When I was sixteen I fell in love with a man who I thought was funny, creative, and insightful. I didn't care if I was the first to fall in love with him, I was just happy to have found him at all. Over the years my love waxed and waned and eventually faded away. One day I was fanatical and the next I was simply disinterested. As it turns out, I'm not the only one who has fallen out of love with Kevin Smith.
I wanted to meet other "exes" like me, people who had once been fans but had lost interest. I reached out to the Internet and asked for people to share their thoughts on when and why they lost interest. A common reply was that being a fan of Kevin Smith comes with being a teenager. Once you've grown up, you see through the schtick and move on. I don't know if that's entirely the case. I still appreciate projects from Smith's past. I don't look back and regret being a fan of Chasing Amy or feel embarrassed talking about how great Smith's issues of Green Arrow were. As someone who used to really be into ska and going to Christian youth group as a teenager, I'm pretty well acquainted with growing out of interests.
There were a few people who came to Smith's defense immediately. I admit, it made me a little apprehensive about writing on the subject. What if this made it onto the View Askew message board? I have an Etsy account and read comic books with protagonists who talk about their feelings! I'm too fragile to stand against trolls. I feel confident having a conversation with a singular Kevin Smith fan, but I don't stand a chance against a hoard of the online Smith army. I understand the logic in defending something you love. Yet, this irrational fear isn't enough to change my mind. So, the Smith quest continues on.
In the forums, Mike (another "ex") said, "when he started making action figures of Kevin Smith, not Silent Bob, I knew something had changed. I loved him for his writing and still do. But he doesn't really write anymore. He just talks about himself and asks people to buy things." I think he was onto something.
I went over to SModcast.com. I has started listening to the SModcast early in its inception and had stopped listening shortly after without giving it much thought. Since I stopped keeping up with Smith, I have no idea where to begin. It's a very intricate network at this point, SIR [SModcast Internet Radio] has over a dozen podcasts, and the blog is cleverly named SIRMON. I'll admit I sneered a little, but the truth is...I can't fault him for this. This is the very same model of podcast networks that are near and dear to me, like Maximum Fun, Earwolf and the new Nerdist network.
There's still the matter of determining where to begin again. I guess I know where they're going with this. SModcast is for shooting the shit with Scott Mosier, Plus One Per Diem is the podcast for Smith and his wife, Jay and Silent Bob Get Old is about...growing up, I guess? There's also Jay and Silent Bob Get Jobs, which is about what they're doing to make a living. I can only assume this is work outside of the podcast endeavor. I suppose they do a lot of guest spots on Degrassi. I always associated being a grown up with getting a job, but to each his own.
I picked Jay and Silent Bob Get Old. There were two minutes of advertising at the top by a man with an intense radio DJ voice. I don't like it, but I can cut Smith some slack. SModcast offers an ad-free version with a paid subscription. Jimmy Pardo has his free teaser podcast and a paid subscription podcast.
At the 20 minute mark, Smith has finally brought the show back on a course by announcing the goal of the show is to keep Mewes sober. I remember reading an interview Smith did about getting Mewes into rehab. It was very dear to my heart at the time and think this is an admirable motivation for the show. I'm listening, but I'm also watching a video of a kitten and a dog who are best friends, set to Guns n' Roses' "Live and Let Die." They're best friends and they're play fighting! It's so cute. Oh right, I was listening to a podcast.
They've now put down the mic to demonstrate something, which isn't being narrated, so it is ideal for an audio medium. Meanwhile, I have stumbled on a large number of Doctor Who Tumblr blogs and have decided that David Tennant makes wonderful GIF. I've been listening for 30 minutes now and I don't know what's going on, but they're talking about Mewes' former drug problem. I've closed Tumblr. There's a reason why I was listening to this.
I've got it. I'm disinterested because there's no structure. I admit, I feel hypocritical saying it. No one comes in with a goal, topics to discuss, or makes a quick attempt to put the conversation back on track when it goes off course. It just goes on and on in no particular direction. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if it was in smaller, less frequent doses. Many of these shows, however, are conducted daily. There must be some merit in editing yourself or putting some time between musings to decide what's worth sharing. The podcasts make me feel like I'm panning for gold. Surely, there are some brilliant, worth while nuggets in there, but we're shown the entire process of putting on your galoshes, trekking down to the river, and sifting through sand and rocks...I'm not entirely sure that is the actual process of panning for gold. That's what I remember from cartoons. Follow along with me, it's a simile. I enjoy Kevin Smith's focused creative energy but, left to his own devices, he comes off rambling and chaotic.
It also leaves me wondering about the new fans Smith is attracting. I fell for Kevin Smith because I could relate. I thought his work was nerdy, thoughtful and had just enough poop jokes to keep me engaged. When Kevin Smith did talk, because it seemed less frequent years ago, he was very humble. We had so much in common. Considering Smith's recent attitude, his contempt for criticism and his indifference to creative pursuits outside of the SModcast universe, how is this new crop of fans relating to his body of work?
Kevin Smith certainly has the gift of gab, but there is a narcissistic quality in the length at which he talks about himself. These shows are available daily and there are at least three other shows on the network that are centered around Smith. When you are making approximately 20 hours worth of content a week, at what point do you tire of talking about yourself? If it isn't vanity, then it is at least laziness that prevents you from moving onto other topics.
I must concede that Smith has wide audience and has found an endeavor he is passionate about. It's no longer for me, though. Maybe I've moved on or maybe we've grown apart, but that infatuation I once had is gone. Just as I let go of my first love, so must I let go of Kevin Smith.