I have always been under the impression (impression might not be the best word here, something more along the lines of hard held belief) that there is no such thing as bad music. There is music that I don’t like and there is music that I don’t prefer, but there is likely someone out there who likes it. It’s not the same as movies or television which can have poorly written scripts and bad production value. Shows and films can be bad, I just don’t think that music can.
For instance; I’m not the biggest fan of rap music and so I really can not tell if it’s bad or good. If there’s an errant rap song I happen to like it’s usually because there’s a catchy hook sung by some young female hip-hop ingenue, the rest I simply can not tell if it’s bad or good. Much in the same way I can not comprehend whether or not poetry is good or not, though every once in awhile I like it.
Pop music…. I like. I know that it’s crap, and I know that it’s completely inconsequential, but isn’t that really the point? The sort of music you listen to with the windows rolled down with the wind whipping through your hair or on a dance floor. Oh, yes, of course it’s stupid, but sometimes it’s just what you need.
And every once in awhile (read: all the time) it goes the same for TV and movies. They are called guilty pleasures and when you watch too much television, such as me, you’re bound to have a lot of them. And what is this, there’s a channel just for guilty pleasures? Yes please. It’s called the CW and it’s just chalk full of the worse kind of crap you can imagine.
I will admit; I read all the ‘Gossip Girl’ books. This wasn’t something I was particularly proud of, but I picked up the first book one year at camp (this was in 2002, which means I was second year staff and evidently twenty years old) because it looked like the stupidest summer read I could find, perfect for those rest hours where I had to pretend and watch the children while I really just sort of read books. In my defense, I did not know that it was going to be a series at the time. The characters were stupid but amusing and I figured when the next book came out I’d get it from the library. Though, as the books went on they got worse and worse. Semi-solid storylines and character development unraveled into a steaming pile of overcooked contrivedness. Now, one might think that’s an obvious, but when a high school girl gets modeling contracts just by walking down the street, and gets regularly featured on page six? Hello Mary Sue van der Woodsen. I don’t know, maybe that’s what kids want to read, but I find it at least a little bit hard to believe that’s true when they make a television show and change all the elements that made the books vapid. I think it’s just more than possible that Cecily von Ziegesar simply can not write a decent story. This should not be news.
And then there are 90210 and Melrose Place. Because no one in the world has an original idea anymore (evidence by the continual ‘re-imagings’ of every single movie franchise they can get their hands on, some of them are even good, just completely unnecessary) the CW Gods apparently thought it would be sure fire to bring back one of the most successful teen soaps to grace the small screen, and when that one did fairly well, the one for the older folks. I like Beverly Hills: 90210 the first time around well enough (although my favorite character was undoubtedly Brenda, who axed it after four years, while the series went six seasons beyond that), though I can fully admit it was pretty much one hundred percent terrible. But, who doesn’t love watching rich kids getting pretty much whatever they want and destroying their lives through cheating and stealing and generally acting like despicable human beings? And who’s to deny the next generation their taste of the same. Annie Wilson may be the poor man’s Brenda Walsh, and Naomi Clark isn’t nearly as compelling as Kelly Taylor, but even the poor man needs a little guilty pleasure.
So, why do people subject themselves to think that they know are utter crap? Why do people indulge in bubblegum pop music, television with over the top plots, and cookie cutter characters? I can’t speak for everyone, but as far as I am concerned it’s to be entertained. Yeah, sure, there are other ways of entertaining oneself, show’s that are better, books that mean things and I watched and read and listen to my fair share of that. It’s your prerogative. Meanwhile, you can find me firmly planted in front of my television, remote switched to the CW… probably several times a week.