Thursday, June 28, 2018

Pop Culture Puzzle

I remember when pop culture was fun.  It was something you enjoyed, maybe talked about a bit, explored any sub texts and tried to put it into a wider cultural context.  Nowadays there seem to be endless reams of speculation written about what the latest episode of whatever the current pop culture 'sensation' was actually 'about'.  Everything that might have been a clue as to the way overall story arcs might play out is pored over in minute detail.  Every little thing is seized upon for its possible significance: no dialogue can possibly be taken at face value, no plot development can possibly be what it seems.  Which is all very well, but it is essentially reducing the programme in question to the level of a crossword puzzle and turning the viewing experience into a problem solving session.  If that's how some people derive pleasure from their pop culture viewing experience, then fair enough.  But I remember the 'good old days' when everyone would be discussing the merits of the cinematography, lighting or acting after watching a film. 

Part of the problem - if it is a problem - is that so much pop culture these days is consumed in the form of long-running TV series, where maintaining audience interest in the narrative flow from week-to-week is crucial.  One way to do this is by engaging the audience in this puzzle solving game.  The same is true, to a certain extent, with contemporary block buster movies, which are often part of an ongoing franchise, with audiences encouraged to pick over each individual movie for clues as to what will be in the next.  I've mentioned before that there's a part of me that misses the old days of TV before over-arcing story arcs rarely existed and episodes were pretty much self contained.  It meant that you never had to worry about missing an episode, as there was no ongoing story line to keep up with.  It's the same with films - I like them best when they are self contained units.  Hell, back in the day, even when they made sequels which eventually became loose series, nobody really cared about story arcs and continuity.  Half the fun in watching sequels back then was seeing which characters had been recast and which bits of the previous film's plot had been conveniently forgotten about to allow the new film's story to work.  Ah, those were the days when you just watch stuff and simply enjoy it!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home