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Our Judicial System

Alright now, as you may have gathered, either from the title of the site, the subject of many of our finely constructed posts, or via your own hidden powers of clairvoyance, a lot of what we do here involves proffering unwanted opinions upon the unsuspecting public.  You’re right, that does sound like much fun!  

However, this is not some carefree, willy-nilly romp in the fields of smarmy; we do have rules.  Or a system.  Or some sort of organizing, outlined structure under which we toil.  We call it the System of Seven, because it’s fun to name things.

Some background:  in the real world, whilst conversing over ratings systems, review sites, et al….a couple of us became quite bothered over the general lack of helpfulness we run across with the three most common scales.  Explained:

The ‘thumbs up/thumbs down’ model is a akin to answering the question ‘do you favor pants?’.  Quite simply, it’s attempting to put a simple black-and-white solution to a problem with far too much grey muddling about the place; What kind of pants?  On me or on others around me?  How does weather factor into this?  Will my answer to this question  somehow lock me into wearing your new ‘Capris for Men’ to a major sporting event?  You see the trouble.   While the ‘Yay or nay?’ postulate is certainly applicable to certain situations in life (Ex:  ‘Would you like to go see Gallagher for free tonight?’  ‘NAY!’), when it comes to subjects as wide-roving and all over the place as movies, television, music, and possibly even books (someday, we hope to have a contributor that reads these things on a steady basis), a little more information, please.

Which leads us to the second option, a numerical system of some sort, which is really the most easily consumed and digestible system, and makes us feel we managed to grab hold of some grip on the fancy world of math. 

So we looked at a scale of 1 – 10.  Sort of useless, really.  It’s quite clear what a ’10’ is, certainly, ‘5’ is akin to a review stating ‘you can watch this, or take a nice hot shower – same general feeling of satisfaction by tomorrow’, and a ‘1’ is clearly reserved for the dregs.  But what’s the difference, really, between a 7 and an 8?  or a 2 and a 3?  And why am I spending so much time thinking about this?

Scaling back, another commonly sighted bird in this opinion aviary is the scale of 5.  Perhaps even less illustrative for practical purposes than the ’10 hierarchy’, which makes it, in turn, even more useless.  So ‘5’ is mind-blowing, right?  And ‘1’ still sucks….but now ‘3’ just becomes a dumping ground for about anything and everything from ‘sorta below average’ to ‘pretty good’, and that simply will not do.  For example, go to your Netflix account and just start looking around (and by-the-by, we love all things Netflix, except for their ratings system).  Nearly half of the offerings you’ve ever heard of lurk in the 3 zone – how can you slice up that cake and get the one with just the right amount of frosting for you?  Answer:  you can’t, and more often than not you’re going to grab one that looked right, but it turned out that the Patrick Star on top was actually plastic, not frosting, and now you have major dental work on your hands.

So we lit on the System of Seven  – Seven stars?  Thumbs-up?  Cupcakes?  Don’t care.  You choose what inanimate object or theoretical concept you wish to use to judge things by.  Consider this freedom our gift to you, we’re just using numbers.  Now, for your convenience, here’s a general idea of what these numbers mean:

Zero – Yes, we are using the zero, and it wields a heavy hammer.  A ‘work’ , if it even truly deserves that much credit, lands here when our reviewer finds either no redeeming factors at all in the offering, or finds an offering thoroughly insulting to common sense, decency or the pursuit of human progress. 

1 – A good home for things so disjointed, poorly conceived or silly that one cannot get through them in their entirety in one sitting, or ever….but it may have something for folks that have an obsession.  Example:  You love Christian Slater. In a ‘several restraining orders’ version of ‘love’.   This movie features a ten-minute opening of Christian Slater filing his fingernails.  ‘1’.

2 – A watershed rating – or, in the words of Jenny-Jenny Kickpants: ‘anything I can sit all the way through gets at least a 2’.  Consider that your starting definition.  ‘2’ is not positive, it’s just a marking that the race was finished, like participating in a 5k race.  Doesn’t matter if it was completed in 18 minutes, or finished in two hours scooting backwards on your ass like a one-year-old, getting to the end is the thing.  For posterity’s sake, if your work is completely consumed in one sitting, and all it musters is a 2, your work has failed on so very many levels that you should find disturbing when viewed in the light of your career path. Exception to the mark of the 2:  Some things are so awful they demand bearing out the whole ride out of spite or anger.  That’s a super way to move oneself to ‘0’.

3- Not for the casual consumer.  Here’s a resting place that works well for ‘genres’.  In film and television, let’s say ‘things involving vampires in love’ is a genre, and some of you have a soft spot for all things in this cubbyhole.  In music, maybe you dig ‘East Ukrainian Electronic Folk’, and bless you for that.  In short, genre offerings in the 3 hole have made some concentrated attempt at joining their brethren, but have leaned on all the clichés and easy tricks whilst offering very little in originality or progress in their field.  For more general categories, say ‘drama’, a 3 indicates that the creators got about two predominant things nails-on right, and then dropped those two things into the middle of a one acre tire fire.

4 – Our version of ‘average’.  A typical 4 is watchable, listenable, and doesn’t leave one feeling a pang of horrid regret for days afterwards.  ‘4’s fill a need at the time, and then promptly disappear into your collection or subconscious as quickly as they arrived.  You certainly could have chosen more wisely, but at the time it was delicious enough.  Essentially, 4 is the bacon cheeseburger of ratings.

5 – Aha!  We can bring the positivity too!  Works that garner a 5 are a touch above the norm – perhaps a story or arrangement is fairly rote, but there’s a few truly unforgettable offerings weaved into the quilt.  A 5 doesn’t truly affect the way you think or view the particular medium, let alone the world in which we grind away, but it does provide you satisfaction that your time and money were spent well.  Low-budget, well-above-par genre offerings that have their inherent weaknesses but add some real flair to their workplace can punch up a 5 on a good day.

6 – This is the good stuff. 6 represents the things we feel you should be spending some time with, regardless of who you are.  This evaluation should be digested as a numerical validation of good mastery of the creator’s respective art at the time of creation, and a work that deserves some mass love and respect.  In summary, it’s hard to go wrong with the 6.

7- Alright, bear with us a second, because this might get a little complicated:  7 does not indicate some level of intricate perfection at the core, at least not to the general masses.  7 indicates an offering that presses all the right buttons for the evaluator, period.  In short, the 7 is likely a typical 6 (maybe even a 5), but grooved just right for the individual reviewer….the 7 is the most personal of our ratings, because it speaks of who we are as individuals, what we personally view is as close to perfect as entertainment, or development in society, as it gets, and it’s what we want more of.  So in essence, the 7 is the telltale heart of our personalities, and we recommend you interpret it as such.

So there you have it – the System of Seven.  And please keep in mind, these are our opinions.  Feel free to have your own whenever you like.

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