Monday, April 23, 2007

Creative license or where do they get those machines and marshmellows?

I love the following shows. I really do.

But…

The little Las Vegas police department’s annual budget must be $73 billion dollars. $72.99 billion of it going to the CSI unit. I can’t believe all the sophisticated equipment they have in their pentagon-sized lab. Giant elaborate machines that do nothing but crosscheck tracks from vintage Mark C. Bloom tires only. How often would they use such a thing? Who approved the purchase of it? Do they ever let the guys from Reno come over and use it?

If the CSI'ers need to decipher pillow talk in a crowd they conveniently have computers that can filter out hurricane noise. And programs that can zoom in on a satellite picture down to someone’s pores. Every real police department has trouble getting requisitions to replace the ink pads used to take thumb prints.

I think OCEAN’S 14 should be the gang trying to knock over the CSI lab.

On LOST I don’t know what provisions the Dharma Initiative provides but last week Hurley convinced Jin to join him in an overnight campout by saying they would roast marshmallows. These survivors have marshmallows? When they’re not battling “the Others” they’re making smores? They must be very upset because the New England lobsters won’t wash ashore till June.

Meanwhile, the hospital on HOUSE is CSI with MRI’s. What insurance provider would possibly approve all the tests those doctors perform? You’d hope Blue Cross would at least get a discount on all the misdiagnoses. And since they have gigantic cyclotron machines that can identify specific helixes in DNA and crosscheck Mark C. Bloom tire tracks, how do they routinely go 45 minutes and remove a vital organ before identifying the real problem?

I guess they save money by not having an ICU. Patients have heart transplants at 10 and are back in the room drinking orange juice by noon.

Who would want to live near that hospital? It’s the weird mystery disease capitol of the world! Every other hospital might get some unusual case once every ten years, this Princeton facility has three at any one time. There’s a waiting list. The minute you start feeling dizzy sign up. Don’t wait until you actually discover you’ve grown a third foot.

Princeton Plainview Hospital (or as I call it -- Cedars of Malpractice) is also the only facility with floor-to-ceiling glass walls between patients’ rooms and corridors. Nothing like using a bed pan or trying to pass a kidney stone into a little strainer with visitors and candy stripers going by. But it looks cooler on TV. Where's the Gynecology wing???

Most other medical facilities I know have specialists perform tricky operations. Neurosurgeons and like that. But on HOUSE the young doctor protégés do it all. Drilling holes in peoples’ heads, angioplasties, removing pesky tumors from spinal cords – when these kids are not screwing in a transparent attempt to siphon some of GREY’S ANATOMY’S audience they’re whizzes with the knife.

And then there’s the FRIENDS apartment that only Stephen Sondheim could afford.

All shows take creative license and I mention these examples more out of amusement than criticism. After all, I worked on MASH, a show that asked an audience to believe eleven seasons of stories all took place within one year and CHEERS where in eleven years no one ever paid for a drink.

Tomorrow: more CHEERS sleight of hand. We even got away with some of it.

25 comments:

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Do they ever let the guys from Reno come over and use it?

Oh I hope so. Lt. Dangle always needs something to do.

WSOP Floor Supe said...

All those expensive machines and equipment must be the reason they can't afford to turn on the lights in the lab.

Hope you got a chance to see the Mariners play(?)this past few days against the Angels.

And by the way Friday April 27th is Ichiro bobblehead day in Seattle.

If you want to spring for the tickets, I'll be glad to drive up, watch the game and send you the bobblehead.

Better hurry though, only the first 25,000 get one.

Dana said...

I guess they save money by not having an ICU. Patients have heart transplants at 10 and are back in the room drinking orange juice by noon.

Thank you! I've been wondering about that for awhile.

Also, at PPTH they seem to have no issues with a shooting victim being next to his shooter in the ICU. Or at least, that seems normal in House's dream world.

Mike Barer said...

I think it all started with Gilligan's Island, where they had wardrobes and a suitcase full of money for a three hour tour. Not to mention noone having the hots for the beautiful movie star you are marooned with. Marianne was no slouch either. Wouldn't somebody have punched Gilligan in the nose somewhere along the line?
Couldn't the Howell's afford a better crew?

Ger Apeldoorn said...

First question at a House casting: "So let me see your epileptic fit."

SJ said...

There's only one "realistic" show on TV, and that's The Wire.

JD said...

I don't watch House or Lost but I do sometimes watch CSI. Sadly, I almost always end up screaming at the screen "turn on the freakin lights!". I really find it hard to believe that they work crime scenes without turning on any lights. Their flashlights must be awesome. Plus, why work a scene at night in the dark? Don't the real police just post a guard to see the scene isn't disturbed and then start work after the sun comes up?

andrew said...

the wire is the best drama on television, period. I like deadwood too.

ken, you mentioned you worked on everybody loves raymond, tell us what it was like? did you have to give script notes?

rob! said...

>>MASH, a show that asked an audience to believe eleven seasons of stories all took place within one year<<

but the war lasted three years...?

i will say, i was always perplexed at MASH's timeline...events in real-life never seemed to correspond with their timeline.

Truman was still president during an episode in the 10th season, which makes no sense.

because i think of things like this, i always assumed the timeline of the show followed the real war like this:

Seasons 1-3: 1950
Seasons 4-5: first half of 1951
Seasons 6-11: 1951-1953

Anonymous said...

The most confusing aspect of MASH was Hawkeye's mid-1970's haircut in 1951. It was longer than the Beatles' 1964 hair, which shocked the world!

Scott said...

No one paid on Cheers? I could swear I heard the cash register a few times.

Anonymous said...

E.B. White once wrote "Fantasy and reality make fine bedfellows."

They do, if the writer executes it well.

Paul Duca said...

Sounds like E.B. must have met Tallulah Moorehead....

tb said...

And I've never personally seen a court room with giant windows on one wall. Yet, on TV....

Mary Stella said...

In Atlantic City, all the casinos must donate a certain percentage to a Casino Redevelopment Authority that funds special projects (day care centers built, slums bulldozed and new housing built, etc.) Perhaps in Vegas all of the casinos contribute to the CSI labs. *g*

MASH, a show that asked an audience to believe eleven seasons of stories all took place within one year

But we loved MASH -- unlike American Idol where we were forced to watch Sanjaya for several weeks when he should have been gone the first week.

John said...

The most confusing aspect of MASH was Hawkeye's mid-1970's haircut in 1951. It was longer than the Beatles' 1964 hair, which shocked the world!

Which I've always taken as code for "This is actually about Vietnam", just like the record players and speakers on the tanks on Kelly's Heroes.

As for the huge apartment in Friends, they really did cover that; it was a rent-controlled place that was still in someone's grandma's name. Now, having an almost equally large one across the hall, that's another story.

Anonymous said...

I heard the cash register on Cheers too, followed by "Hey look, Norm's getting his wings".

Keep up the funny stuff, Ken

deepstructure said...

how funny. we just watched an episode of csi last night where in the course of investigating a homicide that occurred during a street car race, two of the agents interviewed a guy they found on the strip who was bumpin' an incredible loud sound system. catherine willows reaches into her box and pulls out a decibel level reader! since when did that become a standard part of the csi field kit?

but the real csi ritz is in miami. those offices are ridiculous.

Dave Olden said...

and CHEERS where in eleven years no one ever paid for a drink.

Did you ever think that they all paid when you paused writing about them?

Otherwise, they would have felt obligated to buy you drinks for writing such a great show.

Frugality.

Jim said...

Which makes the most realistic hospital show....Scrubs!

David K. M. Klaus said...

> Which makes the most realistic
> hospital show....Scrubs!


...which is filmed not in a sound stage, but in a decommissioned hospital on Riverside Drive in North Hollywood.


Having worked for a hospital, I can say that in my observation, yeah, in many ways it really is the most realistic medical show on t.v.

Al in Portland said...

Forget paying for a drink at Cheers ... how come no one ever seemed to get sloppy drunk? I've heard that has happened from time to time in a bar.
And I'm still trying to figure out how Clair and Cliff Huxtable of the Cosby show were supposedly about the same age, even though he looked at least 15 years older. Not to mention how she managed to get through law school, pass the bar and have five kids and still look like she wasn't a day over 35.

Nicole said...

You forgot to mention the extra $1.3M that Dade County shells out for Horatio Caine's sunglasses. ;)

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Paul Duca said...
Sounds like E.B. must have met Tallulah Moorehead.... "

Thank you darling! I woke up from a brief, four day nap with my nipples itching, which always means someone's posting about me. I adore being "Posted"!

Since my arms aren't long enough to reach my nipples anymore (Don't fret. I can still scratch them with my toes if I'm standing up.), it was easier to find the posting and say hello.

Ah, EB White, what a web he wove around me. And I am an expert on strange bedfellows.

Cheers.

Paul Duca said...

Al in Portland...Claire Huxtable looked much younger than Cliff because Phylicia Rashad is 10 years younger than Bill Cosby. A friend and I once hashed over that subject--the age difference between performers playing husband and wife compared to that of their characters (and the real life average of the husband being three years older)
I mean...Dick Van Dyke's twelve years on Mary Tyler Moore, or Bob Newhart being seven years older than Suzanne Pleshette (in that case, they played it up, making it clear that Emily Hartley was 10 or 12 years younger than Bob). And don't forget the other side of the coin--Lucille Ball six years senior to Desi Arnaz, or with the 21 year age range, Isabel Sanford could have been Sherman's Hemsley's mother as well as his wife.

(but no one will ever top Samantha's several hundred years difference between her and either Darrin, or Jeannie's two millenia of existence before Major Nelson)