What exactly does Gen Z like?
Not much. A depressing new study found that stick-in-the-mud young people have decided they’re through with entertainment that depicts sex and romantic relationships.
Oh, terrific. More of their buzzkilling nonsense.
A hefty 51.5% of respondents aged 10 to 24 said that instead of heat they want movies and TV shows about those scintillating and gripping, er, platonic friendships.
You know, “When Harry Met Sally for a Weekly Half-Hour Coffee to Discuss Work” or “Like Actually.” And my personal favorite, “Absolutely Nothing Happened One Night.”
This chic puritanism comes one year after the same surveying organization, UCLA, reported that 13-to-18-year olds also reject “aspirational stories” — a k a anything to do with the rich and famous.
With all this pickiness, what will they actually watch? A screensaver?
So far, we’ve eliminated romance, wealth and power. Sorry, “Yellowstone,” “The Crown,” “Succession” and “House of the Dragon” (can’t imagine teens are clamoring to binge a tale of prestigious royal incest).
The damn kids are whittling down the tree trunk of great drama to a wimpy toothpick.
The No. 1 qualities these tiny tut-tutters crave in entertainment is a two-way tie: “Lives like their own” and “hopeful, uplifting stories.”
No steaminess. No glamor. No fantasy. Just pure unfiltered, uneventful, uninteresting reality out on the schoolyard and in baggy pants. In short, the prudes demand silly TikTok dances and a nonstop bombardment of cardboard YA movies. Even the popular “Euphoria” starring Zendaya doesn’t fit the bill.
Forget Hamlet and Ophelia — just film two silent teens staring at their phones at Starbucks.
Screw “Lawrence of Arabia” — bring on “Lucy of Couch.”
Am I being too hard on the Billie Eilish-loving scolds? Won’t their tastes evolve and mature as they age?
Doubtful. Why would they budge an inch when they’re being constantly kowtowed to by everybody, including feckless Hollywood?
Previous generations weren’t catered to nearly as obsessively as Generation Z is today. Young people of years past, remember, used to be dragged by their parents to see adult-skewing films such as “Titanic,” “Moulin Rouge!” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” Attending major wide releases is simply what everybody did. Our preferences were forcibly broadened, like it or not.
Sure, teens still watched the dreck on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, but Gen X and millennial appetites were, generally speaking, far more wide-ranging than the persnickety youth of today. We all watched “Fight Club” and “Pulp Fiction” in high school. Those movies would probably send students into Zoom therapy now.
And the situation is increasingly dire.
With the loud and respected defenders of cinema, like Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg, getting on in years, Hollywood will soon be totally dominated by a desperate corporate, algorithmic effort to beg young people to keep spending money on their diminishing products.
That’s because a top concern is that they’re about to turn their backs on movies and television altogether. A 2022 Deloitte study found that 24% of Gen Zers’ favorite pastime was playing video games. A meager 16% responded with film and TV.
So, Gen Z really is killing entertainment. And twisting the knife while it dies.