Sunday, August 6, 2017

In response to Criminal Minds: Yeah That Episode Title is Still Stupid

So I was going to break this up as a response to Shipping Wars Are Stupid (still our most valuable reader, by the way) but then I remembered this is my blog and I can do what I want (which is partially the point of the response in the first place):

Well ok, I see where you're coming from then. 

But with about three or four readers total over very close to two years (a year and 11 months in fact), many failed attempts to grow the blog and no advertisement commitments...I feel even less incentive to drastically change my writing style or opinions. Not that your opinion doesn't matter - it's certainly being taken into consideration - but if I feel a review is best expressed in a certain way, I'm going that way. I'm not going to result to racial slurs or slurs against minorities, women, or the LGBTQ+ community (well, not intentionally...a disparative bitch may slip out for example, which may be made better or worse by context) but I'm certainly not going to hold back from insulting the show itself or the show's audience, no matter who they may be. That's something I absolutely stuck to my guns with from the Last Man Standing fiasco, from which the biggest lesson learned was...shows with disgusting fanbases will get canceled because they deserve it.

And that's not even taking into account that I have legitimate problems with the episode or even the show concept, and I'm certainly not budging from those. I understand that Spencer evolved from a one-dimensional character you describe as "borderline autistic" (another problem I have since shows of this ilk tend to feel obligated to have such a character and portray them a certain way, but that's another rant) but that doesn't excuse this same episode's perpetuation of the dangerous deadly obsessive female stalker stereotype, an image I have serious problems with in the media because it portrays women as having no control over their sexual or obsessive impulses to the point where it's a trope for women to suddenly become murderers at the drop of a hat. In my view, that trumps any progressive character-building the show's had up to this point. Yes, I've actually watched the episode. No I didn't watch anything else. I explained the circumstances why I watched the episode, and quite frankly I felt both offended enough by this trope perpetuation and extremely unimpressed with everything else going on that I felt it warranted me expressing my opinions on this blog - the expression of which, by whatever means I feel like, is the sole reason why this blog exists.

You ask why I even bother putting up a review then? Because I thought the episode was awful enough that I wanted my opinion expressed in a public medium so people can understand why I feel it's shitty, or at least know that I simply feel it's shitty and then simply trust that enough alone as basis (particularly since at this point they should already know how I feel about these shows, especially since I linked back to a much more detailed review of CM's spin-off show where I extensively covered those problems in detail*). And that's why the mini-review format exists, so at least I can spend minimal time doing that.

I mean, I appreciate the evolution of character and using that to address mental illness - but it's been my experience that these type of procedural shows are still very poor at addressing those issues. Get away from the procedural formula, and especially the way See-BS likes doing it, and the results are more satisfying. House wasn't perfect in this either, but I still felt they did a more satisfactory, honest job addressing the issue especially with the title character himself. And again, that doesn't excuse the other sins of the episode - especially since obsessive behavior as displayed by Trachtenberg's character is itself also a form of mental illness. Does one form of mental illness invalidate another because one of the characters is a main and the other is the bitch-of-the-week the good guys must shoot and kill?

As for Survivor, and See-BS in general, I can't deny that Survivor changed the game of reality competition shows (hell it literally invented that genre in the first place). Yes, I've seen Survivor. I've actually seen entire seasons of Survivor, believe it or not. It doesn't change the fact that I feel that it changed the reality game *for the worse*, if not having a negative effect on the entirety of society. We can see this in the very title of X'ers vs. Millennials, which quite frankly I feel mostly just serves See-BS's blatant anti-Millennial agenda (oh, don't believe me on that? How about Man With a Plan? The Great Outdoors? Superior Donuts? These shows literally revolve around anti-Millennial jokes).

I'll put quality in my long-form reviews, and I try to make the reviews of the kids stuff long-form as much as I can. The mini-reviews...those are meant to be take-'em or leave-'em. I put enough of a lack of time and effort into them that quite frankly I don't mind if nobody comments or reads them. I appreciate people coming for the long-form reviews but if they feel the short-form reviews are offensive and refuses to treat them like adults, well that's why I label the short-form reviews as short-form reviews. Sometimes I try to write for humor (and yes I have a pretty sorry sense of humor), but sometimes I just write to vent frustration. This is very much a case of the latter. And it's absolutely no different than what Jalopnik, Deadspin or Jezebel - yes, blogs I actually follow - do. I know people have problems with those blogs - but 1.5 million readers *don't.* And quite honestly, I think the particular style of how I do things here has become part of the brand I've built for this blog. I feel I have a sense of integrity at stake by compromising it. Of course insulting the reader is counter-productive towards that, but I also feel compromising that brand is also counter-productive towards growing the blog and monetizing it.

Again, the feelings of the shows themselves and their fanbases are not spared here. Quite frankly, I think that was demonstrated quite clearly when we reviewed Last Man Standing (and Girl Meets World, for that matter).

But I *will* keep this in mind the next time I notice my reviews having a lot of fucks.

That review of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders being here. But to summarize: I also had massive problems with that episode, not the least of which is the depiction of Muslims and how women are victimized (which I think is related to the Original Flavor-CM episode being discussed here). Again, just because an episode makes positive progress in the depiction of one condition people face, it doesn't excuse other sins.

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