Of “Adrian”, the self-proclaimed “event series” which has become a cult phenomenon on the web for the wrong reasons (as in the case of the legendary “The Lady”), much has already been said about it.
Of course, from the moment I write we are only three episodes out of nine, but the (poor) quality of these has already led many to wonder: how is it possible that a dream team of artistic talents (Adriano Celentano himself, but also Vincenzo Cerami, Milo Manara and Nicola Piovani, with the help of the students of the Scuola Holden) has given birth to a product that makes water everywhere? What went wrong?
Or at least, that’s what I asked myself, because of my habit of over-storing everything that the study of semiotics gave me. But not all the evil comes to harm: if this blog seems to be followed mainly by writers or aspiring ones, maybe Adrian’s striking example can be useful to us to try to understand … what absolutely must not be done when writing a story! And then, let’s start …
The ideas that seem “brilliant” … they really are not always!
The premise behind Adrian is to apply the themes that have always been dear to Celentano, such as ecology and a certain pessimism towards technological innovation, to a mildly “sci-fi” and dystopian context. It looks like a brilliant idea on paper, doesn’t it? I think that’s what many authors think when they throw down presentations like “like Twilight, but set in the times of the Punic wars and with more sex”, or “inspired by the Divine Comedy, but modern and fun” (this one in particular how many times the ‘I heard …).
An exemplary mockery of these ideas is provided by the twitter account “nerd garbage pitches” … they are “involuntarily” ridiculous, aren’t they?
Exactly what the spectator of Adrian will have thought seeing a via Gluck apparently remained in the 60s of the ‘900, but surrounded by skyscrapers from Asian megalopolis.
The reader / viewer should be able to identify with the protagonist, or at least not hate him!
It is no mystery that the author often ends up putting some of his character and experiences into the protagonist, sometimes creating, more or less deliberately, an idealized version of himself. In Adrian, at least, this is explained without too many frills, indeed it can be said that it is in a sense the same reason for the existence of the series.
However, if the protagonist is a super-omic version of Adriano Celentano in the late 1960s magically projected a century later (among other things, everyone bets on some form of “return to the future” as a central twist), this creates a serious problem: that the only person who can identify with him will be Celentano himself … who obviously has no self-esteem problems!
Moreover, the apparent invincibility and imperturbability of Adrian in any situation does not only make him unrealistic, but also decidedly unpleasant: even the superheroes of Marvel and the protagonists of the manga / anime shonen a few moments of weakness sometimes show it to us … instead Adrian, at least until the third episode, he doesn’t really want to know about taking off that sarcastic smirk from the grin.
We must avoid the phrases made!
Of course, this is an extremely widespread vice in films, TV series and obviously also in novels, but in Adrian the abuse of stereotypical expressions becomes more obvious than ever, contributing not a little to the patina of surreal alienation that is making the series a cult ” in reverse”.
Use, among other things, exchanges of words such as:
- “How did you say your name was?
- “I didn’t say it.”
can go well if you attend kindergarten, or maybe to characterize a braggart character and alienated from the kind reality, as I know, Mr. Satan of Dragon Ball. Certainly not to give charisma and credibility to an adult …
Our story cannot “please everyone”: we need a target audience!
The idea of associating the figure of Celentano, estimated above all by the public with a bit of white hair on the head, to a genre like the dystopian science fiction, appreciated mostly by young people or in any case by the “nerds”, seems to be an easily detachable attempt to kill two birds with one stone.
The result? Probably, even that handful of Celentano fans who at the time adored Blade Runner will have been perplexed by the juxtaposition of the songs of Molleggiato (but also of the skilful drawings by Milo Manara) with a revisitation of the most abused stereotypes of the genre.
In an increasingly fragmented media universe in today’s niches of interest, the “average reader / viewer” no longer exists (if it ever existed): clumsily trying to make everyone happy will lead to paradoxical situations like a group with a decidedly transgressive look and “future punk” who sings … the Negroamaro songs, which I think was one of the most sensational “WTF?” moments of contemporary pop culture. Even more than the unintentionally demented (or, if you prefer, slightly offensive) “Mafia International” skyscraper in Naples.
The plot must make sense!
Many have already talked about it, including the Duke of Bayonet: judging by the first three episodes, Adrian’s plot not only requires massive doses of “suspension of disbelief” to be followed, due to the huge number of logical contradictions and scenes apparently unrelated to each other, but more often than not it makes no sense at all.
It seems trivial, but it is not such a rare fault: unfortunately many novels that I have been able to evaluate have really brilliant ideas and well-written characters (unlike Adrian …), but the poor cohesion between events and / or the lack of a common thread compromises the reading rhythm, to the point of making the story difficult to follow.
And to you, among Adrian’s “deadly sins”, do others come to mind? Or maybe I pressed my hand a little too much? Let me know in the comments!