Film Crit Hulk Smash: HULK SMASHES THE PUNY PARADIGMS OF FILM CRITICISM WITH HULK-SIZED SEMIOTICAL ESSAYS ON STORYTELLING, CINEMATIC PRINCIPLES, AND MEDIA THEORY! HULK EVEN MAKE PRACTICAL HOW-TO GUIDES! See More...

Film Crit Hulk Smash: Hulk Defends NEW GIRL… And BRONIES?!?!

Just what it sounds like. 

Film Crit Hulk Smash: Hulk Defends NEW GIRL… And BRONIES?!?!

TWO THINGS.

1. SORRY FOLKS THAT HULK HAS BEEN OUT OF ACTION, HULK HAS BEEN TAKING CARE OF A BIG HUGE EXCITING COLUMN THINGY THAT'S COMING SOON!

AND 2. HULK WANTS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT HULK'S BEEN A NEGATIVE NELLIE LATELY.

IT'S NOT ON PURPOSE OR EVEN INDICATIVE OF MOOD. HULK WAS SIMPLY LATE TO THE MASS EFFECT 3 DEBACLE AND THAT WHOLE THING BECAME AN ONGOING SAGA. AND THEN IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT MOVIE-LOVERS WE'VE HAD A PRETTY ROUGH SUMMER WITH THE OL' TENT-POLES. SURE, THE AVENGERS WAS THE BEES' KNEES, BUT IF YOU HAD TOLD HULK THAT THE SECOND MOST FUNCTIONAL SUMMER MOVIE WOULD BE ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER HULK WOULD HAVE SMILED AT YOU AND SLOWLY BACKED AWAY.(1) YES, WE'VE HAD OUR MAGIC MIKES AND BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILDSESSES TOO, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT HULK MEANS. THE BIG MOVIES HAVE NOT REALLY COME THROUGH IN THE WAY THEY SHOULD. AND IN HAVING TO WRITE ABOUT THIS CRAPPY SUMMER HULK HAS INADVERTENTLY BUMMED SOME FOLKS OUT AND MADE A FEW DOWNRIGHT ANGRY.

TO WHAT PURPOSE? MITIGATED ONES. OCCASIONALLY HULK'S MEASURED-BUT-STILL-NEGATIVE TAKES ON SPIDER-MAN AND THE DARK KNIGHT RISES ELICITED A FEW  "I liked that movie, but never saw it like that. Thanks hulk!" KIND OF THINGS, WHICH IS A PRODUCTIVE WAY TO FIGURING OUT HOW MOVIES WORK, BUT IT'S A PRETTY CRAPPY EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE TO BE HONEST. THEY CAN BE NECESSARY, BUT NEVER ASSUME THAT "KNOCKING SOMETHING DOWN A PEG" IS SOMETHING HULK TAKES PLEASURE IN. IN FACT, IT'S QUITE THE OPPOSITE. HULK KEEPS SAYING "MOVIES ARE GIFTS" AND HULK DOESN'T WANT TO LOSE SIGHT OF THE VERY REASON HULK STARTED DOING ALL THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE (EVEN IF THE DECONSTRUCTION IS IN THE QUEST FOR UNDERSTANDING). AND SO WITH THAT, HULK WANTS TO REASSURE YOU THAT RATHER THAN HAVE YOU NOW-DISLIKING-SOMETHING-YOU-PREVIOUSLY-LIKED, HULK WOULD ALWAYS RATHER HAVE YOU COME TO LIKE OR (AT LEAST UNDERSTAND) SOMETHING YOU DID NOT LIKE PREVIOUSLY.

SO LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT ZOOEY DESCHANEL SHOW.

IN SOME CORNERS OF THE INTERNET ANY REFERENCE TO MISS DESCHANEL OR HER SHOW NEW GIRL (WHICH HULK ALWAYS WANTS TO CALL "THE NEW GIRL" CAUSE IT SOUNDS BETTER DAMMIT) IS MET WITH THIS KIND OF READY-MADE DISMISSAL AND EVEN SOME ANIMOSITY. WHILE BADASS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MORE AFFABLE SITES WHEN IT COMES TO THIS SORT OF STUFF, IT IS HARD TO DENY THAT THIS CORNER OF THE INTERNET WE INHABIT PRODUCES A GOOD DEAL OF SAID DISMISSAL. AND... WELL... HULK THINKS THAT'S NOT-SO-COOL.

SO LET'S START WITH BROAD STROKES HERE... TO HULK'S DYING DAY HULK WOULD NOT FULLY UNDERSTAND THE IDEA OF OUTRIGHT BELITTLING SOMEONE ELSE'S INTERESTS. ON A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN LEVEL IT JUST SEEMS STRANGE. SURE, THERE ARE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM THAT CAN CERTAINLY RAISE AN EYEBROW (BRONIES FOR ONE), BUT THE FACT THAT WE CAN LUMP IN SOMETHING THAT EFFECTIVELY REGISTERS TO THE PUBLIC AS  "A GIRL SHOW" WITH SOMETHING WITH THAT SPECIFICITY IS A LITTLE WEIRD TO HULK. GRANTED, IT IS PRECISELY THIS KIND OF "THIS IS GOOD/THAT IS BAD" BRAND OF REFLEXIVITY THAT USUALLY SETS OFF PEOPLE'S POST-MODERN-BELLS ABOUT HOW EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE AND TRUTH IS A LIE... THAT'S ALL WELL AND GOOD, BUT PLEASE EXCUSE HULK FOR TRYING TO COME UP WITH SOME KIND OF PRODUCTIVE ANSWER ON HOW TO MAKE FUCKING SENSE OF THIS SITUATION. REFLEXIVITY DOESN'T MEAN THAT WE JUST ABANDON ALL SENSE OF OBJECTIVITY, IT JUST MEANS WE SHOULD HAVE A LITTLE HUMANITY AND UNDERSTANDING WHILE DOING IT. SO WHEN LOOKING AT SOMEONE ELSE'S INTERESTS PERHAPS WE SHOULD JUST MEET THEM WITH A SHRUG AND NOT OUTRIGHT ANIMOSITY AND LONG-WINDED COMMENTS ABOUT HOW LENA DUNHAM IS VACUOUS AND DOESN'T DESERVE ANY OF HER SUCCESS (BECAUSE IF THERE'S ANYTHING THIS WORLD NEEDS MORE OF, IT'S FEMALE FILMMAKERS BEING TOLD THEY DON'T "DESERVE THEIR SUCCESS"). AND QUITE HONESTLY, EVEN SOMETHING EXTREME LIKE THE BRONY THING CAN BE UNDERSTANDABLE... IN A CERTAIN LIGHT. (2)

SO THE FACT THAT NEW GIRL IS MET WITH THESE KIND OF VIRULENT REACTIONS SHOULD TAKE ON THE MOST DOUBLY OF DOUBLE-TAKES FROM MOST OF US. BECAUSE WHATEVER THE SHOW IS, IT SHOULD FIRST AND FOREMOST BE INNOCUOUS TO YOU. THERE IS NO REASON A SHOW LIKE THIS SHOULD REALLY AFFECT YOU IF IT IS OUTSIDE OF YOUR WHEELHOUSE OR INTEREST LEVEL. HULK WOULD ESPECIALLY LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT NEW GIRL SITUATION IS UNLIKE THE WAY MAJOR MOVIE RELEASES TAKE ON HIGH PROFILES AND MARKETING PRESENCES THAT THEIR OMNIPRESENCE BECOMES UNAVOIDABLE. A TV SHOW, EVEN ONE ON NETWORK, IS DIFFERENT, ESPECIALLY IN TODAY'S NICHE CULTURE. INNOCUOUSNESS SHOULD BE THE RULE OF LAW FOR THE MOST PART. HULK THINKS PEOPLE PRETTY MUCH UNDERSTAND THIS CONCEPT. AND FOR THE MOST PART, PEOPLE CAN SIMPLY LIKE WHAT THEY LIKE.

SO HULK DESPERATELY WANTS TO KNOW WHY NEW GIRL FALLS OUT OF THAT "FOR THE MOST PART" DESIGNATION FOR A LOT OF PEOPLE?

WHY IS IT NOT CONSIDERED INNOCUOUS WHEN THERE'S NOTHING THAT TRULY STANDS OUT?

AND WHY DOES OUR PARTICULAR CORNER OF THE INTERNET LIKE TO PIPE UP ABOUT THIS ONE PARTICULAR SHOW?

AT THE CENTER OF THESE QUESTIONS IS PERHAPS ZOOEY HERSELF. YOU'VE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE. FOR AS MANY PEOPLE WHO LOVE HER, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO THE-OPPOSITE-OF-LOVE-HER. SOMETHING ABOUT HER "JUST BUGS PEOPLE" OR MAYBE IT'S SOMETHING SHE REPRESENTS. HULK'S HONESTLY NOT SURE BECAUSE IT ALL SEEMS SO NEBULOUS AND REACTIONARY. BUT FROM WHAT HULK CAN SURMISE THE THING TO WHICH PEOPLE ATTRIBUTE THEIR REASONS FOR NOT LIKING HER IS THAT THEY THINK SHE CARRIES A KIND OF FALSEHOOD. THEY ARE ASSUMING THIS LAYER OF CUTE AND QUIRK OR WHATEVER WORD THEY'RE CHOOSING IS AN INSINCERE PUT-ON. OR EVEN IF IT IS SINCERE PERSONALITY, PEOPLE SEEM TO BE IMPLYING THAT THIS BEHAVIOR IS VERY INHUMAN AND FALSE COMPARED TO...UM... OTHER ONES? HULK'S NOT ENTIRELY SURE TO BE HONEST. HULK DOESN'T GET IT TOTALLY. HULK JUST KNOWS THERE ARE A MILLION WAYS TO ADDRESS THE RESULTS OF THIS HATE.

SO FIRST OFF, LET'S JUST ESTABLISH THAT QUIRK IS GENERALLY ASSUMED TO BE A PRETTY A CRAPPY THING BECAUSE WE MISTAKE IT FOR INSINCERITY. IF ALL THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR IT'S BECAUSE HULK ALREADY TACKLED THE IDEA IN  HULK VS. THE WAR ON QUIRK (WHICH MAKES THIS MINI-COLUMN A SPIRITUAL SUCCESSOR TO THAT ONE IN SOME WAYS). BUT THIS WHOLE "QUIRKY" SURFACE AND PACKAGING FOR NEW GIRL HAS SOMEHOW BURIED ITS WAY INTO HOW MANY PEOPLE IDENTIFY THE SHOW... AND HULK IS HERE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING VERY SIMPLE: THE SHOW IS NOT INSINCERE.

IN FACT, IT'S PRETTY DARN GOOD.

TO BE HONEST HULK HAS ONLY SEEN SIX EPISODES. IT'S NOT THE BEST POSITION TO LAUNCH FROM WHEN TRYING TO DEFEND A SHOW, BUT HULK CAUGHT TWO EARLY IN THE SEASON, TWO IN THE MIDDLE, AND TWO AT THE END. AND WHAT HULK SAW WAS A SHOW THAT EVOLVED QUITE NICELY AND HAD A SENSE OF IDENTITY. SOMETIMES IT PUSHES A JOKE TOO FAR OR STRIKES THE WRONG COMEDIC TONE, BUT UNLIKE SO MUCH ON TV IT IS PRIMARILY CONCERNED WITH THE REALITY OF ITS CHARACTERS AND THEIR GENUINE AFFECTION FOR ONE ANOTHER. MEANING THIS IS ONE OF THE RARE COMEDIES THAT IS NOT SITUATIONAL, BUT CHARACTER-DRIVEN. THE ONE EPISODE THAT REALLY TURNED HULK'S HEAD? THE CANCER-SCARE EPISODE WHICH HULK FOUND TO BE SURPRISINGLY TEXTURED, HONEST AND HUMANE. ADMITTEDLY, HULK CANNOT SIT HERE AND EXPLAIN TO YOU WHY THE SHOW IS ON THE TOP OF SOME MUST-WATCHLIST OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THE POINT IS HULK THINKS WE SHOULD HAVE THE ABILITY TO LOOK PAST THE SURFACE AND IDENTIFY WHEN A SHOW DOES SOMETHING WELL. AND THIS SHOW DOES WHAT IT DOES RATHER WELL.

BUT SINCE HULK HAS ONLY WATCHED SIX EPISODES THAT IS HARDLY THE KIND OF FOUNDATION TO BUILD AN ARGUMENT ON AND DEFEND IT. AND THAT IS THE REASON WHY HULK TURNED TO ALL OF HULK'S FRIENDS, INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS AND TWITTER BUDS TO EXPLAIN WHY IT'S ACTUALLY A GOOD SHOW AND NOT TO BE EASILY DISMISSED:

"I think that the twee elements combined with Zooey Deschanel's mere existence automatically rubs people the wrong way. But the show actually has a really sweet heart to it that's earned over time as we get to know these characters and empathize with their problems and hang-ups. It's one of the most genuinely well-intentioned shows on TV, which is why I can hardly bat an eye when Zooey makes a joke about how pink wine makes her "slutty." It's proof of how a show works to earn audience trust, empathy, and laughs." - BRITT HAYES

"I'm not a Zooey Deschanel hater like most of the world seems to be, she is the main reason I started watching the show. I can see a lot of myself in the character of Jess and that makes the show engaging for me. I find it different from the other comedies I watch (COMMUNITY, PARKS AND REC, THE OFFICE, 30 ROCK) in that it all feels like a certain level of reality or a reality that I could be a part of, where as other shows are me watching other people in funny situations, when I watch the NEW GIRL it's like I am watching a sitcom version of myself (i.e. I can see myself in some of those situations or that is how I would react to them). And at the end of the day, I watch the show because I find it funny." - JENN MURPHY

"The charm of the show comes 100% from the characters and the actors who play them. I couldn’t care less about the plot half the time because I’m usually so busy crying from laughter at something Schmidt has said or something Jess has done that I “totally have done before.” Combining a loveable and relatable female protagonist with the most hilariously distinct dudes creates a perfect dynamic. And to top it all off, the chemistry and “When will they just hook up already??” tension between Jess and Nick keeps you coming back for more in the hopes it will finally happen. Overall, the show just makes me happy." - EMMA FROST

"Schmidt. 100%. He's the best thing on the show. And I once saw him sharing pancakes for dinner with his daughter and it was adorable. The new girl herself kinda bugs me at times because the adorkable thing seems contrived. "Siri is thaat rain?" But the show has hit its stride and found a nice balance. And again Schmidt. Everything about him is the real deal TV star: funny handsome. Schmidt!" - CHRIS CAMPBELL

"The reason I love "New Girl" is that it's about being at an age where you're an adult but you're still pretty new at it, and even though you might think you know what's up, the truth is you're a long way from actually having your shit together.  Since this is also an apt description of my life, I of course identify with so much of the show.  I live with two boys and another girl all over the age of 25.  We've all experienced our fair share of car trouble, job trouble, relationship trouble, and just life trouble.  We've actually researched how to play a real version of their drinking game True American.  I have a douchebag jar on my desk.  (OK I guess those last two are more life-imitating-art than the other way around).  Also, the boys are so adorable and SO SO funny, especially Nick & Schmidt (Judaism, SON!)." - MYSTIQUE

 

"Well I didn’t hate the idea of it on sight, but I like Zooey Deschanel so that intrigued me. But it’s way funnier than it looks like it will be. It’s highly rewatchable and the first season has 26 episodes, so any fan of it has a lot to watch. I love it." - JC DE LEON

 

THERE'S SOMETHING TO ALL THIS. AND IT'S NOT ABOUT GETTING YOU TO LIKE OR WATCH THE SHOW. IT'S ABOUT UNDERSTANDING THE REASONS THINGS CAN BE GOOD OUTSIDE OF OUR OWN PARTICULAR REASONS, AND UNDERSTANDING WHY THOSE THINGS CAN HAVE A VALUE. THERE IS NO HARM BEING DONE HERE. IN FACT, IT'S THE OPPOSITE OF HARM.

LIKE THE FACT THAT ZOOEY DESCHANEL HAS REALLY MANAGED TO CONNECT WITH MANY GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN THROUGH BOTH HER WORK AND HER PARTNERSHIP IN THE WEBSITE HELLO GIGGLES. WE SPEND ALL THIS TIME AS A SOCIETY IMPLYING THAT THERE ARE NO GOOD ROLE MODELS FOR YOUNG GIRLS, OR THINGS THAT CAN TOE THE BALANCE BETWEEN FEMININE INTERESTS THAT DON'T WORK IN THAT HORRIBLE COSMOPOLITAN KIND OF WAY AND GOOD OL' FASHIONED HUMANISM. BUT THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT WE HAVE HERE. AND BETTER YET, IT'S HANDLED IN A WAY THAT HAS SOME MATURITY TO IT... BEYOND WHAT MAY BE YOUR "ANNOYANCE AT ADORKABILITY" THE IDENTITY THAT ZOOEY HAS BUILT AND THE MANTRA BEHIND IT HAS HAS REAL VALUE.

AND SO TO BELITTLE THE SHOW IS ESSENTIALLY TO DO THE SAME EXACT THING THE MASSES HAVE DONE TO GEEK CULTURE FOR THE YEARS BEFORE WE CAME TO DOMINATE THE ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE. WE SPENT HOW MANY YEARS TELLING EVERYONE OUR INTERESTS HAD VALUE? AND NO ONE BELIEVED US. IT'S JUST AN IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER.

BECAUSE IT'S JUST IMPORTANT TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND WITH THIS KIND OF SHOW. IT'S NOT ABOUT ADOPTING, BUT UNDERSTANDING. AND IT CAN BE ABOUT ANYTHING. RECENTLY HULK TALKED ABOUT NOT BEING THE BIGGEST FAN OF TONY SCOTT, BUT HIS PASSING HELPED HULK APPRECIATE ALL THE THINGS THAT MADE HIM TRULY UNIQUE. HULK WASN'T A FAN OF THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, BUT HULK UNDERSTANDS THE REASONS IT HAD A ROUSING EFFECT ON PEOPLE. MOVIES AND TV SHOWS, JUST LIKE EVENTS AND PEOPLE, CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE TRUTH.

SO IF THE SHOW DRIVES YOU NUTS SIGHT UNSEEN, PLEASE JUST LET NEW GIRL DO ITS THING. BECAUSE IT DOES IT VERY WELL AND FOR AN EVEN BETTER REASON. AND YOU MAY EVEN BE SURPRISED THAT YOU LIKE IT.

HULK CERTAINLY WAS.

... ALSO, HULK TOTALLY MISSED YOU NERDS.

<3 ALL YOUR BUTTS.

OKAY NOW LET'S HAVE TWO WEIRD FOOTNOTES.

(1) - OKAY HERE'S THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN THING. THAT MOVIE HAS NO REASON TO WORK. THE FIRST 15 MINUTES ARE ENRAGING. ITS TRAINING MONTAGE IS INSULTING. IT HAS ONE OF MOST AWKWARD THIRD ACT TRANSITIONS EVER. IT IS A COMPLETE AFFRONT TO BOTH HISTORY AND DECENCY. YET AS A SINGULAR ENTITY IN THE CONTEXT OF ITSELF, IT IS A UNIQUE THING WITH ITS OWN UNIQUE GOALS AND WOULDN'T YOU KNOW IT, BUT IT WORKS AND UNDERSTANDS ITSELF BETTER THAN VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER NON-AVENGERS FILM THE SUMMER HAD TO OFFER. WHICH IS NOT TO SAY IT'S SOMEHOW "BETTER" THAN TDKR OR ANYTHING. IT JUST WHOLLY FUNCTIONS TO ITS OWN PURPOSE AND INTENTION WITH ALMOST EVERY SCENE AND IDEA. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? HULK JUST WANTS YOU TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HULK MEANS. IT DOES WHAT IT WAS TRYING TO DO BETTER THAN THE OTHER MOVIES DO WHAT THEY WERE TRYING TO DO... THAT'S ALL.

(2) - OK THIS NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A HELL OF A FOOTNOTE. OKAY. BRONY LOVE IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE SHOW IT ALL COMES FROM, MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC, IS KIND OF A SHARPLY-WRITTEN, FUNNY CARTOON. TO MAKE YOU UNDERSTAND, THE SHOW IS GOOD IN THE WAY THE POWERPUFF GIRLS WAS GOOD. BUT THERE'S A CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE. WHEREAS THE POWERPUFF GIRLS THEMSELVES WERE COMPLETELY DE-SEXUALIZED, THE PONIES OF MLP:FIM ARE DESIGNED WITH JUST ENOUGH OF HUMAN SEXUALIZATION TO BE KIND OF WEIRD (YOU BE THE JUDGE). AND THIS COULD BE MORE INNOCUOUS, BUT THE RESULTS ARE UNDENIABLY HORRIFYING. GRANTED, IT'S NOT A ONE TO ONE AND SOME PEOPLE LIKE THE SHOW OUTSIDE OF THAT INSIDIOUS ELEMENT, BUT ALL IT REALLY TAKES IS A KIND OF PERSON WITH A CERTAIN SET OF HANGUPS OR A CASE OF ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT TO GET TO THAT PLACE WHERE THE INCLINATIONS TOWARD SEXUALIZATION OF THE MLP GANG BECOMES A REALITY. HULK'S POINT ISN'T THAT THIS RESULT IS OKAY, JUST THAT IT IS A HUMAN BEHAVIOR THAT FITS MANY TEXTBOOK ABERRATIONS OF PSYCHOLOGY.  AND WHILE THERE SHOULD BE A SENSE OF UNDERSTANDING ABOUT ALL THIS, HULK STILL DRAWS THE LINE AT GROWN MEN FUCKING SPECIALLY-MADE STUFFED ANIMAL HORSE PUSSIES... AS MUCH AS WE ENDORSE A "TO EACH HIS OWN" MANTRA, HULK HOPES THIS LINE IS UNDERSTANDABLE.

Film Crit Hulk's photo About the Author: FILM CRIT HULK WAS CREATED IN A CHAOTIC LAB EXPERIMENT INVOLVING GAMMA RADIATION, TELEPODS, AND THE GHOST OF PAULINE KAEL. NOW HULK HAVE DEEP AND ABIDING LOVE CINEMA.
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