Thursday, August 1, 2013

"He broke my robot."

We have a houseguest.  My daughter's friend.  She's been with us for about a week.  It's not that kind of a story, she's cool and we'd have no issue making her daughter #2.  This is the kind of story where I tell you about something funny that happened to me.   We were all enjoying dinner and banter - I was a bit behind everyone else in the consumption part since I was a tad late getting home from work - and the girls finished and where clearing their plates.  The boys were scrambling for dessert (the food has two 's' in it - like strawberry shortcake) and I asked guest #1, "Did you bake me a cake?"  She turned and looked at me, as seriously as could be, and said, "Is it your birthday?"

We all lost it and then proceeded to offer that as the standard retort when anyone else asked us to get, make, or do something.  Quite funny.  You should try it.  It will catch on and you'll have been at the ground floor.  "Is it your birthday?"  That's just funny.

What wasn't funny was "Finder", this week's Must See TV.  It pretended to be a "Life", "Glades", "Sledgehammer" kind of show - funny, quirky, hip... you know the drill.  It wasn't.  In the first 8 minutes (a bull rider only needs 8 seconds) we were introduced to a bizarre mash up of
7 Stars?  I think not.
MacGyver, Sonny Crockett, and Jack Reacher as the protagonist.  The second character didn't really get defined, he was just supposed to look and sound cool.  The third character was a U.S. Marshal (one 'l', not two) who was doing !!side work?? as a bounty hunter??  Sorry - my punctuation keys are shocked.  The fourth character was a punk teenage girl who pretty much nailed every stereotype except sports - lying, scamming, pick-pocketing, loved by the main characters for no apparent reason…

Obviously we weren't impressed.

It gets better (well, worse actually).  The writing?  Hard to say but if the actors stuck to the script then it was terrible.  The dialogue was lifeless, the action was random in a bad way, and, at 8 minutes in, we had no idea what the story was about.  That's a no-no in today's TV world, kids.  When there were only one or three choices to watch when you plopped down on the couch you could take your time getting a show going.  Now, with cable, NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon, and everything else - you don't get that long.  I need to be sold right away.  At least let me see there's promise of goodness, not just the consumption of my life.  We gave “Finder” 3 minutes more than it deserved.  Nothing happened after the 5 minute mark that helped it.

Our microwave culture has changed how entertainment media is structured and presented.  To be successful as a story teller, you have to write what's current now, not what you grew up on.  Remember, people are afraid of the unknown.  When they are presented with a comfortable, known alternative to your new, scary idea, they'll take if unless you've hooked them in from go.

What’s that you say?  You want me to give “Finder” another chance?  Let me ask you this, “Is it your birthday?”

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