The average American would probably say they're fans of movies, TV shows, and books (even though, sadly, not too many people are that into books anymore). America is the land of Hollywood stars, mass media, the birth of apps, and so on. Movies and television shows are a celebrated part of American culture, so it only makes sense that people would be fans of the silver screen. But recently I've noticed that a lot of people will find themselves confused by movies and television shows (in a way that hasn't really been seen before).
One of the biggest, and most recent, examples of mass television confusion is based around the show "Westworld". If you've been under a rock the past two years, "Westworld" is a show about a wild west robot theme park. The show has some fun twists and plays around with timelines in a way that shows really haven't done before. And a whole mass of people doesn't know what the hell is going on in the show.
Peoples' confusion around shows like "Westworld" and "Game of Thrones" actually really pisses me off. I don't consider myself overly smart. I have a bachelor's degree, I read at least 3 books a month, and I have a general openness to facts and knowledge. On paper, this puts my general knowledge narrowly above the average, but by no means indicates that I shouldn't be able to comprehend a primetime cable show better than any other average American. Yet, I fully understand everything happening in "Westworld" (aside from when exactly a timeline is at some points), "Game of Thrones," "The Handmaid's Tale," and multiple other television shows and movies.
People being confused by shows like this pisses me off because this material isn't really confusing; I just think that people have forgotten how the hell to pay attention to something long enough to absorb anything. Why would people try to comprehend an episode of "Westworld" when there are a few hundred channels on YouTube that break down each episode after it's done? How can you call a show confusing when you're periodically checking dog-face filtered Snapchats during it? Honestly, the only people that walk away from an episode of "Game of Thrones," and call it confusing, either: A) haven't watched the whole series, B) were playing on their phone during the episode or C) are just plain stupid.
This is also why I brought up books earlier. Have you ever wondered why popular books today aren't exactly as refined as the classics of the 19th and 20th century? It's because people can't pay attention to a classic book long enough to grasp it, so they decide to read "Fifty Shades of Grey" instead. I'm not saying that modern authors haven't written what will be classics, like Jonathan Franzen; but his book, "The Corrections," didn't rule over the early 2000s like "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games."
I also would like to make the concession that there are some really confusing shows and books out there. "Twin Peaks" rambles on in multiple places, and just plain doesn't make sense in others (especially in the last season); but "Twin Peaks" is supposed to be confusing in a lot of places. This is also why people call "Finnegans Wake," by James Joyce, the hardest book ever to read. It's meant to be that way. "Game of Thrones" isn't.
I don't have any closing remarks on this subject. I don't really care if people want to be willfully ignorant or don't want to pay attention. What I do want is for people to stop blaming great works of fiction, or excellent television, for their own stupidity. If you want shows to "not be confusing," then put down your damn phone and actually make an attempt to grasp something.