I didn’t even want to click.
It was another one of those “wild connections between things that create a whole internal world” articles. You know, like the one that made up genealogies to connect every recent Disney animated fairytale family to each other? Or drawing the lines of relationships between Dr. Who and Harry Potter. Or whatever.
They are kind of fun, especially the first few times. I admit this freely. They’re creative and witty and inventive, and sometimes, they even make a sort of cockamamie sense.
But this one, where they noted the similarities between a whole bunch of things created by the same person and then postulated a kind of massive inside joke on the world-at-large….nope.
The trouble with things like these is not that they get a little repetitive. It’s that, once you stop to think it over, the reason these exist is really pretty obvious.
It’s logical, and natural, and human, and dirt-simple.
Artists tend to have one internal inspiration that sets them off, and from there, they develop a whole bunch of ideas that have their roots in that first, initial impulse.
They work it and work it, until they’ve either started to repeat themselves and are bored and/or cannot “sell” this particular rut anymore.
Or they have exhausted everything they can from it and move on.
Or they get hit by a bolt of lightning in the form of a new internal inspiration that takes them down a wholly new path.
In the first instance, the saleability factor tends to keep an artist in the rut long after they ought to have abandoned it (and they usually know that) because people keep asking for it or expecting it. They get stuck, even if they don’t want to be.
In the second instance, where either the monetary returns have dried up or they are a particularly independent and strong-minded creator, they know when they’re done. Vestiges of the old stuff might still creep in, but they start moving out from that first milieu and introduce elements that morph and change what they create, often so slowly and subtly that their audience is able to move and grow with them.
In both those instances, they are seen as having created “a body of work” which is something both critics and fans love, because they can recognize it easily, and feel comfortable with it. They know, more or less, what they’re getting.
But in the case of the third reason for change, a hard left turn away from the known and familiar, artists are very often penalized (and pelted with refuse) because of the failure to meet audience expectations, and sometimes, despite wanting to change and grow, they go back to what worked before.
The thing is, I’m not amazed and enchanted by the way you can draw links between one offering and another by the same creative source. I’m not surprised when an author uses one thinly disguised character from an older book to signify something pretty similar in the new story.
And I’m certainly not surprised when a film-maker or television writer has so many thematic and cultural connections from one movie or series to another that it is possible to create an entire universe from just the work they’ve produced.
To give it the most generous spin, it’s likely that they are still working out the meaning and ramifications of those similar conflicts, resolutions, themes and circumstances, and one of the ways artists of all stripes do that is to keep reframing the problem and seeing how it looks from various angles.
So, now you don’t need to click either.