Some Friday Questions to get your weekend off on the right foot. Leave yours in the comments section. Thanks!
Chris starts us off:
Any thoughts on Lena Dunham's show, GIRLS?
Do you think a 25 year-old having their own show on HBO (as creator, executive producer and head writer) is a good thing or just a very unlikely accident?
I’ve only seen one episode so my opinion might change in subsequent weeks. I liked it but wasn’t knocked out. Not like the critics. If you believe the hype, Lena Dunham is the greatest thing since Velcro. Reviewers are all raving about how fresh her voice is, but people in the ‘20s I’ve talked to all feel she’s not saying anything new. It may seem new to me and 50 year-old critics but not them. I’d be interested in your review, especially if you’re a member of that generation.
I’m just a little surprised by how completely enamored critics have been with this show. The plot hinges on Lena’s parents cutting her off financially, which is fine, but they do it effective immediately. I'm sorry but that's not real. They’d give her some warning -- a month or two maybe. For a show that is supposed to be so authentic that is just a contrived plot device. And not one critic questioned that?
Everybody is doing backflips over the writing. And it’s certainly good – very clever rhythms and at times fearless -- but you go the whole pilot without knowing anybody’s name or fully understanding the relationships. Um, funny insightful lines are great but these are important elements, folks.
Still, I thought the show was very promising and I look forward to more episodes. Nothing would please me more than to do a follow-up in a few weeks and say I was pre-mature – the show is great!
And to answer the second part of your question – I love that a 25-year-old with such talent and potential has her own show on HBO. Age isn’t important to me. All I care about is that the creator have a strong voice. Lena certainly has that. And better tattoos than Diablo Cody.
Hi Ken, you mentioned that there are some TV critics you like.
With a trillion websites doing recaps & critiques, whose voice cuts through the clutter for you?
After taking critics to task in the last answer, the ones I admire (even though I don’t always agree with them) are Maureen Ryan at the Huffington Post, Alan Sepinwall at HitFix, Ken Tucker at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, Aaron Barnhart at KansasCity.com, Phil Rosenthal at the Chicago Tribune, Matt Roush at USA Today, and the always hilarious Melanie McFarland at AOL TV.
What show is your biggest disappointment for cancellation because of time slot / time changes?
The week before when we had a decent lead-in we got good numbers. In fact, we might have even won our time slot. But we were behind the eight ball from day one because we were an inherited show. The previous regime developed and picked up the series. When we were renewed for the second season (by the skin of our teeth) somehow in the big People Magazine two-page ad for CBS’s fall lineup our show was “accidentally” left out. Every other show but ours made it. Not one person in publicity, programming, or marketing apparently noticed this.
Les Moonves once told me ALMOST PERFECT was the best show he ever cancelled. Somehow that didn’t make me feel any better.
And finally, Kev asks:
Any thoughts on episode titles? I recently read a blog entry somewhere (wish I could remember which blog it was so I can give it credit) where the author was critical of any titles which gave away the direction of the story. Are there anything you aim for/try to avoid when naming episodes?
I’ve never liked when episode titles are made public – either on screen or now on your cable, satellite, or DVR menus. There is the chance they could give away the plot. When we write our episodes we’re always conscious of this and purposely assign titles that are vague. Of course the network promos then pretty much kill any plot points so who cares what the title is?