Open letter to drama showrunners:
STOP LISTENING TO NEW MUSIC!
It seems every one hour show ends now with the obligatory montage bouncing from one main character to the other, each alone, each in a different location, and each soul searching and oozing angst. Rain slicked streets and mood lighting a must. And over this is some dreary song by some new artist that the showrunner discovered on KaZaa or satellite radio, plaintively wailing some life advice that is designed to touch us all with its perception and depth. Tom Waits wannabes even though they’re too young to know who Tom Waits is.
It’s great for the writer of the episode – three fewer pages he has to write but the device is starting to get real cliché. Plus, the songs tend to be AWFUL.
The one in the premiere of SMITH was so grating that I actually envied the crew member that died.
I notice that HOUSE now does this every week. We get it. His leg smarts. He’s a tortured soul. Sleep with Cameron. Play Jackie Wilson.
I seem to recall this trend beginning with David E. Kelley shows (although I might be wrong). Poor Alley is alone and beautiful for another night. And the Biscuit is in the twentieth year of his puberty. But at least Kelley mixed it up sometimes with hits from the 70’s. Nowadays, if an artist gets more than five hits a month on his MySpace site he’s too familiar.
PRISON BREAK took the conceit to a whole new level last year when the music they played was the HOUSE theme.
I blame Nora Ephron. (I blame her for a lot of things. Cringeworthy movies, killing BEWITCHED, global warming). Nora goes to the soundtrack card every chance she gets. Who needs to DIRECT when a gooey Celine Dion-Clive Griffin tune can just convey the mood?
Drama showrunners, please retire this device. Host amateur nights at the Troubadour if you want to discover the next Bjork, but for your shows don’t end each episode with every character on suicide watch.
Oh, and while I’m ranting, to showrunners, producers, and directors everywhere – NEVER play “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong EVER AGAIN. Thank you.