The Line Between Weird and Random Words

Weird is pretty subjective. One person’s normal is another person’s “ermagerd what?” But when it comes to writing weird, there seems to be two schools: the people who are genuinely weird who will toy with your mind and make you wonder what exactly you just saw and the ones who have chosen random words from thin air, smashed them together and patted themselves on the head.

I like to call this the Noel fielding school of weird, where Seth Macfarlane frequently attends. It’s great for a brief period of time. The internet was built on it. But for prolonged reading or viewing, it’s unbelievably jarring.

True masters of weirdness can make a scene more horrifying than any horror movie ever manages. After being made to watch Holy Mountain as the backing video to an experimental jazz gig – an experience I never wish to repeat – I still can’t be totally sure what I saw, but it wasn’t The Mighty Boosh.

Obviously, David Lynch would go without saying. Twin Peaks brings feelings of complete unease that only truly weird things can. They put you on edge and make you question what you’re seeing/reading/hearing. This isn’t achieved through the random-words-smushed-together method.

A look at the majority of Bizarro may make this apparent, not to mention Asylum Films (Sharknado), and I say that as a fan. When it’s so forced, it feels it and crumbles apart through its own self-awareness. It’s like those people you meet at the party who warn you they’re “totally wild” and then spend the night quietly in the corner sipping the same beer, while wearing a slightly jaunty hat.

Again, the hat was great for the first 30 seconds, but now you just look like your head’s a bit warm.

To demonstrate, here’s a chart demonstrating the typical forced-weird, word-smashing plot planner that appears to be used. Yes, it was done it paint.
While everyone loves a few Chainsaw Zombie Analbeads of Doom, it’s inevitable the content will never live up to the almost meaningless name. So, if only to prevent myself from being tricked into watching, reading, or listening to anything else that promises so much that it doesn’t deliver, let’s stop this random plot generation and go back to just being uncomfortably weird.