When Life Writes You Lemons…

19 12 2007

write some funny lemonade… and then rub it in the face of the people who don’t pay you what you’re worth. And so goes the writer’s strike out in Hollywood. I sympathize with these guys because they’re the true brains behind the success of television and it’s somewhat similar to the field I worked in prior to my current job at the church. Back when I worked in the advertising industry, the discrepancy that existed between how much the firm charged clients per hour and how much my salary translated into per hour was an ever widening abyss. And I’m sure the same argument can be made for many industries – the old “I’m not paid what I’m worth” defense. But because I worked in a really small firm, I had a front row seat, watching my work I made for $15 an hour turn around and get sold for $60 an hour. I’m not trying to be a pretentious graphic designer and say I deserved more of a cut – that’s not the point of this whole example. I loved working there and learned a lot and it was an invaluable experience. I’m just saying I can understand where the writers are coming from – they’re tired of sitting back watching their work get whored out to a slew of internet advertisers and not getting properly compensated.

With that said, the strike is probably one of the most interesting events I’ve ever seen. You see, America has this love affair with it’s television, and when something disrupts it, it’s like Marty McFly and the space time continuum all over again. In a ‘don’t look at that man behind curtain’ moment, the people with the real power in the industry are ironically also the ones paid the least, and the heavy-hitters of TV are left with a little egg on their face – no doubt they are funny, but apparently not funny enough to write their own material to keep their show out of perpetual reruns (i.e. Daily Show, Colbert Report, Leno, Conan, & Letterman, etc.). And then there are the cult-like followed dramas – Lost, Heroes, 24, etc. Fans are left out in the cold without their next installment in the fake world they love so much – the networks have no choice but to postpone (or in some cases cancel) the flagship programs of their network – as Larry Brey, Wade and Chunks quietly weep. And what happens when your actors are also some of the head writers? Well then you get an Office-like situation, where the famous faces are also the ones at the front of the picket lines. And their still funny through it all.

And then there is my favorite “salt-in-the-wound, you’re-nothing-without-us” move by the cast (and writers) of SNL and 30 Rock. In November, both shows were performed live at the Upright Citizens Brigade theatre off-broadway to raise money for the production crews, who, without shows to film, are without work and subsequently without paychecks. Michael Cera of Arrested Development, and more recent SuperBad fame hosted the show, which will never see the light of your television set. Here’s to stickin’ it to the man…

And how is America responding? Well, they haven’t quit watching television. How could they? What else would they do? How else would they justify the plasma and the DVR? We’ve basically resorted to watching whatever is on – people turned out in droves for the finale of Survivor 80: Chinatown and the finale of the downfall of a nation, The Hills.  So hows the current state of television? Well lucky us, this upcoming season promises a slew of new reality shows and game shows and reruns. What’s the one silver lining to the writer’s strike? Need you look further than the long-awaited, and totally justified, return of one of America’s flagships – baseball, apple pie and the American Gladiators. Hopefully Nitro and Zap will make some cameos…

Click here to keep up with the strike from the writers side. Go team.

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2 responses

19 12 2007
TV Movies Soaps » When Life Writes You Lemons…

[…] ryan sworth | a lull in traffic placed an interesting blog post on When Life Writes You Lemons…Here’s a brief overview … nd the heavy-hitters of TV are left with a little egg on their face – no doubt they are funny, but apparently not funny enough to write their own material to keep t … ). And then there are the cult-like followed dramas – Lost, Heroes, 24, etc…. […]

21 12 2007
layne

so you like the hills? or not? I don’t get it. at least joel olsteen’s writers (and stylist) didn’t go on strike.

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