I was recently driving and thinking of all my favorite movies and TV shows (because apparently that’s all I think about). It struck me that most of everything that I love, connect with and label as my “favorites” are all underdog forms of media. Whether it’s a TV show, a film, music or even my favorite sports team I find myself having to fight and argue for its superiority. Now, you may say “well that’s because you’re a pretentious dick” when in reality I’m just fighting from being drowned out by the “popular kids”. I don’t like pop music, my favorite TV shows aren’t the highest rated, my sports team has never won the Super Bowl, and my favorite films are usually called “boring” by 85% of people I know. Then I realized. It’s fun to always root and lump yourself with the underdogs.
Let’s go ahead and start with music since this is a score-centric site. I’ve listened to scores all my life. I would say that scores make up 90% of what I listen to and the other 10% is classic rock with various modern artists sprinkled in. I can’t stand the majority of today’s music and while that makes me sound like I’m 60 years old, it just doesn’t do it for me (at 25 I’m in a huge minority). From Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Skrillex, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, One Direction and and all the other moneymakers topping charts. Sure I’ve drunkenly danced to this stuff at a club, but would I ever listen to it sober? Never. So you can imagine the looks I get when I say Hans Zimmer and Bob Dylan are my favorite artists from people who don’t know me. The fact that I have to explain who Hans Zimmer is or who Michael Giacchino is every time someone asks doesn’t annoy me.
Now with TV I do consider LOST to be one of my favorite shows of all-time and that was hugely popular, but the rest? My other favorites include Scrubs, Cougar Town, Family Guy, Conan, Home Movies, Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Bob’s Burgers and a few other gems. Scrubs was cancelled and had to be rescued by another network, Cougar Town also had to be rescued by another network, Family Guy was cancelled twice (but is popular now), Conan was exiled and rescued by another network, Andy Richter’s various shows have all been cancelled, and most people don’t know what Home Movies is (a great animated show cancelled, rescued by Adult Swim and cancelled again). I don’t know how many times I’ve had to show my support for my favorite shows online. Posting countless Cougar Town clips on my Facebook and tweeting “Team Coco” when Conan was showless. I don’t care for Mad Men, Modern Family, reality TV, NCIS or Law And Order. I signed petitions when Family Guy was cancelled (both times) and sent hate mail to NBC when they cancelled Scrubs mid-season during the writers strike. You know that saying that your food tastes better when you have to work for it? Same goes for TV, except instead of “tastes better” maybe “is more enjoyable”.
Now, my movie tastes while they are in the minority are still considered great films by many. So, here I can’t complain too much because I have much support when I say Once Upon A Time In The West is the best film ever made. And that Terrence Malick is the best living filmmaker and is one of the best auteurs ever to work in the medium. However, when Once Upon A Time In The West opened in 1968 it was considered a critical and financial failure. Now it rests in spot #21 of IMDb’s top 250 rated films of all-time (The Good, The Bad & The Ugly sits at #5). There is still a huge number of people who would find Sergio Leone’s films boring and slow, and many who see Malick’s films as pretentious asshole cinema. I mean, Malick still has to fight to get his films distributed and his most current one, To The Wonder is still floating with no distributor. Even though The Tree Of Life won the Palm d’Or prize at Cannes it still had a hard time to get distributed. So, when I have to seek out small theaters that play films I’m interested in it also becomes rewarding. Sure, I love blockbusters as well but I would never go as far as saying Avengers or Transformers are amazing films; they’re just damn entertaining.
I only rave about my favorite shows and films on social media to try and spread a little awareness. If the entertainment world didn’t revolve around ratings and box office then I wouldn’t be posting about how excited I am for Cougar Town’s return on TBS on January 8th, 2013. You just feel closer to your favorite shows and films when you’re rooting for them to survive the chopping block. You share an emotional connection and feel like you’re part of it, which you are. I respect fans of Arrested Development and Firefly immensely and at least for Arrested Development it has finally paid off. Shows like Southland and Jericho have also seen fans help resurrect them from the dead. It just shows that people are affected by these shows emotionally enough to fight for them, and that’s truly special. When you’re favorite stuff is lesser known you savor it more because you know at any moment that the show could be canned or that your favorite filmmaker may not get distribution deals anymore. So, keep fighting for your favorites even if they have a smaller audience than the Oogieloves. The thing is, even if your favorites aren't universally loved, as long you love them they will stick around. Scrubs ran for 9 seasons, Cougar Town should continue for a handful of seasons thank to TBS, Conan has been on the air for 20 years and his contract renewed at TBS, Home Movies creator Loren Bouchard has a new show (Bob's Burgers) on FOX because they loved Home Movies, Terrence Malick and Leone are considered the finest filmmakers of all-time and are inspirations for many of today's "mainstream" filmmakers, film scores occasionally top the iTunes sales charts and composers draw a huge fan base.
When I look at all the images I found about my favorite shows from articles it seems as if my taste in entertainment is boring, hated, unwanted poop. However, if you ever want a good argument as to why Cougar Town is the best show on TV, why Conan is funnier than Leno, why Sergio Leone is a masterful director, why Terrence Malick is too brilliant for your emotionally detached ADD brain, why Home Movies is comic gold, and why film scores are the last frontier of great music then by all means I will defend my favorites as if they were my leper child shunned from society. I'll see you on the internet.