Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From Golden Globes to Giant Breasts

Ken Levine wants you to stop staring at Elizabeth’s breasts

This was a headline I saw recently. It seems the other Ken Levine (the successful one) who created BioShock Infinite, has a character in his very cool new video game named Elizabeth who has a boffo rack. This apparently has caused quite a stir among fanboys. Really guys? You’ve never seen large animated breasts before?

The me who’s not me says he never gave it much thought, and frankly the me who is me hasn’t either. Ken thinks the internet might be too hung up on this. And I have to agree with me… me being him.

I'm reminded of an incident when I was doing a pilot. We got a network note that our leading lady’s breasts were too large and were distracting. Yeah, like we could go back to the writers room and just fix that.

But the network took this very seriously. Camera angles were discussed, wardrobe options reviewed, everything short of surgery – this insane conference lasted half an hour. Highly-paid, well-educated broadcast executives debating an actresses' "Golden Globes" size. For thirty minutes.

By the way, you’d think they’d want them big. No wonder they were the last place network back then (and now, coincidentally).

Ultimately, we did nothing. I made sure she didn’t wear tassels, but otherwise we shot the show as is. And the result? The network didn’t pick us up. Instead they ordered a variety/sketch show starring a Japanese singing group that performed comedy bits in broken English. Our show was better. Our script was far better. So why did they get on the air and we didn’t? Here’s the only explanation I can think of:
I know I’m speaking for Ken Levines everywhere when I say –

If Elizabeth’s tits are too large for you move farther back from the monitor. 

23 comments:

Mirror James said...

I just wanted to say, Ken, that you and Ken Levine are my two favourite people named Ken Levine.

RockGolf said...

Hey! Don't kick Pink Lady & Jeff around! If it wasn't for that show, Mark Evanier wouldn't have as many stories to tell about how bad it was.

Brian Phillips said...

From a TV Guide advertisemnt:

Jeff(Altman): You girls are the biggest thing to hit Japan.

Mei or Kei: No, Jeff! The biggest thing to hit Japan is Godzilla!

I wonder how funny this show would have been dubbed into Japanese.

Johnny Walker said...

As a fan of the other Ken Levine, too, and as a member of the generation who grew up playing video games, I have to say I understand where this consternation comes from.

You have to understand that almost every female character in video games is reduced (both in personality and looks) to a sex object designed (apparently) to titillate teenage boys.

Consider that infamous video game character, Lara Croft. In the first game she was heralded as a real hero, a female Indiana Jones. A few short years later, her breasts had swelled and players were rewarded with different costumes to parade her around in as they played.

I can't imagine Harrison Ford appreciating his hero being given the same treatment.

So, yes, this all gets very tiresome after a while, and quite frankly, embarrassing. It would be nice if just once there was a female character who behaved somewhat like a real woman, rather than a lonely male's fantasy.

It's not like our culture is gasping for sexualised images of women, after all. Last time I checked, an endless supply of porn was just a click away.

Unlike your good self, Ken, it seems most video game producers aren't all that interested in making three-dimensional female characters.

The one bright light at the end of the tunnel is this recent groundswell for change.

Ray Barrington said...

Ken: This post is an excellent observation on how male society objectifies women, ignoring their inner qualities and limiting them to providing shapely background, judging them on looks instead of talent.

By the way, you never did mention who the babe with the big ta-tas was.

iain said...

Yes, but did you end every show with 2 cute Japanese women in a hot tub? Well??

This is the kind of forward thinking the Network Executives want, Mr. Not The Bio-Shock Guy Levine.

wv: "Hotiness" -see also, tv shows ending with 2 cute Japanese women in a hot tub.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I'm only surprised they *didn't* haul the actress in and demand she have surgery.

wg

Elf said...

How coincidental is it that I was just on Mark Evanier's site before coming here? Pink Lady indeed...

BigTed said...

I have noticed a trend on TV lately of female doctors, lawyers, scientists and cops wearing outfits that display as much cleavage as your average Vegas cocktail waitress'. It's as if a memo went out saying "damn the realistic depiction of women professionals, we know what glues guys' eyes to the screen!"

Infauxtainer said...

If Hollywood is truly "High school with money," then I'd say you were lucky to get away with a half hour.

Chris said...

Here's a writer's room question: I can't help but ask myself, especially when I watch a Chuck Lorre sitcom: how does writing a scene work in that kind of environment: do writers pitch out entire scenes or do they "talk" out the dialogue and somebody just takes down what they bounce back and forth?

mcp said...

"BigTed said...
I have noticed a trend on TV lately of female doctors, lawyers, scientists and cops wearing outfits that display as much cleavage as your average Vegas cocktail waitress'. It's as if a memo went out..."

To the person who wrote the memo:

Thank you! Thank you!

Paul Duca said...

Iain...the girls didn't end up in the tub. I saw one episode on the late, great Trio cable network, and the tub's occupants were guests Larry Hagman and Teddy Pendergrass, and series regular Jim Varney, before he came Ernest T. Worrell.

Biddy Bytes said...

Speaking of groundswell of support, what we will never see however, in animated form (unless it caters to specific audience) is a supremely-endowed male character as enticer to women. Just too threatening for the Hollywood establishment (mostly male) to create, unleashing them as suggestive of reality.

And MCP...they're all in push-up bras that make even 30A seem noteworthy.

Finally, Johnny Walker--it's "teat-a-late."

Johnny Walker said...

Forgive me for not getting it... Is that titillate in a Spanish accent?

J S Swanson said...

Apparently there were more than enough boobs involved in the whole process. You excluded.
Perhaps in your biography you might title the chapter about this experience:
A tempest in a D-Cup.

Kaijinu said...

um, no offense but, I'd seen more gratuitous breasts than that. but whatever the fanboys want, so be it...(mumbles mumbles)

Anonymous said...

To be honest, an animated show or video game with a supremely-endowed male character would probably only entice other male characters. At least that's the impression I get from the women I know. On the other hand, if he had a nice butt . . .

estiv said...

@Johnny Walker, Biddy Bytes is riffing on the fact that the word "tit" comes from the word "teat." It's sort of like Steve Martin's joke about how "chigger" is a rude word, that the polite term is "Chee-gro."

James said...

In case anyone wonders who the person was who watched Pink Lady & Jeff (the ratings weren't entirely 0.0), that would be me.

(I didn't say I enjoyed it.)

spreng said...

How do the men on Modern Family actually concentrate when shooting scenes with Sofia?

Vidor said...

***By the way, you’d think they’d want them big.***

Is that really true, though? Think about leading ladies--not actresses cast as eye candy or specifically for T&A, but the actresses usually cast as the leads in television or movies. How many of them are strikingly busty? On TV right now I can think of Kat Dennings on "2 Broke Girls". Maybe Jenna Fischer from "The Office". Movies--Salma Hayek, who was a borderline A-lister for a while. Lindsay Lohan's out of work.

Vidor said...

EDIT: Oh yeah, Sofia Vergara as noted above. Scarlett Johansson if you're talking about movie actresses.