Lauren Chen rose to prominence in the conservative movement with her political commentary, but she now also reviews movies and TV series on her popular Mediaholic YouTube channel.
Taking time out of her day for an interview, Chen recently spoke with Bounding into Comics about her new endeavor, her thoughts on Hollywood, and who exactly sparked her love for the arts and entertainment.
Bounding Into Comics: What are some of your favorite current movies and series and what draws you to them?
Lauren Chen: House of the Dragon has pleasantly surprised me, especially after how disastrously Game of Thrones ended.
And strangely enough, I’m also currently liking the latest season of The Handmaid’s Tale.
That show has become so symbolic for progressive politics, which can be tiring. But to the writers’ credit, despite me clearly not aligning with them politically, even I have to admit they’ve created a compelling show.
The same goes for The Boys. I was also sad to see Peaky Blinders end. Tommy Shelby has become iconic in my opinion.
Those are all pretty different series, but what they have in common is strong, complex characters. I’m drawn to media that acknowledges few people are fully good or evil, which incidentally also relates to my main complaint about “woke” programming. Often when writers are trying to push a political message, they turn their characters into caricatures, which is just so lazy.
BIC: You’ve mentioned that your father, who provides critiques of series and movies in some of your Mediaholic videos, once worked in financing in the entertainment industry. What exactly did he do and how did his career affect your interest in entertainment?
LC: I grew up in Hong Kong, and while we were living there my dad helped one production house with their IPO, and also worked with several directors and producers to secure financing for different projects.
His interest in films and the entertainment industry absolutely rubbed off on me; when I was a kid seeing movies together was always “our thing,” and it still is.
Growing up seeing the entertainment industry from the financial side of things made me analyze content from a different perspective.
As much as movies and shows are about storytelling, at the end of the day they also have to be about making money.
BIC: Has wokeness been as big of a disaster for Hollywood as conservatives and libertarians think it has, or has it actually been successful in advancing the industry’s goal of indoctrinating people with progressive ideology?
LC: Wokeness has absolutely been successful in indoctrinating people, but there’s a limit to how blatant (and extreme) a political message audiences are willing to tolerate.
I do think featuring same-sex couples on TV in the 2000s helped increase their acceptance, which isn’t a bad thing.
But there’s a difference between depicting a same-sex couple so that audiences can see a relationship like that isn’t so different from their own, versus having half of the characters be in polyamorous relationships, or non-binary, or whatever it may be.
After a certain point, the social agenda being shoved in your face gets tiring, and the propaganda ends up taking over any actual storylines.
That’s where we are now, and audiences are starting to tune out. Like, yes, Will & Grace may have been popular, but people clearly aren’t interested in something like Bros.
BIC: Your Mediaholic videos do quite well. Do conservative and libertarian pundits and activists understand the importance of them or are they more interested in your videos at your Lauren Chen and RabbleRouser YT channels?
LC: To be honest, at first it was quite an uphill battle to get Mediaholic started. Some people I worked with, I think, thought I was wasting my time. Because for the longest time, the world of conservative or libertarian political punditry has been so serious and laser-focused on actual politics.
But simultaneously, progressive activists have been infusing pop culture with their own narrative and agenda. So now there are many (especially older) conservatives lamenting how left-wing younger generations are.
But when all the media they consume is preaching the same message, how could it be any other way?
I think the right is starting to come around to understanding the importance of cultural influence though, and it’s about time.
For example, look at Trump. Love him or hate him, being on TV and a celebrity figure, not just a businessman, that’s a huge part of why he became popular during his initial presidential campaign.
BIC: Do you foresee any serious effort by Con, Inc. to provide alternatives to Hollywood or will there only be niche efforts here and there, with the majority of Conservatism’s billions of dollars continuing to be spent on political punditry?
LC: It’s difficult, because anything Con, Inc. does to provide an alternative will be branded conservative by nature. And yes, anything from Hollywood is likely progressive by nature, but it’s still not going to seem as innately political as something by, for instance, The Daily Wire.
So automatically you’re alienating half your potential consumers before a project is even off the ground.
I hope things change, but at the moment there still isn’t that huge push from conservative creatives or financiers to deliver cultural content.
BIC: Are you creating any works of fiction of your own, or do you have plans to do so?
LC: Ha, of course I’m a total cliche and have been working on a sci-fi/horror novel for the longest time. Getting it finished and published is absolutely on my bucket list.
BIC: Where can people follow you online?
Make sure to check out Chen’s Mediaholic YT channel for her takes on what’s hot and what’s not in entertainment.
For those interested in the political side of things, she’s scheduled to be a speaker at AMFEST2022 in Phoenix, AZ, which runs from Dec. 17-20.