Fans Should Never Get What They Want—Myself Included

So, I’ve said on this site a few times that creators should be brave enough to stand up to their fans. I’ve begged Sherlock‘s Stephan Moffatt, for example, to keep the focus of the show away from the Sherlock/Watson bromance—their love for each other is only moving if commented on sparingly—and I’ve stated that Veronica Mars works best when Veronica’s love life isn’t the centerpiece of the action (again, a little goes a long way). If I could add a third example to complete this triumvirate, I’d say that Marvel should be wary of giving in to fans’ luuuurve of Loki. Like everything else mentioned above, Loki is great, but most effective in a subplot or as a side-character. He’s charismatic, yes, but he’s not a hero—making him one would diminish what’s interesting about him.

Anyway, at, we’ve created a shorthand for the idea that fans shouldn’t get what they want: #TeamPiz. I’ve learned that this makes some people on the internet very, very angry.

I think part of the anger is the idea that I’m telling other people that they shouldn’t get what they want. As someone who is more interested in mysteries than romance, who am I to tell people who are into epic love stories that they shouldn’t have their romances?

In reality, though, I developed my “people should never get what they want” theory based on something I did to myself.

Let me Tell You My Tale of Woe (Though You Might Have Heard This One Already)

There was a week where Jesse was away at a work conference, leaving me to my own devices (and unable to watch any movies or TV that we wanted to watch together). I believe that this was in the wake of The Dark Knight Rises, and right around the time we saw Red Lights. Red Lights doesn’t entirely work, but, where it fails, it fails in an interesting way. I realized this was true of most Cillian Murphy movies—even if they’re not great, they’re usually at least trying something different—so I used the Jesse-free week to catch up on a bunch of Cillian Murphy movies I hadn’t seen (…and a few that I had). By the end of the week, I had affirmed my opinion about the projects he chooses, but I’d also seen a bunch of movies where he ended up dead. (Vague Cillian Murphy movie spoilers to follow.)

I saw him dead, lying face up on a beach, smothered by the girl he loved.

I saw him dead, lying face up on a beach, shot in the face by the girl he loved.

Dropped dead on the street.

Dead in space.

And so on. It was kind of punishing to be rooting for someone, only to watch as tragedy after tragedy befalls him. I’d like to say that, at the time, I eloquently stated my desire to see a movie where he made it out unscathed, but I’m pretty sure I just whined, “I just want to see a movie where he kisses a girl and doesn’t die!”

I scoured his IMDb page to try and find a movie that met my two criteria. It’s there that I came across Watching the Detectives, which seemed like a good bet*. The title is the title of an Elvis Costello song! He works in a video store, like I did in high school! He’s in some kind of love story with Lucy Liu! I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to end with her smothering him or shooting him in the face, so, despite warnings, I tracked down a copy of the DVD.

It. Was. Horrible.

I’ve seen this movie and I can’t tell you why these people are acting like this. Why is he performing for a room full of cardboard people? Why does she act like she’s never been to a concert? I don’t even know.

Horrendous. Tremendously awful. Not even an interesting failure like some of the other movies I watched the week before. I could go into details about what a mess this movie is, but I know that none of you have seen it—and you’re definitely better off that way. I will never stop apologizing to the people I made watch this with me. (Sorry, Jesse and Nathaniel!)

What I learned was that it didn’t matter that I, as a fan of Cillian Murphy, wanted to see him in a happy romance. That’s not what he excels at. (I have seen a couple of really good movies where it so happens that he kisses a girl and/or doesn’t die, but I wouldn’t call them straight-ahead love stories**.) He’s much better in roles where everything is spiraling out of control around him. Seriously, there’s an “it’s all falling apart!” expression to his face that I think he should patent.

This isn't exactly the right face. This is more pouting-in-a-hay-bale, but we take what the Tumblr gods give.
This isn’t exactly the right face. This is more pouting-in-a-hay-bale, but we take what the Tumblr gods give.

The romantic-comedy face? Not so much. I found out the hard way that people shouldn’t get what they want—and I’m no exception.

I’m pretty sure he won’t get to kiss Rebecca Hall in Transcendence. He may or may not die at the end of it. I’ll be first on line.

*Actually, I watched all of this movie in nine separate YouTube clips first, because I am a crazy person.