Sunday, December 29, 2013

'Reclaiming Parkland' by James DiEugenio.


If you have read this blog before, you might know that I myself am a pretty huge assassination buff. I've read and own dozens of books about the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King jr.  (I've also written a two part Boston Legal spec about the JFK assassination)

So, probably the best book that I managed to read this year is James DiEugenio's wonderful 'Reclaiming Parkland. If you're interested in knowing the truth about the JFK assassination and knowing how the world (including Hollywood) works, then this book is a must read.

The book consists of three parts: 1) why Vincent Bugliosi's Oswald-did-it book 'Reclaiming History' is a massive fraud, 2) Why Tom Hanks and co. nevertheless bought in to it, and 3) who calls the shots in Hollywood and how the mainstream media operates.

DiEugenio's book is really good at demolishing the nonsense about how Oswald supposedly killed JFK. I've read a lot of good books about the case, but his book is one of the best in showing us, point by point, how Oswald was framed, how the cover-up happened and who were the people behind it.

DiEugenio manages to tell us how preposterous the official story is. It simply couldn't have happened the way the 'government' says it happened. There had to be more than one assassin involved.

When it comes Oswald being the one responsible for the assassination, the eyewitnesses to the shooting didn't think it was him who was on the sixth floor window of the Texas school book depository.

Among other things is also the fact that this alleged feat that Oswald supposedly did, was so difficult that even the best snipers in the world couldn't duplicate it. They had to use stationary targets and multiple attempts before one of them lucked out.

For just about every rational person, knowing these facts alone would make you think that the official story probably can't be true. Yet, the former prosecutor Bugliosi ridicules anyone who might think otherwise. He spends 2600+ (!) pages misleading the gullible readers. "We know that Oswald did it, because Oswald did it". Uh, oh.

Unfortunately, [in part II of the book] one of the those guys that was so easily mislead, is indeed the great actor, Tom Hanks. DiEugenio does an exceptionally good job at giving us background information on him. What kind of a person Hanks is behind his average Joe image?

Why would Hanks actually believe in the lone gunman theory and go as far as to actually purchase the rights to Bugliosi's book? How can he be as historically challenged as it appears? He's supposed to be the good guy here.

This is what makes the second part of the book so fascinating to read. Why do guys like Tom Hanks (and Steven Spielberg) get so many things wrong in their productions? Why are they such fans of the late plagiarist-fraud-historian Stephen Ambrose (and a lone gunman apologist).

One of the answers to this in the book is that all these guys are willfully ignorant when it comes to History. A lot more they care about believing in the American dream. They also want to be part of the gang, which too many times is detrimental when it comes to justice and truth.

This criticism of Hanks and co. continues in the third part of the book in which DiEugenio discusses the new Hollywood and its intelligence community ties. There's a lot of good stuff again to be found. Like for example how the CIA is in charge of a lot of the movie productions nowadays.

Guys like CIA's Chase Brandon have been rigging the game for years. If they don't like the scripts, they won't cooperate. They'll do everything in their power to make sure that the script in question won't be produced.

There's just no way that you would be able to make a movie like Oliver Stone's JFK today. That's why, for example, there's no chance that David Talbot's 'Brothers' is going to be adapted in today's climate. All we get is soapish nonsense fiction, like the miniseries 'Kennedys' . 

In any case, as I wrote on my blog before, I made the obvious prediction that  Hanks and co wouldn't produce the miniseries about the assassination. There was no way they would be able to stretch it to like 10 episodes without completely reinventing the character of Lee Harvey Oswald. It was something that couldn't be done.

Instead, what happened is that Tom Hanks eventually produced the movie Parkland. As one might have expected, the movie didn't hit its target and is already forgotten. Nobody gave a damn about it, because the movie didn't tell it like it is. Oswald did it - not only is it boring but it's also fiction. 

Nevertheless, when it came to the actual anniversary of the case, the mainstream media and its sycophants did their best to lie about this whole thing. Yet, most people still didn't buy it. They won't because the truth is that the assassination of John F. Kennedy was simply a coup d'etat.

So if you give a damn and want to know the truth, James DiEugenio's 'Reclaiming Parkland' is a wonderful read and a great addition to your book collection. I think it's up there with Sylvia Meagher's 'Accessories After The Fact'.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Recapping what I did this year.


One of the reasons that I have this blog is because I believe in sharing. I believe that as a writer and as a person I have a responsibility to share stuff as much as possible with other people. At least I think that's how it's supposed to go.

This year I have managed to be a bit more active when it comes to updating this blog. I've tried my best to be real, honest and truthful about different kinds of things. I hope there's some value in what I have written here. I hope there's something that you and me both can learn from.

When it came to writing scripts this year, I managed to write only one spec, 'What would Brian Boitano do?' for Modern Family. Yet, considering the circumstances, I'm okay with that. There's not that much out there to spec anyway.

Nevertheless, this spec - my ninth television spec in total - really means a lot to me. Before writing it, I kinda thought that I wouldn't be able to write anymore, that I wouldn't care and that I would be done. But I managed to come back with at least one more spec.

I know it's not a perfect script, but I think it's better than what the writers on the show are capable of doing at the moment. It's a bit more real I think and being real is probably my biggest strength as a writer.

Even though it's just a spec that is never going to be produced, I'm pretty lucky that I got the idea of doing an episode about the figure skater Boitano. Here's a person so full of class and talent that you can't really expect to know a better person than him. (especially considering what he did yesterday)

There are other reasons too why I like the latest script. I think all three storylines are pretty solid. I like that finally someone was able to write a decent storyline involving Luke, Haley and Alex. Also, it was a good thing to have a bit more of Jay/Phil together.

Considering the Boitano storyline, when Julie Bowen (Claire) and Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell) were asked like a month ago what was their favorite moment on the show, they said it was the figure skating thing from the first season. So I guess I probably did something right here.

I hope the script has soul, substance and entertainment in it. I tried my best, probably did some mistakes but I think I managed to read the characters really, really well.

Other than that, yes, the script is in a competition at the moment, but I don't really expect anything. Even if I do manage to win, would it make any difference? But I guess I had to try one more time.

Anyway, when it comes to updating this blog next year, I'll try to write as 'much' as I wrote this year. There aren't really that many blogs out there about tv writing, so I guess it's up to me write something and not just tweet and give links to books that mostly suck.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Let others read your scripts.

One of the most important things about screenwriting is that once you have written your script, at some point you have to let others read it and evaluate it.

Yes, you ask if others, your friends or colleagues want to read - and then send them the script on an e-mail. After that you wait for their feedback.

This, of course, for a lot of people is much harder to do than you might think. It's not easy to let others judge what you have written, especially if you have worked on the script so hard.

It's not fun to think about the idea, that your friends, or whoever the readers are, wouldn't like your script. It's not an uplifting prospect to think that what you wrote isn't really that good.

Nevertheless, even though it might be difficult to let others read your script, you should give them a chance, so that together you can make the script hopefully a bit better.

For me it hasn't been that easy to let others read my stuff. I did let my friends read my first six scripts  (Boston Legal, The Big Bang Theory), but once I started writing Modern Family specs, for some reason I didn't give them a chance to read.

This of course was not a good decision in any way. Even though it was emotionally easier for me to not let my friends review the scripts, there was really no other upside to it. I had nothing to win and everything to lose.

If there's one thing that you can take to the bank, it is that you're going to make mistakes. No matter how big or small they turn out to be, you're going to make them and you might not figure them out on your own.

For example, I make a lot of typos - and no matter how many times I read the script, I can't find them all. My latest script for example has a really silly typo in the end. How was I not able to notice that before I sent it to a competition?

Of course, typos are not the only kinds of mistakes that I tend to make. When you deal with three or four different storylines, it's very easy not to get the pacing right. You might get too married to some of your ideas so you don't know that there's a better way to do it too.

I mean, had I given my friends my second Modern Family spec to read, there's a good chance that they would have come up with a way to make it better- especially considering that I rushed it and didn't pay attention to it enough.

Or with my latest script that's now in a competition, perhaps they would have said that, 'hey, let's move that Boitano's "yes" a bit or let's write some additional lines. You never know. At least I won't.

In the end, it's me who's going to make that script good or bad, great or awful. At the same time, it's not a bad idea to give others a chance to read and a chance to make some suggestions too.

Friday, December 13, 2013

More thoughts on The Big Bang Theory.

I haven't written on this blog about The Big Bang Theory in a long time, so I think it's time weigh in again. I'm going to write at least one more time about this show that I used to like a lot.

I don't think I reviewed the sixth season of the show, which in my opinion was probably its worst. It was just terrible to be honest. It wasn't funny and felt in many ways cheap.

This seventh season hasn't really been any better. I haven't seen an episode yet that I could recommend to my friends who gave up watching this show a long time ago.

Nevertheless, recently I've also been curious what others have been thinking about this show. I have read a lot of critiques written by fans. I wanted to see how they saw this show and felt about its progression (or regression).

So, I read a lot of stuff and good points were made about what made the show good. I also read about why the quality started to decline. Certainly I'm not the only person who figured out what's the problem and what went wrong.

One of the best comments I read was how during the first two seasons the show used to be somewhat original. It used to be 'innocent' in a way and that was something that attracted a lot of people to become regular watchers of the show.

I think this 'innocence' thing was a genuinely good assessment of how the show used to be. The characters were likable, they were underdogs and they were excited about doing their own thing - science and geek stuff.

Naturally these qualities were something that I found attractive too. I too felt that the show was made for people like me. Finally someone understood that there's this other way to live your life and that you don't have to apologize for being who you are.

This all was rather rare when you look at what television has to offer us in general. A lot of the stuff out there is so out of touch with reality that you can't help but to turn off the tv as quickly as possible.

Anyway, that was the good part. The other thing that the couch critics understood well, was when the show got worse and why. A lot of good reasons were given. Such as: the characters getting unlikable, the relationship stuff and 'reinventing' the series that destroyed the show.

Indeed, already during the first episode of the third season the characters started to become a bit more unlikable. Leonard betrayed Sheldon and that was supposed to be somehow funny. In a way the show jumped the shark there, if you were honest to yourself.

Of course a lot of people gave the 'it started to suck when it became a show about relationships' answer. Even though some people fervently disagree with this, it's nevertheless the truth. 'It was funny until the girls showed up'.

Sheldon getting a clone version of himself in Amy Farrah Fowler, Howard getting married to Bernadette, the complete lack of chemistry between Leonard and Penny and Raj getting the short end of the stick all the time. It just didn't make much sense.

Futhermore, it was just an awful decision to give those three girls individual scenes. They were not interesting. There was no point to change the point of view of the and to retool the show. The Big Bang Theory simply became a huge mess.

Youthful innocence was gone, their excitement about nerd stuff faded away, storylines became contrived and non-existent, believing in your own things wasn't important anymore. The show and the characters sold out to the 'supposed' masses.

It's really unfortunate that this all happened to the show. Too many mistakes were made and no one in charge seemed to be interested. Even today, the denial seems to be there. Going back to basics seems to be completely out of the question.

It's just too bad, because The Big Bang Theory is one of those shows that could have been something really special. I guess it even was during the first two seasons.  Today, on the other hand, not so much.

One can only wonder what could and would have happened if they had had better writers and a more talented showrunner in charge. What if, indeed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to come up with story ideas?

I'm probably not the only one who keeps wondering how people get ideas for their scripts. How do people come up with storylines that hopefully also make some sense?

Now, I can only speak for myself - and there's absolutely no guarantee that my ideas are great - but I think there are at least certain things that I get right.

One of the most important things that you can learn about coming up with ideas is that most of the time you don't come up with them, unless you write or talk about them first. 

So, write or talk. It's almost never a bad idea to express your thoughts. If you're a writer, writing is almost always the right thing to do. 

I mean, update your blog (if you have one), write on someone else's blog, comment on message boards or forums - as far as I see it, it's all good.  As long as you write, you might get some ideas.

Talk to people about writing. Talk to your family, talk to your friends. Annoy them with your plans, tell them that you're going to do something soon (even when you aren't).

Do this because you never know what's going to happen - how one thing can lead to another. You tell someone that you're thinking of writing something.. and the next thing you know you're actually doing it.

Of course, getting started with your idea and your script only gets you so far. Just because you started doesn't mean that you have it figured out. Ideas aren't always good ideas.

When I start writing, I'll usually notice that my so called ideas won't automatically translate into decent storylines.  Many times when I have an 'idea', it's just a scene or a couple of moments or something like that. 

One way or the other I have to find a way to make it work. Maybe I have to rethink the whole thing and perhaps I have to make it about something else too. In any case I have to get more ideas.

But that's okay. As long as I'm writing, I'll keep getting ideas. As long as I keep getting ideas, there's a good chance that some of them are going to be pretty decent. 

At some point, if you keep writing, those ideas turn into storylines and eventually those storylines turn into a finished script - based on your ideas.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Picket Fences - one of the best.

Lately I've been watching this almost forgotten gem of a series called Picket Fences, that aired during the early nineties. If you haven't seen this show before, I highly recommend that you take a look.

There are a lot of good things about this Emmy winning series, but I think one of the most important things about the show is how well it manages to cover different aspects of life.

What I mean by this is that at the same time Picket Fences is a cop show, a lawyer show, a medical show and also a show about a family. There are a lot of things going on here.

Another thing about the show is that it was created by David Kelley, who later became known for his lawyer shows, like Ally Mcbeal, The Practice and Boston Legal. These shows managed to win a lot of Emmy Awards too.

Even though these other shows are probably more well-known to most, I think Picket Fences is Kelley's best. Whenever I watch it, I feel that it's his most 'complete' series.

Needless to say, this show had a lot of memorable characters: the sheriff dad played by Tom Skerrit, the doctor mom played by Kathy Baker, the flamboyant lawyer played by Fyvush Finkel and the judge played by the veteran Ray Walston.

The supporting cast, perhaps unexpectedly turned out to be equally strong.  The deputy sheriffs, played by Lauren Holly and Costas Mandylor were fully realized characters. Kelly Connell's quirky pathologist also provided consistent laughs.

The kids were all likable and relatable too. Adam Wylie, Justin Shenkarow and Holly Marie Combs had their fair share of dramatic storylines that ranged from getting bullied at school to even getting shot and getting temporarily paralyzed.

Picket Fences wasn't afraid of tackling 'hot button' issues. In fact, for Kelley it was natural to write about different kinds of moral dilemmas. He was fair, balanced and compassionate at the same time. His writing was full of integrity and kindness.

I still haven't completely re-watched the first three seasons (Kelley left the show after the 3rd season) but there are so many favorite moments from the show that make me appreciate this era that was actually the real 'golden age' of television.

Who can forget Frank the potato man, the beauty queen mayor that wasn't actually that dumb, the other mayor that happened to spontaniously combust, the guy with the alzheimer's, the midget secretary that was found in the freezer..

The cows that gave birth to human babies, the teacher that changed sex, sexual obsessions, powers struggles in the town. The fights in the courtroom. The list is almost endless..

There were almost too many great moments considering that Kelley wrote most of the scripts and  that you had to write twenty-two episodes per season. I guess he had to get a lot of help from others in order to maintain the quality of the show.

Yet, considering how much the quality of the show dived after Kelley left after season three, one can't help but to think that Picket Fences was still, nevertheless, a one man show. One guy was in charge of making the show great.

That's probably one of the reasons that the show was snubbed when the best 100 television series of all time were listed. Perhaps it was a bit too hard for a lot of people to digest that a show like Picket Fences and a writer like Kelley could actually exist.

Anyway, if there's one thing that I'd like to see happening, it would be that at some point I'd like to be able to buy Picket Fences on dvd. Because, amazingly enough,  they still haven't released this show past season one. That's a shame to say the least.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

'The Crazy Ones' - best comedy on tv?

One of the biggest surprises this season has been how good The Crazy Ones turned out to be. I had some doubts about it before, but now it seems that the show has found itself.

What I mean by that is that I think its seventh episode 'Sydney, Australia', that aired last thursday,  is probably the best sitcom episode that I've seen in a while.

There were so many good things about the episode: Josh Groban was really awesome, the song was catchy, everyone was likable and Robin Williams had a chance to be serious.

Furthermore, I got a feeling from the episode that everyone involved had a good time on the show: like for example in the above picture where they're dancing in a drag. It was silly but still good natured fun.

Another great thing about the episode was that it was genuinely touching. As unfortunate as it is, I haven't seen honest emotions in a long time - but I just loved the stuff that was on screen here. It was real - or real enough.

This episode also made me wonder whether The Crazy Ones is actually the best comedy on tv now. It could be better than Modern Family, a show that previously was responsible for delivering those feel good moments.

For some reason I just get better vibes from this show whereas when it comes to Modern Family, that show unfortunately can't seem to keep it real. The characters just won't go where they're supposed to go.

The Emmys are next year and if The Crazy Ones gets a bit better, I can see it winning the best comedy series. It's apparent that there's so much talent behind this show. The ratings seem to be pretty solid too.

Anyway, when it comes to the writing on the show, David Kelley still hasn't written anything else than the pilot so far. But the quality of the last episode made me think that he must be involved with the production of those scripts.

All in all, The Crazy Ones seems to be a surprisingly good show and I'll probably write a spec at some point. As long as I think that I can write a script that is dramatic enough to make you care.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Another take on "what shows to spec?".

Last time when I wrote about 'what shows to spec', I hadn't really thought it out enough. Even though what I wrote was true in theory, there was still that other side to the story.

So, even though it's a logical choice to write a spec for a show that is a ratings hit and popular, award winning and respected by most, you still have to consider those showrunners who might read the script.

In any case, if you're like me, there are basically two or three sitcoms that are worth your time. These are in my opinion Modern Family, South Park and maybe, perhaps The Crazy Ones. Those others aren't worth, at least not my time.

Having this few even remotely relevant quality shows on air (South Park probably being the best) creates a lot of problems: Not only for the aspiring writers (the talented ones are in worst shape) but also for the showrunners too.

One of the biggest problems for a writer like me is that if the show that I spec is not one of these three, it's likely that the showrunners of Modern Family, South Park and The Crazy Ones  - the shows that I care about - simply don't give a damn about my spec.

I mean, if I'd write a Family Guy, what is there in my script that would convince them to hire me? There's probably no substance or heart in the script and Family Guy isn't known for being a storyteller's show. There's no reason for them to care.

If I write an absolutely superb Modern Family script full of soul, substance and entertainment, then perhaps one of these three shows might take notice and would hire me. It's a long shot, but you never know.

On the other hand, if you do want to get hired on a show like Family Guy, I guess my advice would be not to necessarily write a Modern Family spec. That is because they just might not want to read your script.

This is because a lot of showrunners don't want to admit to themselves that their show sucks. They want to feel special (we all do) and in this case feeling special means that they tend to read scripts that aren't any better than what they produce themselves.

So if you want to write Family Guy at some point, your Community script is probably good. If you want to write Community, your Parks & Rec is probably good too. As long as the showrunner thinks that it doesn't have a lot of artistic merit, you're fine.

This is also the reason that spec pilots are more in demand than before. The showrunners like them, not because they want to hear your voice, but because pilots are so incredible hard to write and the chances are overwhelmingly that your spec pilot sucks.

It's an awful situation obviously for almost everyone. At the same time, I'd suggest that you take it with a grain of salt if someone tells you that New Girl is hot or that you can't do it without a Happy Endings spec or your own spec pilot.

In any case, if you decide to write a South Park or a Modern Family spec, please make sure that it's awesome. If you get hired on one of these quality shows, remember that there's an audience out there expecting to see something really good.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A-list showrunners slacking.

One of the things that television enthusiasts don't pay enough attention to are the writing credits. They talk about the episodes, but they don't talk about the writers.

Unlike many others, I'm rather interested in knowing who actually wrote those episodes that were really good. I want to know who is responsible for those funny and/or serious moments.

The reason I'm writing about this is because there are certain writers out there who are simply better - more talented - than the rest. When they write a script, more often than not there's a chance that the episode turns out to be really good.

One of these writers is of course Modern Family's showrunner Steven Levitan. I think almost every script that he has written on Modern Family has been pretty good, better than your average episode on the show.

So, naturally every time when it reads on the screen that Steve Levitan wrote the episode, my hopes go up. Very likely the episode has something that is real and funny. The characters feel more like they're actual human beings.

The only problem with this is that unfortunately he doesn't write that many scripts anymore. This season he hasn't written a single one yet. Last season he wrote like two, or one and a half to be more precise.

Steve Levitan not being the hero that the world needs but doesn't deserve bugs me. No scripts yet this season. I'm worried..

Nevertheless, even though I'm disappointed in Steve's output lately, there's this other guy, this other writer that I'm even more worried about.

















That's right, David E. Kelley, who created The Crazy Ones and is really notorious in the industry - like Aaron Sorkin - for writing almost every script himself. Six episodes in and he's only written the pilot.

I don't know about you guys, but this really troubles me. I miss Kelley's writing and I just wish that he'd write more scripts like he used to do.

More scripts please, David and Steve!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spec script mistakes: rushing your script & storylines out of sync.

Usually I write about mistakes that other writers have made. In order to be a bit more fair, I think it's time to write about  mistakes that I myself have made recently.

So, when it comes to making mistakes, one that really annoys me is when your script as a whole doesn't work because certain scenes are in the wrong order.

This happened to me with my Modern Family spec 'House of Cards'. When I sent it to a competition, I rushed the script, didn't rewrite it early enough, made some panicky changes and screwed up the pacing without even realizing it.

Here's the script that nevertheless made the top 10 in the competition : http://www.scribd.com/read/116264736/Modern-Family-House-of-Cards

Now, the problem with this script is that the storyline with Alex and Haley ends too early. This is because I didn't pay enough attention to the scenes (placing) involving Jay/Phil and Cam/Mitchell. I thought the script would work no matter what.

Of course in hindsight it really didn't work and this is a good reminder that there's really no upside to start rewriting your script five hours before the deadline when you haven't checked your draft in months.

The upside to this all is that I think it's pretty easy to fix the problem - as long as the pacing is what's wrong with the script. The downside is that you start doubting yourself even more. Mistakes are never easy to accept anyway.

So, nevertheless, I opened the script yesterday and did some changes to it. The Claire/Haley/Alex storyline now ends on page 20 instead of ending on page 17.  I don't know if it makes enough difference but I hope it does.

Anyway, here's the 'fixed' version of the spec script: http://www.scribd.com/doc/179356159/Modern-Family-House-of-Cards-Fix-pdf

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I watched some of those new sitcoms..

As far as I remember, last year I didn't pay that much attention to comedy shows that premiered on tv. I mostly read reviews and that was pretty much it. All those new shows reportedly sucked and that was all I needed to know.

This year on the other hand I wasn't as indifferent, unfortunately. I wasn't smart enough to not watch those new shows that aired. I watched and in most cases wish that I hadn't.

There were at least two reasons that I checked the new shows. The biggest reason is of course that David Kelley came up with 'The Crazy Ones'. I'm always curious about what Kelley has to offer. Despite his flaws, he's still likely the most talented tv writer of all time.

Probably the second reason that I happened to take a look at the fall lineup was because Chuck Lorre seemingly came up with yet another generic sitcom called 'Mom'. According to at least Ken Levine, this was supposed to be good. So I had to check it out.

Now, I must confess that I didn't watch every new show that aired - but I did watch 'Mom', 'The Crazy Ones', I watched 'The Millers', I watched 'The Goldbergs' and there was at least one more sitcom.. yes.. 'Brooklyn Nine Nine' that I saw. I think I gave them all a fair chance.

I've already written about The Crazy Ones - so I guess it's time to write about those other wonderful new sitcoms that unfortunately didn't turn out to be wonderful at all. It turned out that all those other new comedies were, I'm sorry to say, awful.

So how bad was The Millers, lead by Will Arnett for example? Well, it looked cheap, there was no point to anything that happened and I kinda got a claustrophobic feel from the show. I was able to stomach 'The Millers' for about eight minutes before I had to turn it off.

The Goldbergs was a show that I hadn't heard anything about before. Jeff Garlin is always great in Curb Your Enthusiasm but he's completely wasted here. I couldn't believe how pointless the show was until I noticed that it was created by the guy who also wrote the movie 'Fanboys'. I gave up after ten minutes.

Brooklyn Nine Nine was supposedly a good show because critics liked it. But at the same time this show is nothing more than a weak imitation of the absolutely hilarious Reno 911. All the characters are unlikable, the storylines are terrible and the funny moments aren't funny.

Finally, Chuck Lorre's Mom. Even though we all 'knew' it was going to suck, I still kinda wanted the show to be good since it's about a single mom's struggles. I think it's an ideal underdog situation so the show can't be that bad, now can it?

The problem is of course that for some miraculous reason the characters aren't likable. Everyone's a cheater on the show. Everyone does nasty things to each other. The 'jokes' are so stupid and juvenile. Superbly talented actors are wasted here.

What's even worse is that Chuck Lorre had the nerve to write a vanity card in which he says that the writers worked really hard and that this is a serious show about a serious subject matter. Critics are supposed to keep that in mind when they take shots at the show..

I mean, this is unbelievably pathetic behavior from Lorre. At least those other showrunners were smart enough to keep their mouths shut. Most of them know that they screwed up (not sure about that Parks & Rec guy though).

But all in all, this is a really bad year for new sitcoms. It's not easy to come up with good shows, but you would expect that they could do better than this. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Modern Family spec script: What Would Brian Boitano Do?

Okay, so here's my final Modern Family script 'What Would Brian Boitano do?".

http://www.scribd.com/doc/175396846/Modern-Family-What-Would-Brian-Boitano-Do

I never thought I'd be able to write this script, but fortunately I did. I hope you'll enjoy reading it.

Here's the song that this episode is based on:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

'The Crazy Ones' looks promising.

Well, I think it's too early at this point to make any definitive conclusions about The Crazy Ones, but based on those two episodes that I have seen, the show seems almost surprisingly solid.

Now, does this mean that it's going to be a good show or a great show? I wouldn't count on it yet. At the same time, The Crazy Ones is already probably the only show that can challenge Modern Family at the Emmys next year.

There are certain things that I like about the show and there are also certain things that I'm not sure about yet. We have to see more episodes before I can better assess the show.

First, let's start with those things that I'm not sure about yet. Like many others, I'm not sure I'm totally buying Robin Williams' act here. I personally like him more when he does drama. He's a fantastic dramatic actor and perhaps he should be more serious here.

Another thing is that I'm not sure whether this is a show that I'm going to care about. Will I care about the characters, are there honest moments on the show and is there enough substance? That's something that's going to be pretty crucial.

On the other hand, there are a lot of good things about the show. Unlike those others CBS sitcoms, The Crazy Ones doesn't have a laugh track. Also its production values are high enough and that's always a good thing.

When it comes to the characters, I especially liked James Wolk's character who has great chemistry with Williams. I had my doubts about Wolk being the lead on the show, but now that I've seen him, I'm not actually having problems with him anymore.

I also like Sarah Michelle Gellar. She seems to be a good person in real life and I think it shows here. Also, it was good to see Hamish Linklater. He was awesome on The Newsroom, so whatever he does here, I'm buying it.

Furthermore, this is after all a David Kelley show. Even though he hasn't had a good decade when it comes to winning Emmy awards, he probably still has that golden touch. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, as I wrote before, I wasn't really supposed to write any more television spec scripts, but now that I've seen this show, I might actually reconsider. It really doesn't take that much time to write one or two more.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Modern Family script: rewriting "What would Brian Boitano do?"

I decided to write one more post about my third and final Modern Family script because these posts seem to get most reads and also because as a writer I think there's a responsibility to share stuff as much as you can with others.

So, one of the most important things about rewriting a script is that before you actually start rewriting it, it's better to shelve it for at least a week or two. This gives you perspective and lets you look at it a bit more objectively.

In my case with 'What would Brian Boitano do?", I shelved it for four months because I didn't have any deadlines and there weren't any competitions that I knew of. So I was really able to distance myself from the script.

Once I finally managed to open the file - and yes, it can be very difficult - I was pleasantly surprised how emotionally honest the storyline with Luke, Alex and Haley was already.

Nevertheless, the biggest problem was with the storyline in which Jay and Phil come to Cam's rescue after Cam manages to break his toilet. This one didn't make enough sense and the storyline was too contrived to be honest.

The problem was that I didn't know how I could make it seem plausible that both Phil and Jay would come to help Cam (pretty critical stuff). I had to rethink a bit and had to come up with a solution that would make the storyline seem more believable and natural.

Of course the only way to know whether the solution worked was through rewriting it first and then by checking how good or bad it looked. There was no guarantee that it would work or that it would make sense - although in this case it worked, almost too well.

Anyway, the storyline that worked best is the one involving Luke/Alex/Haley. It was about Luke having a date and Alex being curious and wanting to know about it. To give some details about it, the storyline revolves around the idea that Luke gets so confused that he doesn't know who he is anymore.

As I wrote in an earlier post,  for this storyline I wanted to 'steal' from an old Simpsons episode in which Lisa's substitute teacher gives her the note that reads 'you are Lisa Simpson'. Since Alex is basically a Lisa Simpson herself, I thought it would be nice to do a role reversal and that in this case it's 'Lisa' who gives the note.

Naturally this whole thing required that I would come up with ideas of my own too. So, for example instead of Luke being happy about the note, he basically says to himself  "how is this going to help me?". In the very last scene we see that the note does help him after all.

But there was still one more storyline left and that was the one about Claire and Mitchell going to a skating rink with Lily. This storyline is the one where we get the title for the episode. We get to meet Brian Boitano, who - it turns out - feels inadequate about himself.

Yes, this was yet another serious storyline coming from me, but as far as I'm concerned, I think it was appropriate to treat a person like Boitano with dignity and respect and not try something that would make you roll your eyes.

I mean, he did win an olympic gold medal in figure skating with one of the greatest performances of all time. Therefore I think it was pretty obvious that since he gave us something awesome like that, my responsibility as a writer was to give something good back too.

I guess perhaps for this exact reason, I still haven't polished this part of the script. That is because it has to be good - even though it's a spec script and even though it will never be actually produced. It has to be good enough.

In any case though, hopefully I'll manage to finish this script soon and hopefully I'll also finish my first feature screenplay before the end of this year too.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Honest moments and honest emotions over 'funny' jokes.

One of the best moments in Bill Hicks' last interview (my post about it) was when he said that 'you never see honest emotions on tv' and that 'there's a voice of reason inside us that needs to be confirmed'. 

Bill, of course, was right and and what he said is something that I have wondered and worried about too. We just don't tend to see stuff on tv that's honest enough or real enough.

Well, most of the time at least. There are - or have been - of course some exceptions to this 'rule', but most of the time what you see on tv consists of entertainment that doesn't make you feel that good inside. Something just isn't right.

For example, let's take a look at a show that I think is the best comedy on tv right now - Modern Family. It's a well made show that usually manages to entertain me and makes me think that there are still pretty good people left on this planet.

At the same time, it's a show that also tends to disappoint. This is sometimes when it comes to having honest moments on the show. The jokes, those funny moments, are usually pretty solid, but there are moments when they manage to take the wrong route when it comes to story and drama.

I don't know if there's a better example than the episode 'Our Children, Ourselves' 2x12. For some reason I happened to re-watch it - maybe because The Cam & Mitchell storyline had all the potential to be a very serious, honest one. Something that at least I wanted to see.

It was about Mitchell bumping into a woman that he used to date when he wasn't honest to himself about being gay. Sounded pretty interesting to me. Seemed like it was going to be straight drama.

The way this storyline went is that there was a chance that Mitchell was the father of her kid - a high stakes situation if there ever was one. It could have been really touching and could even have included a 'Forrest Gump' serious moment.

Neverthelesss, in the end it turned out that not only was Mitchell not the father of his ex-girlfriend's kid, it was revealed that the kid wasn't actually a kid, but a grown-up midget that was her current lover. So much for having an honest moment and showing honest emotions.

Of course there was basically 'no way' that Mitchell could have been the father, but in retrospect the way they handled the storyline made me feel pretty sad. Especially when I think of what Bill Hicks said about lack of honest emotions on tv.

Honest moments really are that precious and sometimes a serious storyline and a serious moment simply works better than a supposed funny one with a twist. Sometimes serious needs to be serious. Sometimes 'funny' just isn't enough.

In many ways the world that we live in keeps getting more complicated and more superficial. Life just keeps getting harder and harder to understand. In that sense it's crucial that every once in a while we see something honest on tv that confirms the voice of reason inside us.

At least that's the way I see it. As an audience member, you have a right to experience something that is honest, real and genuine. Something that makes you feel that you're not completely insane after all.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bill Hicks' last interview.

This is my one hundreth post here and instead of trying to say anything meaningful myself, I decided to post something that in my opinion is pretty awesome and profound - Bill Hicks' last interview.

Even though I'm a huge fan of the guy, the first time I heard about the late Hicks was about five years ago - when I had written a two-part Boston Legal spec, that mainly dealt with the JFK assassination.

I remember checking youtube back then if there was something interesting about the murder that I could find. Naturally there was, lots and lots of videos that I hadn't seen. After all, I had only read those damn books before.

So, one of the first videos that I found was titled 'Bill Hicks on the JFK assassination'. "Bill Hicks, who is this guy?", I was thinking. I had never heard about him before. Was he supposed to be a comedian or something?

Well, it took me like fifteen minutes or so - or was it five minutes - before I understood that this guy had mad insights. Not only did he know exactly what he was talking about, he also managed to be funny as hell. He was super-seriously super-funny.

Of course in today's world 'funny' can mean many things. We pretend that a lot of shows and a lot of people are funny, even though in reality they really aren't. We pretend that they have something meaningful to say - even when they don't.

Bill on the other hand was funny because he was real and what he said was the truth. When he opened his mouth, he did it because had something to say. What he said had meaning. What he said had value.

If you watch his last interview, it's pretty amazing how relevant everything that he said still is. None of the portions feel dated, even though the interview was conducted twenty years ago. In many ways it's one for the ages.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spec script mistakes: outdating your script on purpose.

Probably the very first thing that you learn from tv writing books is that you should never spec shows that have already gone off the air. That is because nobody's going to read your outdated spec. Those scripts are goners.
 
At the same time, it seems that not enough attention is paid to the fact that just because you wrote a script for a show that still exists - a show that might exist for years to come - your script might already be pretty outdated.

But how can it be so? How can it really be a goner? I mean, it's just a spec and a writing sample from me. It's not meant to be sold. It's meant to be read. The show is still on.

The paradox in this whole thing is that even though spec scripts are not meant to be sold or produced, they're still supposed to be relevant and actual. It's much better if your script is up to date within the show's universe.

Every spec script gets outdated at some point - sooner or later - but there's no point in giving it a short life span. At least when you do it on purpose. The longer you can keep it 'alive' and in theory producable, the better.

Serialized tv shows are admittedly the most difficult to spec and die fastest. It's not fun to spec a show like 24 or Lost or Prison Break. There's not much point in writing a stand-alone episode. You have to write an episode that fits within its current season's story arc.

Therefore, "serializing" your script if you don't have to do it, is probably the worst mistake that you can make when it comes to your script's life span. No matter what you do, don't make your script about something that can't happen anymore.

If you want a good (bad) example, let's take a look at a show like Modern Family that gives you plenty of opportunities to keep your spec fresh and alive. It's one of the safer shows out there. (South Park being probably the safest).

Nevertheless, I managed to read a logline for a spec script that read like: "While Gloria is pregnant, Manny and Jay.." & "Now that Haley has moved out..". Lots of restrictions already in the logline for the reader.

Let's be honest here. This script was filmable for like three months at most when it comes to the pregnancy.. and perhaps for like two weeks before Haley was expelled and came back to the Dunphy house.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't ever do something like this. At least for me it's pretty obvious that the longer I can keep my spec alive, the better. Making it unfilmable right from the start is just...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Best 'Save The Cat' moment ever?

To be honest, I haven't thought this much, but I watched Notting Hill again a while ago and thought that it was a very well made movie. Especially when it came to the script. Of course the acting was good too.

Now, as many are aware, Blake Snyder's Save the Cat book series is about deconstructing movie screenplays. His books deal with the structure of the movies and teach the readers to write scripts themselves.

Anyway, in his books there's this concept of 'saving the cat', which basically says that the audience needs to have a reason to root for the main character(s). There has to be something in the script that makes us interested in them.

It sounds simple, and it kinda is too, but you wouldn't believe how many movies manage to screw it up. Too many times the writers simply didn't get it.

Notting Hill on the other hand does it probably better than any other movie.


What makes this scene so great is that not only does it put Hugh Grant's main character into a tough and an awkward spot, but the way he sorts it out tells the audience that he's a really good person.

I don't know about you, but if I were Julia Roberts' character in that situation, I would be impressed as hell. Maybe it wouldn't make me fall in love with the person in question immediately..

..but it certainly would make me feel good about life - which is exactly what great writing is all about.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Storytelling based on kindness: Planes, Trains & Automobiles.


It's not a secret that John Hughes is one of my heroes when it comes to writing. I'm not sure if I know any other screenwriter who has been able to create as many memorable and relatable characters as he did.

In my opinion, Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of the best examples, if not the best, on how to create likable, relatable characters. Both Steve Martin and John Candy really shine in this movie. It's their brightest hour (and 25 minutes).

The movie's storytelling is based on kindness - and yet the characters in the movie aren't nice all the time. In fact, this Steve Martin & John Candy vehicle is especially famous for its scenes where the characters don't act nice at all.

There's for example the confrontantion in the motel room, where Martin & Candy say awful things to each other. They both really get to the bottom of it and don't watch what they're saying. It's just brutal.

There's also the famous scene at the car rental where Martin's character Neal Page goes on an epic tirade in which he mostly uses the f word. The way he treats the chirpy customer service worker is mindboggling.

Based on these two scenes only, you wouldn't think that Plains, Trains & Automobiles could be a heartwarming movie. Nevertheless, it manages to be one and that's because the writer-director John Hughes knew what he was doing.

That is that already in the first scene that we see in the movie, the audience really identifies with the main character. When we see Steve Martin in the congress room, stuck in the meeting, one can't help but to think that we know exactly what he's going through.

The same goes also for us seeing John Candy's character when he apologizes for 'stealing' the cab. In order to make up for his mistake, he wants to provide Martin's character squishies, slurpies and stuff. Save the cat moment, I guess.

From the very beginning, the movie get its right, and the first scene is one of the best opening scenes in the history of movies. It's elegant in its simplicity, but it's also absolutely hilarious in an understated way. It gets the movie going.

I guess the movie isn't perfect, but yet in so many ways it's amazing that it's possible to create an experience like Planes, Trains & Automobiles, a film, that at the same time manages to be not only funny, but also honest and sad.

There are so many things to learn from it - but if there's one thing above others, it is that if you can create characters as immediately relatable as John Hughes did here, then pretty much anything is possible.

Anyway, here's the opening scene.. ..and the rest of the film too. I never seem to get tired of watching this wonderful, kind movie.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Characters should be vulnerable - like in Ally Mcbeal.


Since I'm a huge fan of David Kelley it shouldn't come as a surprise that I was a massive fan of Ally Mcbeal too. Like many others, I think the first three seasons of the show were pretty much amazing.

In many ways, when I think of Ally Mcbeal, I can't help but to think that we haven't seen another show that is so full of love, compassion, kindness, dignity, soul, substance and entertainment at the same time.

There are many reasons why I think the show was so good - like for example the absurdist humor - but perhaps the biggest reason for its success was that the characters were so real and vulnerable (even though they admittedly were a bit weird too)

The show had a great balance between comedy and drama, between the characters being so determined and yet being so emotionally honest. From neurotic Ally to slutty Elaine, from eccentric Bisquit to chauvinistic Richard Fish. Even the cold Ling had a softer side to her.

A lot of the episodes were so well written that it kinda makes me wonder if there's going to be another show - and a writer like David Kelley - that's going to pull off 'human' stuff as well as it did on the show.
  
I have many favorite moments from the show, and even though the show was billed as a comedy, most of my favorite moments are actually dramatic and not funny at all. That is because these moments made us relate with the characters.

Moments like Billy's death while giving a closing argument in court, Haley Joel Osment's character dying from cancer with Ling's reaction to that, Ally hugging a dead transvestite prostitute are moments that defined the show and the characters.

Some other great moments were when the always cheerful office slut Elaine gets her feelings hurt when she's told she's 'easy', Billy and Georgia wondering if they were going to have a baby.. and so on.

Of course what made the show different from other comedies is that Ally Mcbeal was a one hour comedy instead of a half hour one. That gave the show a bit more leeway to deal with different sorts of issues.

Nevertheless, when I watch a pretty good show like Modern Family, I can't help but to think that we should see more episodes where the characters are a bit more vulnerable. That's something that in my opinion makes a good show great.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The reason(s) why most reality shows are horrible.

















First of all, I have to say that in theory I have nothing against "reality" tv, or as some would call it "competition" tv.  I have nothing against good reality shows - after all, I'm a huge fan of The Amazing Race, and I also like Survivor a lot.

In fact, as a writer, I would go as far as to say that The Amazing Race is the best show on television at the moment. It's much more interesting and much more down to earth than any other scripted tv show that I watch regularly.

I watch Amazing Race and Survivor religiously because both shows are about something else than about the supposed 'us'. These programs aren't just about boring or unlikable personalities doing superficial things that I could care less about. There's something real here.

Both The Amazing Race and Survivor are shows that are also about our planet and about nature. They take me to places where I probably won't have a chance to go to - even if I wanted to. Both shows make me think that there's more to life than I know. Neither show is that much about winning - it's more about the experience.

I can't stand shows like American Idol, Project Runway or America's Next Top Model, and the reason is because these 'shows' aren't really about anything meaningful. They don't really make me feel any better about life. Instead, these shows make me feel that the world is a superficial place and that there's no point to anything.

I mean, how can anyone honestly watch Project Runway? This reality program pretty much shows, or should I say, confirms that we live in a sick society. Why should anyone care about these high-end fashion designers?  Who can relate to these "people"? Nobody's going to buy or wear their rags anyway.

When it comes to American Idol, maybe someone gets a kick out of seeing those underdogs audition. Unfortunately, once they advance to the next round, they keep singing those songs that the original performers have already sung better. Thus the whole program becomes completely absurd.

Of course, there's really no depth to a show like America's Next Top Model either. It's all about superficiality, about how you look. It's not about your inner beauty or your ability to do things. It's yet another 'reality' show that confuses us about what's really valuable in life.

Anyway, the reason that most reality shows suck is because we pretend that a lot of these people are somehow special, when in reality there's nothing special about them. They're either too boring or they're simply insane - and there's nothing interesting about the concept of the show.

On the other hand, the reason that The Amazing Race and Survivor are so good is because when you watch the show, you don't have to pretend that the contestants are special. What we see on these shows are mostly normal human beings doing interesting things - which is what reality tv should be all about.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Do you trust your spider-sense?
















I have no idea why I watched The Amazing Spider-Man. I loved the first two movies - especially the second one - and didn't like the third much, because that one didn't really make much sense.

So anyway, there was no reason whatsoever for me to watch the reboot that premiered last year. I had a feeling that it was going to be a terrible movie. There was no 'artistic' reason to reboot the series, so I guess my spider-sense told me to stay away.

Nevertheless, since I had watched a lot of movies lately, I got curious or something and decided to watch it anyway. Unfortunately, that is, because this new reboot is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Absolutely everything about it stinks.

I can't help but to think that I shouldn't have watched the movie - because it was so depressing compared to the original first two movies. Instead, I should have trusted my instincts - that subconsciously had kept me from even thinking about the movie for so long. I mean, what were the writers thinking?

When it comes to writing, in so many ways it's about making those reads and trusting your instincts. Without having a spider-sense or whatever you want to call it, you can't be a great writer. There's just too much stuff out there anyway.

What I'm saying is that you need to have a feel for what's right and wrong, you need to 'know' what's good and bad and you need to have the ability to subconsciously guess what's probably true and what's probably false.

In my case, I can't get those two hours of my life back. But fortunately I can go to youtube and watch clips from the second Spiderman movie - that nine years ago made me feel really good about life.

Friday, June 7, 2013

101 best written tv shows according to Writers Guild of America (the ultimate David E. Kelley snub)

101 best written shows by WGA (2013)

1. The Sopranos
2. Seinfeld
3. The Twilight Zone
4. All in The Family
5. M*A*S*H
6. The Mary Tyler Moore Show
7. Mad Men
8. Cheers
9. The Wire
10. The West Wing

-The reason that The Sopranos was voted the best show is not because it's a particularly great tv series. Members of the guild voted for it because it makes them feel they're better (writers) than they really are.

-There's only one show that deserves to be #1 and that is The Simpsons. It's the best show of all time. Yet, it didn't even make the top ten.

-David E. Kelley didn't get any of his shows to top 100. Perhaps the greatest writer of all time didn't get a single show on the list. Picket Fences, Ally Mcbeal, The Practice - not on the list.

-The Sopranos and Seinfeld have nothing to do with making the world a better place. Coincidence - or could it be more likely that writers (voters) are more confused and clueless than ever?

-Some really bad shows made it to the list (Will & Grace, Law & Order, The Good Wife). I guess a lot of people voted for their own shows.

-Despite what everyone says again, this is simply not the golden age of tv. The golden age of tv was 20 years ago when we had The Simpsons, X-files, Picket Fences etc. - all better than anything that's on tv today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Jack Carroll on Britain's Got Talent.




Here's one more reason to like Britain's Got Talent. The 14 year old teenager with cerebral palsy surprises everyone with his sense of humour.

Talk about being an underdog. How can you not like this kid?

Now, based on his audition one might think that all the jokes would be about his physical handicap and that his act would wear quickly thin.

Thankfully, during the semi-finals, Jack Carroll's performance was..



 ..hilarious! Can't wait too see him in the finals! (June 8th)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Modern Family's 4th season finale.















I know I've written too much about Modern Family lately, but in my opinion the 4th season finale is, I think, the best finale that the show has had. 4x24, 'Goodnight, Gracie' is also one of the best episodes of the series.

Now, when I'm saying that 'Goodnight Gracie' is a really good episode, I think it also suffers from having too many storylines in it, just like the great 'Moon Landing', from season one. 

I mean, there's Cam socializing with seniors, Haley & Alex together, Jay and his 'first time', Mitchell defending Gloria in a courtroom and Phil trying to make her late mother's last wish come true. That's five storylines.

I don't know about you, but for me it's difficult to process that much information. Five storylines in twenty-one minutes means that you have only four minutes for each storyline on average.

I honestly don't think that's enough and there's no way that the stuff you see on screen is really going to 'breathe'. There's just too much happening at the same time in order to make it elegant.

Having said that, I did like the storylines. Starting with Phil trying to make her mom's last wish come true, I liked that I was able to see Phil show his more serious side. Even though the storyline was a bit rushed, the last scene was really well written and beautifully acted.

I also liked that we finally got to hear more about Jay's Vietnam experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline and Ed O'Neill again gives a fantastic couch interview, just like he did last season with his 'I hope it's a boy'.

Furthermore, I did like the Mitchell & Gloria storyline. Mitchell doing courtroom stuff is something that I did in my spec script. The storyline was professionally written and worked rather well.

Still, I guess in a way I can't help but to think that perhaps someone from the show got the idea of Mitchell becoming a trial lawyer from me. I mean, it is a generic idea, but at the same time, it kinda isn't.

But anyway, there was also good stuff about Cameron not wanting to stir things up. The boys, Luke and Manny we're pretty funny too, and at the end of the episode, we finally got a voice-over that was sweet and actually made sense.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What can we expect from 'The Crazy Ones'?














I don't really know what to think about David Kelley's single camera sitcom The Crazy Ones that just got picked up by CBS.

Yes, Kelley, the 10 time Emmy winner behind shows like Ally Mcbeal and The Practice is going to be in charge of producing a half hour comedy this fall.

The first question that comes to mind is, of course, can this show be any good? Is there any chance that this tv series could provide us quality entertainment?

Naturally, in order to make an educated guess, we have to pay attention to at least three things:

1) what is the premise?
2) who are the characters?
3) what are the storylines about?

The premise: according to a press release, this show is "a father-daughter workplace comedy set in the world of advertising". Not necessarily an original one, we have seen it before (Just Shoot Me).

The characters: The father, apparently a rather 'crazy' Robin Williams playing the ad agency owner. The daughter, the co-owner played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, who is trying to see that her dad doesn't do anything stupid.

The storylines: let's watch the trailer for this show first:


Looks like the show's first episode is going to be about the father making some kind of a comeback. In that sense I guess he's supposed to be some kind of an underdog. That's always a good thing.

There's also a celebrity cameo by Kelly Clarkson. Seems like an interesting, likable, real person. ('Stronger' is a wonderful song)

However, the important thing to notice is that the first episode is about doing an ad for the hamburger chain Mcdonald's. This tells me that the show is trying to be relevant by having actual existing products and trademarks on the show.

Of course the big question is to what extent you're allowed to criticize these companies and how much you're allowed to make fun of the absurdity known as 'marketing'.

If Crazy Ones can take an honest look at the industry, then I guess it could become a real hit. That is that the show would have something to say about our way of life and how we just keep consuming.

Anyway, let's get back to this show once it airs.