Post Reply Darkness Induced Audience Apathy and causes of it
Domayv 
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Posted 4/22/16 , edited 4/22/16
Now with the increase in stories being darker, more gritty (especially in video games due to the proliferation of the AAA title), I would like to point out a problem that many shows are at risk of getting: Darkness Induced Audience Apathy. It occurs when conflict exists that simply lacks any reason for the audience to care about how it is resolved, and the audience mentally decides they no longer care what happens to the characters (Eight Deadly Words). This can turn the majority of audiences away from your works, no matter your skill levels, because your works paint your reputation in the audiences' eyes, and if your works are full of DIAA, you will have an overall negative reception in the audiences' eyes.

Common causes
* Piling horrible shit on the main characters without developing them enough for the audience to sympathize with and/or the people doing the horrible shit not getting a sufficient comeuppance or just outright being Karma Houdinis. In other words, a Torture Porn.
* Making the villains Invincible Villains or even outright Villain Sues and making the heroes' efforts meaningless in the process.
* Making everyone a despicable scumbag and giving no hope to anyone who isn't.
* Shoehorning controversial topics like rape, genocide, torture for cheap shock value.
* Doing a poorly-done Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending (an ending where the protagonist's efforts are rendered pointless after all that BS he had to go through, and the character usually dies in the end). It's very hard to pull this type of ending right because more often than not it's an attempt at tragedy that making it impossible to care for the characters. Hence why it's a Sturgeon's Trope (90% of its uses are poorly-done, just like Sturgeon's Law, which says 90% of everything is crap). By that same token doing a poorly-done Downer Ending can also cause this.
* Overusing Joker Immunity or Cardboard Prison because it implies that the people who are keeping the villains in place are completely ineffectual and potentially render the hero's victories against the villains moot.
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Posted 4/22/16 , edited 4/22/16
Whenever people start talking about "tropes", I definitely start feeling apathetic.
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Posted 4/22/16
Normal language would have allowed you to ask the same question in a third of that space. No more TV tropes for you until you've read at least 2 books on literary or film crit! You'll feel better afterwards, I promise.

Besides, this is hardly an exceptional period of dark storytelling in anime. The early 90s were waaay worse.
Domayv 
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Posted 4/22/16

gornotck wrote:

Whenever people start talking about "tropes", I definitely start feeling apathetic.


your reason
Kintor 
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Posted 4/22/16
No offense Domayv but you really should expand your reading list beyond TV Tropes. I mean, it's clear that this is something important that you want to get off your chest but all this TV Tropes 'terminology' is dragging your whole argument down. It's hard to find common ground when all the terms you're using are contentious at best and for the most part unknown to anybody who hasn't visited TV Tropes before.

Regardless, while ignoring TV Tropes as much as I can, I don't agree with your argument that dark themes will causes audiences to lose interest in what they watch. Looking beyond anime, this is the age dominated by Game of Thrones and House of Cards, dark and cynical tales. Filled with political intrigues, where things often get worse before they get better and well-meaning individuals often find themselves being murdered by less scrupulous parties. Yet these are some of the most popular shows that have ever been created, renowned for their willingness to be dark, to tell stories that other shows would shriek in terror at the mere thought.

So, like it or not, you're going to have wander through the dark for quite some time yet. Because as it stands audiences greatly enjoy this state of affairs and see no reason to change direction now.
Domayv 
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Posted 4/23/16

Kintor wrote:Regardless, while ignoring TV Tropes as much as I can, I don't agree with your argument that dark themes will causes audiences to lose interest in what they watch. Looking beyond anime, this is the age dominated by Game of Thrones and House of Cards, dark and cynical tales. Filled with political intrigues, where things often get worse before they get better and well-meaning individuals often find themselves being murdered by less scrupulous parties. Yet these are some of the most popular shows that have ever been created, renowned for their willingness to be dark, to tell stories that other shows would shriek in terror at the mere thought.


Dark themes, in and of itself, do not cause it (there's plenty of good stories that employ them and don't suffer from it, like MGSV). It's when they are poorly-done and/or shoehorned in for cheap shock value (generally in the name of being "edgier"), and that there's not enough relief to balance it out that's what causes audiences to start losing interest in the story.
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Posted 4/23/16
I feel like this is a great example of someone trying to overexplain something. If your characters are shit, people wont care about them, and if the story is character based, people wont care about your characters.

Bad writing=Bad story. This isn't rocket science.
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Posted 4/23/16 , edited 4/23/16

What are you going on about?
If you talk more about FPS shooting and destroying anything in your way etc, that is normal and if you can make it silly just better mentally and maybe more fun as well playing it (when its not too serious)
aka serious sam.. quite cereal!
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Posted 4/23/16

sundin13 wrote:

I feel like this is a great example of someone trying to overexplain something. If your characters are shit, people wont care about them, and if the story is character based, people wont care about your characters.

Bad writing=Bad story. This isn't rocket science.


Exactly, shit is not so complicated. You know a good story with good characters when you see one. And if you're looking at every flaw instead of looking at the positives of a show, naturally you're not gonna enjoy shit just because you're being negative af.
Posted 4/23/16 , edited 4/23/16
I find many of the darker things cathartic, providing contrast to the humdrum everyday grind of RL, and a counterbalance to the sugar plums and candy canes fiction out there... better to have some of both, or diversity, imo If something horrible happens in a story of fiction that gets your mind off the boredom of everyday, then I'm for it. c:
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Posted 4/23/16

KurdishSenpai wrote:


sundin13 wrote:

I feel like this is a great example of someone trying to overexplain something. If your characters are shit, people wont care about them, and if the story is character based, people wont care about your characters.

Bad writing=Bad story. This isn't rocket science.


Exactly, shit is not so complicated. You know a good story with good characters when you see one. And if you're looking at every flaw instead of looking at the positives of a show, naturally you're not gonna enjoy shit just because you're being negative af.


Err...well that wasn't exactly what I was saying. I personally notice a lot of flaws in shows and can still enjoy them, and that just makes me love shows that don't make the same mistakes even more (I've said before "the more you love something, the more you hate to see it done badly"). I was just saying that you don't need some silly TV tropes description to explain why people don't like bad writing.
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