Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Questions

Hello from Phoenix where I’ve prepared some answers to Friday Questions and enlisted a special guest to help out on one.

Ben Koch leads off:

I know you hate 2 Broke Girls, but it brings up a question I've always wanted to know. Whenever Jennifer Coolidge comes on screen the first time, the studio audience goes wild with Ooohs. I remember this happening with Christina Applegate on Married With Children. I'm sure it happens with other shows too. Why do audiences do this? Is it only reserved for the sexy/slutty character? Does the stage manager encourage it? It drives me batty.

Usually they applaud because they like the character and are encouraged to cheer. Some warm up guys are instructed to ask the audience to cheer entrances. And usually, the guest stars are hidden from the audience until their entrances so there’s that surprise factor.

Personally, I hate the convention. It takes the viewer out of the show, slows down the pace, and is very self-congratulatory. On my shows, if we have a guest star or recurring character we introduce him to the audience before the show and specifically ask the audience not to cheer when they enter the scene.

But it’s just a stylistic choice. There are producers who love the theatricality of it. I don’t.

From Shawn K:

TRIO Network used to have a series called, "Brilliant but Cancelled". It was made up of shows that were well written, yet short lived.

What shows would be on your version of "Brilliant but Cancelled"?

Besides my own of course? THE PRACTICE starring Danny Thomas from the mid 70’s and GOOD TIME HARRY from the late 70’s. Both were created and written by Steve Gordon, who wrote and directed the film ARTHUR and was one of the best comedy writers I ever met.  You can read more about him here. 

Another terrific writer is Richard Rosenstock. He created two hilarious Jewish-themed comedies – THE MARSHALL CHRONICLES for ABC and FLYING BLIND for Fox.  Both deserved better fates. 
ALL IS FORGIVEN is a forgotten gem. Produced by the Charles Brothers, it starred Bess Armstrong and was set in the world of daytime soap operas. And along those lines, the producers of TAXI did a short-lived series starring Martin Short called THE ASSOCIATES.

Tom Patchett & Jay Tarses created a brilliant show for NBC in the 80’s called BUFFALO BILL starring Dabney Coleman. He played the funniest asshole in sitcom history. The series is available on DVD. Tom & Jay also created OPEN ALL NIGHT in the early 80’s about a 24 hour convenience store that was brilliant, cancelled, and weird.

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS for NBC was another good one… and leads to my next question:

Chris asks:

Dave Hackel's failed 1995 show, The Pursuit of Happiness, has an interesting piece of trivia attached to it on imdb:

"The episode that aired on October 10, 1995 featured a wedding. The other sitcoms aired that night - NewsRadio, Frasier and Wings, all featured a funeral. This was an NBC promotion capitalizing on the popularity of the film Four Weddings and a Funeral, but switching the ratio between weddings and funerals with one alteration (the "four" became "three")."

Were you there on Frasier/Wings for this? Do you have any info on how that happened/how much the writers hated doing funeral episodes just because the network said so?

I was around but just on the sidelines.  To better answer that question, I turned to Dave Hackel himself.

To be honest -- all I remember about that NBC promotion was the name -- "Three Funerals & A Wedding." It's been almost twenty years ago so I didn't even remember that until I got your e-mail. I don't recall if we had planned a wedding show and the others were asked to come up with funerals or if it was the other way around. NBC was always trying to find a way to promote an evening at a time. I'm sure you remember that they'd do it around holidays, too. Everyone asked to do a Halloween show, or St. Paddy's Day, etc. But two things were always true -- we worked for them and every show is always desperate for promotion -- so we did what they asked.

Thanks, Dave.

And finally, an Anonymous person has a baseball question, which is timely this time of year:

When you're doing baseball game on TV, do you watch the action live or on the monitor? I've watched baseball and football games this week where the announcers seemed clueless about what just happened.

I generally watch the field. When a ball is hit deep to the outfield or an outfielder is attempting a tough catch I quickly check to see where the umpire is. His eyes are the only ones that count really. So I’ll glance to him to see if a ball is a home run or the outfielder trapped it, etc.

Sometimes, of course, my view is obscured by the stands or an outfielder tries to make a leaping catch 400 feet away and I will sneak a peek at the monitor.

And then I use the monitor a lot to watch replays.

When I’m calling a game on TV (as opposed to radio) I watch the monitor between each pitch. My job is primarily to add captions to the pictures. If the director is showing the manager in the dugout and I start talking about the flags in centerfield I look like an idiot. So I follow the screen. On radio, to quote the great Ernie Harwell – nothing happens until I say it does.

What’s your question? Leave it in the comment section. Thanks!

63 comments:

Richard J. Marcej said...

I'm not sure if this series was brilliant (since I was only 12 years old when it aired) but I wish there was a way to watch episodes of the 1970's Norman Lear series "Hot L Baltimore". I'd like to see it again if only just to see if my fondness for it is clouded by nostalgia or if it was actually a brilliant but canceled show.

Anonymous said...

I'm ashamed to say this cause I pride myself in having good taste, but despite all of it's faults, I laugh at "2 Broke Girls" (which my wife insists I watch with her each week). Yes there are lot of groaners and they are never subtle, but there are a number of hearty laughs in every episode. Please note that I am posting this anonymously...

Stu West said...

The show OPEN ALL NIGHT was based on, the British sitcome OPEN ALL HOURS, lasted somewhat longer and is still fondly remembered 40 years on from the original pilot airing. In fact, the BBC just announced a reunion special despite approximately 30% of the cast having passed away.

Daniel Butterfield said...

Three Funerals and a Wedding on NBC! I remember that night when it happened.

NewsRadio's DVD commentary for their contribution explains how the network was not pleased with their interpretation of the assignment--"Rat Funeral".

Anonymous said...

Brilliant but canceled. "The Famous Teddy Z" and "Frank's Place." Both gems from Hugh Wilson.

Carson said...

I have a question about the sound stages? Are they air conditioned? I work in local tv news and our studio is always an ice box to keep everyone from sweating and because of the heat from the lights. But I've noticed some sitcom actors appear to be sweating like the proverbial whore in church, especially say before the 1980s.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Anonymous: Agree about THE FAMOUS TEDDY Z. Fortunately, a friend taped almost all the episodes for me.

Daniel Butterfield: I thought "Rat Funeral" was brilliant - and now even more so. :)

BETTER OFF TED had one of the funniest single episodes I've ever seen on TV - the fourth episode, "Racial Sensitivity".

wg

Rinaldo said...

I remember OPEN ALL NIGHT fondly, and can still sing most of its catchy theme song (which set up the whole backstory). But I do think it's one of the rare cases which I'd pin down its lack of wide appeal to a piece of miscasting.

Normally one doesn't even think of miscasting on a weekly series, because the actors we see are the only ones who'll ever play the parts, and we get used to them. But Susan Tyrrell played the discontented wife realistically, as if in a dire drama about people whose lives hadn't worked out as they'd hoped, and it brought the whole atmosphere down and made it depressing to watch. All the other actors, and the writing, were tops.

ALL IS FORGIVEN -- yes, that was different and fun. It did rerun on cable (A&E?) for a while after its cancellation, so I had a chance to rewatch and savor it.

Gregg said...

Ah, BUFFALO BILL. I have a friend who still hasn't forgiven NBC for cancelling that. At least he has the DVDs to console himself with. Most short-lived TV shows from that era, the best we usually have are somebody's fuzzy transfers from VHS tape.

Phil In Phoenix said...

Ken, here's a Friday Question for today; What are you doing in Phoenix?

Carol said...

I remember liking a show called Jennifer Slept Here starring Ann Gillian. She was a ghost of a movie actress from probably the Golden Age of Hollywood, and this kid moves into her house with his family and he's the only one who could see her. Ridiculous premise, but I enjoyed it. They even managed to have an episode that made me cry.

For a truly brilliant but cancelled series, I'd have to go with Wizards and Warriors from 1982. Loved that show.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

Didn't the audience used to go wild everytime Kramer entered the room on SEINFELD, and after a while, the producers had to ask the audience not to do that to keep from disrupting the flow of the show?

SANFORD AND SON was even worse: EVERY character that entered the scene was met with a applause, cheers, whistling, and the actors would just freeze there until the audience calmed down before resuming the scene. Imagine if that were a real-life scenario: a friend of yours pops over for a visit, and when you answer the door, the two of you just stand there in silence for a moment before carrying on your conversation. Part of the reason I prefer laugh tracks over live audiences.

John (not McCain) said...

I remember ALL IS FORGIVEN. And what I remember is that the pilot was brilliant, one of the best sitcom episodes I've ever seen, and the subsequent episodes were much, much less so.

And I'll second that request for HOT L BALTIMORE. I was about the same age also, and I remember literally rolling on the floor laughing, but can't remember enough to know if it was really good.

chuckcd said...

Maybe it's because Jennifer was Stifler's mom in American Pie.

chuckcd said...

BTW, I loved Buffalo Bill. Dabney Coleman and Geena Davis were great in that.

On my list would be "When Things Were Rotten".

Unknown said...

My favorite cancelled comedy from long ago is Fernwood 2Nite which became America 2Night the next year and then was gone. It starred Martin Mull and Fred Willard as talk show hosts, and was hilarious.

bill said...

One of my favorite shows as a kid was the short lived Hey, Landlord, staring Sandy Baron. I'm surprised Sandy didn't have a bigger career in TV since he was so brilliant in Seinfeld.

Brian Phillips said...

The strangest instance of applause for characters was "Another Day", with Bert Convy. Does ANYone else remember this show?

Hmmm?

I barely do, but yes, every character's first entrance and the opening of the show got applause and the show didn't last a season.

I'd also like to stick up for the first run of "Grapevine" on CBS. Each show had recurring characters, but they were not the stars. The stars for the episode were a couple that in some way knew the recurring characters and the story was how the "stars" got married. Each episode ended with the phrase, "...that's all I heard."

Not to be outdone, Fox saw that "Grapevine" lasted six weeks on CBS and seemed to say, let's do the same thing with a drama! Thus was born "TriBeCa", which was also very good and lasted slightly longer. The first two episodes are nothing less than classic. The first episode focused on two brothers and during the course of the story a homeless man's things are disturbed. The homeless fellow is in one scene in the first show and in the second show the homeless man is the focus.

I keep hearing about "Thanks", because Sarah Vowell liked it and Phoef Sutton was involved, but I cannot find ANY footage.

The same goes for "Dear Diary", which was a failed pilot, starring Bebe Neuwirth that ended up released theatrically and winning an Oscar.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the short-lived "Stark Raving Mad" featuring Tony Shalhoub and Neil Patrick Harris.

Brian Phillips said...

Also, I saw one episode of a show called, "Wish You Were Here" on CBS. It was about a stockbroker who quits his job, takes his savings and travels around the world. The show consisted of videos he sent back to his family and the reactions of the family watching said videos. It played a lot better than I'm making it sound!

Mitchell McLean said...

I wish "Get a Life," starring Chris Elliot had had a longer run.

Matt said...

I remember hearing about HOT L BALTIMORE but never saw it. Where I was living at the time, the local ABC affiliate found the show "inappropriate" and chose not to carry it.

Garry Marshall's shows got to be the worst about everything coming to a halt whenever a cast member made his or her first entrance, so the audience could scream and cheer for thirty seconds. And you just knew those reactions weren't sincere. Okay, Fonzie, yeah. You could see the audience cheering Fonzie. But Potsie? Was there anybody out there in the live audience who really gave a damn that Potsie had just walked in?

Ted said...

I've read if Norman Lear didn't encourage audience reactions, he didn't discourage them, either. It was all part of the thing he had about wanting his shows to evoke the era of live television. (That's why he preferred tape over film. Tape looked "live.") Having the audience applaud an entrance by a popular character doesn't bother me. What happens more often than not, though, is that you get the kind of extended screaming, hooting and hollering that crosses the line into just plain annoying.

Om "I Love Lucy" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show" the only applause I ever remember hearing for entrances was reserved for guest stars.

The Curmudgeon said...

The Associates was on when I was in law school -- so maybe it's just that I identified with it more than the average viewer, but I thought it was hilarious and I've been a Martin Short fan since. But it was Wilfrid Hyde-White who stole that show.

lawrence said...

I think I was the only person who liked Mary Hartman, Mary hartman.

Lorimartian said...

Ah, James Cromwell, Richard Masur, and Conchata Ferrell in Hot L Baltimore. Very funny, as I recall. Thanks for the memory.

Anonymous said...

Loved the Associates, Fernwood, Mary Hartman and especially. Buffalo Bill. But one question. I haven't bought the DVD because I've heard that they edited out the Hit The Road, Jack, which was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen. Is that still the case? Also, did they leave in the episode with the zillion Jerry Lewis doppelgängers? - Marvw

municnc 637 said...

The Associates was on when I was in law school, too. I had a night class when it was on and I remember taking a cab home those nights (rather than the subway) to catch the last 20 minutes. I remember one episode where John Houseman reprised his Professor Kingsfield charcter from Paper Chase. About 6 months after Associates was cancelled, I could finally afford a VCE.

Richard J. Marcej said...

I also liked "Mary Hatman, Mary Hartman" as well as it's spinoff "Fernwood2nite" (which became "America2nite"). Loved the satire and irony (the show was dripping in it). Though I think his follow-up, the gender-switched society "All That Glitters" (featuring a pre-WKRP Gary Sandy) was unimpressive.

Hamid said...

Regarding the convention in some shows of audiences applauding or whooping a guest star, there was an episode of Spin City which made me cringe with its use of the device for Christopher Lloyd's guest appearance. I love Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd and their screen partnership in the Back to the Future trilogy was wonderful, and having them reunite in the episode was enough in itself, but Spin City overdid the self-referential approach not only by having fake applause on the laugh track when he appeared but also by giving his and Fox's characters lines about it being "like stepping back in time" and that "it's important to think about the future". They might as well have had Lloyd's character say "Great Scott!" and Fox say "That's heavy".

chalmers said...

I love the final scene of the second episode of "All is Forgiven" for both Bess Armstrong's reaction and the 10-second laugh from the studio audience.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmXUJZUOHaQ

There were a lot of good people on both sides of the camera there. Maybe a few too many talented actors, in fact. In addition to the romantic leads, I can see how you'd want to give good moments to David Alan Grier, Shawnee Smith, Carol Kane, and others.

If it had a little time to grow, they might have focused a bit better and had a long run.

D. McEwan said...

Lawrence, I can assure you that you are not the only person who loved Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I was highly addicted to it. I have photos of myself (in a HIDEOUS '70s liesure suit) on the set of Mary Hartman's kitchen and her parents, The Shumays, home set, having been privileged to visit the shoot when one of the writers took a shine to me after hearing a comedy piece of mine on radio.

A DVD collection of the entire series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is just coming out. I'd get it, but for me it's prohibitively expensive. (Around $250.) I assume it does not include Forever Fernwood, the show's title after Mary Hartman left the series. Man, I loved that show.

I was also a huge fan of Buffalo Bill. Saw every episode that aired. My friend Martine Beswick did an episode where she plays a woman Bill has sex with only to learn later that she used to be a man. Talk about "casting against type"! No one could ever think Martine is or ever was a man.

(Though, of course, in Doctor Jekyll & Sister Hyde She did play Sister Hyde, with Ralph Bates as as Doctor Jekyll. Years later, in fact, right around the same time she did Buffalo Bill, I appeared with her onstage in a comedy sketch called Doctor Jekyll's Brother Meets Sister Hyde's Sister, in which I was Dr. Jekyll. I took the potion, writhed, dropped down behind a sofa where Martine was hiding. Took off my smoking jacket, she put it on and stood up as Sister Hyde once again, so I have the honor of being one of the men Martine Beswick used to be.)

John Knapsack Mena said...

Thank you for mentioning "Good Time Harry." I loved that show. It had me laughing out loud. I mention it to friends, but no one remembers it. It was great seeing Ted Bessell being the lead funny guy.

I also miss "The New Show" and "Outsourced".

Stone Buzby said...

My Favorite joke from Hot L Baltimore was when the Old man was playing checkers with an African American character. The Old man accused him of cheating. "You cheated because you are black." "Say what?" "I said you cheated because you are black. I'm red. You moved the wrong checker!"

The Time Machine said...

I remember "All Is Forgiven" had the voice of the late Doris Grau on the telephone as the creator of the fictional show and how much she sounded like Lucille Ball. Everyone in the household argued if was Lucy or not. I remember finding out shortly after the series was cancelled that it was Doris, who would later do more voices on other television series and make a few appearances as an onscreen actress but her primary job in television and film had been as the unsung hero in the industry, a script supervisor.

gottacook said...

I saw at least one episode of The Hot l Baltimore in 1975 during its brief run. I have a paperback copy of the play around here someplace, with Conchata Ferrell on the cover, with different hair than in the TV series; I believe she's the only holdover. James Cromwell took over the part that Judd Hirsch had played. (Searching in Google Books turned it up. Zane Lasky, "Mario Lanza" on Tony Randall a few years later, was also in the NY cast.)

Stage comedies adapted as TV series must be rather scarce since Hot l's demise; the only one I can think of offhand is the short-lived early-1980s Odd Couple with Ron Glass and Demond WIlson, which used the 1970s scripts, or so I once read. Any others?

Rob said...

Cancelled too soon: I'll Fly Away, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn South, George & Leo, Goodnight Beantown, Domestic Life, Holmes & Yoyo, We've Got Each Other, The White Shadow and WKRP in Cincinnati.

Hot L Baltimore clip (with the checkers joke):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXh-gsZmuuo

Dana Gabbard said...

Bakersfield P.D. on Fox is one I remember. Also Tattinger's, the series the team behind St. Elsewhere did after that series ended. Initially it was rather unfocussed but the last episode that aired featured Jerry Stiller and was brilliant so I thought the show had found its footing. Instead it was retooled as a terrible sitcom known as Nick and Hillary. YUCK!

Anonymous said...

Ken, if you had your choice of current sitcoms on air to write for, which show would you write a spec for and why?

chalmers said...

Gottacook, I remember a sitcom version of "You Can't Take It With You" starring Harry Morgan as the patriarch.

It was part of a short NBC experiment in the '80s where checkerboarded a different show into the 7:30 slot each night under the tagline "This Fall, Prime Time Starts at 7:30."

Paul Duca said...

It wasn't the network itself...it was their owned and operated stations doing that in the prime access slot.

Nick said...

Friday Question following up this weeks. Regarding audience applause - I remember towards the end of the run of Married With Children it was Ed O'Neil as Al Bundy who would get absolutely MASSIVE cheering and applause as he entered the scene. Would that really be something the stage managers encouraged or was it simply a tradition that the audience for that particular show had gotten to enjoy and therefore probably wouldn't stop even if asked?

-bee said...

I second ruing the cancellation of Better Off Ted.

One great show cancelled way too early was a drama called EZ Streets that was sort of The Wire way before The Wire and man was Joe Pantoliano amazing in it.

Anonymous said...

I loved getting to re-watch Bakersfield PD on Trio. Bummer it's impossible to find now
-sammy

Tod Hunter said...

Did you know that KRLA DJ Dave Hull has written an autobiography? Self published. I just saw it at Vroman's.

Mark Murphy said...

I fondly remember "The Practice" -- I especially remember being astounded that with the right material, Danny Thomas (whose "Make Room for Daddy" character was, to me, a pain in the butt) could be really funny.

One of my Brilliant But Canceled nominees would be HE & SHE with Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin (with Jack Cassidy). Charming, funny, lasted one season.

As much as I loved "Arthur," I couldn't get past the first few minutes of "Arthur 2: On the Rocks." (Which I realize Steve Gordon, by then deceased, had nothing to do with.) Ken, assuming you've seen "Arthur 2," I'd be interested in hearing your analysis of what went wrong. (Then again, maybe you liked it and I'm wrong.)

Cap'n Bob said...

Not a great show, but I liked The Good Guys. Bob Denver and Herb Edleman ran a greasy spoon diner and nothing ever went smoothly. They had a running gag that made me smile, too: Denver would cut slices of bread the long way instead of across the loaf. When Edelman asked why he did it, Denver replied he didn't want to cut across the grain. "There's no grain in..." Edelman would shout, and catch himself when he realized what he was saying.

Audrey said...

Hello,
For those http://www.entertainmentearth.com/hitlist.asp?theme=Cheers do you know who gets the royalties ? I assume they are officially licenced given the site where i saw them is a legit one.
For example, the glass stein with Norm : does George Wendt gets something for the use of his face ? Or is he "studio property" ?


And like others, i still mourn Better off Ted. It was great !

ttdfan said...

"Happy Endings," anyone? Funny and brilliant and three years of episodes was not enough!

I have a soft spot for "Buffalo Bill" because of the Buffalo setting and because of co-star Geena Davis, who despite her movie success cannot seem to duplicate it on TV.

Does anyone remember Dabney Coleman in "Slap Maxwell"? He played a sportswriter who had no filter, and every episode opened with him getting his face slapped, I believe. Loved the gimmick.

Another show that deserved a longer run, Stephen Cannell's "Tenspeed and Brownshoe" starring Ben Vereen and Jeff Goldblum. Stupid but funny

rchesson said...

Always liked "THE DUCK FACTORY" which didn't seem to get any traction. Also I also about "BUFFALO BILL".

rchesson said...

Seems I have a keyboard problem. That should say " I agree about "BUFFALO BILL".

D. McEwan said...

Amen to Mark Murphy's inclusion of He & She as being cancelled too soon. That show was a gem.

ttdfan, I remember Slap Maxwell. I was desperately hoping it would recapture the magic of Buffalo Bill, but it did not work as well for me. It was not bad, but it was clearly tamed down somewhat from BB.

Joey H said...

I agree about "Frank's Place" and "Buffalo Bill." I also enjoyed "Boss" with Kelsey Grammer and "Key West" with, among others, Jennifer Tilly.

Edward Copeland said...

Yes. the Buffalo Bill DVD fails to include "Hit the Road, Jack" which they explain is because of the ridiculous extortion demands from the music industry wanting more money to allow its use, the same way they've destroyed WKRP in reruns and on DVD. The show holds up, but it would be even better if it had been among the first comedies to jettison audiences and/or laughtracks and trust the viewer to laugh without subliminal encouragement.

Rob said...

I loved The Associates, otherwise known as the last time Martin Short was funny.

I had all but forgotten All is Forgiven until the mention here but I do remember it now and know that I watched it regular and like it very much.

I was surprised, Ken, that you left off He & She, surely you must remember that and I can't believe you wouldn't have loved it. Glad to see someone else mention it.

That was, without question, the best TV show ever cancelled after 1 year. Not debatable. In fact, as I recall, when the head of CBS cancelled it, he even said, "It's the best show I ever cancelled."

Would have gone on to have been considered the next Dick Van Dyke Show if they'd let it find its audience.

Rob said...

OK, so this is kind of spooky. Immediately after I left that previous comment, I soundly found myself humming some music that I couldn't identify. Where the hell did that come from, I wondered? I kept humming it and realized it was probably a TV show theme.

I had a hunch. I wasn't sure at all but I wondered if it was the theme from All is Forgiven. I checked YouTube (thank god for YouTube) and found an episode of the show.

Holy Shit! I was right, suddenly I was humming the theme of All is Forgiven, which I hadn't thought about in at least 25 years! How did I even remember it?

The mind is incredible thing. I can't even remember what I had for dinner last night.

Anyway, I saw a comment about the show on IMDB and it reminded me of something else. The show was indeed great, but the folks at NBC yanked it after just a few episodes because instead they wanted to put on the spin-off from Cheers, "The Tortellis".

Sorry, Ken, but that was one of the worst shows ever. What a bad decision.

Geno said...

Totally loved "The Associates", "Buffalo Bill", and "Open All Night". They were never even given a chance, really.

Geno said...

Oh yeah ... also "Wizards and Warriors" and "Teddy Z"! Great, quirky stuff.

Tim Dunleavy said...

Regarding NBC's "Three Weddings and a Funeral" promotion:

I remember in the fall of 1994, somebody at NBC noticed that all the shows on their Thursday night comedy lineup - MAD ABOUT YOU, FRIENDS, SEINFELD, and MADMAN OF THE PEOPLE - all took place in Manhattan, so they came up with "Blackout Night." All the shows that night had plots about a power blackout in Manhattan and how the characters on each show dealt with it.

The problem was that the people who ran SEINFELD thought it was a stupid idea and refused to go along with it. So the NBC promos for the night said stuff like "The power's off all over New York... then on SEINFELD, the power's back on... then it's off again...."

Travis L said...

Friday Question - What are the challenges of developing younger characters (i.e elementary to high school aged)?

Andy G said...

Friday question - how do I give my writing more 'personality?' I came from a professional (PR) writing background and have transitioned to being an ad copywriter. I think I have potential, but I need to find ways to add character and personality to what I write. Books, exercises, whatever you think could help is welcome!

Love the blog - I think opening the dialogue with us is really fantastic. Thanks for entertaining and informing us!

Metal Mickey said...

Really love your blog Ken, it's one of my regular hangouts, thanks for taking the time on it.

My Friday question - inspired by our shared dislike of the Dana character's storyline in "Homeland" at the moment. Notwithstanding any amazing twist the writers might have in store for us with Dana, as a writer, when they're in the bunker typing away, what do you think makes them so blind to audience reaction? And on a semi-related note, do you have any stories to share from any focus groups that might have been held for your shows in the past?

Thanks!

Jack said...

Ken, I am curious of your opinion of the following clip.
http://youtu.be/jtrQ_L7bydw

This bit bothered me when it aired last night. Is it racist? Is it funny? Is it both?

I enjoy a racial joke in the right context. There are shows that use racial humor to highlight an issue or to make a point; this show is not that smart. This was completely out of left field and had no relevance to the storyline. I am also bothered by the fact that they use a child to set up the punch line. I would love to get your insight into racial humor.