I was just listening to a podcast (look up email@example.com) about camp movies — things so outlandishly bad that they somehow work. The standard example is, of course, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The ridiculous nature of these films makes them able to be so removed from our experience of life (via the fictional world of good film?) that they garner a following, somehow managing to speak to wide segment of the population.
A lot of these campy shows fall in the sci-fi genre. I think that there is something to the genre that makes unbelievability acceptable. The nature of sci-fi is that it is not true to our contemporary living. Instead, it explores the idea of "it's not this way, but what if it was?"
The removal from our daily experience of life distances us from the situation of the story. When this setting is used to explore issues that are, perhaps, too close for comfort, we somehow manage to accept the exploration, whereas we might resist the same exploration in a more "realistic" setting.
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