Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Column: Daydreams - Ikea, Piracy, Batman

Could not for the life of me think of something to write about on the site this week. I had some ideas and there were some things I'd like to discuss, but none that warrented their own article. So I thought I'd steal and idea from Movie Bob and the like and do an article of random bits stuck together to give the impression of a whole.

I was going to call these side dishes or some other random thing (junk drawer already being taken) but settled on day dreams to give at least one half assed attempt at a theme for the site. For better or for worse, here we go.


Yeah, the store. Run by the blonde people with the complex furniture. I know it's not dragons or whatever, just bare with me. Hadn't been to Ikea in years. Had some time to kill, went in one. There's one near me that's a muli story affair with it's own parking garage.

I have to say I was pretty impressed. The store has some problems for sure. I for one would never want to take a small child in one of those places for fear it would get lost, have to ration it's own pee for drinking water and be found a week later in the rafters having subsisted off bats.

The store layout is pretty genius. It has a little grocery section, a concessions area and a full cafeteria. And the way they take you from area to area winding your through a space, is pure brilliance. In most places it would be one big open, square room. Ikea takes you from mock apartment to fake bedroom, winding you though this space. It gives the illusion of a much larger area. There may be a more efficent way to arrange it spatially, but the effect it has on the customer's mental state is intelligent in way most stores can't match..

Back to writing. I found myself musing at the mock apartments and bedrooms, about how much they look like sets for a TV show. Then realized that's exactly what they are. I've also talked before on this site about how everything we see as writers are legos for our brains. It's true in this case as well. Each tiny example room was done in a different style, for a different demographic. It's showed me rooms I would have never thought up because I've never seen them or thought about them in that way.

Now in a movie or TV show that would all be handled by production and set design, but for narritive writers and even those simply trying to visualize the setting I think it has some value. Also, when I was walking around the cafe area and was reminded of airports. This led me to thinking that space stations of the future will be a lot like airports. Seems pretty obvious now that I type it out... Oh well.


The boring cyber kind, not the 'arrr me matey' awesome kind. Torrent sites and clients are basically libraries of the future, when you stop to think about it. That's all, on to the next topic.


I know, I know. I talk about Batman a lot. That's why I didn't want to do a full article. But since we're here, why not.

I'm almost done with the animated series. One of the interesting tid bits about the series is that in the third season they change the opening to Batman & Robin. It's a more stylised approach to the intro that's less dark and brooding even though the show stayed pretty much the same. In the fourth season they went back to the old intro, as they drop Grayson for Drake. Easier I guess then making a new intro.

The intresting thing though is the entire tone of the show changes. Even the animation changes in style to something much closer to Justice League. In addition the show takes a lighter, more comedic tone. This is mostly due to the added role of a kid Robin in Drake and a bigger role for Batgirl. Even the villains seem more comediac and down right cartoonish. What I find strange is that though the show becomes lighter, Batman actually becomes darker. We see more of his inner sociopath and willingness to go to extremes..

This is especially odd because when you look at the earlier seasons Batman isn't actually all that dark. Sure he's dark for a kids cartoon, especially one in the early nineties. But compared to modern batman he's pretty tame. He's very emotive, gets bested often by the baddies and even wares rubber masks as disguises on multiple occasions. And the villains in the older seasons are much darker. Much more tragic.

Take Babydoll for instance. In the older seasons she's a lost soul, pushed to the brink of insanity by the memories of a time when she was happy, and a society that refuses to accept her. She kidnaps her old fake family in a sick plot of revenge against someone who at the time of the original injustice was a toddler. In the newer season she's a walking punchline machine (purposely) that has a crush on Killer Croc of all people. Even the Joker comes off less menacing and crazy.

The obvious answer is  tone. The older seasons were so dark they had to have a light come from somewhere. So it came from our hero, someone often times flying solo. Allowing us to identify with him in spite of the mask. In the last season we have Drake and Batgirl able to bring some light, and the villains to bring the humor. This leaves room for the dark and brooding Batman we love.


Well, that concludes the first daydream segment. Maybe I will do more in the future. Hope you got something out of it. If you have something you'd like to see me talk about, let me know in the comments. God knows I could use the ideas. Also let me know what you'd like to see on the site. More articles about the things I'm watching or playing, or would you like to see articles focus more on the craft of writing and less on the analyses?

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