What are you a sucker for?

I have had the house to myself for the past two weeks and as a result my own tastes hold sway (and since the only thing they have to hold sway over is me, there’s been a lot of sway-ness). Much to my chagrin, I have discovered that there are some things that I’m a major sucker for.

By that, I don’t mean guilty pleasures. Melrose Place and Abba (neither one is mine, but they seem common) and all that. Rather, I have discovered that I’m a sucker for certain properties or attributes of food, music, literature, TV/film and as a result I’m willing to consume fair to middling examples in each area that contain such properties.

Concrete examples will make more sense, I think:

1. I am a sucker for synth pop songs featuring full-throated, female British vocalists. Alison Moyet, Kate Bush, Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins), Annie Lennox, etc. Now there’s nothing wrong with any of these vocalists — all have put out fantastic work. What I’m saying is that I’m a sucker for even their middling work. I will lower my standards because there is something about that particular sound that gets me every time.

2. I am a sucker for jalapeno-flavored snack foods (this is where I would insert a lament for Crunch Taters, but I’m quite sure that ya’ll have already heard it).

3. I am a sucker for sitcoms that have a goofy brother/co-worker/friend (Kramer, Buster, Dwight, etc.). I even watched the first three episodes of “Class” because of the weird, goofy, suicidal red-headed guy. Of course, the rest of it is so bad, I’ve ditched it. But the fact that I was even willing to watch a second episode of it suggests I am a major sucker.

4. I am a sucker for works of speculative fiction that feature damaged, complex main characters who exhibit great courage and grace — but where the fact that they will eventually triumph (although that triumph always comes at a cost) is never really in doubt. I supposed Frodo is the example par excellence here, but I’m talking about works by Lois McMaster Bujold, Tad Williams, Orson Scott Card, Robin Hobb, Steven Brust, etc.

So what are you a sucker for and why?

NOTE: The two tracks by Alison Moyet on the radio blog are not middling efforts, imo. I figured you all would rather hear her best stuff. Lately, she has ditched the synth pop and re-invented herself as a jazz/torch singer.

27 thoughts on “What are you a sucker for?

  1. Great post. I’ve thought about doing the same post myself!

    I’m a sucker for, in music:

    * Fiddle. Anything with a fiddle.

    * Songs that build.

    * Cheese. I love cheese. I got a Monkees best of cd the other day and was happily listening away when my husband started laughing at the cheesiness of it. I hadn’t noticed.

    In movies:

    * Tear jerkers and sad scenes. I was bawling during Cast Away the other night. And again, my husband was laughing at me.

  2. I’m also a sucker for the use of piano in rock songs with heavy guitar parts.

    I still love November Rain by GnR and Epic by Faith No More even though there’s part of me that thinks both songs are rather overwrought.

  3. I’m a sucker for comic books, and movies about comic books. I’m a fanboy, hard core.

    I’m also a sucker for heartfelt male vocalists and folk strumming: Sufjan Stevens.

    I am a sucker for sweet/salty/spicy combinations. Current favorite: Hawaiian Luau BBQ chips.

    Finally, I am a sucker for Cheerwine.

  4. I am a sucker so much for Alison Moyet that I can’t even come up with what would constitute as “middling”!

    Anything Barenaked Ladies, Neil Finn or Paul Weller.

    Caramel. Even crappy caramel. And cheesecake.

    Really stupid movies. We’re talking base humor, here. Pedestrian jokes and all. It’s sad, really…

  5. Dude! No Cheerwine on the West Coast. I’ll have track some down on my next visit to Wisconsin.

    I’m a sucker for almost all cherry-flavored sodas.

    Actually, I’m a sucker for almost anything containing artificial cherry flavoring.

  6. Epic songs

    Dissonance and cacophony


    Existential crises


    Crotch shots and fart jokes (this suggests that I think there is such a thing as high quality crotch shots and fart jokes and I’m OK with that).

  7. I’m a sucker for Peanut M&Ms mixed with buttered, salted popcorn. I pop the M&Ms right into the popcorn container, and take fistfuls of both, shoved right in my mouth.

    It’s the ultimate cornucopia of junk taste, all at once.

  8. Like the others, epic films and music. Nothing is sweeter than a 13 minute metal song. Rush does this stuff a lot.

    Impressionist art.

    Anything with great bass guitaring in it (not just speed, but note placement and attack).

    TOTALLY fart jokes. My boy scouts love me for this one.

    Interactive video games; I like toasting my brother in Madden.

    Concert DVDs. Seeing it played makes hearing it later a much more enjoyable experience, methinks.

  9. Oooh! Oooh! I wanna play! I’m a sucker for:

    Bald men and redheads. Head over heels, always have been.

    Love the piano in heavy guitar songs, too.

    I can’t pass up any show with Norm Abrahms on- even he’s just re-building this old house over there.

    Anything, absolutely anything with lemon.

    Ditto butter- I even make my own butter sometimes, I love fresh butter so much. And I wonder where Beanie gets it?

    Live bootlegs with hisses and pops- oh heaven..

    Banjo. There aren’t enough songs with banjos- what could be better than strings and a snare drum all rolled into one. Love em.

    Chick flicks. Oh, how I love a good cry at a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie… really, really love them.

  10. Slow-tempo bluesy soulful melancholy piano songs. Some songs by Ray Charles, Billy Joel hit all the right buttons with me.

    Guitar genius, particularly if it is blues-based. Hendrix, Clapton, Page, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour.

    Absurd comedy. Weird comedy. Downright violent comedy. It’s so wrong and that must be why it makes me laugh so hard.

    Like Supergenius, I am a sucker for comic-book stories and movies. I’m looking forward to Spider Man 3, Iron Man, a Wolverine movie, another Batman movie, a Magneto-Professor X prequel that is supposedly in the works, etc. My preference is Marvel to DC, but I’ll go to see pretty much any movie that is comic-based or that involves humans with super powers. Additionally, I’m a sucker for arguing that my favorite superheroes are better than your favorite superheroes. :)

    Chewy candy.

    Fruit-based drinks, syrups, icecreams, pies, etc. Choosing between a strawberry or chocolate milkshake, I’ll most likely choose strawberry.

    I love snacks in general, but I probably veer towards sweet over salty.

  11. 1. completely over-the-top (self-conciously so) pop. think Fountains of Wayne and They Might Be Giants.

    2. classic jazz, especially female vocalists like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. also anything by Duke Ellington.

    3. the Banjo (unless its Ryan Shupe). also the Harmonica: I can listen to Blues Traveler “Live at Red Rocks” all day.

    4. barbeque

    5. obscure pop culture references in academic discussions

  12. I’m a sucker for GLBT culture/entertainment. Love Queer as Folk, The L Word, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Velvet Goldmine, Transamerica, Maurice, Bent, gay-themed literature, etc…

  13. Danithew, I guess I’m not a sucker for comic book movies the way you are! I still say that X3 sucked. Superman Returns was OK, but not great.

  14. Supergenius, I was specifically remembering our X3 vs. Superman arguments in that comment (and laughing about it a little bit).

    I did like the piano scene in Superman. It was pretty effective.

  15. I am a sucker for:

    high school / teen flicks – name one, I’ve probably seen it.

    chick flicks – ditto- a bunch of channels (VH1, Oxygen) played a chick flick special, one of those list thingies(I think Molly Ringwald & Ally Sheedy hosted) – Out of 100, I hadn’t seen one: The Notebook.

    netflix – they had me at “No late fees”.

    dogs. I will stop whatever I am doing to fawn over a dog. I love dog shows. etc., etc.

    ice cream – vanilla or coffee based, with chocolate & nut add ins.


    Female authored murder mysteries of the non gory type

    Smartasses (Joss Whedon, Veronica Mars, Seth Green – call me!) and I’m married to one.

  16. I am a sucker for:
    a mixture of humor and pathos (BNL and TMBG and so on)

    celtic instrumentation

    appalachian/traditional insturmentation

    piano in rock songs

    ensemble sitcoms (Newsradio is my all-time favorite, followed by Night Court)

    anything comic book related, followed by sci-fi movies

    sappy, sappy movie scenes

  17. I’m surprised no one has claimed my ultimate sucker indulgence yet: Feel good sports movies.

    It has its highs (Hoosiers; The Karate Kid; The Rookie) and its lows (The Mighty Ducks III; The Karate Kid III; The Replacements) and its middles (Rudy). And I absolutely love them all.

    As long as an underdog is struggling through personal trials while simultaneously fighting to win a sporting event against all odds, and as long as that underdog actually wins (i.e., no “feel bad sports” movies like Friday Night Lights), you can count me in.

  18. Good one, Jeremy.

    You know, I’m not a sucker for feel good sports movies. At all.

    I’m a total sucker for the real thing. I will watch any sport so long as there is some tension involved in the outcome and some hope that the team/person with the best story will win.

    I find baseball to be boring — except for the last 3 innings of a tight, meaningful game when the middle relievers/closers are in the game to face the heart of the order.

    The one exception is Cal football. I’d be happy if they rolled over every single team they played and there was no tension at all past the first quarter. That game against Washington almost killed me. I had to turn the radio off after Washington’s Hail Mary succeeded — no way I could face overtime.

  19. Butter. Butter!

    Crying babies. Content babies, I will look, I will smile, I will leave them be. I’ll almost never offer to hold someone’s happy baby. But when I hear a baby cry, anywhere, my first instinct is to pick him/her up (or take him/her away from whoever is making the poor baby cry) and comfort and feed the poor thing. I suppress this instinct an awful lot, as one can imagine.

    Frou-frou food. Arranged in cool formations on my plate.

    Fiddles, harmonica and/or banjo used to good effect in rock music.

    Potty humor.

    Men with accents.

  20. Movies about boys’ boarding schools (and books, too)

    Comic book movies (but oddly enough, not comic books themselves)

    TV Shows about bathetic school drama. The OC, Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, etc.

  21. I just got me some jalapeno Pringles, and I daresay they are the best stackable potato product I’ve ever had. Deelish!

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