So most of the relevant internet has probably heard about the forthcoming demise of Television Without Pity at this point (I even covered it on CJ, though I’m not sure how much of a crossover the audience has there – I had at least one Twitter follower who’d never even heard of the site.)
TWoP was not actually a huge personal influence on me, but it’s long-defunct sister sites Hissyfit and Fametracker were. And MBTV/TWoP was the means by which the style of snark that originated on those earlier sites went mainstream.
Still, I was a regular reader of TWoP throughout college and almost certainly beyond, though I can’t remember the last time I read a recap – certainly before the Bravo sale. Veronica Mars? Gilmore Girls, maybe? And I don’t even recall who recapped those shows. I checked the forums every once in a while, but generally only for smaller shows. But TWoP was such a major part of the fandom landscape back in the early 00’s that you didn’t have to be a hardcore to hear about the major ripples.
But even on Hissyfit and Fametracker, I was a major lurker. I love to read message boards (well, certain message boards) but my lurking instincts are strong. Still, my own ideas about what conducts a good board was largely influenced by those two, and TWoP back in the early Mighty Big TV days. (And are largely what led me to volunteer for the StarWars.com forums… Still not sure how great an idea that was.)
Granted, the TWoP community was no utopia. The fairly strict rules that made the Hissyfit and Fametracker forums such a joy didn’t scale quite as well to TWoP as it got bigger and bigger. (And while Hissyfit ended fairly peacefully as I recall, the end of the Fametracker forums was a long, bloody flame war. It happened after TWoP got gigantic and I honestly think the founders were just Over It.)
There are so many wonderful remembrances of TWoP out there – my favorite is from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books – and the original founders recently launched another site, Previously.TV. (And the publicity they’re getting from this is astounding.) The sites may die, but the snark lives on.