I just enjoyed a bad book (and some of my favorite bad TV shows were cancelled).
A dilemma I ran into very recently: I just finished “The Red House” by Mark Haddon and while I enjoyed it for what it was, I still thought it was NOT an overall great book. In fact, I don’t even know if I would call it good. But I liked it, how can this be??!
Also this week: I found out The New Normal and Go On were cancelled by NBC. Now, I will wholeheartedly admit that these were not good shows, by any means. Mediocre humor with stereotypical characters existing in a non-realistic world… They were sitcoms, for cripes sake! And somehow I found myself watching them every week, these nutty and silly little shows perking up my DVR, as comforting as a pair of old shoes. When I read they were officially gone (despite suspecting this was probably the case after the season ended), I actually felt sad.
So how is it we can enjoy something so much and yet still deem it awful?
When I read a bad book or watch or a terrible show, I usually get fed up and give up- “How dare I waste my precious time on such swill!” (my inner monologue is a 78 year old British woman). I think it comes down to recognizing a piece of entertainment as “Good bad” and just plain “Bad bad”, whether it is bad humor, bad taste, or bad writing, something can cancel out the other and the show/book can ultimately be enjoyable.
In the case of The New Normal, Go On, and the novel “The Red House” they are all pretty funny in their own ways. The two TV shows never tried to be exceptional and the quirky casts grew on me, despite the completely hollow and uninteresting story lines. “The Red House” was such a simple story with honest and hysterical observations about human familial relationships, but set in a much more complicated setting and overall theme (that ended up not working). I read the book easily within a week, and even though I looked forward to my couple of chapters before turning off the light, I fully recognized that what I was reading was essentially not a good piece of writing. And yet, I kept turning the page- not necessarily waiting for it to get better, but because it was enjoyable enough.
I’m not sure the term “guilty pleasure” applies to this scenario, but I’m curious what other people think. How can something be good and bad at the same time? Anyone else have a Good Bad piece of entertainment to share?