I seriously wish that Episode would start featuring stories that aren’t about pregnancies or bad boys. I know that it’s partly because it sells, but let’s be honest: with a fanbase of amazing people like this community has, any semi-decent romance story will do well as long as the characters are complex and the directing is good.
I wish they would have more featured stories like Venomous. That was actually good
If Episode wanted to promote any kind of criminal activity in this story, breaking and entering, theft and sexual harassment are not the ones it should have gone for. It should have been assault: the one justified crime when someone breaks into your house to steal your lacy bits. She should have socked him one good one.
…But then, is breaking a thief’s nose when they’re in your house considered assault? I think it’s just self-defence now I think about it.
Thinking about it is really successful these trashy stories there so much trending on the app it’s quite suffocating and the decent stories get pushed aside.
And I know that I use to read what was trending before I went looking for hidden gems.
Feature stories should be the best of the best writing story wise or plot and there just mediocre at best very disappointing.
It’s definitely, hands down, one of the most shallow Episode stories I’ve ever read. A gem choice for what you’re going to wear when breaking and entering? Fine. It could be a choice to wear all-black so you’re less visible in the dark.
Nope. Just to make sure you look your best if he instas the picture, because your biggest concern is him taking a picture of you, not pressing charges.
Alright I didn’t post here earlier because I couldn’t but if you know me you will know I don’t shy away from this kind of issues, so get ready for a pissed off literature student’s rambles on this story.
DISCLAIMER: I’m going to be reposting parts of some things I had already posted, because I feel like I need to shed light on it all.
Let’s start with the most superficial issues I have with the story, okay? The writing is not good. I say this as an aspiring editor, and if I ever read a story with that level of skills, it would never get published. Now, I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it were a user story, I mean most of the people here are just kids wanting to have fun and write, and that’s great. But when The Episode Team, a group of professional adults, write this badly, I begin to question the kind of people who are on the team.
What do I mean by bad writing? Well let’s see. First there’s exposition, tons of exposition. It is quite unnecessary with things like swearing when a few lines into it we know the MC doesn’t swear. We don’t need the best friend saying “Oh you don’t swear”. But my real issue is with the thoughts the MC has. A real person does not think like the MC does like “Oh I have an issue with bad boys, boohoo, there’s a reason for that.” NO! Real people do not explain everything in their thoughts as if someone were to read them! Sure, inner dialogue is good, it’s great actually, when it comes to letting the reader know about the story. But this is just lazy exposition and a failed attempt to make the reader feel interested in the MC’s backstory, which so far seems to be a tragic backstory .
Which leads me to my second issue: characterisation. Most of the character’s personalities are informed attributes. The bad boy is a bad boy because in the first line the MC says so, the golden boy is a golden boy because the MC says so, the characters are attractive because the MC (or the best friend) say so. What happened with “show, don’t tell?” I’m sorry but I want to be able to get to my own conclusions and opinions about the characters. Do not spoon feed me information, that will only drive me away from the story. I think the Episode Team really doesn’t know who they’re audience is because they have the audacity to release a story with these themes, and yet feel like they need to spoon feed their readers for them to understand.
And the “handsome” or “hot” attributes lead me to the next issue I have, which also has to do with characterisation. The characters, or at least the main character, have no consistency at all. Sure, some characters are consistent in their personality, but that’s only because they have a one dimensional personality cough like the best friend cough. But the MC and other characters really don’t. When first given the choice, I chose to make the MC think that the boy was not hot, and yet she’s been referring to him as hot or handsome all of the time. And that golden boy? How can someone be an accomplice of the bad boy and then be so apologetic and stuff to the MC? I’m sorry but I call bull- or at least a very high and noticeable hypocrisy.
Some other things that annoy me is the unapologetic use of different fonts and colours to draw attention to the dialogue. This also seems very unnecessary to me, and, again, I feel like it’s spoon-feeding the reader.
This is already long and I haven’t even begun with the story itself, but before i do that, i need to address the issue that the Episode Team is being very hypocritical and breaking THEIR OWN guidelines. So we’re gonna take a look at what guidelines they’re breaking:
The very first rule. And they already broke it. What the boy is doing is law breaking and sexual harassment, and minimising him to a “bad boy” instead of the Spanish swearing he is, and making him a love interest is not only promoting that behaviour, but glorifying it.
Again, same thing as before. Also, perpetrates the idea of “he is mean to him because he likes you”. And that’s super sick imo.
Basically the plot of the story is around sex.
So… almost everything the best friend says.
Aside from that, we, as writers, are encouraged by the Team to be creative. And yet, the Team decided to use an already existing story. What does this say about them?
Plus, as it has been said before, it is not allowed to use the word “sexy” in the description. Yet, here he are.
Now, let’s move onto the actual content of the story, shall we?
First, I want to clarify that while I do condemn this kind of content being in episode. I fully encourage people writing and reading about what they like. In fact, one of my professors said that “Literature is the best scenario for the politically incorrect to take place,” and I agree. There are many morally questionable stories I have found amazing, and I would 100% recommend them. I’m just saying that a platform that’s frequented by young teens, many tweens and even children is not the best place to publish them. Just like everything else, critical skills take time to develop, and it’s dangerous for people who do not have these skills developed to misunderstand a story, or to romanticise them. Have you guys ever heard about the book Lolita? That book is an excellent example of censorship based on the readers. You see, Vladimir Nabokov was almost unable to publish his story, no one wanted to publish that. But he finally found a publisher that did so. A french, pornographic literature publisher. And even then, they only allowed him to release it at France, while the story was in English. Now, I don’t mean to say what Nabokov wrote is bad, Lolita is an amazing book. And I’m not saying that the censors are always right to do what they do (in my opinion, they exaggerated with what they did to Nabokov). I’m just saying that some things just don’t belong in some platforms, and each platform has its set of rules and its content should follow it.
I need to remind you guys that even though the app is for people who are thirteen years old or more, there are underage users around, I myself became acquainted with some, and there is absolutely no way I want these children to be around something so dangerous as the incorrect portrayals of serious topics. I’m sure some of you remember that time we had a nine-year-old around the forums, do you? I want all of you to think back to when you were nine, I want you to try to understand how your nine-year-old brain would react at something like the story in question. What message is the story sending?
Now, to you, thirteen-year-olds, I understand, you are teenagers now, you feel mature enough to deal with this. Newsflash: you are not. Your brain is not fully developed, even my brain isn’t fully developed yet! Your brain finishes developing at twenty one years old. That’s right, twenty one, you still have eight years to go so get off your high horse. Yes, you may have critical thinking skills, but just like any other skill it takes time and practice to develop. You are not born knowing anything, and just like you can’t tell that Twilight is bad literature if you’ve never read anything else, you can’t tell if how a situation is being handled is good or bad if you don’t have enough information about it. Harold Bloom, in his essay The Standard of Taste said that experience is proportional to the capability one has to judge anything, therefore only a man with experience in tasting wines can tell that there is a key at the bottom of the jar. Some of you are like those who are simply tasting wine for the first time, or who are not accustomed to drinking wine, so you probably won’t notice what’s really in the wine. Meanwhile, an experienced taster will immediately notice something off about it. I don’t want you guys to swallow that key only because you don’t have experience, so I’m trying to help you identify what should be wrong in our community.
What we read has the power to shape us, and taking into account this app is for people on their early teens, it’s important to portray things in a realistic and mature manner. It is important not to romanticise topics like gangs, because young teens are impressionable, and it is our duty as content creators to give them good content. And try not to harm them in the process.
Now, this doesn’t mean I want you people to stop writing about serious topics, that wouldn’t make sense since I have written about them lately. I just want these topics to be treated properly and to make sure the audience is the right one. Writing about serious topics is not bad if it’s done properly, quite the opposite actually, it helps raise awareness. But doing it properly is not an easy task. Before I go any further I want to state that the topics I mean when I’m talking are all kinds of abuse (psychological, verbal, physical, domestic, substance, sexual, etc.) as well as mental health issues (depression, eating disorders, self-harm, ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, BPD, ASD, etc.), health issues and anything that may affect a person’s life in general. All of these topics are great to write about, they are interesting and it has to do with us, but that doesn’t mean everyone can use them as they please.
This is the case of “It Starts With A Bra”. In here we see a “bad boy” who is really just an a-hole bully the MC, because yes, that is bulling, and it gets romanticised. It’s not a good portrayal of the story, it is not something a caring and responsible adult would publish in a platform for young teens. The story is creepy and a very inaccurate portrayal of “romance” (which is what it claims to be). The poor MC is surrounded by people who clearly don’t care about her, with no parents present, a best friend that constantly disregards her feelings, an a-hole for a neighbour and more, this is more of a badly written story about a girl who does not know how to deal with abuse and neglect, rather than a romance story.
It totally seems to send the wrong message, and to most of us it’s just about how you can love someone only because they’re “sexy” (how I hate that word) and how they’re a match for you despite being utter trash.
To me, this story had very rape-ish undertones. Not only there’s the obvious sexual harassment thing with the underwear, there’s the fact that the whole story is around sexual attraction and what people would do to fulfil their sexual needs (honestly, doesn’t that sound like straight up rape?), as well as the fact that the MC even has the option to excuse this guy’s behaviour because he’s hot ( cough “it’s not rape if you like it” cough anyone?)
And it seems to be the kind of story that also says that “love can change someone”. NO: This is the reason many people are in abusive relationships, they believe their love can change their partner, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. People can change, sure. But the only change by personal convictions, not because some lovestruck teen likes them.
Also, i’m quite confused on the use of the term “bad boys”. It’s constantly used on the story yet it’s super vague and I have no idea what the MC means by that. I honestly feel like it’s used just to draw attention to the story from the people who like “bad boy” stories.
Now, on the bra on the flagpole issue. Here’s a short story about my life:
During my senior year, some genius decided to hang a pair of boxers in our homeroom’s blackboard. No one knew who these were, and all of the directives and a lot of parents got involved.
In my experience, that’s what happens in similar situations, not “haha bra girl”, and no consequences.
I know this is a long thing to read so thank you if you read it all, I’m amazed at your patience haha. If you have any problem with what I just said, wish to add something or want to ask a question, go ahead, I hope I can read you soon.
I didn’t even get far enough to find out he stole her underwear too. Sounds like he’s got a fetish for women’s underwear tbh
I agree with pretty much everything you just said, Cam. And by the way, that’s the longest comment I’ve ever seen! Nice job!!
The writing, characterization, and whatnot doesn’t bother me as much as the story itself and the themes behind it. Sure, if you want to write about a bad boy, go for it. Want to write about gangs? Go for it. Want to write a romance with a couple steamy scenes? Go for it. No one is stopping you and if it’s something you like to write, who are we to judge?
But the fact that this is an episode featured story that glorifies extremely problematic themes for young readers and breaks their own guidelines is really sad to me. I won’t go into details since you’ve already done most of that. Now if it was for older readers and didnt break guidelines or whatever, that’s fine but even as one of the older teens, I did not feel comfortable with many of the things I read within the first episode alone. Man, I couldn’t even finish the first episode. And if my younger self saw this or even my younger teen sister? I don’t even want to go there.
Also as a side note, when that notification came up for the story, I was just glad that my parents didn’t see it or they would’ve probably made me get rid of the app.
I think Episode really needs to think about how they portray themselves to their target audience. Not trying to bash on them or anything, they’re probably all nice and awesome people, but writing this kind of story just because it sells doesn’t make it right. It’s not real life nor should it ever be. The quality of Episode featured stories has gone down and if it wasn’t for the episode story that I’ve published and still am writing on the app now, this might have been a deal breaker for me.
This is all just my opinion. If you like the story, you’re entitled to your own opinion as well.
In response to your own story… crap like that used to happen at my school. Not the exact same stuff with the boxers or a bra, but parents, teachers and detectives get involved yes all the time, and often for things we all thought wasn’t really worth investigating.
It’s so unrealistic that there’s never any consequences for this stuff just coz it’s an episode story.
This is an excellent response!
I feel let down by Episode, personally. They have a responsibility to their users. To quote one of my favourite teen/children’s fantasy writers, Philip Pullman:
“whatever we depict in stories, we should show that actions have consequences.”
Okay, let me just say that I completely agree with everything you said. I would like to touch up on a subject related to this story: the promotion of ideas that may be wrong, controversial, or completely not fit for young readers. I know @Cam touched up on this, but I would like to share an experience where this has applied to me. I started episode a few years ago when I was really young (like 10 or 11). In fact, I was so young that I didn’t understand most of what I was reading, but I thought it was a fun “game”. I’m not going to say the name because we are not supposed to call out other stories, but I ended up reading an episode featured story about Playboy bunnies. Of course, I had no clue what they were, what they did, or anything. Shortly after finishing the story, I went up to my mom and asked her: “Mommy, what is a playboy bunny.” After figuring out what it was, I immediately deleted the app. A few years later, I redownloaded it and was able to understand stories better. My point is, I don’t want other young readers to be exposed to mature themes this early, and by complete accident. “It starts with a bra” is definitely a story which could have a similar effect on younger readers as the playboy bunny story did to me. So I end by asking all of you to don’t just stand by while episode steals childhood innocence. Speak up! I know this sounds cheesy, cliche, and over dramatic but it’s true. I for one do not approve of this story at all, but that’s just my opinion
Everyone has their own opinions, you shouldn’t be sorry.
The cover is possibly what freaks me out most. The way the MC’s hand is stretched out, desperately trying to grab the bra while the “bad boy” is smirking makes me want to throw up or punch something (or both!). I don’t appreciate what it implies about how it’s acceptable to treat women like this - stealing their underwear and embarrassing them.
Yeah! And how females are portrayed as gullible, boy-crazy, and the MC hasn’t once successfully embarrassed the bad boy Unless you use gems but I’m not wasting them on this crap. This story puts out a weak and stereotypical image of females.
I feel like the story wouldn’t be nearly as problematic if it was a mutual thing. Like, if they both successfully pranked each other, even going too far, and people around them signaled this prank war as having problematic undertones, then it wouldn’t be as bad, because they would be on equal standing. The unequal standing of the characters is what makes every interaction they have scream bullying and sexual harassment.
Only reading this thread, I swear when I first saw the cover and description I thought “Episode’s really gone blatant on this”. I almost read this, almost impressed on that blurb alone.
And stealing underwear? The only time I heard of such antics on TV come from kid show episodes like Spongebob, and even they portrayed it as exaggeratedly creepy and immature.
Honestly, this makes me want to write a parody story that a hot sexy bad boy/girl suddenly turns unattractive and their love interest would suddenly think of their actions are now creepy or something
I don’t know why Episode have been adapting these ‘popular’ stories from Wattpad as if Wattpad is the source of all good stories. There are some great, well-written stories on Wattpad too, but why choose the ones with the same cliché bad boy character?? At least make the bad boy somehow different. It’s disappointing, it’s boring, and this story in particular is just weird and invasive. MC wakes up to see her new neighbor in her room??? And she’s gonna eventually fall in love with him?? It’s a no from me.
This is like their second or third time (maybe even more) taking a story from Wattpad, and using that as their featured story. Their featured section is nothing but a JOKE at this point!
I am so tired of Episode and their obsession with bad boys, especially ones who are unlikable!
I have never read the original story, so I don’t know if Episode did a terrible job transferring the story over, or if the characters are really like this. Either way, this story is disgusting! I was waiting for the MC to call the police and arrest the bad boy/girl for breaking and entering.