#SetTheVCR: TV Double-Dipping

Timmy: “You double-dipped the chip!”

George Costanza: “So?”

Timmy: “That’s like putting your whole mouth in the dip! Look, when you take a chip, just take one dip and END IT!”

Seinfeld is clearly right; though sadly double-dipping doesn’t just apply to chips at a funeral.

Double-dipping is an odd and silly TV trend.

On Valentine’s Day 2017 (good marketing!) Netflix streamed Ashley Madison: Sex, Lies, and Cyber Attacks. “The shocking story of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal.”

Ashley Madison is a Canadian online dating service and social networking service…for individuals who wish to have an affair. Tinder for married people.

In 2015 it was hacked and the personal information of millions of users was released to the public. Sounds like a fascinating backdrop for a documentary. Currently Netflix’s doc sits at 5.5/10 on IMDB. Not good if you hold ratings like that in high regard.

Then on July 7, 2023 Hulu offered a three-part docuseries The Ashley Madison Affair. This one “follows the hack of an infidelity dating website for married people that shocked the public with a scandalous data breach.” So…same concept? It’s batting 5.8/10 on IMDB. Not good if you hold ratings like that in high regard.

Sure…it’s longer than the Netflix doc. And the data breach was 2015; perhaps the 2023 docuseries had more time to review and catalog the fallout. Sure.

But…really? We Did This Already.

Why do we “need” two documentaries on horny married people?

Why are we Double-Dipping?

Here’s another TV Double-Dip.

Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz helped to lead Hillsong’s first church in the United States, in New York City, starting in 2010.

Hillsong, is a charismatic Christian megachurch based in Australia. Lentz’s (Instagram) popularity and friendships with famous folks like Justin Bieber and Kevin Durant began to slide the church away from authenticity towards a superficial platform focused on fashion rather than faith.

Eventually, criticisms of the church flourished: Hillsong’s finances were questioned, the church’s outdated position towards LGBT people snowballed into What Abouts for other groups, while church enemies were silenced or outright ignored.

And Carl Lentz became the latest disgraced pastor when the news broke of his affairs and moral failures. It’s a story as old as the Bible: Hillsong Church flew too close to the Sun. Though that means there’s a lot to unpack for a documentary.

So: a four-part docuseries Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed premiered on Discovery+ on March 24. Cool, thanks.

Then The Secrets of Hillsong, a four-part FX documentary series started streaming on Hulu on May 19. What? Again?

We Did This Already.

There’s that much compelling footage and story for 8 hours of TV?

As a viewer how do you know which one is better?

As they’re both documentaries: which one practises sound journalism and manages to avoid cheap tabloid sensationalism? (Do you want the facts or the dirt? Gossip no matter how true is not journalism.)

Do you watch both of them?

Do you watch the one you have access to? Maybe you have Hulu (well Disney+ Canada) but don’t have Discovery+.

The Secrets of Hillsong has an interview with Carl Lentz. Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed does not.

But! Hillsong: A Megachurch has an interview with Ranin Karim, the woman whose five-month affair with celebrity senior pastor Carl Lentz led to his downfall. The Secrets of Hillsong does not.

So then do you watch both to get the complete picture?

Is this downfall that captivating for 8 hours?

You don’t find any of this frustrating?

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