My father and I enjoy reading suspenseful thrillers; books with Jack Ryan, James Bond, Robert Langdon. There has been a plethora of this genre since Dan Brown dominated every book store with The Da Vinci Code. Reading through several terribly written best-sellers on the NYT list and the kindle list, I find myself constantly thinking, “How the eff did this make the bestseller list?” I’ve come to a simple conclusion. There is something wrong with today’s media.
We have a genre titled “Trashy TV.” Isn’t that just wonderful. It pretty much encompasses every reality show you can think of and then some. The most interesting thing to note is that all these shows don’t get terrible reviews. Here is why.
Today, reviews have become a focal point to everything we do. Before we eat, we check yelp; before we read, we view amazon reviews; before we watch a movie, we do a rotten tomato check. However, there is no such thing as objectivity. Everything we do is based on feeling, and no 2 feelings are alike. The yellow I see may not be the same yellow you see, etc. Reviews are relative.
I find that there are two reasons to write a review: praise and hate. People writing reviews are usually either touting the brilliance of a product or blasting “DO NOT BUY.” Everywhere there are different systems for rating, but really 5 stars or 100% fresh mean nothing. What matters is what you have to say (either praise or hate). On several sites (Amazon, Apple), reviewers give an opinion about a product, and then give it X number of stars. What may seem like 3 stars to you may be 1 star to me (I’m asian so a C is actually an F). Similarly, mediocre from Apple may be fantastic from Compaq.
Back to “Trashy TV.” We review things because we have something to say. Rarely do we want to say “oh that show was decent.” We either write about how entertaining it was or how utterly boring it was. But the scale of the level of entertainment is subjective and relative.
My friends and I began watching Band of Brothers. If you don’t know, Band of Brothers is a show with a 9.6/10 on IMDB, making it the king of TV shows. After watching the first episode, I couldn’t get Saving Private Ryan out of my head. I knew it was essentially an extended remake (with historical additions), but continued watching anyways. For many reasons, we got bored and stopped watching before we could finish the fourth episode. Is this show really worthy of a 9.6? Not to me, but maybe to you.
There is no way to standardize reviews. We try to assign numbers to the things we review, but it’s all relative. I personally enjoy a Togo’s Hot Pastrami, while others may rave about the Turkey Cranberry. I did eventually try the turkey, but I’m definitely sticking with pastrami. I also loved Independence Day, but it only got a 60%. Take home message: trust your own instinct, and try new things. You never know what you may find enjoyable if you don’t try it.