Friday, October 13, 2006

Clarity Moron Alert!

Out of London, up with Work Buddy, ready to design the main sections and sort out copy requirement for the Delightful LA Actress’ new website. Before diving right in and getting down to business, new software update were downloads, afforded us the time to watch the pilot for Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I had already watched it before, broken up into tiny bite-sized pieces and loved it already. But here it was in one big lovely and shiny HD gulp, which made it better than ever.

Now, I know that Studio 60 has been getting some serious jip from within the industry because there’s a certain unreality attached. I can’t say that I was particularly perturbed by the fact that The West Wing wasn’t Beltway vérité. If it raised a few eyebrows and elicted chuckles amongst the politicians in DC, that didn’t matter a damn to me. Studio 60 I treat in much the same way.

Certainly, based on the folk I’ve had contact with within the industry, I don’t think I’ve met that many lucid/educated/interesting people in total, let alone working on just one show. Given a previous post (back there in the Fetid Old Words dust) which talks about a series producer who could have only attained her position by taking cocks for promotion, I’m not sure I would want to see useless, useless characters whose career trajectory had left them with 66% of their bodies made up of jism.

After all, it is just entertainment. And well-made entertainment at that. Which, after a week or so of piss-poor new dramas thrown up on the BBC and ITV, makes it a breath of fresh air.

As already mentioned, I missed the first episode of the new, but possibly not improved, Robin Hood. Even if I had been home at the time, based on the trailers alone, I probably would have looked down my nose at it. Especially since it falls into the category of family drama.

My problem with family dramas is that they are either designed to be so inoffensive they appear utterly useless and wet, or have been designed as dramas for children and adults rather than adults and children. (And if you need to ask what the difference is, I discard you!)

Whichever box is ticked, they generally fall between two stools and still manage to land in the shit. But I guess if I was a family man my priorities would be to make sure the kiddies were entertained by whatever was slopped into television’s trough before they scooted off to fire up Warrior Death Match 4.

With the second episode Robin Hood less than a day away, I sniffed around a couple of other blogs to check out the comments and see whether I should give it a shot or not waste my time on it. Oh dear.

Was I ill the day everyone got the memo instructing them to have low expectations and accept everything they’re given? Excuses for the poor quality of the opening episode appeared to be built around “it’s early evening Saturday telly.” One post applauded Robin Hood for essentially being cliché-ridden, and then championed it over the kind of post-watershed dramas that suffer from “insufficient explanation”.

Insufficient explanation. Which is obviously the crossing point between having low expectations and being a native of Dumbfuckistan. I’m not saying this guy was standing in the wrong line when they were handing out cocks and charisma, but that is the most piss-poor explanation I’ve heard in a long while.

Okay, dramas with a touch more complexity might not be right for him. A functioning cerebellum and nothing else may be all he’s looking for in life. It probably won’t be long before we have dramas like Beryl is the One that Dunnit, The Man in the Grey Sweater over by the Window is the Killer, and, just so nobody has nightmares, Hey, It All Turns Out Right In The End! Or maybe they’re already here.

Watching Sorkin’s new drama, I was struck by Wes Mendell’s opening tirade on the Studio 60 set:

[Television] just throws in the towel on any endeavour to do anything that doesn’t involve the courting of 12 year old boys. Not even the smart 12 year olds, the stupid ones, the idiots...

Sure, the channels are guilty of commissioning and then broadcasting such lowbrow fluff. Maybe in part because a portion of the audience has indicated that’s what they want.


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