I’ll be candid with you, reader: it’s been a tough few weeks for me. Like many others, between winter blues, the political climate, and the often negative nature of nerd critique, I’ve been in a bit of a slump. In times like this, I like to look at some of my favorite media that resonates with me on an emotional level.
I appreciate sincerity and vulnerability in media. In my opinion, that has been a common through-line in a lot of viral fandoms in the past few years. There is definitely room for being a badass, and admittedly, that’s an enjoyable trait to watch play out in a story. However, I think many of us are craving a sense of vulnerability in our characters, not just physically, but also emotionally. We want to be be able to empathize and connect with the characters by knowing how they feel, what their aspirations are, and what they’re thinking. Of course in superhero media, the protagonists are relatively invincible, but are they people under all that? In the past couple years, I’ve seen some really great uses of emotional vulnerability, and I think they illustrate the benefit of creating these character traits.
The sequence that probably sold tons of fans on the franchise.
Minor spoilers for Steven Universe and major spoilers for Undertale after the jump!
Here’s an idea: the media we consume can have deeper meanings that inspire discussion about sociopolitical concepts. Whether we want to think about how various story themes are allegory for other topics, or how various uses of technology are signs of bigger, less concrete ideas, PBS Idea Channel strives to examine the connections between pop culture, technology and art. We shape these concepts just as much as they shape us, and for that reason, this week’s Web Crush Wednesday is Mike Rugnetta’s Idea Channel.
The other day I was catching up on episodes of Regular Show and reruns of Kill la Kill and began to wonder to myself: what exactly is the appeal of these shows? Sure, on the surface, Regular Show is a comedic fantasy steeped in absurdity, but I wondered if there was more to it. For me, the characters are very relatable in their mundane activities, but that couldn’t be the only thing. Kill la Kill is an action-packed anime with heavy fanservice that also revels in the absurd. I believe that the way each of these shows handle absurdity seem to be where they shine, and I think there is some room to analyze deeper points.
We watch shows or play games for many reasons—usually, they’re fun or interesting in some way. Sometimes the reason is because they contain good representation or have compelling characters. Unfortunately, there is a decent amount of content in many shows that is offensive or problematic. Even more unfortunate is the fact that some of those shows are our favorites. So the question is, what do we do when something we enjoy might bother us or someone else?