seawasp (seawasp) wrote,

Why is Entertainment filled with Teh Stoopid?

This discussion periodically pops up in our house, usually in the context of anime. Mainly because we have been anime fans for a long time, and yet it seemes to be getting more and more unusual to find a show that is WATCHABLE.

For reference, my Top Anime of All Time are:

Vision of Escaflowne: One of the most well-written TV series I've ever seen, live-action or animated.

Giant Robo: A gorgeous steam/cyberpunk world born from the 1940s Glorious Future images combined with Japans's Giant Robot subgenre.

Oh My Goddess: The Collector's Edition: Sweetest romance I've ever seen.

Teh Stoopid is the inappropriate use of low humor, stupidity in characters, clumsy sight gags, etc., which is found in a show which could otherwise be quite entertaining. We encountered yet another odious example of this last night. Kathleen was poking through some of the current anime and happened across an episode (I think #66) of Naruto Shippuden. This episode was serious, grim, relatively complex for a fighting anime. This was rather different from the clownishly-stupid interruptions we'd seen in the first Naruto, so we wondered if that meant that "Shippuden" was a more serious show. Alas, going back and checking the first couple of episodes, it was suddenly STOOOPID again.

This is truly annoying. So many shows seem to take a serious or interesting premise, and then in the middle of exploring that premise will insist on a girl losing her top, a character being incredibly stupid, etc., in the middle of one of the most interesting sequences. Worse, they may never let you GET to the interesting part because they're too busy doing boob, toilet, and "superdeformed" sight gags.

These things aren't NEW, of course -- I'm well known as a Dragonball fanboy, and Dragonball did quite a bit of that in its early years. But it also had a sense of BALANCE. The jokes and stupid weren't the point of the show, and there would be long serious stretches even in the early show, only interrupted occasionally by a joke. The characters themselves were taken reasonably seriously within their own world, and competence was ASSUMED as part of the character's features.

The problem is it's gotten more and more pervasive. We've done it ourselves, many years ago (can you say "Scrappy Doo"? I knew you could!). But it's now getting harder and harder to find an anime like, say, Escaflowne, or even Hellsing, which isn't throwing stupid CRAP at you in the middle of the serious plot, using gratuitous fanservice just for the sake of another boob shot, or making a stereotypical argument/slapfest happen between a Stupid Male and the Bitchy Female Lead (see, for instance, the first season of Ruroni Kenshin).

I sure hope this cycle turns down soon. It's really annoying that even interesting-sounding shows turn out to be unwatchable. Note, as a normal heterosexual male I don't mind the sight of shapely female bodies, clothed or unclothed, even if there appear to be Cavorite implants to permit the bosom to float in impossible manners. But it's OVERDONE in so many areas and ways, that it bothers ME -- let alone Kathleen, who has no interest in female fanservice and finds it offensive in many ways.
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