Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

We have been watching the 1st season of Las Vegas on DVD. As I loaded the first disc and pressed play, something strange happened. The episode began and I found myself thinking: “I don’t remember it being this… cheesy.” The dialogue seems jerky, the characters are clearly awkward around each other, and it is quite clear that there is no connection between them. In the storyline almost all of them are supposed to have a connection that spans decades, but when you see them together you just don’t feel it.
The episode starts with Danny (Josh Duhamel) getting caught in a compromising position with Delinda Deline (Molly Sims) who happens to be the boss’s (Ed Deline portrayed by James Caan) daughter. “Welcome to the worst day of my life.” Danny says and I believe him.
Then episode 4 starts and it happens. The magic comes to life. The actors are now comfortable with each other. More than that, they have an almost tangible connection. They start to play off of each other, artfully weaving in and out of the fast-paced scenes. You can see the chemistry and it draws you in.
This phenomenon got me wondering why I kept watching when the first three episodes were…meh. My wife mentioned that we should investigate this problem a little further, so we popped in the 1st season of Friends (My wife's all-time favorite sitcom). Guess what, it had the same strained feeling as Las Vegas. It is almost as if the actors want their show to be a success so much that they almost over do it. “I will make it. This show will write my ticket.”
I sorted through several other shows and the results are always the same. So, what is it that keeps us watching in those early episodes? I have given it much thought and I think it is the promise of greatness. When we start watching something new, we are a little more forgiving if the idea of the show appeals to us. It is the start of a relationship between you and the characters. I can’t remember any relationship that didn’t have its fair share of awkward moments at the onset.
While my wife and I discussed this, I thought of a solution: Before the pilot is filmed, all of the actors should be forced to spend a month together, going to clubs, attending backyard BBQs, or anything else that might be pertinent to the relationship that the characters would share on the screen.
I have since reconsidered; the results could be disastrous. Maybe we need to watch the characters grow together as we get to know them. If we are introduced to them after they magic is begun, they could come across as the overly cocky date that is so sure of themselves that it makes us begin to doubt our own self-confidenceThere is always another possibility: I could just be blowing smoke, spouting ideas that are induced by lack of sleep and too much coffee.


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