So I watched Heroes tonight. Well, some of it…
I would say it’s because I’m a comics fan, but it really isn’t. Comics fans are just a little further ahead of the curve, at this point. Soon everyone will notice.
That you’re bluffing, entertainment media.
Don’t bother denying it. I don’t want to hear it. Look, the conversation’s over: I call. Lay your freakin’ cards on the table, and let’s see what you’ve got.
The other day I was reading, but the TV was on in the background. I heard this:
VOICE: “Is it possible…to have the world at your fingertips? Can you imagine…being everywhere you want to be?”
Etc., etc. Cut to me, thirty seconds later, screaming at the TV:
ME: “For Christ’s sake, do I ask you endless questions questions QUESTIONS all the time, car-commercial voice? Just tell me what you want, and stop WASTING MY TIME!!!!”
Then there’s me watching (you see I admit it) “Beauty And The Geek”:
BORING HOST: “And in just a second…we’ll find out…just who it was…who won this highly-contrived ‘contest’…and is safe from having to go…to the elimination round…and possibly lose their chance…at a quarter…million…DOLLARS…”
Cut to commercial.
ME: “My God…do you really think I care that much? Do you honestly imagine that this is the kind of suspense that will keep me from flipping away? I mean…suspense over the numbers? Really?”
This show is a good example of how received wisdom can go wrong, actually. The idea is clearly that I am fixated on who will win ALL THAT MONEY, who will stay and who will GO HOME, and this means that if there is anything I must not be permitted to know before the commercial break, it’s what happened.
Which is precisely the wrong way to think of it, you see.
Because I actually don’t really care who wins. I’m just sort of…watching. To see what happens. So, when will I see it? Because if you think about it, what happens is really the price you pay for having me continue to watch…and not, not, not the other way ’round…
“Next week on ‘The Apprentice’…your eyeballs will literally MELT RIGHT OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS when you see what happens!!!!” Oh no they won’t.
“And on the next ‘Deal Or No Deal’…we absolutely guarantee you…you won’t want to miss a SECOND…!” Oh yes I will.
“When you see what we’ve got planned for Spider-Man at the conclusion of 2011, you will SHIT YOUR PANTS SO HARD YOU’LL WANT TO TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT…!” Alright, that’s enough. No, seriously. Now you’re just embarrassing yourself. See, at some point, and I don’t know if anyone’s laid it on the line for you like this before, but at some point you have to give me something. Actually give it to me. You really can’t put it off indefinitely. Look, take your cue from the generation previous: they thought that the first payoff was itself the hook, that would keep me coming back for more payoffs later on. They tried to produce the feeling in me of “whoa, I can’t believe they did that! How satisfying that was! I am totally sticking around to see what happens next, so I can experience this satisfying feeling again!” But you seem to think that I will pay endless amounts of attention, time, and money just to see the thing which is misdirection for the real trick.
Which, for some reason, never gets performed.
I mean, since when could the questions “who’s that guy now?” and “where are they taking her, d’you think?” be relied on to create infinite excitement?
All of which is by way of saying: gee, Heroes is one slow-moving show, isn’t it? There are lots of questions. Every cliffhanger’s a question that really should’ve been asked, and answered, three episodes ago. Oh, I like Heroes, don’t get me wrong! But if there were a place I could go to see spoilers for it, I totally would.
And if you like, you can ask Ed this about me: “does he hate spoilers?”
He will laugh and laugh if you ask him that, because I have a pathological fear of spoilers that he finds incredibly comical. But, even I can’t hold my breath this long. Not when everything in the whole media universe is geared to keep me permanently and completely and only on the edge of my seat, ’til the turtle swallows the ocean…I mean, this is starting to feel like watching a Moonlighting marathon, you know? And, HEY! Just like in Moonlighting, honestly I don’t care anymore. Do what you want. Cut, as much as I hate this expression, to the freakin’ chase already! Because I am beginning to reconsider the way I invest my attention, I’ll tell you frankly. Because I am starting to think I should be looking for things that pay me an actual dividend on it every once in a while. As opposed to this, what you’re all doing…which is starting to look like a game of no-limit hold-’em played between J.D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates: they can just keep on raising forever, but who would ever watch a twenty-four hour hand of poker? No one would. No one.
You know, this may sound funny, but one of the things I find appealing about 52 is that it is guaranteed to end with issue #52. So…at least that, eh? It all won’t have a claim on my soul into the afterlife: eventually I really will be able to find out what happened.
How unusual that is, these days!
“Who is Ronin? Well, that would be telling…suffice it to say it’s a character you know very well, it’s the last person you’d expect – or is it? – and all will be revealed by the time the Sun burns out.” No. Reveal it now, or shut up forever. Seriously. This is too much, blast you. I didn’t sign on for this. In fact unless Ronin is really the Batman of Earth-2, and his secret is that the multiverse still exists, I’ll tell you right now I don’t really care who he/she/it is, like at all. Ultron? Modok? Squirrel Girl? Dragon Lord? The cast of Friends? Time’s up; I call. I call. I CALL.
And: next hand! While we’re young, please!