In another thread I’m too lazy to look up just now, we’re discussing whether a morally bankrupt story – movie, book, tv show, what have you – can still be acceptable entertainment. Looking over the responses has moved me to ask a different question.
What one element makes a story (in whatever medium) absolutely unenjoyable for you, no matter how much you might be inclined to like it otherwise? In other words, a movie might star your favorite actors, be directed and written by your favorite filmmaker, and have an absolutely gorgeous score–but if this one element is present, the whole thing is likely to piss you off?
I’ll name a couple to get things started:
Psychics taken seriously in detective work. I should note that this isn’t absolute. If a show with obvious fantasy elemens like Angel, Xena, or Buffy wants to include a character with clairovoyant powers, that’s fine. But shows like Medium and The Ghost Whisperer, set in what supposed to be the real world, with psychics solving crimes? That bugs me to no end.
Laugh tracks. Obviously this only applies to TV sitcoms, and I should add that there are some cancelled shows–hell, as recently as Friends – that I like even though they have a laugh track. But the laugh track starts me off on the wrong foot. I don’t need to be told when to laugh, thank you, and telling me something is funny doesn’t make it so.