posted by Gene on Oct 1
Do you know what I quite enjoy? Well, the first thing is somewhat uninteresting in that it is a TV show. Specifically, Sports Night, a show of which I know of no viewers beyond myself. (Update: I’ve been informed that the mighty Host Gar enjoys Sports Night, too) It ran for two seasons back in the day and was so good I even watched it on the actual TV when it aired with actual commercials. It’s a strange kind of show in that even though I like it quite a lot I’m not surprised other people don’t. It’s not like Firefly whose cancellation makes about as much sense as majoring in Philosophy (that’s right John, I remember you).
This is getting slightly off topic but Sports Night had four major problems as I see it. First, it wasn’t the kind of show that looked special when your were flipping channels. You couldn’t distinguish it from CSI Toronto, or whatever the generic TV show of the day was, in 15 frames or less. Second, it wasn’t the kind of show most people could just jump into, even though it seems like it should have been. There’s nothing inherent in the genre or plot that made the show difficult to jump into, like is often the case with epic sci-fi, for example. I think it was just a product of the humor and pacing structure of the show. Which brings us to reasons 3 and 4, the humor and the pacing structure.
These two elements make the show for me. They are obviously interwoven, but I separate them because the pacing is so unique to the show. The dialog of Sports Night runs as if everyone in the world had my sense of humor and IQs of about 160. Maybe higher. Lines are delivered quickly and precisely, tangents are explored, jokes are made, and then the story continued as if it was scripted (novel idea I know). There are very few of the 15 second slow zooms on someone’s sad face. Frankly, I’m reminded of Shakespearean comedies, and other theatrical comedies I’ve seen but can’t name, that actually have to draw an audience with their content. It seems like the product of a writing team that wrote 3 or so hours of material and then cut it down to the required 22 minutes, as opposed to most TV which sucks ass.
The pacing and comedy, although wonderful for me, are also probably the main cause of the shows cancellation. The comedy is largely dry and/or requires the audience to take whats given a few more steps, make a few connections on their own, to get the full benefit. It also requires the audience be able to keep up with the pace, which, frankly, I don’t believe the average television watcher could.
Now that I think of it, it is kind of like Firefly, if you took out all the space and action. /shrug
Anyway, the real thing I enjoy I wanted to share with you, which I realized while watching Sports Night, are complex sentences. Throughout my writing career people have been telling me to make simple sentences, and I understand the appeal, but, as you can probably tell from reading my blog, I do so love the comma separated interjection. I bet there’s a word for that.
See, I’m not a grammar nerd really. I am a bit compared to the unwashed masses, but mostly I just like the rhythm and flow a well formed complex sentence can have. Also, they’re really nice for rants. I hope someday to be adept at forming them on the fly.
For example a sentence like the following, especially the ending piece.
It is just my way of expressing my belief that you are the lesser man, genetically inferior, with inadequate upper body strength, diminutive testicles, a feminine voice, pitiable intellect, and that any woman you have had, or ever will have, sexual contact with would be, and probably has been and/or probably will be, better served by congress with me.
I’ve got to go to class, but I have more to say about Sports Night. This post may be edited in about an hour.
Update: Just wanted to add a few small observations about Sports Night. First, and most trivial, that chick from House is on it. She’s only in two episodes, but I always like when I notice cross overs because it’s only recently started happening. Second, one of the female leads is that chick on the right, which leads me to believe that the cancellation of Sports Night has directly lead to the creation of that most deplorable of shows, Desperate House Wives (Point of Interest: I’ve never seen Desperate House Wives). Ok, I’m surrounded by people so I’m not going to update any more.