Sunday, September 27, 2015

Can greatness be duplicated?

There is a podcast called TomHanksgiving.  Elvis Kunesh and Cody Camp discuss Tom Hanks movies and then recreate scenes (as cheaply as they can).  This week their subject was VOLUNTEERS.  Here is the original scene (about 5:30 in) and then their recreation.  I defy you to tell the difference.

Thanks guys. Maybe you can do the sequel.


1955david said...

Hello. My wife and I are slowly making our way through all the Cheers episode and enjoying them greatly. We just watched Diane’s last episode when she leaves to write her novel instead of marrying Sam. The scenario seems rushed and sudden. When did you know Ms Long was leaving? At the start of the season or as this episode was being assembled?
Thank you
David Hess

Bill Avena said...

That one guy did a pretty good Tom Hanks. As for Can Greatness Be Duplicated?, don't worry, it will be. "The Goldbergs" thrives on referencing 80s movies which makes fans literally orgasmic with nostalgia. I've got a negative opinion on both The Goldbergs and 80s nostalgia but that's a rant for another day.

Johnny Walker said...

Is it just me or did they change a line? (I think they may have improved it...?)

At (reading the subtitles): If you touch her, Beth is a goner.
Larry: Oh and how do you know she said that?
At: I'm Oriental.

Changed to:
At: I read the subtitles.

The weird thing is, At does read the subtitles (although I didn't notice at first), and then later, both he and Larry read the subtitles. The joke seems to work better when At has established that subtitles can be read by the characters.

I haven't seen Volunteers, so maybe there's a running joke I'm missing? Or maybe the guys from TomHanksgiving shot their scene from the original script? Seems strange to copy something, but change a line -- especially when the line seems what the writers probably intended in the first place.

Is there an explanation? :)

Johnny Walker said...

A partial answer from an earlier post (can you tell I'm supposed to be working right now?):

The scene that ruined Volunteers

I was surprised that you'd write a script that broke the fourth wall, but I didn't want to say anything. This explains that aspect at least!

Johnny Walker said...

Ok, so I'm guessing what happened is this: You and David wanted to kill the joke, so you asked for the character to say "I'm Oriental", rather than "I read the subtitles", in the hope that people might not notice that the fourth wall had been broken. If so, it worked - momentarily - until both characters clearly stop and read the subtitles.

Am I right?

(And now I have to get back to work. Sob.)

Bill said...

Ken, not really a Friday question, more of fun info for you. I don't know if you've read the David Foster Wallace book Infinite Jest. The author and the book were recently featured in the bio pic The End of the Tour, which recounted the real story of a Rolling Stone interviewed who traveled with DFW on his final leg of the tour to promote Infinite Jest.

The book itself has a McGuffin. The conceit is that someone has created an "entertainment" that is so compelling that people who watch it lose all interest in anything else including feeding themselves. All they want to do is to see the "entertainment" again and again.

Starting on page 638 ( in order to save you having to search through the 1,000 page novel) there is a wonderful chapter that accounts one of the main character's father's obsession with M.A.S.H, the TV show. I think you will find it a good chuckle.

michael said...

Question: What is the most important part of the success to a TV episodic comedy series?

Episode story
Series premise

Is the answer the same for single camera and multi-camera comedies?

Mike said...

@Johnny Walker: Surely, Meyer filmed the script unchanged and added the stage directions? Shirley Meyer?
So if I'm surfing the net tomorrow and meet a large "Under Construction" sign, it'll be your fault?

Johnny Walker said...

@1955David I've just reached the same point myself! I guess the writers didn't want to rip their hand -- although I don't know when it was reported to the public that Long was leaving. I remember Ken writing about the alternative take where they got married, so I guess it was top secret, or even unknown -- was Long only considering leaving at the time?

It's interesting watching season 6 now. There's a definite change in pace. I don't like Sam's relentless passes at Rebecca. He just seems seedy and desperate.

It'd be interesting to know how scared the cast and writing team were that year. I guess Kirstie Alley felt the pressure too -- there was a lot riding on her.

Speaking of Alley, it's interesting that she immediately shot to second billing. I guess they really were counting on her being the centre of lots of stories.

Diane D. said...

I've read that the creators knew of the possibility that Shelley would be leaving early in season 5, but it wasn't certain until they were making the 14th episode, "Chambers vs Malone", so they weren't all that rushed. I've also read that she would have stayed another year if they would have agreed to let Sam and Diane be together, which they were not planning. When they finally agreed to it, she already had commitments.

Although CHEERS continued to be great and very funny, it was never the same for me (and many other fans) after Shelley Long left. Ted Dansen has said that Sam became a lot dumber, which he did. I had liked his character so much during the Diane years that I just didn't like the change. Kirstie Alley was hilarious, but as time went on I didn't like the complete basket case Rebecca became. Frasier and Lillith were wonderful during those years.

Anonymous said...

I thought most of the scenes John Candy was in ruined Volunteers. He was way over the top, compared to everyone else. He played it in the style he played his parody characters: big, broad, and two-dimensional. Wrong move. The movie was a comedy of manners of sorts, class differences, etc, and he played it like he was in a dumb sketch.

Some actors try to pull that shit if they want to "shine" in a comedy in which they aren't the lead. They punch up everything when they're onstage or screen. If it works, you've fucked your lead actor. If it doesn't, you look like a douche.

Billy Crystal pulled the same shit in Princess Bride. He threw everything but the kitchen sink at Mandy Patinkin. It's a real dick move. Rob Reiner was too much of a pussy to tell him to stop. I can't blame Carole Kane. She was stuck in the middle.

Volunteers is still a fun movie, in any case, despite Candy.

Johnny Walker said...

Just saw this. Thanks, Diane. I didn't know that!