Marc Alan Fishman: Things Do Not Change; We Change
Thank you, Thoreau. The winds of change are ah-blowin’ kiddos. Turn that dial (and yeah I know kids… that term makes no sense to you) to NBC late night, and suddenly the land of Leno is now the field of Fallon. And where Jimmy once sat, now sits Seth. As internet pundits are quick to judge, I’ve been tickled pink at the complex barrage of arbitration that’s befallen the SNL alum already. Some good, some bad. But in nearly all cases? Passionate. Me personally? I’ll give them both the benefit of time. In his stint on ‘Late Night’, I thought Jimmy Fallon really came into his own. Taking that show to the “big leagues” has drawn itself plenty of criticism, and it brings me to my rant-n-rave this week: the outcries of the old who actively hate the new.
There comes a time, I assume, in all people’s lives where the culture of the young no longer makes sense. Where every new song / movie / TV show / or dare I say comic book… is derivative, pedantic, and just a post-modern deconstructed rehash of something you knew about years ago. And in most cases? You may actually be right. But understand of course that all those precious things you loved in your youth were the same to your elders in their day. The circle of life, and what not. Of the many out-cries I’ve read recently over Fallon’s lazy-fare (natch) segments, interviews, and skits all come ladled with a main course of “he’s not funny! He’s not even telling jokes! He’s wasting time playing stupid games!” Well, you’re right. And guess what? He’s damn good at it.
I need not waste more column inches to defend why I like Fallon. Truth be told, who knows how long he’ll keep the gig in the first place. As “senior” to my “freshman” in age, Fallon may usher an era where being a late-night stalwart is only a 5 or 10 year jaunt. Or ratings, Netflix, and Hulu render the show useless and it (and the battalion of its cohorts) is put to pasture when my generation eventually grabs the reigns of what passes for the network at that point. But I digress.
The fact is, every now and again I come back to this general thought: new is good. New means more opportunity for creativity. New means more failures, yes, but the number of flops will always outweigh the successes. But the potency, the power, and the quality of each success trumps the pile of crap it had to liberate itself from. We have to fall in order to get back up, and all that jazz. Without [[[Batman and Robin]]], we may never have gotten [[[The Dark Knight]]]. Without [[[The Punisher: Avenging Angel]]], we may never have seen Welcome Back, Frank. And of course, without some crappy thing you obviously hate, there would never be great new thing that makes you believe in unicorns again. Get my drift?
Now before you label me some kind of crazy nega-hipster proclaiming his love for Justin Bieber and the New 52… understand that it’s not that I don’t have an opinion. No doubt you read my reviews weekly over at Michael Davis World (and if you don’t, you’re racist!), and respect that the author of Snarky Synopsis is not without a gut full of hatespew when necessary. The balance to that though is that when I find myself cursing at the wind over a trend I don’t like – over-complicated costumes, reverting a comic series back to #1 every four months, or adding an amount of glow-effects or motion blur to every. damn. panel.– I take a deep breath and remind myself that new is good. Eventually those complicated costumes will come in handy, when the added detail allow for rain to just glide off their suits like gutters on a house. Or when all the #1s lead to negative numbering, and it drives collectors banana-sammitches. Or when all the glow and blur lead to the eventual release of the “just color my book” filter for Photoshop CS12.
The fact of the matter is that with Fallon and Myers working in new digs, it’s drawing attention to them and their productions. It’s creating chatter. The same goes for Marvel when it releases titles like [[[Daredevil]]], [[[Hawkeye]]], and [[[She-Hulk]]]. Or when filmmakers challenge themselves to work in a new genre, try a new technique, or independently produce a feature of their own. Newness begets risk. Risk begets rewards. For those in the withering generation that choose to turn their noses to the new, deny themselves genuinely lovely experiences that may start with an old idea… but then triumph through fresh eyes and a new spin unknown to those too blind to give it a look.
Change, my friends, is good. Embrace it, and you might find yourself laughing, loving, and learning where you once spat, sneered, and snored.