I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. There’s been so much written (and read!) over these past 3 days I can’t keep up. And the vast majority of it is well considered, well written and even deep. I’m surprised how little of what I’ve seen, even on the NBC Boards, is just silly trolling and easily dismissed. Much like the Subway campaign this spring, the reaction is “not what a normal fan would do.”
But that’s not to say I agree with it (as if there was only one reaction with which to agree or disagree). If you permit me to write about myself, I feel like an absolute minority of one when I realize that I actually liked The Mask, even the last 10 minutes. It’s not that I don’t understand the reactions I’ve seen; it’s that, to me, each part of the story carries such elements of inevitability I can’t see how it’s improved by changing any part. (Well, maybe I can, but when I’ve tried that in the past my imagination wasn’t “all that”. YMMV) I see the story as an incomplete puzzle, with pieces scattered on the table – some with matching colors connected and some not. Filing down a nub to make it fit doesn’t help, and sometimes (not always) it feels like many fans want to do just that for the sake of the characters (the best of all reasons). I have to step back and consciously realize that it’s not intended that way at all; it’s not an attempt to deface a painting. Disagreement is certainly not an attack on me ’cause I enjoyed the episode (especially since I made a point of questioning the pace of the story, wondering if the rushed feel was intentional or a budget-induced lapse).
This is where that awful word “entitlement” comes in. Both sides get upset when someone uses that word alone. They fill in the unwritten what-it-is-you’re-feeling-entitled-to with something other than the intended. Of course fans are not entitled to write the story themselves (and writing by committee never works anyway, except in encyclopedias). Of course the fans are entitled to express their honest opinions and to speak out, even to the point of complaining. FREE SPEECH!!! No one is entitled to happiness and satisfaction by dint of birth. But they are entitled to say “Hey! That painting is a portrait, and you didn’t make the woman pretty enough.”, and the painter is allowed to say “This is exactly how pretty she is.” And of course everyone is entitled to take their ball and go home, or to turn the TV off. In fact, no one can stop them. It’s never been in question.
Yet, I continue to see silver linings. I see them in the story (which makes me want to council “patience!” for the umpteenth time to people who have been extra patient already). I see it in the vehemence of the reactions. People just don’t react like this when they don’t care.
And man, we care. This can only be a good thing.