It’s 10-4 good buddy (a Citizens Band radio reference that six people will get). Here are this week’s Friday Questions:
Edward Copeland asks:
While I'm sure it's wonderful to win, with some of the asinine rule changes the TV Academy makes year after year and some really bizarre choices over what you think are far worthier candidates, does a small part of you ever think, "Gee -- these awards are so screwed up most of the time, while I'm happy I won, I almost wonder if it's worth it to be associated with that organization."
No. It’s not the Academy that chooses these winners, it’s the membership. Blame them for Jeff Daniels beating Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Damien Lewis, and Bryan Cranston.
The TV Academy also provides a lot of other services to the community besides hosting award shows. They have many worthwile programs to promote the legacy of television and keep its membership informed on such issues as health care and the latest trends. Check out their website.
As for the Emmy categories, the Academy is between a rock and a hard place. Television per se is expanding in all kinds of directions. New content is being providing on platforms that didn’t exist five years ago. How they not include them?
It’s not like the Motion Picture Academy. Things haven’t changed in a hundred years. Movies that get shown in theaters that satisfy certain qualifying guidelines are eligible. Period. Where they’re shown afterwards is of no concern. TV is a lot trickier. All in all, I think the TV Academy does a great job with a difficult task.
From Tony Tower:
definitely have my own financial and creative quibbles with this new practice of tv shows like BREAKING BAD and MAD MEN splitting their last seasons. But I'm surprised that agents and unions aren't making more of a fuss. If, say, John Slattery's deal gets him a raise for a sixth season of MAD MEN (with an expected or established bump for a seventh), and then AMC/Lionsgate decides to shoot and air two sets of seven episodes a year apart from each other, but call them "the sixth season". . . well, *I* think it's somewhat dirty pool, fiscally. Do you anticipate this becoming an issue for the industry if the trend continues?
This has been an issue for some time now.
For many years the standard model has been a show films so many episodes a season, and they’re shown that season. A hit network sitcom starts filming in August and concludes in March. They make 22 episodes that are aired between September and May. Actors and producers have bumps in pay and promotions built into their deals for being picked-up for the next season. It’s a yearly cycle with well-defined parameters.
The Disney Channel found a way around that. Because their sitcoms all feature children actors they film as many episodes as they can while the kids are still in their current stages. And even though the episodes get doled out over several seasons, Disney claims they were all filmed during one “season.” And thus they avoid bumps in pay and promotions.
What’s the solution? I don’t know. How do you put a number on the number of shows produced over one period? What’s a “season?” For a Disney show it might be 26. For MAD MEN it might be 13. And sometimes you make more shows in one season to accommodate a star who goes off to do a movie or gets pregnant. Where do hour episodes and super-sized episodes fit in? My head is exploding.
Still, it seems to me studios are taking advantage. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Splenda is next:
I have been watching Everybody Loves Raymond reruns and noticed that there was never a B-story on the show. Every episode focused solely on one story. Does that make it easier for the writing staff or more difficult than writing a script with a B or even a C story?
Depends on the show and number of characters in your ensemble. If you have eight cast members and you want to give them all something to do, it’s hard to construct stories that will do that. Invariably two or three get slighted. But if you have a B-story you can service them as well.
Imagine trying to plot one story only and involve everyone on MODERN FAMILY? And then do that 24 times a year. My head is exploding again.
On MASH we always had a least two stories going and sometimes three. They did the same on FRIENDS. The problem we encountered (and I suspect our friends at FRIENDS did too) is that when you had three stories it was like the chair with one leg always shorter than the other three. Two of the stories would be better than the third. So you’d beef up the third story and now it was better than one of the other two. So you found yourself in an endless cycle.
On CHEERS we had the flexibility of doing a single story if it happened to involved everybody (like a Bar Wars episode) or B-stories if the primary story just featured one or two characters (like a Sam & Diane story).
You also have the flexibility that one story doesn’t have to carry the entire episode. You may plot out a story and discover there are only two or three steps. You won’t have to pad it to take up the entire show.
As for serving the actors, the RAYMOND cast knew that there would be weeks they’d be light in the show and others they’d be heavy.
I don’t know if it was harder or easier to plot just one story an episode but RAYMOND was textbook on how to do it right.
What’s your Friday Question? Please leave it in the comments section.