Have We Reached Peak “Fifty Shades?”

In case you've never turned on your television or logged onto the Internet or walked outside, let me make this perfectly clear: "Fifty Shades of Grey" is opening on Friday, February 13. 

That's right: as of Valentine's Day Eve, you and everyone you love can watch the ups and downs (physically, even) (#sex #joke) of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, sometimes tied up, sometimes not, and dabbling in all sorts of cliches. (Drink every time anybody says "inner goddess.") And hey — cool. I could start saying that "Fifty Shades" is problematic and not at all indicative of a healthy relationship (whether BDSM-based or not), because I would be right, but this post is about something else I'm not cool with: there's nothing left. We have no more jokes to make. We've reached peak "Fifty Shades." Case in point? I'm writing about "Fifty Shades" right now because it's everywhere and I don't have a choice.

And I get it. I was just as excited about the new J Lo movie as anybody else. I waited in line for "Harry Potter." I won't be able to watch the "Parks and Recreation" finale because I'll cry too much (so I have to save it). But nothing — nothing — has been this . . . intense. And not in a good way. Most of what we're reading is a mix of bad, good, and "Hey — I guess it's fine." (FINE?) Currently, "Fifty Shades" is clocking in at 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, which means it's officially lukewarm. A lukewarm movie has warranted its own line of nail polish, makeup, and lube. It's inspired think pieces and memes and the worst press tour any of us have ever seen. 

And it's not even for a movie that's bad. It just . . . exists. It's a movie that involves some sex, and some okay acting, and a lot of abusive dynamics. (I mean, seriously: Christian Grey is a monster. I can link you to a billion other pieces if you need me to back that statement up.) The co-stars don't even really seem to like each other. And yet, here we are. Peak "Fifty Shades." Beyonce's even involved. People care. And they care so much that even now, you're reading about a movie we will only cite as a "oh yeah — that happened!" in about five years from now. It's like "Game of Thrones" if "Game of Thrones" tossed away the story. And honestly: even "Game of Thrones" has more sex. But yet: even "Game of Thrones" seems less buzzy. (And it aired episodes in actual movie theatres this month so fans could get a few extra seconds of next season. AND EVEN THEN.)

So I'm confused. I'm confused and I've reached peak "Fifty Shades" and I have no jokes anymore and I feel like I'm shouting into the void. I don't want to see "Fifty Shades." I don't want to give that franchise my money. But I also want to have some comedic fuel to get me through the next two-ish weeks. We live in a digital age in which the pop culture we consume includes us in conversations on social media, at work, and, well, everywhere else. But I already feel like I've seen it. I've watched the interviews, I've observed that I have more chemistry with this hoodie I'm wearing than Jamie and Dakota do with each other. I've begrudgingly listened to Beyonce's cover of her own song, despite being upset that she's involved in "Fifty Shades" in any capacity. Isn't that enough? Do I really have to see this thing? Do I really have to give two hours of my life to the idea that some emotionally abusive dude is all of a sudden romantic?

I can't. I don't want to. You can't make me. I've seen enough ads to know what happens.

Tags: 50 Shades, 50 Shades Of Grey, Anne T. Donahue, dakota johnson, jamie dornan

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