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Rant: Plot-holes and Fandom

Alright, I'm going to rant about something. This is just personal taste, so I apologize if I offend anyone out there - that's not my intent. I certainly am not ranting about anyone particular on my flist or anything, so if you are an LJ friend of mine, don't worry, it's not you that I'm mad at.

Ok, so, I guess it's my own fault for liking meta - the problem is my definition of meta seems to be different than a lot of people's. To me, meta is analysis of the show, whether it be character motivations, explorations of themes, or notes on cinematographic storytelling. To others, it appears meta equals "personal review".

Fine, you know, that's all well and good. My Quick Reaction posts are not meta in my opinion. Sometimes, I'll touch on a thought and mention how I SHOULD turn it into a meta, or how I wish it was already a meta, but my Quick Reactions are too bogged down in whether or not I personally thought of the episode for me to post them on any meta-communities...because to me, meta shouldn't be about whether or not you personally liked the episode. Meta on an episode should be about what that episode adds to understanding character motivations, or how it adds to or changes the underlying theme of the show, etc...

The reason I'm saying all this, is just to say that USUALLY I DO NOT READ PERSONAL REVIEWS OF EPISODES. I make an exception for those people on my flist whose opinions I enjoy hearing (even when they differ with my own), because they are well thought out, or come from a place of positivity (and yes, it is possible to come from a place of positivity even when you don't like the episode...I will get into this.)

The first problem is that my meta-communities are inundated with people who have a different definition of what constitutes meta than I do. In that, they are posting personal reviews under the guise and fancy titling of a meta...this means, that I read these posts, thinking that I'm going to get a well thought out meta on character or theme or underlying social statement, and instead what I get is a bitch-fest about why someone thought the episode was a crock of shit.

Fine, you know, people are entitled to their personal opinions, I just wish that they wouldn't claim them as meta.

Now, RANT SUBJECT NUMBER TWO: FANDOM TREATMENT OF PLOT-HOLES.

I KNOW there are plot holes on Supernatural people...there are plot-holes on every show. I also know that occasionally, Supernatural has to do a retcon - Kripke had a 5 season plan, sure, but it has been quite obvious for some time that he never had the details of it worked out beforehand. You have people referring to Lilith as "he" up until 3x12, and that's just one example.

It's FINE, if you want to point out when they are trying to fix something, or when there is a bit of a plot-hole in an explanation...what really bugs me though, and has especially bugged me about this last episode, is when people point out the plot-hole from a place of negativity.

"Why did they do it this way? Obviously, that can't be true, because of suchandsuch."

Why focus on why an explanation doesn't work? Why not focus on why it DOES work. Why assume it's an inadequate explanation, why not see how it COULD BE TRUE.

Let's go back to my lame Lilith example from S3, just to avoid talking about spoilers.

When they introduced the demon holding Dean's contract as a FEMALE demon, did everyone sit around saying "But that can't be true, because the CRD and Ruby and Whateverhernamewas all said it was a HE, so this is all a load of shit and the episode sucks."

Or maybe they went for the more correct negativity and said: "Well, obviously Kripke changed his mind and changed it into a female, and now all those former episodes are stupid because they have the wrong pronoun."

But you COULD be more positive about it. You COULD say, "Well, obviously the CRD, Ruby, and Whateverhernamewas were all trying to throw Sam and Dean off by providing them with the wrong pronoun."

I'm just saying, that maybe Jake did kill Sam, and maybe Dean and Sam took a very odd unconventional route, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they weren't following everything to plan...it STILL could have ALWAYS HAD TO BE THEM. There are plenty of ways to explain away the plot-holes if you just come at it from a place of WANTING to explain them away, instead of wanting to be all negative and disappointed in everything.

Personally, I prefer the positive approach. I have an explanation for everything. I don't care how crazy it all seems - the more complicated the explanation, the more cunning the YED, Angels, Lucifer, Winchesters, whatever, appear to be...the more complicated their world is.

So, in conclusion:

1. Please do not claim that your bitch-fests are meta.
2. Stop being so goddamn negative. You are harshing my buzz.

In return, I promise to stop reading personal reviews as soon as I realize that that's what they are - unless you are one fo the select few that can complain about something without being a complete douchebag.

In the meantime, if anyone wants to have a plot-hole explained away by yours truly, just leave it in the comments. It's actually a favorite activity of mine.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
auriliawestlake
Nov. 8th, 2009 08:45 am (UTC)
Meh, I don't read much in the way of other's opinions (just yours, caffienekitty's, and refur's) so I've never really had a problem with the bitchfest complaining.

And my personal favorite plot hole was alluded to, but not really filled in already - maybe you can fill the hole for me? Back in 'Croatoan', demon!boy at the end said that no one else survived during his call to the boss-man and that 'the Winchester boy' was immune to the virus...but the doctor lady survived. Was she in on it? Did demon!boy forget about her? Did he go back later and slit her throat? It's just a small plot hole, sure, but one that bugs me far more than any other in Show.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 8th, 2009 08:52 am (UTC)
Yeah, I don't INTEND to read other people's opinions...but they trick me by claiming that it is meta. So annoying. I should just stop trying to read meta, I guess.

Wow, that's actually one a plot-hole that I missed before. I think, you have one of two options, because I don't think that doctor lady was in on it.
1. demon!boy went back and killed her.
2. demon!boy was sucking up to the boss-man - saying that no one else survived sounded a lot better than "no one else survived except this one doctor lady," because I doubt he'd want boss-man to be like "what? doctor lady too tough for you? You're fired."

Personally, I think #2 is more hilarious to believe, but that's me.
claudiapriscus
Nov. 8th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
I thought she was a demon, although it's been a year since I started watching supernatural. And her being a demon filled the apparent plothole of how she knew something about the disease that she shouldn't have been able to figure out without inside info that I can't seem to recall off the top of my head.

On plotholes in general: some plot holes really, really bug me, and they bug me so much that when people try to defend them as making sense, really, if you tilt your head and squint, that also bugs me. But these are the most egregious examples, the kind of thing usually found only the most stupid conclusions, the sort that insults your intelligence, and implies that the creator has taken your money and run (hahahhahaahah! you thought you'd get an actual ending!) We're talking the legendary voodoo shark (" when your story depends on something so moronic, that there's no way of explaining it without resorting to something that's equally stupid!" @ tvtropes.org)

But those thankfully are rare, though when they do happen, I think the writer/creator(s)/whatever need to be called on it.

For everything else though? I'm with you on the kind of retconny plotholes. If it doesn't take a lot of mental gymnastics to come up with an explanation, that's what I'll do. I tend to think of those as more blank spots. The writer(s) probably could or did come up with an explanation, but it would have detracted too much from the story (or they didn't have the time) to fill it in.

And on the technically correct plot holes ("they didn't know then"), actually, I don't think those always have to be negative. Nobody's perfect, and I don't mind acknowledging that or saying "yeah, it doesn't totally fit, but that was three years/books ago they probably weren't sure where they were going with that yet." In fact, I find looking at the seams kind of interesting, in a non-negative way. You can see how the story evolved, and appreciate the interesting decisions they made along the way. I'm actually not a huge fan of the absolutely-evey-detail-plotted-out-from-the-beginning stories. Not always, but it tends to make them predictable, and stymies interesting developments.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 8th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Yes to everything you just said!

:-)
duowolf
Nov. 8th, 2009 09:53 am (UTC)
I have to admit that I usually don't notice small plot holes in TV shows espically across seasons as I'd have forgotten those tiny details by the time I get to see the next season.

Big plot holes I almost always notice though and then me and the husband have fun trying to explain how things worked out the way they did.

I spot the plot holes more easily in books and films as I usually have the whole tale laid out at once so it's easier to remember the smaller details as things progress if that makes any sense.

As for reviews, I never read them as I tend to feel that everyone has there own opinion on stuff and just because someone doesn't like the episode/book/film etc doesn't mean I won't.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 8th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
Big plot holes I almost always notice though and then me and the husband have fun trying to explain how things worked out the way they did.

See, that's the kind of attitude I like!

I don't MEAN to read reviews, they trick me into reading them :-P

Reviews never influence my opinion, I just get really annoyed by the negativity. I get really annoyed by negativity in general though...like, almost to the point where I worry I have psychological problems.
duowolf
Nov. 8th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I feel the same really espically with reviews. People always complain about all that is bad with something without while missing everything that is good/fun about it.
I mean there's tons of stuff I don't like but I don't spend my time complaining about how bad those things are I just don't read/watch/play those things.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 8th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I mean, isn't it more fun to enjoy life, instead of just complain about it? Personally, I think so.
duowolf
Nov. 9th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
I would have to agree.
mymuseandi
Nov. 8th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
I, on the other hand, love reviews. I like reading what other people thought of the episodes, be it if they are ranting or gushing about it. They don't influence me, but i like reading about them, and sometimes they bring in some POVs that i didn't think about or missed, so then i have to re-watch the episode - such a hardship! LOL right... - and spot what is it that i've missed.

On the whole, i like every episode, as i think that each episode is kind of special, and that it does add different and new facets to the characters. What i feel, however, that sometimes this fandom takes the show a bit too seriously, thus all the negativity that they point out about the show, and also the plot holes that they think don't adhere to canon. Lighten up, people. Just go along for the ride. :)

I didn't really think about Lilith being referred to as a "he" as a problem.I always thought that Lilith was just sexually-confused. LOL
hells_half_acre
Nov. 8th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
I like reviews too, but only when the person is coming at the episode from a position of positivity/support...because you can get the different POVs and ideas, without having to put up with a bunch of unnecessary negativity. Being particular about avoiding negativity, means that I only read a select few reviews.

And yes, the probably is that some people in the fandom do take the show far too seriously...and I mean, folks, the SHOW doesn't even take the show that seriously. They are constantly making fun of themselves, FOR A REASON. Personally, I think that the sense of humour and levity in such an angsty show is what makes the show great.

I think all demons must be pretty sexually confused. I mean, they keep jumping from body to body, does gender even matter to them anymore beyond their name? :P
mara_snh
Nov. 8th, 2009 06:12 pm (UTC)
I hear you, sistah, although I guess I avoid most of that stuff, having learned early on that life is too short for almost everything online. I pick and choose (and notice, I choose you :).

If you don't my being just a wee bit negative about the negativity, something I've noticed that's put me off reading reviews is how clueless most reviewers seem to be about the real mythology, thea/theology, and plain old psychology that underpins Supernatural. Not one single one of the reviewers I've encountered who has bitched about the Trickster/Gabriel switcheroo has mentioned that in the canon of the Big Three Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is the messenger/prophet archangel. If we look back over the Trickster's input throughout the series so far, this fits like an Italian glove.

Until people start offering up that kind of meta, which I call positive/supportive/ plain old interesting, well, as they say, meh.

Edited at 2009-11-08 06:14 pm (UTC)
hells_half_acre
Nov. 8th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
Not one single one of the reviewers I've encountered who has bitched about the Trickster/Gabriel switcheroo has mentioned that in the canon of the Big Three Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is the messenger/prophet archangel. If we look back over the Trickster's input throughout the series so far, this fits like an Italian glove.

Until people start offering up that kind of meta, which I call positive/supportive/ plain old interesting, well, as they say, meh.


EXACTLY!

Yeah, I like reading your thoughts too, because you are knowledgeable and intelligent when you express your thoughts.

And that (the way the the Trickster being Gabriel DOES make sense) is the kind of meta that I would love to read. Mainly because it's taking mythology/theology and interpreting personalities of the players. Personally, I had been dying to know what they were going to do with Gabriel before they introduced him last week, because I figured he WOULD be the most interesting personality of the archangels. But I digress...

The positive/supportive/interesting meta is always what I'm looking for, and it just drives me crazy when I follow a link in the hopes of finding it and it only leads me to a poorly thought out complain-athon.

At least the only thing I get negative about is negativity itself :-P
mara_snh
Nov. 9th, 2009 02:11 pm (UTC)
Your closing quote is worthy of FDR.
hells_half_acre
Nov. 10th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Haha, wasn't even on purpose. :-P
mattheal
Nov. 9th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
I very much agree with you! The one thing that I love about this show is that if there are plot holes it is usually easy to explain the oversight or the show fixes it itself. One of the big plot holes that really bothered me in S4 was Chuck's visions. He clearly knew about Sam drinking the demon blood and his visions came from heaven, so logically it should follow that the angels would also know about it. The fact that they didn't really confused me and seemed like a huge oversight. But not even four episodes later we find that the angelic higher-ups were screwing everything up on purpose! See? Sometimes plot holes aren't plot holes. They're plot points! =D
hells_half_acre
Nov. 10th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Oh yes! Another good reason not to complain about plot-holes...they might not actually be plot-holes!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )