One shade of ‘Grey’ too many


The final nail in the “Twilight” saga has been hammered into the proverbial coffin, but the remnants of its infected remain in the form of the New York Times bestselling series from E.L. James – the “Fifty Shades” trilogy.

Not familiar? Let’s play catch up.

In the deep annals of the Internet there is a phenomenon called fan-fiction.

greyforwebCharacters from well known and sometimes played out stories are used in fan-written additions to the genre without permission. These intellectual property violations often include de-evolution into wild, often sexual, tangents.

When “Breaking Dawn,” the final “Twilight” book, was released, the most erotic it got was a PG-13 closing of doors and fading to black only to wake up to pillow feathers everywhere and Edward sulking in the corner about how rough he was.

James decided she could do better.

Her fan-fiction, originally called “Master of the Universe,” used “Twilight” characters for lewd sexual acts and got quite a bit of attention online.

So much attention that she removed the story, renamed the characters and got it published as a three-part original story.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is about beautiful, but sheltered college student Anastasia Steele becoming infatuated with the slightly older and incredibly wealthy Christian Grey.
The relationship they engage into is a carnival of sexual deviancy, with Grey’s increasing idiosyncrasies and quest for control over Steele spirals her out over the tryst.

If that didn’t sound bad enough, there will be a major motion picture adaptation next year.

This is concerning not only for the sake of good taste prevailing over the powers of desperate middle aged house wives, but because moviegoers have seen this all before.

Acute film buffs might notice a concerning number of “coincidences” between “Fifty Shades” and a 1986 film called “Nine ½ Weeks.”

The lusty drama stars Kim Basinger and a then still attractive Mickey Rourke as Elizabeth McGraw and John Gray, two New Yorkers involved in an intense love affair that turns towards darker roads with Gray’s penchant for blindfolds and head games begin to take its toll on the impressionable Elizabeth.

The key difference in the end that separates “Nine ½ Weeks” with “Fifty Shades” is that one is a very engaging and intense story about a toxic relationship, while the other is a terribly written slice of “mommy-porn” spawned from the worst aspects of the Internet.

Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie said he’d “never read anything so badly written that got published. It makes ‘Twilight’ look like ‘War and Peace.’”

Of course judging by the legion of fans and millions of copies sold, the criticisms get lost in all the noise.

Unfortunately it means there’s no doubt the film will be an absurd success, bringing not only more people to read the series but for more writers out there that will attempt to emulate its success.

A bright spot in this whole depraved gradient is “Sons of Anarchy” and “Pacific Rim” star Charlie Hunnam’s recent backing out on his role of Christian Grey.

His solid and rising career didn’t need that kind of shaded mess.