by Rob the Slob
WARNING. RANT AHEAD.
What is it about mediocrity that is so attractive to people?
I just finished watching the second (?) episode of Hawaii Five-0 and I have to say that while it’s not a terrible show, it’s no Dexter. It’s no Justified. It’s not even Law & Order.
There were enough holes in the episode I watched to have me raging out loud to my long-suffering wife. “If they wanted to kidnap the guy, why smash into his limo and turn it on its head, then use the jaws of life to pry him out? Wouldn’t it be better to maybe, you know, take him in a way that couldn’t potentially kill him?”
Just the presence of the jaws of life alone was proof that nearly killing him must have been part of their ridiculous plan.
In fact, wouldn’t it be better all around to do the kidnapping as quietly as possible? Why draw attention to yourselves and get the police involved?
Ohhh. But wait. That was why it was staged that way. Because otherwise Five-0 wouldn’t have gotten involved and you wouldn’t have a story.
And that was only one of the flaws.
I work very hard to make the logic in my stories sound. Now, granted, this may not always happen. I may sometimes miss something or come up with a situation that makes people go, “give me a break,” but I try my very best not to.
This show, however, didn’t even seem to try. All the plot points were used for effect and nothing else, and the story moved along in a way that was convenient, not plausible.
In other words, we’re talking mediocre. At best.
Yet, according to the ads, it’s America’s #1 new show.
Or let’s talk music.
I confess I don’t pay much attention to mainstream music anymore. I know the names of maybe three current hot artists because, frankly, what I hear on the radio sounds like complete shit. As the top 40 always has.
On American Idol it seems that the “safest” or most mainstream artist wins every year.
Every decade we have a number of great artists writing/performing great songs, but for every great artist we have a hundred cookie-cutter overproduced banal autotuned idiots who render the radio impossible to listen to.
Check this out and I swear you will really wonder what’s wrong with people who love this particular singer (assuming anyone still does):
Even when she’s in tune, she’s tough to stomach.
Yet this same crap makes record companies millions of dollars. Millions. So obviously somebody’s buying this stuff.
Then there are books.
Obviously, because I work in the business I’m not going to name names, but we all know there are people writing out there who truly define mediocrity, yet they sell like hotcakes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a party or the dentist’s office or wherever and heard: “Oooh, are your books like FILL IN THE BLANK? (S)He’s my favorite author.”
Unfortunately, more often than not, FILL IN THE BLANK is a truly mediocre writer whose version of fiction makes me cringe in horror every time I try to read it.
Yet millions love it.
And don’t even get me started with movies.
I went and saw EASY A this past weekend because it was set in and filmed entirely in my town, and the only thing the movie had going for it was an engaging lead actor. The story was ridiculous—the kind of story that relies on the main character’s inability to simply say, “enough” before things get out of hand.
If she were George Costanza, that might work. But she’s an intelligent girl and the story set-up is so strained it’s ridiculous. If she’d had a halfway decent justification for doing what she did, I might have bought it. But no.
It was the perfect case of the plot dictating character rather than the other way around. She had to react and do what she did because otherwise the plot would not have worked.
Now, I understand that we all have differing tastes. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure and all that. But I’m not really talking about garbage here. I’m talking about middle-of-the-road boring bullshit.
Why does America love it so much?
I have yet to figure it out.
So my question to you this week is not why, but who?
What popular singer, artist, television show, movie do you think is waaaaay overrated, and who do you think deserves to be more popular than the usual middle-of-the-road suspects?
And if you do have an answer to the embracing mediocrity question, feel free to chime in.