I regularly read reviews of TV shows, games, and movies. I often visit www.ign.com to see what they have to say about the media I like.
What I've been noticing--and with a lot of reviewers, not just at IGN--is that there are fewer and fewer reviewers these days who actually review a work of TV or film based on the actual work itself. Many of them seem to review it based on what they thought it should have been.
They don't really review the meaning of the piece, they usually just trash it by saying that so-and-so character should have done X instead of Y. Or that they wish the show would have gone in a completely different direction. I read a little blurb about the movie Prometheus that said the movie was a giant let-down because it "left too many questions unanswered."
And so, because the work of art did not fully meet their expectations, the reviewers say that it was all "disappointing." For example, I'm really into a show called Dexter. It's about a forensic analyst who happens to be a serial killer. He generaly kills criminals who slip through the cracks of the justice system.
Dexter is an adopted child, and it turns out that his "sister" discovers that she has romantic feelings for him. A reviewer at IGN has been harping on this for the past year now, and how disgusting he thinks it is. He goes on and on about how he hopes that the whole notion gets dropped, like it should never have happened in the first place.
Sure, it's okay to think that it's gross (even though they're not related by blood, at all), but to say that it should be dropped simply because it's disgusting and makes him feel uncomfortable? Oh, so sorry that a TV show irked your fragile sensibilities. The best part is that it's a show about a ruthless serial killer. He's okay with the fact that the protagonist, Dexter, is a sociopath with a heart of gold, but his adoptive sister falling for him? Outrageous!
**END SPOILER ALERT**
The asshats at IGN do the same thing with another show I love called Homeland. The guy constantly trashes the show saying "Brody (the protagonist) should have done this," or "OMG the writers are so stupid for going in this direction!"
It's indicative of a larger problem in society. People have grown so accustomed to having their every want and need met that they simply can't handle it when someone gives them anything less than their hearts' desire.
Newsflash assholes: The Rolling Stones were right, because you can't always get what you want. Instead of wishing that a show turned out differently, how about we just ponder the implications of what actually happened. If it turns out that a plot divice is total shit, then so be it. But the key is to not judge something total shit simply because you think it should have been something else.
The problem is that we've been fed this horse-shit message that we're supposed to expect nothing less than all of our needs being met. What we should be teaching people is that instead of being spoiled brats whenever we don't get everything we wanted for Christmas, perhaps we should find value in what we are given, regardless of whether or not we wanted it.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: art is not meant to be entertainment. The purpose of art is not, and should not, be to make you feel satisfied. It's actually supposed to be the opposite of fulfillment. It's supposed to leave you craving more, but not in the sense that you were disappointed and still lay in wait for your needs to be met. It's supposed to give the much needed spark to your tinder, to energize your brain and to push you to explore untreaded territory.
Isn't that a novel idea? Appreciating what we have instead of spurning it for not being what we expected? I suspect that is a notion that will become fossilized in about twenty years. People like me will fondly remember the good old days where we were challenged to think and remember that there is an entire world outside the narrow confines of our selfish desires.
Appreciate art for what it is, not for what you want it to be.