Your Guided Tour of Pointless Pop Culture Homages
When people love a movie or a show or a video game or what have you, and they have even a tiny shred of artistic talent, their natural inclination is to honor their much loved franchise by creating something – a painting, a sketch, a video, a whatever. Most of the time, the results range from impressive to incredible, and when that happens it’s because the creator of the work truly understood and captured the essence of the original work and filtered their deep understanding through their mind and translated their vision masterfully. Like the people over at Mondo, a collective of artists who create and quickly sell out of beautiful and original posters of movies and shows; they are masters of the movie and TV homage.
But then there’s the crap I’m going to be talking about today; garbage that that defies all logic, and in some cases coherence, that for some reason fans of a ton of different franchises have latched on to and refuse to stop creating.
Disney Princesses Re-imagined As Anything and Everything
There are a lot of creepy fetishes the internet has brought to the world’s attention. One that I submit for your peer review is fan art in which Disney princesses are drawn as characters from other, completely disconnected franchises. For example…
- Disney princesses as the Doctor from Doctor Who
- Disney princesses as Street Fighter characters
- Disney princesses as Pokemon trainers
- Disney princesses as Jedi
- Disney princesses as Elemental Benders from Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Disney princesses as Moulin Rouge showgirls
- Disney princesses as superheroes
And for the hell of it, without having seen if it’s a thing, let me try Googling “Disney Princesses as Sailor Moon.”
Son of a bitch, here it is.
Every child grew up with the Disney princesses in their lives. Once those children grow up, a small part of them still wants the princesses in their lives, but they’ve also branched out into other genres of entertainment. So every Disney princess fan with even a sliver of artistic talent renders their beloved princesses as whatever other movie/comic book/TV show they like. Disney Princesses are a pop cultural Venn diagram. Take two franchises people like, then cross them over and see what you get in the middle. The result is usually something we all could have guessed and we didn’t need to see made real.
All Episodes Playing At Once
Sometimes you love a thing you love so much that you need to take it in as much as humanly possible. When you see an adorable puppy you may say, “ooooh, I can just eat you up!” You’re so overwhelmed with love and appreciation that simply seeing it and holding it isn’t enough; it needs to be in you. Hence, cannibalism (maybe). Before video editing software was easily accessible you could only watch on episode of a TV show at a time. But now every computer comes pre-loaded with rudimentary editing software and now mega-fans can jam as much of their favorite things into themselves as they can by editing together every episode of a show and watch them all at the same time.
Have you never watched an episode of My Little Pony? Well, now you can! But why bother watching one episode at a time on Netflix when you can watch 65 episodes of My Little Pony at the same time in a single video. Maybe you’re more of a Star Wars person. You love all six movies but don’t have the time to watch them all, one after another. Don’t worry. The useless idiots of the internet have you covered. You can watch all 6 movies at once. If you’re a Star Trek fan, you can watch all 56 original Star Trek episodes simultaneously. Or Maybe you’re the most deranged Simpsons fan there is. If so, you can watch too many Simpsons episodes at once.
There is absolutely no value added to the original films or episodes by slamming them all together on one tiled wall of flashing colors. In every case, the sound suffers the most, as everything you love about each property has been reduced to the sound you hear when you gradually slip into insanity during a Netflix marathon session. All that’s needed is for the screen to twist into a multi-colored spiral as blood drips around the top edges and a demon’s face vaguely presses through static. The only thing this horrible homage is proof of is that the person who made it watched a YouTube tutorial on video syncing.
Fictional Characters On Social Media
Social media has worked its way into our lives so thoroughly that some feel they absolutely have to know what Facebook would be like if their favorite fictional characters were on it too. This premise – whether it be about Game of Thrones characters on Facebook, The Avengers on Facebook, or hey, look at that, Disney princesses on Facebook and Instagram – is the internet equivalent of a hacky comedian with a barely passable Jack Nicholson impression squeezing 10 minutes of material out of letting us know what Jack would be like if he were a dentist who needs to pull out a wisdom tooth but the patient is being stubborn (“You can’t handle the tooth!”).
But, it’s the internet, and as proven by the following entries, everything that’s old is new again. So, the premise found a new life as a meme that anyone with entry-level Photoshop skills and a rudimentary knowledge of pop culture can partake in. But this irrational movement of a franchise from one medium, genre, or even time period, only gets worse from here. For example…
What If X Were Around During The (Insert Decade Here)?
The phenomena in this entry has taken the internet’s love of everything yesterday and mixes it with the things we love from today. I call it Contemporary Nostalgia.
Out of this art form that seems like it was the product of about 8 minutes worth of Buzzfeed editorial meetings we have been given such things as characters from Game of Thrones as if they existed in the 1980s and 1990s, because the world needed to know what these characters would be wearing if they crossed over into our solar system from wherever they are in the universe, landed on earth around the 1980s, and became so quickly acclimated to our earthly ways that they immediately emulated the fashion styles of mallrat teens.
Contemporary nostalgia isn’t bound by medium, either. It can be presented as a video, too. So not make today’s beloved shows worse by re-editing their open title sequences into the style of much cornier title sequences from decades past? Do we really need to be told and shown that The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones would be terribly cheesy if they weren’t created and aired in the Golden Age of television, an era in which TV storytelling surpassed film in terms of quality, not to mention a sharp uptick in production value? We all understood that perfectly without these videos. If you’re still not feeling the warm and fuzzies over the styles of then mashed with the popular stuff of now, how about any number of shows and movies re-imagined as 8-bit video games, because go to hell for asking such an arrogant question as “Why?” even though no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t come up with a better answer than “Just cuz.”
What If X Were A Vintage Book Cover?
Without explanation, the internet and its many unemployed graphic designers all decided to honor their favorite things by trying to imagine what they would be like if they were book covers from a bygone era. No one asked for this. No one is clamoring for it. It just happens a lot. Visit any internet culture blog and you’ll see gallery after gallery of this stuff. It’s the junk mail of the internet – you don’t know who’s sending it, you don’t know why it keeps showing up, but man, there’s a ton of it.
Does anyone remember asking the internet for Gears of War to be summed up as a vintage minimalist book cover? Did you, graphic designer, prove anything by converting comic book covers into classic book covers, other than the fact that your art degree is proving to be just as useless as your dad told you it would be? One of the reasons you love the things you love is because of the form they were originally presented in.
Have you ever read a novelization of a movie that wasn’t already a novel? A film that went from screenplay to movie and then, for absolutely no reason, to book? It was always a terrible reading experience that made you appreciate the movie it was transcribed from because no matter how flowery or descriptive the language, a picture really does say 1,000 words. 24-frames per second and a couple hundred thousand frames per movie tells a pretty great story. There’s absolutely no need to devolve a work to a less suitable medium for any reason at all in any way, even tangentially, because the magic that made it the original thing so great will be lost.
Luis disillusioned you some more in Why Summer Is Going to Kill Us All.