The De-Potterized Zone

Lawks, I’m sick of Harry Potter!!

I had thought I was sick of American Idol and The Sopranos, but neither of them quite rose to the levels of deranged hype and hysteria that the overlap of last book and fifth film are generating. I hope it passes soon. I expect I will be disappointed. And that it won’t be the last time.

I come by my lack of interest honestly: I read about 50 pages of the first book before giving up on the series forever, bored and completely unengaged. (Marcia and Katelin, on the other hand, have read them all, and eagerly await the finale). I slept through most of the first two movies before they actually figured out how to film one in an engaging fashion for someone who doesn’t worship the franchise. (Hint: Fire the hacktastic Chris Columbus and his skull-crushingly literal narrative and directorial style).

Back in 2003, I wrote the following in an earlier version of my blog . . .

“Special JES sneak preview of the plot of the next Harry Potter movie, no doubt opening any month now, now doubt requiring me to take my child.

Here’s how the film goes, scene by scene:

Things happen.
Things happen.
Things happen.
Things happen.
Things happen.
Things happen.
“Oh no, it’s Voldemort!”

[Does this show that I’m not really a fan? Should I note that based on my attendance at the first two movies, I should insert “Eric takes a nap” somewhere between the fourth and fifth “Things happen”? Should I express the dismay I felt when I read that the director of ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ was directing this one? Or should I just sit tight, secure in the knowledge that ‘Return of the King’ is coming soon, too, and will no doubt wipe the stale taste of the Harry Potter franchise out of my mouth in no time at all?]”

Just for the record, I did manage to stay awake through most of the third and fourth movies, but didn’t really get much from them. Katelin went ahead and saw the new one on her own already, which means I don’t have any parental obligation to do so now. Lucky me.

Don’t get me wrong . . . I’m not some pop culture hating crank who thinks he’s too good or smart for things that are popular. I love it when the stuff I love gets popular, because then it means that I don’t have to work so hard to get it. I’m essentially lazy and lowbrow in that regard. I mean, I love me some My Name Is Earl, some Lord of the Rings (books and movies), some Carl Hiaasen, some Entertainment Weekly, and some really, really, really bad popular music. I even had a blast in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago, the ultimate in lowest common denominatorship when it comes to entertainment separating you from your money.

I even love me some Charles Dickens and Robertson Davies, so I can get past absurdly named characters and loopy plot cycles if there’s a reason for me to do so. But Ms. Rowling never gave me that, and there’s just something about the Potter books and movies just never worked for me, and I resent the fact that when I don’t get all ga-ga about the latest Potter merch that I have to explain my position to the aghast observers, as if I’m some sort of ugly cultural bridge troll caught by daylight in a brightly lit field of puppies and lollipop trees.

I just don’t like it! Why is that so wrong? Stop staring at me! Rrraarrrgghhhh!!!!

Also for the record: I don’t begrudge the little chiddlers their love of the franchise, nor the parents who buy the books and go to the movies because it brings their children joy. Watching your kids’ faces light up is magical, worth even sitting through Sesame Street Live in the Elmo era. (It would have been a pleasure back when Frazzle and Herry were in charge, and before Cookie Monster cleaned up his act and went veggie). That’s why I went to the Potter movies, and I don’t think Katelin’s enjoyment was reduced one iota by my snoring and drooling in the popcorn.

So I’ve had enough, thank you! No more for me! Move along, nothing to see here! Don’t poke the troll, please! Now I think I’ll go see if I’ve got any My Name Is Earl racked up on the TIVO. That’ll make me feel better, until it’s time to go out and buy the new book and FEDEX it up to camp where Katelin is working, just so that I know she’ll have a smile on her lovely face when she opens the box.

Oh, the terrible things we do for love . . . the horror . . . the horror . . .

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