Got a Friday Question?
I noticed this year that nearly every pilot features a really hot cast. But a lot of the enduring classic sitcoms actually feature a cast of average-looking people. Seinfeld, Golden Girls, Cheers, Two 1/2 Men, Everybody Loves Raymond etc. So why do new shows only feature hot people? Is this a case of network executives being out of touch and just assuming we only want to look at hot people? Will us average people ever get to relate to a tv show again?
Very simply: the networks want pretty people. Which is fine, but those of us who produce comedies want FUNNY people. If they are also beautiful that’s fine… as long as their beauty doesn’t take away from who that character is. It makes no sense to create a character who’s a nerd and insecure because he can’t get dates and cast Justin Timberlake.
The greatest example of this is the U.K. and American versions of COUPLING. The British version, created by the insanely talented Steven Moffat featured a wonderful cast of rich characters – flawed, goofy, real. And he cast the show accordingly.
When NBC, during Jeff Zucker’s rein of terror, adapted it for U.S. audiences they cast J. Crew models. Just compare the two casts. I bet you can tell which was the US version.
Powerhouse Salter wonders:
What would you say justifies writing a rain or wind scene into a script? I mean, why introduce the production cost and logistics of staging fake rain or wind instead of just writing the scene for fair weather?
Yes, it’s an added expense but you just have to decide whether (or “weather”) it’s worth it.
Ed Blonski asks:
What does a "story consultant" do? Like Jay Folb on MASH.
First, understand that all these titles you see on the screen are made up. In Jay’s case, he was a full-time staff writer. But usually when you see “consultant” that means the writer is part-time in some capacity. Either he comes in one night a week to help punch up the script, or works on staff for a day or two. The terms are all negotiated. But whatever title you see, just change it in your mind to “he works here.”
Jill Pinnella Corso has a question about my post on winning an Emmy.
Hilarious! Did you really get locked out?
Yes. You think the Gods of Show Business were trying to tell me something?
It's a big achievement. Did you feel extremely proud? Or paranoid that now something bad must happen? Or anxious about living up to it? Did it open any doors (excluding the one that locked on you)?
I don't know how you felt but I hope you were and are very proud.
I felt extremely proud. Not being remotely athletic, it was the first trophy I had ever won.
I never felt anxious about trying to live up to it. So many things have to fall into place. You can write the greatest script of the century but if it’s for THE WIRE you’re not going to get an Emmy. Some of the best scripts I've ever written are unproduced pilots and screenplays.
Does winning open any doors? Probably. For awhile. But the great thing is you’re now forever identified as an Emmy winner. This comes in real handy if you’re single or go to your high school reunion.
What’s your question? Please leave it in the comments section and have a great weekend (in that order).