One’s fodder is another’s feast and some things don’t need existential justification.
I use this rationale after squandering hours scrolling through feeds or ping-ponging between anxieties before concluding neither were real.
Recently, I chanced upon a romantic-comedy that did nothing to improve its poor reputation. At the film’s end, I was mad over its lack of insight and decided to not watch something like that again.
That decision will not stand.
I knew I’d probably watch something like that again because of the same reason I persisted through this one: it was mildly endearing. This fluff was enough for the barren blocks of Sunday morning TV.
Actually, it is enough for many works.
Hollywood Fluff Rom-Coms
Hollywood fluff rom-com films have etched their permanence into the commercial enterprise. Critics commonly pan these films for their unoriginal use of time and money. Relying on clichés and one-dimensional swings in emotion, fluff pieces don’t often add anything new. In recent years, rom-coms lost its cornerstone in Hollywood budgets as they fell out of favour through sloppy writing and changing cultural views. Yet, these films had once managed to convince production companies and moviegoers alike because of their big box office draws. Whether it’s the high-profile stars attached to the film or the schmaltz coating it, fluff films consistently make money despite their low reviews.
Fluff works, however, have grown popular in fan fiction, where it has ballooned into its own category. Sites like Wattpad have no shortage of pieces tagged #fluff. Though I am hesitant to read these pieces (some are excessive and others awkwardly use real people for characters), they’ve garnered a dedicated following. Meant to evoke ‘warm and fuzzy’ romantic feelings without despair, these fluff pieces are feel-good rom-com works. Some are superbly written and ease the reader through an otherwise vacuous tale. Some are not.
Fillers are another kind of fluff fiction. Fillers found in albums and TV shows cut quality for costs, angering many fans in the process. Filler episodes in TV series, for example, are episodes insignificant to the plot. They are largely interchangeable with one another, sometimes ignoring any established continuity in the series. Including these episodes can feel necessary as writers catch up with their work or viewers need a rest from an onslaught of heavy material. One reddit user cautiously admits their enjoyment of fillers as they seek the reasoning behind fluff-rage* in this Grey’s Anatomy Filler thread.
*fluff-rage: I’m not sure if this is already a term somewhere, but I made it up here to mean the rage one feels when experiencing fluff fiction
Fluff pieces are shallow works of fiction, making them easy targets for ridicule. It’s easy to mock something we think makes no contribution to our daily enrichment – except for our boredom.
Where it fails to enhance, banality achieves unremarkable movement. Fluff pieces make use of this banality as they lightly lift our moods and move us along. Securing another paycheque or quieting unresolved tensions, fluff offers that flat space needed for untamed growth.