Thursday, July 23, 2009
The Problem with Comic-Con
Comic-con is the yearly convention where Geeks get to flex their influential muscle and take their rightful place as taste makers of all that is cool in movies and television. Really it’s a grand moment if you ever were persecuted for your love of Star Trek and Star Wars: the geek truly has inherited the earth.
Hollywood now falls all over itself catering to geekdom because they know those nerds have the power to make something a hit or drive it straight into the ground. New projects are debuted at Comic-Con and Hollywood trots out the celebrities to make a good impression on the gathered crowds.
Comic-Con however, is simultaneously a celebration of the underdog and a funeral for the creative process. It’s great that nerds are finally considered important enough that high-paid Hollywood types would practically blow them to get a thumbs up on their new crappy show, but pandering this much to the fan is not a good thing.
Geeks will ultimately rue the day they seized this much power because the movies and TV they watch will ultimately become an insulting brownnose. The ugly beauty of watching a movie or television show is that sometimes you get gold but most times you get a bag of shit. With Hollywood constantly checking the temperature of what the Geeks like and don’t like, you will now get a bag of shit with just the right amount of inside references and nods to things only Geeks know. The new Star Trek was a prime example of this kind of pandering with all kinds of knowing winks to classic Trek lines and plot points. It got old quick, yet the geeky public ate it up. It’s only a matter of time before this kind of lame cajoling is viewed as the flimsy scheme that it is. But by then it will be too late.
This doesn’t happen in sports. A sports team’s fan base can be screaming for management to do one thing and will get something quite different. The reason is, if a team’s general manager did everything the idiot fans wanted, his team would be a mess and he’d be out of a job. Sports fans are just as zealous as sci-fi geeks but a whole lot dumber. That’s good because if they were smarter, they’d figure out a way to make the team do what they wanted and it would all go to shit. It’s all going to shit for the Geeks too; they just don’t know it yet.
I blame Harry Knowles for the start of this because with his movie review site he browbeat and bullied movie studios into making movies the way he wanted to see them. Most people would love that kind of influence, but do you really want that in the hands of people who only consume the product? When bands cater to their fans in this manner, the music becomes predictable and stale pretty fast. If you let the fat-asses who love McDonalds make the menu, the burgers would be bigger and there’d be even more bacon. Harry Knowles loves bacon and his Nazi-like control over movie content is not good for entertainment.
Be careful what you wish for Geeks. Comic-Con seems like your coronation as the intellectual superiors to a country full of knuckleheads but the studio execs that piss themselves to suck up to you would green-light a She-Hulk sitcom if that’s what they thought you wanted. Comic-Con is probably an already over-bloated, corporate event as it is. And when anything gets this large and the participants become this power hungry, it never ends well. But the Geeks don’t really see it yet. They’re enjoying their time at the top and I do tip my hat to them. But when the cast of Nobody Loves She-Hulk hits the stage next year, don’t come crying to me.