#ConStarClicks: Learn to Talk Like a TV Writer [GQ]

ConStar Clicks: Learn to Talk Like a TV Writer – GQ

True ConStar Clicks posts are returning in June (if all goes according to plan) but here’s a cool article I’ve been reading (and memorizing) about words TV writers often use in the process of putting an episode together. It seems to be mostly focusing on TV comedy jargon.

Some of my favorites from the piece:

  • Button – I prefer button to blow.
  • Chuffa
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Hanging a Lantern – I learned this on TV Tropes. If you’ve read my About Me, you know I love me some TV Tropes.
  • Schmuck Bait

Click through to find out what they mean.

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Castle 7.09 Review: “Last Action Hero”

Castle post for the week is up! I link to a lot of TV Tropes because action movies are FULL of awesome movie tropes.

Castle Action Hero

In this week’s Expendables  themed episode, Castle meets some of his favorite action stars and Kate says goodbye to her old apartment.

[…]The crew walks towards the camera in a typical action movie/tv show Unflinching Power Walk (well, Castle flinches when a car explodes for no reason, again, typical of an action movie). In a heist monologue (on TV Tropes called the “I Know What We Can Do” Cut), Brock explains how Castle and the Indestructibles crew will infiltrate El Jefe’s club and steal the boxcar. After a close call with El Jefe and a well-timed fire alarm, the crew flees the scene with the boxcar (““I’m starring in my own action movie! this is the best night ever!”).

Something I love about Castle episodes themed like this one is listening for title drops, it’s a really fun game. How many action movie title drops did you catch? I don’t know too many action movies, but here are a few titles and heroes/actor references I noticed:

  • The clear Expendables theme
  • Lethal Weapon
  • Jason Bourne
  • “Eastwood, McQueen, Bronson”
  • Indiana Jones

Now I want to rewatch the Bourne Trilogy (I stopped after 3, who needed a fourth without Matt Damon?) and maybe a couple of heist movies.

What action movie references did you catch?

Read more  Castle Season 7 Episode 9 Review: “Last Action Hero”.

AV Clubers Share What TV Tropes Bother Them the Most

What TV trope aggravates you the most? · AVQ&A · The A.V. Club.

I love TV Tropes, the website, but there are certain tropes actually used in television that are getting ridiculously overused. Especially when there are websites and books denoting the most popular storylines, people stick to them because they think they’re the most popular, but once they were and now they’re just the most common. In this ever changing TV landscape, shows might do well to change up their use of certain tropes for lesser known ones. We’re all about experimenting these days.

Here are some of the gripes below.

Tasha Robinson

The oh my God, the main character is totally dead trope. Spoiler alert: Mal on Firefly is only technically dead; he’ll be back in a second. No, Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. is not actually killing off stupid, whiny Skye. No, Sherlock didn’t kill off Sherlock Holmes—his name is the title of the show, for Pete’s sake. I’m all for TV shows with big stakes, but the threats have to be credible to be emotionally effective. It’s far more painful to see protagonists in danger of losing something they really care about, something they might plausibly lose, than seeing them just about to die

Zack Handlen

Can we get a moratorium on scenes in strip clubs? I mean, if someone wanted to do a show actually set inside a strip club, and get the perspectives of the strippers and the bartender and the waitresses and the customers, sure, I’d watch that. Could be fun. But it seems like every detective show in existence, and most of the sitcoms, has to include a scene or two each season of the main characters wandering into a dimly lit bar and trying to hold a conversation while naked women gyrate in the background. The trope turns people into screen savers.

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ConStar Watches Sleepy Hollow “John Doe”

In which Sassy Ichabod realizes he is Sassy.

“You look good for 200.”

Stop checking him out Abbie (don’t.)

“It is a language of which you too are familiar with.”

Ichabod is very, very sassy. It’s been pointed out before, but it gets more and more noticeable. Especially with the sarcasm references in the episode.

I don’t trust Morales (the ex-boyfriend) at ALL and I wonder what his endgame is. Does he merely not trust Crane because he’s an outsider (which I’m sure is very much the case for any new person entering such a small town; especially one with such weird things happening of late) or is there something deeper? Is he just jealous? ALSO, who is covering for Ichabod over at Oxford?! Who had his cover story lined up for anyone who asked? I suspect Irving… but then sometimes he seems like he’s not in on the supernatural stuff. I can’t tell what his story is sometimes.

(aside: but clearly something deeper lies with him (besides his deep, mysterious looks) or else they wouldn’t have given him the name Irving. It could have been anything. The sheriff who was beheaded in the pilot could have been Irving (as he basically introduces the story to us). What is Irving’s role in all of this?

Abbie clearly didn’t pay attention in school if she’s asking about the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Most of us know what it is and having Abbie ask was definitely over exposition. She totally could have been like “oh right, we learned about that in school.” But FOX isn’t known for thinking their audience is smart, so they force things to be episodic rather than serial (I think this show is getting away with as much serialization as it can, which is a lot compared to most FOX shows barring maybe 24. Also we must remember that Abbie is the audience surrogate who has to ask things the average viewer might need to know. (Myself and others who are into sci-fi/fantasy — aka you happening to read this post (thanks!) are above the average viewer. It’s easy to forget that.) I think that makes Crane kind of the Unfazed Everyman– he’s not supernatural (again, I think the Witnesses are the two sisters and that they have supernatural witchy powers in their line), but he’s surrounded by all this weird stuff and it doesn’t really faze him. In the trope, it’s usually someone who is surrounded by magical people and that’s why it doesn’t faze them, but Ichabod hasn’t knowingly been around magic. He was, but he didn’t know.

Anyway, I think it’s important for us to remember that sometimes the network intervenes and sometimes makes the writers spell things out they don’t need to, and it’s American Network TV (despite the shortened season, it’s not cable or British TV); they cater to the LCD. I wish they wouldn’t, but despite popularity of the show, they’re not going to write for the sci-fi savvy/fantasy lover audience. Not at its base. It’s going for the average person checking this show out on a Monday night, not for the diehard fans who visit and edit Sleepy Hollow Wikia’s and want to cosplay the characters. It’s a sad but unfortunate truth. (Not that I’ve thought about doing those things–yet. ;-))

I want to know more about Ichabod’s father issues. We can hear his eloquent speech, so we knew he had a high class upbringing, but he didn’t seem to enjoy it. I wonder if we will get more about that, or perhaps they’ll save that for season 2. We’ve kind of got enough to deal with for this 13-episode season.

I suspect Abbie’s childhood forest has a similar supernatural portal spot much like the Roanoke one.
We have now met 2 out of 4 of the Horsemen. I didn’t think we’d meet another one yet until season 2. I wonder where he disappeared too? How do we keep him there?

I thought the thing that creepy Roanoke girl was trying to give Abbie was a plot device, but apparently not? Was it a plant? A leaf? I wonder if it might still pop up in a later episode.

Abbie got her sign, but the Bible says to walk by faith not by sight. God (I suppose it’s God in this story–with all the Revelations verses) gave her a physical sign, but she is going to have to start walking by faith if she’s going to continue saving the town/the world.

“I cannot make it without you”

“Believe me when I say, you belong in Sleepy Hollow.”

Girl he just saw his wife in forest!purgatory, he ain’t thinking about you right now.

THREE WEEKS?!??! Oh come on! I forgot that baseball interrupts television on FOX. Sad.

Until we meet again.

 

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?