It’s no longer acceptable to conduct ourselves in this way.
Maybe we should blame the American Idol (d)evolution of our society? Anybody thinks that just because they get on television, they have a right to make people think they can sing.
When American Idol and all of these glorified high school talent shows started becoming popular, there were two distinct categories of people. There were people that belonged in the competition on the merits of their voice and there were people strictly there to be so horrendous at singing and performing that they were simply our guilty pleasures. We didn’t actually think most of these people could sing. It was more about feeling good about ourselves that we weren’t the only ones that can’t carry a tune.
However, somewhere that line got blurred. The people who couldn’t sing were simply becoming personalities on television and using this audacious avenue to create a 15-minute career for themselves. Continue reading →
Alan Sepinwall, the gold standard of television criticism in its current form, made the comment that after Community got shut out of the Emmys, creator Dan Harmon should pull a page out of season 5 of The Wire and do an entire arc on “the pointlessness of awards, akin to the newspaper storyline,” but it appears Harmon is even smarter than that.
The show has cast Michael K. “Omar Little” Williams as the teacher of a biology class the central study group takes during the third season. He’s only signed on for three episodes so far, but with Williams’ previous commitments to Boardwalk Empire seemingly not an issue due to the HBO show’s shorter season length, his stint could conceivably get extended.
According to TV Guide, the biology professor is taking his first teaching job after being released from prison, where he earned his degree. Harmon says it’ll be an “intense character” instead of the “crazy teacher characters” that typified Ken Jeong and John Oliver during the first two seasons.
The easy comparison to make here is to Stringer Bell, but there’s clearly a difference. Idris Elba went to The Office and was widely panned in his role as Charles Miner during the fifth season, but not because he didn’t have humor. The subplot of Angela and Kellly fighting for his attention and Charles’ subtle acknowledgement of his effect on women was hilarious. Where the show went wrong, and perhaps you can partially blame Elba for his choice to join the show, was in framing Charles Miner’s character as completely separate from Stringer Bell, a total departure that was boring by comparison.
Michael Kenneth Williams had no such problems in Boardwalk Empire, where he again played a tough, complicated character with echoes of Omar, but in a different historical context and certainly very different standards of race relations. I’d argue it’s not typecasting, just another powerful role that Williams is able to bring to life with dramatic weight. From the looks of it the biology teacher has just enough on the edges to either be so in contrast to the rest of Greendale that it creates humor, or to put him in line with the darker elements the show explored in its second season. Either way, great casting, great show. This creates even more excitement for the upcoming season.
And of course we have to post it. Happy Tuesday, everybody.
Update: I’m going to expand on this a bit. Yes, the writers of “iCarly” are writing lowest common-denominator tween fare, stuff that’s easy for us 20 and 30somethings who consider ourselves pop-culture snobs to look down on.
Still, it’s important to remember that the people who write these shows are in the top .0000001% percentile of writers: they write a television show for a living. Just because it’s for 8-10 year old kids doesn’t mean that they’re not going home and reading Thomas Pynchon or watching Breaking Bad. In fact, they probably all are.
My screenwriting professor wrote for Walker, Texas Ranger, and he happily admits that a lot of what he wrote was “crap.” Our own Kevin Arnovitz, who is a bona fide cultural genius (and a genius in general) wrote for a teen dramedy called Just Deal.
Yes, it’s iCarly. And yes, it’s easy to make fun of. But remember that a lot of the guys in that writer’s room are more similar than different from us, and that any of us would probably trade positions with them in a second.