An (is my actual name) has this actual question:
How much do you think good actor chemistry impacts a show? Can a mediocre show coast on it? Can a lack of it kill an otherwise brilliant show? Would low-rated but genius first season Cheers have gotten a second season without it? Can you write chemistry to any degree? I'd be interested to know your thoughts, and maybe some examples of good/bad chemistry in action.
Chemistry is VITAL. Especially in a romantic comedy. Without it even the best writing will not save you. There’s a magic that is created when the two people are right for each other. You can’t manufacture it. That’s why when a screen couple has it, you tend to see them together in future projects. Clark Gable/Carole Lombard, Spencer Tracy/Kate Hepburn, Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan, Kermit the Frog/Ms. Piggy to name a few.
For all the great writing, ensemble acting, brilliant premise, and amazing opening titles and theme – without Ted Danson and Shelley Long I think CHEERS would have gone thirteen episodes and out. Again, not to minimize any of the other factors, but we struck lightening in a bottle with that pair.
You can’t write chemistry, but when it appears you can write to it. No one ever did that better in sitcoms than Glen & Les Charles.
On the flip side, yes, I do believe genuine chemistry can cover a multitude of sins. A mediocre script can occasionally slip by with the right people.
Feel free to add your own, dear reader. Good or bad.
Anonymous has a question about someone else who is anonymous:
Would it be a stretch to think that the boy with the fake ID in the first episode was the man who knocked on Cheers door at the end of the last episode?
Yes. The man who knocked on the Cheers door was Bob Broder, the agent who put the CHEERS deal together and represented most of us writers.
Tom Reeder commenting on Ken Levine's site? Wow, a mini-Cheers writers reunion! (A question, in fact: Do you writers from all those great shows ever get together to reminisce - all the camaraderie / frustration / elation?)
Uh, that’s pretty much all we do now. Here are some examples.
|Me, Tom Reeder, David Isaacs|
|Me, Glen Charles, David Isaacs|
|David Isaacs, me, Russ Woody, Bob Ellison|
And finally, Dan Ball wonders:
With production equipment and means of distribution (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.) becoming so accessible, why would someone still try to "make it" in Hollywood, rather than carve out this new frontier of entertainment right where they're at?
Honestly? Because that’s where the money still is. Most people who create web series hope they can ultimately sell them to networks. Will that change over the next few years? Who knows? It’s still the Wild West out there. But for the moment, the big conglomerates still hold the purse strings.
What’s your question? Happy to answer them.