TV Writing


If WordPress allowed for a subtitles it would read (Or why most TV shows die horribly in a puddle of their own excrement).

Surely you’ve noticed that sometimes a TV show, rather than disappearing into that good night with dignity intact and a place in television history, it ends up dying by choking to death on its own vomit. Or rather, to put it in a less descriptive way, the story or characters end up becoming so warped and unrecognizable that even the cast seems to be confused as to what’s happening. Case in point, let’s take Grey’s Anatomy.

So at the risk of sullying my reputation as a cross between He-Man and a Grizzly Bear, I started watching Grey’s Anatomy when it first aired. I was intrigued by the premise and since I’ve always loved learning about medicine I decided to give it whirl.

Pictured: Medicine. Hot, Zesty Medicine.

Unfortunately it wasn’t long after I started watching it that it dawned on me that the people working on this show barely knew which end of a stethoscope to use, but you know what that was okay. House M.D. provides excellent material on medicine that is very often accurate and delivered to the layman professionally and succinctly. What I was drawn to was the characters, they all seemed nicely rounded out and even though they all followed a typical hollywood archetype the actors portrayed them in such a way that it seemed natural. I thought the first two seasons were gold, alot of drama, how doctor’s deal with the deaths of patients, and lets not forget the sex. There was plenty of that. Unfortunately, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, there was too much sex! As of the current season 7 I think I can confidently state that every main character has slept with every other main character at least once during the course of the show. There’s even been lesbian relations between female main characters. I like sex in shows, believe me, but having every character suffering from nymphomania is just stupid and childish. That’s a 14 year olds idea of the real world. Do we look 14 to you? But that was excusable compared to the disasters they would pull out for every Sweeps week and season finale.

Its as if the creators of the show ran out of ideas midway through season 3, though lets face it there wasn’t much to work with. The drama between Dr. Grey and the two Dr. Shepards had already been wore so thin that even a stiff breeze would have ripped it asunder. On-set fights between co-stars eventually proved to be more interesting than the actual show itself. The writer’s needed ideas fast!

Perfect!
Yes, they began to pull out every possible disaster they could think of short of a nuclear bomb (I’m guessing their holding that for the Grand Finale). And if there was a disaster, you bet your buns that Meredith Grey is going to get right in the middle and everyone will go nuts looking for her. Forget the hundreds of injured souls of the ferry accident, Meredith fell off the dock! What? A bomb inside a patient, well make sure Meredith hands it off to the bomb disposal guy before it detonates. And while all of this is happening remember, there’s always time for a sex scene! Who’s in it? Hell find whichever two actors are available and tell them to get to stripping!
And unfortunately that’s what Grey’s Anatomy has devolved into. A series of cataclysms constantly befalling the hospital in a pitiful effort to advance their stagnating plot. However, their disasters seem like perfectly reasonable scenarios compared to the cess pit that Desperate Housewives has become. Their plot is no longer stagnating. Its dead. Rotting. Bloated with noxious gasses and waiting to explode on a hot summer day over an unsuspecting audience. They’ve pulled out every stop in the book to try and keep that show alive.  I’ve lost count of how many serial killers have been set loose on that stage, I mean after the first 3 or4 you’d figure these people would move away for fear of their children being hurt, but oh no. Bring it on, more killers the better. When that started to get old, hell they hit the place with a freaking tornado to try and get the ball rolling. Seriously? You can’t think of any other way to create conflict other than to unleash a tornado on the town. That’s what I do when I get bored in Sim City, not for a television program.
And you know, it’s tempting to just blame the writers.
Shut up! You don't deserve money!
But you know what, it’s not really they’re fault. Well, okay it is in some ways. But writing for a TV series is inherently difficult because unlike almost every other medium (movies, games, books, etc) there is a set beginning and end. But for a TV show there is no end. This is what almost killed Lost the writers felt trapped by the vast infinite space that was their ending, the end could come ten years down the road or it could be cancelled next season. It all comes down to ratings.
What that means for the writer, however, is that they can never really resolve anything because there is no end. If in Grey’s Anatomy they had resolved the issues between Meredith and Dr. Shepard in the first two seasons, that would have left the next five years with absolutely nothing to write about. So they stretched it out so that they broke up, got together, and broke up in a never ending nightmare akin to the movie Groundhog’s Day and the frustration the writer’s were feeling is clearly felt through a line of dialogue from Meredith’s best friend. I don’t remember the quote exactly but the gist of it was that everyone was fed up with the highschoolesque drama of Meredith and Shepard. Really their only options were to continue stretching out every conceivable relationship, drama, disaster because the show is popular and the Execs wanted more seasons. Had the writers and creators done what Lost did and  said we want a fixed end date, they may have come up with a clear concise timeline to follow. Allowing relationships and situations to develop more naturally rather than feeling like the frantic writings of a paranoid schizophrenic.
So please, for everyone’s sake. Let’s give these shows the farewell they deserve.
(And by that I mean dragged out behind the chemical shed and shot.)
Edit: Apparently WordPress likes Grey’s Anatomy because for the last half of this article it suddenly refuses to separate my paragraphs.  I smell conspiracy. Apologies for the inconvenience, I’ll see if I can get it fixed up in a couple hours when WordPress is through with it’s hissy fit.
Edit 2: Apparently I broke wordpress and I can’t separate the paragraphs no matter what I try.
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