I was sucked into watching a terribly written but strangely compelling Disney movie (Starstruck – do yourself a favor and do not go near it. If you lose two hours of your life, you can’t blame me) and it got me thinking about crack. I know we’ve talked about this before but what is it that makes some books, movies, or tv shows utterly cracktastic so you cannot put them down? Sometimes its the train wreck factor, like Toddlers and Tiaras. I have met more than one person who has encountered the show and has not been able to look away. I have movies, too, that, if I flip past them, I will stop to watch, no matter where in the movie I encounter the plot. Varsity Blues is one example (I Don’t Want Your Life!) of clicker-stopping crack movies. Goonies too – and even if I OWN the movie on DVD, I’ll still tune in to watch if I see if on tv when I’m on the couch. (What is with that, anyway?! I think I own Varsity Blues, now that I think about it).
Sometimes it’s some indefinable quality that keeps me hooked to whatever I’m enjoying… and it’s not always a good quality. I think there needs to be a word for when you’re balanced between horrified and enjoyment. I’ve had this experience with JR Ward bhoohks, Stephanie Laurens books, many, many things on Food Network and QVC (The “q” in QVC, I’m convinced, is for Qrack). I can’t stop observing and watching, waiting to see what happens next. I also have this problem more with first-person perspective books than third-person, as if I can’t be rude and turn away from this person confiding in me for pages and pages. Do I care personally about blow drying serums that prevent frizz, chest-pounding men who say things like, “I’m outtie,” or some random kitchen staffed entirely by lunatics? Nope. Am I still tuning in? Yup. Why?! Why do I do that?!
I’ve been pondering the topic some over the weekend, too, since today I’m going to find out what supah-sekrit plans are in the works for the Sweet Valley High sequels – and I get to meet the geniuses behind 1BRUCE1, the LiveJournal group that is itself cracktastic. Sweet Valley, for me, was crackalicious. I would spend my hard-earned allowance on two of them, and read them both within 45 minutes. The tv show never did it for me. Something about the Daniels’ sister’s heads freaked me out. Generally speaking, I like the images of characters in my own head more than any film production versions – especially when the characters look like 34 year-olds pretending to be in high school.
What books are crack-o-matic for you? What do you think it is that makes a tv show or movie or book un-put-down-able?