Friday, September 30, 2005

Badfic for the Internet-Unready

For twenty minutes, I want Ryan Murphy’s life; for five, even. I want critics to shower my overwrought, self-indulgent, derivative fiction with goggle-eyed praise about its daring artistry and fearlessness. (Apparently gormless looks a lot like fearless, if you're a television critic.) And the sacks of money would come in handy. I admit it, I was curious about the season opener for Nip/Tuck. There is a certain morbid fascination in this show for me. I mean, this guy will write anything. I, on the other hand, apparently have limits as to what I will watch. (I know, who knew?)

Murphy knows how to get press, I guess; but for the entire show to be based on the premise that the characters will always and only do whatever can't be shown on network t.v. - well, it gets a little wearing after a while. The main plot of the season premiere went something like this:

Main Character gets his throat slashed by a razor-wielding maniac in a porcelain mask? Gross, but bearable. Said maniac proceeds to drug and rape main character? Really, really gross, but shown mercifully briefly. Main Character then interrogated by stone-cold police inspector, as if he were an inmate of Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, and she Nurse Ratched's younger, butcher sister? Highly unlikely, but whatever. Inspector Stoneface then takes Main Character to the scene of the crime (his own bedroom) and proceeds to re-enact the crime? Uh, hello, wildly inappropriate and dizzyingly unprofessional! So glad you could make it in time for the Euuurgh.

Crime re-enactment leads to rough sex in the victim's bed, where Inspector Stoneface's "tough love" technique is supposed to lead to some sort of psychological breakthrough for Main Character? Uh, what the hell? This sort of thing only happens in the stickier examples of badfic. Not that I have anything against fan-fiction, if it's well made. (In fact, I find good fan-fiction really interesting as an idea and it can be cool in execution.) Iolokus was harrowing, but at least it hung its loopier excesses - and hoo boy, there were some - on a workhorse classical structure. Also, it had characters I could bring myself to care about, and who behaved like recognizable, if massively screwed up, human beings; none of this may be said of Murphy's snakepit of raving, erethetic narcissists.

Honestly, I could do better. Now if I could just get that cable-tv deal...


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6:56 a.m.  

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