Rebecca Black & Spiderman the Musical: Is a Train Wreck an Instant Ticket to Fame?

26 Mar

We need to talk about Rebecca Black.

If you haven’t heard the most mediocre song in the world yet, join the millions who have.

You might need some time with it.   With hard-hitting, witty lyrics like “Yesterday was Thursday, Today is it Friday, Tomorrow is it Saturday, and Sunday comes after that”, I feel like I should give you time to digest.

I don’t want to talk about how much Rebecca Black does or does not suck or about whether or not people are being too hard on her.  She’s a 13-year old girl who showed up to an audition and had to choose between two songs that were already written and just needed a tween to represent them.  Do you understand that? She had the choice between two songs and she chose this one.

Imagine what the other song must have been.

She didn’t write the lyrics.  She didn’t say she was any good.  There were just some guys who thought they could throw autotune on that, stick her in front of America, and watch what happened..   We seem to be pretty all right with singers that sound like robots.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate the song with the firey rage of a thousand hellfire flames.   The video is a pathetic excuse for entertainment, and though she can certainly be blamed for the lack of enthusiasm and energy she shows in it, none of that is really relevant.   Because the point isn’t that it’s awful.  The point is that people are listening to it.

People are listening to her just because they think it sucks so much.  I’ll admit that the only reason I viewed it is because 20% of my friends’ Facebook statuses linked that video and something hilariously awful they had to say about it.

Her suckiness is viral gold.

Think about that.  Really stop and think about that.  Her video went from 4,000 to 70,000 views in one night.  The next morning, it had exploded into 200,000.   Now, it sits at 48 mill and climbing.  In spite of the fact that it has ~90,000 likes and ~766,000 dislikes it’s growing like a big, bad, mind-numbing monster.

Have you heard about Spiderman the musical?  It isn’t quite as high-profile as Rebecca Black given the nature of the medium, but suffice it to say it’s kinda in a similar boat.  After being plagued by severely injured actors, hiring a new writer, a new director, slashing ticket prices, pushing back opening dates, coming to a dead hault on final dress, and facing about 13 grand in OSHA violations, the musical is the costliest show to ever be produced on Broadway.  It will have to run 5 years at full capacity in order to make up the production cost alone.

That’s pretty sucky.

And you know what? People are going nuts over it.  When people spread news on Spiderman, it’s because they’re checking in on the next disaster.  High profile problems with the show keep people coming back to check for more.  The show is now running previews and is selling out.

That’s right; It’s selling out.

Whether or not it ends up being any good is irrelevant.  What put butts in the seats is people’s anticipation of disaster.  When polled during invited rehearsals, audience members claimed to have shown up because they heard what a mess it was and couldn’t wait to see it for themselves.

This just blows my mind.  And, quite frankly, scares the hell out of me.  Is this the future of entertainment? Is it possible that if you suck hard enough you can grab yourself a golden ticket to fame?

Rebecca Black could be just the beginning.  Imagine – an entire crop of tweens could take opportunity by the reigns.  Rich parents everywhere could throw money at producers and crank out an Auto-Tuned pieces of horror that will haunt our computers and social media.  And I, for one, am truly frightened.

Hey – this could be William Hung‘s big comeback. 



9 Responses to “Rebecca Black & Spiderman the Musical: Is a Train Wreck an Instant Ticket to Fame?”

  1. Pany March 26, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    I just think it’s hilarious!


  2. The_Observationalist_NYC March 26, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Thank you for this! Have managed to avoid the Rebecca Black phenomenon until now, and I’m left speechless. (But not without the ability to type)

    As someone who knows people working on Spiderman, I’m equally intrigued and horrified at it. It should not take 9 years and over 70 million dollars to mount a musical on Broadway. It’s upsetting to me that it routinely is in the top three-grossing Broadway shows each week, pulling in more than a million dollars. And it’s honestly terrible.

    I haven’t seen it. I want to. I know that my $100 ticket will be the best way to spend an evening because I just want to see a trainwreck and I want to be able to gossip about how bad it is with people I work with.

    That’s horrible. I don’t want to support theater by seeing it. I want to laugh at it. I want it to fail.


    Ultimately, I hope Rebecca can survive this unscathed. I hope this is all a joke and she’s actually a CGI person and not real. I hope we as people are better and have some decency left.

    Anyway, fun post!


    • Jackie March 26, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      LOL “…she’s actually a CGI person.” Yeah the Spiderman thing blows my mind. I have a good friend who has a recording studio in Manhattan and they worked with an actor who is also on Spiderman. I remember how excited he was for the actor to be doing his first big musical and how incredible of an experience it would be for him.

      And now I just wonder how that’s all workin’ out for him 😉

      Thank you so much for sharing – I really appreciate it.


  3. Seasweetie March 26, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    When I started reading this, the first thing I thought of was William Hung and the late “Pants on the Groun” singer.

    My daughter introduced me to Rebecca Black’s infamous video last week, and this week her friends have been freezing the video at certain points and saving “snapshots” to laugh at the ridiculous expressions that can be captured on the faces of the participants.

    The crazes that can sweep our culture never fail to amaze me, and the sweep all the faster these days because of the viral nature of our society. Geez, I sound so verbose this morning.

    At any rate, we have always been a breed that loves nothing better than to sit and watch train wrecks. Now it’s just bad YouTube videos instead of gladiator competitions.


    • Jackie March 26, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

      oh that’s good stuff. Hey – it’s a great activity for them to entertain themselves with I suppose. One part of me thinks we’re too harsh on her and that we complain that regular people aren’t ever represented in entertainment but then when they are we rip them apart.

      But a much bigger part of me can’t take my eyes on the awkward blonde in braces on the left. Hi-lar-ious.


  4. Jules March 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    This video is a perfect example why the internet is amazing. Daily Brain Scramble Achievement UNLOCKED!!

    Now excuse me while I queue up Tunak Tunak to help myself slide this memory into the disposal bin.

    (silly school version is definitely superior to the original, in my opinion)


    • Jackie March 31, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

      haha thanks for sharing!


  5. knotrune March 26, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    If there’s one thing we like better than watching people do something well, it’s watching people do something spectacularly badly. I’m usually not a fan of that sort of thing, although I did enjoy part of a Norwegian TV show called ‘[some Norwegian guy whose name I have long forgotten] does things he can’t do’. He tried stuff like synchronised swimming. I have fond memories of it, although they may be influenced by my pleasure at finding something I could understand in a language I ought to be better at… 😀


    • Jackie March 31, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

      That’s true. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve lost to those darn Asian game shows.


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