Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bits and bobs

So, the whole "my ear is sick" is back on again. Sorry, I'm as sick of hearing it as you are. Anyway, as of this morning in the specialist's office I felt like I was on the road to recovery. Right now, not so much, but I'm trying to stay optimistic.

Which one of you told me that you read another Martha Beck book and you found out she was divorced? Whoever you were, I'd love to talk to you about DJ Blurb's recent entry.

Yeah, Rob Lowe had his moments (see: Oxford Blues, West Wing) but he's no Patrick Dempsey. Also, apropos of the West Wing (is that a correct usage of apropos?), can you believe that Moira Kelly went from Sorkin-era West Wing to One Tree Hill? I'm an avid watcher of both but there's no contest in terms of writing. Imagine eating some hand crafted Belgian chocolate then following it up with the stuff they make Kinder Eggs out of. Her shell must be well and truly shocked.

And moving on to the Dempsey portion of our evening. I love serialized things. I love TV, I love fanfic, I love blogs. I think it's because I hate shit to end. But it's also because I'm really character driven and because I get attached to characters so I love to see them change and grow. If, as I was talking about today, I ever went to grad school and studied literature I think I could make a great thesis out of some sort of crazy comparison between the serialized publishing of Dickens and today's fanfic. Since I don't have enough money, or enough legit reason to spend that sort of money on grad school for such a thing, I will have to speak my mind on the subject here.

The most important thing a serialized piece can do is stick to its core premise. Gilmore Girls - unusual mother/daughter team finding strength in each other, Rescue Me - troubled man fights to keep his inner demons from piercing his heroic outer persona, Friends - 6 friends have zany adventures in apartments they could never afford if they were real.

A lot of hoopla has been written all over the internet and the media about how Gilmore Girls fell apart when Lorelei and Rory stopped speaking. The Sherman-Palladinos strayed from the core premise. Now, since I trust Amy Sherman-Palladino, I thought that surely she must be going for exactly that. Showing us that when the Gilmore ladies are apart nothing works right in the world and then putting that world back together to show us that dreams can come true. It turns out that wasn't what she was doing. OK, I don't know her, it may have been what she was doing but, in my (and a lot of other people's) opinion (s), that isn't what she accomplished.

This morning I watched the second season finale of Grey's Anatomy. If you haven't, and you intend to, be warned that spoilers are ahead.

A lot of shit went down in the last 2 hours of the 3 hour finale. There was a heart transplant and ovarian cancer and a prom and a proposal and extra-marital sex and a dog was euthanized and the aftermath of a workplace shooter and that's only the things I think of right off the top of my head. All these things were beautifully executed, well written, handily acted, nicely shot, etc. But what impressed me most was that, in the middle of all that, they stuck to the core premise. They didn't tack it on at the end, it was supported fully throughout not only the episode but the season and they made sure to focus in on that premise as they faded out (and left me grinding my teeth at the months before the next episode is available).

Gilmore Girls Season 2 (I think, feel free to correct me) finale finds Lorelei and Rory in the town square telling each other HUGE secrets, jumping up and down and hugging.

Gilmore Girls Season 5 finale (last season, whatever that was) is Lorelei proposing to Luke. Fabulous cliffhanger, made me practically chew my fingers off I was so mad I had to wait for months for an answer but couldn't be further from the core premise.

Grey's Anatomy premiere Mere and McDreamy have hot one night stand sex then learn they have to work together.

Grey's Anatomy Season 1 finale Mere and McDreamy are basking in the glow of their newly solidified relationship and McDreamy's wife shows up. Nice cliffhanger since we didn't know he wasn't actually divorced. And it sticks to the core premise.

Grey's Anatomy Season 2 finale PROMSIDE Mere is asked to choose between hot ex-comic-book-hero new guy and just-fucked-him-in-a trauma-room McDreamy. It's got it all.

It's just a well done show. Shonda Rimes is one of my new favorite TV creators. Look at what a beautifully written, brilliantly cast, solid character Sandra Oh gets to play. She may be the best character on TV right now. There are a lot of moments where JUST as something is happening you think, "Oh! This should happen!" The writers lead you right to water then let you drink. Last night it was the unfreaking of Izzie. She's lying on a bed cuddling her dead ex-sorta-fiance and refusing to move. The troops are called in. Her 2 housemates are there first. Cranky Cristina comes in with the tide. George's girlfriend attends, cementing her place in this family nest that the writers have spent 3 episodes feathering for her. Izzie is unmoved, she doesn't want to hear it, she feels awful, she won't move because nothing is OK. She's also not really crying. George tries to talk her out of it. No go. Then Mere. Absolutely not. Cristina I think even has a shot. And she's unmoved, entirely. I think, "Oh, right, Alex has to do this. He's the only one who has the position." 2 seconds later Alex walks in. LOVE THAT! And then total squee as he proves his (ridiculous, unsustainable) love for her by picking her up off the bed and sitting in a chair with her in his lap while she SOBS. Also, nice choice by the actor there not to kiss her as part of his sweet soothing. He just leans his cheek against her and whispers then sticks close to her for the remainder of the episode.

So, anyway, impressive and fun to watch not just because Patrick Dempsey grew up hot.

But the point is this: if I'm ever in a position to write something serialized like a TV show, or a story or a 3 picture deal from Sony or whatever, please watch me, please find my core premise and if, in any given episode, you don't see it, make sure I'm doing it on purpose and for a good reason.

And make sure I get back to it.

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