My Current Viewing Habits

I currently sit practically naked in my new flat drenched in sweat, my stretchy, wrinkled testicles stuck to my leg. As you struggle to get that image out of your head, wondering whether I am guilty of some sort of harassment for forcing the notion of my naked form into your head or you are guilty for oogling me with your mind’s eye without my permission or simply visualising the naked form is neither a sinister act or one to be celebrated as a body is a body and we all need to chill out about the whole thing, I am trying to decipher my own handwriting.

I haven’t updated this blog for some time, seeing as I have been trying to move from my mum’s sofa into a new flat. I successfully managed this some time ago and subsequently spent a week sitting on a deck chair drinking beer. Then, of course, my new flatmate had the audacity to move in, so now I must, at the very least, maintain an illusion that I am a functioning human being.

Some time ago I was on a train. On this train, I tried to distract myself from the depressing reality that I was on a train by writing out my next blog post. Sticking to the ‘write what you know’ method, this turned out to be about my TV viewing habits at the time. This may become a two-parter, because reviewing my notes I see there are numerous pages stuffed with over analysis and wandering thoughts.

One day I will develop a thing called focus, or at least try my hand at this editing business. Anyway, we shall see where I get to in this write-up. Are you sitting comfortably? No, of course, you’re not, it’s too hot for that, unless you’re that one reader in Iceland who regularly glances at my ramblings. I’ll begin anyway.

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Whilst I have not quite given up on my dreams, I have started to realise that they may not come true. This creeping realisation – that I might not become a top-selling author and celebrated actor by the time I’m twenty-four – started to make itself known around my twenty-sixth birthday. It’s becoming more apparent that I might need to re-evaluate my life the more I sit in my mother’s flat watching whatever happens to be on TV.

As my ten-year-old sister also lives here (perhaps with a more valid excuse to be doing so), what happens to be on TV is often Cartoon Network. When she eventually grows bored and wanders off to watch some insufferable YouTuber (it saddens me that that is a thing), my mother chooses the channel. This is often Alibi or UKTV Food.

Alibi shows various episodes of yet more varied detective shows. UKTV Food shows various documentaries on the history of Russia.

As I have no right to influence what can and cannot be watched on this particular television, I have no choice but to get up and better myself. Despite this, I remain seated and watch and continue to watch until my brain has melted, and I experience what it is like to be dead.

Instead of setting out into the world and perhaps finding a loving partner, saving up for a house and starting a family as is generally done, I will give a needlessly detailed rundown of my current and bizarre viewing habits.

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network was once a safe haven. It was a world that contained Dexter’s Lab, The Powerpuff Girls and that shit Cow and Chicken show. Like most things in life, it has moved on and is no longer for me. I accept this. The world turns and a new generation emerges to lay claim to what was once ours. Unlike the Star Wars fandom, I accept this. I do not get angry, nor sad, nor do I take to the internet to harass actresses. One thing that hasn’t changed is there is still a lot of shit on it.

But it also has some remarkable programming.

The Amazing World of Gumball

Some years ago, Adventure Time come along. Its whacky colourful world was as imaginative as it was funny, rich and well thought out. Unfortunately, stoners got hold of it and started shouting pretentious shit much like they did with the more recent and much more adult Rick and Morty.

In their insistence on saying how good it was,  how clever it was and how underneath the quirky characters and silly humour, was actually a very adult show with some serious and emotional stories to tell, which it does in unique and interesting ways, these fuckers allowed Adventure Time’s Ego to swell. In pushing boundaries and doubling down with the weirdness and trying to consistently tell interesting stories, it forgot about the quirky characters and the silly humour and well… how to be entertaining.

Rick and Morty suffered the same fate. There were two fantastic seasons with some of the sharpest comedy writing yet seen, interspersed with some subtle depressing moments that led people to declare it was the cleverest thing, it was so deep and blah blah blah. This eventually led to season 3 which was largely shit. The wit was gone, the characters became too inconsistent (unless we’re watching different Rick and Morty’s in various episodes, which is a theory), and all because they kept trying to prove how fucking clever they were. Some of the silly, sharp humour was simply replaced with smug, self-referential ‘meta’ humour. Meta humour is not clever, meta humour is easy and should be used in small doses. Done right it can add an extra element to a show. Otherwise, it simply becomes easy references or an excuse to use clichés (but it’s okay because they admit their clichés so it’s not a cliché).

What does this have to do with The Amazing World of Gumball?  Well, these shows were popular, and as such, spawned copycats. Every show became whacky and self-referential. Every show became ‘lol random!’ every show became ‘quite adult clever, avant-garde and  blah blah blah.’

At first, I assumed The Amazing World of Gumball was just another one of these. Weird animal families, a goldfish that evolved into a member of the family, a whacky world populated with insane characters (one is a piece of toast), but the more I watched, the more I realised its brilliance. With it’s ‘randomness’ it feels like a safe bet that fits in nicely with the millennial trend of said ‘randomness’. However, whereas with a lot of shows offer ‘randomness’ with no substance, The Amazing World of Gumball (in my humble opinion) simultaneously uses this self-aware randomness to its full effect (by which I mean not overdoing it) whilst also satirising shows that try and fail to do the same. It is incredibly juvenile (it’s a kids’ show), but certain elements will appeal to adults (Richard is my spirit animal). There are intelligent, well developed and fleshed out characters that whilst appear insane and ‘out there’ deliver lines of dialogue in an incredibly dry manner. It expertly balances the colourful and quirky with the down to earth and simple.

Most importantly, it doesn’t take itself seriously. It makes no claim to be unique. It does not attempt to be intelligent. It doesn’t try to appeal to both adults and children, it instead does its best to be entertaining, and it succeeds.

Teen Titans GO!

The phrase ‘childhood ruined’ or words to that effect come up a lot. Strangely, they are never said by children, who realistically are the only ones who can have their childhood ruined. It comes up a lot in reference to this children’s TV show. I work in marketing so I can tell you that a children’s show branded something that ruins childhood is not ideal.

The reason so many people have been lamented that their childhoods have been ruined is (fortunately) not due to some chilling realisation that uncle Barry wasn’t actually a doctor and… nope, can’t even finish a paedophile joke, they make me want to cry. Not to mention someone might dig it up in 10 years’ time, successfully getting me fired by Disney.

Note: yes I did add in that James Gunn joke to be topical. I’m trying to appeal to all manner of readers.

Rather, people feel that Teen Titans GO! Is responsible for their childhood being ruined, albeit retrospectively.

Teen Titans GO! Currently has a rating of 4.8 stars on IMDB, which isn’t good news as I view anything below a 6.5 to be unwatchable, and obviously, everyone goes by my technique. To quote the title for one 1 star review “If you loved the first time out for the Teen Titans, don’t watch this”, and the body of another equally negative review

“When I first saw the commercials for this show, I thought, “Oh, hey, they’re remaking one of my favorite childhood shows, I hope it’ll be good.” But I was severely disappointed, and insulted.”

I can see the beginnings of a pattern. The people that don’t like this show dislike it seemingly because it is not like a show they watched at some point in the past. I remember my friends telling me how good the original Teen Titans was and that I should watch it. I didn’t because I was obviously reading Ulysses and had no time for cartoons, titanic or otherwise. This was some time ago. A quick google tells me the final episode aired on the 16th of January 2006. Those who are number savvy will realise that was twelve and a half years ago.

This would mean that even if you were say, as young as eight when you watched the original Teen Titans that would make you currently twenty years of age. Following this line of logic, I can conclude that Teen Titans Go! IS NOT FOR YOU, YOU WHINING CHILDISH FUCK!

I briefly alluded to this current pandemic whilst referencing the Star Wars fandom. These are people that simply can’t let go of their childhood. These are fucking snivelling cowards who can’t accept that time is marching ever onwards and they are now of an age of responsibility, they must take charge of their own lives and make their own decisions. They’ve realised their parents were right when they told them, ‘these are the best years of your life, it’s all downhill from here.’ Rather than sucking it up and accepting their mortality before trudging boldly towards their demise, they turn on Cartoon Network and hope that the magic colour box will give them back their youth.

It won’t. Fucking grow up you creepy adult children.

I don’t see how a children’s cartoon can leave someone feeling insulted, unless a character turns to the camera and says, ‘Graham Smith of 21 Dryden Crescent, you’re a prick!’ (apologies if anyone reading is called such and lives at such, it is mere coincidence). From my limited knowledge, Teen Titans Go! Is actually very respectful of the original, not just due to the many subtle references, but by not trying to imitate the original series. The original series is done. It told a story. Doing the same would serve no purpose and ultimately tarnish a good thing.

So, in this superhero obsessed age of reboots and gritty superpowered punch-ups, where Marvel and DC desperately try and monetise as many of their properties as possible before the bubble bursts, why not reuse the Teen Titans? Except, instead of attempting a gritty, violent reboot like the live action appears to be (which seems very odd. Why market a thing called Teen Titans, which is clearly aimed at a younger audience, Teen is in the title, with gratuitous graphic violence? Unless they’re trying to appeal to the aforementioned fuckers, who will no doubt say that this is shit too before they hang themselves), why not just make it a light-hearted romp in which nothing matters? Wouldn’t it be funny if we took the characters of a show known for its serious story-telling and emotional climaxes and make them caricatures of themselves and put them in silly scenarios? That’s the premise of Teen Titans GO! The Titans are put into comical shorts in which they do surprisingly little superheroing. It’s like a flat share sitcom, starring the Titans.

Sure, the humour doesn’t always land, but at these points, I have to remind myself, I’m a 26-year-old loser watching  Cartoon Network.

Well… that got out of hand.

Tune in next post to read why British detective shows are probably racist and how I often can’t tell which version of Law and Order I’m watching.

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Where are all the Adults?

Where have all the adults gone?

 

I’m well aware of a large number of recent tragedies and moments of political upheaval that may well go onto have global repercussions, and a skilled writer would be able to generate an engaging an interesting article on any of these things. However, I am not a skilled writer, nor are the large majority of bloggers, yet it hasn’t stopped them. So instead of being another self-important piece on the cabinet reshuffle or terrorist atrocities, where I try and show how politically engaged and intelligent I am, I’m going to write another self-important piece on Pokemon Go.

Being roughly 24-25 (I honestly don’t know, I keep having to text my dad to find out), I existed in what you might call the Pokemon generation. You will notice I refuse to use the accented e. as Poke-Mon sounds cooler, like a Star Wars character. I watched the series, collected the cards, used cleverly worded tricks and promises to swindle my friends out of good cards in exchange for bad ones and even played the games. I used to dream about belonging in the world of Pokemon, so I can leave home at the age of 11 and wander the world, beating wild animals to the point of submission before keeping them in cramped conditions for lengthy periods and occasionally forcing them to fight others. So why, when I heard tell of a new augmented reality game that incorporates the real world and those scientifically questionable monsters, why was I not the least bit interested?

It turns out, it’s because I’m roughly 24-25. I have moved on. Pokemon was a huge part of my childhood and there it remains, for the very same reason I no longer hang out at The Ditch and pretend to be a Power Ranger.

Aside: The Ditch was a place situated between my house and the house of a good friend of mine. It was, as the name suggests, a large overgrown ditch, in which one might find a trolley, or on a good day, the door to a tumble dryer.

This week, I have been forced to endure endless conversations about Pokemon, where to find them and the where the gyms are situated. One heavily bearded “adult” passionately exclaimed how he found an Eve (spelling may not be correct) outside KFC. Grown men and women, with jobs and who pay tax venture out on their lunch hours in the hopes of finding that elusive Pigeott.

Why? Where have all the adults gone? When did we become this nation of the perpetual child? It’s strange, unnerving even. I’m accused of being miserable, pretentious even. I’ve even been accused of trying to ruin everyone’s fun, simply because I don’t get excited over the idea of using my phone camera to see a fictional worm sitting on my desk! Madness! Madness I say!

Someone even tried to defend it by saying, and I quote “It’s good though, because it’s helping me lose weight, because before I wouldn’t bother going out, but now I’m going for walks in the evenings to try and catch Pokemon.” He says this with a serious expression etched onto his features. Pokemon… convincing someone to go outside and walk to combat weight gain? Why is being a fat shit not inspiration enough?

It was recently reported that two people fell off a cliff whilst playing this game. I laughed. Admittedly as I continued to read I felt bad for doing so as they were really hurt, but that’s the news paper’s fault for starting an article simply saying that some people fell off a cliff because they were too busy looking at their phones. Once upon a time this might have featured in a satirical sketch show, but no, so engrossed in this endless obsession of ‘catching ‘em all’ people are walking off cliffs, off piers, strolling into the waiting arms of angry bears, crashing planes and all sorts.

It’s not just the current Pokemon Go fad that makes me feel this way. Recently, the Deadpool film hit the cinemas and people loved them. This comic book adaptation had an 18 rating, meaning it was intended for adults. I’ve not seen it, it may well be a clever dig at the superhero trend and Hollywood’s obsession with churning them out. I did see Captain America 2 not long ago. It was alright, but the story was (if one liked to over analyse) one of post 9/11 espionage and government policy and the changing nature of war and global threats and how we are all at risk of accidentally surrendering power to sinister, totalitarian regimes and organisations in the name of security, this is clearly not a theme aimed at children. It was still Captain America, and one in a never ending list of films about costumed folk beating up badguys in whatever form they come, which adults spent their hard earned money on watching.

Why WHY! Why can’t we just grow up like people did in the good old days, where they reached the age of twenty-two, decided their days of having fun were over and started wearing jumpers?

Because… the good old days.

Nostalgia, that’s what it is. We yearn for the carefree days of playing the Pokemon games, swapping the cards. Nostalgia is a good feeling. But Nostalgia is also dangerous! It’s more addictive than any drug. Just walk into a building and say “do you remember the Crash Bandicoot games?” and watch everyone go mental.

It can ruin lives nostalgia. People get so lost in the past they forget they’re in the present, they don’t see the future charging towards them before it’s too late and they’re dead. I lost my father to nostalgia, I asked him what school was like in the 70s. His eyes glazed over, he let out a long breath as he travelled back through time several decades. He’s been trapped in the 70s ever since. It’s a genuine fear of mine that he’ll try and do something differently and the paradox that ensues would leave me fading out of existence.

“So what do you do that’s so much better than this eh? If you so begrudge free independent people their moments of thoughtless entertainment in a world of constant uncertainty and woe?” I hear the Pokemon Go players screaming.

Well, I drink a lot, and when I’ve run out of money for drinking, I masturbate.

TheFuzzyRambler.