Friday, September 16, 2005

Here's a selection of all my blog posts randomly spliced together: (Not Really)

I visited my local library today. Quite frankly, my local library is the best library in the world. It beats up other libraries like the disobedient, literature whores that they are.

Picture this, my local library back in England could best be described as a shack, although that would be an insult to shacks. It consisted of a very small building that contained a single room. Their entire selection consisted of one shelf of children's books, one shelf of fantasy/sci-fi, a two shelf reference section, and about 12 shelves of ‘Family Saga’ fiction.

Just before I left, it laughingly called itself ‘hi-tech’. Or in other words, they put in three aging computers, that all shared the same half-meg per second internet connection.

The bigger main library was better, but it was a fair distance away.

Anyway, my new local library is great. Although the selection of books isn’t great yet (the library is new), and all the books are, for some reason unfathomable to me, arranged by author alphabetically.

This makes no sense to me. It’s great if you know exactly what book you want to check out, but if you just want to browse, it would nice to arrange the books by subject also.

However, they have one of the best DVD selections I’ve ever seen.

I know, I know, going to a library to check out movies is redneck as hell. But every library I’ve ever been to has the worst selection of movies in the world (that’s right, all of them have the worst selection in the world. Even though this disobeys the laws of physics, it’s true). However, the selection at my library is a sight to behold.

Not only do they have movies that came out within the past two years, they also have a large selection of British Comedies. The Office, Black Adder, Vicar of Dibley etc, etc. (These will probably mean nothing to my American readers, but if you get the chance, give them a try…especially the Office, the American version is absolutely crappy).

I was also ecstatic to see they had the entire first season of ‘Dead Like Me’. Did I mention there’s no charge? Not even a deposit like so many other libraries force you to pay?

‘Dead Like Me’ is, quite frankly, one of the top three greatest TV Series of all time. When I first heard of it, I dismissed it out of hand. The premise sounded stupid. However, one day, when I was extremely, extremely bored, I gave it a try. I was blown away. I won’t spoil it for you, but check it out.

The writing is genius level, the acting is superb, and the casting is absolutely amazing. You simply cannot find a greater show.

However, like all great TV shows (and most crappy ones as well), Dead Like Me has contracted the most vile disease known to TV Viewer-kind.

The Dreaded ‘Clips’ Episode.

Here’s what I think happens:

Someone comes up with an idea for a show. This person pitches the idea to a TV exec. The TV exec likes the idea a green lights a pilot.

The pilot is then made, and blows people away. Everyone sees dollar signs, and the network picks the show up.

They then sign a contract which specifies, among other things, how many shows will be made.
The writers then shit a gold brick when they realise how many episodes they have to write. (This is another thing I’ve noticed about America. In England a Season usually lasts anywhere from six to ten episodes. In America, a season usually consists of around 15 episodes.

So the writer is faced with a dilemma. He has 15 shows to write, but realises by about the 12th or 13th show that all his good ideas are used up. He can probably squeeze out a few more that a mildly entertaining, but then inspiration strikes:

“I know, I’ll do a clips episode! That way, I only have to think of a way for the main cast to reminisce, shoot 10 minutes of new footage, and fill the rest with filler from the rest of the series!”

I’m sure the fact that it only costs one quarter of the cost of filming a regular episode fits into this as well.

So the viewer sits down, expecting another great episode of their favourite show, only to find the cast sitting on a sofa, then one of them says “Do you remember when X did Y with Z?” Wavy lines fill the screen, and you get a clip of something that happened 5 episodes ago.

That heavy feeling in the gut settles in, and you know that although this is technically a new episode, you’ve seen it all before.

I mean, who in the blue hell is this show for? Regular viewers have no interest, because they’ve already seen everything that’s being shown. People new to the series find themselves with a disjointed mish-mash of clips from a show that they know nothing about. If you haven’t seen the show before, you don’t know the context of the clips being shown, so the episode has very little entertainment value.

To this end, I’m making my own TV project, that I’m going to send to every major network. Here’s my screenplay.

---------------------------

EXT - PAULIUS AND SUNNY’S HOME.

WE HEAR A THEME TUNE COMPRISED OF NUMEROUS SITCOM THEMES RANDOMLY SPLICED TOGETHER.

INT - PAULIUS AND SUNNY’S LIVING ROOM.

WE FIND PAULIUS AND SUNNY SITTING ON THE COUCH. WE HEAR CANNED LAUGHTER FOR NO APPARENT REASON.

PAULIUS : Remember that time we watched that TV show?

SUNNY : Yes.

(CANNED LAUGHTER)

SUNNY : Yes, I do.

PAULIUS : Great wasn’t it?

PAULIUS LOOKS NOSTALGICALLY AT THE CAMERA. WAVY LINES FILL THE SCREEN.
CUT TO:

INT : PAULIUS AND SUNNY’S HOME. THEY ARE WATCHING TV.

STEADY-CAM SHOT OF PAULIUS FACE. HE’S OBVIOUSLY WATCHING TV.

CUT TO SUNNY, SHE IS ALSO WATCHING TV.

WE CONTINUE CUTTING BETWEEN THEM FOR FORTY FIVE MINUTES.

WAVY LINES FILL THE SCREEN. CUT TO:

INT : PAULIUS AND SUNNY’S HOME.

PAULIUS : Wasn’t that great?

(CANNED LAUGHTER)

SUNNY : Yes.

(CANNED LAUGHTER)

SUNNY : Yes it was.

PAULIUS : Remember that other time, when we watched that other TV show?

SUNNY : Yes.

(FIFTEEN MINUTE CANNED LAUGHTER TRACK)

SUNNY : Yes I do.

(CANNED LAUGHTER)

WAVY LINES FILL THE SCREEN.

CUT TO:

INT : PAULIUS AND SUNNY’S HOME.

EXACTLY THE SAME THING HAPPENS AS BEFORE. WE SPEND 45 MINUTES WATCHING THEM WATCH TV. THIS REPEATS EXACTLY FOUR THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED AND SIXTY EIGHT TIMES.

SUDDENLY THE SCREEN GOES BLANK. ORCHESTRAL, PATRIOTIC MUSIC FILLS THE AIR. WHITE TEXT APPEARS ON A BLACK BACKGROUND. IT READS:

‘Dear Mr. TV Executive,
What you have just witnessed has exactly 15% MORE entertainment content than your average TV Series clip show.

Not fun, is it?

Here’s an idea. If you sign up a show for fifteen episodes, and that show is popular, but the writers approach you and tell you they have less material than they thought, let them write one or two episodes left.

These filler shows are the Devil. If you continue making them, you will DEFINITELY go to hell, and I will come to your house and beat up your kids. This is not an idle threat. Yes, I really do have that much time on my hands.

Stop making Clip Shows, or I swear I will dislocate your Grandmother’s hip with a soldering iron.

I believe I have made my point.

CREDITS.

THE END

3 comments:

MC Etcher said...

The only other reason I can think of for a clips episode is for budgetary reasons.

Perhaps episodes 8 and 12 went a few hundred thousand over budget, and now a 'cheap' show is required to achieve budgetary plan for the season.

Another low-budget episode is the one where two characters get locked in a small space for the whole episode.

You set up the two cameras, you set the lights once, and you shoot lots of cost-efficient dialogue.

Dead Like Me is great! But I have to warn you, (Spoiler alert) it just stops with the end of the second season, with nothing resolved. It's been canceled.

In cases like this, I'm almost tempted into fan fiction, just for closure.

Miz S said...

I know how the show ends.....It absolutely broke my heart for it to end. I could have watched that show for YEARS. It's on a par with M*A*S*H to me.

And like Mc Etcher I am almost tempted into fan fiction for closure.

LOL- I like the idea of a show featuring us as the main characters....but how funny and interesting would it be to watch us watch TV and sleep and blog?
I can think of a few things that would be funny tho.....like when I do all that really annoying STUFF and you just ROLL your eyes. Or when I say something really funny and you always tell me how if it was that funny I wouldn't be laughing myself? (In defense of myself- I find humor in EVERYTHING- including some of the dumb things I do)
Every episode would definately have the same ending- like Doogie Howser, M.D.- Me walking out the door to go to work and Paulius sitting down at the computer to type out his blog.........

Cue the Canned Laughter......

Paulius said...

I've never been tempted by fan fiction for anything. Most of the time it's like listening to a one-hit wonder boy band murder a classic.

It's a shame that Dead Like Me got cancelled. I hate it when great shows (Futurama, family guy) get cancelled.

and sweetie? A TV show featuring us would have the entertainement quotient of Big Brother, IE, None.

Unless it was Sunny & Paul's wacky adventures, dealing with the immigration service. I could dress up like bumblebee man, and say funny things in 'foreign'. We could feature a redneck who accuses me of 'stealing all their jobs' every episode.