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September 13 2010

Nathan Fillion to voice character on "Venture Brothers". Jackson Publick had announced that he took a "short trip" to Los Angeles in order to record Nathan Fillion's voice over for an episode that will air later this year.

Used to like the Ventures a lot, but last season was a bit of a letdown to me. Let's hope they do better this year. Having 100% more Fillion than previous ventures should help.
I wish I "got" Venture Bros more. I like it, I really do but I don't understand why it has such a following outside of the normal [AS] stuff. I've only seen about six/seven episodes though.
Venture Bros is one of the best shows on TV. It's great to hear that Nathan is lending his vocal talents to this awesome show.
The VB and Firefly are my two favorite shows of the past 35 years. You can imagine how psyched I am.
I started watching the Venture Brothers as a huge Foetus/Steroid Maximus fan (the music is done by J.G. Thirlwell, who releases music under those two names, as well as others). Kept watching it for the satire. Now I watch it because it's the most bleak, depressing wonderful cartoon ever. Things keep getting worse and worse, the one-note satire characters have developed into deep, complex beings (that always fail). Adding our Captain to the cast does nothing but make my favorite cartoon better!
Now I watch it because it's the most bleak, depressing wonderful cartoon ever. Things keep getting worse and worse, the one-note satire characters have developed into deep, complex beings (that always fail).


This is a question of honest interest: Why is watching something bleak and depressing enjoyable? What do people get out of it? (I guess that's two questions.)

Because I don't get it. I've seen similar opinions stated in The Black before about a variety of projects, and I've never related. I'm wondering if I'm missing something. If a show has big time hardships I tend to watch it despite them--or maybe so I can see the hardships overcome or faced. I know that there's that classical position about how tragedy is supposed to be cathartic and all, but I don't think I've ever experienced the catharsis. I mean life is hard and painful. And because it is, if I watch something "bleak and depressing" with a side of "that always fail," I end up feeling like I'm getting a beating on top of my persistent "life" bruises.

I've been able to come up three possible reasons for why watching something painful would be enjoyable: 1. It's a validation of personal daily experience. 2. The compelling fascination of watching a "train wreck." 3. Somehow it puts one's own life in perspective when when watching someone who's worse off.

None of those reasons are enough for me to mentally torture myself (that's what it feels like to me) with "bleak and depressing," but that was all I could come up with. Is it one or more of those? Or is it something else?

Anyone?

[ edited by BreathesStory on 2010-09-13 17:08 ]
Because it stimulates empathy. It is easy to love characters who have problems.
Trying to answer your question, BreathesStory, without coming across like a pretentious goth (or emo, or whatever the angsty kids are calling themselves these days)

For me, bleak and depressing aren't inherently better or worse than happy or romantic (or whatever). Moods are colors and I like them all! Why I commented about it in the Venture Brothers is you don't really see much like that in western animation, and less so in something that is a comedy. It's supposed to be funny...it IS funny. It's also painful and sad. It's satire and it's tragedy. It's bad puns, toilet humor, pop culture reference and abstract conceptual humor. The depth and diversity of the show is why I like it so much better than its Adult Swim bretheren. Actually, the more I write about it, the more I see that it sort compliments a lot of the tones of Dr. Horrible (well, without the singing), so Nathan Fillion isn't a bad fit at all!

Anyway, back to your question. Not everyone likes depressing stuff, and there's nothing wrong with that. I do, but I gained a taste for it at a pretty young age (the first subtitled film I saw was Fritz Lang's "M", which is brilliant, but not exactly a cheery film for a grade schooler). As my previous color metaphor, sometimes it is great watching something depressing, but ultimately redemptive and uplifting (Buffy season 6 is my favorite for that reason). Sometimes I enjoy spiraling ever downwards (Werner Herzog's "Strozeck" comes to mind...well, almost any of his films). Do I relate fictional character's problems to my own? Sometimes. Do I find "trainwreck" appeal to it? Sometimes. Do I just empathize, and imagine myself in the character's shoes? Sometimes. Do I feel like wallowing in despair? Sometimes. Do I watch depressing things to make myself feel better? Sometimes.

Again, colors! For me, entertainment (books, movies, cartoons, what have you (and can I borrow it when you're done)) is all about feeling. It is communicating emotions and ideas. I like the mood and mind-altering nature of things (fun fact: the japanese psychedelic music scene is very anti-drug. If the music can alter your state of mind, why do you need chemicals to do the same thing?) Again, no one is good or bad, though in my opinion saturating yourself in ONLY one is kinda limiting.

Long story still kinda long, I like depressing things because depressed is a way to feel, and I like to feel things. I hope some of that made sense...
Based on your comments BreathesStory, I'd suggest that you also avoid shows such as FIREFLY, DOLLHOUSE, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, VERONICA MARS and the internet shows THE GUILD and DR HORRIBLE.
BreathesStory and Jaymii,

Maybe you are missing a little historical perspective. Did you ever watch the cartoon Johnny Quest ?

[ edited by Anonymous1 on 2010-09-14 05:58 ]
Thank you narse for seriously addressing my question and responding in such a thoughtful manner. That's just the kind of answer I was hoping for. I might be a little enlightened now. Maybe. It's a difficult path. ; )

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