I am a difficult person to please when it comes to contemporary entertainment. There are probably a lot of things one would assume when dealing with a nerd such as myself and I can assure you that when it comes to the kinds of television shows and movies I might enjoy you would be wrong. Dreadfully wrong. Horrifically. You’d be wrong in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. That’s how wrong you’d be.
For the most part my revulsion to certain shows and films boils down to a few key elements; it is basically porn with a bigger budget, the violence is 100% gratuitous with zero possibility of there being any actual justice in the aftermath, or a combination of both of these things. As a result I could never bring myself to suffer through “Game of Thrones” or “The Walking Dead.” I dislike virtually everything about these. Outside of nerdy genres I find a lot of other things distasteful; “Shameless” springs to mind as something a lot of folks enjoy but I find insufferable. I’d just really rather not watch it.
But that said, do not think for one second that I look down on anyone that does enjoy these things. I’m not saying they have zero entertainment value. I just know they aren’t for me. Nobody has ever heard me say a disparaging thing about anyone that likes the shows and movies I detest because such a thought has never crossed my mind. I do not think I am better than you for not watching “the Witcher.” I don’t think you are wasting your time. I don’t think you could do better. I would say these things if you were binge watching “Friends” but that is because it was sophomoric drivel. I do not now nor have I ever suggested that my choices in entertainment is better than yours (except obviously “Friends” and possibly “Cheers” in the latter seasons). I just would rather not watch. I will seek to avoid troubling themes that cause me undo levels of anxiety such as infidelity, sexual assault, child abuse, animal torture, and anything deemed “reality television” that involves more than 10% of total air time being devoted to petty bickering and bullshit (this quite excludes from elimination “the Great British Baking Show”, thank you very much).
Now there are a lot of things that I watch where one might say “isn’t that rather violent?” Such as a James Bond movie. Yes, rather violent indeed. However there is an easily defined hero at work here and the violence is suitable to stopping the fellow with the eye patch from blowing up Big Ben. That is a truly good and decent use of a railing kill. Also things like “The Irishman.” Yes, there was a bit of violence. But there was a healthy dose of consequences, too. As brief as the violence was the consequences settled in over decades to break and ruin a man that had succumbed to evil as a mindset. I quite enjoyed that. He was a miserable man abandoned by everyone he loved because he sought power through inflicting pain. Justice. This isn’t one mind-numbing season after another of people doing the most cruel things to one another in the guise of surviving a zombie apocalypse only to turn around and keep doing it again and again and again with no end in sight unless AMC cancels the damn thing. And you can root for the “heroes” in that story. I support you supporting your team. But this sport makes no sense to me, it brings me no joy, and I can’t enjoy it.
So yes, I am a difficult person to please. I like my violence in smallish doses, preferably with a funny accent, and ideally in black and white. I am fully aware that terrible things happen everyday in real life and that a show that depicts such horrors is just being authentic. But to me that isn’t entertaining. After a day of dealing with the news cycle sometimes I just really need to listen to Pollyanna school a preacher on what it means to be a true Christian or to hear a couple of puppets mock a Godzilla movie. I need to escape. But gently. Ever so gently.