Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My network notes for UNDER THE DOME

I don’t get it. Every time we've done a series we’ve gotten a shit-ton of network notes. And usually they were very specific.

“Where’s the cat? Wouldn’t the cat be in the bedroom at night?”

“Is there something healthier than cookies she can pack in her kids’ lunch boxes?”

“Did they eat the pizza? They had that big fight in Shakeys but no one ate the pizza they ordered.” (We once got that actual note)

We’d get twenty of these an episode. For a pilot I once had a network guy open an on-set refrigerator to approve the contents.

But, as they say, “that’s the business we chose.” It’s part of the process, and we deal with it.

And then I started watching UNDER THE DOME. Holy shit! This is the most absurd thing I’ve ever seen. This is all okay with everybody? No notes? Well, as someone who had to substitute an apple for cookies and stick a cat in the bedroom, please allow me to give UNDER THE DOME some notes the network apparently felt were too minor to mention.

How do people breathe encased in a dome?

Wouldn’t it get a little hot under the dome? "Big Jim" wears that 1978 brown leather jacket he got at Monkey Wards all day long.

Since the dome is invisible can’t the town communicate with the outside world by just holding up notes? And the outside world could brief them the same way. Chester Mill doesn’t have to use a scratchy ham radio to get info. You'd think they were tracking Amelia Earhart.

"Junior" is afraid his girlfriend, Angie is going to break up with him so his solution is to kidnap her and chain her to a bed in a fallout shelter. First off, they’re under a dome. It’s not like she can leave town. Secondly, that’s your best plan?

And third – how does she go to the bathroom? She’s chained to a bed for three days.

Okay, fourth – isn’t anyone in the town concerned that she’s missing?

Wait – fifth – if you’re being held captive by a psycho, the best way to disarm him might not be to lie and say you fucked some other guy and loved it. In the eight times that Jack Bauer’s daughter was kidnapped in 24 she never did that.

Along those lines, the crazy cop who accidentally shoots his partner when the bullet ricochets off the dome (oops on that one), but breaks out of jail and flees. To where? What’s he thinking? Even in the forest there’s only so much real estate. It’s easier to get lost in the BIG BROTHER backyard.

There’s no mass panic?  You've just been sealed in by something unknown for an unknown period of time.  Just one rogue cop finds this disturbing? There’s no looting or runs on grocery stores? Even the diner stays open. People sit at the counter and sip their coffee and enjoy their pie just like it’s just another sleepy Thursday.  Order that special of the day now because when they're out of it they are OUT of it.   

Two townsfolk are in the diner when the African-American woman looking for her white daughter shows them a picture. The redneck says condescendingly, “How can that be?” The woman explains she and another woman are the parents. He’s very bemused and dismissive. Did anyone notice that his buddy sitting next to him is also African-American? And might that gentleman react? 

Does every DJ on CBS have to look like Venus Fly Trap?

Wouldn’t this dome be sort of a national story? Wouldn’t it be just an absolute circus outside the dome with news and camera crews reporting constantly? 12,000 TV trucks converge on the Zimmerman trial but not one is outside a giant dome that has enclosed an entire town?

There’s a big house fire. Smoke seen for miles. A day after the fire is put out the smoke is completely gone. Wouldn’t it be trapped in the dome and the whole town would be smoky?

Would someone in town, even one person, realize that they’re in for a calamitous water shortage since rain from the sky would bounce off the top of the dome?

The reverend accidentally starts this fire by lighting a document and throwing it in a wastebasket next to drapes. Within five seconds the entire room is engulfed in flames and the reverend is too. We see fire on him. A half-hour later the house is still burning. The reverend is rescued (he’s still alive?), and miraculously he’s not seriously burned. Are you saying that if you spread the word of Jesus you are fire retardant?


When smoking hot redhead, Julia starts to suspect the mysterious stranger (with the mysterious name), Barbie is maybe ominous and scary, is it a good idea to still let him stay in your house?

Julia goes through his backpack when he’s taking a shower (you townies might want to ration that water) and finds the marked map of the town in like a second.  That's like bank robbers walking around with schematics of a Wells Fargo in their pocket.   You think he might hide the map a little better?

Barbie finds his missing dog tags. Julia asks where they were. Instead of the thousand-and-one places he could have said, he picks the bathroom in her house where she could easily catch him on his lie.

So all the teens decide to go to the one kid’s house with a generator so they could party?

And is one of the kids just a tad too stupid when he thinks he can squeeze through the dome because it’s water-soluble and we’re all 70% water?

The idea that there’s this invisible force field and people can’t leave the town – didn’t they already do that on ONCE UPON A TIME? And LOST? And THE SIMPSONS MOVIE?

Since the Chief of Police knew his pacemaker fluttered when he even got near the dome, why did he touch it? Of course it exploded.

That was a great effect when the dome came down and split a cow in half. Did they eat the half of cow?

UPDATE:  Thursday morning I'll post my thoughts on the Emmy nominations.  I'm not expecting one so I won't be biter. Okay... maybe just a little.

57 comments:

Murray said...

Oh, I so agree with your frowning, eyebrow raised notes.

However, one item they revealed answers many of our questions. The Good Kid and his Brain Dead Buddy witnessed guys in hazmat suits spraying water on the dome. The Good Kid pressed his palm against the dome surface where the water struck and announced his felt moisture. His hand was wet. Ergo, therefore, at some molecular level water can get thru and ergo, therefore, air can seep thru.

Why he didn't immediately wave and signal the hazmat scientists of this astounding result is a stupefying mystery. As you say, why the whole community isn't at the dome trying to communicate with the Authorities and vice versa is a head scratcher.

Andy P. said...

I'll give you about half of these. I think what we were supposed to take away from the scene where they fired the water cannon at the dome and Joe learned his hand could get wet by touching the dome ("it's a sieve")is that's how the air stays fresh/circulated. It gets through the dome's pores. And no one has noticed the waitress missing because it's only been three days (her boss at the diner noted she hadn't shown up for a shift but I imagine her brother thought she was off with Junior, something that was addressed last night).

I agree it's weird there's been no attempts by the outside world to communicate with handheld notes and there hasn't been more mass panic. And, oh sweet Jeebus, the writing for the teens on this show is ATROCIOUS. I swear to god the writers on this show have never met a real teen and got their ideas of what they sound like by watching Comedy Central movies.

Yeah, if you examine it too closely, somethings don't hold up. Sadly, I think we live in an age where spectacle and good one liners/dramatic moments trump logic. DOCTOR WHO is very guilty of this.

unkystan said...

I'm trying to remember if we've ever seen any of the outsiders looking in from their vantage point. I don't think so. Perhaps it's like a two way mirror on their side. Just a thought.
I'm just going along for the ride. Thankfully this is a miniseries and will have some kind of conclusion (logical or not)

Murray said...

@unkystan - I keep tripping over the idea of a one-way mirror effect. It would solve so many of these snags, but no. Barbie madly waved down the fire trucks before they hit the dome. Red-haired Reporter Chick then had a wide-eyed moment with her Firefighter husband, looking at each other thru the barrier.

Also, that amazing scene where the big truck slammed straight into the wall would not have happened if the driver of said truck saw his reflection barrelling straight at him.

Generally, though, I have to add this show is right on the cusp for me. I haven't watched yesterday's episode yet. If most of these ridiculous misfires aren't addressed right away, I'm probably taking it off my schedule. I suspect, though, that the creators haven't given a flea's fart worth of time considering the ramifications of such a dome appearing over a town. They just saw a weird scenario where they could create a special "Lord of the Flies" soap opera. Quickly kill off anyone with a lick of common sense and decency. Leave us with the psychos and crooks eating each other

Mike said...

If it's really a dome you can tunnel under it. Otherwise it's a sphere. Just sayin'.

DB said...

The most truly agonizing about watching this show is how many of your (absolutely correct) notes are all answered in the book. This show is so different from the book that the only thing they've kept the same are the characters names and that there's a dome. Why change? Why not have faith in the source material that was the "inspiration" in the first place?

Scooter Schechtman said...

Shows that we'll someday get a miniseries where a comet is going to strike a small town. Attempts to destroy the comet with a rocket fail and the rocket wreckage falls on the only bridge out of town. Just one man has a fallout shelter...

Robert Pierce said...

I second Mike's comment.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Why WOULD the cat be in the bedroom at night? You'd think it'd be out on the streets looking for cheap anonymous cat sex. Somebody's letting Tabby out after dark; I never hear that crazy caterwauling during the daytime.

However, to be fair, I would also wonder what happened to the pizza.

I gave up on expecting sense from television while watching 24. Cell phones never go dead, driving across LA only takes ten minutes, people sometimes come back from the dead, entire love affairs blossom, develop , and end between 3 and 7 PM, and the season is never paced for 24 episodes despite having a show title based on having 24 episodes. Those people would have only had two Bradys in a Bunch.

Hollywoodaholic said...

The characters violate every note on writing good dialogue that Ken provided a few blogs ago. And almost every one of them uses the same phrase, "What the hell?!" (almost 10 times in the first two episodes) which was officially banned by the trite dialogue police decades ago.

Anonymous said...

The. Simpsons. Movie. That ends all discussion on this "hey let's put them all in a dome" gimmick in my opinion.

Nat Gerter (sitcom room veteran) said...

"Why not have faith in the source material that was the "inspiration" in the first place?"

The problem with adapting so much of King's work is that it's so very internal. Much of the book is spent inside of Barbie's head. He's very much writing books, not screenplays. That isn't to say that every decision has been perfect, but trying to put book directly onto screen would not work. (The King works that have worked best on screen are ones where they allowed themselves narrator, which works fine with point-of-view works of reflection, like "The Body" (Stand By Me) and "Rita Hayworth And The Shawshank Redemption" (Dude, Where's My Car?) but would not serve the citywide multicharacter horror drama so well.

GR Kent said...

I watched the first episode. I didn't need to go back for seconds or thirds. To me that's just masochism.

GR Kent said...

oLityMr 847-1661

404 said...

anonymous: For the record, King started working on this book LONG before the Simpsons were ever put in a dome. Back in the 70s, if I recall. And really, so? By that logic we should also say "Cops chasing around town catching bad guys. Already done in DRAGNET. Let's move on."

Anyway, Ken, to second what was said earlier--most of your questions are questions that wouldn't be an issue had the writers not screwed with the book. In the book, Barbie isn't a killer, he's just a drifter. The kids aren't that stupid. Junior's psychosis is more explained (so it makes sense to him, at least) and other things like that. The air gets worse and worse as the book progresses, smoke collects at the top and stays there, etc. But the suits, in all of their wisdom, chose to tell a different story that makes less sense.

I should point out, though, that when the lesbian couple shows the old timey farmer a picture of their daughter, his surprise isn't about race so much as it is anatomy.

Larry said...

Who is that actor that play who you refer to as the "redneck townsfolk". I know I've seen him and it's driving me crazy.

Christodoulos said...

The "town inside a dome" plot is not new, Patricia Anthony used it in Happy Policeman (1995), Clifford D. Simak in All Flesh Is Grass (1965), and there's surely lots more.

I agree with Ken's notes. The thing is, these questions are a big deal only when the show is uninteresting, otherwise they are minor annoyances while we eagerly wait for the next episode. Under the Dome is boring enough to make those problems infuriating.

Bryan said...

Your big picture notes illustrate my big problem with their overly simplified view of King's book. In the book, there was a huge panic rush on the stores almost immediately, until Big Jim rationed food. The fire caused huge air problems and blackened the inside, which led to more panic. It got hot. Some of the characters communicated regularly with the outside. King did a great job with the practical realities, things the talking heads didn't consider.

KathyB said...

Greatly enjoyed your notes. The smoke issue was an indicator that they just were not going to bother with consequences.

Girl in fallout shelter already faring better than in the book. I read a little of it several months ago.

Maybe the half a cow is part of the diner special...for a little while. I was ready to abandon after second week. Other half wants to hang in there. Summer. Not a "reality" show.

chuckcd said...

The first thing I thought was
"you better refrigerate that half of cow".

Cranky Cowboy said...

But....it's Stephen effin' KING.

Steve said...

Larry: The "redneck" is Leon Rippy, he's been in a million things.

Two that immediately pop to mind are Deadwood, as saloon owner Tom Nuttall, and as the doctor transported from the 60s in Alcatraz.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0728132/

Sarah said...

What @DB said is what I said to my husband (who has not read the book) after the first episode. What perplexes me is that Stephen King is one of the Executive Producers of the tv show! So I guess he doesn't mind that the show is *completely* different from his book, with the exception of the character names and the dome. By the way, two thumbs up for the Venus Fly Trap note. Reading that comment is the best thing that's resulted from this show so far! Thanks for the laugh!

Observer said...

It has been three days, and no one has thought to look for the center of the sphere? In the pilot, the good teenager was mapping it out, but then he apparently dropped the whole idea so everyone could charge their iphones.

BigTed said...

The funniest thing about "Under the Dome" is the Amazon.com ads pushing viewers to pre-order a Blu-ray copy of the whole series. Because the first thing you'll want to do when this turkey is over is watch it again.

On the other hand, seeing Rachelle Lefevre in high-def wouldn't be so bad...

Tim W. said...

I couldn't last past the second episode. The dialogue was cringe inducing, too much of the actors acted as if they were chosen for their looks, and too many of the characters seemed like too stock-like.

I do have to reiterate what a couple of others said, though, about the air, water and smoke issue, though. In the second episode, they clearly showed that the water and probably air can pass through the dome (although why wouldn't sound?).

Maybe it came in a later episode, I'm not quite sure why no one has tried to tunnel under the dome, though.

Anonymous said...

I really dislike the fact that they have made Barbie a bad guy in the miniseries, while he was the good-guy protagonist in the book. I don't like any of these characters as portrayed in the miniseries - can't empathize with any of them. Not even any characters you love to hate. Blech. Won't be watching anymore.

Johnny Walker said...

Damn, both Stephen King and Brian K Vaughan are very talented writers. That said, the initial premise isn't exactly amazing, I assumed it would be the execution that made this something special. I guess not.

Johnny Walker said...

Wait, isn't this supposed to be the the year you watch THE WIRE, Ken? Why suffer through illogical unsatisfying nonsense when the king of TV sits waiting to be enjoyed? :)

Brian Phillips said...

In "Zardoz", the Eternals built a dome to keep the undesirables out (sort of an impenetrable baggie, if you will), but there was a big hole at the top for the air to get in.

Gated communities. They don't work too well in the future, either, eh?

Mac said...

And of course you sent back the great news that the cat really pulled the whole scene together. It wasn't working before but no-one could figure out why; it was the lack of cat.

Mac said...

And of course you sent back the great news that the cat really pulled the whole scene together. It wasn't working before but no-one could figure out why; it was the lack of cat.

Mark P. said...

People-under-adversity shows that take themselves way too seriously aren't my cup of tea, but Jericho lasted two seasons, so maybe CBS thinks it knows what it's doing with this.

D. McEwan said...

[SPOILERS FROM THE NOVEL, WHICH MAY NOT APPLY TO THE TV SERIES]

How do people breathe encased in a dome?"

This is a MAJOR point in the excellent novel this series is based on. The dome does allow a bit of air to seep through, but the main reason that that 1000+-page novel only covers 10 days is because they do run out of air, especially after an explosion and toxic chemical fire takes most of the air, replacing it with poisons. In the novel, the dome gets lifted at the very last second to save the tiny handful of survivors at the dome's edge. Another 30 seconds and there would have been no survivors at all. As it is, all but 5 or 10 people (It's been 3 years since I read it) die, and there is definitely no breathable air left.

Since the TV series intends to have the dome there for a considerably longer time (and they're hinting that the dome may have a different explanation and source than the one in the book), it will (I hope) be interesting to learn how they get around their running-out-of-air-in-less-than-two-weeks problem.

"Wouldn’t it get a little hot under the dome?

The dome is actually an energy field, not a glass dome. It would not necessarily get hot under it.

"Since the dome is invisible can’t the town communicate with the outside world by just holding up notes?"

They can, and in the book, they do.

"'Junior' is afraid his girlfriend, Angie is going to break up with him so his solution is to kidnap her and chain her to a bed in a fallout shelter."

She should count her blessings. At the beginning of the book, he's already murdered her just before the dome drops. He's an out-and-out psycho serial killer in the novel.

"Along those lines, the crazy cop who accidentally shoots his partner when the bullet ricochets off the dome (oops on that one), but breaks out of jail and flees. To where? What’s he thinking?"

Yes, well he's no longer thinking clearly.

"There’s no mass panic?... There’s no looting or runs on grocery stores?"

Patience. That is coming. Trust me. I read an interview with King that assured us that the horrifying grocery-market-looting-and-riot sequence from the novel IS in the TV series.

"Does every DJ on CBS have to look like Venus Fly Trap?"

Yes. That probably was an early actual network note: "Your DJ doesn't look enough like Venus Flytrap. Recast."

"Wouldn’t this dome be sort of a national story? Wouldn’t it be just an absolute circus outside the dome with news and camera crews reporting constantly?"

Yes, and that is exactly what happens in the novel.

(Continued below)(WV= "Pothead." How did they know?)

D. McEwan said...

(Continued from above)

"There’s a big house fire. Smoke seen for miles. A day after the fire is put out the smoke is completely gone. Wouldn’t it be trapped in the dome and the whole town would be smoky?"

Absolutely. As I said above, a MASSIVE< toxic chemical fire eventually destroys all the breatheable air. The brown smoke haze hanging over the town grows with each passing day - in the novel. The back cover of the hardback first edition shows a big fire going on, and a huge cloud of black smoke rising and pooling in the air above.

In the book, it's not a literal "dome". It's edges conform precicely to the town's City Limits, which have straight lines and zig-zag about like real city limits do, and there's no indication that the walls of it curve. (There is on the book jacket illustrations, but not in the novel's text.) No one ever finds out how high the walls go to get over them and see if there's a ceiling for the smoke to pool against. But King in the book makes it very clear that each fire is making their air situation worse.

"Would someone in town, even one person, realize that they’re in for a calamitous water shortage since rain from the sky would bounce off the top of the dome?"

It also effectively dams off the stream trough town. This is dealt with in the book. Maybe it's coming. There are, after all, 10 more episodes. Not to mention that they're angling for a second season.

"So all the teens decide to go to the one kid’s house with a generator so they could party?"

The one kid whose parents are trapped outside the dome. I had no trouble buying that. Also, many of the homes have generators, like Julia's, for example. (I found the abundance of generators a bit weird, but then, I've never lived anywhere that has winters like Maine's. Also, don't the generators run by burning a fuel of some sort, thereby using up ever more air?)

"And is one of the kids just a tad too stupid when he thinks he can squeeze through the dome because it’s water-soluble and we’re all 70% water?"

That highly stupid kid would fit right in on almost any "Family" sit-com but Modern Family.

"The idea that there’s this invisible force field and people can’t leave the town – didn’t they already do that on ONCE UPON A TIME? And LOST? And THE SIMPSONS MOVIE?"

Lost's barrier was a time field, very different, and you could pass through it with the right bearings or Jacob's permission. The Simpsons Movie did indeed do that. But King first got the idea for the book and began writing it back in the 1970s. It "defeated" him then, and it was years later that he picked it back up and started over. Imagine how he must have felt to have almost finished this 1000+-page novel and out comes The Simpson's Movie.

Anyway, the Simpson's dome was an actual plastic dome made by humans, and you could get out by digging under it or flying out the hole in the top. Very, very different premises and domes. No one ever gets in or out of the dome while it's in place in the book. A great deal of The Simpson's Movie takes place outside the dome. Almost (but not quite) nothing in the book takes place outside the dome.

I do wish it followed the book far more closely. Some of the changes are so TV. "Smoking-Hot Julia"? In the novel, she's middle-aged. Barbie has not just killed her husband. Junior is already murdering girls. Etc.

D. McEwan said...

Regareding several comments asking why no one has tried to tunnel under it: have you been watching it closely? Junior went down into a deep mine in the second episode and discovered that the dome extends deeply into the earth. They can't tunnel under it. That point was definitely dealt with last week.

Pat Reeder said...

Anonymous Hollywoodaholic said...

"...almost every one of them uses the same phrase, 'What the hell?!' (almost 10 times in the first two episodes) which was officially banned by the trite dialogue police decades ago."

My pet peeve is when characters say, "You...are...UN-be-LIEV-able!" This or variations of it are used constantly on bad sitcoms. They air "Till Death" here, two episodes back-to-back every night, at a late hour when nothing else is on and I'm cleaning my parrots' room, and I hear that on just about every episode. It is Un-be-LIEV-able how annoying that gets.

Sorry, can't comment on "Under the Dome." Saw the promos, thought it looked idiotic, and passed. It did make me hungry for pheasant under glass, though.

Tim W. said...

"Regareding several comments asking why no one has tried to tunnel under it: have you been watching it closely? Junior went down into a deep mine in the second episode and discovered that the dome extends deeply into the earth. They can't tunnel under it. That point was definitely dealt with last week."

Apparently I turned it off before that part. Thanks.

Paul Duca said...

I would think the dome works under the same principle of a terrarium--plants in an airtight space exposed to sun become self-sustaining. Thus the people continue to have oxygen and can grow food.

Brendan D. said...

And if this supposedly takes place in Maine, why is the local police department called a sheriff's department? In Maine, that's a county position, not a town position.

And when in episode one, the female cop says to the male crazy cop, who pulls out a shotgun, "Hey! Put that rifle away!" Hunh? Cops don't know the difference between rifles and shotguns?

And the world is going nutso and you need to... hide your nefarious criminal activities? Oh-kay...

Gave up after two episodes. Can only handle so much stupid.

sunnyrunning.com said...

I haven't watched the show, but I just finished the Stephen King book, which answers a lot of these questions (well, except the ones that they clearly changed the plot to make it more TV-friendly because it's a hella dark book).

So, it sounds like they just did a shitty job adapting it. Questions answered.

BowlingJoe said...

Never mind "Under the Dome", Ken. I can hardly wait to read about your All Star game thoughts, including someone having the great idea of trotting out Neil Diamond again.

Cory said...

Friday Question: Hi Ken, did you notice that there was a screenplay about Larry Gelbart and Bob Hope on the 2011 BlackList. http://files.blcklst.com/2011_black_list.pdf

Did he ever tell any stories about that time in his life?

Anonymous said...

@404
"By that logic we should also say "Cops chasing around town catching bad guys. Already done in DRAGNET."

That's not much defense to diss my more exact point. Cops chasing around town is not a "gimmick" but draws from our everyday, reality, a commonplace unfortunately, like love stories and such. Then you add whatever to the structure and make it yours. So no, the logic isn't the same: compare everything with everything doesn't make your point.

A dome on top of a town, is not our everyday, but a very cumbersome narrative gimmick. Not a commonplace everyday relatable scenario to try this way or that each version, like some machine to tweak and tune. Space travel is more reasonable as a sci fi trope than a dome over a town. Because at least it occurs to some degree now.

@404 and D.Mckewan
Of course it was in the 70s but who cares? Timing is part of the art. Starting to write something is one thing, getting it finished and out there is another. That just means they were aware of the trends of their time, and direct popular imagery available of towns covered by domes as predicted by cultural science-philosopher guru Buckminister Fuller's own wish to cover a city with a geodesic dome, and even in some clear material as has been illustrated over and over popular magazines of the era.

It's not the author's unique idea either. So it has to do with who manages to make use of it when.

And as for distinguishing whether it is plastic or glass, or one can dig deep under it or not, no sorry not really enough to justify the program itself.

Please give the Simpsons more credit if you are going to detail plastic versus glass: you couldn't dig deep under the Simpsons dome either, it was a strange sinkhole that Maggie discovered, and it was only in her sandbox. That's why no one else could manage to get out. And it serves to recall one of many beautiful thought-through details the Simpsons brought to their movie with a dome, and how to use the dome logically, like Homer's spiralling upwards motorcycle ride in the end.

D. McEwan said...

Anonymous (Forget how to spell your own name? You certainly didn't spell mine correctly despite the fact that it's right here on this page more than once, spelt right. Or are you just a coward, afraid to attach your own name to your own comments? My name is Douglas McEwan), you don't write a novel that runs over 1000 pages in a week, or even in a year. The first two drafts were done and the polish was being done when The Simpson's Movie came out. (And when you get to what the dome actually is and why it's there, King's dome could hardly be more different than The Simpson's Dome.)

Not being psychic, King did not know that a similar premise was being done in a cartoon when he was writing his enormous novel until it was almost done. Was he supposed to just dump 1000 pages and years of work in the garbage because a cartoon had sone something with one similar plot element?

And anyway, the satiric comedy of The Simpson's Movie (Which is certainly a good movie) could hardly be more different than the dark, horror novel King wrote.

Your They-couldn't-dig-their-way-out-of-The-Simpson's-Dome comment is idiotic. That sinkhole (and how quickly it spit them out on the other side) showed that dome was shallow It was, after all, just lowered by helicopter, and merely sat on the ground, with no attempt to bury its edges. ANYONE WHO BOTHERED TO could have tunneled out. That no one else got out was a major plot-flaw they only got away with because it was a cartoon no one takes seriously anyway.

Homer's spiraling up the dome on a motorcycle was using the dome "logically"? It was neither logical nor credible. Once again, they got away with it only because it's a cartoon.

The FOCUS of The Simpsons Movie was on The Simpsons themselves, satirical social comedy. Vast amounts of the movie take place elsewhere, rather a lot of it in Alaska.

King's story is solely about what happens inside a town cut off from the world, and never goes outside the dome. They are vastly different stories with one central plot gimmick in common.

By your dumb excuse for "logic," there was no reason for Richard Matheson to write Hell House since Shirley Jackson had already written The Haunting of Hill House, and frankly, Shirley shouldn't have bothered because Henry James had beat her to it with The Turn of the Screw many decades earlier. Why did Jack Finney bother writing The Body Snatchers when Robert Heinlein had already written The Puppett Masters, and both of them had been beaten to the punch by Robert W. Campbell in Who Goes There? But then, maybe humans being taken over by alien invaders from outer space so you never know if the person next to you is human or a space alien out to get you is "a commonplace everyday relatable scenario to try this way or that each version."

Come to think of it, why did William Shakespeare bother to write MacBeth, given that some guy named William Shakespeare had already written Richard III more than a decade earlier? Or is murdering your way into being head of state only to have a short, violent reign and then be killed, another of those commonplace, everyday, relatable scenarios?

As Alfred Hitchcock pointed out to Francois Trauffaut, lots of artists have painted bowls of fruit. No one, except a certain Anonymous dolt, ever says: "He painted a bowl of fruit. Been done already! Get your own act!" As Hitchcock rightly pointed out, it's the artist's style that makes you want to see different artists' bowls of fruit. How did this one light it? How did that one make his brush strokes?

Stephen King's brushstrokes (as well as his plot) are VASTLY different from those of Matt Greoning and company, as are their intentions, the emotions they're going for.

Johnny Walker said...

Thanks for explaining all that, D McEwan.

Aaron Sheckley said...

McEwan, I know you like to think of yourself as King Turd of Pooptown in here, and that your pedanticism has as-yet unknown limitations, but Robert Campbell didn't write "Who Goes There"; John Campbell did.

Ordinarily that's a mistake I wouldn't mention to someone; however, since you're the type of person who would not only mention it but would then publicly eviscerate the person who made the mistake, it seems appropriate to point out your error.

There may be other mistakes in your multi-part manifesto, but I couldn't bring myself read all of it. Even a self-flagellating Filipino Christian at Easter doesn't have the level of masochism to sift through that much McEwan.

Amused said...

The Puppet Masters, not "The Puppett Masters".

John W. Campbell, not "Robert W. Campbell".

Macbeth, not "MacBeth".

Truffaut, not "Trauffaut".

Matt Groening, not "Matt Greoning".

Ian McEwan, not "Douglas McEwan".

404 said...

Ah...nothing sounds like the dell knell of an online argument more than one side being forced to point out spelling and grammar flaws.

pleased to meta said...

There's also the Internet truism that anyone criticizing another's spelling or grammar will inevitably commit some itself, thus undermining its own argument of superiority.

And of course someone else will then deny that in craven pursuit of their own sense of "being above all this".

[All spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors intentionall.]

Anonymous said...

@ D. McEwan

I read your words imagining them spoken in the voice of Comic-book Guy, but it doesn't help you really. You're just being obnoxious and agressive about facts that aren't facts at all. I noticed you skipped the point about the period King was writing, and B. Fuller and geodesic domes and all the rage and trend at the time your poor author was grunting away on his "unique" idea and so on.
And all this nonsense to insist comparing haunted houses, a literary/cinematic tropes that comes from gothic conventions well worn and known, so NO it isn't the same as a DOME on a city, that is just too much of an anamoly. What is it that you just don't want to admit, everything is not everything when it comes to authors re-telling stories, using tropes and so on.

Again, go ahead if that makes you feel good with your logic.

To conclude: I've watched many Simpsons episodes with Comic-Book Guy, and you're not him.

D. McEwan said...

Aaron, Thanks. "King Turd of Pooptown" made me laugh. And you are, of course, right about Campbell's name. I should have crossed the room and checked the elderly paperback of it in on my bookshelf. My memory is getting slippery as I rot.

"Amused" (Another who criticizes from behind a fake name, lacking the balls to sign his own name to his comments), it's "MacBeth," not "Macbeth," just as it's "McEwan" not "Mcewan." Your other corrections are correct. Cousin Ian and I write rather different types of work.

Anonymous (Still spewing from behind "Anonymous, still a craven coward unwilling to admit his own name. Come on, Mom, sign your work), No, I am indeed not the Comic Book Guy. A. I'm not overweight. B. I'm not fictional, and C. I have all three dimensions.

Wait a minute, Comic Book Guy never has the balls to sign or tell his own name to anything also. AH-HA! You're Comic Book Guy!

Will said...

Heres something youre just going to have to accept: Stephen King is a terrible writer


Also lol at the production staff not realizing that, yes, cows actually have internal organs and bones and stuff, and are not just a solid undifferentiated mass of red pulp inside.

D. McEwan said...

Stephen King wrote the excellent novel, not the considerably-less-good TV series, and he is an excellent writer. His giant success is not a fluke.

B-Dog said...

How can you frown AND raise your eyebrows at the same time? Are you Jack Black?

B-Dog said...

Stephen King is not an excellent writer, merely a prolific one. His giant success is not a fluke.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the buildup to the ANTI CLIMAX of the century! What the heck happened? No one got any real answers and we have all been left hanging! I stayed up late for this? I was robbed of a healthy 8 hours of sleep on the pretense that all our questions would be answered and everything would make sense. Thanks B
CBS for NOTHING!