Tag: constar studies television

Link: Key & Peele explain how they created 'Substitute Teacher' – The Week

Interview: Key & Peele explain how they created ‘Substitute Teacher’ – The Week.

But when you bring someone back, you want to make sure it’s not just a cookie-cutter, by-the-numbers version of the original sketch, where you have the exact same gag with different names. It was very, very difficult for us to figure out how to do it. [The concept] really goes back to the difference between the cultures of an inner city school and a more privileged school in the suburbs.”

I really like reading people break down their craft, especially (tv) writers, and especially comedians because I always get so lost in the funny that I forget and then later remember that there is such an intricate science to comedy. Sometimes I’ll hear a joke and then think about how it was constructed (something is said, then the turn or element of surprise at the end) but I’ve never been good at setting up a joke or constructing one myself. I think that if I think about it enough, when the time comes to write one, I’ll have picked up the basics by osmosis and it will become innate.
So reading this is fun for me, to learn how this duo comes up with one of their more popular sketches. It also offers insight into how this particular group works and the way their writing dynamic seems to play out.

A Brief Return to Blogging via an Article of Black TV Writers

Well it seems that I’ve accidentally abandoned this blog for a bit, mostly because I am sort of focusing on other aspects of figuring out my life (photography whee!), and working, and being the lazy bones that I am when NOT working. And I’m not really back. (Maybe I am though?)
Anyway, I just saw this slideshow article on MadameNoire about African-American TV Writers, in a brief moment of “there were others like me once, how do I become like them?” The article is here. The list is (unfortunately) short and just the fact that the list names writers who worked in the 60s and 70s (who of course paved the way) means that there need to be more names on the list for current writers (why aren’t there more black tv writers these days?!). Though I must say, Yvette Lee Bowser (who exec produced Living Single) is not on this list, so clearly there are other names missing. =/
But it’s still interesting to see the names of well-known and lesser-known black tv writers; whose ranks I would love to someday join–should I ever get my life together.
Bye for now!

ConStar Studies Parks and Recreation

In order to think of spec ideas, one tends to turn to recent events in the news to spur an idea. I’m not always good at that. But a show that I would love to spec (I’ve been trying and have yet to get it right) is Parks and Recreation and I think they’ve been fantastic, especially this season, at taking current events and adapting them to Pawnee.
Just from this season:

  • 5.02 “Soda Tax” pokes fun at cities (esp NY currently) that are imposing rules on the size of soft drinks in stores. Great way to adapt to Pawnee. Especially the great visual humor of the “child size” cup. 
  • 5.13 “Emergency Response” makes reference to cities’ amount of preparation for major storms and in giving Pawnee a failing grade, subtly makes commentary on the fact that most cities have been unprepared for the crazy kinds of storms we’ve been getting recently. (Quakenado!)
  • 5.16 “Bailout” took the idea of a major government bailout and scaled it down to be about an independent movie rental chain (covering two things at once, really).

These are just a few examples in which Parks is able to take a major news story or a recent trend (as with the movie chain idea) and adapt it to life in Pawnee. I really like this idea and keep searching for ways to take media stories and move them to Pawnee.
Side note: I wrote this post yesterday but scheduled it for today. I’m working my way towards blogging more! Score!

How to successfully use the internet to revive a show: The Veronica Mars story

“Thanks to the internet, the life span of a TV show no longer ends when it is canceled but it can live on and discover new fans as long as people are willing to talk about it. While the circumstances under which they are being made are different, this is the same phenomenon that prompted Netflix to revive Arrested Development.”
I’m super excited about this (the Kickstarter received its $2mil goal) but am too tired to properly write about it, so here is TVExamined. But this is something I think we’ll see more of in the future. Zac Levi of Chuck fame tweeted about this method being a way to get a Chuck movie. Thankfully we got our Firefly movie and Arrested Development fans are getting another season, but there are so many shows with so many devoted fans who just want some completion. For a way to get back to one of their favorite TV hometowns and hang out with their friends one last time. I for one can’t wait until this is made, I binge watched Veronica Mars are few years ago and loved it. All shows with massive cult followings are fluttering to their own kickstarter pages as we speak (can I get some Pushing Daisies producers/stars to start one? Because I need more of that in my life ASAP.)

ConStar Studies Scandal (And Season Pacing)

Tonight’s Scandal was a little lot crazy. And reading TV Line’s post episode Q&A (don’t even look at the URL if you haven’t seen the episode. Seriously.) with creator Shonda Rhimes got me thinking about season pace.
So tonight’s episode of Scandal was episode 13, which tends to be a biggie since a lot of shows initially get a 13 episode order for the season (and if it goes well, the ‘back 9’ are added on), so it’s often big; often acts like a possible season finale, and usually crops up right in time for February Sweeps. Perfect ratings combination.
Without spoiling too much of the episode (either you don’t care or I hate spoiling things for people), know that a major story arc is, well, not concluded, but is partially resolved. But only in the sense that there is more crap to come later on. LOL. Reading the TV Line article, Shonda Rhimes says the next episode comes with a time jump (harking back to episode 13 as a season finale, 14 is maybe Season 2 part 2). In the TV Line article, she says:

When we got the 22-episode order [for Season 2], I was like, “We’re not going to slow the show down,” because that would change what the show is.

A lot of praise goes to British television shows because of how well they construct stories and spread them out over the season (and other reasons, destroying the hearts of their fans is another thing) but usually they only get 13 episodes per season (British Brevity). So the stories are more compact. American TV, on the other hand, spreads things out over 22 episodes. Which is great for having more story and more time with your favorite characters, but sometimes slows down the momentum of a story arc and we’re stuck complaining about filler episodes.
So it’s a little refreshing to see a showrunner decide not to have those filler episodes (though the next few are naturally filler-esque after the heavily serialized episodes we’ve been treated to on Scandal) and to jump straight into the next story arc. More shows could learn from not spreading their intended story out, but instead compressing it into a few episodes and moving on. What you move on to could be unrelated, but that might feel jarring, or you can just complicate the first arc and have the new one feed off of that one. (Something I think the show Angel always did very well.)
Obviously, I have to watch the next few episodes of Scandal to see how the time jump and the switch to a new story arc are handled and how they feel coming from the same season, but I just couldn’t help but think about the way a season progresses after reading that TV Line article.

ConStar Studies Series Endings

Next season, we say goodbye to Ted, Marshall, Lily, Barney and Robin. See here for the official announcement:

I love How I Met Your Mother. It is the only comedy on CBS I watch. It is the only multicamera show that I watch. I think it’s funny and clever and has great characters. It is ending next season and yet, despite my love for it, I am ready for it to end. 

Many shows we love end before their time. Some notable examples that immediately come to mind are Firefly, Pushing Daisies and Veronica Mars (which has been on the brain today for some reason). It’s not even the crime of ending a show too soon in its first season because of low ratings (when it’s the networks fault, I’m looking at you FOX), but it’s ending a show into their third, like Veronica Mars, and not giving the writers enough time to come up with a solid ending. Instead, we’re left with a cliffhanger that never gets resolved, or sometimes even worse, the last episode is just a normal episode where nothing spectacular happened. 

So it’s nice that some shows get a warning. Lost had a warning. 30 Rock and The Office have been given at least half a season’s worth of episode to wrap up their characters. And now the HIMYM gang gets to end with closure. It’s the end of an era for many TV shows it seems, with 30 Rock, The Office and now HIMYM ending, when they all seemed to pop up around the same mid-oughts era. And while it is sad to see them go (especially because I am not sure how I feel about some of the shows replacing them), it is time for some of them to end. I am ready. I am sad, but prepared to watch the last episode, even if I will be a glass case of emotion for hours afterward.

Because while I love HIMYM and it’s characters, it is time for us to meet the Mother. It is time for Barney and Robin to get married and be awesome together. It is time for Marshall and Lily and Marvin to cuddle up together. It is time for Ted to stop being an idiot. I need the season finale to be where Ted meets the Mother and the last season can focus on how they got together and probably end with a proposal and maybe a montage of happy moments between then and the kids being born. And some jokes from the kids about how he sped up the story right at the end or something. It’s just time. I hate when a show ends too early but it can be draining if a show goes on too long. Thankfully, while there have been slow patches of HIMYM, when watched in a marathon session, it’s still funny and watchable. Other shows who go on too long do not have that grace. 

The end is nigh for HIMYM. Let’s hope they have saved their absolute best ideas for the final stretch so it can go out with a bang bang bangity bang. 

[also this means Cobie Smulders can go be a bamf on SHIELD which will hopefully be in it’s second season by then. she’s got pretty good job security for the next couple of years should that show make it off the ground]

ConStar Studies Idiosyncratic Episode Titles – Grey's Anatomy Edition

SUPER random Grey’s Anatomy thought but:
Since the episode title naming convention is song titles, what if (and has) an episode title was based on a song title that was written about Grey’s Anatomy.
(Or maybe even for the show but about would be better because it could be like a band that writes songs about the show like Harry and the Potters would or something.)
Does anyone know if an episode title of Grey’s Anatomy has been based on a song written about Grey’s Anatomy?