How to Guarantee I Never Watch Your Show (or read your book)

While the TV was on, during a commercial break, one actress was doing a teaser blurb on the series she’s in. I have no way to tell how much of this was her, how much was prompted for her, but someone trying to pitch the show to new viewers thought it was spot on and approved it for the advertisement. 

So, what statement did she make that guaranteed I would have no interest in the show ever, whatsoever?

“There are no bad guys, and there are no good guys“.

Let’s take a look at that for a second.

First of all, those of you about to break out the pitchforks over simplistic storytelling or whatever, I’m well aware that not only is it possible to tell a kick-ass story without a single bad guy, by using rivals and “good” antagonists with their own goals, but some of my favorite stories are structured precisely around such conflicts, and some of my favorite “bad guys” qualify as good people who are rivals. Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” is an excellent example of the former.

The part I take exception to is the “no good guys.” To me that says “no-one to cheer for.”

Yes, I’m aware nobody is perfect, and everyone has flaws. if people didn’t change, and grow, and overcome these flaws, stories would be really boring.

But if there’s no-one that I consider a “good guy” – that I admire, either for what they are, or for what they have the potential to become and then grow into – then the story is about a bunch of people that I find despicable, screwing each other over, with one person being more of a “viewpoint” character than the rest.

It also helps feed into a nihilistic, nothing-is-worth-anything mindset.

I have better things to do with my life.