Monday, August 3, 2009


The previews for fall shows ... the new television series ... it's hard for me to look at them without putting on my casting agent's hat and --

Gritting my teeth ...
Disapproving ...
Making a "Ick" face, snarling "Ick" at the screen.

ICK for the wilder, more violent than ever murder-death-disasters on which the preview scene is usually based ... It's as if some half-grown, boy-kid producer put together the "SELL," splicing in every horrible scene he ever saw -- decapitations, beatings, bestial behavior, buzz saw mutilations, creating a wow- after-wow, sixty seconds that I vow NEVER TO SEE.

Of course the exciting preview includes "SELL" shots of the cast -- the usual interchangeable batch of great-looking unmemorable guys and girls who resemble last year's stars, and at least one black, who resembles Denzel W.or Halle B.

Hey, I don't mind if the leads are beautiful, or look like relatives of Whoopie/Lativah or Liz/Marilyn or Hannah Montana. It's the acting that gets me. (With two great-looking, super actors in my family, I've got well-honed critical abilities -- a highly-trained eye and a super- sensitive ear.)

The newbies all have the TV acting style: punctuated, telegraphic delivery of lines that sets the mood, cues us dummies in the audience on how to react. Most easily recognized is the pause before the laugh, pause that sets up and braces you for whatever happens next -- a double-take or a burp, a laugh or the wham-bam shock, and the gasp of fear. Like a ticker tape, you know what to feel -- what the actor feels is always announced a second before it happens.

Ick! Yuck! Blauuugh!

Casting agents send JC scripts for the new pilots -- mostly roles these days, for dying, fat grandfathers with Alzheimer's. JD, a leading man type, suffers at auditions for the leading man roles. Gets call-backs, but not the role -- JD doesn't do the TV acting style, except as a joke when his parents ask him how he's doing. He's "not quite the type," which means JD doesn't remind the producers of the type they kind-of -sort- of-maybe-had in mind, based on shows that got the highest Nielsen ratings last season.

Good wife says "yay" when JC says "no" to a bad role. Good Mom applauds JD in the Shakespeare leading roles he's been doing.

The new shows ... well, I tune 'em in hopefully, complain about the actors, mentally re-write plots, expurgating the crudities and violence. Moaning about the endless ads, I change the channel -- quite often find myself watching two shows at the same time.

Got to admit it-- good wife, good mom Em usually ends up watching an old movie.

1 comment:

Carola said...

TV is so awful these days that we're thinking of giving up cable and just renting lots of movies from Netflix