Bald Move listeners are voracious consumers of entertainment commentary. You people just can’t get enough. We’re always getting requests to cover shows, both current and out of production and we feel honored that you would like to have us spew our brand of bullshit about your favorite shows into your ear holes.
A.Ron and Jim will inform you they simply don’t have the time to squeeze another show in… and they’re not lying (they have all sorts of foreign objects already occupying that orifice). I probably could do another show or two; however, chances are I won’t even consider it. Because the television show in question is just not worth my time.
Now before the Bald Move fans get their fucking panties in a twist (if you shaved those pubes, it wouldn’t sting as much), my previous statement should not be considered a punch to your respective genitals. Just because I think your favorite show is a blight upon my high definition existence doesn’t mean your opinion of your shitty little show is any less valid (unless you like Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, then you are a twit and part of the problem… what problem? ALL of them).
I am saying that my time is precious (and your time should be precious too). I do not consume media that I do not find compelling. I don’t hate watch. I don’t watch things because that’s what Alan is watching, or my friends are, or even my wife. I don’t put crap on for background noise. I do everything with purpose. I also don’t read, listen, or play other forms of media for the same reasons.
So that brings us to the question, what do I find compelling? The very first thing is I must care about the protagonist. Protagonists need to be heroic, and that doesn’t mean brave knights being brave. It means they need to be overcoming some sort of adversity. And they need to overcome that adversity by generally doing the right thing. Basically, I need to at least bat an eye if the protagonist were sacrificed by being tossed into a woodchipper.
This is why shows like Breaking Bad cannot capture my attention. Walter White is a shithead. While I sympathize with his plight (cancer and teacher’s salary suck), I cease caring for him when he takes an obviously horrible path to overcoming his adversity (cooking meth). Yet, when it’s well done, I can swallow the hero’s descent into darkness because he truly believes he is doing right (it just has to make sense). I have no fucking issue with Walt being thrown into a woodchipper, in fact, I think he deserves at least an appendage lost to a 50 gallon drum full of acid.
Second, the story can’t just be about intimate relationships or daily life. I don’t care who’s fucking who or what bullshit event is tearing a friendship apart, unless it involves aliens (either fucking them or an invasion). There has to be something epic at stake or the trappings (see below) must be detailed enough to keep things interesting. I know relationship stories are big sellers, but you know, maybe I’m not interested because I don’t have relationship issues. My marriage is solid, my kid is awesome, and I’m friends with who I want to be friends with and everyone else can take the boat to Fuckoffity Land.
This is why I ignore friend-based dramas or comedies, à la Girls, Sex and the City, or even Friends. Not only do I not give a shit how they are navigating their daily lives, my give-a-fuck gauge concerning the characters usually registers “E.”
Finally, the storytelling must be keen. A lot of people think storytelling is an art, but I think it’s a science. There’s an algorithm to creating compelling stories (what’s more, there are scientific studies that support this concept which I can present upon request because I’m too fucking lazy to go find right now). The human mind loves to consume stories because it’s our way to virtually gain experience (a primary evolutionary key that led to our survival and dominance as a species). That’s why we have patterns like The Hero with a Thousand Faces that dominates mythology and continue to capture our attention (exhibit A: Jesus Christ, the most beloved myth of modern America).
This means a good story better not be feeding me a bunch of information that’s not relevant. It means they need to foreshadow a character’s deviation from his regular behavior. It means every setup needs a payoff and there better not be any deus ex machina descending to save the motherfucking day. Characters can’t just pull some bullshit because the writer needs it to happen for the plot… the goddamned plot should serve the protagonist’s struggle…. and make sense. Which is why now that The Walking Dead has declined into dull drivel, Bald Move doesn’t even ‘cast about shows I like (obviously, with the exception of the one I co-host) anymore. The storytelling of TWD has become a festering corpse flinging its rank innards towards who-the-fuck-knows-what.
A heroic protagonist, interesting stakes, and solid storytelling are what must exist before I can invest any of my precious time. These things need not be perfect and there are certainly things stories can have that will keep me from noticing subpar quality in any or all of them. These things are what I call trappings and are primarily setting details.
For instance, the gorgeous rotting undead blinded me, or at least kept me gawking at The Walking Dead, long after the show had truly ceased being interesting. I’d probably still enjoy Falling Skies if it was about the Revolutionary War, but the aliens add a cosmic polish to the show that makes it even better [for me]. It works in reverse too; the trappings of Downton Abbey probably distract me from what might be an otherwise engaging story (I simply fucking despise aristocracy).
The trappings I find engaging tend to be advanced technology, anachronistic technology, space travel & aliens, the horrific, and magic & the supernatural (though less so these days). I’m a sci-fi geek at heart, and stories that play to those interests will often get many more chances to fail.
So there you have it, a thousand word essay on what Mad Brew requires from entertainment so our wonderful listeners have a bit more context on why he shits on all their favorite shows.