Most Potentially Retroactive Awkward Oscar Presentation - I have just begun reading Mark Harris's "Five Came Back", a book chronicling five famed Hollywood directors - John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank ...
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Dear TV Producers:
Stop. Stop it now. No. Don't even think about it. I'm serous! Take your hand away from the "order a conventional cop drama" button right now! If you don't I swear the things I'm going to do to you your team of writers couldn't cut and paste from another show's script in their dreams!
Now, just sit down and listen up. It's OK. I mean it, really. It's all right. I understand. Take a deep breath, and allow me to explain.
They're done. I know, I know. It's hard to let go. I mean through whatever medium can you create so many different shows using the same scripts from 20 years ago? I'll give you the whole "stupid drunks in a house" or "talented unknown narcissists on a stage doing stuff" are both really close, but the cop drama by and far has them outpaced 90-1. And dare I say, it's time to start putting it to bed. Not completely mind you. Keep the odd one out here and there, definitely. I'll give you a handful of mainstays and a couple newbies every year, but after that you've got to know when to cut yourself off.
It's not that I really even mind them. Law and Order was nice when it first came about. I still enjoy Bones and even watch castle when I find the time, but the problem with all these shows is that they don't hold. They're sucked into a format whereby any change is shunned by audiences who shun the show eventually simply because it never changes. That always last longer than they ought to have and never last long enough to have accomplished anything.
What's worse is that there must exist a secret organization whose sole purpose in life is the assurance that all of these shows synchronize their plot points so that week in and week out you can watch all 20 of them and have collectively seen five unique plots.
I mean how often can people be expected to go through the "I can't believe it isn't him mindset" before they finally realize "of course it can't be him, there's still 20 minutes left in the episode!" Not to mention the three obsessive caricatures whom it always manages to not be.
"What do you mean it wasn't them? They were ethnic and asked for their lawyer in a guilty way!"
"What do you mean it wasn't them? They were the unloving or unloved spouse of that not as good as they appeared now-dead person!"
"What do you mean it wasn't them? They were the friend who was going behind the back of the now-dead person!"
*YAWN* Call me when they finally get to the random guy who was introduced for two minutes early on but didn't bother to explore any further.
We all know why we watch these shows. The same reason people read Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot adventures. The characters. They're unique, entertaining, and their odd mannerisms allow them to mask the ridiculousness of the plot surrounding them so that they can always come out on top. One problem: That gets old. And it gets old quick.
When you do nothing but expose that singular flaw by blowing it up with obsessive format reduxes. Just substitute a vaguely interesting alcoholic with a vaguely interesting single parent and you can make anything "fresh and exciting" (well, according to TV Guide which is about as useful as quoting your mother's opinion on the haircut she got for you when you were 6).
Perhaps the true travesty in all of this is that I don't have another viable recommendation for you. I'm not sure I can withstand another onslaught of hospital dramas. And comedies? Yeesh, have you seen what people go for? Who knows where you'd come out going down that path. Maybe try some other genres? Have you even been watching cable? While you've become obsessed with the same 4 platforms they've been killing it with innovative dramas, horrors, and modern thrillers! Of course I know the whole "bring that cable guy to NBC" thing didn't work out.
Then again, he did think a Playboy Foundation drama was going to go over well with audiences. Which I believe clearly shows he's delusional. Then again, you could make the argument that Two and Half Men is more offensive than that show ever dreamed of. Ah, but it's funny.... at least that's what TV guide tells me.