It has not been a great week for overreacting fanboys. First, and I’m guilty of an incredulous scoff or two over this one, the first promotional image of the new The Lone Ranger, with Johnny Depp, was released online. Why here it is now!
Now, I was initially weirded out about this, because I always loved the Lone Ranger and it was an obsession I always shared with my Dad. Then again, the Lone Ranger could use a modern day spit-shine so I took a breath, and felt better after I watched this:
Tonto’s head? WE PUT A BIRD ON IT!
So the Lone Ranger only ranks at a mere “WTF” on the scale of overreaction, since it’s only guys in their 60s and me who are scratching their heads. Then, cinematic-mastermind Michael Bay announced that in his upcoming film version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that he would turn the titular characters into “tough, edgy, lovable, aliens.” Aliens. Not mutants, but aliens. The reaction of TMNT fans can only be explained thusly:
Now this is registering at “they are making forcible love to my childhood” on the fan overreaction scale. Petitions are being signed, angry blog posts are being written, and even former TMNT stars are registering their disappointment, including Robbie Rist who provided the voice of Michelangelo in the original movies (who was also Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch…which is COMPLETELY blowing my mind). But Michael Bay is telling fans to “chill out” and maybe we should, since we all know how “lovable” and “edgy” he was able to make those popular transforming robots.
But the one fan taking it all to the next level on the scale of overreaction is the one who is currently complaining to the FTC about the makers of Mass Effect 3 over the game’s ending. Mass Effect 3 is the third installment in the incredibly popular video game series that puts you in the shoes of Commander Shepherd as he tries to save Earth from alien-based annihilation. Now, I won’t post any spoilers, since I have yet to see the ending myself, but apparently it was too much for player El_Spiko (no word on if that’s an alias) to bear, so he filed a complaint with the FTC.
The basis of the complaint, which most law experts agree will be thrown out as soon as the judge is done trying to impress the bailiffs with his magic tricks, is that the game’s ending was not as dependent on the player’s actions as fans had hoped. From the complaint, “After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims.” So basically things happened that El_Spiko (again, I was unaware you could make Federal complaints with your screen name) thought he could prevent and/or change but ended up not being able to once the game’s final movie started.
Now, I can hear eyes rolling in all directions. There’s the “Hollywood is ruining our childhood” crowd and there’s the “get a life and read a book, nerds” crowd. Guess what? Both groups are right and wrong. Yes, the portion of the population that doesn’t get hung up on the narrative plot lines of characters that are based on cartoons that were developed for the sole purpose of selling toys is right in not caring about what Hollywood does with them. However, they’re not right in mocking the kids that do care. Look, pop culture has existed since the dawn of, well, culture. But from my parents’ generation and onward, we’ve adopted pop culture into the fabric of our formative years. We develop a lasting passion for the things we love, because, in this day and age, we can surround ourselves with those things. So, yes, I can understand the feverish passion someone would exhibit about something that only looks like “just a video game” to the uninitiated, but maybe we’ve gone too far once we’ve drafted a petition. Anyone who scoffs at something someone is obsessed with is probably guilty of loving something equally as frivolous and with equal passion.
But we’ve entered a scary new realm when we try to take legal action to change the ending of something we love. These works, be they artful or artless, are still the product of someone else’s imagination. We can cry and we can moan, but we can’t change the fact that we have no control over the fictions that we hold dear. When my son, Max, comes to me in tears over the end of E.T. or Old Yeller or protests about the ultimate fate of Bambi’s mom, it’s going to be a powerful lesson for him about how we lose ourselves in the things we enjoy, but we have to tread carefully, since we don’t have any control over them. They’re stories, great stories, but they’re not our stories.
So, in honor of El_Spiko, his frivolous complaint and our irrational love for all things pop, I now pose the challenge to you, foxy ladies and not-ladies of MamaPopLand. What fictitious work would you contemplate legal action against in order to get the ending or outcome that you wanted? Consider this fair warning for SPOILERS that may lie ahead. I’ll get us started:
- I want an official rewrite that lets Kuyzo survive the events of Seven Samurai.
- I want Alien 3 and Blade: Trinity stricken from the record.
- I want a Federal injunction that forces every American household to give Firefly a try.
- We should fill out grant paperwork that would fund the research that could bring Joey Ramone back to life.
- I want restitution for the slobbering mess I became in front of other people after watching Saving Private Ryan.
I’ll get a hold of my lawyer, so put your desired legal actions in the comment box below.