The Ringer

Dotrat

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I'm pretty sure he meant important as "a lot of people watched each week and talked about it afterwards" but you seem like a pretty big BS fan so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
I used to be. Seems like a lifetime ago...
And I think that's the crux of why it makes me crazy. I think you nailed precisely what he means by 'important,' and I can think of many words to describe a show, movie, song, or artist that people enjoy talking about. 'Important' isn't one of them. For a writer (at least once upon a time) and a person who sees himself as pop-culture savvy, that kind of laziness or inattention to the words he uses is unforgivable. I just can't get past it.
 

Kliq

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I used to be. Seems like a lifetime ago...
And I think that's the crux of why it makes me crazy. I think you nailed precisely what he means by 'important,' and I can think of many words to describe a show, movie, song, or artist that people enjoy talking about. 'Important' isn't one of them. For a writer (at least once upon a time) and a person who sees himself as pop-culture savvy, that kind of laziness or inattention to the words he uses is unforgivable. I just can't get past it.
If you listen to it, it is a three minute conversation with Lowe at the end of Lowe's podcast. I don't think he was really doing a deep dive on the tournament; Lowe just asked him why it was so wacky and he basically threw up his hands and said "I don't know, it was their idea."
 

mcpickl

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My bad. What show am I thinking of that he refused to watch because everyone told him how great it was?
No, you had it right.

He didn't start watching the Wire until after season 4 had already aired.

He wrote about it at the end of this article.

 

Marciano490

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No, you had it right.

He didn't start watching the Wire until after season 4 had already aired.

He wrote about it at the end of this article.

Thank you. That was driving me a bit nuts. I haven’t read Simmons since like 2009 (insert joke here), but I remember him having this weird hipsterish aversion to starting The Wire because people said it was good and he didn’t want it to fall short of expectations but you could kind of tell he just didn’t like not being the one who “found” the show.
 

Cellar-Door

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So they had this "Greatest TV Characters of the 21st Century" March Madness style poll, and it kind of summarized everything wrong about The Ringer's pop culture mentality. That they have kind of a hive mind mentality and live in a bubble often outside of the public's perception of things. They did the seeding and chose the names based on staff recommendations, so this wasn't just one person's view of things. The seeding is a complete joke; worse than the names chosen. The most obvious is that PWB's character in Fleabag was a #2 seed and faced #15 seed Eric Cartman in the first round.

I haven't seen Fleabag, but I can imagine it is very good, funny show and PWB is great as the main star. That being said, let's take a look at the episode count from the 21st Century:

Fleabag: 12
South Park: 260

So of course in the public voting poll, Cartman upsets Fleabag. Then one of the Ringer staff members in the follow-up article writes about what a travesty this is, and that people were just remembering what they watched when they were 14 and were underselling the brilliance of Fleabag. I guess that is different than just voting for someone you started watching last year and not over the past 20. It was just dumb, and there are a lot of similar examples where shows of the past few years, even smaller niche shows like Fleabag, have multiple entries while wildly popular shows that might be a bit older (Lost, The Wire, etc.) have only one entry. Plus it ignores super-popular shows that maybe don't have the internet critical acclaim but are clearly very popular. Whether you are a fan of the Big Bang Theory, Family Guy or the Walking Dead or not, I think it is fair to say that Sheldon Cooper, Peter Griffin and Rick Grimes are among the 64 most memorable TV characters of the past 20 years.

Zach Lowe on his podcast asked Bill what was up with the tournament and why was Cartman so low, and Bill basically buried the tournament, saying that once he saw there was only one character from The Wire, he was out and it was just something the Ringer kids are doing.
I mean I get that it will lose in a twitter poll, but Fleabag is a much better written, fully developed character than Cartman, who essentially isn't even a character at all. I mean, Fleabag should be a 2 seed, she's the focal character of an amazing show, she's well written, has a remarkably fleshed out set of character traits and weaknesses, she progresses over an arc and changes. Cartman is 1 dimensional vehicle for mediocre jokes.
 

Kliq

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I mean I get that it will lose in a twitter poll, but Fleabag is a much better written, fully developed character than Cartman, who essentially isn't even a character at all. I mean, Fleabag should be a 2 seed, she's the focal character of an amazing show, she's well written, has a remarkably fleshed out set of character traits and weaknesses, she progresses over an arc and changes. Cartman is 1 dimensional vehicle for mediocre jokes.
But that is like, your opinion man.

The point of all of this is that if you are The Ringer, and you are creating this bracket for the public to vote on it, your opinion on the actual quality of the character shouldn't really be a factor in determining the bracket. You may think Fleabag is awesome and that South Park and Cartman are stupid and of irredeemable quality, but I can assure that many, many people would disagree with the latter. It doesn't actually matter how good you or I think an individual character is, the goal should be to create a bracket that best resembles what we think the public at large thinks about each character.

For instance, I think Meat Loaf is better than The Beatles. I could explain to you at great length why I think Meat Loaf is better than The Beatles. I'm sure I could find some people that agree with me on that. However, if I was putting together a March Madness style bracket of the 64 best rock music acts of all-time, I wouldn't slot Meat Loaf as a #2 seed and The Beatles as the #15 seed and then be shocked/angry when the public chooses the far more popular/famous/iconic act to advance.

At some point, fame and notoriety does matter. This is why my original comment was that The Ringer has an issue with a hive-mind mentality where the staff tends to greatly overrate the popularity of certain things. A similar thing happened when A Star is Born came out and they were pumping out an article a day on the movie, and then certain people on the staff were shocked when it didn't get as many Oscar nominations as they expected. The staff at The Ringer who chose the seeding clearly liked Fleabag a lot, but it should a remarkable disconnect with the general public when it was slotted as a #2 seed and Cartman, who whether you like him or not, is undeniably the driving force of one of the most iconic and successful shows in television history, as a #15 seed.
 

Cellar-Door

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But that is like, your opinion man.

The point of all of this is that if you are The Ringer, and you are creating this bracket for the public to vote on it, your opinion on the actual quality of the character shouldn't really be a factor in determining the bracket. You may think Fleabag is awesome and that South Park and Cartman are stupid and of irredeemable quality, but I can assure that many, many people would disagree with the latter. It doesn't actually matter how good you or I think an individual character is, the goal should be to create a bracket that best resembles what we think the public at large thinks about each character.


At some point, fame and notoriety does matter. This is why my original comment was that The Ringer has an issue with a hive-mind mentality where the staff tends to greatly overrate the popularity of certain things. A similar thing happened when A Star is Born came out and they were pumping out an article a day on the movie, and then certain people on the staff were shocked when it didn't get as many Oscar nominations as they expected. The staff at The Ringer who chose the seeding clearly liked Fleabag a lot, but it should a remarkable disconnect with the general public when it was slotted as a #2 seed and Cartman, who whether you like him or not, is undeniably the driving force of one of the most iconic and successful shows in television history, as a #15 seed.
I think we just disagree on what the point of the bracket seeding was. The seeding was supposed to be off their own ranking of the best characters, not the most popular. So yeah, that leads to an upset, but that's the thing about democracy, sometimes people make bad decisions.

I don't think it's group-think to say Fleabag is a better character than Cartman, if anything the argument is why Cartman is on the bracket at all over characters like... anyone on the West Wing for example. I'm not a huge South Park fan, but it is a popular show, that is sometimes really good, and sometimes not, what it isn't in any way is character driven. You could watch any episode of South Park in any order and be fine because there are no real character or plot arcs, it's just a housing for the jokes Stone and Parker want to tell that week. That's a perfectly fine approach, and I have no problem with an argument that South Park is a good show, or even maybe an important one. That doesn't mean the characters are good characters.

As to being shocked... I mean they're playing it up for engagement, that's the entire reason these click poll brackets exist is to drive engagement. They knew when they made the bracket that Cartman would probably win, the they were "shocked, shocked to find that there is gambling at this establishment" when the obvious upset happened. Though even the initial writeup when they launched the bracket noted that the seeding made it likely Fleabag got upset.
 

Marciano490

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Does someone need to have an arc to be on a character-driven show? Cartman has a defined set of characteristics (whoa) that drive his actions and reactions and that are familiar to viewers. Is the Simpsons not character driven? Or the Bond films?
 

Bongorific

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But that is like, your opinion man.

The point of all of this is that if you are The Ringer, and you are creating this bracket for the public to vote on it, your opinion on the actual quality of the character shouldn't really be a factor in determining the bracket. You may think Fleabag is awesome and that South Park and Cartman are stupid and of irredeemable quality, but I can assure that many, many people would disagree with the latter. It doesn't actually matter how good you or I think an individual character is, the goal should be to create a bracket that best resembles what we think the public at large thinks about each character.

For instance, I think Meat Loaf is better than The Beatles. I could explain to you at great length why I think Meat Loaf is better than The Beatles. I'm sure I could find some people that agree with me on that. However, if I was putting together a March Madness style bracket of the 64 best rock music acts of all-time, I wouldn't slot Meat Loaf as a #2 seed and The Beatles as the #15 seed and then be shocked/angry when the public chooses the far more popular/famous/iconic act to advance.

At some point, fame and notoriety does matter. This is why my original comment was that The Ringer has an issue with a hive-mind mentality where the staff tends to greatly overrate the popularity of certain things. A similar thing happened when A Star is Born came out and they were pumping out an article a day on the movie, and then certain people on the staff were shocked when it didn't get as many Oscar nominations as they expected. The staff at The Ringer who chose the seeding clearly liked Fleabag a lot, but it should a remarkable disconnect with the general public when it was slotted as a #2 seed and Cartman, who whether you like him or not, is undeniably the driving force of one of the most iconic and successful shows in television history, as a #15 seed.
This is a very good post and spot on with their A Star is Born take. I like the Big Picture, the Rewatchables, and BS. I’m usually onboard with their takes. I didn’t get it with ASB. That movie was...ok?
 
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It's weird to me that people are worked about about the seeding of a fictional character bracket. This stuff, like the old Drew Carey improv show, is "Where Everything is Made Up and the Points Don't Matter." The bracket is just a framework for an entertaining conversation about some meaningless crap, for people to listen to while stuck at home. It has been pretty good for that.

Also, Cartman, as a character, isn't great for the project, because a conversation about Cartman as a character would last about 45 seconds before the conversation has thoroughly, completely, and totally exhausted the topic of the character, Cartman. South Park might be long-lived and popular, surely not because it is a character-driven show.
 

HoyaSoxa

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They should just rename it a Mount Rushmore (with ten Presidents) of music festivals picked in a snake format. Voila! Totally an original idea that nobody has ever thought of for non sports content.
High Fidelity, a popular novel (then a 2000 movie, then a 2020 tv show) about a guy (girl in 2020) who makes Top 5 lists of everything, came out in 1995. And it was not a shockingly original idea then, either.
 

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Thank you. That was driving me a bit nuts. I haven’t read Simmons since like 2009 (insert joke here), but I remember him having this weird hipsterish aversion to starting The Wire because people said it was good and he didn’t want it to fall short of expectations but you could kind of tell he just didn’t like not being the one who “found” the show.
I don't think it's about discovering obscure stuff (although he does like discovery--can't find it now but he talks from time to time about discovering vegas), I think it's just that he doesn't want to seem like a nerd. As he told Malcolm Gladwell at the New York festival when he said the Coen brothers hadn't directed three great movies (and described A Serious Man as "artsy fartsy") "That's why I don't read Slate.com....A certain kind of person likes a Coen brothers movie."

 

kenneycb

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Russillo clearing out his living room to build a squat rack is the Russillo-est thing ever. Second would be holding petty grudges, of which I'm enjoying him consistently giving the proverbial finger to the guy who claimed he stole his idea.

That said, the irony of that with Simmons getting in a tizzy about the MLB trade value column from a couple years ago is not lost.
 

ElUno20

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Have there been any pod stats released since the shutdowns started? Today i realized i havent listened to Bill (or any other Ringer podcast) in almost 2 months. With working from home and limited podcasting listening time, ive cut down to basically 1 "essential" listen for me. It got me wondering how the shutdowns have affected all the pods (+ no sports).
 

Mystic Merlin

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Maybe they’ll record a 17th ‘Heat’ Rewatchables or release a series of clickbait retrospectives for the Cooper/Gaga ‘A Star is Born.’
 

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Have there been any pod stats released since the shutdowns started? Today i realized i havent listened to Bill (or any other Ringer podcast) in almost 2 months. With working from home and limited podcasting listening time, ive cut down to basically 1 "essential" listen for me. It got me wondering how the shutdowns have affected all the pods (+ no sports).
Ringer's been cranking them out, at least for the ones I listen to. The Rewatchables, for example, has been releasing twice a week instead of once.

I'm in the opposite boat as you. I do most of my listening while doing the outdoor portion of my job. Since the office has been shutdown, it's been all outdoor work for me. I've had more listening hours to fill and a few of my regular shows have slowed down or shut down entirely, so I've been having to try out new shows or go back and (re)listen to some back catalogs to fill time.
 

luckiestman

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Ringer's been cranking them out, at least for the ones I listen to. The Rewatchables, for example, has been releasing twice a week instead of once.

I'm in the opposite boat as you. I do most of my listening while doing the outdoor portion of my job. Since the office has been shutdown, it's been all outdoor work for me. I've had more listening hours to fill and a few of my regular shows have slowed down or shut down entirely, so I've been having to try out new shows or go back and (re)listen to some back catalogs to fill time.

The Rewatchables really holds up to repeat listens.

Something else I have been doing is going to Spotify* and searching certain guests and all their podcasts appearances show up. Chuck Klosterman has been on some podcasts I’ve never even heard of and the interviews were good.


*my preferred app is pocket casts but it doesn’t seem to search for guests as well as Spotify (at least as I know how to use it).
 

Domer

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The Rewatchables really holds up to repeat listens.

Something else I have been doing is going to Spotify* and searching certain guests and all their podcasts appearances show up. Chuck Klosterman has been on some podcasts I’ve never even heard of and the interviews were good.


*my preferred app is pocket casts but it doesn’t seem to search for guests as well as Spotify (at least as I know how to use it).
My podcast listening has also increased. I started listening to some classic ESPN-era BS Reports with guests I enjoy, most often Zach Lowe.
 

Euclis20

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Have there been any pod stats released since the shutdowns started? Today i realized i havent listened to Bill (or any other Ringer podcast) in almost 2 months. With working from home and limited podcasting listening time, ive cut down to basically 1 "essential" listen for me. It got me wondering how the shutdowns have affected all the pods (+ no sports).
Yeah, podcasts were something I listed to solely on my commute. I think I've listed to maybe an hour total over the last 7 weeks.
 

ElUno20

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Damn. Sadly im a little envious. 95% of my pod time was in the office, now ive taken up doing the dishes to squeeze in some pod time. The Ringer did not make the cut.
 

Kliq

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Personally I’m listening to more podcasts. Just swapped out my commute time with 90 minute daily strolls around the neighborhood.
 

johnmd20

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Personally I’m listening to more podcasts. Just swapped out my commute time with 90 minute daily strolls around the neighborhood.
Me too, on the stroll front. My podcast listening has increased quite a bit over the past two months. The Ringer has been delivering great stuff.

Just to note, Ryen Rusillo's podcast with Bryan Curtis this week was utterly outstanding. I highly recommend it.
 

tmracht

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Yeah, podcasts were something I listed to solely on my commute. I think I've listed to maybe an hour total over the last 7 weeks.
Exactly same boat. It's kinda sad but then again most were sports podcasts and they seem not as important.
 

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I saw today that the Cespedes Family BBQ guys are starting a podcast on the Ringer network next week. I enjoy their content generally but don't know how they'll do in a podcast format.
 

shlincoln

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Jake and Jordan have been making podcasts for about as long as there's been a Cespedes Family BBQ, first with the Barbecast and then the still extant Podcast About D3 Baseball.

I'll always follow whatever weirdness those two knuckleheads get up to because Jordan and I went to the same small D3 school.
 

Silverdude2167

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Is the Ringer doing all these stupid "Top 5" articles a by-product of Spotify's purchase because I am finding them annoying...
 

johnmd20

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Is the Ringer doing all these stupid "Top 5" articles a by-product of Spotify's purchase because I am finding them annoying...
The Ringer is a sports and pop culture (this includes movies) website. And here's the thing, you've been away a while, mabbe you haddnt heard, sports are currently not occurring at the present time. Movies are almost also not occurring at the present time.

So there hasn't been that much to write about. This is most certainly not related to Spotify, who probably does not care that much about The Ringer's writing arm, outside of the fact that they hope it builds the podcast brand.
 

Silverdude2167

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The Ringer is a sports and pop culture (this includes movies) website. And here's the thing, you've been away a while, maybe you hadn't heard, sports are currently not occurring at the present time. Movies are almost also not occurring at the present time.

So there hasn't been that much to write about. This is most certainly not related to Spotify, who probably does not care that much about The Ringer's writing arm, outside of the fact that they hope it builds the podcast brand.
It just feels so content-mill(y) (sp?), just write an article about the worst contracts etc, not the 5 worst contracts, and please stay away from the 5 best court designs, or uniforms.

Also, there are plenty of movies to write about if you need to find something to write about.
They could highlight stars, and genre's from the past if they wanted too. I would love to see an article on black specialty acts in Hollywood in the 30/40/50's and how they were maligned due to the color of their skin (this is a topic I find interesting). The site has always liked to dance around the edges of being "woke" and this could fit that.
 

The Filthy One

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I really feel for the writers at The Ringer and every other pop-culture site. It is a wasteland out there. I kind of like some of the shorter, pithier lists they've done. That said, they were definitely reaching for straws with their weeklong celebration of the one year anniversary of the end of Game of Thrones. Sheesh.
 

B H Kim

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Jake and Jordan have been making podcasts for about as long as there's been a Cespedes Family BBQ, first with the Barbecast and then the still extant Podcast About D3 Baseball.

I'll always follow whatever weirdness those two knuckleheads get up to because Jordan and I went to the same small D3 school.
I've listened to a few of these and enjoy them, but I'm disappointed that they appear to have replaced the Baumann/Lindbergh/Kram baseball podcasts.
 

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One show I've really enjoyed lately is The Mismatch, with KOC and Chris Vernon. It is a fun pairing, with KOC as the modern, young, analytical NBA writer, and Vernon as the older, more traditional beat reporter. They balance fun conversations with rational disagreements and they clearly like each other a lot, because they spend a good portion of the show cracking up.
 

JCizzle

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One show I've really enjoyed lately is The Mismatch, with KOC and Chris Vernon. It is a fun pairing, with KOC as the modern, young, analytical NBA writer, and Vernon as the older, more traditional beat reporter. They balance fun conversations with rational disagreements and they clearly like each other a lot, because they spend a good portion of the show cracking up.
Agreed, it's one of my favorites. I love KOC, but Vernon is a good cohost to manage KOC's over-optimism towards teams like the always future Suns.
 

Kliq

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Agreed, it's one of my favorites. I love KOC, but Vernon is a good cohost to manage KOC's over-optimism towards teams like the always future Suns.
Yeah that is why it works. They can disagree and it isn't like either of them are wrong, but they can reel in each other because of their different backgrounds and outlooks. I also just find Vernon's accent very fun. When Carmelo was still a free agent and KOC was going on about how he could potentially be a good role player as a stretch four that could set a lot of screens and Vernon just responded in full Tennessee accent: "Except he's never set a screen in his fuckin' life!"
 

luckiestman

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Agreed, it's one of my favorites. I love KOC, but Vernon is a good cohost to manage KOC's over-optimism towards teams like the always future Suns.
I’ve been listening to this one since it started and I thought Verno was around 55 years old until I saw a photo. Don’t actually know how old he is but he looks pretty young.
 

JCizzle

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The Ringer recently brought on Raja Bell to do a weekly podcast with Logan Murdock and he did a hit on Bill’s yesterday. Gotta say I’m a big fan, he’s been a great listen.
 

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I know there are a lot of deeply dug in opinions on Simmons, but it sure seems like he has an eye for young talent. Wonder if that new gig is The Athletic or something else.
 

tmracht

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I know there are a lot of deeply dug in opinions on Simmons, but it sure seems like he has an eye for young talent. Wonder if that new gig is The Athletic or something else.
He'd fit in quite well at a lot of places, Mays does a pretty good job in both print and podcast so I could see him going in a few directions.
 

kenneycb

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He hadn’t been on the NFL podcast for most of the offseason, so figured something was coming. Pretty sure he’s been in Chicago for a while too, so some separation from the LA office.
 

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10 Questions with Kyle Brandt(a new Ringer podcast) with Aaron Rodgers was awesome. Rodgers was incredibly illuminating and the questions are pretty funny, too. Random af but every question comes with a story and it goes into a variety of fun and interesting directions. I have never heard Rodgers be as open as he was on this. He comes off as a pretty solid human. And pretty knowledgeable across the board from music to stupid things like gifs to the world at large.

This is only available on Spotify. But if you have Spotify, it's worth listening to.
 

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Very happy to see Caddyshack get the Rewatchables treatment.

That said, their takes on The Blues Brothers are objectively wrong.
 

thebtskink

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Assuming they just stopped making Baby Ruth bars might be the strangest thing I've heard from Bill in a while.
 

johnmd20

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Assuming they just stopped making Baby Ruth bars might be the strangest thing I've heard from Bill in a while.
Yeah, that was kind of funny. And odd.

"Who makes them, anyway?" "Nestle, I think it was Nestle."

Who the fuck cares who makes baby ruths and what does it have to do with Caddyshack?