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Author Topic: Norm Sherman co-hosting Escape Pod (or is it Mr. Nunez?)  (Read 16599 times)
Swamp
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« on: September 26, 2009, 12:34:50 AM »

I thought this discussion deserved its own thread.

First of all let's hear from the man himself, Norm Sherman:

Just a co-host folks, no worries!  From what I understand you'll only have to deal with me on a somewhat consistent basis. 
For what it's worth, I was expecting this week's story (Kress) to be my "hey everyone!" episode, not Boyfriend, which perhaps was a bit guilty of excessive and acute Normisms... (these shows are recorded well in advance, btw.)  Sorry if you were left a bit befuddled.  I'll only say things like "glory hole" in R rated stories, and I'll be Mr. Nice Norm in any others, pwomise.
 
In general, I'll do my best to set the story up well and leave you with a decent-enough taste in your mouth after the show is done. 
I'm not Steve Eley at all.  I love the guy, but if I tried to be him I would fail miserably. 
I'm Norm, and while your criticisms are more than welcome and considered on my part, I am who I am, and that's who I'll continue to be, because that's why I'm here.  Similarly, Escapepod will continue to be what it is: a great frikkin science fiction podcast, and what I say won't change that at all, because-- even though Steve is amazing-- what got us all here is the great science fiction, right?
However,...

That said, I also don't want to detract from the effectiveness of Escapepod as a whole.  Gimme a lil time, and if my style begins to rub most people the wrong way, then I'm not too stubborn to tone it down.  Because again, this isn't about me, it's about the stories.

Here are the supporters:

Great new co-host. 

Where did you dig this guy up? 

and the new guy was pretty good too

Oh, and also Norm Sherman makes me very, very happy.

As for Norm, I love his intros, and found myself snorting out loud several times (to the alarm of my co-workers) at his dry and off-beat humor.  I believe EP's in good hands.

Liked Norm

I LOVE having Norm as co-host!  I can see how this is going to be great for Escapepod.  If you listen to his music you know how witty and hilarious he is.  If you listen to his show you know how great his hosting and narration is.  While I cracked up at his Nigerian online relationship and Iphone Glory-hole application, I agree that this was maybe an over-dose of his style and sense of humor.  It was all in the spirit of the story yes, but maybe a "Hey everyone I'm the new guy, Norm, not Steve, here's a few weird/mild jokes to get you acclimated" would have helped the transition here, rather than full-blown Norm-on-sexy-cyber-talk.  Lil' all the sudden.
In humor and pop culture, I'm normally the girl who's like "what, why does everyone think this guy is awesome?  That was lame!"
But with Norm I've gotta side with the majority here.

Norm just needs to settle in to the gig.  It takes a while to figure out what works for each audience.  Al went through the same thing at PP.  Now his monologues are my favorite part of PP

Here are those with mixed feelings:

I wasn't going to say anything, but I'll chime in regarding Mr. Sherman. 
Drabblecast is one of my favorite podcasts, and I wish every episode had a long, meaty intro from Norm.  I listen to Drabblecast B-sides, and if he did another one I would listen to that.
However, I found myself wishing he would get to the story on EP.  I can't explain it other than I was used to the Escape Pod brand.  It's like going into McDonalds and finding fried plantains instead of fried potatoes.  Not bad, but not really what you were looking for and used to.  Personally, I'm a little warey of Norm on the Escape Pod.  Norm is awesome, and I'm happy he has the exposure and I wish him all the exposure in the world, but this means a little less diversity in my playlist.

It is an abrupt change, I sure do agree with that and it will take a bit for me to get used to him.  I do like Steve more, tho Norm ain't too bad.   He was speaking truth when he talked about losing a sexy teacher and getting some freak.  because when all is said and done, will you have benefited from listening to these episodes?

Norms attempted humorous intro to the last episode "boyfriend" caught me by surprise and I wondered how much I was really gonna like this guy.  This week I thought he was kinda insightful and funny.  So I'm waiting for more before I formulate my opinion.

Here are the naysayers:

In the minority of one again ... I hated Norm's hosting style.  Just trying too hard to be funny, and Epic Failing.  I don't remember him being nearly so obnoxious the time or two that he guest hosted EP, but this was almost insufferable.

I love Norm's voice but strongly disliked his sense of humor on this one.  I agree, he was trying too hard.

No, sorry Norm, no fried plantains for me (what are they?) I may just have to 'LA LA LA' through the intro and push through to the stories.

Intros and outro needs work. DI don't think it blended with the story.

Perhaps I should try the drabblecast as well, to get some sense of his style or to become immune.

I'm sure it has been said before, but I never like the sound effects in the intros, or the lame humor. I understand that Norm means well, and his voice is expressive and excellently recorded. Its just the staginess that is an abrupt change. I don't mind having another host. But such an extreme style change in the intros is offputting.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 01:03:17 AM by Swamp » Logged

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Swamp
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2009, 01:24:03 AM »

So here's my take:

When people started saying negative things about Norm, I was thinking, "What do you mean you don't like Norm as co-host?  We know his style from Drabblecast.  What did you expect?  This is Norm."  Then I realized that not everyone that listens to Escape Pod listens to the Drabblecast.  There really are two different crowds.  Just because I intermingle, doesn't mean everyone else does.

When the whole co-host idea came up, I was a little leary of it.  But then most recently when Steve announced that Norm would be the official co-host, eliminating the possibity of a rotating cast, I felt better.  (The rotating cast works for PC because that is how they started out.)

So I am very pleased that Norm is on board and think he will settle in just fine.  The switchup of the episodes may have caused Norm to come on a bit too strong for those not familiar with him, but won't matter in a few months.

I also realized that this forum can be a tough room sometimes.  I think that can be both good and bad.  Then again, I think about the Drabblecast and its loyal audience (including me).  What if Steve Eley went on the Drabblecast as co-host?  How would he be received?  I think that would be a very tough room as well.
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Jason M
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2009, 01:29:28 AM »

I don't listen to Drabblecast.  I personally don't like Norm's style.

I don't have a problem with him co-hosting on occasion, but it would be enough for me to give up on Escapepod.
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Russell Nash
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2009, 03:23:32 AM »

I remember when Norm came into the forums talking about starting a podcast.  He got ripped up one side and down the other by some of our writers.  Norm took it in and upped his game.  He did the same once he launched the Drabblecast.  I think if we give him honest, constructive criticism, he'll find what works here too.  He's never going to be Steve, nobody could be, but I'm confident he'll be a good EP host.
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BethPeters
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2009, 03:27:19 AM »

I don't listen to Drabblecast.  I personally don't like Norm's style.

I don't have a problem with him co-hosting on occasion, but it would be enough for me to give up on Escapepod.

Yes, I second Zathras.  I have no problem at all with Norm hosting on occasion.

However, I have to say that if he does, it will also be enough for me to give up on Escapepod entirely forever. No problem, but nice knowing everyone.  Laterz.  

Joking aside, I don't see how this is a debate.  I can see how non-Drabblecast listeners might not be used to Norm, but most will get used to him if they don't become Drabblecast subscribers eventually (Drabblecast is Escapepod quality or better but shorter stories with the best production you've ever heard.)
Otherwise, the same folks here will yammer about ANY new voice that speaks for 2 minutes before and after, just for lack of better things to do.  If you are so picky on your FREE weekly science fiction that  a new occasional co-host for a few minutes will turn you off and make you quit altogether, then good luck and good riddance.  Hey, start you're own show if you want, with better SF stories than Escapepod; be more interesting than Norm yourself, give it a go.  Dare ya.  

I know the Escape Artists execs are trying to find solid ground right now, and I for one think that the stories (aside from this week) have been extremely strong for a while now, and that Norm mixed with Al and Steve and others will continue to make the show more entertaining.  I've listened to EP for a long time.  The show is doing great, as is Norm.
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eytanz
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2009, 04:16:54 AM »

Joking aside, I don't see how this is a debate.  I can see how non-Drabblecast listeners might not be used to Norm, but most will get used to him if they don't become Drabblecast subscribers eventually (Drabblecast is Escapepod quality or better but shorter stories with the best production you've ever heard.)
Otherwise, the same folks here will yammer about ANY new voice that speaks for 2 minutes before and after, just for lack of better things to do.  If you are so picky on your FREE weekly science fiction that  a new occasional co-host for a few minutes will turn you off and make you quit altogether, then good luck and good riddance.  Hey, start you're own show if you want, with better SF stories than Escapepod; be more interesting than Norm yourself, give it a go.  Dare ya.  

Beth, while I understand what you're saying, I think you should think about your own tone here. You may be a long-time EP listener and fan, and we all appreciate it, but this forum has been around for a long time, and it has its own culture, which has been actively develoed and encouraged by the EA authorities (esp., in early days, Steve). And part of this culture is - everything is a debate. We keep the tone civil, but everyone here is welcome to give their opinions on any aspect of the podcast. This has been, as I said, welcomed by the people running the podcast. There are rules to this - one of them, as I said, is we keep the tone civil, and the other is that EA doesn't have to do something just because the forum wants it to. Norm, Ben, and Steve, make their own decisions, but I haven't heard a single one of them telling people to stop giving feedback on Norm as host - positive or negative. Another one of the rules is that we give feedback on the podcasts, not on other forum posters. I know your intentions are good, but I think you'll find that your own posts so far as going to be less appreciated by the people you are defending, than the posts of the people who are criticising them.

As for my own opinion - I love Drabblecast, and I love Norm on Drabblecast. I'm not so sure I love Norm-on-Drabblecast-on-Escapepod. But I agree with Russell - these things take time, and they happen naturally. I have every faith in Norm that he will end up with a variation of his hosting style that works for EP, and another one on Drabblecast. It's not like his Drabblecast hosting style hasn't evolved over the years. So my point is - I'm in the "not sure it's 100% working now, but am more than willing to give it time" camp.
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Praxis
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2009, 05:12:55 AM »

I'm with Beth Peters (athough of course I do not condone any lapses in EP tone and will be sending some sort of dragon her way to scare into not doing that again): The stories that we can listen to (and the vast majority of people do this for free) on Escape Pod, Podcastle and Pseudopod *are* the point of the podcast.

And as much as I can see that if someone found an intro grating or over the top or just not the same style they might not be happy about it, I can't see a lot of people cutting out listening to any of the podcast.

But, y'know, if someone (even long term listeners to the stories) feels that the intro is too much, I'm sure there is some sort of alternative, high quality, weekly, freely available, SF podcast featuring the best writers who have ever lived (and sometimes some of the not so best).
Possibly.......I mean, I can't think of one but...........maybe Google could help.

Personally I don't have a problem with Norm - he has huge respect for Steve and EA in general.  The show's in good hands, host-wise.
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Jason M
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2009, 09:21:13 AM »

Let me clarify after reading the responses to my post.

If Norm were to become the regular host for Escapepod, it would be enough for me to give it up.  I'd probably still listen, but skip the intros and outros.
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Talia
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2009, 09:35:46 AM »

I just don't get the objections at all, different strokes for different folks I suppose.

I would say just skipping the intros and outros doesn't mean giving up  the podcast. The point is after all the stories. Smiley
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BethPeters
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2009, 09:45:23 AM »

I'm sorry if my tone was harsh.  I've never posted much on forums before, didn't mean to offend anyone.  Certainly everyone should be able to voice opinions, I guess I didn't feel like I was trying to silence opinions as much as just voice my own.
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Boggled Coriander
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2009, 10:03:53 AM »

I like Norm.  I like the Drabblecast.  And the more eccentric and Normesque Norm makes his Drabblecast intros, the happier I'll be.

But I can sympathize with people who aren't fans of Norm as co-host of Escape Pod.  He certainly brings his own singular Normness to his intros and outros, and I can understand how others might find him to be an acquired taste, or even an un-acquirable taste. 

My taste in food runs towards the extremely pungent and the very spicy, and the occasional meal of insectoid origin.  I'll happily eat meals that I know my own parents, and much of the North American population, would find utterly gross.  And that's fine.  Personally, I can't stand the taste of cranberries or olives.  I dunno why.

If your favorite restaurant suddenly starts including pungent and spicy and insectoid ingredients in all your favorite dishes, and the change is really not to your taste, you're going to feel rather put off, and my saying "But I love Taiwanese fermented tofu!  Give it some time and you'll learn to like the taste!" isn't going to help matters any.

Personally, I didn't much care for Norm's intro/outro for "Boyfriend".  As another poster said, it sounded like he was trying too hard to be funny and was failing.  I liked the job he did for "The Kindness of Strangers".  But if his style is really and truly not to your taste, then he could be the most wonderful Norm ever and you wouldn't be satisfied. 

I've got faith that he can develop a style for Escape Pod that is distinct from the Drabblecast.  The development in his hosting style from the early days of his own podcast to the current era is pretty remarkable. 
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Kevin David Anderson
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2009, 04:15:42 PM »

I for one have started listening to EP again.  Change is good. 
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Jason M
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2009, 06:09:30 PM »

And as much as I can see that if someone found an intro grating or over the top or just not the same style they might not be happy about it, I can't see a lot of people cutting out listening to any of the podcast.

But, y'know, if someone (even long term listeners to the stories) feels that the intro is too much, I'm sure there is some sort of alternative, high quality, weekly, freely available, SF podcast featuring the best writers who have ever lived (and sometimes some of the not so best).
Possibly.......I mean, I can't think of one but...........maybe Google could help.


Actually, I'm not just an SF geek.  Having other interests, I have a backlog of podcasts to listen to.  Escapepod has already moved to the back burner.  I listen to it when I get around to it now.  I have in the past, and most certainly will in the future, dumped podcasts because of quality or style issues. 

I gladly pay for quality and rent audio books from truck stops to listen to as well as podcasts.  I have a huge selection to choose from.

I gave CP a try, and really wanted them to succeed.  I gave the Babylon Podcast a try, and wanted desperately to continue listening.  There are several poker podcasts that I have tried.  For one reason or another, they've been cut from my play list.

I did not bring this up in an episode thread.  Swamp started this thread, and so I let my feelings be known.

Z
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2009, 07:15:54 PM »

I've never heard the Drabblecast, never heard Norm's voice, didn't know jack about his style.
I enjoyed the intro.  I haven't heard "Boyfriend" yet, which he apparently intro-d.  I didn't have a problem with the length of the intro, and i enjoyed the humor.  It's new, it's different, but it's not bad.
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Bdoomed
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2009, 10:21:45 PM »

listen-ed to "Boyfriend"
comments on intro? Yes, failed humor, yes, a little strained, not a big deal.  Definitely not a deal breaker.  Ease up, Norm.
outro- more failed humor, but he knew it. Cheesy
i like it.  but don't try so hard.
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BrianDeacon
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« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2009, 11:32:55 PM »

I just wanted to toss in a voice countering Jeff DeReggo's opinion about how Norm ought to be behaving.  If Norm put on the company face, I'd find it creepy and Stepfordish.  My thought is that if you're an involved enough listener to poke around on the forums, you're involved enough to forgive an honest opinion, and especially involved enough to smell a sincerity-murdering faux opinion.  The whiff of marketing just sucks the oxygen right out of it for me.

Furthermore, I didn't hear anything at all in the podcast itself that was even bait to take issue with.
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fuzzygnome
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« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2009, 12:05:04 AM »

Really?  People are actually worried about Norm? 
I don't usually post in the forums but I thought I'd drop in to say how hilarious and great Norm was.  Really surprised that it's this big of a deal for some people.  He's hosted EP a few times before ya know, and it didn't cause any stir.  I've been an Escapepod and Drabblecast fan for about a year, and it's evident that Norm is a very different host than Steve so far.  Steve is transparent and deep.  Norm is witty and fun.  Those are my rough generalizations based on the personalties (not the people, don't know them really.)Yes of course  Norm is sometimes deep and Steve is often fun, but I mean in general so far.
I loved Steve's Geek dad segments. Yet I also cracked up at the Ms. Spencer howboutdemapples.com bit. I thought the Nigerian Spam-Gf was hilarious, yet I miss Steve's insight into stories.  Then again,  I thought Norm asked great questions at the end of Kindness to Strangers and had me thinking.  The Ozymandias reference was spot on, and it's an interesting point to draw from the story. Then bam, Invincible Alien Denzel Washington and I LOL. Not to mention the sudden disappearance of a long list of countries that most Americans would never notice disappeared in the first place (a gentle jab at a noted and slightly annoying feature of the story.) As far as I can tell, and he's only done a handful of shows so far, he's just being the same Norm as he always has been on Drabblecast:  smart, hilarious, dry, weird and funny as hell, which is obviously why Steve wants him to compliment the show. 
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Strawman
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« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2009, 07:41:11 AM »

http://gardenstreet.org/drabblecastarchive/Bbardles/files/Scifihigh.mp3

Face huggers in the classroom.
Norm's just tryin to survive as a transfer student at Sci Fi High

All we are saying is give peace a chance.
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TripleAught
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« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2009, 11:41:06 PM »

The host of a podcast has to enhance the experience. The show wants the audience to grow and the hosts are a big part of helping people get connected to the show.

I agree with what other people have said, Norm just needs to get a sense of what helps enhance Escape Pod. If he figures that out, he'll be good host.

Myself, I kept trying to decide if I liked his commentary on Boyfriend or not... overall I decided that just because it was different from Steve's it wasn't bad, just different.

I think he'll grow into this role.
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Ace Cook
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« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2009, 03:46:02 AM »

I joined up mainly to add my two cents. Been listening to Escape Pod for ages now, and I also recently really got into the Drabblecast. I was looking forward to Norm as a host, but so far it's been like watching a friend give a really bad speech at a wedding. Norm, chill out. You're trying to hard. I'm sure you'll find your groove.  Cool
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