Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Longshots: Why are archers everywhere, and why are they so angry?

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Isn't it strange how pop culture starts the strangest trends? Pirates, vampires, and so called "nerd shows" a la The Big Bang Theory have all come to the forefront of pop culture at one time for no apparent reason. What makes these trends? I am sure psychologists and advertisers have some idea, but I prefer the simpler approach, brash speculation. Nothing can better predict or foster resentment for a trend than someone pointing it out, and I intend to do my part.

Archery is quickly gaining prominence in the public eye, what used to be the sport of choice for Ted Nugent and summer campers trying to impress the girl from cabin 5 is now the next big thing. Within 2012, two major movies and TV show will feature a main character who is quite handy with a bow, "The Hunger Games", "The Avengers", and the CW's "Arrow". Along with their projectile prowess, from what I have seen from these characters, Katniss Everdeen, Hawkeye, and Green Arrow respectively, all characters are incredibly moody. I seek to answer two questions: Why is archery on the comeback, and why must every movie or TV archer be so grumpy?

I believe the answer to our first question lies in the cliche "When it rains it pours", especially when three different companies have clouds floating around. It seems evident that these were all just one big coincidence or acts of evening the playing field so that everyone gets an archer to make money with. The truth remains to be seen as to why these archers are pooping up across film and TV, but I hope it doesn't go much further.

Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
Our second question lies in what is probably happenstance, but looks a lot like a pattern. Why are these archers so grumpy? Katniss was but in a kill or be killed situation, Hawkeye was controlled by an evil norse god and Green Arrow is Batman/Robin Hood knockoff, but they could try smiling once in a while(CW released this video showing Green Arrow training). Perhaps they are saddened by their own personal dramas, or perhaps they are bummed that their weapon of choice has been out of date for centuries. Archery is nifty, but I have always wondered how it could be so effective at fighting crime, killing aliens and murdering teenagers. Perhaps somewhere in a D&D manual I will find the answer, but until then I'll just chalk it up to being a fun gimmick to play into the scfi/fantasy mindset.

"The Hunger Games" was the first to be released and for that reason I will give it the title of trendsetter. The story of one poor girl in the future fighting for her survival with a bow is both intense and pretty bad-ass. I must admit that when I exited the theater I was sure girls' archery lessons would skyrocket in popularity. "The Hunger games" is based on a book by the same name and was produced by Lionsgate.

"The Avengers" features Hawkeye, the bow-wielding SHIELD agent as a prominent character after introducing him via cameo in the Thor film. While Hawkeye does some pretty nifty stuff, he really didn't have to be in the film. He wasn't one of the original Avengers, and I haven't found any specific reasoning behind having him in the film initially. Of course this lack of necessity is countered by the fact that Jeremy Renner did a marvelous job with writing and direction from Joss Whedon. "The Avengers" was produced by Disney.
Stephen Amell as Green Arrow

Our final Archer of 2012 is the Green Arrow of the CW's upcoming show "Arrow". "Arrow" is based on the DC comics character Oliver Queen who has a remarkably similar M.O. to Batman, except with less tragedy, more earth tones, and propensity for  far left politics. The show begins this Fall and will hopefully be truer to the source material than CW's Smallville was.

To conclude, I would like say that trend or not, it is a strange coincidence when some random theme or topic throws itself forward in pop culture. Also, if you ever question the bad-assness of a bow wielding hero, imagine they have an arrow pointed right at you, you'll quiver.

-Peter