Thursday 28 August 2014

5 words that need tighter legal controls

After yesterday's post it occurred to me there are other words writers, directors and producers use that kind of piss me off through repeated misuse and here they are.

Comedies are emotional because they provoke joy. “Emotional” does not have to mean “depressing”. It usually does, though.

Or, alternatively, “pretentious”. The Dark Knight Rises is a big example of this as far as I'm concerned. For a start its “innovative” plot is just Knightfall and No Man's Land inelegantly stitched together but the films have a larger audience than the comics it adapts so Chris Nolan and his fans get to pretend he's doing something terribly original with the property. Oh, and as for the villain holding the city to ransom with a nuclear bomb... give me a break! That's practically bloody textbook!

Less widespread than the others and more in video game territory but here we go: companies have a terrible habit of trying to tell us what is iconic. Though, actually, DC tried to pull something similar with Hush, advertising him as the “first major Batman villain introduced in decades” where “major” isn't entirely theirs to define. As it happens Hush was a good idea, he did become a major returning villain but his popularity could not be relied upon before the audience got a look at him.

That ain't how it works. Something becomes iconic because the audience latches onto it. The baseball cap worn by the lead character in a game you haven't released yet does not get to be iconic just because you say it is.

New Avengers has been running for a decade and I'm really not sure what's new about the current version when it features some of the oldest characters in the Marvel Universe in their role as pillars of the Marvel Universe. The New Super Mario Bros. franchise is a series of nostalgia games designed to evoke memories of the SNES era. There needs to be a statute of limitations on this.


This is a particularly abused one and social services really need to step in. Like “emotional” this tends to mean “depressing” but with a side order of “brown and shooty”. Reality can be fun and realistic can mean a lot of different things: a story can be realistic because of its setting (Eastenders): because the emotions of its characters are meant to be related to (Battlestar Galactica); or because it takes a procedural angle on the story its telling (Law & Order). It does not just mean first person shooters with limited colour palates. 

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