I don't want to spend too long talking about this, but Glee did a "tribute" episode featuring the music of Michael Jackson this week and my suspension of disbelief kept being popped. Can you guess why?
Was it the sudden musical interludes that bore no resemblance to reality? The fact that a spiked slushee was enough to send one character to the hospital? The completely unrealistic engagement between two high school seniors? No. (Though seriously writers, what the fuck? Why is every teen show obsessed with having their characters contemplate nuptials before they even get a diploma?)
No, it was the fact that throughout the show, the teen characters only speak of Michael Jackson in the most glowing of terms. I can't stomach a rewatch to get direct quotes but they basically call him "amazing," "incredible" and other terms more befitting a demi-god.
Most of those characters are high school seniors. That makes them 18 at the oldest. So let's do the math. That means they were born in... where is that calculator ap? Ah! 1993 or 94. Hmmm... 1993. It seems I remember something important about Michael that year. Oh yeah... THIS!
So none of these kids would have grown up in a world where Michael Jackson wasn't an accused child molester. Much like I never lived in a world where Dick Nixon wasn't a corrupt SOB who resigned in disgrace rather than be tossed from office. Now, whether or not you believe Jackson actually sexually molested those kids, there's no way that's not something they wouldn't think of when his name is mentioned. By the time these kids had memories, Jackson was a tarnished star whose best days were further behind him than Stephen Hawking racing the Flash. I don't see where the worship and adoration would come from.
I mean, these are high school kids - making tasteless jokes is what they do. It's weird that they speak of Michael with greater reverence than most people did even during his glory days. Then there's also the issue of them being so enthralled with Jackson's whole catalog. I grew up with a love of classic rock and 50s and 60s pop, so I can totally see high school kids being into music older than they are. It's a little strange that everyone is completely into all of Michael's ouvre, though. Even when I was in high school, I'm sure there were at least one or two people who thought the Beatles sucked, or who at least didn't know every major song of theirs.
So the character writing felt false on a lot of levels. The characters felt like mouthpieces for writers in their mid-to-late 30s. Writers who probably were also kissing some ass to get song clearances that would net them lots of money on iTunes. So watch out for this when you write. If your characters are significantly younger than you, do the math and make sure that their views and attitudes are appropriate for their generation... and not yours.
Help us Kickstart Tenspotting
2 months ago