Friday, January 06, 2017

Friday Questions

Fresh for the New Year. Here are Friday Questions:

Harold Peteresen starts us off:

TCM recently showed an hour long tribute to Robert Osborne. In it they showed a "blooper" reel where he flubs introductions to movies. Did you experience any flubs when you hosted TCM? Any you'd like to share?

Yes, and I would usually try to cover by goofing on myself. When you screw up making a radio promo nobody hears you. You’re alone in the production studio. But on television, there is an entire crew there to watch me fuck up like an idiot.

But the truth is, everybody screws up, even on live TV or live theatre. You’ve just got to roll with it (as long as it doesn’t happen every time).

From Joe:

If you today were to watch a MASH or Cheers that you didn't write but contributed to in the writers room, would you remember which jokes were yours?

Sometimes but not always. Because often times one person will pitch something and someone else in the room will refine it. So I’ll see a joke and remember I had a hand in it but don’t remember how.

But other times, yes, I remember distinctly that certain jokes were mine. It’s always easier to recall the jokes that worked and got a big laugh, however.

Peter has a long question for which I have a short answer.

Someone jokingly asked the other day if you're going to review Hacksaw Ridge, which has brought on my Friday question. You've written before about your feelings on Mel Gibson and your refusal to watch anything he's involved in ever again. My question is if you extends that to others who work with him, i.e. Andrew Garfield and Vince Vaughn are in Hacksaw Ridge, William H Macy was in Blood Father, and Kelsey Grammer was in Expendables 3. Do you lose respect for or stop talking to people who agree to do a movie with Gibson, or do you view them as working actors just earning a paycheck?

No. Just Mel.

Unknown wonders:

How come Frasier & Lilith didn't end up together on Frasier??? By their last episode together I thought it was pretty obvious that they would always love each other and they were soulmates.

I would argue that they weren’t right for each other, and that all the many issues between them would keep resurfacing. The plan was to give Frasier a fresh start. It wasn’t my decision but I agree with it.

And finally, Aaron Hazouri asks…

Kind of a specific Friday question but what the hell... I met with an exec at a studio recently who asked if I had anything to pitch to him, but mentioned they'd need it fast, so I got something to him within the next 10 days. If he hates the pitches, should I expect a response? "Thanks but no thanks?" Or is it like the comics world where you assume the answer is no unless you hear otherwise?

It used to be there was courtesy and consideration in Hollywood. Not anymore. At one time you could expect at least a phone call. Eventually that gave was to email rejections. And now, they often just never call back. Yes, it’s the height of rudeness. But it’s the age where people break off serious long term romantic relationships with a text.

What’s your Friday Question?


Jeff Alexander said...

This may be a little too late, since the shows aired last month, but I did want to get your opinion today on colorization. In doing my research, I found that when the "I Love Lucy" shows aired in color in 2013, you stated then in your blog that the whole idea and the process were "ghoulish" and that you turned the episode off after 10 minutes.
Yet, in last month's blog after the Dick Van Dyke shows aired, you noted that you didn't seem to mind that they were colorized although you found them "weird," adding that they have improved the process. Your main objection was (and rightfully so) to the fact that they were edited to fit the 60-minute time frame. It's not my intention to put you on the spot, but I am curious -- have you overall softened your stance on colorizing black-and-white classic TV shows? What TV series which aired in black-and-white would you NOT want to see colorized (I'm sure Twilight Zone is one)?
For the record, I am an avid colorization opponent. I boycotted the color episodes by putting on my black-and-white episodes from my DVD collection. I could go off on a full-scale rant as to why I'm against, but won't.
I'll just say this as I have said on my Facebook page and elsewhere: colorization is like slapping watercolor on photographs by Ansel Adams and Diane Arbus just so young people could appreciate them more. And the "improved" process is, to me, like upgrading the Big Mac special sauce and then slapping it on a filet mignon. I'm not going to eat it.
Thanks and have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I thought Frasier (the show) handled Lilith very well. One of my favorite moments in the first season is when Lilith calls in for the first time. "Congratulations, Frasier, you've done it again." The entire audience laughs and cheers, because her voice was so recognizable.

I think Lilith appearing in too many episodes would have changed the show's dynamic too much. It would have interfered with the great relationships between Frasier and the rest of the cast. But Lilith showing up from time to time was solid gold.

One of my favorite moments of Cheers was in the episode where Cliff thought he could be a stand-up comedian, and Lilith was the only person in the bar who laughed at Cliff's jokes and impersonations.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Part of the training for musicians is keeping going if you make a mistake. When I studied classical piano, I was always told to practice that (not always, of course: you designate some playthroughs as keeping going no matter what, and others where you stop and review the passages you need to over and over again slowly until you can play them flawlessly and then speed them up until you can play them flawlessly at speed), and as a folksinger I always did the same. Being able to *recover* from such mistakes without the audience's noticing is a vital skill for any live performer. Of course, if you're singing unaccompanied and you've forgotten the next line, there's not much you can do to hide the error. Then you just have to make a joke about it and back up a line and hope it comes this time.


Peter said...

Thanks for answering my question, Ken!

SER said...

I recall being bummed that Lilith didn't have a major role in the announced FRASIER spin-off, but it made perfect sense for the show that developed -- the primary relationships were between Frasier and his brother and father. I always enjoyed seeing Bebe Neuwirth's guest shots on FRASIER ("Room Service" is among my favorite episodes of the series). However, as I've inched into my 40s, I've especially grown to respect how the series handled Frasier and Lilith's relationship as former spouses and current parents. I'm sure initially Frederick was the sole link holding them together -- after a tough divorce, it would've been easy to simply lose touch, as they lived on opposite coasts. I felt that with each Lilith appearance, there was growth and development in their relationship as parents -- it wasn't just the "easy laughs" of "the ex is in town!" And by the end of the series, when they have a wonderful heart-to-heart phone conversation and express their love for each other, it is a genuine earned moment , reflecting a stronger and truer bond than perhaps when they were "in love' on CHEERS.

Jim said...

Entire Hollywood is kissing Mel's ass, but you stood by your principles. Respect Ken Respect......

Aaron Hazouri said...

Thanks Ken. I guess it can't hurt to send a courtesy email or two. Being new to this whole thing I'm always afraid to step on somebody's toes or piss someone off to the extent that I end up on their own personal blacklist...!

Greg Thompson said...

Hey, here's a question:

I grew up with MASH and loved it but over the years I felt that with every major cast change the replacement character was a milder, less racy, and inevitably less funny version of the original. Col. Potter was gruff and sort of funny but the overwhelmed Henry Blake (who fooled around on his wife) was inspired. B.J. was as wise-cracky as Trapper John (who fooled around on his wife) but nicer. Winchester sparred with Hawkeye but Frank Burns (who fooled around on his wife) DETESTED Hawkeye and was a crappy (or at best mediocre) doctor to boot. I wonder if you felt any of this working on the show and can speak to the rationale behind these choices.

Eric Lyden said...

Frasier and Lillith raising their son together definitely would have been a good show, but it would have been a very different show. And even on CHEERS I thought Lilith was better as several times a season recurring character than as a regular who they had to fit in every episode.

Andy Thomson said...

I checked the archives but did not see anything on this so I'll "Friday Question" it. I have really enjoyed the show "Episodes" in which Matt Leblanc plays Matt LeBlanc. The British writing team and the studio etc. are a lot of fun to watch. Have you seen it? Any thoughts?

Marianne said...

Hi Ken! What was your favourite TV show of 2016? (Mine was 'The Crown').

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Ken for answering my question about Fraiser & Lilith!!! I still think that by the end of Frasier, Lilith should have came for the series finale & been with Fraiser but I'm not a writer so I won't judge the decision & I guess it all happened for the best

Bryan Thomas said...

Friday question-How did Bebe Neuwirth get discovered for Lilith? She was obviously a real find and became one of my favorite characters and actresses. She is immensely talented with immense range and great instincts, but before Cheers I had never heard of her.