It’s about the Irony: Red State versus Blue State TV Habits

Top: Kirsten Dunst in "Melancholia" Bottom: Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron in "The Blind Side."

Entertainment Weekly released last week a fascinating survey about the television viewing preferences between registered Republicans and Democrats. They found viewing habits varied widely, Republicans preferring reality TV, especially about work as in “Deadliest Catch” and Democrats selecting humor as in “The Daily Show” and muddled, conflicted heroes.

As someone who has talked about Red State movies and Blue State movies for years, this makes perfect sense to me.

The two viewpoints speak to more than just political voting patterns. They’re ways of looking at the world. Mostly secular, mostly urban Blue Staters look through one metaphoric window while often religious, often suburban or rural Red Staters are looking through a completely different one.

Red Staters tend to like big guns, prefer clear cut motives and be allergic to irony. Blue Staters gravitate toward desperate characters, enjoy conflicted motives, and struggle with addiction to irony.

Seriously, it’s all about the irony. Blue Staters get twitchy when a movie feels corny or straight. They miss the irony. Red Staters get defensive and annoyed when they feel too much irony.

Red State entertainment, in extreme, strays toward the saccharine while Blue State entertainment, in extreme, tends toward nihilism. Some movies have elements of both.

I’m not necessarily talking about quality. Both types of movies or TV shows can be excellent. Either can be horrific.

The great example of a Red State movie would be “The Blind Side.”

Lars von Trier’s homage to the beauty of the end of the world, “Melancholia” is the quintessential Blue State movie.

So, the question arises: What color are you?


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  • I identify with Red State ideas, but I loved Blind Side. Why don’t you list more movies that you have classified? I can’t figure it all out from your comments. I am willing to bet that I would be all over the map if you had a list of ten each.

  • Trista Cooper

    I think I was reading your mind. Yesterday, I posted the EW article to reinforce your Red State vs. Blue State and Harry Potter vs. Hunger Games comparison.

  • Rebecca Cusey

    You did? Awesome! Where?

  • I agree with Katherine! It would be all over the map!

  • Rebecca Cusey

    Good idea!
    Red State: Battle: Los Angeles, Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows, Transformers, Fast Five, Captain America, Muppets
    Blue State: The Hangover, Bridesmaids, Bad Teacher, Melancholia, Hugo, Dragon Tattoo, The Descendants

    I’ve only listed movies from this year and ones I like and/or respect.