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February 28, 2024

Wednesday Morning Rant


They Can't Stop

America's media complex is a vast system committed solely and entirely to the purpose of creating artistically and creatively bankrupt propaganda. Shocking, I know. There have been some signs of a grudging acknowledgment of Hollywood failure recently, from Marvel's "retooling" to Amazon deciding that the audience's preferences might matter after all. There are some signs of that complex showing some stress fractures under the weight of years of catastrophic financial losses. "News" aside, there have been some potential signs of change out of "entertainment."

If you're in the "watch it burn" camp and hoping for continued self-immolation, though, don't worry. Feel free to sleep easy. Despite the recent evidence of some reconsideration within the industry, there is far too much in the pipeline and far too many true believers within the studios for change to come quickly enough to matter. As I was wandering around trailers and releases recently, I came across a true gem that serves as a case study for what's wrong with Hollywood.

The new product is called "Girls on the Bus," and will be airing on Max (formerly known as HBO Max) next month. If the trailer (also embedded below) is anything to go by, it's going to be a stupendous stinker. "Girls on the Bus" looks to be a grrrl power take on campaign coverage. It follows a group of four professional women while they "Sex and the City" it up as groupies - excuse me, I mean "journalists" - embedded in a presidential campaign. The trailer hits all the high points. If you watch it, you'll be treated to plenty of teases about "Our Democracy," racist conservatives, meaningless trysts, alcohol abuse by professional women, etc. - and it's all presented as glamorous. It is also, of course and not by coincidence, coming out in an election year.

The show is based on a book called "Chasing Hillary," written by a woman embedded in Clinton's campaigns. The book came out a couple of years after the 2016 election, and is apparently something of a self-laudatory celebration of herself and her time on the campaign trail and the highs and travails of modern journalism and journalists. Hooray. I think I'll give it a miss. It does, however, sound like prime fodder for a Hollywood that just can't help itself.

The industry machinations to make this program come to fruition are themselves somewhat notable. This adaptation started on Netflix, but that company dropped it. It then moved to the bastion of high-quality American prestige television: The CW. Even The CW - the dregs network of American television that brought out such trash as "Batwoman" - didn't finish this one. But this show is "important" or something and mustn't be allowed to die. It was canceled at The CW and moved to Max. This may have something to do with Warner Bros. Discovery selling off The CW, but I am not sure. It doesn't matter.

Several years and three networks later, this celebration of slutty propagandists shilling for Democrat candidates while destroying their own lives presented through a lens of glamorous and meaningful "work hard, play hard" freedom fighting and truthiness will finally be released. The bottom tier of the entertainment press is trying to prime the pump for it among the only audience a program like this could ever have: self-impressed AWFL activists. Per The Mary Sue, this show appears to hit the high points that really matter:

This series looks like a blast and falls into my favorite genre of Max show: Four Ladies Doing Things (see Sex and the City, Girls, The Sex Lives of College Girls, And ... Just Like That, etc.).
"Four ladies doing things." What an endorsement.

As Hollywood continues to fail to find the much-discussed "Contemporary Audience" it craves, it will continue to make shows like this one - predictable failures aimed at a hypothetical audience but that push propaganda to the redline. They must make these shows. Hollywood pathology demands it.

digg this
posted by Joe Mannix at 11:00 AM

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