@kenlevine never meant to disrespect older scribes in the biz. Only thoughts on what makes HE special and my rapport with the writers on HE
@kenlevine also, I appreciate your response and btw Cheers and Mash were two shows that made me wanna be an actor....
Thanks, Zachary. And like I said, I’m a fan.
Now to some of the comments. Let me respond to a few.
Ger Apeldoorn said...
Older writers also can add focus to a show. In my experience, younger writers are all over the place. Like a kindergarten full of screaming kids, indeed.
Then again, isn't that what youth is about? Reinventing the wheel, not moving forward, but doing the same old stuff in such a way that it seems new? Would an older writer not try to add meaning and feeling to a situation and set-up that doesn't deserve it?
No, I don’t think experienced writers would try to add emotion where it’s not warranted. That was always my issue with WILL & GRACE. They’d have 21 minutes of hilarious burlesque and then some overly sappy moment that felt completely bogus and contrived. The key to strong emotional scenes is that they have to be earned. Experienced writers might re-think the basic story you were planning to tell. They’d find a way to ground it, make it more real, find problems that were more substantial. And if the original story was too inconsequential, they might suggest that you just scrap it entirely.
I think of baseball. Experienced managers like Joe Torre had lifelong baseball people like Don Zimmer as his bench coach and right-hand man. Zimmer didn’t have to communicate with the young players (who have no idea who he was other than some old guy who really shouldn’t be allowed to wear a baseball uniform anymore), but just be there to lend his expertise to the manager and give him the benefit of his 137 years in baseball.
Speaking of ageism, what do ya'll think about Dan Harmon releasing yet ANOTHER recording bomb of Chevy Chase? Is show-running like being in the Mafia? Sure looks like he's trying to exterminate Chevy.
In case you missed this latest wrinkle, another voicemail from Chevy to COMMUNITY showrunner, Dan Harmon has “mysteriously” surfaced after a year. On the tape Chevy basically tells Harmon that his show sucks. Translation: Chevy Chase wants more lines and screen time on the show. So who’s the asshole in this case (sounds like I have the makings of a great reality show)? Simple. Whoever leaked that tape to the public. And considering it was on Harmon’s voicemail, I would kinda sorta maybe have to point the finger at him, wouldn’t you say? God, it kills me that I have to take Chevy’s side.
It seems to me that good writing is good writing, regardless of the age of the writer. It's true that younger writers would have a better handle on the dialog of their generation ... but is that all there is to a show?
Actually, dialog is the easy part. People think that coming up with jokes is the real ordeal, when, in fact, it’s structuring a good fresh story that causes showrunners to call the Betty Ford Center their vacation home.
From several readers there was a FRIENDS backlash – blaming that show for starting a genre of attractive young twentysomething pals looking for love and career advancement in glossy urban settings. FRIENDS was a very well-done show, but I must say, I don't quite understand why viewers of these new shows care about these young people. Wouldn’t audiences hate them for all being in the Lucky Sperm Club? They’re gorgeous, they have amazing apartments, they have cool jobs – oh no, they might not win the scavenger hunt! Who gives a shit?
But apparently audiences do care about these pretty people. Maybe it’s wish fulfillment, maybe they have short memories and forgot how their high school cheerleaders wouldn’t piss on their heads if their hair was on fire. But it's another perk of the Lucky Sperm Club. If the camera loves 'em then so does America.
Little Miss Nomad said:
I don't think catchphrases or crutches are really what Happy Endings is doing so much as developing and depicting the special language any tight-knit group is gonna have. I dig that.
So can I.
That said, "A-mah-zing" is the worst, and I haven't noticed the how-mey/homey thing, but that's irritating as well.
SEINFELD and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER got around that problem by creating their own glossary of expressions. “Spongeworthy,” “Shrinkage,” “Suit Up,” etc.
Thanks to everyone who chimed in. I love posts that spark debate. To me, that's a Happy Ending.