Upsetting Day: ReelShort TV 🌭

You fools, you probably all believed the rumors of Quibi’s death. Like an evil twin in a soap opera, it’s made a dramatic return, but being played by a different actress because the original one got a recurring role on Law & Order. ReelShort TV took the idea for Quibi, an app with subpar content that was too expensive, and said, “What if we made the content even worse and also more expensive.” Their top shows include Fated To My Forbidden Alpha, Big Bad Husband Please Wake Up!, and who could forget, My Husband Killed Me Then I Won The Megaball. You fools, you think I’m kidding:

The shows are released in segments that run between a minute and a minute and a half each, but here’s the really fun part: you don’t pay a monthly subscription for ReelShort. Instead, you can purchase each episode with Coins. The amount of coins is random and impenetrable. Sometimes, I would have the option to purchase a one minute video for as low as 42 Coins. One video later, in the same series, it was 66 Coins. They seem to get more expensive the further into the series you go, and the first one is always free, like drugs. Their fluctuating prices make it difficult to say what the actual value of a Coin is, but frustrated users reported paying as much as forty fucking dollars to finish a single series. Basically, they’ve constructed a system that treats money like the points on Whose Line Is It Anyway.

The app won’t tell you exactly what Coins are, and they’re not going to shy away from the fact that you need a lot of them. They’ve specifically made it impossible to do this math, but most shows have around 50 episodes and each episode costs at least 42 Coins, though usually more, and 500 Coins are $4.99 or 10,000 for $99.99, so you could pay $24.99 to watch almost two whole shows. That’s a little over an hour of content for $25 meaning you might need to pay $100 to find out if Big Bad Husband ever wakes up (the second time) in Big Bad Husband 2 Please Wake Up! and hold on, wait. Okay, yes, numbers and words have lost all meaning exactly as the ReelShort producers intended.

Of course, if you can’t finance the lavish ReelShort lifestyle, you can always watch ads instead. Between each one-minute episode, there are 60 second ads. That one-to-one ratio seems fair, right? All entertainment should get covered in commercials and smeared across time like the final 15 seconds of a basketball game. I had to watch so many ads while I explored this app because just putting the ReelShort app on my phone made me feel like I was handing over my social security number to a guy selling watches out of a trench coat.

I couldn’t help but notice a theme running through the ads. They all seemed geared toward women; most of them involved heavy emotional appeals, all of them were for apps, and most involved gambling. In one, a woman cried and said she couldn’t afford to feed her baby until she downloaded an app called Bubble Crush. Now her baby can proudly grow up to say, “My mommy is a professional online gambler,” or at least “My mommy lied for a small, one-time appearance fee in a predatory marketing scheme. I was 5 months old and had an unpaid role in the same production!”

It almost feels like the content is specifically designed to weed out anyone who isn’t a woman with extra time and at least a little money on her hands, who maybe isn’t very good at realizing when she’s spent $100 to watch a bad movie on her cell phone. It’s like how those Nigerian Prince scam emails are poorly worded on purpose as part of the screening process for anyone too smart for the scam. Someone looked around at MLMs exploiting low-income women and was like, “Hold my beer.”

Let’s talk about what the tiny chunks of story between commercials actually look like. It’s a little difficult to do because, much like Quibi, ReelShort wants to limit sharing screenshots and videos of its content. Every time you take a screenshot, a warning pops up that sharing the work of ReelShort “may result in legal…” which is the vaguest hint of a threat. I love how it’s worded as if the app can’t help it. Beware of lawyers, they just happen sometimes, and it’s not our fault! It’d certainly be a shame if they…

I understand why they wouldn’t want their content shared. For one thing, their business model is built on people being desperate to learn if the forbidden alpha ever mates with Selene. Mainly though, I think it’s an issue of not wanting people to discover the quality of work they’re paying forty goddamn dollars to watch. There are a lot of big acting choices being made. Eyes are wide; fingertips are maniacally tented, and enormous statement earrings are swung around like nunchucks. All of these actors watched daytime soap operas and said, “Too subtle for me, thanks.”

I would not be surprised to learn these came from AI-written scripts or possibly scripts written by people who aren’t great at English because of some of the unusual phrasing they use repeatedly. For instance, in Big Bad Husband Please Wake Up! and Big Bad Husband 2 Please Wake Up!, everyone refers to a man in a coma as a “half-dead man,” as if they don’t know the word for coma. Maybe being half-dead just sounds more dramatic than being in a coma? I don’t think most doctors describe what percent dead patients are to their families.

I became very invested in the Big Bad Husband Series. But please understand, Big Bad Husband 2 Please Wake Up! is not a sequel to Big Bad Husband Please Wake Up! at all. They are two extremely similar stories, with the same actors, but slightly different enough plots to be called two different things, and they named one a sequel. I… look, I am having so much trouble describing what I experienced here.

The plot of Big Bad Husband Please Wake Up! is that the estranged oldest daughter of the Mitchell family, Ciara, is forced to pretend to be her half-sister Flora to marry a man in a coma or her father will stop paying for her mother’s medical treatment. However, when she kisses the half-dead man at their wedding, he wakes up and rescues her from her terrible family. The plot of Big Bad Husband 2 Please Wake Up! is the oldest daughter of the Holland family, Ellie, is forced by her stepmother to marry a man in a coma to pay for her father’s medical treatment. However shortly after their wedding, the man wakes up and rescues her from her terrible family.

I don’t know how you could mess up a sequel so badly. There’s one rule for a sequel: you put the same characters in a different plot, and they did the opposite of that. It’s the same actors playing different characters in the same plot. Also, the husband is a little meaner in Big Bad Husband 2 Please Wake Up!. He fakes needing a wheelchair and forces his wife to study physical therapy so that she can become his physical therapist (which I’m pretty sure takes more than reading a single book on the toilet, but Big Bad Husband Disagrees; I’m also pretty sure it counts as exactly 50% dead in their universe).

The overall vibe of most episodes is what if softcore porn were all plot. Fated To My Forbidden Alpha is probably the worst of these. It’s about a world where werewolves are businessmen but also rival gangs, sort of. The main character, Selene, is kidnapped as a child and raised as the maid of a rival pack. Then when she turns eighteen, the Moon God chooses a mate for her, and it’s the alpha of the pack that kidnapped her. I have so many questions they can’t answer in one minute. Why are the werewolves also businessmen? Is everyone a werewolf or just rich people? What CGI studio did they use? Because with a budget of only 42 Coins, the wolves do not look as bad as I was expecting!

Maybe the plots move into penetration at some point, but I couldn’t afford it. From devoting hours of my life to watching the beginning of these shows and wading through a crushing mass of ads, it seems like they’re usually about a dramatically mistreated woman who is rescued by a man with a wild Tommy Wiseau accent. If that is worth a hundred dollars, literally anything is.

The app’s user interface is far worse than the CGI wolf. There’s no comment section for videos, and once you’ve paid to watch an episode, there isn’t a way to go back and watch it again. You don’t own the show you paid forty Jesus Henry Christ dollars to watch, and if you want to watch it again, you would need to start all over from episode one.

I wanted to know whose fault it is that ReelShort exists, and it wasn’t easy to figure out. I found an email address in a section of the app where you can submit work to ReelShort for a commission with an email address at So, I looked up Crazy Maple Studio, and it turns out they make a lot of low-end romance game apps, including Big Bad Husband Please Wake Up The Game!

Someone out there has a baseball bat and a vendetta against billionaire husbands. I found a couple of articles from Joey Jia, the CEO of Crazy Maple Studio, where he talks about wanting to give creative people a new storytelling platform, but I don’t understand why. They’ve got one story that seems to be working great for them. I would pay a random amount of coins for fleeting glimpses of this! If you’re not super attached to your money or your identity you should definitely check it out.

This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Rachel, the romantic microtransaction werewolf.

7 replies on “Upsetting Day: ReelShort TV 🌭”

Forbidden Alpha reminds me of a very specific subgenre of fanfic, except instead of being about a bunch of hot dudes having sex and it’s all based on obsolete wolf science because somebody had an awakening during science class, it’s about actual werewolves getting slightly threateningly married.

I’m pretty sure that the robots, raised by us, are just making mean, sarcastic parodies and grifting with them, then retreating to their cyber-chats to laugh at the flesh bag suckers at hyper-speed.

Someone just asked chatGPT to program an app that scams people with the same business model as quiby and that shits been running by itself ever since. Its the easiest explanation.

i guess part of the program just automatically emails an AI generated script to every English speaking non-unionised actor in the planet with instructions on how to record themselfs and upload the footage for 10 bucks.

I hate to go there but that’s not a real baby right? There’s some kind of filter that gives you a baby for when you need to scam hearts. I choose to believe this.

This is just Lezhin but for slightly scandalous shorts instead of pornographic webcomics isn’t it.

that this exists is blowing my mind, surely SURELY it can’t be what it looks like at face value? It’s gotta be some kind of sex thing, right? Or an organised crime code thing?

Somehow the worst part about this article is until the video game reveal at the end, I *thought* I understood what was happening here. Korean mahua services work on the same model, but with comic chapters you at least unlock permanently. The coins, which you can earn by watching ads. The target audience, horny mostly-women. And this type of story; intricate romantic plots with strange lore, and less dick then you’d assume and it’s suggesting.

So I kind of assumed it’d turn out to be a Korean soap opera company moving into the English speaking market, but no. No this might be an american company *ripping off* slightly less predatory media services; which. Sure. Yeah, alright.

In closing, you may be wondering how I know all this. As a true Hotdogger, I will out myself immediately. I’ve read just a lot of dramatic korean romance comics.

But. Not the werewolf ones. Those are literally always weird.

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