Pop Culture Musings: Series Finales and Tay-Tay's Too Much of a...

I don’t know how often I will do these, but, I figure, occasionally. I love me some pop culture and I love me some writing about pop culture, so it just makes sense.

Anyway, this time out, I am tackling series finales and how some talk about Taylor Swift’s newest video.

 What an attractive group of people (photo from wikipedia.com)

What an attractive group of people (photo from wikipedia.com)

I Love a Series Finale OR Yes, I Am That Kind of Monster

So a certain internet personality (which may be an overstatement), a teen movie reviewer with the last name Jackson, tweeted out that he had never seen an episode of Mad Men but was absolutely planning to watch the finale. Those aware of him reacted with furious anger. Ok, that might be an overstatement. But, largely, they did not like or understand it.

Not me. I totally get it.

I (and my father and undoubtedly more) suffer from the same disease. We love ourselves some series finales.

For me, I guiltily admit, it spreads beyond TV. I am the kind of guy who reads the first few chapters of a book that will read the last page or two. It’s like creating my own J.J. Abrams-esque story structure!

The fact is a good ending can be just as compelling and interesting and worthy of note as a good beginning. In some ways, some endings can be just as viable an introduction to the characters as the pilot. I have certainly seen a few that have made me go back and watch more of the series.

Now, this is not to say I recommend any and all series finales. For me, I like to have watched a few episodes at some point. A series you followed for a season or two that ran long after that is a particularly great treat to come back for the finale.

At least having some level of familiarity with the characters can also work. That’s why, for instance, Friends finale is a perfect choice. The Friends characters were so ubiquitous that you needed almost nothing else to be able to jump aboard. Similarly, if you are someone like me that reads entertainment sites and magazines fairly often, you end up absorbing lots of information about shows you have never watched a minute of.

A complicated long-running drama like Mad Men would not be one I think would be a particularly good choice. In fact, most dramas with a serial element do not lend themselves well to this. There is too much backstory that you need to really feel the impact.

Actually though, Lost? Lost is a really good one to just watch the finale.

Because of the way TV has changed, I should say, this sort of finale peek-in is becoming less advisable. Network shows still work great, but your boutique cable offering tend to not work as well.

So I stand with that teen internet personality and his odd choice. I cannot vote yes on Mad Men, but his love of finales? His love of finales strikes me as more than ok.

 What an attractive group of people. (photo from harpersbazaar.com)

What an attractive group of people. (photo from harpersbazaar.com)

Tay-Tay Is a Mean Girl?

Taylor Swift just released her latest epic video “Bad Blood” in her apparently ongoing quest to prove the music video is still a viable enterprise so now seems as good a tie as any to discuss two of the negatives that have been leveled at her.

1.)    She dates too many guys. Don’t be fooled by her sweet exterior!

2.)    She is a pop music mean girl. Don’t be fooled by her aw-shucks disposition!

The first one is a bit fascinating to me because, in some ways, Swift has been spared some of the usual hyper focus on her sexuality that young pop stars experience. Compare the focus on, say, Britney Spears’s or Christina Aguilera’s virginity to the lack thereof on Swift’s. I suppose that, in part, is owed to how those pop stars, Spears in particular, traded on the idea of their virginity early in their careers in a way that Swift never bothered to deal with. Still, I always have found that interesting. And hopefully a sign we are, perhaps, getting less creepy as a society.

On the other hand though, we have people ringing their hands about Swift dating six men since 2008. Six men in seven years. Six men between 19 and 26 years old. Not to play this card, but…imagine a man with a similar dating profile. Would anyone blink? I have my doubts. So while I love that Blank Space song, I think the reputation as a crazed serial dater is, perhaps, a bit unearned and gender based, dare I say.

What interests me more is the mean girl bit. That to “cross” her is to end up in a song and that that, somehow, makes her cruel or a bad person or….something. This one I just can’t get with at all. Yes, she writes a lot of songs from her own personal perspective and yes that means she often writes about real people. However, with the exception of “Dear John” the only reason we know the subjects of said songs is that we do everything in our power to figure out who she’s writing about. She rarely (again, except Dear John) namechecks the inspiration for the song and, although, personal in nature, they tend not to be literal in the description of what went down between she and the other party or parties.

And even if she literally called Bad Blood, I don’t know, “Katy Perry Diss Track,” well, what would be wrong with that? Hip hop boasts more than a few rivalries and grudges that spilled out onto albums and mixtapes and generally speaking, except that one time Jay-Z went too far, these scuffles are usually not viewed with any concern. In fact, sometimes they are greeted with great fanfare. So, why can’t pop ladies do the same without being accused of being mean? Beyond the genre of music and the gender I mean?