Let's talk about movies for example: I saw Her a couple of weeks ago. It was a fantastic movie, great acting, good music and a well written script. Spike Jonze directed the hell out of that thing and Scarlett Johanson didn't even need to be visible to have a powerful presence in it. The movie is nominated for several awards and it truly deserves it. On the other side I have no problem admitting that I will always have a soft spot for good cheesy romantic comedies. Sure, it's the bubblegum pop of the movie world and it's 100% made to fit a certain formula, a template to please the eye without bothering the mind with the burden of thought but is that so bad? While simple in theory, making something that's been, in a way, done to death for years and doing it well is actually a fantastic challenge in its own right.
Let's move from there to video games. 2D platformers have been around for a few decades now and have been reinvigorated as a genre in the last couple of years with the arrival of quality titles both in the more traditional department (New Super Mario Bros, Rayman Origins) and in the Masocore department (I wanna be the guy, Super Meat Boy). It's a genre that is based on a pretty basic principle: You start off on one side, you need to go to the other, usually with some blend of running and jumping.
This is a genre that holds among it some of the highly regarded masterpieces of gaming history: Sonic the hedghog, Super Mario Bros 3 (*cough* although World is better *cough*) and more despite it being firmly lodged in tradition and the newer titles are holding up; Super Meat Boy sold like crazy and so did Rayman Origins/Legends. 3D platformers have been coming out for years but contrary to what other genres of gaming have gone through the 3D revolution did not mostly kill off the 2D realm. In an ironic twist, side scrollers side stepped and avoided that fate.
So if we take that principle and apply it to our other categories why is it so hard to see merit in doing something quite formulaic but doing it well?
A great pop song is, again, simple in theory but making something real, something that will stand the test of time while still fitting into that aging format is something special. That's why people are still listening to Time after Time or Total Eclipse of the Heart but can barely remember what was popular last summer.
A movie with a great, original plot or idea is interesting by default. But is it good by default? The execution of something odd or unfamiliar has to be fantastic to actually reach the vast majority of people and when it does happen masterpieces are made but when it doesn't you're going to hear people say things like "The premise was great but the movie just wasn't." This is not the word of mouth publicity movie studios want. "Formulaic but fun" means a better payday than "complex but convoluted".
As someone who practically starts salivating at the thought of complex board games, epic role playing video games, prog metal concept albums and strange movies about time travel I truly understand and proudly support the idea of art being made for art's sake and not purely for monetary profit but we have to be able to see this from a different perspective, beyond our perceived exclusivity and elitism and see that while everything can technically be called art (see: Marcel Duchamp's Fountain) we are able to make a distinction between a movie like Primer and a movie like Friends with Benefits, albums like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum's Grand Opening and Closing and Justin Timberlake's Justified, games like Gone Home and New Super Mario Bros Wii. I really like everything I named there but they have vastly different qualities which can't really be measured in terms of importance on an objective scale. While Primer is a great film exploring the complex nature of time travel in an appropriately confusing way it is highly impenetrable for the uninitiated or those lacking a deep passion for sci-fi and it can hardly be called a "fun" movie, just like Grand Opening and Closing isn't exactly prime-time radio material. Friends with benefits is formulaic to the letter and as soon as it starts you know exactly how it'll go, just like you know that Like I Love You is going to go "verse, chorus etc.". Does this mean you should ignore the more formulaic side for that simple reason alone? The majority of people actually prefer to ignore the other side and while that's the side I "grew up" on I actually understand rejecting it as it's hard work actually getting into it as opposed to just turning on the radio and liking whatever earworm manages to penetrate your brain between commercial breaks.
In conclusion I think a conclusion is beside the point. Taste varies between people and I think no matter what your taste in art can't really be wrong (there is of course a line drawn when it crosses into the realm of child pornography in case there was any doubt) but your consumption of it can be a bit twisted. If you deny yourself the pleasure of a movie, a song or a game you like based on the fact that it doesn't suit your predefined palette maybe it's time to expand it and bring some new colors to your world. Enjoy what you enjoy and don't believe in guilty pleasures.