Quibi’s variety show Memory Hole, in which host Will Arnett reviews a series of cringe-worthy clips from Canadian pop culture of decades past, has been accused of plagiarizing an internet variety show created by the art collective Everything is Terrbile! in 2014. As reported by Slash Film, the collective took to Twitter to blast the Quibi series for ripping off the concept, title, and even the logo of their show, which showcased bizarre clips from obscure VHS tapes:
Looks like @Quibi made a show that presents crazy found footage clips and called it MEMORY HOLE (of all the things you could have called it… seriously?). It’s also deeply disappointing to see our logo from 10+ years ago completely ripped off as the look for the entire show. pic.twitter.com/fmduCXkb8M
— Everything Is Terrible! (@E_I_T) April 6, 2020
It’s been a rough start for Quibi this week – the streaming platform, which features “quick bite” episodes of programming that can only be viewed on your smartphone, saw about 300,000 downloads in its first day of release. Those are fine stats for a mobile app, but not encouraging numbers for a $1.75 billion streaming platform, although it is admittedly too early to tell how much interest the platform will generate as viewers begin to work through its content and word of mouth starts to spread. Meanwhile, none of the star-studded reality shows or “Movies In Chapters” featured as launch titles have made much of a splash yet, unlike Disney+’s The Mandalorian, which was an instant hit that immediately captured the zeitgeist and legitimized Disney’s streaming service as a contender.
Now, with a credible allegation of plagiarism on the freshman platform’s hands, Quibi might find itself fighting a difficult battle to win over its target audience – extremely online people who spend a lot of time on their phones. Neither Quibi nor Memory Hole’s creator Scott Vrooman have issued any official statements, but the show’s producers Shout Factory responded to Everything Is Terrible! on Twitter:
“Memory Hole” is an original show. The name of the show was inspired by George Orwell’s “1984,” and the graphics are based on generic retro '80s arcade games. Anything that suggests otherwise is not true. We stand by our work.
— Shout! Factory (@ShoutFactory) April 7, 2020
It’s important to note that the “arcade” graphics Shout Factory refers to are A) actually VHS graphics, and B) are the exact graphics featured in Everything is Terrible’s 13-year-old logo, so maybe take that response with an enormous grain of salt. For more on Quibi, check out our review of Survive, the platform’s dramatic thriller starring Sophie Turner and Corey Hawkins.