Shao Kahn never stops in the middle of a Mortal Kombat tournament because he feels a break will build suspense. And he never slathers heaps of praise on Goro when the four-armed giant is getting scrubbed by Johnny Cage in the first round. Why can’t TV execs and horror bloggers follow his act? Oh, that’s right. They Suck!
I thought I’d hit you with some quick hits for this edition, instead of one big tirade. So here goes:
This nonsense about midseason “finales”— I have never once been in the middle of having great sex and then suddenly stopped. And so I’ve never told a beautiful woman laying under me, “Hey, let’s start this up again in a week or so!” Why? Because that would be INSANE.
So why do the producers of Supernatural and The Walking Dead feel free to stop in the middle of a season and ask fans to wait six to eight weeks for the second half to begin? Those two examples fit the conversation because they’re horror shows, but this phenomenon has plagued a great portion of modern TV. And it sucks.
There are a few reasons I’ve come up with on why they indulge. For one, they’ll only produce so many episodes a season. This isn’t the days of The Twilight Zone, when Rod Serling would make more than 30 episodes of his show. Most modern shows run anywhere from a high of 22 or so to a threadbare low of 10. So there’s a lot of space to fill to make a season feel like… well, a season. So volume is a part of it.
There’s also a content-driven reason. The two above-mentioned shows are exploitative. They work on building tension and excitement. They usually work up to an explosive season finale. So the powers-that-be figure, hey if it works once, it’ll work twice. And they try to build up the first part of the season not only to satisfy the entire arc, but to act as an arc itself. Now this may make for a thrilling episode, but unless you’re a drunk or the town idiot, you’ll realize quickly that it’s not the “finale” of anything. There’s no end; it merely stalls the season so you can go watch reruns of The Smurfs for two months or so. You don’t need my expertise in etymologies to glean there’s nothing “final” in the midseason “finale.” Instead, you should glean that fat cat execs are trying to sucker you. And I for one don’t like being suckered. The midseason “finale” is one more phrase in the chic new dialogue on television as the fat cats try to pull the wool over your eyes. But I’ll call it as I see it: B.S.
But hey, you don’t have to run a network to pull wools. All you need is a blog.
Ass kissing your friends and fellow blogger— I use humor frequently when I write for this site, but one thing with which I’ve always been concerned is making sure that there’s integrity behind Death Ensemble. So I try not to review stuff made by people with whom I have personal connections. There are even a few cases where I’ve been personally involved to some small extent in projects, and when I reviewed them, I left my participation out. Problem is, I’m the exception and not the rule.
For recently, I came across a review for a short film on one of the horror blogs I frequent. I knew I was in trouble right from the outset, as the reviewer began with the naive assertion that, “Everybody likes shorts.” But hey, maybe clumping the entire 6 billion of us together would be the piece’s only fault. Oh no, folks. Oh no. I read on to discover the film had been co-written and starred a blogger from the site hosting the review. Okay, I thought, let’s see how objective this piece is. The reviewer then described a “fun” night of friends congregating for a small party. She then stated the film was “enjoyable for many reasons,” that it “grabs your attention right from the beginning…” It was home to, “an exciting plot, hilarious jokes” and “great acting” from thespians who partook in “witty comebacks, and sexy jokes.” This short was a “must see” and when she said it left her “still craving” for more, I got the idea she expected me to have the same reaction.
Below all that hype, she made one fatal mistake: She included a video of the short. After watching it, all I craved was the 12 minutes back I wasted in watching it.
If I were to trust her review, this short would be a groundbreaking horror comedy the likes of Stuart Gordon’s RE-ANIMATOR. But I trusted my eyes and ears, and this short is actually a poorly written, boring waste that has some of the most amateurish acting I’ve seen in a long time. I wouldn’t call it a “must see” so much as a must avoid. And if the reviewer had been honest with not only her audience, but herself, she would have come to a much less glowing conclusion.
And therein lies the problem. When we’re in bed with people, it’s never fair play to judge their work. I’m sure William Shakespeare had people in his social circle who held back on telling him that his star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet just had a really big crush, and he’s William Freaking Shakespeare. If the reviewer had written a promotional piece, all this hype might have been dishonest ass kissing, but it would have been acceptable. But when she put the word REVIEW at the top of the piece, she sold out and jerked the chains of every reader who trusted her for an honest appraisal.
Two rounds of Mortal Kombat in this edition of You Suck! and Shao Kahn decreeds:
The best way I can finish is this: For the rich fat cats and the everyday blogger, be honest with your audience. They deserve it. If you refuse, then… IT’S OFFICIAL! YOU SUCK!