As you already know, my free time is usually spent with books, movies and puzzles, and this multimedia approach for the most part amuses me and keeps me from joining a gang. Everyone remember the Hollywood screenwriters strike that made headlines what, a decade ago? Did it ever actually get resolved? I remember a beginning, but I honestly don’t remember anyone saying that it ended, just that some of the late night talk show hosts had started hiring writers from the print media to add to their monologue staff. Obviously, the last decade has seen an inordinate number of remakes and sequels at the box office—enough to qualify the movie-going experience as a return to the serial genre of the 30’s and 40’s. The Lone Ranger Rides Again (and again and again and again)!
Personally, I’ve had more than my fill of Batman, King Kong, Rocky and Robin Hood! Harry Potter, on the other hand is, I’m sure, despised only by parents of this decade who never got around to reading the saga with their kids. Every night I solemnly pray that Avatar was a one shot deal because a return to Pandora is a helluva commute and would require that I give up a part of my initial awe and innocence. I’m not willing to sell my Willy Wonka Golden Ticket just yet (unless Harrison Ford makes another Indiana Jones movie). Every man has his price!
Is it just plain old-fashioned greed that inspires moviemakers to produce another version of a story for each and every child brought into the world today? Do we really need to fill our DVD racks to capacity? Does everyone need their own director’s cut, tailor-made to fit their own individual ideas on how the story should be experienced? No wait…that would require individual effort. Dopey me, if everyone learned to tell their own stories there would be no need for another pre-washed and tumble-dried storyline. Bad idea…anti-capitalism…no money in that! But again, I’ve derailed my original train of thought (but had a good time ranting, nonetheless).
My initial gripe, believe it or not, came via a television commercial. Remember the Ronald McDonald characters we grew up with? Mayor McCheese, Grimace, Hamburglar and some bird with flight goggles? I can’t remember all of the gang, but there’s one in the bunch now that I KNOW wasn’t there in the beginning…get this….Angus One-Third Pounder, Private Eye (a Sam Spade/Mike Hammer throwback dressed in cowboy duds)!!! No, I’m being serious. A 1930’s private dick with a John Wayne swagger in ground beef form! It boggles my mind, but in all fairness, probably delights the five-year-old set. It just makes me wonder if, as a country, this is the best we can come up with to market fast food. Are they merely pandering to a five-year-old audience or, as I fearfully suspect, pitching to the new demographic—a consumer group with a five-year-old’s mentality?
THIS is the stuff that really scares me! A Marshal McRib character I could endure, or even Chick McNugget, Private Eye, but Angus 1/3 lb-er?—that Scottish! Give him a skirt and some bagpipes and he’s halfway believable! Am I so old that I just “don’t get it?” One wonders. Maybe my town is just a test market for this particular campaign and they’ll eventually remake the commercial for a broader audience…with Angus portrayed by Kevin Costner or Russell Crowe! What’s not believable there?!!