Confessions of a Pop Culture Snob

5 years ago
I can pin-point the exact moment that I realized that I had become a pop-culture snob.

I was talking with a friend's mother. She is good-natured and sweet - the kind of woman who pinches your cheeks and makes you casseroles. She was telling me how she loves the show Cake Boss. I smiled and said that the cakes were amazing. And then I proceeded to tell her how that show was SUPER FAKE and how there was NO WAY that they dropped that cake down the stairs and how I hated the fake arguments and the fake crises and that Buddy was a tool.....

Amazing cake. Totally Fake show.
And then I look over at her beautiful face and saw a sad, deep look in her kind eyes. She was looking at me like I had snatched a lollipop out of her hand.

That was the first incident. Then there were more and more. I couldn't help but rag on the pathetic writing and plot on Glee when someone told me they were a fan. I told a friend that if I had to watch one more episode of Two and a Half Men on the cruise together that I would throw myself off our balcony. I find myself rattling on about "serialized crime dramas" and how they are "Brainless, repetitive CRAP". Skating with the Stars? Really?

Yeah, that's how I talk sometimes. Please don't hate me. I've become a pop-culture snob.

I'm not sure how it happened. I blame many things. Mostly LOST.

I blame LOST for raising the TV drama bar so high that barely any shows clear it now. If LOST is the highbar, then shows like CSI and Grey's Anatomy are the chubby pole vaulter who goes up on the pole and then falls flat on their face. (By the way, if I ever tried to pole vault the outcome would be much worse - like death by impaling).

Some shows hit the bar. Shows like Parenthood and Veronica Mars and Dexter.

Some shows clear the bar: Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Fringe and Firefly.

I blame Arrested Development for raising the comedy bar.

Likewise, some comedies hit the bar: Parks and Rec, Raising Hope, The Office, Modern Family (our new favorite.)

Some shows clear it: Community. 30 Rock.

In fact, in many ways, TV shows are becoming better than movies. I can't think of a single movie out recently that makes my emotions soar with the caliber of acting the way Friday Night Lights does. And it does it every single week.

By the way, I'm totally calling this now: Kyle Chandler is going to be the next big movie star after Super 8. Just FYI.

I blame movies like Inception, Lord of the Rings, Moulin Rouge, Atonement and Up in the Air for making it unbearable for me to watch The Bounty Hunter, The Tooth Fairy, Big Momma's House and Furry Vengeance.

Yes. No.
It's not just for TV, my snobbery. I'm getting that way for movies too. Recently a friend asked me if I wanted to go see Beastly. I sent her an email back that just said, "You know that has Vanessa Hudgens in it, right?" I mean, it was valid complaint.
But it still was a little bit snotty. Okay, it was a lot snotty. I apologized.

Another part of the problem is that I get Entertainment Weekly. Its our er, "Bathroom reader" and we read it cover to cover. It has made me a snob. I now know movie ratings. I know, ahead of time, if a movie stinks. And lately, I have become very good (In my mind at least) at prejudging whether a movie will be horrible. Although, sometimes they are off.

Like how they gave the Adjustment Bureau a B. That movie was a C- AT BEST. Thanks guys!

Would you like to pay 10.50 to see Matt Damon run through doors? Well, I did.

Although, I am glad it's bringing the Fedora back. I like hats.

I trust film critics. I do. Obviously, sometimes they can be off. But most of the time, like when they give Valentines Day an F, you can trust them. I mean, these are the people who went to school for this, who have PH.D's in Film Studies. They should know a good movie when they see them. You trust your Doctor because he went to school - trust a film critic because he did too!

And TV ratings/viewership dosen't mean anything nowadays. You think because Two and A Half Men was rated so high that it meant it was a good show? No. It means that sadly the majority of Americans were saying that they were amused by a sexist show that consists of weiner jokes and a guy that thinks he's a warlock.

The PH balance is Crrraaazzzzyyy................

Meh to them. I have my own guide that helps me decide if a movie is worth watching.

Does it have one of the following actors in it? The Rock, Katherine Heigl, Adam Sandler, Ashton Kutcher, the kid from Superbad, Jennifer Aniston, Nicholas Cage, Seth Rogan, Vin Diesel, Uma Thurman, Steven Segal, Sharon Stone, Kristen Bell (Sorry Veronica! You should stick to TV!) Bruce Willis, Tracy Morgan, Martin Lawrence, Miley Cryus, Tyler Perry, Brendan I missing any? Oh, Anna Faris.

Now, some of these actors have done great stuff. Bruce Willis did The Sixth Sense after all, and Nicohlas Cage has an Oscar! Tracy Morgan is great on 30 Rock, but not in any movies. A good rule of thumb: go by current movie status, rather than past work.

But anyways, back to the Colleen's bad movie criteria checklist...

Does it involve mass disasters?
Does it involve a wrestler raising and/or mentoring raising children?
Is it a remake of a remake? Is it a remake of a show from the 70's?
Does it have people dancing their way out of poverty?
Or the word "Crunking" said with a straight face?
Does it involve a high school nerd hooking up with someone out of his league?
Are there talking CGI animals?
Could it's plot be summed up by "Boobs, beer and fart jokes?"
Is it of the Fast and Furious franchise?
Is it a straight to DVD release?
Does it have any actors from Saved by the Bell in it?

If any of the above are true, you should skip it. Also, if the sequel is any number above 3, it's probably a trainwreck. If multiple things are true than run from the theater screaming. Hide in a cave somewhere. I use this guide to steer clear of stink bombs. I don't understand how or why these movies make money.

I mean, I KIND OF get it. It's entertainment. We all need to escape occasionally. But for me, I don't know that I really see why, if you are going to PAY a ridiculous sum to see something - especially at the theater - WHY NOT see something good?

Part of the problem is I'm really picky about writing. Probably because one of these days I'll actually be able to call myself a writer with a straight face. Someday. Not now. There is nothing better than good writing, whether it is on a TV show (Battlestar Galactica) or a movie (The Social Network). Good writing is the base of anything worth watching.

Yup, I'm going to talk about Glee now. (Silence.) In fact, I think Glee has great actors, brilliant music and a GREAT idea. But the writing is so terrible that the show has gone down in flames. Most critics agree that Glee has peaked and is now headed downhill, and it's all because of the writing (or lack thereof). Let's have ANOTHER episode that is about the football team vs. the Glee club!! Because we haven't covered that yet.... And another insult about Will's hair! Will vs Sue!! HAHA! Genius! Never gets old! Usually, as a show gets bigger, the writers have less and less say. It's obvious in Glee's very messy and at times, incoherent plots. So um, there's that.

Than the performances have to sell the writing. Even good writing cannot save bad acting (See: Dollhouse). It has to have the trinity of goodness for me to truly become a fan, for something to be worthy of a true commitment of my time: Good writing, good acting, solid plot. And Ryan has to enjoy watching it with me, so that rules out a lot.

Good writing can be electrifying. For a movie about a kid typing on a computer, the Social Network was riveting.

And is that really snobbish? To demand that whatever I deem worthy of sitting down and watching be good, really good?? No, it's not. And it's not snobby when I feel the same way about books. Am I going to waste my time reading a pirate bodice ripper or some lame James Patterson book? Nope. I'm going to waste it reading Twilight : ) See, even I can be snobby with myself. Look, laughing at myself! But really, I'd prefer it to be spent drifting in the prose of Audrey Niffenneger, or enthralled with the plots of Ann Patchett, or the deep dark mind of Neil Gaiman or being deeply and spiritually moved by Leif Engler.

Book snob? That's a whole 'nother blog.

Now that I'm aware of my snobbery, I'm going to try and watch what I say. I don't want to offend people, or give off the vibe that I think I am somehow smarter than they are just because of what I watch. I'm not. AT ALL. And I don't ever want to hurt someone's feeling or be THAT girl, the girl who knows everything.

But I can say with confidence that Friday Night Lights is an expensive porterhouse steak to Gossip Girl's dollar Cheeseburger.

But let me just say this: I understand that everyone has their guilty pleasure TV or movies. I get that. I love Anchorman and Zoolander and 50 First Dates, three movies that are not going to win Oscars anytime soon. I get that.

And I know sometimes people just want to come home from a long day at work and watch something brainless. But to often, we demand TOO little of the things we watch. If we, as a society, made shows like Fringe more popular than shows like American Dad, the networks would give us better entertainment. The bar would be raised and STAY raised.

But back to me, the snot. I'm trying to learn to shut my mouth. My job is not to criticize what other people watch. Rather, I should try to expose them to something better. Give me your CSI: Miami and I will give you LOST. Give me Keeping up with the Kardashians and I'll raise you a Community. Give me the Real Housewives of Wherever and I will trade you for Project Runway.

So this is my way of apologizing. If I have mocked your love of Step Up 3, if I have grimaced when you tell me your favorite show is the Jersey Shore, if I have went on a tirade about MTV in general in your presence, if you told me you read romance novels and I giggled, if you asked me to go to a movie and I made a snarky comment about Vanessa Hudgens, if I chewed your ear off about the ridiculous plots in Glee, if I made your Mom cry with my comments about Cake Boss - I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm a pop culture snob.

For the record, everyone is a snot about something. I know game snobs, foodie snobs, wine snobs, SPORT snobs - few of you out there, name-brand snobs, music snobs, hymn snobs, beer snobs, coupon snobs, photography snobs, theology snobs,parenting snobs, travel snobs, ....

So here I am. Your pop-culture snob. I'm sorry. I don't mean to be.

But really, you shouldn't be watching that crap. Please......

Courtesy of FOX
For the love. Let me help you.

Wait. I mean...I'm sorry. Darn! Blew it again.



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