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Actually, Quibi Is Very Good

For some reason, it has never been cool to like Quibi. From the second the “quick bites” streaming platform from Jeffrey Katzenberg was announced, and now that it’s been live since April, it’s always been an eye roll or a punchline, despite having dozens of series from truly A-list talent. Luckily, my curiosity and/or contrarian side got the best of me, and not only did I explore what Quibi has to offer, I’ve even remained a paying subscriber. Because I like Quibi. I like it! I said it! It’s out there on the internet for all to know now, and I refuse to feel shame when I’m too busy feeling entertained by this app.

No, we do not need another streaming platform. But this one, in a different year, would’ve done much better than it has, as Quibi struggles to sign up and retain subscribers and is rumored to be exploring options to sell. My life will go on without it should it happen to disappear, and yes, easier than it would if a platform such as Netflix or Hulu were to go away, but I’ve found a lot of places to incorporate the under 10-minute clips into my life. For instance, in the morning when I eat my breakfast, which also takes under 10 minutes, I watch an episode of something pleasant. When I’m tired of doomscrolling, I’ll open this app instead. And a bonus feature: you can’t do that whole second screen thing here because you’re already watching Quibi on your phone, and therefore not opening Twitter or Instagram. Plus, it’s likely that most of the content on Quibi will make you feel better than what’s being fed to you on those other apps.

In the Before Times, I can totally picture myself watching Quibi as I’m sitting at a table inside (inside!) a restaurant alone after receiving a “So sorry, gonna be 10 min late!” text from my dining companion. Maybe I would watch a quick bite on the subway on the way to work. Maybe while I was in line at a store, less than six feet from other shoppers. But in 2020, since most of us are avoiding lines and public transportation and indoor spaces, we have more time for longer-form content, and Netflix and Disney+ thank us for that. Quibi, however, is perhaps less grateful.

It’s too bad because at $4.99, Quibi is one of the cheapest streaming services around. It’s not even a $4.99 I contemplate saving or have any better place to spend. I’m happy to pay it. I’ve never had technical problems watching any show on there, the viewing experience has always been easy and smooth. But the app is missing that key word of mouth element that would make people happily fork over their coffee money to watch short and sleekly produced videos. Perhaps the generation they were hoping to target is instead watching (and creating) multiple videos on TikTok or YouTube. But it can’t be for lack of star power. Anna Kendrick, Liam Hemsworth, Kevin Hart, Andy Cohen, and Chrissy Teigen all have series on the platform. There’s…basically anything you could want.

Adorable animals? Check. An animated series with daily horoscopes? Check. News, comedy, action, mystery, sex, game shows, horror, weather, and wellness? Yep. All of that. If you can’t find anything to watch on Quibi, that’s 100% on you. Former MTV dating show Singled Out has a modern update on there, as does Punk’d with Chance the Rapper. If it were on any other platform, the internet would be losing its collective mind for Nicole Richie’s Nikki Fre$h series. It’s not flimsy, pathetic content.

My personal favorite is Joe Jonas’s Cup of Joe, an 8-minute travel show where he spends his day off from touring different cities around the world with a celebrity pal and taking in all the culture he can. I’ve learned that I truly only need about eight minutes to see all I need to know about most metropolitan locations. Somehow, the series crams both popular tourist attractions and quirky, less obvious activities into each installment, and still leaves time for Joe’s charming personality to shine. It was just what I needed during quarantine: a minor escape without an overwhelming wave of FOMO. And, like most Quibi episodes, it still left me wanting more.

You’ve surely read enough snarky pieces about Quibi this year, but if you haven’t tried it for yourself, I do encourage you to do so (and um, probably soon). It’s not going to take over your whole life, and that’s part of the reason that it’s great: it will be there to fill any tiny holes of boredom you may encounter, one quick bite at a time.

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