Aloha. Winging to Hawaii. But assuming they have the internet over there my blog posts will continue uninterrupted. I just won’t hate everything as much.
Friday questions comin’ at ya:
Richard Y asks:
A 3 Episode ARC. Is 'arc' an abbreviation or an acronym? If either, what does it spell out to be?
Writers use it describe a storyline that stretches over two or more episodes. One season on CHEERS our yearlong story arc was that Sam was trying to get into Rebecca’s pants. Throughout the course of the episodes he tried every sleazy, lying, despicable tactic he (us) could think of. NBC did research testing on that season and Sam tested way higher than anyone else. Why? Because he “cared” about everybody in the bar and was the father figure everyone could trust. Huh???? What shows were THEY watching???
From Damian in California:
I have a question regarding those preview shows such as “CBS Television City” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Do they help you at all?
We saw about 3 of them.
1 was great – Big Bang Theory
1 was terrible – never made it to TV
1 was so bad we left half way through (they claimed it was kid appropriate, so our kids were watching it with us, but actually they had changed the TV show that day from a Discovery family friendly show to some trashy adult show)
CBS decided that they get a much better cross-section of Americans in Vegas than LA. And they’re probably right. Just walk through the MGM Grand casino, check out the clientele, and you’ll know why THE WIRE is not a big hit.
Here’s the bottom line with research testing: If it is used as a tool, another source of input then yes, it is valuable. All feedback is valuable. But if it becomes the final determination on whether your show is picked up or not, or if it dictates the direction your show must go, then it is very destructive. How do you measure creativity and ideas? Executives rely on research because they’re covering their asses. But when ALL the shows that get picked up test well and 90% of them fail anyway then doesn’t it stand to reason that this is a faulty system?
And finally, from Erich Eilenberger:
I remember that you and your partner wrote one of my favorite episodes of CHEERS, "Rat Girl," which had a really great argument scene between Frasier and Lilith. Then I noticed that you also wrote "Room Service," which was one of my favorite episodes of FRASIER and also featured Lilith. Looking at IMDb, it seems like you wrote a lot of the episodes of FRASIER featuring Lilith. I have to assume that this was intentional, but it seems unusual, especially given how collaborative writing for a half-hour comedy is. Were you considered to be the Lilith writers? And did that happen for a particular reason?
For whatever reason, David and I seemed to have a flair for that character. I always worry what it says about us. I was a Psych major at UCLA and pretty good at slinging around that psycho-babble so that helped too. In fact, the only use I ever got out of my four years of studying psychology was the ability to better write Lilith’s bullshit.
Got a question? I'm here to help (unless I'm snorkeling)