My daughter is pretty well enamored with the children’s show, Yo Gabba Gabba. And I have to admit, the bright colors, rocking bass beats, and DJ Lance Rock has pulled me in more than enough times.
One of the more amusing situations which has arisen out of her love for the show is her love for a couple of characters called Moochi and Pooty. Here’s the one and only time they were on the show, and the one and only time she has seen them:
What makes this particularly amusing to me is that whenever I ask if she wants me to tell her a story, she always responds by yelling “Moochi and Pooty!!”. Now, although this was part of a ‘storytime’ segment on Yo Gabba Gabba, I’m not really certain why she has latched on to them as being a part of story time for us, seeing as before she saw this segment, most of our stories involved princesses. Of course, it is possible she might have gotten bored with all the stories of how these princesses would relieve themselves in the toilet instead of their pants. . .I hate diapers so much…
I find myself having to make up a lot of stories for these two characters that I really know nothing about. The only requisite I’ve kept for myself is that there’s a race in them in which I talk about how fast they are going. Usually I keep this at the earlier part of the story, so I have some stalling time with which to come up with some sort of meat outside of a stupid race.
And here’s where the really interesting (to me at least) part comes in. These stories, which are really pretty dumb, start to become part of what she expects during story time. She doesn’t want the previous story, but just plot devices within them. So, this past weekend I told her a story about how they raced to the arcade, but didn’t have any money to purchase tokens. It ended with them getting tokens from Moochy’s mother, Pooty getting sad because he didn’t have any money, and Moochy, of course, sharing, so everyone could be happy. . .
And then, a couple of nights ago, my wife offered to tell my daughter a story, to which, of course, she responded with “Moochy and Pooty!!”. While my wife was telling her story, which I believe had something to do with baking (I honestly was not paying much attention), all of a sudden I hear my daughter yelling about tokens. She had now determined that this was an important part of the Moochy and Pooty story, even though I believe even she knew that tokens had no place in a cookie recipe.
So, I’ve found myself reflecting on this situation. And you’re going to find this reflection a really wild stretch from the origination of this post:
The entertainment industry is quite fond of rebooting franchises today, and have been for quite some time now. They retell stories we know and love. Some work, some don’t. Generally these reboots all follow the same basic rules of reboots, but some of these movies receive a unanimous groan from their audience, while others get critical acclaim.
Seeing as I had just watched the new version of True Grit, I couldn’t help but think of this movie specifically. Whether watching the John Wayne or Jeff Bridges version, it’s pretty darn apparent that the movie is all about the character of Rooster Cogburn. The success of both movies most definitely hinges on the portrayal of this iconic character. Yet, I think we can all agree that Jeff Bridges’ brilliant version of the character is nothing like John Wayne’s iconic portrayal of the legendary marshall. And they both win. They are both fantastic movies as far as I’m concerned.
Then you see something like Mark Wahlberg’s Planet of the Apes from back in 2001 (I haven’t seen the most recent Apes flick yet). It’s got pretty much everything you could want from Charlton Heston’s movie, except of course the cursing about filthy primates and an anger over a big head in the sand, but it sucks. I mean, it’s an alright movie, I guess, but it just doesn’t hold up. And there’s one simple reason. It’s not that Wahlberg isn’t necessarily a talented enough actor to compare to Heston (although I can’t say that he is), it’s that he’s just not pissed off.
The ‘tokens’ we expected from the original, which is one really friggin pissed off dude, is replaced by a guy who just seems confused as hell about the fact that there’s a whole bunch of hairy things running around him. Of course, the monkey-intimate-happy-time probably didn’t help things at all. But the crux of the matter is that It just didn’t hold up, and that’s because it didn’t have what we needed from that movie, which is, sincerely, a dude who is really freaking pissed off that his world could have changed.
What does this have to do with anything? I guess I can’t say that it does. It might partially have struck a chord with me because of the fact that The Legend of Buddy Hero is basically a reboot of the golden age of comics. It also could just be that I’m still trying to figure out why I hated Superman Returns so much, and how fearful I am that Man of Steel will be even worse.
All the same, most writers today are rebooting things. Rowling rebooted the occult with her Harry Potter series, and succeeded because she kept the things we expected out of it. Even though I hate all of the Quidditch crap in those books, we would have really been questioning their witch-ness if it weren’t for there being brooms involved, even if no one seems to travel in such a way anymore. The new Star Wars movies failed because there was no Han or Vader, instead we had Anakin and the Senator. There was no cocky space pilot, just whiny white dudes. And looking at these situations we see that there’s a lot of care which needs to be taken with rebooting so that people see the things they expect and can therefore accept the rest of it for what it (hopefully) is, a great story.
In summation…I don’t really have a point outside of how the primary reason reboots fail is that they don’t meet the expectations we set going in. Phantom Menace might have been a worthwhile movie if it wasn’t in the Star Wars universe (although I highly doubt it). But comparing it to A New Hope is just not fair for Phantom Menace. It doesn’t have the same swagger. It just didn’t ‘feel’ like Star Wars.
Maybe if we weren’t so focused on franchises, we wouldn’t be so unhappy with these movies, as we would go into them with completely open minds. There’s nothing like going into a movie you have absolutely no expectations on, haven’t seen a single trailer, and being absolutely completely blown away by its awesomeness.
So…here’s my plea. Stop the reboots. Start the new!