spoony being incredibly tardy with posting videos, all his videos of conventions were usually posted a week after the con. Spoony also took fan entries for a contest he made, and posted them as his own to gain Blip revenue. What a kind way for Spoony to promote the videos! It truly was the end of Spoony.
The Post-Scarlett Era
In February 2011, Scarlett broke up with Spoony (obvious from the two's tweets), now believed it was because Spoony was getting angry at Scarlett for leaving non-serious, flirty replies on Twitter, making Spoony jealous. For a few months Spoony languished in a state of ennui, ignoring his schedule even though the videos and reviews he planned were largely done. Spoony covered E3 as well despite the fact every single website was streaming the conference live, making it rather pointless to cover, as well as only posting the videos days after E3 ended. It was obvious at this point Spoony is trying to turn over to video game journalism. The old Scarlett forum rules are still largely in place as well, although the current moderation team are showing signs of loosing them up and have given users kicked out doing Scarlett's reign of "niceness" a chance to appeal their ban. Spoony also began selling useless merchandise, such as signed photographs of himself. Wow. I really need one of those.
In November 2011, Spoony claimed his downward spiral was the result of clinical depression that was brought on as a result of Scarlett breaking up with him, essentially blaming her for his current state. Spoony never actually come out and said that, it's clear from his occasional depressive tweet he does. It was also revealed that Spoony has serious heart problems, and therefore fatigues easily, but how editing videos (where he gets held up the most) and playing video games is tiring is hard to say.
But then Spoony was now trying to get over his depression. He bought a dog for companionship, he lived his with his brother for company, and it seemed that Spoony has gotten his life back under control. While Spoony still wasn't great with updating with actual videos, he never was anyway, the ones he has been putting up are more in line of what was expected. It was typically during this time that Spoony updated his sites with a series called "Counter Monkey", in which he recounts interesting or bizarre happenings during his table-top RPG adventures. Like his previous blogs, they are also very long, but were easier to bear. Until...
The Great Meltdown
At some point in May, Spoony made a joke tweet to his co-worker JesuOtaku as followed:
Obviously it was meant to just be a simple obscene joke. JesuOtaku, being sensible, simply ignored it with an "...lol okay..." It was the equal of a high school girl arguing with her boyfriend on the phone, and then her 4chan study-buddy (who has still not gotten over getting dumped over a year ago) coming up to her and making that "rape joke", in which the girl then just ignores the friend and walks away. And that should have been it.
However, on June 16th as Spoony was going through a bought of severe depression on Twitter making comments about wanting to be a dog because of Scarlett, Obscurus Lupa (apparently a friend of Scarlett's) then stated her disdain for Spoony and brought up the off-hand joke as a mark of Spoony's character, with Bennet commenting as well. Unlike the last time it came up, fans took a ton of notice to "the joke" and some started calling for a boycott of TGWTG if he wasn't censured. Being called out and one to be sensible, Spoony then melted down on Twitter for 3 DAYS.
On June 19th, Spoony was suspended from TGWTG for 4 weeks, and things were calm. Things broke down completely later that day as more people piled on Spoony attempting to help him. Spoony's rage then escalated as he began blowing up on literally everyone and everything for 4 more days, the rage flying with incomprehensible tweets of Star Wars book titles, leaving broken friendships in his wake, all while making sarcastic non-apologies.
Early on, people began taking sides by blaming Lupa for intentionally starting drama, but as Spoony's E-MAD went on, especially towards those trying to help him, it became increasingly harder to take his side. During the debacle, old grudges Channel Awesome contributors had with each other surfaced, and Spoony blew up on every one of his supportive friends, co-workers, and peers, pissing off a large contingent of Channel Awesome's contributors. And in all of this, JesuOtaku did the thing Lupa and Spoony should have done in the beginning and ignored the matter entirely.
Finally on June 22, 2012, as the meltdown continued, Channel Awesome announced that Spoony had left their stable, saying that Spoony's direction had diverged from that of CA and that he was leaving largely of his own accord, and not because Lupa got him fired. According to Linkara, formal complaints from fans over his behavior were the reason he left. Rumors were that he was fired, but Channel Awesome VP Rob Walker clarified (2nd page of comments) that he chose to quit rather than remain subject to CA's policy guidelines. Spoony himself has verified this, but it hasn't stopped a lot of his fans from claiming Lupa was behind a conspiracy to get him fired.
This was probably a long time coming as Spoony's increasing abrasiveness and depressive nature was alienating friends and viewers alike. This may lead to better videos as Spoony will no longer be shackled by Channels Awesome's standards, but clearly Spoony first needed some emotional help.
After the meltdown finally ended, Spoony revealed that he saw a doctor and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He appears to have been getting help since then. His video production picked up about a month later as he finished his Ultima retrospective, with plans for a Final Fantasy XIII review in the near future.
In late August/early September 2012, the 4th-year anniversary movie from That Guy With the Glasses, To Boldly Flee, came out, in which Spoony played two major roles, making it his final appearance as a member of TGWTG. Ironically, it was the first TGWTG anniversary movie to go over well with Spoony's fans. If nothing else, it's a high note to go out on with TGWTG.
Three months after the incident, in September, Spoony recorded commentary for the TGWTG anniversary movie To Boldly Flee. In his commentary, he revealed that while his outburst was a large contributing factor in leaving TGWTG, there were also numerous impersonal business/finance-related issues behind the decision. For instance, in shooting the anniversary movies everyone would lose about two weeks of work. It was also difficult to promote himself due to TGWTG's poor site design and the politics behind it, as well as the TGWTG site not pulling him any traffic anyway for his videos. Furthermore, due to changes in TGWTG's future, such as opening a studio in Chicago, working with them would require more time and commitment than he was able to give. It would also mean Spoony having to turn done his comedy quite a bit as to not offend anyone. As such, rather than being the root cause of his departure, the June incident was simply the point at which it all came to a head. He continues to be on cordial, if distant, terms with most of Channel Awesome's talent and still collaborates with some of them on occasion.
The recent change in medication also shows how much better Spoony seems to be doing, being much less tired and happier. As he spoke of the Twitter incident in his commentary, he doesn't expect sympathy for his outburst and knows he still could have handled himself better. All in all, Spoony seems to be doing much better with an entertaining future ahead of him.
Noah Antwiler first gained visibility writing a movie review column for Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine, a gaming periodical from tabletop RPG company Kenzer & Co. His articles proved unpopular and he was let go, and he began posting written movie reviews on the Internet as "Tandem the Spoony", named after his bard character in Dungeons & Dragons (yes, it's a Final Fantasy reference).
After a short time as a blogger, Noah started plans to create a web series in the same format as Mystery Science Theater 3000, including robot puppets, but he only completed one of these puppets (Burton, later to become his mascot) and abandoned the idea. After this string of false starts, he began a general pop culture review series on the Internet titled The Spoony Experiment, his first big success.
The first episode of The Spoony Experiment was a review of the infamously hard NES game, Bayou Billy. The early episodes of the series featured a large focus on FMV game reviews, and he also branched out into Let's Plays (neither of which he does much of anymore).
Rise to fame
Spoony's first claim to fame was his Final Fantasy 8 review, which came off as a giant and successful trolling effort. Fans were pissed, and it was genially funny as he pointed out legitimate plot holes and poor gameplay ideas. The review even gained him some pseudo-praise on ED. It was around this time Spoony joined Channel Awesome, and become one of the most popular reviewers on the site.
Now no longer with Channel Awesome, Spoony did update his site maybe 5 times a month with a vlog's or far in between reviews. About a month after leaving TGWTG, Spoony resumed his then-ongoing Ultima retrospective and completed it one more month after that. A series on Final Fantasy 13 is upcoming.
—Spoony on taking care of fans.
- Gets made easily, for someone who basically trolls.
- Often dresses up in costumes to play side-characters related to his review, such as Squall, Tidus, Yuna, and Sephiroth from various "Final Fantasy" games; the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan from the WWF; and Terl, John Travolta's character from "Battlefield Earth". His most popular character is Doctor Insano, an over-the-top parody of mad scientists.
- Can be terribly unoriginal, such as his clone of Chester D. Bum.
- Helped launch the career of Brad "the Cinema Snob" Jones by hosting Jones's videos on his site after Jones was banned from YouTube.
- Once potentially committed manslaughter during his time working at Game Crazy by getting a co-worker to eat a 5 week old pizza he found wedged behind the store's toliet as a joke.
- Has had to deal with fans showing up unannounced at his house, in costume, and some of who refused to leave, forcing him to call the police.
- Has acted in four low-budget feature-length movies: the TGWTG anniversary films "Kickassia", "Suburban Knights", and "To Boldly Flee" (as himself, Doctor Insano, and/or Terl); and his friend Brad Jones's "The Cinema Snob Movie" (as Gene).