Review: The Patrick Byrne & Overstock.com Show
January 15, 2010 by William K. Wolfrum
Emotional, paranoid, afraid and angry simultaneously at all times, Byrne is to corporate drama what Meryl Streep is to Hollywood drama. The set-up for the latest episode is apparently an upcoming article by former Fortune and New York Post reporter Roddy Boyd.
In a 5,000-word pre-emptive strike essay at the “All Overstock.com Enemies Must Be Destroyed” Propaganda site DeepCapture.com, Byrne takes time off his CEO duties to pen a 5,000-word diatribe against Boyd.
Some Highlights from: “In Today’s Episode of “Nothing New Under the Sun”: Roddy Boyd Sucks it like he’s paying the rent, Exhibit Z” (after waking up, Byrne apparently crawled back some on the headline, btw), Byrne had these gems:
“that’s him, just above the child porn guy.” “[C]ompared to Roddy I’ve observed more intellect in a ice addict sitting on the floor of a 7-11 trying to remember how to cook meth out of Comet and Pam Spray, and more dignity in a crackhead living off $2 hand-jobs at the bus station.” “Well we’re still here and doing quite well, thank you, while your patron David Rocker plays shuffleboard in Florida, muttering my name under his breath like a wino’s lament as he realizes that for years to come his own will give off a foul stench among the smart money set he so desperately aped. “ Roddy Boyd today emerged in possession of this material, which he proceeded to use in a clumsy attempt to reclaim his rightful seat at that ongoing hedge fund bukake gig in which he previously held starring role. (He ended up deleting this bit.)
“The Patrick Byrne & Overstock.com Show” is like an episode of “Desperate Housewives” gone horribly, horribly wrong. Sure, Byrne is adorable, and there are more lies than you can naked short sell, but – with Byrne writing late-night manifestos while his super-friend Judd Bagley is bragging to reporters about stalking – you get the nagging suspicion that this may all end with a hostage crisis.
Still, what helps make “The Patrick Byrne & Overstock.com Show” even more of a fun watch is the supporting cast. There’s the aforementioned Bagley – easily one of the creepiest guys in the history of the Internet. And then there’s “Investigative Reporter” Mark Mitchell – easily one of the crappiest writers on the Internet. (Sidenote: Has anyone ever talked to, or seen Mitchell in the last year or so? Because his crappy writing is sure a lot like Byrne’s crappy writing. A possible new sub-plot?)
But it’s Byrne’s show in the end. Emotional, fearful and spoiled, Byrne is a fascinating character. And with a corporate board at Overstock.com that may have gone the way of Mitchell for all we know, Byrne is free to act the petulant child at any and all slights, real or perceived.
Of course, Gary Weiss spoiled the ending for all of us: “summed up in one word: Guilty.”
Until then, however, enjoy the show. It’s a wonderful mix of comedy, SEC investigations, stalking, attacking critics and more. And in Byrne, the Overstock.com saga has a a breakthrough star. More Cliff Clavin than Montgomery Clift, Byrne strikes the perfect balance between paranoid victim and angry crook. With Byrne in the lead role, “The Patrick Byrne & Overstock.com Show” promises to be a hit for the foreseeable future – until it ends dramatically and suddenly. Say in six months or so.
As for me, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the upcoming episode when Boyd’s article comes out.