You are a Joss Whedon fan. You loved Buffy. You sometimes have dirty dreams about Nathan Fillion. You are okay with the fact that Nathan Fillion was played by Jeremy Renner in The Avengers, because you could be convinced to have dirty dreams about him, too. You considered going to see The Avengers at midnight but you went the next day and even blew off some plans to see it in the middle of the day so you could spend the rest of your night talking about how awesome it was, because (like every other human being on the planet) you expected to find it unbearably awesome. You won’t watch Dollhouse because you’ve heard it’s not that good, and you can’t bear to see Joss like that. You want good things for the people you love.
But the awesome never came, the good things never came. And all that time spent avoiding Dollhouse was for naught.
You didn’t hate it, but you wanted to like it more, and you knew that thinking it “wasn’t terrible” wouldn’t be good enough. Like that time that you saw The Dark Knight and pointed out the badly-choreographed fight scenes to your friend who proceeded to have a hissy fit in the theater lobby. You know that only utter devotion to The Avengers’ awesomeness will be acceptable, so you hope no one brings it up and prey that they don’t. You know that, as a film critic, you will eventually have to write about it and plan to publish it under an assumed name. You will mail that piece from in an unmarked envelope from an unspecified location somewhere near East Timor.
And then you will disappear. You will make up a fake identity and move to one of those island nations where Republicans keep all their escort money and change your face to look like Saddam Hussein. You can start over.
Except that you don’t have the money for that. You barely have the money to eat. So, you find little things to comment on that you did like. “That Hawkeye sure looks good in a tank top!” “Captain America hates chicken shawarma. Hilarious!” or “Scarlett Johansson’s rear end is a terrific actress.” Or you find ways to hint at your dislike of the film, without ever actually saying anything unkind about it. You tell people, “If anything, it showed that Joss Whedon, who gave Robert Downey Jr. all the good dialogue, would be the perfect director for Iron Man 3.” “Considering all the work needed to weave those four different movies together, Joss Whedon made the best Avengers movie possible.” “It was like I was watching four movies! Hey, have you seen Inception!” or “I can’t wait for the sequel.”
You aren’t a good liar, and so you practice lying about the film in the mirror in case people call you out on not liking it. You ready your shocked, aghast, flabbergasted and surprised faces, like you’re in a Spanish soap opera. You buy a glove to slap people with. You work on your I’m-in-an-episode-of-Smash drink throw. You perfect your impromptu yawn that says, “Wow! I am suddenly too tired to finish this conversation” or you go back the gym and hit that treadmill hard, in case you need to flee from your assailant. You watch Runaway Bride, Marathon Man and Chariots of Fire to get tips and old tapes of Walter Payton and Barry Sanders to perfect the perfect stiff arm. If you get trapped by a mob of angry comic book fans, you scream: “Look! It’s Alan Moore and he brought scones!” And then you book it the other direction and don’t look back. Never look back and don’t stop running. Pretend it’s like Speed, except that you are the bus.
You get outed by one of your friends for not liking it and then spend most of your time defending your right to not like things, because you have an opinion. You mention that you didn’t like Forrest Gump, The Prestige, Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Artist, Forgetting Sarah Marshall or Full Metal Jacket and couldn’t care about The Usual Suspects because someone already told you the ending. You tell them that not everyone has to like the same things, because the Rotten Tomatoes message boards are not real life, and doesn’t that make life more interesting? You hope this will make it easier for them, to make it okay, to show that my not liking it doesn’t make Joss Whedon a bad director or me a heartless jerk. You mention that even Joss mentioned that he had problems with it, and you tell them how much you respect him for it and how much you were touched by his open letter to his fans.
This has the opposite effect. You will now have to defend not liking The Avengers AND Forrest Gump for the rest of your life. Your name will be synonymous with “stabbing kittens” and posters of you will be put up all over the neighborhood. Children will no longer be allowed to play with you and strangers won’t look you in the eye. This is your life now.