Unless you didn’t have internet access in the last 48 hours, you would have likely caught #PitchAShowToGMA trending. The meme caught on and offered much to laugh about. When I say laugh though, I mean that a good part of that was “this is so hilarious but so uncomfortably true.”
so wait. is #PitchAShowToGMA a legit crowdsourcing gimmick of the network? or a platform for panchito-dolphy style translations? 🙂
— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) August 30, 2016
I don’t watch Arrow anymore. I’m bored with the plot and critical of its direction. I used to follow it because it was engaging. It got me invested in its cast, its depiction of “lesser known” DC characters, and its take as an adaptation.
So when I saw actor Stephen Amell’s official Facebook page share a trailer clip from the up and coming show Alyas Robin Hood with a single, ambivalent emoticon, I did not just facepalm. I honestly wrestled with massive secondhand embarrassment.
And I could. I really could. But I’m tired of hearing that this is the norm, accept it. I’m tired of getting told that because I’m NOT the market, my take on this issue is irrelevant.
I’m not going to just shut up and somehow get over my very real discomfort. I don’t want to quiet my opinions, and I will voice my criticism and dismay. We should be able to call out lazy attempts to ride on a trend as they are.
I’m tired of local television treating their audiences with the assumption that these people can’t possibly want better quality on primetime. That it’s okay to not have the least bit of creative integrity.
Naturally, whining in retaliation to the popularity of the #PitchAShowToGMA meme didn’t take too long to rear it’s head. People expressed being “offended” that the hashtag wasn’t a legit gimmick to drum up “legitimate ideas”. More than a number of folks cried foul about how the hashtag promotes negativity. Social media feeds now circulate posts about how we (read: the internet) shouldn’t be making fun. “Don’t be bunch of trolls,” they say. “You’re just butthurt elitist fans,” they go.
But are we, really?
The reach of the hashtag speaks for itself. This wasn’t just one small demographic of fans. This was all over, regardless of age, gender, or fandom of choice.
People pitched in witty (and occasionally sarcastic) takes. Some of the more serious ones even expressed their own wishes for shows that they would LIKE to see, but probably won’t get.
So don’t give me that “you’re not the market” bullshit, when there’s clearly a clamor for better, more diverse material.
I confess I’m “so goddamned salty” over this because just last weekend, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview Malaysian comic book artist Billy Tan.
Tan, who spoke so openly about his own aspirations to build a universe that would be relatable to Asian fans, touched on creating characters whose origins would be immersed with local flavor and provide representation. Coming from something as awesome as that to greet this week with the sight of Yet Another CW Rip-off has left a bad taste in my mouth.
I don’t even want to talk about the legal ramifications covering copyright infringement and intellectual property. That’s a whole different mess altogether. But just because I don’t want to go into that does not take away the ugly truth that this has been going on as a perfectly acceptable practice.
It’s one thing to take inspiration from another source, it’s quite another to present promotional materials that are, quite bluntly, frame-by-frame knock-offs. I don’t know about the rest of you, but it’s exhausting to think that our creatives are reduced to hearing people ask: “Okay, which show did so-and-so network rip off this time?”
My heart honestly goes out to the people down the industry food chain. People who dream about bringing new, possibly great stories to audiences. Audiences that I’m pretty sure are looking for these stories and are wondering why the same old way-to-beat-a-deader-than-dead-horse formula keeps coming back.
Audiences aren’t dumb. They deserve something to chew on. Acknowledge that they have the capacity to appreciate ideas that don’t necessarily follow “hype”.
Finally, when people offer criticism, consider that it’s not always a personal attack. People need to acknowledge that.