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I'm Cathy Leamy, a Boston cartoonist and medical writer. Check out my comics! They're mainly about health care and autobio stories.

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

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u for underwhelming

It's funny that the latest post on the blog Creating Passionate Users discussed Intermittent Variable Reinforcement, the training of behavior through inconsistent rewards. Kathy Sierra uses it to describe the behavior of constantly checking email in hopes that you'll be rewarded with new messages. Sometimes you get them, and sometimes you don't, and you repeat the behavior, like a slot machine player.

It reminds me of how I felt watching V for Vendetta yesterday. It was a thoroughly inconsistent experience, with poor writing, cheesy dialogue, and clumsy messages, and I kept thinking "Why am I still sitting here watching this?", but then something fantastic would emerge (the Valerie sequence, a nifty fight scene, a clever line, a breathtaking visual) and I would go right back to sitting through the chaff and hoping to be treated to another good bit.

On a related note, I would like a love bomb. Why do creators keep cluttering up perfectly good stories by jamming in a romantic subplot? Why don't they think we can identify with characters whose motivations aren't romantic in nature? I would love to see more movies about people driven by curiosity, a sense of adventure, the need to create, a rebellious streak against conformity, a passion for anything beyond their own personal interests, but instead I always find myself mired in movies where people act based on romance and sweethearts. I saw V for Vendetta looking forward to people confronting a stifling fascist hierarchy, but instead the movie was more about one particular man and Evey's passion for him, which completely undercuts the whole theme of empowering ordinary people and making government less about following one specific person. I feel like I see that over and over in movies: "scientific curiosity" swapped out for "trying to get the girl back" (The Time Machine, which I still can't believe I saw), struggles for independence watered down with lovey subthreads and "you touched my stuff" personal motivation (Braveheart), and so on. It just gets old, and it makes me want to hurl a love bomb right at the screen.

3 comments!     click to join in

1 Luke Hankins   (8:27pm - Mar 25, 2006)

Sorry to hear about V. I had hopes. Not high, mind you, but hopes.

As for the Love Bomb, well, have you seen The Hunt for Red October? I believe that's the only translation from book to movie that I've ever seen that's not been in need of a quick dose of same. Other than that, though, EW. Just rembered The Saint Ew, ew, ew.

2 Mister Wolf   (1:42pm - Mar 27, 2006)

*shuffles paws akwardly*

Maybe that's another reason I'm so tired of SCB. I really don't like love stories all that much...

3 Kitty   (1:57pm - Mar 27, 2006)

@MisterWolf - oh no! Love stories are awesome and fun to read; I just think they have their own place, and I don't want that place to be "every-frigging-where." :)

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