As evidenced by how the bogan will only get its smoothies at Boost Juice, and only buy its fiction from Andrew Bolt, the bogan is deeply comforted by familiarity. The bogan will not embrace a new product or service, no matter how similar to its preferred variety, unless it comes recommended by Karl Stefanovic. The result, at least when it comes to film and television, has been the sequel.
Not that the sequel is a recent invention, but the bogan’s embrace of it has been nothing short of breathtaking of late. Indeed, the sequel originated with The Fall of a Nation, a 1916 paean to the Ku Klux Klan, when the maker of the original Birth of a Nation didn’t make any cash, so decided to repackage the same film, aimed more directly at racists. He made a great deal of money.
The modern bogan’s pining for “new familiarity” in visual and aural media knows no bounds, and its inability to process films, songs or television shows it has not seen before or been primed for by morning television means that the sequel reigns. The difference today is that, while The Fall of a Nation was the only sequel of its day, throughout 2010 we experienced A Nightmare on Elm Street, Sex and the City 2, Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, Shrek Forever After, Toy Story 3, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (this has officially reached ‘Saga’ classification, like Star Wars), Predators, Step Up 3, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Jackass 3D, Paranormal Activity 2, Saw VII, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt I (the creators having realised that it can in fact turn seven books into one film and seven sequels), The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Tron Legacy and Little Fockers. In 2009, five out of the top eight Australian box office movies were sequels, the top three of 2008 were sequels or remakes of a stage show and the top three of 2007 were, funnily enough, sequels, as bogans flocked to see films which promised not to challenge them to undertake original thought.
Of course, it doesn’t matter if they choose to call these ‘remakes’ or ‘prequels’, because they essentially contain the same story – the story the bogan enjoyed when it was coerced by Richard Wilkins into seeing it in the cinema the first time. The most successful original film of the last 12 months was immediately signed on for two sequels, once the movie studio realised the extraordinary ability of giant blue aliens to extract three dimensional volumes of cash (the sequel to two dimensional volumes) from bogan pockets. It is the non-franchised movie that has become the bogan buck unobtanium.
If any evidence were needed that today’s bogan differs greatly from that of the past, imagine Fawlty Towers made today. It would be in its 17th season, John Cleese would have quit five years ago and Manuel would have his own spin-off called ¿Qué? The bogan simply cannot get enough of what it already likes. What is puzzling in all of this is how the bogan manages to find time to see the original versions of these films. Oh, wait, they came from a book…