Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Questions

How can you enjoy a weekend without Friday Questions?  You can't.  So here they are:

MDHaines is up first.

Does bias have to be a bad thing in Hollywood? If a liberal slant attracts a large liberal audience, or vice-versa, isn't the bottom line still whether not money is being made? Are actors really black listed because of politics?

Depends on whether networks believe politics are in vogue. A left wing slant didn’t hurt ALL IN THE FAMILY, MASH, MAUDE, and WEST WING.

But for a long time networks avoided political-themed shows at all costs. I told this story before (I’ve been doing this blog long enough now that I’ve probably told everything before), but in 1980 my partner, David, and I had a pilot at ABC about the White House Press Corps. We were not allowed to divulge the president’s party affiliation or even allowed to give the president a fictitious name. Can you believe how absurd that is? Now that same network has a big hit with SCANDAL where a U.S. president (who is named) is committing adultery. (But it’s with Kerry Washington, so America says thumbs up.)

The bottom line is that if political shows get ratings there will be more of them. No matter how they lean.

Back in the '50s actors were blacklisted all the time.  Today, it's a matter of whether the public likes the actor despite his or her beliefs.   Patricia Heaton has very polarizing political views  but that hasn't stopped her from starring in several successful series.   The general belief is that Hollywood is very left wing.  And yet Kelsey Grammer gets one gig after another. 

Massimo asks:

Some repetitions of ideas over the life of a series, surely, represent not a lack of originality, but the deliberate exploration of a theme. I'm thinking of the many episodes of "Frasier" that take place in hotel rooms, where the characters involved experience a psychological breakthrough (or breakdown)—Frasier and Lilith, Frasier and Niles, and in one particularly brilliant episode all three. Many of these episodes were Levine/Isaacs creations. I'm curious to know how this idea developed.

David Isaacs and I drew a lot of episodes involving the return of CHEERS characters. Four with Lilith, one with Sam, and one cameo by Diane.

Since they were all visiting Seattle the stories just tended to end up in hotel rooms. And in the two-parter “Adventures in Paradise” (featuring Lilith) we did hotel room scenes in Bora Bora. I must say, though, I have a real fondness for the hotel room scenes. They were probably the best scenes we wrote for the show. But when you get to write for actors the caliber of Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, Bebe Neuwirth, Ted Danson, JoBeth Williams, and Tea Leoni how can you go wrong?

Maybe I should put all of our hotel room scenes together. It’s the closest David and I will ever come to writing PLAZA SUITE.

Bradley wonders:

Is there a particular script from one of your shows that you knew going in was not up to par, but had to move into production anyway? I'm thinking a situation like this is more likely toward the end of a season, when time is running short and you have to deliver an episode even if the script is not the best.

On multi-camera shows you know you have the week of production to rewrite the script. And honestly, there are episodes that you know going in still needs work. The story still doesn’t feel right. For political reasons you haven’t rewritten the original writer’s draft enough and it needs more rewriting. And like you said, it’s the end of the year. You’re tired and say “we'll fix it when its on its feet.”

But you always pay for that. Long rewrites nights just when you need them the least. It’s like when you have a depleted bullpen and your team is now playing an extra inning game and you’ve just entered the 15th inning.

That said, once we tackle a troubled script we do our very best to fix it and turn it into a good show.  And most times we're successful.  It's just that we're a wreck.  

At the beginning of a full-season of 22 episodes I just assume there will be one or two scripts that are just snake bitten. You don’t know which ones. And those are the episodes you have faith in going to the stage. And then to add two or three that you know are still undercooked, you’re just digging yourself into a deeper hole. But we all do it.

For single-camera shows (like MASH), we spent way more time in pre-production because we knew we had little change to revise once they started filming. And still a few episodes will be disappointing. Sometimes it’s the script, the story, the director, acting, rushed production schedule, misinterpretation, budget shortcuts – you name it.

Every series turns out bad shows occasionally. The trick is to keep them to an absolute minimum. But not every episode will be a gem.

From Blinky:

Did Alan Alda's influence on the show gradually steer it away from the edgy,lots-of-drinking, womanizing Movie version to a more PC, feminist no-so-much drinking version?

Yes. But I will say this -- he was totally gracious and respectful of the writers. He was never the 800-pound gorilla. Everything he pitched was in a positive manner and his convictions were sincere. I never felt he had an “agenda” and was trying to commandeer the creative direction of the show. He was very collaborative.

There were times when I disagreed with him, but I would work with Alan Alda again in a second.

What’s your question? Leave it in the comments section. Thanks much.


Stoney said...

And yet, ABC gave two seasons to a comedy about racial attitudes in the south; "Carter Country".

Bugdun said...

Hi Ken

In the mid to late 60s, was CKLW as revered in the industry as it was here in the midwest? I grew up in Toledo, OH, and "CK" was the backgound noise in my life all day, every day (unless we were listening to the legendary Ernie Harwell on WJR calling Tigers games). And, if you would rather talk about Ernie, that would be just fine with me...

Bill Jones said...

I think the fact that you referred to Heaton's views as "very polarizing" is an example of the overall slant of her peer community in Hollywood. They're only "very polarizing" because most of that community doesn't agree with them. I would imagine they're probably in accord with about half the country. That's the same amount that probably shares the views of Leonard DiCaprio, George Clooney, and Norman Lear. So do they also have "very polarizing" political views?

luciuspaisley said...

'I think the fact that you referred to Heaton's views as "very polarizing" is an example of the overall slant of her peer community in Hollywood.'

I think the fact that he referred to Heaton's views as "very polarising" is an example of how you can be as fair as you possibly can to a person and still not avoid questions like yours, Bill.

Michael said...

It seemed to me that when B.J. and Potter arrived, MASH began maturing, and I mean that in a good way. I don't think the show could have sustained itself with as much silliness as there was in the first three seasons. It was brilliant silliness, and there were many serious moments. But the show made more sense for a while because I really think the hijinks would have struck us all as too much. Not to mention they all began to LOOK older. Even if they supposedly weren't aging, it's obvious that they were, and we are supposed to act a little more intelligently with time.

Mark Anderson said...

I thought I just posted this question but I don't see it so here goes. When I watch Big Bang I'm always perplexed by the stairs. Does that mean they had to build the whole sound stage floor eight feet up to accommodate those stairs. There are probably four or five other sets on that show and I can't imagine they'd want to push the cameras up and down various levels, thus my assumption that they'd all be on the same level -- and elevated because of the one part of the set with stairs. Or did they just make a hole in the floor on that one spot. Clearly I am both obsessed and confused, an unfortunate combination.

Ed said...


In the past you've reference several pilots you and your partner penned that didn't get picked up...

Was there one that didn't go that bothered you? One that you knew there'd be 100 stories in that you really wanted to see and therefore thought about it stubbornly? Like: 'We're going to pitch this every year until someone says YES because I love this story and we just have to get this on.' (obviously that was never literally the case because you've made it this far without driving important people insane...but I'm wondering if you just felt that way about a work none of us have gotten to see).

Or do you never get that emotionally attached to such scripts and just move on?

Stoney said...


Not to presume upon Ken but regarding CKLW, check around for a documentary film "Radio Revolution; The Rise and Fall of The Big 8" or a 1999 piece by Don Gonyea of N.P.R. "And The Hits Just Keep On Coming!"

John (not McCain) said...

"And yet Kelsey Grammer gets one gig after another."

Yeah, on channel 500. Has he been on a hit show in the 21st century?

Belle said...

I recently saw an old interview with Glen and Les Charles where they talked about a spec script they wrote for MASH, which the writers liked, but featured too many outdoor shots for them to use at the time. I was just wondering if you have any similar stories of good ideas or scripts for the show that had to be thrown away for practical reasons?

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

as for hotel episodes: Frasier's "You. Stole. My. MOMMEEEE!!" was for my money the funniest line on the show.

Jeff :) said...

What are your thoughts on the usage of cliffhangers? I've soured to them in recent years after some of my favorite programs got cancelled after leaving off on a cliffhanger.

Stephen Robinson said...

Jim, CHEERS FAN: I once watched all of CHEERS and FRASIER on Netflix during morning trips to the gym (30 pounds lost on the CHEERS diet!). The "you stole my Mommy!" line (and Frasier's reaction once he realized what he'd done) sent me in convulsions that almost threw me off the elliptical.

This brings up another FRIDAY QUESTION/COMMENT:

When watching sitcoms, I'll notice some lines that are fairly "actor-proof" -- the humor will come across no matter the delivery. The drawback, though, is that "moderately funny" is as good as you can get.

But when I think of some of my favorite moments from a Levine/Isaacs script, some of the best jokes depend solely on the actor. Some examples:

Rebecca's reaction when Robin Colcord tries to win her back with a bracelet (She turns to Sam and whispers, "It's gorgeous" -- the way Kirstie Alley does this is incredible)

Or the classic "Room Service": "I'm in a bathrobe, you jackass."

That's always inspired me as a writer when working on a play to write lines that I know could kill but will depend almost entirely on delivery. I think it results in a naturalism that doesn't feel like a sitcom where the cast is comprised of Henny Youngmans delivering one-liners. Do you do that intentionally? Or are you surprised as the audience by how the actor nails the line? I've always found it incredibly brave of a writer to trust so much in the actors and director (especially if they're not directing the script themselves). T

Fred said...

@Mark Anderson,

According to the Internet Movie Database, the stairs are a single set that gets dressed differently depending on what floor the actors are supposed to be on. The thing you will now obsess about, as I have since I learned this, is how seamless the actors make it look and how well edited the sequences are so that when the characters' dialogue never hesitates.

Fred (again) said...

delete the "when" in the last sentence. I was going to type something else, then changed my mind (or when I changed my mind).

I hate when that happens.

Mary Stella said...

Ken, is is possible to over-hype a new series to the point where the hype is detrimental the public goes into it with extra high expectations?

I'm a huge Scandal fan and couldn't wait for last night's season premier, which delivered all that I love about the show.

Because of the buildup and pre-reviews, I had high expectations for the new Murder show. Half-way in I was already disappointed and felt the show wasn't living up to the accolades.

I found it confusing in its time jumps from present to flashback with too many characters thrown at us too quickly and what seems to be an entire season's worth of subplots.

What I don't know is if my disappointment is commensurate with the actual experience or if I'm more disappointed because I expected so deeply to be wowed by the show.

ScottyB said...

I know nothing about Patricia Heaton's views on anything. The only thing I personally know about her is that in 'Raymond' and 'The Middle' (two shows I totally love and enjoy no matter how many times they get re-run), she is EXACTLY like my ex-wife, the one person in the world I would love to see struck by a bolt of lightning and turned into a smoking heap of cinders in the driveway. Or an Acme Co. safe just fall out of the sky onto her head.

I'm sure she's a marvelous person in real life, and if we lived next door to each other, we'd probably get along fabulously. But on TV, she's #1 on my blacklist.

gottacook said...

Since Alan Alda was brought up: As a director yourself who apparently still enjoys directing, why do you suppose Alda gave up feature film directing? (Or do you actually know why?)

ScottyB said...

@Mark Anderson: I read somewhere (don't remember where) about why the elevator in BBT is always out of service that the hallways stairs on BBT are indeed an actual pit dug into the soundstage. Supposedly, CBS wanted to move the show to a shittier stage somewhere else, so instead of bitching about it, Chuck Lorre just included the cost of digging a pit into that stage. Seeing what that, CBS let BBT stay on the stage they were already on.

Brian Phillips said...

Friday Question: Who did you work with that had a bad reputation, or you heard bad things about, that turned out to be a positive working experience?

ScottyB said...

I don't think it's possible to air any kind of show that doesn't have some sort of *perceived* bias one way or another. Some shows mentioned in today's blog post (especially MASH and Maude) have been cited as shows that intentionally went out of their way to make a "liberal" point.

But were those points really "liberal" points? They always just struck me as being points about basic human decency, equality, and that yeah, war fucking sucks when you're actually drafted into the middle of one.

OTOH, Hollywood has tried to make conservatives and war funny. 'Hogan's Heroes' wasn't exactly a beacon of funny.

Hamid said...

"And yet Kelsey Grammer gets one gig after another."

Yeah, on channel 500. Has he been on a hit show in the 21st century?

He was in Transformers: Age of Extinction this summer. Before you come back with a rant about how Michael Bay is crap and Transformers is junk etc etc, bear in mind you framed your point entirely in terms of popularity, not quality, when you asked "Has he been on a hit show in the 21st century?" Not a TV show but it grossed a billion worldwide.

ScottyB said...

Ken brought up a nice point about political-themed shows. But even there -- like Ken has pointed out a bazillion times -- it all comes down to the writing, quite often the casting, and whether your show's premise is even believable (even if your viewers can suspend their sense of disbelief for an hour).

Apples to oranges, put 'West Wing' against 'Commander In Chief', the short-lived show with Geena Davis, and I'm totally a fan of Davis. (Even there, a woman is president is clearly a "liberal" idea.) For me, it just didn't have anywhere near the strength of 'West Wing'.

OTOH, you could have an incredibly "conservative" presidential drama where the president's every solution is "Fuck 'em. Nuke 'em all and round up whoever's left". Somehow I think even conservatives would be horrified.

ScottyB said...

Heyyy ... wait a minute wasn't there a sitcom a few years back (on Fox, I think) where the president was an idiot or something? Can't for the life of me remember the name of the sitcom or who starred. Seems that's about as polarizing as it can get, politically.

But OTOH, 'Veep' and Julia-Lewis Dreyfus seems to nail a massively-funny chord because, well, funny is just funny no matter how you vote.

ScottyB said...

Yah yeah, I know ... there should be a sitcom about a guy who posts too many times on things in internet forums.

Someone get on that, yeah?

ScottyB said...

Like @Massimo, I also noticed a huge amount of "breakthu" scenes in 'Frasier' that take place in hotel rooms. I always just figured that guys like Frasier and Niles had a whole shitload of disposable income to afford staying in nice hotels a whole shitload of times. If Ken & David stuck them in an ordinary Motel 6, the whole show woulda been the Crane brothers bitching about the bleak surroundings made for philistines.

Tho Ken simply said he liked writing for episodes involving hotel rooms, there's also the very valid idea that characters taken out of their usual comfortable surroundings almost *have* to come to some sort of epiphany because for this one moment in time, their world ain't the exact same as it's been.

And that *always* sets the stage for very funny.

chris said...

totally agree with Scotty, I know nothing about Heaton except the few times I tried to watch Raymond, she was sniping at him and seemed to have a general contempt for the guy.
maybe others find that hilarious, but I never did.

John (not McCain) said...

"Not a TV show but it grossed a billion worldwide."

Not because of Kelsey Grammer it didn't.

How much did An American Carol gross? Oh yes, it was under $8 million. Clearly, it's only "Hollywood bias" that keeps him from being in every movie ever!

Johnny Walker said...

@John (not McCain) I'm wondering what you point is. Are you trying to argue that Kelsey Grammer's politics have prevented him from starring in hit show in the 21st century (ignoring FRASIER which ran until 2004, of course).

That's some conspiracy theory!

Todd Everett said...

Hamid said...

[Kelsey Grammer] was in Transformers: Age of Extinction this summer. Before you come back with a rant about how Michael Bay is crap and Transformers is junk etc etc, bear in mind you framed your point entirely in terms of popularity, not quality, when you asked "Has he been on a hit show in the 21st century?" Not a TV show but it grossed a billion worldwide.

With all respect to him -- I'm a fan -- how many people went to Transformers because Kelsey Grammer was in it?

Johnny Walker said...

Friday question (inspired by today's FQs):

Jerry Seinfeld has said that he's avoided the "trap" of becoming a producer after SEINFELD because (and I quote): "...most of it (producing) is not creative work. ... Let me tell you why my TV series in the 90s was so good (besides an inordinate amount of just pure good fortune). In most TV series, 50% of the time is spent working on the show, 50% of the time is spent dealing with personality, political, and hierarchical issues of making something. We spent 99% of our time writing -- me and Larry. The door was closed. Somebody calls? We're not taking the call. We're going to make this scene funny. That's why the show was good."

(From Here's the Thing with Alec Baldwin.)

As someone who has been a producer, do you agree with his assessment of where most TV shows go wrong (and aren't as satisfying to work on as a producer).

Flimflam Garbo said...

Friday question:

Were the characters of Bill & Marty, the two radio hosts on KBBL on THE SIMPSONS, based on anybody in particular? Like say (for example), a writing partnership who had written for the show?

MikeK.Pa. said...

Friday Question: Would a broad comedy like "Car 54 Where Are You?" work today or are the audiences too sophisticated? I just watched the complete first season of the series and the brilliant Nat Hiken (along with Billy Friedberg, Tony Webster and Terry Ryan) had some great sight gags and Paul Reed's slow burn and eye roll were classic.

Janice said...

A Friday Question:

I LOVE LUCY gave us fresh storylines by spending a season (or close to it) in Hollywood and another in Europe. The NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION franchise did the same thing. I'm wondering why more sitcoms don't take advantage of this idea. Instead it seems most of them just add a baby, which ruins the dynamic of the characters and fails to offer anything fresh.

D. McEwan said...

"John (Not McCain)" beat me to the basic comment I was about to type. Kelsey has gotten one gig after another, but no successful ones. (Ask any typical member of a Transformers movie audience if they came to see Kelsey Grammar and the answere will be "Who? I gotta go. School night. Mom doesn't let me stay up past ten."

Boss got respectable notices, but it's off the air. I doubt if it's Kelsey's politics that is responsible for his shows bombing (though he's made several conservative comedies where his politics is why they tanked), but they're why I'm not watching them.

"Bill Jones said...
I think the fact that you referred to Heaton's views as 'very polarizing' is an example of the overall slant of her peer community in Hollywood. They're only 'very polarizing' because most of that community doesn't agree with them. I would imagine they're probably in accord with about half the country."

I certainly hope it's less than half. HEr vehement opposition to stem cell research is certainly not in accord with half the country. Were I to speak to her, my first question would be "Why did you want Christopher Reeve to remain in his wheelchair?" I will never watch anything she is in ever. A dear friend of mine has a recurring role in Heaton's current series, but even a dear friend can't get me to watch it.

D. McEwan said...

I left out the word "Movies" from this: "though he's made several conservative comedies where his politics is why they tanked." I was referring to conservative comedy movies.

rockgolf said...

Janice: Because when somebody else has already done it, it's not fresh.

Not to mention the additional cost of at least making the show look like it was filmed somewhere different, and in most comedies how do you explain the entire cast moving to another country for an extended period?

M*A*S*H Goes To Israel?
Friends in France?
Cheers in Chile? Pass.

The Simpsons have visited more countries than the entire population of Nebraska combined but there's little additional expense if any in animation.

Modern Family has had vacations in Hawaii, Disneyland and Australia with mixed effects.

Angry Gamer said...

The nonsensical argument of no bias in Hollywood "because Kelsey Grammer gets gigs", is just unintelligent.

Counterexamples do not prove a rule, they disprove an absolute. Which liberal minded people love love love to pin others into. Well I guess there are "NO" conservatives in Hollywood since there are so many liberals Huh? Fallacy pure Fallacy

If I put a gun to someones prized luxury car's engine block and said. "Ok get 100 Hollywood actors together and tell me if there are a majority of Republicans in this group, if you are wrong BMW gets it."
NO ONE would even think for a nanosecond that there would be a large number of Republicans in such a gathering. But there might be a token one... is that really a great argument? Oh and as a bonus would the one Republican have "very polarizing political views"? You know like thinking the Second Amendment is a pretty good thing?
Defending the US Constitution ... yep that's Radical alrighty... the British thought so.

Silly assertions like "there is no bias because Bill the token conservative is still here," irritate conservatives.

So here's a pop quiz for everyone: "Name the last character on a TV show that had had serious conservative views THAT WAS NOT a comedic prop".

I know I'm gonna hear crickets until the 80s... oh when was the TV industry doing really well?... ah coincidence probably.

flipyrwhig said...

In response to "Angry Gamer": Both Hank Hill and Ron Swanson are conservative politically and culturally while also being decent and likeable people. Sometimes the joke is on them, and sometimes the joke is on their antagonist.

Yes, it's very sad and lonely to be a conservative, dominating only every other sector of politics, culture, religion, and economics, but so sadly forced to endure the mean jibes of TV shows and college professors. How do you survive such oppression? Uncommon bravery, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

Got a Friday question for you:

Every season there are one or two shows that seem to be universally picked on for being stupid. Plot turns that make no sense, characters acting out of character, yada yada. Under The Dome comes to mind. Do the writers know they are writing nonsense that people are laughing at, or do they truly believe it's strong writing?

I realize of course you've never been in such a writing room, but maybe you've heard stories... :)

Feel free to edit for clarity.


Stuart in Houston
loyal blog reader
and too much TV watcher

Angry Gamer said...

I know this is a lost cause. But in the interest of illustrating how different outlooks are. I thought I might give a glimpse into a fly over conservatives world.

We work in various fields but on Monday morning we discuss our weekend activities. A perfectly valid response is discussion of attending church and what we learned in Sunday school. (a collective left coast gasp on this admission I bet)

We discuss when is the best age to allow kids to learn firearm safety. Whether BB Guns are appropriate Christmas Gifts after the trauma of viewing "A Christmas Story".

We hold doors open for people especially women. It is expected for the women to appreciate this and say "Thank You". If a woman does not do this and wears man shoes and pants we get pretty judgmental.

We say yes sir and yes ma'am. We do... to pretty much everyone. Deal with it.

We have fished in a lake or stream. And we have probably hunted. Also many of us know how to skin and dress such products of the lands bounty.

We are not shocked to see larger wildlife in and around our area. Deer, coyotes etc.

We take our kids camping in honest to goodness tents out in the wild state park. With open fires and no warning signs... children rarely get injured in this setting.

Greeting someone you don't know and discussing the weather happens daily. We look them in the eyes and are not intimidated by aggressive people. Because our daddy taught us firearm safety.

We know our neighbors and say hi when we see them. If we have an issue with something we tend to talk to them directly in their front yard. We would never go into their back yard or otherwise infringe on our neighbors property without permission. Because... their dad probably taught them firearm safety.

We don't assume that any Priest, Minister or Reverend is after underage girls or boys. We are not surprised when a member of the clergy wants to discuss firearm safety.

We have gone to the shooting range with our spouse and consider this couple bonding.

We in general are confused when someone brings up a "Rape Culture". After this idea is discussed Dads usually move up the date of teaching their daughters firearm safety.

We are also confused with the term "War on Women". We are not sure but these women must not have learned firearm safety. Because if they had... the war would be over as women are usually better shots.

When we are pulled over by a Law Enforcement Officer we are asked "do you have a gun". We answer "yes". The officer replies,"as long as you don't reach for it I don't have a problem with that". And we reply "Yes Sir" (we still do that). We are not surprised that the officer is extremely polite after discovering we are armed.

Our kids refer to their parents with Sir or Ma'am. Usually this begins very early after the Dad/Mom has taken the child camping or hunting. We are not surprised that building an open fire or demonstrating firearm safety engenders respect.


Angry Gamer said...


Hank Hill and Ron Swanson SERIOUSLY???!~!!!?
Hank Hill is a CARTOON

And Ron Swanson... geez read below

From Wikipedia:
"In demeanor, political philosophy and work ethic Knope and Swanson's are very nearly polar opposites: where Knope is sunny and outgoing, decidedly liberal and constantly working, Swanson is distant, and as a staunch libertarian, is a strong advocate for small government and therefore believes that the parks department should not even exist."

So... your argument is that Ron IS NOT a comedy foil because he believes in small government and limited services. BUT get this he works for the government and provides MORE than limited government services (recreation). Oh and he is a lazy libertarian too. (say that with a straight face... I think your irony indicator light is faulty bro)

Thinking a libertarian is a conservative. IS LIKE Thinking a Democrat is a Communist. (with all of the equivalent subtle insults)

Just as the majority of Democrats can't stand most raving Socialists... majority of Republicans can't stand most raving Libertarians.

Nice try bro...

Anonymous said...

> "Fuck 'em. Nuke 'em all and round up whoever's left". Somehow I think even conservatives would be horrified.

It's called 24. Worked pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Given that a worker at a theater group was fired for contributing to Prop 8, I would say bias has an effect in Hollywood.

Mike said...

I only watched Scandal once, and a key plot point was that some pictures were fake because global warming had changed the timing of the seasons. Not interested in watching this propaganda. I wonder if they were aware that there has been no global warming in about 16 years.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, but this "let's demonize the other side" crap has gotten old to some of us--on both sides of the political spectrum. Not that it makes any difference to say so. Some people are obsessed with finding conservative bias everywhere and other people with finding liberal bias everywhere. Whatever. It's fucking boring to the rest of us who don't give a crap and who are inclined to stop bothering to come to this blog when every damn post is increasingly hi-jacked by three or four people who insist on turning every topic into a screed for their political paranoia

It was fun, Ken, but I'm out of here.

Ken Levine said...


Do I have to remind you all to play nice? This is not a political blog and if you want to debate political issues there are a gazillion other forums to do that.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Ralph C. said...

Hey, you can always change the channel if you don't like it... Wait-- this is a blog.


mmryan314 said...

Thank you Ken.

Hamid said...

I wasn't suggesting Transformers was a hit because Grammer is in the film. John's comment implied Grammer's career is in the doldrums and I was just pointing out that being cast as the chief villain in a big summer film isn't too shabby. He was also in The Expendables 3 but let's not dwell on that one.

Johnny Walker said...

Angry Gamer: I've read your description of what life is like for a "Conservative". I'm friends with many people I am politically opposite to. I find discussing politics with them to be enlightening -- and frustrating, but we remain friends.

Not one conservative I know (American or otherwise) lives in the world you describe. In fact, nothing you've described (asíde from mentioning gun control) falls under the definition of being politically conservative. Nothing at all. You could be liberal, like me, and, more or less, describe the exact same day.

You appear to believe that liberals (like me) hate religion, and want firearms taken away from all sensible owners. I'm a liberal and I understand that religion is an important part of society. It always has been, and it probably always will.

There's a vocal backlash against religion at the moment but this liberal doesn't support it (and think it's probably largely driven by a reaction to the fringe religious lunatics -- the terrorists, the Westborough Baptist Churches, etc). I understand that you can be religious AND tolerant, kind, and understanding -- and most religious people (at least that I've met) are.

As a liberal, I also have no problem with sensible people owning firearms. My problem is when they fall into the hands of unstable people. The only issue is how to keep them out of THOSE people's hands. A good solution, to this liberal, would be to remove them from everyone's ownership. Yes, some sensible people would sacrifice their right to bear arms, but the benefit to society as a whole would be worth that sacrifice to me. (A reduction in the number of murdered children? Seems worth it.)

I live in the UK where it is illegal to own firearms. I am five times less likely to die as a result of murder than an American. That's fine with me.

I do understand what "rape culture" means, and I'd be happy for that to change. I also understand that women have it harder than men in our society (just consider the fact that, on average, they earn less than men for doing the same job -- that seems unfair to me).

This didn't come up in your day, but I also wholly support gay rights, and understand that being gay isn't a choice, and, if anything, is something that can make your life more difficult in today's society.

I don't mind showing respect to police officers, they have difficult jobs, and we all need them sometimes. I like being nice to the people around me (although I'd admit I don't say "sir" or "ma'am"). I'll hold a door open for anyone, not just women, and I also might get a little miffed if they don't say thanks. (I always say thanks if someone holds the door open for me.)

So what I'm trying to say is: Both conservatives and liberals want the world to be a nice place to live. We want to feel safe. We want there to be justice. We want there to be no suffering. We have the same interests at heart, our outlooks are the same -- we just don't agree how to achieve those goals.

I don't hate all conservatives. I don't love all liberals. I hope you feel the same (or rather, opposite).

Louis said...

This is not a political blog and if you want to debate political issues there are a gazillion other forums to do that.

Except for Johnny, who seems to think that applies to everyone but him.

D. McEwan said...

So, Louis, you're upset with Johnny's reasonable and even-tempered response to Angry Gamer's laughable tirade, but OK with Angry Gamer's rediculous stereotyping, as though we Liberals don't know our neighbors or take our kids camping. (My lifelong Democrat Dad took me camping repeatedly, no matter how clear I made it that I hated sleeping in tents. He couldn't get me to fish either. He himself was revolted by hunting.)

Most of Angry Gamer's screed has nothing to do with most right-wing political positions. He's just obssessed with guns (Sorry about your tiny penis, AG) and defending Religion. I do support the Second Amendment. If AG is part of a well-regulated militia, he's welcome to own a gun. If not, well, if not then he's not covered by the Second Amnendment. The Second Amendment doesn't protect gun ownership for every lunatic with a need to overcompensate for his phallic deficencies. The big problem is that for the most part, the people who most-loudly demand guns are the very people who shouldn't have them.

As for religion, the First Amendment allows him and everyone else to attend and believe in any church they want. That church-goers won't get much respect from those who have evolved beyond slavery to the superstitious drivel our primative ancestors believed is a sorry fact, but then, they won't respect us either, so it evens out.

For myself, I have little use for people whose idea of a good time is killing animals for fun. I do know some reasonable people who are chruchgoers. AS long as they don't try to drag me along with them, or legislate their beliefs into our laws (Which is what Prop 8 was doing), I have no problem with them. I sleep in on Sundays.

Blane said...

I suspect he's upset because Ken called a halt to the political stuff, but some of you guys are hellbent on getting one last word in before you do so.

It's Ken's blog. He said the political stuff could be taken elsewhere. Some of us have enough respect for him to abide by his wishes.

Largo161 said...

Grammer was also in Think Like A Man Too and he had a cameo in X-Men Days of Future Past.

scott said...

Regarding "All in the Family" and its "left" bias.

I can assure you there were a LOT of people who didn't "get" the fact in had a left bias. My father was one of them

Johnny Walker said...

I realize I was treading on thin ice, but I wasn't commenting on Angry Gamer's politics, I was trying to point out that he was politicizing things that are not political (eg. being nice, camping, etc). I also shared my political views (again, without commenting on his) in the hope that he'd see that we aren't actually THAT much different. My aim was to try and bridge the gap, not widen it, and I'm glad that (aside from a few potshots at me), it didn't spiral into a bigger debate.

Anonymous said...

Johnny, bite me

D. McEwan said...

Anonymous, before Johnny can bite you (Hopefully removing a large, bloody chunk and leaving you infected), he'd have to know your name, so leave your name with your insults, Coward.

Paul said...

I visited the Big Bang Theory soundstage on a tour and asked about that very thing. Yes, they dug a hole for the stairs. The tour guide indicated it's unusual. Given the show's longevity, I guess it paid off!