If it's what they want, why do we resist?

I watched Role Models again last week. How great was the moment when the boys arrive at the LARP (ahem, LAIRE) battlefield dressed as "warriors" from KISS -- in the fire-spewing Minotaur truck? It's a real stand-up and cheer moment -- largely because it is also the fully realized payoff to all the KISS and Minotaur truck references sprinkled throughout the earlier parts of the script. And who doesn't love a satisfying payoff?

Writers, apparently. I've been reading a lot of unproduced scripts lately, and the satisfying payoffs are few and far between. Sometimes the setups are still there, but it feels as if the requisite payoff has been removed from the script out of sheer perversity.

Is this intentional? Does, somehow, giving the audience what they want make us feel -- dirty? Is this an attempt to avoid those nasty little rules of structure that bring authorship dangerously close to mere craft and away from the simplicity of pure art?

Get over it people. Writing is both craft and art. And many rules are there because... those are the rules. Writers have been writing for a long time. Some things work and some things don't and, well -- we kind of know by now. Right? You want your script to move out of the unproduced pile and edge just a teensy bit closer to the produced pile? Then if you show me a fish in act one, I better see that fish again in act three. Them's the rules.

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