Over the last couple of weeks, I kept finding myself repeatedly exposed to stories that had plot points that made no sense. I’m not going to list all of them here, but please trust me when I say that there are enough of them to piss me off. Why do they piss me off?
Because they got produced, and people are paying for them.
It’s like people decided that if you have enough pretty elements in the production, everyone else will completely ignore the fact that a whole lot of the story makes no goddamn sense. Who cares about logic in narrative? Narrative is all about FEELINGS, right? And visuals bring in more feelings, right? So fuck the story and let’s just throw in as many cool things as we can into this thing so we can give the paying public enough feels to make us rich and shit. Fuck the plot. Let’s just pander. Pander pander pander. Nobody wants to think when they’re watching a movie or a play, or reading fiction.
I guess this wouldn’t hurt me so much if I didn’t care about the craft of telling a story and didn’t work so hard at making sure that any novel I publish would make sense.
It’s just that I know, from years of experience, that the cool bits only become REALLY cool when it’s rooted in a solid, logical narrative. I don’t care what you say; you have to make sure that whatever happens in the story makes sense. Don’t deus ex machina all over the place just because. That’s just fricking lazy. You have to remember to take everything that’s happened so far into account before you get your character to do anything. Yes, this includes narratives in which you shuffle scenes around so they wouldn’t be happening in chronological order. Stuff needs to be explained. Hell, you can even use long blocks of exposition to do that if you want (though it’s inadvisable and it’s another pet peeve of mine) as long as you don’t have that one supposedly dead dude showing up at the end to kill the big bad FOR NO GOOD REASON. That just jars me out of the experience and makes me want to walk away.
Except, you know, I can’t walk away. Because I have this burning need to tell you and your descendants where you went wrong with this story.
Look, I’m a fan of fantasy and a bunch of other stuff that requires suspension of disbelief. But that doesn’t mean that I’m okay with you totally disrespecting logic in plots and throwing them out the window because it would be cooler that way or because you want it to end the way you always thought it should end, sense be damned. If you’re going to insist that Christine and the Phantom have a little boy together, then you damn well better make it feasible in the context of the ORIGINAL Phantom of the Opera story in which the Phantom seemed to have no real human connection until the very end, when Christine kissed him to save Raoul.
I guess I should just fess up and admit that most of this post has something to do with the fact that I watched “Love Never Dies” (Andrew Lloyd Weber’s sequel to “Phantom of the Opera”) on HBO over the weekend and found myself screaming “why the name of hell did you have to do this?” repeatedly for two hours. The production looked amazing and some of the melodies really stay with you. But I just can’t get over the improbability of the child if you take the original into consideration. Which you should. BECAUSE THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A SEQUEL.
Other stuff inspired this post too, but I don’t think I want to bring them up anymore. They’ll just make me mad. The way Jonathan Kent in “Man of Steel” made me mad because that version only would have worked if they did “Birthright” all the way instead of just drawing bits of inspiration from it. Except they didn’t – they took the Jonathan and didn’t do enough of the Martha to make up for it. So they ended up with a Superman who had no real solid moral grounding upon which you can base his “super-ness”. If you try to bring up Jor-El, I will CUT you because he didn’t cut it as a father figure either. Don’t you dare tell me that he did. And I’m not even getting into all the OTHER stuff that made no real sense in the film. Like that kiss between Lois and Clark. Because WHEN exactly did they have time to develop the hots for each other?
Dammit. I said I wouldn’t bring it up.
My point is that logic is important in plots. If it’s not there, then there’s nothing for us to take in from all this. And that’s what’s making me angry. Stories, apart from making us feel something, help us LEARN something. Without the logic there, it’s difficult for us to learn anything. And it’s a waste. It’s a shame.
I think I’ll have that drink now.