The willing suspension of disbelief is a fragile yet resilient thing, able to accomodate inconsistencies and illogic entirely according to one's mood at the time. For that reason, I can still go along with a story if a white man plays an Indian, but not if a bandit woman lives in a cave for months but looks smashing and wears clean clothes the entire time. Truth or the real world is not an issue. There are two books I disliked in my 20s because a) I didn't think a person could earn money by writing term papers for lazy students, and b) there are such things as sinkholes in Florida.
I mention that because Lydia and I recently watched Midnight Mass on Netflix, a nihilistic vampire story that last for around 7 hours, and could have been told in 2 in a movie starring Josh Hartnett. Basically it's the story of a preacher who, thinking a vampire is an angel, brings the creature home to a struggling isolated island where the people make their living, such as it is, fishing.
Throughout, the major characters try to sift out what's going on as people look and act younger, ailments disappear, and flesh and blood burst into flame when exposed to sunlight.
Not one of the 20 or 30 characters with lines seem to have ever heard of vampires. Not one. No mention of Bela Lugosi, the Twilight books, or Anne Rice. None of the boys, and not the girl in the wheelchair. None of the men who presumably have a copy of Agents of Fortune by Blue Oyster Cult which has a vampire song. Not even when it will take only one word – "Vampires!" – to explain what's going on. (But this show always uses a paragraph when a sentence would do).
So I could suspend my disbelief in the vampire. I could be content with my waste of time. But it annoyed me to no end that the characters have never heard of vampires.
That said, I did appreciate the nod to The Scarlet Letter and, of all media content, The Sopranos. Because when the characters in Midnight Mass talk about what happens to you when you die, that's exactly what happens to them, just like it it did in the Sopranos, only here it takes a lot longer.
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