As someone whose high school and college education focused on writing and storytelling (through stage, film, and video), I’ve long been askance at how much culture reveres actors while not paying as much attention to the writers who provide their words or the directors who control much of what they do.
I do not at all mean to suggest actors aren’t also artists who bring important skills to the table. In college, I had to find people willing to act (for free!) in my productions — I couldn’t tell my stories without them — so I’m well acquainted with their importance and skills.
My point is only that the stories we love owe as much, if not more, to the writers and directors who create them in the first place.
The other evening I had the very weird experience of watching a very good, smart TV show followed immediately by watching a very bad, stupid TV show. And, admittedly, it may have been a study of contrasts; the latter may have suffered in comparison to the former and come off worse than it is. On the other hand, at that point in the evening, I had several (okay, four) beers in me, so I should have been predisposed to enjoy the show.
But instead of hootin’ and hollerin’ with delight (as I’d done for the first show), I was hootin’ and hollerin’ with derision about how mindlessly, utterly stupid the second show was. As it turns out, critics seem to agree. On Metacritic, the first one has 21 positive critic reviews, nine mixed and only one negative. The second show? Only four positive, 15 mixed and five negative reviews.
The first show: Madam Secretary. The second show: Scorpion. Both new and on CBS.
“Far Less” what?
Yesterday I wrote about a TV commercial with a bit of a design flaw (and, yet, without that flaw the commercial wouldn’t work). I generally go to great lengths to avoid having to see television commercials, but sadly one cannot avoid all of them. Still, as a former TV and film student, they fascinate me as much as they annoy me.
Advertisers have under a minute to tell you a story that pushes their product. Some are straight-forward about it, others are more oblique. (Generally, the more real substance a product offers, the greater the chance the commercial is straight-forward.) Some commercials can be real works of art. One of these days I’ll write about some that I find very striking.
Today I want to talk about Toyota Jan. And Bacon.