Saturday, November 09, 2019

Weekend Post

Well, she got her wish.

Yesterday ABC cancelled FRESH OFF THE BOAT. 

Last season when the show was picked up Constance Wu very publicly expressed her crushing disappointment.  She says she literally "cried."

Because of a network sitcom that put her on the map and paid her more money than she ever made in her life, she couldn't do a play, the poor thing.

Wu of course tried to walk it back after the backlash but of course no one was buying it.   This was just an ungrateful selfish actress who bit the hand that fed her.

I hope she's happy now.   Forget that the cancellation also meant over a hundred other people are now out of work.  Too bad for them.  But Wu can now do a play.

I'd be anxious to see how Constance Wu's career takes off now that she's not saddled with that annoying successful network sitcom.  How many big movie offers come flooding in?  How many Oscars and Tonys are in her future? 

The real question is:  How long until she's begging producers to put her in a sitcom?   The over/under is one year.   I'm picking the under. 

UPDATE:  Because Wu is Asian I of course have been accused of being a racist.  Welcome to 2019.   If that's what you really believe please find another blog where you will never be offended by anything ever.   If there is such a thing.  Thank you.


DBA said...

She's almost certainly got the two Crazy Rich Asians sequels. She's not the main character per se in the other two, but she's probably a lock for both, presuming both movies get made, which it seems like they will. Depending on how that goes...then quite possibly what you're describing.

Stephen Marks said...

Abbott: What's wrong Lou, you look like shit

Costello: I need to find a Chinese American to fill a role I'm casting. What's the name of the woman on that Fresh Off The Boat show?

Abbott: Wu

Costello: The girl that tweeted her disgust about being stuck in a successful sitcom

Abbott: Wu

Costello: The girl who shit all over every unemployed actor in Hollywood

Abbott: Wu

Costello: I'm talking about that Chinese broad who got turned down for the lead role in one of Ken Levine's plays?

Abbott: Wu

Costello: I'm asking about the crazy rich Asian that wanted a "MacLean Stevenson clause" in her contract

Abbott: Wu

Costello: Look, I'm asking you about the fucking girl that told everybody she wanted to be just like Shelly Long and make movies and star on Broadway. The girl married to Philip Michael Thomas from Miami Vice, the girl that went from spoiled to fresh and then back to spoiled and fucked up her career

Abbott: Lou, she's been right in front of you the whole time waiting to take your order!

Costello: Oh hi, is the halibut fresh off the boat? I'VE BEEN A BADDDDDDDDDDDDD BOYYYYYYYYY


Wm. Adams said...

Friday Question:
A trivia question led me down a twisted path that ended up at "Love, American Style." It seemed to be a place for lots of writers to get a credit or two. Did you ever pitch a script for it?

Brian said...

An often asked question :

Just because the crew will lose their job, does that mean she has to keep doing this sitcom till she drops dead?

The crew knew that this was not a permanent job. Shows get cancelled always for one or another reason.

So Constance Wu should have no other aspiration in life? Her aspirations and wishes mean nothing. Always think of the people who have job because of you.

This crew / people who live their entire life based on someone else continuing in their job really need to get some real independent job. How pathetic to be always at someone else'e mercy.

sanford said...

Was the show canceled because she complained about having to return? You can always find another actress to take her place.

kent said...

Six years is awhile to play the same character. I don't see anything wrong with her wanting to try something new even if it eventually turns out to be another sitcom. Actors leave shows all the time, the cast of M*A*S*H turned over repeatedly. Apparently she didn't have that option because she was still under contract but wanted to move on to something new. As long as she honored her obligations I don't have any beef with her wishing she was free to try something else.

Buttermilk Sky said...

I presume it was bad ratings. Did people read her Twitter meltdown (or the weird New Yorker profile) and think, "OK, if you don't want to be here, I'm out, too"?

Dave said...

So.... Tell us how you feel Ken. Don't hold back.

VP81955 said...

Well, if Constance has to return to sitcoms, I doubt it'll be for a Chuck Lorre vehicle, not after he's had to put up with the likes of Brett Butler, Roseanne Barr, Cybill Shepherd and Charlie Sheen.

Anonymous said...

Constance Wu’s two “crimes” seem to have been
The desire to pursue more creatively, and financially, rewarding opportunities- opportunities freshly opened to her which would otherwise have been extremely limited by her sex, race, and age. AND
2. The lack of star clout or ownership or contractual rights that denied her the power to end the series and move on, as the Dick Van Dyke, M*A*S*H*, Seinfeld, Cheers, I Love Lucy, stars/creators did. (thus dis-employing much of their former crews).
The “pity the unemployed crew” argument is too often deployed by the producers, who care more about profits than the crew, and by resentful or envious fans, who develop a false sense of ownership in a star’s life.
Sports figures face the same sort of nonsensical backlash when they “abandon” one team for another in their notoriously short-lived careers

Nathan said...

Is she so talented that they could find no replacement or did the show suck and the ratings dropped?

If it sucked then cancel it and kick everybody out and order a new show.

Law of the land.

Anonymous said...

A Message to Stephen: “Measure Twice, Cut All.”

DBenson said...

Brian: How pathetic to think like that. EVERY job is at somebody else's mercy. Wall Street takeover artists, irresponsible clients or vendors, CEOs who outsource and export jobs ... Even a bloviator who makes an "independent" living spouting Ayn Rand nonsense can end up broke if his or her outlet anoints a new favorite.

What business are you in? Are you so insulated that you can be philosophical about losing your income NOT because of normal and accepted risks, but because somebody a few steps higher on the ladder regretted having to honor a contract?

Bob said...

Ho Ken.... You are priceless when rejoicing someone's downfall 😂😂😂

I love you for that. She deserved it.

gottacook said...

Wm. Adams: Love, American Style went out of production at the end of 1973, probably too early for Levine & Isaacs to consider as a pitch target.

Ralph C. said...

Ah... some people just don’t get it, do they?

I'm Outraged! said...

Brian, the criticism of her reaction a year ago has nothing to do with her wanting to move on but with her self-centered indifference, and the last part of your comment is genuinely moronic.

Ted said...


Is that said in a Japanese accent like from Family Guy?

I can't say if you are being racist or funny, but I guess Ken thought of the same Family Guy joke too and let your comment pass.

Apart from a few who are celebrating, it's nice to see some actually are being empathetic.

Jeff Boice said...

I'm repeating myself here- but you can find plenty of examples of actors who became unhappy with the TV series they were starring in. But in the past the actor wouldn't go public until well after the show had gone off the air. The podcast with Bob Ellison led me to google Angie Dickinson- and I found that February 2019 interview where she expressed regret for agreeing to star in "Police Woman" (which ended 41 years ago).

I was mildly surprised that Ms. Wu couldn't leave the series after the fifth season- I thought the standard contract allowed an actor to do that (Larry Linville as an example). Maybe her unhappiness should be directed at whoever negotiated her contract.

RMK said...

As Ken has written and the media noted writing the obit, this show was a network hit, which is rare. But it has been six years which is over 100 eps and the old fashioned syndication hallmark. How much of a well was there to go back to?

I think the netflix model that shows rarely go beyond three seasons should be way more suspect to the Levine Evil Eye. I have friends in production and after three there are financial bumps for crews/ cast. Because no one knows Netflix's "ratings" it seems more questionable how they determine renewals.

VP81955 said...

Kent: Six years is a while to play the same character.

Mary Tyler Moore played Mary Richards for seven years.

Melissa Joan Hart played Sabrina Spellman for seven years.

Anna Faris and Allison Janney will play Christy and Bonnie Plunkett for eight years, possibly more.

To each their own.

mike schlesinger said...

Kelsey Grammer played Frasier for 22 years.

James Arness played Dillon for 20 years plus several movies thereafter.

Peter Falk played Columbo on-and-off for 42 years.

None of them complained of burn-out.

If Wu were a reasonable person, she could have gone to the producers and worked something out. For example, they could have sent Jessica on another book tour, film a bunch of scenes in advance where she calls in to see how the family's doing, and then splice them into each episode until the play had run its course and she could return full-time.

But Wu is not a reasonable person. She'll be having dinner with Suzanne Somers very soon.

Ricky Ramirez said...

It's pure speculation on my part, but I think if the show was doing better in reruns ABC would have at least extended the episode order if not considered bringing it back another season since they are the distributor. Even if they weren't pleased with her behaivor a Giant Corp isn't throwing away money on the table. And a show in the Friday night death slot that's not doing anything in reruns doesn't seem like a show bringing enough money to the table.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Constance Wu has one thing in her favor, THE BABE FACTOR. I know it's not P.C., but she's HOT. With very few exceptions people want their TV and movie stars to be good looking. She has the potential to be big if she lands the right projects. Attractiveness is no guarantee of success; look at Kate Hudson, but it doesn't hurt either. She should also do some damage control to her reputation. Maybe volunteer work for some charities.
Meanwhile, you've had several blogs about why you left M*A*S*H. While it's worded differently in each, you basically said that you had done all you could do with the show and you "...were offered a big development deal and pilot commitment from NBC so the timing just felt right." Sound familiar?
I suppose it's different with writers. They come and go all the time. Wu was one of the stars of the show and harder to replace. Yet, with the attitude that you had had enough and wanted to move on, one would think that you would have a little more sympathy for Constance.

kent said...

VP81955, Mariska Hargitay has played Olivia Benson for 21 years but 6 years is still awhile for someone who is ready to move on.

Laura said...

mike schlesinger,

Just because those people you mentioned played that role for so long doesn't mean everyone has to do the same.

"But Wu is not a reasonable person." - So you know her personally or just taking a dump on her?

This blog has turned into a forum for haters. First Maya Rudolph, now Constance Wu.

You just need to name an actress and then the haters spew their venom in comments section.

PolyWogg said...

I love the strawmen people are throwing up to say "Oh, she shouldn't have to keep doing something she doesn't want to". Uh-huh. Did anyone say she did? If she wants out of her contract, she can get out. It will cost her money to backtrack on what she committed to, but she can go do whatever she wants. She just has to pay the price as she goes. Just like a marriage can get out, but the divorce will cost you. Particularly if it is going well, and you'd just rather go do something else.

No, the issue was and still is that she is a lead in the show which includes a certain level of responsibility to promote and support it. You don't crap on it and everybody else who works on it or watches it. It's like getting elected mayor and saying, "Oh, man, I was really hoping I'd lose, because this city sucks". You're crapping on everyone who voted for you. Or the girl/boy who badmouths their boyfriend/girlfriend to EVERYONE they meet, but continues to date them.

The issue isn't her wanting out -- lots of people get tired and want to move on. There are mechanisms to deal with that. Some work, some self-destruct.

The question is a lack of class and her lament that her show was successful. Which is why she tried to walk it back after saying it. She knew she sounded like a diva or a d-bag.

As for the cancellation, it has little to do with her or her offscreen antics. The show was cancelled for one reason and one reason only. The $$ it was making was not high enough to justify the $$ it was costing, the real reason behind all network decisions. #SadButTrue


Wendy M. Grossman said...

VP18955: Janney is a good example to bring up. There's hardly any working actress who is more in demand atm: besides her main gig on MOM she guested on a KOMINSKY METHOD episode (also Chuck Lorre, of course), and IMDB lists at least three or four other projects she's been involved in just in the last year.

I had some sympathy for Wu's reaction because I'm sure she suddenly saw the world opening up for her and wantd to grab all the opportunities she could *while* she could - the window for female actresses can be very small and I think that's natural - but I have no sympathy with her reckless thoughtlessness in making it public. I didn't care for the show, but if I had, I think it would have left me with a sour taste every time I saw her appear on it. Jim Parsons might be a good counter-example: his success in THE BIG BANG THEORY got him tons of opportunities, and he dealt with them by scheduling what he could in the off-season, and when he finally did want to leave, gave a year's notice. (Of course, even then some people thought he was evil for quitting.)


Phil said...

Just opened to see the weekend post. Woah......

You are not a racist Ken. We all know that.

It's just that these cancellations and actors hating their jobs are normal things that happens in Hollywood.

Maybe your blog came across as a bit harsh to some, that's all.

But the comments from some are nasty, as if she committed the crime of the century.

Don K. said...

The issue here is not that she doesn't have the right to find work that challenges her, but that Fresh Off The Boat put her on the map and arguably allowed her to get noticed week after week so that she was hired for all the other jobs that came later. Yes, she's a "babe", but so are countless other actresses who would have loved to be in Fresh Off The Boat. Others have pointed out here scenarios in which she might have still worked on the series AND in the movie she was "passionate" about, but instead she took to social media to profanely lament her situation and allow herself to be portrayed as yet another immature actress who fails to recognize how fleeting success can be in her profession and that rarely do you ever achieve all on your own. And my goodness, race has NOTHING to do with this.

David said...

Have you seen Passion of the Christ? A sequel The Resurrection of the Christ is being made. A blog with your opinion would be great.

blinky said...

So weird how what is understood to be politically correct behavior now, is how all of history shall be judged.

When will they turn against Jesus because he didn't have 6 men and 6 women disciples? And among those at least one gay and one lesbian.

We are living in the UpsideDown. (BTW, Stranger Things season three was pure retread crap. For the love of Jehovah, don't do season four!)

No said...

This has nothing to do with race, but likely a lot of sexism that is heaped upon actresses who choose to leave shows, public scorn that never seems to affect male actors.

Shelly Long had to live down a pile of shit her entire career for leaving CHEERS. Why? Her character was pretty much done with its purpose by season 5, and she wanted to move on. Did the same thing happen to cast members of MASH who left? No. Not that they had very successful careers after that, granted. But no one really held them in contempt for their choice.

Male actors who decide to leave shows are considered as men who want to go up to better projects, women who do the same are called ungrateful bitches who should be publicly scolded. Sorry, you're not helping.

Y. Knott said...

Mike Bloodworth: One of the key differences is that when Levine and Isaacs left M*A*S*H, they didn't trash the show. Perhaps they had legitimate grievances with certain aspects of the show or the crew or the production company or the network (because, hey, NO job is absolutely perfect), but they did not make those public. They made sure they did their job to the best of their ability, and that the people coming in could take over a smoothly-operating machine -- and even came back to pen the season 8 "Goodbye, Radar" episodes. In other words, they negotiated an exit that everyone could feel comfortable with.

Ken has also dealt with actors leaving a show mid-way through -- Gary Burghoff, Larry Linville, Shelley Long. To the best of my knowledge, these actors made it clear that they had gone as far as they could go with the character they played, but did not say negative things in public about their shows. They thanked everyone on the show for their hard work and dedication, and negotiated as smooth an exit as possible.

Constance Wu could have handled her fairly similar situation with more class. She chose not to. Perhaps she will continue to get steady work, but it will certainly make some producers more wary about hiring her. Who needs their lead actress telling the press they cried in sorrow (and/or anger) when they heard the project they are being paid to do will actually get made?

Ben K. said...

Hi Ken, what do you think about Kelsey Grammer saying a "Frasier" reboot is finally in the works? According to Vulture, "Grammer didn’t want to divulge specifics of the rebooted plot, only saying his character would be looking for love in a new city." Presumably he would have some of the original cast with him -- it's hard to imagine them doing any version of the show without David Hyde Pierce as Niles -- but it's hard to imagine they could re-create the elements that made the original so good. (Also, Frasier would be in his mid-60s -- if someone so romance-minded is still looking for love at this point, it seems as if that might be more sad than funny.)

MikeKPa. said...

How many years did Alan Alda play Hawkeye? And Ted Danson play Sam Malone? When an actor leaves a series early (not in this case, but she pretty much sounded the death knell for a show that was borderline renewal for the past two years), I always point to M.A.S.H. Wayne Rogers, MacLean Stevenson, Larry Linville all left for bigger bucks and wound up on short-lived series that they headlined. Maybe the financial windfall was worth it, but if it was me, I'd ride it out until there were no more stories to tell. Melissa McCarthy stuck it out with MIKE AND MOLLY after she hit it big in the movies. She realized M&M gave her that opportunity to cross over to film.

Anonymous said...

"Also, Frasier would be in his mid-60s -- if someone so romance-minded is still looking for love at this point, it seems as if that might be more sad than funny."

Uh... the majority of married couples in their mid-sixties are still looking for love at this point, so I doubt a single man in his sixties not saddled in a sham relationship for the sake of appearances would garnish anything but longing curiosity, if not envy.

tvfats said...

Forget race...she is simply a JERK...I stopped watching when she blabbed how much she wanted off the show...Hope she is tickled pink now (sorry if I offended PINK persons)...

Brian said...

FRIDAY QUESTION: I enjoy the podcast as well as the blog, thank you for both. A few episodes ago, your blog was partially recorded remotely. What kind of equipment do you use to record, wherever you are?

McAlvie said...

I assume she had signed a contract that covered x seasons or required her to go another season if the show got picked up, right? That's life when you sign a contract. There's always a risk that something juicy might pop up that you'll have to miss. She was entitled to her disappointment, something I'm sure other actors have had to deal with. She could have dealt with it better, though.

Ben K. - someday you'll be in your mid 60s and discover that, actually, you are "not dead yet." You might even still be active and even finding life more interesting than ever, with the huge benefit of finally having reached a point in life where you have priorities straight and more free time to enjoy life.

McAlvie said...

On another note, and possibly a Friday question:

Thinking about actors who left shows, I'd be interested in hearing which ones Ken thinks did the right thing and which ones made a mistake. This depends, obviously, on why they left. Many are never heard from again; but in some cases, they might have felt ready to leave acting behind entirely, or were simply tired of that character or really unhappy and thus don't have regrets.

Unknown said...

There were 2 Darren, could have been 2 wives. You could even think of it as a clan of wives, and if they were outside alot, it would be the Wu-tan-clan.....

Ben K. said...

Hi McAlvie -- throughout "Cheers" and "Frasier," it was clear that Frasier didn't just want to have fun -- he really wanted to get married, or at least have a lasting relationship. What would be sad at this point wouldn't be his age on its own, but the fact that he'd have been unsuccessfully looking for the right person for so many years. (A similar thing happened on "How I Met Your Mother" -- by the time Ted got together "The Mother" in the final season, his search for love had gone on for so long that he seemed discouraged and depressed, even though he was still in his mid-30s.)

D McEwan said...

"Stephen Marks said...
Abbott: What's wrong Lou, you look like shit.


D McEwan said...

"Anonymous Ted said...

Is that said in a Japanese accent like from Family Guy?"

I imagine it's in a high-pitched childish Lou Costello whine, the way Lou Costello always delivered this long-time catchphrase of his.

After season two of the original Dynasty, Al Corley, who played Steven Carrington, went public in interviews about how he hated the show and hated being on it, etc.,. same shot, older version, and Al was not a woman, so you can't stir sexism into it.

ABC fired Corley, and blew up his character, who, after "extensive plastic surgery," returned as Jack Coleman. Advice to actors: when bad-mouthing your main money gig in public, always make sure you're irreplaceable first. (Coleman is noticeably taller than Al Corley, so I guess Steven Carrington got stretched taller in the explosion. Many years later, when ABC produced a Dynasty TV movie that wrapped up all the dangling plot threads and cliffhangers of the final regular episode, they brought Corley back in the role, sans explanation. I guess the plastic surgery wore off.)

Czeskleba said...

@ Frank Beans: You suggested that female actors who leave successful series are singled out for criticism in a way that male actors are not, and in particular you cited the actors who left MASH as examples that were not criticized. Well, you are overlooking the fact that McLean Stevenson was mocked for years after he left MASH. He was portrayed as the poster boy for "actors whose egos got too big for their britches" and was the punchline of dozens of jokes by Johnny Carson over the years, the guy who thought he could be a star of his own show but failed repeatedly.

Another example that quickly comes to mind is David Caruso, who was pretty widely pilloried when he left NYPD Blue.

Why were they criticized, but others such as Larry Linville or Gary Burghoff were not? I think the common thread is that there was a perception, rightly or wrongly, that they felt they had become too big for their shows: Stevenson was seen as a guy who wanted to be the star rather than a supporting player, and Caruso and Shelley Long were seen as believing they could be big movie stars rather than "mere" TV actors. In like manner, Wu is seen as someone whose ego was driving her desire to leave the show. I think it is the public perception of their motivations for leaving, rather than their gender, that makes the difference.

Andrew said...

"Because Wu is Asian I of course have been accused of being a racist. Welcome to 2019."

Welcome to the Republican Party, Ken.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Ben K. wrote:

if someone so romance-minded (as Frasier in his md-60s) is still looking for love at this point, it seems as if that might be more sad than funny.

While there are "crying (sad) moments" in The Kominsky Method none of them (so far) involve old guys looking for love. So Far (again) three have found love - and the youngest is 66. Not "sad" - but sometimes funny.

mike schlesinger said...

Laura: Since you've inferred I'm a misogynist, let me reply by pointing out that Melissa McCarthy became an enormous movie star during the run of MIKE & MOLLY. She could have told Lorre to go piss up a rope, but she remained with the show until it had run its course, squeezing in movies during hiatus. THAT is a reasonable person. In fact, she's a lot more than that.

And no, I don't know Wu personally. I also don't know Ivanka Trump personally, but I know enough not to hang out with her.

joe said...

It's not reasonable to stay with a show. Not unreasonable either. Just McCarthy's choice. Wu can do what she wants.

Kendall Rivers said...

Yeah Ken welcome to the era of outrage and oversensitivity times a thousand where people will get offended if you make a joke about string What can ya do? But anyway she's a very pretty woman and decent actress she's nowhere near great to me but she represents the modern star which are usually egocentric, self absorbed and ungrateful folks who aren't as great as they think they are. Makes you miss the James Garner's, Robert Urich's, Mary Tyler Moore's of the world.