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She-Hulk,Stranger Things 4, & Obi-Wan Kenobi

Why do we watch things?

By Jake MitchellPublished 7 months ago 3 min read

I have a very basic, and very groundbreaking, question. One that has never been asked before, I’m sure.

Why do we watch things?

More specifically, why did Stranger Things 4 become only the second program on Netflix to cross the mark of a billion hours viewed? Why has Obi-Wan Kenobi turned my TikTok for-you-page into a hellscape of neckbeard ramblings? (I’m aware, that’s kind of on me, but some of it is just so pathetic it’s impossible to look away from. We’re all slaves to the algorithm.)

What, exactly, is it that we are seeking out in our entertainment? And why does everyone seem to be looking at the wrong places for what they want?

I’m certainly not going to draw a hard line in the sand between popcorn entertainment and serious art. That’s the gut reaction when I see criticism of shows like Stranger Things and Kenobi, but I have to remind myself that, of course, good criticism is vital, even when “fun” is a piece’s main function. Without good criticism, any medium suffers.

No, I agree that we should critique these two shows. What I can’t grasp is the anger and vitriol from adults for things that are overwhelmingly not for adults. Why is there a cottage industry in being mad about shit that’s supposed to be fun?

The writing in the first season of Stranger Things was airtight. In every season since, it’s been a little less so. There were pacing issues in the finale, namely Spoilers just how damn long Nancy, Steve, and Robin spent tied up while everything else took place.

In Kenobi, there were obviously moments that pulled you directly out of the action as a viewer, specifically the terrible on-foot Leia chases.

Of course the two shows are not perfect.

I guess I just don’t understand why so much mental energy has been devoted to those moments. Again, maybe it’s an algorithm thing. Still, the fact that this much of it exists remains shocking to me.

It's happening more recently with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Every piece of criticism I see is from someone who the show is clearly not for. Dudes are mad that a show about the female version of the Hulk would dare address women's issues, so mad that they've drowned out the response from anyone who has good-faith critiques of the show.

Does the dialogue in that scene feel like a writer blatantly jumping out of their character and talking to us? Yeah. But writers make that mistake all the time. What I can't grasp is how that moment seemed to dominate the discourse surrounding the show for a week.

And, listen. The twerking scene.

Once again, the show is clearly not for me, but not everything has to be about me. I sighed and moved on with my life. I was shocked to see people online furious about that moment.

And let's be honest. It wasn't nearly as bad as the Dua Lipa lip sync dance in the Resident Evil show.

One Last Thing

I have to put this in its own section. Y’all have got to stop complaining about plot holes that exist before the plot has even been wrapped up.

Stop complaining about plot holes that exist before the plot has even been wrapped up.

I promise you, when something is confusing or uncharacteristic, it exists, and often stands out, for a reason.

In Stranger Things, it was Mike’s behavior in the early episodes. It is all explained and addressed (albeit, not in the most satisfying way). In Kenobi, it was the fate of the Grand Inquisitor. In both cases, the complaints from fans were indeed resolved as part of the story and, in Mike’s case, the character arc.

Let the story finish before you start complaining about it.

Your complaint is likely going to be addressed.

pop culture

About the Creator

Jake Mitchell

Follow Jake on Twitter: @TheJakeMitchell

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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