Why does the apocalypse always seem so joyless?
My guy and I were watching the first episode of “The Last of Us” yesterday and we noticed that all the apocalypse shows we’ve ever seen are kind of the same. The tone is so hard to sit through: impending dread and awful things right around the corner in every scene. It honestly hits a little too close to home these days. I don’t remember feeling that so much when I was a kid or even into the Aughts, but now I have to temper it most of the time. There’s a perpetual current of crisis flowing parallel to the mundane, with a little stream of hope just nearby.
We tried to think of dystopian comedies. “Shaun of the Dead.” “Zombieland.” We couldn’t think of too many movies where people are still multi-dimensional and fall in love and have a good time despite it all. Maybe it’s because it‘s too close and writers just don’t have perspective: perhaps we’re living through the apocalypse now, or almost, so it’s hard to be anything but scared. But we could still giggle once in a while, right? It’s not gonna be all dirty clothes and dead car batteries forever. So instead of another round of zombie body horror, I want to pitch a few new stories.
How about an apocalypse rom-com? A meet-cute over foraging for wild greens. Boy in a ragna-rock band meets Girl just trying to find pants with pockets (still). They laugh and share a Cup O Noodles, Lady and the Tramp style, and read each other books by the light of an old-timey kerosene lantern.
Or The Great Armageddon Baking Show! Which contestant makes the best birthday cake using a wood fire, condensed milk, and tinned fruit before the village surprise party starts? I’d watch the hell out of that because recipes and also happy birthday, Cecil.
I don’t really need more visions of the future that include bruised knuckles and dying kids. I don’t need monsters beyond the ones we have now. It’s really rough out there right this very second for hundreds of reasons. But whatever happens next, I’m certain that we’ll still want to laugh and flirt and make love and taste new things. We’ll value comfort and creativity. We’ll need music like we need water, because what’s the point otherwise?
Why do screenwriters think there’s no real art in the future? I think people will still…