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Tag Archives: Things That Should Go Away

Can We Stop With the Fairy Tale Warrior Princess Movies?

Long ago, in a land far far away, a lady by the name of Linda Woolverton turned out a script which re-imagined Alice in Wonderland

Snow White and the Huntsman  poster

Behold the magic of… Photoshop

as Alice in Wonderland Warrior Princess. Tim Burton directed it, and as usual, turned Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter into the star freakshow attractions. The movie was terrible, but it was also 3D and made a ton of money.

Linda Woolverton then went on to Maleficent, a new take on the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Slightly less long ago, three guys named Evan Daugherty and John Lee Hancock and Hossein Amini worked on a script for Snow White Warrior Princess, and called it Snow White and the Huntsman to hook male viewers.

While Linda Woolverton had a pedigree of doing Disney fantasy critter movies, including working on the script for The Lion King, Snow White and the Huntsman’s writers were an odd bunch. Evan Daugherty was a beginning writer who, according to his interview, wrote the script for Snow White back in 2004 and had been shopping it around ever since. He sent the script to an Alice in Wonderland producer who saw easy money doing the same thing that just worked. At some point John Lee Hancock, who wrote and directed a bunch of crap, including The Blind Side and The Alamo, and Hossein Amini, who adapted the even more awful Drive that just bombed, and a bunch of other bad movies that you never heard of, got involved and made it worse.

Despite a strong opening, Snow White and the Huntsman is not likely to hit within 30 million of its budget. That’s really bad news. Its worldwide take isn’t too stunning either. The movie performed just well enough to support a 90 million dollar budget, not its ridiculous 170 million dollar budget.

Before Hollywood begins tossing more money into the same pile, it might want to look at the track record for the tweaked fairy tale movie. Brothers Grim failed, Christine Hardwick went from Twilight to Red Riding Hood and that failed. Season of the Witch failed.

Alice in Wonderland ‘s success gave some producers the idea that they need to start making big budget fairy tale action movies. That is a bad idea. Snow White and the Huntsman shows why.

Examining Female Role Models in Pop and Geek Culture

female role models pop vs geek

Variations of this infographic have been making the rounds for a while. It’s comforting for “geeks” to believe this is true, but it could just as easily be switched around to look like this.

female role models pop vs geek real

If I wanted to rub it in, I could swap out the Pop section with Adele and a few better role models. Which do exist. Just as they exist in geek culture. They’re just not that representative. Just like they aren’t in geek culture.

Here’s the thing about geek culture.

 

1. Geek culture is mostly not made by geeks.

Not if you take the examples of TV shows as representative. Even on the rare occasion when a TV show is created by someone you can claim as a geek, getting it to the air is the work of producers who are not geeks and who treat it like any other product.

 

2. Geek culture is representative of the culture as a whole.

Big shock. You can call the general culture Mundanes and call geeks Slans or any of the other names that pretend there’s a fundamental boundary, but geek culture comes out of and then influences pop culture. There’s no forcefield or magic barrier here. And even if there were, the same attitudes and drives would still influence both. And that includes is attitude toward women.

 

3. Geek culture is mostly not meant for geeks

Most geek culture, and I don’t mean the people who cynically pander to that narrow demographic like John Scalzi or Cory Doctorow, is not intended specifically for the consumption of a special group of people. The cult hits are usually the things that failed to reach a wider audience. Think of Star Trek or Firefly.

The ones that hit that audience, like Star Wars, shook off the geek crowd and thumbed its noses at them. Remember Shatner on Saturday Night Live. He didn’t need the geek crowd and he told them that. Then he decided he needed them again. Remember Nimoy, “I Am Not Spock”, “I Am Spock.”

 

4. Even when Geek culture is aimed at geeks, its creators have no idea what geeks want

Star Trek Voyager producers thought that fans wanted an emotionally dead woman in a silver catsuit. And they did the same thing with Star Trek Enterprise. Take a look at all the booth babes.

Geek culture is not created by geeks. It’s mostly created by people who have stereotypes of it and who program in terms of those stereotypes. And those stereotypes are a mark of contempt. Not just toward women, but the entire audience.

 

So that was quite a few things. But here’s the punchline.

Science Fiction and Fantasy are heroic narratives. So there are going to be more male and female role models in the mix. Heroes are heroic and even if there are 200 women in skimpy clothes whose only job is to cling to the hero while begging him to save them, there are going to be some heroines. And there are going to be more than a few heroines, because writing the other kind of female character is boring even to the most sexist writers.

That also means Science Fiction and Fantasy will have more heroines than pop culture, which isn’t running on a heroic narrative. It will happen to have more role models, not because it set out to create them, but because it’s adventure oriented. That may be why it’s better for boys and girls. Not because it’s progressive, but because it’s adventurous and adventures summon characters who have to be better than average, who can face challenges and overcome them.

Science Fiction and Fantasy will have characters of all races and genders doing amazing things, not because it set out to create role models, but because it tells stories about people beating the odds, traveling to other worlds, slaying dragons and saving the planet. And those people can be anyone. They’re likely to be like the people telling the story but that’s human egotism. And enough of them aren’t that geek culture is better than pop culture, not because it’s made by better people for a better audience, but because it tells a different kind of story. A story that used to be common until it got replaced by the story of people getting famous and screwing up their lives.

Merchandising the Hell out of Game of Thrones

You can’t blame a writer for trying to make money from his creation. You can blame him for an extended narrative relying on gimmicks and you can also blame him for looking at Farmville and thinking, “Wouldn’t it be neat if we made something like that except with Game of Thrones.”

Yes sadly that’s a thing. And it comes from George R.R. Martin’s blog, alongside pitches for the actual Iron Throne, swords and figurines from the TV series.

I don’t know much about social media. I don’t have a facebook or twitter account. But I’ve been told a few people have them, and that some of those people like to play social media games. I’m told the biggest social media game involves running a farm.

Surely, I thought, there must be something one could do on social media that would be more fun that growing turnips and feeding chickens. Like, say, scheming and plotting, murders and marriages, contesting for power.

HBO shared the feeling, and together we have granted the license for a social media game based on GAME OF THRONES to a great new start-up company called Disruptor Beam ((http://disruptorbeam.com/ )) Game development is already well under way.

I’m not a major expert on Zynga country, but I’m sure they already have a ton of games that cover that territory. Just not one with the Game of Thrones brand.

The news stories on Disruptor’s site keep pushing the “It’s not Farmville” angle so my guess is that Disruptor’s PR people handed

game of thrones merchandising crap

Tacky merchandising is coming

Martin that angle and told him to go with it. Disruptor Beam lists no previous games so I’m assuming a few veterans of other social gaming companies who came together to make their own company, hire some newbies, get a lucrative license, put out a game that gets some attention entirely because it’s based on a TV series that gets some attention mainly because it’s on HBO which has a smooth PR machine.

But isn’t this overkill?

Martin’s blog is full of a ton of merchandising Game of Thrones crap. There’s already a game out.  There’s also reportedly going to be an MMO. Now there’s a social media game out. There’s a TV series and a graphic novel. All for a series of books that isn’t close to finished.

At this rate most people will be sick of Game of Thrones long before it’s finished. It’s not just oversaturated, it’s supersaturated. It’s everywhere and it’s really not that good. But even if it were that good, nothing survives this much stuff being associated with it. Even Lord of the Rings lost some of its stature because for a while you couldn’t turn left without seeing another figurine or game. And that’s a time tested series.

If you think this isn’t overkill, have a look at the HBO Game of Thrones store for things like a concert tour shirt with the names of Season 2 episodes, an iPhone skin that just says Khal on it, and an actual crown. This is the definition of pump and dump. Saturate a topic, sell as much of it as you can, until everyone is sick of it.

Oversaturating Game of Thrones serves HBO’s interests. They want to pull as much money out of it as possible, out of the gate, and move on to the next thing. Saturating Game of Thrones keeps it a trending topic and pulls in viewers to subscribe to HBO which is the game plan. When people get bored, HBO will have already rolled out the next thing.

But is it in Martin’s interest? George R.R. Martin wasn’t a major personality before this. He was a talented writer, but now he’s gone pop culture. It’s a big opportunity and cashing in on it is natural, but he needs to think of his long term interests which don’t just revolve around selling as many Game of Thrones trinkets as possible. It’s in how people see Game of Thrones after HBO has pumped it and dumped it and his image as a writer who can do more than Game of Thrones, not as the bearded guy on the Game of Thrones shopping network.

Memes, catchphrases, trends wear out quickly. The more you oversaturate it, the faster it wears out. Game of Thrones will wear out before the last book is done. The backlash will come even earlier. And what happens then?

The New York Public Library’s War on Books

Walk into any public library and you are confronted with stacks of begging letters to send out to Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council asking them to keep funding intact for libraries. What you aren’t confronted with… are that antiquated technology known as books.

library books

Pictured, not a library priority

Trying to find books in a New York Public Library has become a challenge. The library is daring you to go ahead and actually find a book and walk out with it.

The first thing you see when you walk into a library are flyers for a dozen events, none of them having anything to do with books. You can find everything from economic literacy classes to cartoon drawing to a film series on the plight of Group X in period Y. No books though. The events are mostly geared to teens and a lot of them are even more useless than I made them sound.

Next up are the computers. Row after row of computers with patrons using them to play games and mess around with Facebook. Many libraries also have laptops that can be borrowed by patrons, so they can also play games and chat online. The computers can, in theory, be used for research, but most of the time they’re arcades.

After that you reach the counter. There are a few books at the counter, but they’re current bestsellers on a 1 Week loan. Even on the rare occasion when there’s something to read in that pile, there is no actual time to read them.

Past the counter are the reserve shelves, where books that patrons have reserved ahead of time, sit waiting for them. Why put reserve books in a priority space near the exit? I don’t know, but I’ve seen it in enough libraries to assume it’s policy. Instead of walking into a library and seeing books, there are shelves filled with wrapping paper books that no one but their designated borrower can take out.

the modern library

Pictured... a library priority. One guy watching porn, one guy playing a Zynga game. One guy watching a FOX News video. Who needs books anyway?

Now you might think that you’re about to find some books. Good luck. Next stop are the DVD’s. Blockbuster may be out of business, but the New York Public Library, funded by tax dollars, is still in the DVD rental business. Want to see Adam Sandler or Eddie Murphy’s latest movie? Go to the library. Don’t worry, you won’t be distracted by any of those books. The New York Public Library has made sure you won’t be offended by encountering any printed matter on your quest to use your taxpayer subsidized version of Blockbuster Video.

In the corner there might be some audio books to slowly adjust patrons to the idea that there might be actual books in the library. But actual books for adults who can read English? Good luck.

There will be a few bestsellers in the New Fiction and New Non-Fiction shelves somewhere near the front or in the middle of the library. Hope you like James Patterson, Bill O’Reilly, Dean Koontz, diet books, Oprah, Richard North Patterson, Jimmy Fallon, Dan Rather and Jackie Collins.

Most libraries now prioritize foreign language books for immigrants or books for teens. I have seen libraries where you have to go all the way to the back just to find the fiction section. Other libraries where the fiction section is on a high floor. I visited a library where not only was the first floor reserved for teen and foreign language books, but normal patrons were barred from sitting on chairs on the first floor because they were reserved for teens. (It would probably have been illegal to also reserve them for foreign speakers.)

Actually getting to the Fiction section has become a challenge. There was a time, not so long ago, where you could walk into a library and quickly encounter books. Now you have to walk around the library, hoping to one day run into the Fiction section. You have to take elevators and escalators. All to get to the meat and potatoes section of the library. The Fiction section. (Not to mention History, which is often just as hard to get to.)

new york public library

Sure there aren't many books... but look how shiny it is. It's just like the Apple store

Science Fiction books take the worst of it. In one library the Science Fiction section has been moved around so many times that it’s approaching light speed. In another the entire Science Fiction section was disintegrated, and combined together with Romance and a few other genres in a mess of books, sorted only by alphabet, that hardly anyone touches. Who benefits from this besides lazy librarians?

Science Fiction isn’t the only section that suffers, but it’s the whipping boy, the one that every library thinks is disposable. Mysteries and Romance have a higher status. They’re more likely to get placement somewhere accessible. They’re better stocked and better positioned.

But the New York Public Library has decided that its core is being a teen hangout and an immigrant reading room. A library should have teen books and foreign language books, but those should not be its main activity. There’s a difference between a social center and a library, and the difference is literacy.

The New York Public Library, like actual businesses, is so desperately catering to people who can’t read or don’t want to read, that it is alienating people who do read and do want to use its services. Who aren’t there to play Facebook games or take out a DVD. The NYPL is alienating readers.

New York Public Library waste

Wi-Fi Reading Room. The words, they make no sense

This time around I won’t be signing the begging letters. I want the New York Public Library to stick around, but not in its current state. I don’t believe that in a tough economy where vital services are being cut, that money should be spent on an organization that has slashed its stock of older books to the point that many important volumes aren’t available anymore, even as in-library reading, but has lots of money to spend on laptops for all and DVD’s for people too cheap to get Netflix.

The purpose of a library is to make reading material available to the masses. Its purpose is not to be a teen hangout. There’s plenty of money going to afterschool activities already. Its purpose is not to let people play Mafia Wars, while books are shelved so far out of sight that you need a telescope to find them.

I will support the New York Public Library when it ends its war on books and becomes a reader-friendly environment again.

Mayor Baldwin Weighs in on Soda Gulag

Some people think it would be funny to make Alec Baldwin into the Mayor of New York City. Probably because they hate it or because it Coca Colawould be funny. And it would be. Like the way Snakes on a Plane was funny, in concept, but not so much in reality. Also actual snakes on a plane would be better than Alec Baldwin trying to run a city. Less people would get killed on a plane full of snakes, than in a Baldwin administration.

Alec Baldwin, from his years of expertise of hitting his mark on camera, weighs in on the soda issue, at the home of enlightened civic discourse run by that crazy Greek lady who used to be right-wing before she was left-wing before she was running AOL into the ground. No wait, after.

Okay, so you’re Alec Baldwin. You have a brain the size of a small walnut. Your brain is constantly wondering why the sky is blue. It can just about handle memorizing dialogue for credit card commercials that run 30 seconds. This is too much. You have to make an argument for banning soda. What do you do? What do you do?

Start talking like an executive who has just found out that his line of baby products is actually made of Plutonium.

 The need to understand and then decisively act upon the latest findings regarding sugar consumption, diabetes, overall nutritional guidelines and policies, and the public health crisis created by the U.S. obesity epidemic is urgent. This is true for both children and adults.

Okay Baldwin’s brain is now panicking. It doesn’t know much about soda. Wait, I’ve got it. Start ranting about gay marriage and Iraq.

At first, my response to Bloomberg’s critics was more visceral. Some libertarian types don’t mind government intervention in the matrimonial decisions of gay men and women. They look the other way at wars fought in our name in places they can’t find on a map.

You lousy libertarian hypocrites. You want to be able to drink Diet Coke, while slurping down a cheese burger, but you don’t want to see Alec Baldwin gay-marry Saddam Hussein. And what about slavery? And the right of women to vote? Pants, these people are probably against them too. The Irish Hunger memorial? No wait, Capital One! It’s what’s in your wallet. No, that’s next Tuesday. Pull yourself together!

Talk about the good old days before everyone was drinking Coca Cola all the time.

Food is a drug. At least in the way it is marketed today, which is significantly different from when I grew up. As a child, sweets were referred to as “treats,” and were dispensed far more judiciously than they are today.

And I had to walk eight miles through the snow to shoot my commercials. When I guest-starred on Spin City, I rode a mule for three days into the city and ate its corpse on the last day.

Come on, Alec. You’re a major celebrity. Do what celebrities do. Talk about your diet.

I recently lost over 30 pounds by giving up the lion’s share of refined sugar in my diet and reducing my intake of pasta, rice and bread. I switched to almond milk and have reduced my dairy consumption significantly.

And my granola push-ups and rose petal brunches have never been better. I have so much energy, I can ask my people to put together this article out of bits of text messages I typed up while screaming up at a stewardess.

No, no. Talk about something relevant. A show you saw. What was it called? Empathize with the sheep. Emphasize and act! You were on six episodes of Will and Grace. You can do this!

 I watched the HBO documentary The Weight of a Nation and many of the overweight people interviewed there spoke of being not only demoralized, but confused by a chronic weight gain that they struggled with and were ultimately powerless to overcome. I can relate.

Okay this is good stuff. Now just talk about yourself for a few paragraphs. You’re famous. People want to know all about you.

Gone were the days when I could eat a peanut butter cookie the size of a hubcap with my 5pm coffee as a “snack.” With age, my body had changed. My health had changed. My ability to process significant amounts of sugar was gone. I was sick. And I wanted to get well.

Now denounce them! Denounce them all!  Make them all realize that they’re just like you, except dumber and more clueless. Victims hooked on their sugar crack. This is an intervention, damn it! An intervention for everyone who isn’t drinking almond milk and sunshine.

Many of those who cry loudest about measures like the one Bloomberg has proposed are probably sick, too: hooked on high fat, high sodium and high sugar diets who don’t want their “drug” taken away.

Now promote something on TV, because it’s what you do.

Watch The Weight of a Nation on HBO to learn just how on target Bloomberg is.

There we go. No one can disagree with any of this. Not if they work for Baldwin or Bloomberg. I can see the campaign slogan shaping up.

“Why let an elitist out of touch billionaire tell you do what to do, when you can let an elitist out of touch millionaire tell you what to do.”

Why Cloud Gaming is not the Future

Sure cloud gaming might be the future. The really distant future. The one where everyone wears jetpacks, sends clones to go to work and lives in orbit around the earth. It’s not the 5 minutes from now future. Not even the 10 minutes from now future, no matter how much NVIDIA keeps beating the digital drums for GRID.

 

1. Mobile gaming won’t integrate with desktop and console gaming

Not only are mobile games different, because they’re intended for a different type of control mechanism and a different type of environment (kill 5 minutes while waiting to skydive over Hawaii or ride in an elevator to the next meeting), but there’s a built in hardware bottleneck which leaves the idea that you can walk away from Skyrim or Battlefield 3 on the PC and smoothly pick it up on your iPad, an idea.

The only way to make this kind of cloud gaming work is to throttle desktop and console gaming graphics and controls to the level of a pad. Desktop games have already suffered from being throttled to console gaming specs, but even with Id’s scalable engine and new chips, the marketplace won’t stand still just so cloud gaming can be a buzzword.

 

2. The technology isn’t there

I don’t mean whatever NVIDIA is rolling out to impress everyone with, that doesn’t matter, I mean ISP’s are not out providing the kind of connection that makes regular cloud gaming feasible outside a small group. That’s the group leaving comments about everyone else being backward. And that’s fine. If your target audience for AAA games is now limited to 0.01 percent of the marketplace, go for it. Someone else will pick up the rest.

And mobile? Good luck downloading a 32 gig game on your data plan while waiting in line. Unless providers can suddenly gain a compelling reason to provide the bandwidth to cater to that kind of gaming, without tripling everyone’s bill, but still being profitable, then you can forget about it.

 

3. No one needs it

Sure Diablo III has made a lot of money. The Auction House will make a lot of money too, when it gets working. Maybe after all the promotional expenses, Activision will use the money to buy another marble palace haunted by demons. Maybe. But is it really worth it?

Other companies were counting on Blizzard and the unstoppable Diablo name to make an unpopular concept workable, instead it arrived broken on delivery and no amount of arguments that games are supposed to be broken on launch will change that. Diablo III was the test bed and it blew it. Sure the sales are there, but are they going to be there for companies without the Blizzard/Diablo brand? If Blizzard had trouble functioning and faced furious feedback, what happens to companies without the fanboy insulation or the online gaming experience?

NVIDIA can pitch GRID, but it’s in the hardware business. It doesn’t have to worry about launching games and when the cloud goes bad, the customers won’t kick its doors in, they’ll rage against the companies they gave their money to.

Blizzard’s fanboy shield can only cover them for so long. Bioware’s gave them a free pass for Dragon Age II, but broke on Mass Effect 3. Betting on Blizzard’s to survive another of these isn’t a good proposition. And most companies don’t have even one shield.

Sure averting piracy is a priority, but the question is how much do you want to risk doing it? And how much do you want to spend?

Always online costs money and sticking auction houses into every 50-60 dollar game will infuriate players even faster. Turning every game into an MMO without the subscription costs is financially scary and trying to sell people a 60 dollar game with crippled single-player and ordinary multiplayer and then tacking on a subscription fee, I’m not even sure Blizzard could get away with it.

Sacha Baron Cohen Go Home

As May crawls to June, The Avengers conclusively dominates the box office crushing everything else. Battleship got around it with a contingency plan by opening in Europe first. It should probably have opened everywhere first. The movie won’t have a completely disastrous image like John Carter, but it isn’t going to be another Transformers either.

The stupidest move was tossing The Dictator into the Avengers shredder. Sure a chunk of its target audience probably saw Avengers already, but the overlap was too big. Dark Shadows and What To Expect were at least targeting a female audience which was less likely to get distracted by exploding CG action movies. The Dictator had to be counting on getting some chunk of the female audience. Had to be.

The results at the box office don’t look that bad at first until you notice that The Dictator had a much bigger budget and can you imagine the marketing budget on all that? The Dictator marketing looked guerrilla, but you can bet all of it was expensive. Actual cost may top 100 million. And the movie won’t be making that back.

More devastating is that The Dictator is waking people up to the not so secret fact that Sacha Baron Cohen sucks. He’s okay enough playing a wacky character in a movie, but he’s not a star, his one trick comedy routine is to create an offensive character and then offend people and film the results. The Dictator can’t do that so it fails.

Borat and Bruno were Jackass with fewer stunts. Bruno was already flailing. The Dictator’s failure is going to mean much less backing for another project. If Borat 2 underwhelms, it’s game over.

The Things That Should Go Away

So The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo performed poorly. Big surprise. Bestsellers don’t often translate into big box office. Once people paid 20 something or 7 something dollars for the book, they’re much less likely to go see the movie. The DaVinci Code was an exception, but it was practically a cult in its time.

I never read the books. I don’t care about them. The synopsis reads like the writer was writing up a glamorized version of himself in a more exciting version of his real job along with a bisexual girl. Throw in David Fincher, the most overrated director of all time and you have a perfect score.

Fincher is the other thing that should go away. Despite being a music video director, he was also a good director, even if his visuals relied too much on gimmicks. Seven and Fight Club were sold entries. And then came a string of random movies shot in that same filtered tone and looking like music videos. But they were forgivable too. What’s wrong is that everyone keeps treating anything he releases as a major event, no matter how mediocre it is.

Panic Room. Zodiac. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button deserved some attention, but The Social Network was the most grossly overhyped piece of crap that had no reason for existing in years. Then we come to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a bunch of overhyped books leading to an overhyped movie by an overhyped director that not many people actually wanted to see.

Who could have seen that coming?

AOL Please Go Away

Please. I don’t know why AOL is still in business. There must be some kind of cash flow from somewhere, but it’s as if a telegraph company was still in business and trying to figure out its business model when it clearly isn’t going to happen.

AOL has tried everything from merging with Time Warner to putting out a ton of free services to buying the Huffington Post and putting the crazy right wing lady who facing too much competition on that front from Ann Coulter reinvented herself to become the crazy left wing lady in charge, and now talking about buying Yahoo. Sorry guys, Yahoo may be troubled but it’s not that troubled. Friendster isn’t that troubled. Somalia isn’t that troubled.

AOL still somehow has money and like a billionaire hanging off a cliff, it’s using that money to try and stay alive any way it can, before the last of its subscribers figures out they’re actually on AOL. But it just needs to go. Nothing they’ve done has worked. Putting Arianna Huffington in charge has been a disaster. Moving on Yahoo has freaked out Yahoo executives whose biggest nightmare is becoming the new AOL. Enough. Just turn out the lights and go.

The End of the Office

The Office isn’t off the air yet and its ratings are good and NBC is desperate enough that it will keep on paying money to keep it on the air. When the competition is Parks and Recreation and Community, shows that no one outside LA and New York even watches, then it doesn’t have too much to worry about, but the season premiere is a reminder of how completely the show has been ruined.

Seasons 1 and 2, the Office was funny without being a sitcom. It was exaggerated but it also had the reality of the workplace, the senseless misery and lack of control, the awkwardness of the people you work with whom you’re around all day but don’t really know or like, and the sense that you would rather be doing something else if you weren’t being paid to do this pointless thing.

Then the show let go of the reality more and more, and just let the characters run wild on a collision course with each other. It was close to a sitcom but it was still unexpected, awkward and felt grounded in a workplace. Year by year that changed, and then this is the season that it became a sitcom. A sitcom without a laugh track, but with all the lameness.

The Office was always going to become a sitcom, the more Michael became Homer Simpson and Dwight was allowed to run wild, and Jim and Pam became smug parents, the closer it got. But nothing cliched it like a show digging up a plot that almost every office sitcom has toyed with, the boss dividing the office by turning them against each other, and the moment where Andy walks in to deliver a sitcom cliche of standing up for his fellow workers that is determined to make viewers feel good, without earning it. It’s the end.

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