1. Fronzizzle
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    Fronzizzle Member

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    Lazy or Legit?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fronzizzle, May 25, 2014.

    I apologize in advance for the mini-rant, but my nephew got married last night and I'm a little...uh...under the weather this morning.

    Whether reading or watching a TV show/movie, nothing bothers me as much as when the protagonist or some other main character gets put in peril simply because they are (or do) something stupid. I'm not talking about unknowingly, but the whole "I just heard a noise in this house we're not supposed to be in, I'm going to go into the dark basement alone and check it out" thing.

    I'm trying to get invested in these characters and root for them, then they do something dumb and all I can think of is, "Well, of course you're wife was kidnapped, you loaned her druggie brother $15,000 and expected him to use it to pay off his debts." Frequently, I find myself rooting for the villain to teach the protagonist/main character a lesson.

    As I'm writing this, it occurs to me that this sort of thing is much more prevalent in movies & TV than it is in books (though it does happen). Still, it seems lazy to me - like the writer can't think of a "good" way to get someone in trouble so they default to having them do something stupid. However, it happens so often that its obviously normal and expected. Am I the only one this bothers?
     
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  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Totally agree with this. Sometimes I just shut the damn thing off. What's really bad is when, in a series, the writers keep coming back to that same "theme" - where the characters have the same behavior patterns that got them into trouble before and they keep doing it. As though they're too stupid to learn from past mistakes. I'm currently watching "Supernatural" on Netflix and I can't believe the stupid moves these so-called experienced characters pull.

    As to books, I can't recall right off the bat any that have done that sort of thing. I think maybe it's the nature of the medium - TV/movies have an allotted amount of time to get through the story, so sometimes they need to pull this "Just bear with us" crap, whereas book authors can't afford to have their readers throw up their hands at stupidity. But a lot of laziness goes into it, IMO. It's just easier to do the 'quick and dirty stupidity' instead of figuring out a logical reason to get to Point B.
     
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  3. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's what people want to watch. The networks aren't lazy, the people watching are. They don't want to learn something new and experience something they haven't seen before; they want the formulaic crap. And every television show does it. That's why I watch the ones with real plots: Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, R.I.P. to a favorite of mine, Revolution, Lost, etc. They still have the formula, but the formula is stretched across the entire show. Sitcoms: How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, etc. reuse the formula every episode so it's worse to watch.

    But it's the people, not the networks usually. The networks are guilty of it though. For example, Desperate Housewives of WHATEVER CITY WANT TO FUND A SHOW FOR THIS TIME (New York, LA, Miami, etc.)
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    One of many reasons I don't watch television.
     
  5. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Three's Company, I Love Lucy. Same show.

    Every cartoon ever made by Hannah Barbera was the same show. It was either a Honeymooners spoof or a version of Scooby Doo/Jetson's.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    me, too, fronz!... it's a good thing i live alone, 'cause such merde gets me spewing impolite [to put it mildly] imprecations at both the writer and director...
     
  7. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's necessarily the viewers. IMO, it's like the presidential elections - most of the time, you choose the lesser of evils. That's one of the reasons I have Netflix and other things where I have a bigger (and better) choice of what to watch and when.

    Granted, there are shows that are annoying for these things that I still watch - but it's like a technically flawed book whose story is compelling. Sometimes one is willing to pass over things; other times, those things are the death knell. And of course, sometimes one wants something mindless just to relax from the stresses of the day.
     
  8. Kekec
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    Kekec Member

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    This is why films like Memento and The Machinist are so extremely rare. People don't want--and many are incapable--to digest the structure and plot of these kinds of films. The Machinist is a film where black and white conflate into grey. And people don't want that, because they've been taught like sheep that anything that doesn't coincide with the law is bad.

    And books fall under this category as well, since many authors are hacks who want to implement themselves in some hackneyed film they oh-so-very-much liked. And the worst thing about it is that it sells.
     
  9. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't believe that. I mean sure, I remember my second day in this forum I saw someone who wanted to write erotica just because it sold in Fifty Shades of Gray, but I think 99% of writers don't want to. My reasoning:
    I know lots of people who watch TV. And, being young, people ask me why I write. "It's so hard and takes so much time. Don't you hate reading? I do, it takes too much time!". So for the most part, anyone who's willing to pick up a book isn't ~as~ lazy as those who only watch TV. They would be more open to changes. That's why there are no sitcom books. That kind of repetition isn't as loved in literature as it is in cinema.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Not necessarily. You need to look at both sides of the coin. Cheap production costs and selling yet another piece of crap with trailers also drive the viewer market.

    Trailers remind me of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. Again and again we think the trailer has promise, and again and again we are disappointed.

    Of course that doesn't mean there isn't a market for formulaic novels. The numerous shelves of romance genre novels and children's chapter books are evidence of that. Video games and subsequent novels and movies following the genre is another avenue of repetition.

    You can blame the target market in addition to cheap production costs for realty TV shows.

    I can't be bothered by the market and what will sell. I'm writing a story I do hope will find a large audience, but I'm not skilled enough to just crank out titles. My book will have to be very good on its own merits or no one will buy or read it.
     
  11. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    [QUOTE="GingerCoffee, post: 1235384, member: 53143" Again and again we think the trailer has promise, and again and again we are disappointed. [/QUOTE]

    I shed a tear for what the movie World War Z could have been.
     
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  12. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I shed a tear for what the movie World War Z could have been.
     
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  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    There is an edit button, @Ulramar, for when you make an error. ;)

    I fear the day when corporations adapt the TV business model to the Net.
     
  14. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Too many buttons for me.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    No worries. :D
     
  16. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh no I know what I did that caused the screw up...... I tried to hit edit when I made the first mistake but somehow I ended up on quote so I quoted, screwed it up again the same way and fixed it in the second post. I completely forgot about the first post entirely....

    Don't mind me I'm just being me today.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I've done that before.
     
  18. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really need to get out of bed and start the day, it's half past one!
     
  19. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Careful - wouldn't want to fall into the pit of "Readers are stupid". Many authors who have this belief tend to die on the vine due to a combination of contempt for readers and vanity. It will show up in their writing.
     
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