Everything that’s wrong with The Rocky Horror Picture Show

There’s nothing wrong with it. Sorry for the come-on title but there is nothing wrong with Rocky Horror – I just don’t like it.

This is only you and me talking away here so I can say to you that I don’t like it and you can give me that look. I’ve seen that look a lot over the years. Sometimes it’s just a little bit of disbelief. Most recently when this year’s big stage revival was happening, one woman looked at me with an entire library of reactions. There was certainly surprise there but I think chief among them was a teeny bit of pity.

Only, you and I are talking over a blog. Why we don’t just phone each other is beyond me, but we’re here on a blog and some day, someone is going to Google the words “what’s wrong with Rocky Horror”. If you don’t believe me, try googling something like “wrong with” and the name of a film. I just tried it with Star Trek and the top result is “Everything Wrong with Star Trek in 5 Minutes or Less” –– and then there were just under 17 million other results.

So people are writing this stuff and people are searching for it so some day, someone will end up here with us. Hello. You know it’ll happen, I just think it will happen because the internet has stopped us having opinions – that we keep to ourselves.

Now you can’t just think something, you end up having to justify it. On Facebook, on Twitter, on blogs, if you tried to say you just don’t like something, you will get a torrent of people saying you’re wrong. How can you be wrong? It’s your opinion and it can be different, but what we get told is that we’re wrong. We’re wrong and because there are only so many ways you can say someone’s opinion is wrong, it invariably follows that you get called wrong personally. You are an idiot. You also know it gets worse than being called an idiot, but let’s keep this clean, this is a family show.

As this is Rocky Horror, you can also be told you’re an ignorant wrong idiot who is naive or maybe prissy or maybe repressed. I think I’ve had all of those over this. It’s not like it comes up in conversation a lot but I’m sure I’ve had the one where people think I’m shocked by the show.

I can’t say what people like about Rocky Horror because I don’t happen to get it. But if you’re out here in NotGettingItLand then the show seems to hang on about cross-dressing. I’m know there’s much more but it seems pretty dependent on you finding cross-dressing noticeable. Preferably funny, hopefully consciousness-raising, at least worthy of your attention. And for me, men wearing women’s clothing is a shrug. I don’t blink at women wearing men’s, I barely blink at it the other way around.

You can tell me that I am missing a thousand rich layers and I will not think you a wrong ignorant idiot. But I never see those layers because I never get to them and my attention is never held for long enough.

I just don’t see that as a criticism of the show.

It would be taken as such if we were on Twitter now and part of what troubles me is that I think what we do on social media is what I used to do as a critic. We judge. We don’t discuss and of course nobody ever actually debates, nobody is ever persuaded, we judge.

If I were still a critic and I’d been assigned to review this year’s big theatre revival of Rocky Horror, I’d be screwed. I cannot fault the show, I have no criticisms, I also cannot praise it, I have no interest. No engagement. If you think I’d write a piece saying that then thank you: I hope I would. But please tell me how many stars out of five I would give it?

You have to give star ratings in reviews. Just as Twitter and the rest rather force you into judging, most professional require a star rating of some description. I would say it’s pretty much impossible to measurably compare anything between Rocky Horror and Star Trek beyond their respective running times but somebody will give one of them five stars and the other three as if you can.

Disinterest is not allowed. It’s so much not allowed that the word has lost its meaning: people think disinterest means dislike. It just means no interest, nothing either way, nothing. Apart from curiosity about how it appeals so much to so many and a writer’s admiration for how it reaches so deep into its fans, I am disinterested in Rocky Horror.

We need more disinterest. I think Rocky Horror is marvellous and I know it is a marvel: I’m just not interested. And I’d ask you what you think of this or of my spending our entire chat insisting I’m not interested, but that would just be asking for it.