Arguments about whether certain forms of media are overall good or bad seem to never end. This is often the most common with the endings of beloved television shows, such as“Lost,” “The Sopranos” or “Breaking Bad.” However, it is often forgotten that apart from the individual subjective opinion, media content is just content, not good or bad.
Of course, there are widely accepted opinions of certain media like the idea that “The Mona Lisa” is a beautiful and enigmatic painting, offering seemingly interminable discussion points about itself and its author. I personally enjoy the painting, but let’s say I’m in a room with two other people who dislike the painting, do those outside opinions matter? Furthermore, has it become a bad painting?
A great example for this discussion is the ending to “The Sopranos.” There will be no spoilers, except for the fact that the ending bore a polarized acceptance among the fans; some absolutely hated it and some absolutely loved it. I fall into the category of absolutely loving it. But let’s say, for the sake of the argument, that some sort or statistical agency went worldwide and was able to quantify how many viewers loved it or hated it. If the majority of the masses subjectively disliked it, is it fair to say that it is objectively a bad ending? Can there be a collective objective opinion based on a summation of subjective opinions?
I want to say yes because it seems instinctual. However, it’s unfair to disregard the dissidents, especially if the outcome is almost as equally polarized. But what if there is a stronger majority opinion? “Breaking Bad” has arguably an ending that viewers were much more agreeable upon. So, if that same statistical agency could quantify the opinions of the worldwide “Breaking Bad” fans and theoretically come up with an overwhelming majority of people who enjoyed the endings, let’s say 95/5, is it fair and sensible to disregard the opinions of the minority? Is it fair to say that, objectively, “Breaking Bad” wrapped up nicely? Can objectivity be found in this world of subjectivity?
I’m not so sure that I have the answer to this, but I do have some things for consideration. If something like music, television, cinema, or art can be observed and considered objectively, then it must have a good reason to stifle subjectivity. On one hand, some people just simply can’t grasp at an idea, like the ambiguity of “The Sopranos” ending, or the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of “The Mona Lisa.” Sometimes, it’s easy to regard things as poor in quality when we lack an understanding of what they represent. Alternatively, there are often good reasons to oppose majority opinions that are reasons other than lack of understanding or devil’s advocacy. Especially opinions that consider forms of media.