Looking for something fun to watch on TV this weekend? How about a new podcast? I’ve got two great recommendations.
Non-Compliant is a highly entertaining podcast hosted by Jay Edelson that focuses on a wide variety of topics. (In full disclosure, Jay and I have been friends for years, but the podcast is objectively good.) One of the reasons why Jay is considered the premier plaintiff’s privacy lawyer in America is because (like any good litigator) he has a way of making any topic relatable, easily understandable, and entertaining. A great example is this episode where he discussed the SolarWinds cyberattack with his firm’s Digital Forensics Director, Shawn Davis. It was one of the best explanations of the SolarWinds attack I’ve heard.
In the latest episode of Non-Compliant, Jay interviews documentary filmmaker Seth Porges about Seth’s new documentary, Class Action Park, which can be found on HBO Max. I’d never heard of Action Park or this documentary before listening to the podcast. A few minutes into the podcast episode I was so intrigued that I hit pause and watch the 90-minute documentary.
I can’t find one word to describe the documentary so I’ll start with several: outrageous, jaw-dropping, nostalgic, startling, highly thought-provoking, sometimes hilarious, and sometimes tragic. If you liked McMillions, you’ll love Class Action Park. Without giving anything away, the documentary uses an over-the-top New Jersey theme park to tell the story of how we entertained ourselves in the 80’s. There’s a line from the documentary that accurately describes the time period as “the last decade of unsupervised fun for kids.” Jay and Seth said something so true during their discussion – we all had our own version of Action Park growing up.
Without a doubt, the person who steals the show is Chris Gethard, a comedian who shares his experiences growing up in the 80’s and visiting Action Park. Here’s one example of his childhood memories —
We would try to die for fun [in the 80’s]. When I was in high school, I’d been in at least six different abandoned mental hospitals for fun. No joke. In high school you could show up to school on Monday and turn around and be like “hey, what’d you do this weekend?” And your buddy could look at you and be like, “oh yeah, we went and broke into the abandoned mental hospital and we went in the tunnels underneath. Turns out there were some skinheads down there, so they came at us and we beat them up, and then went to a diner.” And they’d be like “what’d you do?” And you’d be like, “Oh yeah, I went and visited my cousin in Freehold.” And those were both totally standard things to say.
On a higher level, the documentary will make you think about issues of responsibility, the right to free choice, how class action lawsuits have (or haven’t) changed things, how the people who went to this park didn’t immediately see the clear and obvious dangers, and while I totally would have loved going to that place if it were in South Florida when I was a kid, I never would have let my daughter anywhere near it. On a similar higher level, the podcast dives into the art of documentary film-making, how/why documentaries have become more successful over time, and the impact of streaming services on documentary film-making.
Enjoy the documentary and the podcast!
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