We all have a guilty pleasure, mine is watching awful movies or television shows with Sharknadoe 3 the standout piece of media. But I admit, when I talk to friends, I can only feel shame that I have been consuming this piece of movie cancer, but it feels so right. So, why are some awful movies so damn good? Why do I suddenly assume people who enjoy The Happening put milk in before the cereal and hate happiness but think people who love The Evil Dead are impeccable members of society? Maybe we just all love the pain?
I want to first apologise to anyone with good taste before I confess. Without any hesitation, I once happily cheered at the rejected, heartbroken and completely embarrassed participants of ‘Love at First Kiss’ with my partner. Not because I enjoyed the show, but because the one man I backed was a step closer to winning. I have turned a guilty pleasure or hate watching into a new sport. Thankfully there are other heartless individuals who do this to but why?
Communications professors from the University of South Florida suggest that shows such as The Bachelor, Love at First Site and Dance Moms receive so much love from consumers is because the show itself is self-aware. That these series themselves are in on the joke. I was at first confused by this idea but hear me out. ‘It’s like watching a train wreck,’ is a phrase that we have all heard before so let’s put it in this context. We all want to keep watching or stare at this major disaster because its comparatively over the top. Swap train to car in the phrase above and the connotations radically differ. These reality shows find the biggest human personifications of trains wrecks because consumers want to watch the disaster unfold. Throw a functioning human being without the sociopathic tendencies and ratings would drop because the ‘heightened’ reality has been nullified. So that clears up awful junk reality television, but what about cult type movies?
Given the current political discourse, lets hypothetically assume the entire world has been reduced to rubble via nuclear annihilation. The world has rebuilt and historians have found the first ever trace of the 70’s via a Rocky Horror Picture Show functioning movie. Would that neatly reflect that time era? I would think not, but this movie claimed incredible success. It was due to the subject matter. Cult films frequently position themselves against mainstream cinema, validates marginalised subgroups and causes academic literature to question legitimacy over illegitimate films. We could even use this framework to define President Donald Trump! Allow me to follow this tangent with the above information about reality TV shows, hate watching, train wrecks and finally comprehend that we have in fact, turned political REALITY into a self-aware joke.
Now, let’s go back to a happy place and talk about impeccable awful movies such as Sharknadoe 3. They were shafted at any award ceremony for reasons I do not understand. Some would argue that I’ve lost my mind so why do I think it’s good? The answer could be political orientation.
When comparing a person’s political orientation with their personality traits via the measures of Big Five Personality, individuals who have associated viewpoints with liberalism tend to have increased preference for dark/alternative media genres while distance themselves from the more mainstream media. In comparison individuals who have associated viewpoints with conservatism prefer action/thriller main stream media genres. This is shockingly a real thing.
In the end, media consumption is all based on subjective tastes, wants and needs. While we all can agree that The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a masterpiece but another media is not so easily distinguished. Think of media consumption in terms of this idea as pineapple on pizza. Even though I know your wrong to disgrace such an Italian dish with fruit, others will defend it. I may not understand why and it causes myself to become irrationally emotional, at the end of the day its personal preference.