Tuesday, June 02, 2015
I’ve always felt that the more grounded a show is, the better it is. When viewers throw their hands up and cry “that would never happen” you’ve lost them.
That said, you do need creative license. If things are too real you watch a character drive around the block for twenty minutes before finding a parking space. You watch lawyers waiting six months to go to trial. You watch a doctor on the phone to Medicare for an hour.
But it’s a delicate dance. Even if you take creative license, the stretch must at least be plausible. Someone could find a parking spot in front of the building. A trial date could be sped up. Where you stretch beyond all believability is when you say Medicare is efficient.
However, not all implausible dramatic efforts bomb. In fact, some become wildly successful. FAST AND FURIOUS 7 could not be more stupid and yet it’s made a gazillion dollars at the boxoffice. And I point to one of the most successful sitcoms in television history – GILLIGAN’S ISLAND.
My daughter, Annie, was saying in the INSTANT MOM writing room they got into a discussion about the tiny logic lapses of GILLIGAN’S ISLAND. Think about it:
If they were really going on just a three-hour tour why did they bring luggage?
If they only had fuel to last three hours, how far could they go?
And if they could build elaborate radios out of coconuts, how come they couldn’t fix a hole in the boat?
Now you had to figure, SOMEBODY on the writing staff or one member of the cast brought up these questions. Creator Sherwood Schwartz or someone high-up had to reply: “It doesn’t matter.” And amazingly, it didn’t.
But beware. As a writer that’s a very risky way to go. My recommendation is to err on the side of caution. Oh wait. By that logic, you would bring a suitcase on a three-hour trip. I’m all confused.
By Ken Levine at 6:00 AM