Monday, 21 February 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #681: Pretty Iffy Ideas

Welcome to the show folks...

Today a few quick thoughts about a couple of pretty iffy ideas.

Glee Gets Political, Or Suicidal?

Ryan Murphy, the Creator/Executive Producer of Fox's musical teen show
Glee has announced that he's going to be adding a "right wing" character. This character is described as a "Tea Party" political candidate and "Sarah Palin type."

This "Sarah Palin type" will be played by comedian and reality TV D-Lister Kathy Griffin.

Personally, my theory about the process that lead to this casting decision is that Ryan Murphy knows the show is not long for this world and is looking for a way out. I don't watch the show myself, but I do see the activity of Glee fans on Twitter and other social networks.

Basically outside of the music, most of the chatter about the show is complaining about convoluted story-lines that don't go anywhere, forgotten and lost characters, and the frequent use of the term "jump the shark."

Then comes along the news that they're creating a character based on a popular, but admittedly controversial, politician, and stunt-casting the part with a comedian who got booed off the stage at a USO show for verbally attacking the
children of that same politician.

Now some say that this is just another sign that Hollywood hates middle-America, Christians, and anyone who votes to the right of Eugene V. Debs, but I think there's another kind of politics behind this decision.

I'm talking office politics.

Ryan Murphy gets a lot of attention within Hollywood from
Glee, including lots of feature film work, and offers for more work. He's gone from the creator of one acclaimed but canceled show Popular, to a moderately successful cable drama Nip/Tuck, to the man behind Glee, which started out as a mega-hit, but is quickly turning into a career black hole.

High school shows built around specific cast members have a short shelf-live. Actors age, and when they're playing teens on TV, it's pretty much a dog-years like scenario, and they can quickly degenerate into self-parody. Plus Murphy is getting increasingly pigeon-holed by
Glee which could hurt attempts to do anything that isn't like Glee. All the complaints I hear about the show's stories and characters strike me as if there's a lot of discontent and possibly boredom at the show's top creative/management positions.

So what do you do if you're in Mr. Murphy's position?

Well, you try to pull a stunt that can get the show canceled before it completely crashes and burns in the already contracted 3rd season, but in a way that will still get you the accolades of Hollywood. Perhaps by casting a deliberately obnoxious comedian in a politically charged role and storyline that could very easily alienate a large chunk of the audience while getting pats on the back and feature film deals as a reward for your "courage" for hating someone who the rest of Hollywood hates.

Ashley Judd Does TV but will it work?

Now the idea of Ashley Judd doing a TV series for ABC isn't the iffy idea. I'm sure she's perfectly capable of doing very well in TV, my sense of "iffiness" comes from the show's concept.

The show is called Missing, and is basically a gender switched version of Liam Neeson's hit movie Taken with a dash of 24. Judd plays a former CIA agent whose son goes missing in Europe and she goes on an ass-kicking search for him.

Okay, you might get a season out of that concept, but if you get renewed for a second season what are they going to do? Will they have her find her son at the end of season 1, only to have him get nabbed again in season 2? Or maybe it'll be another relative who gets snatched? What do they do?

When people watch a show with a central mystery format they will want answers delivered in a reasonable time frame, or they will feel that their chain is getting jerked and they will tune out. After the royal chain jerking that
Lost gave the audience, viewers are a lot more cynical about these kinds of projects, and less willing to give them a chance, regardless of quality.

Maybe if the storyline of finding her son wraps up neatly and leads to a new, more episode friendly, career finding and recovering lost people and property, it might have legs. Otherwise, I don't see it getting very far with viewers.


  1. 20 year olds playing HS students we saw it before with the Porky's movies.

    The 2nd film was made a few years later even-though it took place the next day after the cast looked several years older.

    Also I think it is why we see a sort of shunted maturity with all these teen stars. We have 18 year olds on a show still playing a 15-17 year old in HS.

    This is why Justin beiber's Rs interview was just lack of substance.

    At least with some of the Disney Channel shows they know when to quit when the main stars get too old and before the show over stay's it's welcome. Example Wizards in its final season Hannah Montana is over.

  2. Glee like Justin Beiber is another case of something that became too HOT not to cool down.

  3. Interesting take on Glee. The show is still super popular with drama students that I work with. I think it it is this generation's Brady Bunch, without the goofy charm, but with all the moronic plots.

    As for Missing, how long was the The Fugitive on?

    You are right though, Missing will have a hard time having a second season. Who are the kidnappers? Euro-trash criminals or the CIA? It will have to be CIA, as regular criminals would not be a worthy foe for Ashley's steel.

  4. The original Fugitive series didn't have an audience burned by the high expectations, disappointing payoff of Lost, pretty much burning a lot of people on the genre.

    Remember, Lost literally started hundreds of mysteries, and when people said: "Hey, you didn't answer 99% of those mysteries." To which the people behind the show responded with: "You must be stupid if you want answers."

    Not a good long term strategy.

    Also, an attempt to revive the Fugitive didn't last long at all.