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.