Sunday, April 19, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

People talk about guilty pleasures in art, and my general reaction is to say, fuck that! If it's a "pleasure," it means it has value to me, so why should I feel guilty about it? Have more self-confidence! Hmph! So, for example, I do NOT feel guilty about owning every ABBA album (although with a few exceptions, you really can stick with the greatest-hits albums without feeling like you're missing TOO much).

But as I think about it, I realize that there is a time and a place for the phrase. Case in point: I'm not proud of this, but I watched both the first AND second episodes of Comedy Central's Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. This show is meant to be what Blazing Saddles would be if it were a TV show, and took place in a fantasy world. Oh, and if it fucking sucked. Really. The concept seems theoretically promising (although if you were familiar with Comedy Central's track record of original shows, your hopes have been adjusted accordingly), but the execution is dismal. The dude who plays the title character is kind of appealing, but he ain't given much to do; of the other characters, the less said the better. I assume that they'll cancel it as soon as they've burned off the six episodes that Wikipedia says are already done, if they wait that long. Comedy Central's efforts to expand the brand have a truly frightening mortality rate. But hey, what do I know? The utterly fucking dreadful, existence-of-a-loving-god-disproving Drawn Together lasted an unfathomable three seasons. I truly do not understand people. Or things.

But anyway: "Krod Mandoon" is not a guilty pleasure, because--if I can get all technical on your asses for a moment--"guilty pleasure" implies pleasure, and that's in pretty short supply on this show. The best moment in the first episode: Krod doesn't understand why his sword periodically bursts into flames, and when a spirit tells him some guff about its legendary power, he responds "I always just assumed it was defective!" It's partially the delivery, but that made me laugh pretty hard. But that's not a guilty pleasure either! Because I feel perfectly justified in having found it funny.

No, a guilty pleasure is this: in the second episode, the villain--who is clearly modeled after Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, but, again, not funny--is having a press conference, and in response to a question--which I don't even remember--he launches into our former president's "fool me twice, won't get fooled again" verbal farrago--exactly the same as whatsisface did it, except with fantasy names replacing Texas and Tennessee. And I have to admit, I found it pretty damn funny--but even while I was laughing, I was aware, in the back of my mind, that this was a really easy, lazy, uncreative joke, so I felt a little bit self-conscious about my laughter. And THAT is the definition of "guilty pleasure," for me.

This post was going to be about something else, but I got carried away talking about Krod Mandoon. There's a sentence you've never seen before or will again.


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