By Jason Delgado
It was anything but cool to be a geek growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. Just take a look at how badly the jocks wanted to destroy the protagonist outcasts in The Revenge of the Nerds, and you’ll get a sense for what it was like to be a comic book collector, video game fanatic, and all-around pop culture nerd like I was. I wasn’t part of the “in” crowd, but I could always find my geek tribe, as small as it seemed to be at the time.
G4’s Attack of the Show (AOTS) helped to popularize geek culture, to the extent that this seemingly small band of misfits became the massive, popular superhero and pop culture obsessed army that we know today. Filmmaker Chris Gore’s Attack of the Doc! examines the rise and fall of G4 TV, and its flagship show Attack of the Show, as well as nerd culture in general, particularly as it relates to the show.
It was a simpler time back in 2002 when G4 first aired. The network started off solely as a hub for shows about video games, Yet Attack of the Show changed that with its nerd-centric, off-the-wall, carefree humor, acting as a sort of YouTube compilation (with variety and flair, involving everyday people and viewer input) before that site became the mammoth that we all know now.
Attack of the Doc largely focuses on the antics of the popular, magnetic hosts of AOTS: Olivia Munn and Kevin Pereira. I’m a fan of comedy, and these two together were comedy gold. Whether it be diving into a gigantic tub of cream (which injured Olivia’s knees, but she smiled for the cameras the entire time), outdoing each other with scorching Cholula hot sauce shots to see who would give up first, having a bunch of snakes poured on top of Olivia (even though Munn was deathly afraid of them), Olivia wearing a slave Leia costume in the middle of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), and so much more. The film shows viewers just how far these two would go for laughs.
I was a huge fan of Attack of the Show when it was on the air, so watching this documentary brought back fun nostalgic memories. My friend who watched the movie with me was not familiar with the original program, but he loved Attack of the Doc! just as much as I did, and now cannot wait for the Blu-ray of Attack of the Doc! (releasing during SDCC in July) to see all of the extra footage on it.
I always looked forward to the special San Diego Comic Con episodes of AOTS, but I did not realize until this film how much the G4 show affected the popularity of the Con (similarly to how E3 was impacted by G4’s comprehensive coverage), and nerd culture as a result. It put a spotlight for Hollywood on the type of fervent fans whom they wanted to capture. The studios came running, and the popularity of both Comic Con and geek culture exploded.
The film also highlights all of the absurd, silly things that were acceptable on the show at the time such as motorboating, jokes about dragon sex in Avatar, and fat suits, that would not fly today in the current “cancel” culture climate. Original songs by Zach Selwyn (who was also a host on G4 of crazy shows such as Hurl!) inject even more humor into the documentary with comical songs like “You Can’t Do That No More.”
There are a lot of cool cameos by stars such as James Cameron, Eric André, Whitney Cummings (who was this close to being a host before Munn ran away with it), Kumail Nanjiani, Peter Jackson and Stan “the Man” Lee, among so many others.
Chris Gore says that Attack of the Doc! is a love letter to the fans, by the fans. Editors/producers Bobby Schwartz, Anthony Ray Bench, producer Walter Areas, and Gore himself are all fans of the show (even though Gore was on it). This is the definitive G4 and Attack of the Show documentary, capturing its lively, unique and hilariously entertaining spirit perfectly, while also answering the lingering question of many fans: why G4 TV went off the air for good in 2014. Gore wants to get back to a time like that era, before fandoms became divided amongst themselves, when we could all just get along.
I have to admit, I am biased. I write for Chris Gore’s Film Threat, and I consider him to be a friend. I have been reading his work in video game and film magazines since the 90’s, and always looked forward to DVDuesday segments on AOTS. That said, I would be impressed with this movie even if Alan Smithee had made it. It transported me back to that magical moment in time, and left me wanting more.
I give Attack of the Doc! five out of five hot sauce packets. It’s so hot that you’ll think you took eleven Cholula hot sauce shots with Kevin and Olivia.