Negativity has been popular on the intertubes since, oh, it started – like, the first ARPANET test packet sent from one military base to another read:
- – - *** TEST *** – - – SILENT RUNNING SUCKED AND YOU’RE A FAG IF YOU LIKED IT – - – *** END TEST*** – - -
I scan all the popular scifi news sites¹, and for the most part, I do this because they are devoid of a lot of personal opinion. My cross to bear in this lifetime is that while I love science fiction, I can only take small doses of fanatic nerd-boy commentary. In particular, the mean stuff². And lately, there’s been a lot of it, at least where I’ve been reading.
And while I won’t make this personal, there is in particular one big resource that spreads as many negative rumors as they superficially try to clear. For example, let’s talk about Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.
What the fuck is going on with Dollhouse? Well, I’ll tell you: nothing unusual. Except, dear reader, for the small issue of the internet deciding that production of Dollhouse was fucked and by fucked I mean doomed. What began as a legitimate “Uh oh, is Fox going to do this to Whedon again?” snowballed rapidly into a few of the major scifi sites gleefully crowing about the imminent failure of the entire show. Like, in gruesome, excess, speculative detail.
At first I was swept up in it. Poor Joss! Here they go again, every single decision being taken from him, his vision being trampled, his choices ignored – someone start a betting pool for the program being canceled before it even airs. But then, as many of these posts as there were, there were rebuttals from Whedon himself saying, “Look, don’t worry kids.” And indeed, I began to ask myself, do I truly understand how television works?
Suddenly, I started reading the reports of Dollhouse‘s doom with a kind of critical doubt. Two questions arose for me:
- Is this a normal part of the show-making process, only just now revealed to us to be an irritating back-and-forth of changes and reversals?
- How much of this disseminated negativity is making its way back to the studios and paradoxically dooming the show?
Indeed, even an offhand remark from one of the shows actors (Tahmoh Penikett) joking about confusion over the show’s plotline was immediately twisted into “EVEN THE ACTORS DON’T UNDERSTAND SHOW – DOLLHOUSE DOOMED!” After reading both his commentary and the blogs’ responses, I wonder: whose side are we fucking on? Are we turning into a social version of America’s Funniest Home Videos ball-to-the-crotch routine? Don’t misunderstand me – I think Joss Whedon is fallable. He’s just a dude, he fucks up sometimes and I don’t think his involvement with the show makes it free from criticism. But it hasn’t even aired yet. But since when do we, as fans, actively encourage the failure of one of our own? Not to get all Heisenberg on you, but the more you discuss failure, the more it seems likely to happen. Wait, that’s not Heisenberg, that’s the Golden Rule. Or no, wait. You know what I’m trying to say.
¹The notable exception is io9 – man, those kids need to get off the fucking Adderall. Quantity over quality, eh ladies?
²I know it seems all hand-in-hand, like with science fiction comes seething, pent-up geeks, but I find myself wondering if like, wine-nerds sit around on message boards telling other wine-nerds that they are retarded faggots for liking beaujolais.
∞I’m listening to “Forever Young” by Alphaville and realizing what total fucking nonsense the lyrics are – “I don’t want to perish like a fading horse”???!? That can’t be right.
January 23rd, 2009 | Daily Space, TV