After posting and then deleting three captions for this, I’ve decided this speaks for both itself and whoever decided to make it.
Tatws Pum Munud
If the greatest flaw of “Rose” was that it tried slightly too hard to disassociate itself from the old series, then its greatest strength was that it disassociated itself from modern SF television as well. The McGann TV Movie is quite blatantly an attempt to “update” Doctor Who for the mid 90’s, so it’s as much like a car-crash hybrid of Star Trek and The X-Files as was legally possible with superficial elements of the original series haphazardly splattered on the screen in an attempt to establish some kind of brand identity, but “Rose” is… Well, it’s “Rose”. For all its faults there isn’t really anything else like it, and despite the frequent comparisons to Buffy, the pair don’t really share much in common beyond having a blonde teenage girl as the central protagonist.
What’s particularly striking about “Rose” is that the way that it often looks as if it’s going to head down the road of predictable SF banality, but doesn’t just avoid the predictable trope, it outright inverts it, yet doesn’t do so in a knowing or detached way. When Mickey is captured and duplicated by the Nestene, it doesn’t lead to a tedious “Which is the real Mickey?” sub-plot, it leads to a comedy sequence where we laugh at Rose for not picking up on the fact that Mickey no longer looks, acts or talks like he used to… and yet this all makes perfect sense, because the Nestene don’t know anything about human beings and therefore Auton-Mickey is exactly the kind of disaster they would come up with. Aliens invade a department store rather than a secret military base, but we follow the effect it has on someone who used to work there rather than treating it as a punch-line. We get a “Time Lord” with a Salford accent who acts like an urban guerrilla, but this is totally in keeping with his personal history, not a piece of moralising about why we shouldn’t judge by appearances. Even Clive, the conspiracy theorist with a basement full of newspaper cuttings and old photographs, is a likeable family man with a weird hobby rather than a one-note joke about saddos whose only friends are on the internet. That would be lazy, glib characterisation and no highly-regarded SF screenwriter would ever think of doing such a thing.
Rose herself has no super-powers, destiny or anything out of the ordinary besides a bronze medal in gymnastics. She’s not “strong” or (God forbid) “sassy”, she’s bored and self-absorbed and fed up. The use of the Autons as the story’s monsters isn’t an attempt to recreate the Pertwee years, it’s there to show us Rose’s whole world - her job, the commercial high streets where she spends her leisure time, and her culture’s own plastic superficiality (cf. her comment about breast implants coming to life… or the next story for Lady Cassandra) - turning on her. Unlike the Pertwee Auton stories, these dummies (yeah, alright, and wheelie bins) aren’t alien weapons in disguise as ordinary objects, they are ordinary objects, the exact same ones she hangs around every single day, now revealed as something hostile and alien. How long have the Nestene been in London? How long were the dummies in the windows really watching her? Considering that the clothes she’s selling were more than likely a product of sweat shop labour, do the dummies even need to be alive to haunt us?
She might be a wonderful person fundamentally, but she’s also part of a superficial, consumption-driven society that goes out of its way to stunt her thoughts and feelings; it’s not hard to trace a direct lineage from consumptive, complacent London 2005 to the stagnant, insular, vicious, self-interested empire we’re shown in “The Long Game” and “Bad Wolf”. Nothing she does throughout the first season is beyond what an everyday person can do; she just asks questions, listens to people, reaches out to help, learns from her mistakes and (eventually) makes a stand when nobody else will. Anybody can do that, and that’s why she’s strong. She doesn’t need a time rift in her bedroom, or alien DNA, or any other kind of spurious superpower to make a difference.
Even the killer wheelie bin sort of works, although it tips things a bit too far into Dangermouse territory. Honestly, though, I’d rather watch Dangermouse than Babylon 5.
Well, he’s right. It’s not too complicated, it’s just intentionally fragmented and confusing so that he can pretend it is.
Having your life depend on an internet comic book review show is deeply, deeply disturbing and should be treated as such. It is not life-affirming or heartwarming or a testament to the wonders of fandom, it’s something that you should seek professional help over.
So is forming an intense emotional attachment to complete strangers and/or fictional characters played by said strangers.
If tgwtgsecrets found these things even a fraction as disturbing as I do then they wouldn’t be posted, because doing so normalises and affirms it. This person was actually going to kill themselves. I’m not fucking around here, it scares me that this is happening and it needs to be said in no uncertain terms.
Believing angry, negative reviews of movies are above criticism because of the “effort” involved while completely neglecting to take into account that those same movies being torn to shreds for your amusement represent a vastly greater effort on the behalf of hundreds of people over a period of years demonstrates a horrifying level of insular, elitist double-standards.
Even if I liked TGWTG, the levels of fanatical obsession and detachment from reality I’ve seen would still genuinely disturb me. I do not give a shit that people like something that isn’t funny (cf. my dig at Yahtzee being all of a sentence fragment). I give a shit that people sound like they’re in the Branch Davidians. It’s hard not to implicate the site itself in how its fans behave, since it’s set up so that everyone inside TGWTG is special and human and has real feelings and should be coddled and respected, whereas everyone outside TGWTG is there to be made fun of for the insiders’ amusement. Look at Doug repeatedly and personally tear down Tommy Wiseau, a guy who spent five years - that’s longer than Doug’s whole “career” - scraping the money together to make The Room, then watch hysterical fans rally to Doug’s defense on the grounds that Doug puts a lot of effort into screaming at a camera every week and thus warrants our respect and admiration. I use the word “cult” because there is no other word.
Tangentially, people with years of practical video production experience don’t appreciate being lectured on how they will never understand the difficulties faced by internet video reviewers.
There. Done. Unlike Doug, I have no interest in milking things past their natural lifespan. tgwtgsecrets is a horrifically disturbing monument to things that are legitimately crazy. It’s the kind of stuff people accused D&D players of doing in the 80’s, only in this case it’s actually real and the evidence is sitting up there in public. Fandom should not be a competition to see who can detach themselves the furthest from reality.
(repurposed from an old facebook update just after the trailer leaked)
The big problem with doing a “realistic” Batman, apart from the fact his costume has little ears, is that it requires “realistic” villains with “realistic” motivations, rather than cartoonish supervillains who want to freeze the planet with a diamond-powered laser. Because Batman is very specifically an urban character, Nolan has so far given us two contemporary urban bogeymen in the form of a super-duper drug dealer and a super-duper arsonist / bomber.
What makes me uncomfortable is that both these things - drug addiction and directionless urban violence - are both fuelled by social alienation, poverty and extreme class inequality. Striding into the fray to protect “us” is… a multi-billionaire corporate CEO who’s in cahoots with the police while simultaneously flouting the law when it suits his purpose. His goal is to maintain the status quo from which he directly benefits, yet there’s no acknowledgement that status quo itself is actually at the root of the problems which are being manifested. The threats have all come from *below*; we haven’t seen him take on anyone who’s rich or powerful. Not that I literally want Mr. Freeze back (he blatantly doesn’t fit in the Nolan-version), but someone along the lines of a millionaire Bond villain, an Auric Goldfinger or a Max Zorin, might make it easier to cheer for the guy.
This becomes highly problematic when we have Alfred - the locus of good and voice of reason - discuss how “some people just want to watch the world burn”. He’s talking about the Joker, yes, but this is the same rhetoric used by establishment figures when they want to blame the oppressed for being pissed off about being oppressed. “Black culture is the problem”, “They hate our freedoms”, “Genes for crime” etc.
Things then tip over into outright totalitarian in the final scenes, when Batman and Gordon - the wealthiest man in the city and the guy in charge of the police - decide to conceal the truth about Harvey Dent for the good of society, because, apparently, the people of Gotham cannot be allowed to know what really happened or they’ll tear each other apart. The fact Batman himself takes the blame doesn’t change the fact that he’s the one who made the decision for us because we can’t be trusted. The representatives of wealth and power must shoulder the burden of saving the masses from their own innate savagery. I’m not reading too much into this; that’s the actual plot.
So, when we see the leaked trailer and Selena Kyle is telling Bruce Wayne that, in so many words, he’s basically a parasite (and he uncontroversially is, by the way - he inherited Wayne Enterprises from his parents and leaves other people to run it while he goes yachting and collects the profits; you don’t need to be Marx to find this a fundamentally fucked up arrangement) it looks like we’re heading in the direction of some kind of critique, possibly. But then I see Bane, the villain, leading an army of escaped prisoners, and his goal - as stated - is to reduce Gotham to “ashes”. Then he blows up an NFL game while an adorable kid sings “The Star Spangled Banner”, just to drive home what a threat to the American way he is.
This is a roundabout way of saying I don’t think I’m going to like it very much.
Psychologists should really study the tgwtgsecrets tumblr; it’s a horrifying descent into cult-like fanaticism.
The site does not produce “reviews”, oh no it does not. It produces self-indulgent snarkfests which are designed - like all snarkfests - to demonstrate that the snarker is cooler, smarter and funnier than their target, and to bring the audience along for the ride via smugness osmosis. It’s the mentality of a mob who find solidarity and self-worth through ganging up on an obvious scapegoat, with the key difference being that TGWTG’s targets are mildly unsatisfying Hollywood movies made by people too powerful for Doug’s “reviews” to affect them, rather than Huguenots. None of their targets are going to suffer any real consequences, but that doesn’t stop the feelings behind it being ugly and depressing.
I’m not against tearing into shit for being shit, oh no, but there’s a difference between “I find this amusing in its ineptitude” or “Folks, this is awful” and “My primary source of income is proving how much cleverer I am than the people who worked on this” (not just a TGWTG issue; naming no names but he rhymes with “Yahtzee”). This is particularly grating when fanscum feel the need to leap to the defense of their favourite reviewers if they ever get criticised, because they have feelings and put so much effort into their work. Yeah, well, so does Joel Schumacher. Live by the snark, die by the snark.
A review analyses elements of the work being criticised and uses them to support a case. Half an hour (!) of someone recapping every plot beat of a story and following it up with a forced sarcastic remark and/or hyperbolic screaming fit does not qualify. It’s like listening to a bad high school book report. “This happens, then this happens, then this happens, it was so stupid and I can’t believe you made us read it” wouldn’t be acceptable from a 14 year old, but from someone over twice that age it’s apparently amazing enough to be your reason for living. Conclusion: TGWTG is aimed at people who found high school book reports too taxing.
Anyone who thinks I’m taking this too seriously: look at the above image and remember there’s more where that came from.