OVERSATURATED is a 6-part interview series by Ashley Good, an independent filmmaker from British Columbia, Canada.
Through a series of interviews with individuals in front of, chasing, or inspired by the limelight, Oversaturated will explore a ménage of topics including: self-commodification, the chicken and the egg situation of the teenagers influencing celebrity culture and celebrity culture impacting teenagers, and the use of celebrity stories as a political distraction.
As an independent filmmaker and comedic screenwriter, a series of interviews about celebrity and pop culture might seem a little… off-brand. So why did I embark on this project?
The idea for Oversaturated came to me back in the summer of 2016, when seemingly out of the blue, I had the hook from an old song stuck in my head. Despite my best effort, I could not get the repetitive line, “I like that, I like that…” out of my head. I most definitely, did not like that.
Other than the infectious hook, all I could remember about the song was that it was once in a McDonalds commercial, and that it was featuring Chingy.
While trying to track down this song and to prove to myself that this mysterious “McDonalds track” existed and that I wasn’t going insane, I ended up down a deep Wikipedia rabbit hole where I discovered that my ear worm was in fact “I Like That,” a track by Houston featuring Nate Dogg, I-20, and Chingy. “Oh yeah, that guy…” I thought to myself.
Suddenly I was transported back to 2005, when the song first came out. Sidekick phones were all the rage (I still wish I had one), Lindsay Lohan was on track to win an Oscar before 30, and Ashlee Simpson still had her original nose. I remembered hearing about Houston back when “I Like That” came out, and how he was going to be the next big thing. It was a simpler time of a universal pop culture and when most people would have understood all of the references I just made.
While my ability to know the story behind every person on the tabloid covers has tapered off over the years, I have always considered myself immensely interested by pop culture. Mostly, why we idolize the people we idolize, and what that says about us as individuals and as a society. Houston was going to be the “next big thing” and then he vanished… What happened? As I continued to chase the rabbit down the Wikipedia path, I discovered some heartbreaking things about Houston’s meteoric rise and fall, including hard drug use, prison, and a suicide attempt.
As an avid pop culture consumer and independent filmmaker, I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to all of the other “next big things” that didn’t make it. Was their downfall the inevitable result of a culture with a goldfish attention span? Did they just decide to step out of the spotlight? Was it the Illuminati? Or, perhaps more realistically… Did their fans just grow bored?
When we (“we” as members of Western society) stop and take a minute to think about all of the people that we have been fans of over the years, we can all drum up hundreds of explanations about why we as individuals are drawn to who we are drawn to. So, it makes sense that entertainers who resonate with many individuals will eventually reach a point where they cross over and are able to reach a large collective audience, or in less words, become famous. After reaching a seemingly arbitrary point of critical mass though, society seems to decide that these people are no longer worthy of our admiration. At the flick of a switch, the people we loved a week ago, because pariahs, jokes, or even forgotten. Alternatively, those who might have never reached higher than the C list (maybe they appeared in a single show), will still find themselves the subjects of obsession of years to come.
Fame is like a weird twisted lottery, where even if you win, you have to keep buying a ticket every week in order to keep your prize. And now, Western culture’s proclivity with tossing aside celebrities seems to have become even worse in the age of social media.
Through a series of interviews with individuals in front of, chasing, or inspired by the limelight, this interview series will propose that the “throw away” nature of pop culture and Western society’s fetishism of celebrities is the result of excessive consumerism, which has been amplified by social media.
New interviews will be released once a week on Medium until the series is complete.
The articles will also be hosted through my independent production company’s blog, at blackframes.ca.