Generation Z? More like Generation BuZZkill.
Thanks to this army of little introverted scolding, the future of television and film is even bleaker than post-pandemic viewer struggles and box office plummets suggest.
A startling new study from UCLA polled Generation Z kids, ages 13 to 18, these overripe Children of the Corn, born between 2004 and 2009, about their viewing habits, and the bad conclusion is pretty much: enjoy everything which is fun and fleeting that’s over for 90 seconds while you still can.
If trends continue, our favorite escapist distractions will soon be fewer than a unicycle on the freeway or a New York street corner that doesn’t reek of marijuana.
You see, youth want to replace “Avatar” and “Elvis” with TikTok dances, Little Miss memes, and social justice screeds. Because the internet and MSNBC aren’t already giving us enough of that. Z want more!
The study finds that teenagers “strongly dislike hopeful stories” — which means entertaining stories about frivolous people who are richer than them. Think classic musical comedy like Anything Goes or costume drama like Downton Abbey. you know pleasant things
These wacky kids claim that they prefer depressing real-life stories that are full of relevant, womp-womp themes. That haunts. Teens obsess over HBO’s “Euphoria” (unless, god forbid, Sydney Sweeney throws a hoedown in a barn). Starring Emmy-winner Zendaya, this series is about high school-aged drugs, sex, abuse, and even “toxic positivity” — a phrase that has me wanting to leave town and become a recluse in the Galapagos.
They’re also flocking to Netflix’s “Sex Education,” a show exploring teenage sexual identity issues.
Watch out for “House of the Dragon” about fictional incestuous warring royals. Gen Z wants you to burst into flames.
That is, of course, if they watch TV or movies at all. A 2021 Deloitte poll found that just 10% of Gen Zers ranked these past eras as their top choice for home entertainment, as opposed to any previous generation. These idiots prefer such intellectual pursuits as social media, web surfing, and video games.
That this is still true in 2022 is shocking. In recent years, we’ve all become too familiar with doom scrolling, angry online spats, and forgetting how to talk to other people in person. Sane adults are now attempting to undo the damage. But Gen Z wants to go even further – staring at their phones all day, obsessing over the news, and seeing fun as repulsive and evil.
I suppose we can hope that as they age they outgrow it and, well, get some flavor. After all, the counterculture hippies of yore are now looking forward to Der Rosenkavalier at the Met. And I hope never to be exposed to millions of 45-year-old men and women filming themselves threading.
But youth-obsessed Hollywood is so prone to knee-jerk reactions these days that big, damaging changes are likely afoot. Soon every TV show and movie will be hilariously bright and boring, aimed at consumers who don’t even want to see them.
In the meantime, you and I will delight our grandkids with “comedy” and “sci-fi” stories while they unsubscribe to us on Snapchat.