Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm


One of the things that is great about pop culture is that there is something out there for everybody. With so many options in entertainment, you are bound to find something that you are into, no matter how off-beat or niche your interests may be. You may not always be in the majority, but thanks to the Internet and social media it is relatively easy to find other people that share your interests no matter how specific your pop culture preferences may be. If you like Victorian zombie love stories (a real thing – I checked), there’s pop culture to consume and a community to discover.

While I fully support people’s right to like just about any pop culture that they want (as long as it isn’t hurting anyone), that doesn’t always mean that I understand it. This goes beyond me having different personal preferences than other people; I may think that Two and a Half Men is anathema to good TV, but I can at least somewhat grasp why some people would like it. There are some things in pop culture that I just can’t wrap my head around; every time I am confronted with these things, I just don’t get it. That doesn’t make these things invalid or bad, they just confuse me.

Adults who are really into Disney

Photo by Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Images

Photo by Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Images

Maybe because I didn’t grow up watching Disney movies I don’t have that same baseline level of nostalgia for the product as some people, but I honestly cannot figure out adults that are Disney enthusiasts. I’m not talking about parents of kids who are fans of Disney so that the adults become fans simply by immersion or survival instinct; I mean the full grown adults, many of whom don’t have kids, that go bonkers for all things Disney. I made my first – and only – trip to Disney World when I was in my early thirties and I was bored out of my mind. I didn’t get much out of it, other than finally being able to check the requisite life experience box. So the idea that people are going on their honeymoons to Disney World simply baffles me, as do adults that wear a lot of Disney-themed clothing or who get super excited when a movie is “released from the vault.” Love what you love, but know that every time you bring up some Disney stuff with a little too much enthusiasm, internally I’m doing this:


Tom Hardy

For the life of me, I cannot figure this guy out. That’s probably a testament to his acting ability and his ability to physically transform himself, but I have no idea what I’m supposed to think about this guy. The first time I ever remember seeing Hardy was in the underrated Warrior. He was all buffed out and was playing an MMA fighter who looked like he could rip your head off. It was then pointed out to me that I had seen Hardy before in Inception, though I could barely place him. Then he was in a romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon and then he was Bane in The Dark Knight Rises – and he looked totally different in all of them. Like, how is it even possible that this is the same guy:


Beyond his appearance, I cannot even begin to get a bead on this guy’s personality. I can’t tell if he’s a nice guy who says some dumb things, a douche that is occasionally insightful or something altogether different. I dunno – he’s a cipher for me, which definitely speaks well for his ability to play many diverse roles. But he’s also a total enigma.

Reality TV

I used to watch some reality television, so I get why this is a thing in theory, but what perplexes me is how this is still a thing. At this point, we know so much about the production and creation of reality TV that we know that there is very little “reality” in it and it seems to me that it is the same storylines over and over again as they cast for certain types of “characters.” So while there used to be a factor of escapism in it, I don’t really get what people are getting out of it at this point when it’s become fairly predictable and repeats itself. It’s all so manufactured. And we all know it’s a sham – people who win reality show completions, in general, don’t go on to do anything else remotely noteworthy. Couples that meet on reality shows break up almost instantly. I’m unclear what the payoff is here.

Harry Potter


Let me clarify this – I read and enjoyed all of the Harry Potter books. I even read the final book in a day to avoid spoilers. I want to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios when I get the chance. I’d say I’m a casual fan at best; I didn’t watch all the movies and if you pressed me on any real Harry Potter trivia, I’d probably flame out. I have no animosity or confusion toward Harry Potter in general; I get why people dig it.

What makes me shake my head is the intensity of the passion that some fans have about all thing Harry Potter to this day. Like, I thought real-life Quidditch leagues were a little weird, but whatever. It was an inventive way to show your fandom. Those were popping up not that long after the book series has finished, so there was some timeliness in their origin. But at this point, I feel like there isn’t much more of the Harry Potter world proper that is left to explore, but people are still nuts about this stuff and author J.K. Rowling is more than happy to fuel the flames with revelations and regrets about the books. I have some friends that are in their late 20s/early 30s and I am always slightly thrown off by how excited you can make them by just broaching anything Harry Potter-related. I get that they were kids when these books came out while I was an adult when I read them, but I in no way feel that passionately about anything that I liked at that age. Harry Potter fans also had the benefit of multiple outlets for their fandom thanks to the Internet, but that only seems to have made it stronger. I respect their fandom, even if I can’t say that I fully understand why they still feel so strongly about it. I love Hamilton, but even I’m getting a little tired of its ubiquitousness. And that’s only been a year. The last Harry Potter book came out in 2007; the last movie in 2011. These people just have more stamina than I do – or I am simply not wired for that level of commitment.

Now it’s your turn……what pop culture phenomena to you simply not understand. Sound off in the comments.

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