So I don't know if anyone will read these anymore or will even find out if I type em up anymore. Gamespot's new lameass system gets rid of that nice little friends bar thing on the side that shows me all the latest blog posts. I like to think I wasn't the only one who went to blogs because of that thing, and no other f*cking reason. Because who in the blue hell looks at the rest of Gamespot's shit? You know>
Anyway this is a rant blog. Let's talk shock value.
What is shock value you may ask? Really it's just a broad term I'm using for anything in any medium that is there to just be shocking, violent, unsettling, sickening, etc. You know rape, unnecessary violence, two people f*cking for the sake of f*cking, school shootings, kids being beaten, women being beaten, torture sequences, yada yada.
Now some of you may say "I'm not a girl, so I want all of this"...Okay congrats you're not a girl. You just proved your mentally challenged or someone who's too stupid with a right to an opinion.
The problem with shock value stuff isn't about how unsettling it is, it's really about how it's used in literally all mediums. You see for all of Liquid's love and embrace for his beloved films, for all the things lit buffs love praising about the grand world of literature on Mt. Pious reality is shock value is ever used in any meaningful way other than...well shock value.
It's shallow, it's mind numbing, it's borderline stupid, it barely ever adds anything to the plot, and usually the plot would be better without it. Now I'm not saying this is universal. Of course not, grow up. All rules have an exception. Film has had its moments where films have handled rape and stuff in meaningful ways. But more often than not this shit is just cheap. Now I know what you brain dead douche apes must be asking
You brain dead douche apes: Well Champ ol wise one mr. know it all smart ass, what's the solution.
Simple do something with it. Either make a statement, make it something relevant to the plot in a meaningful way, if it's something like say torture have some commentary to go for it, but don't just throw it in there to make me go "oh man, I'm uncomfortable". Because in 2013 that shit's been done enough times that at this point we're at the "ugh....it's one of those moments".
Now some of you are reading this and thinking
YBDDA: I bet Champ is about to bitch about the GTA 5 torture sequence
And you would be wrong. I actually would defend that sequence of the game. No what actually brought this up is a medium I have gotten into heavily over the past few years. Television. Namely? Sons of Anarchy.
You see the show has built it's reputation and legacy on shock value scenes. Kurt Sutter is obsessed with painting a world that is dark, dirty, trashy, and filled with scumbags in shitty situations. Some of you call this "realistic". I call you stupid because you are for saying this words. It's not realistic, it's overdone. You see for some stupid reason we associate "dark" written narratives as morally gray or what have you, and not black and white. But reality is that morally it's still very much in the black and white category. It's just a whole lot of black, and less white. The Wire is a show where the morality is gray, as you get all shades of the spectrum. But Sons? antiheroes and glorified dirtbags as far as the eye can see.
bad show? no because dirtbags and antiheroes can be endearing or fascinating if written correctly(take notes Rockstar). But I'm losing my train of thought here, as I'm feeling might preachy at this hour. No ladies the problem is that this show has usually lived and died on making its shocking moments stick. Sometimes it's succeeded wonderfully. There is a rape plot in the 2nd season that is handles so beautifully that I'm sure Liquid would call shens that something like that was handled so well from a TV show of all things. Why? Because we saw the character develop, respond, and it played an effective part to the major plot of the season. Yes in a way it put everything in motion for the season, but it was important as well. It didn't feel like a cheap plot device, it was earned.
This season? We got a school shooting that was nothing more than a plot device. The characters haven't reflected once on their own f*ck up in that disaster, the show brushed aside and only really mentions it to remind us that there is potential FBI heat the MC has to deal with, and the current tipping point has nothing to do with the school shooting at all. That my friends is an unsettling and manipulative sequence of pure shock value. Because it hasn't served any real purpose. And it be one thing if that was the only dumb shit they did this season, but Sutter has always had this poor habit of being an unimaginative dark writer.
His latest addition. Make two characters f*ck in front of 2 dirty cops, in prison so the 2 cops can jerk off. What does that have to do with the plot? Nothing what so ever. In fact those 2 cops? Probably won't tie into the real plot anyway, and if they go somewhere with this, it just comes off as again a lame plot device. But the kicker is, it's shock value meant to make you feel uncomfortable. But really assuming you actually have a working brain, it's just a moment where you realize clearly, there are monkeys writing for this show.
And that's really been the current Sons of Anarchy season in a nut shell. Listen I like the show, borderline love the show at times. But it's always been getting away with shaky at best writing. F*ck being one of the best shows on TV, it's not even the best show on it's network. Justified is a vastly superior show in terms of writing, themes, messages, and the first season of The Americans easily trumps any Sons of Anarchy season as far as my time is concerned. I'm also just as entertained by American Horror Story and The League as I am by Sons of Anarchy. Oh and there is Always Sunny in Philadelphia which takes horrible human beings, and makes a hilarious f*cking TV show out of it.
So what am I trying to get at? Kurt Sutter clean your shit up please, and lets get the season back on track. The plot has been middling and flailing around until something sticks, so far barely anything sticks, most of the subplots are just retreads of shit we've already seen from the show or shit we know is just going to feel drawn about because the season is 13 episodes long, and not 4 episodes long. That's all I ask. I usually get an entertaining season from Sons of Anarchy, and that ending was quite explosive(get it? you get it?). But this season requires you to be stupid to be entertained by it. I'm not against stupid entertainment, it's just Sons has usually been better than that at least.
Also as for the GTA 5 torture sequence. I don't think it's good, but I don't think it's bad either. It doesn't add anything to the plot, nor does it help paint Trevor as a character than what he already is to the player, and at best all it does is show how shady the FIB guy is. Thing is you already know how shady he is. But on one hand games usually don't show torture in unsettling ways, and for that I guess I'm giving Rockstar kudos. Kojima made them minigames, and Sam Fisher in Conviction did it for badass points. But really it's about the car ride after the sequence where Trevor runs his mouth about how torture is for the torturer. I'm willing to meet GTA 5 half way, and say that's the Houser's(specifically Dan) sharing his sentiment on torture. His stance, his opinion, his commentary on it.
In that regard? Well done technically, but on the other hand it never added anything else of worth to the plot. So hey maybe it's no worse than Sons of Anarchy's brand of shock value, but I'm willing to meet GTA 5 half way here, Sons of Anarchy? Not so much. Get your shit together. I expect less from videogames, and more from you. That's just how it is.
End Rant, go f*ck yourselves. And as always if you disagree, really it's not that I said anything wrong. It's that like my buddy Jack once said, YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH.