Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Desperate Housewives.

In spite of the fact that it had huge ratings for its premier;

and in spite of the fact that a co-worker told me that it was surprisingly funny,

it took all of five minutes for me to realize that "Desperate Housewives" was an awful television show.

Maybe I'm not the target audience. I hope that's all it is. But then, I'm hardly the target audience for 95% of what's on television. Which is probably why I don't have cable or satellite or anothing other than my DVD player and Gamecube on my television.

Maybe I damaged any potential for enjoyment I could have gotten from "Desperate Housewives" by watching a legitimately brilliant show like "Dead Like Me" first.

Beautifully written, beautifully edited, beautifully acted. The creators of the show understand visual storytelling like some of the greatest filmmakers of our time.

Pacing -- do not underestimate the importance of pacing. That, more than anything else, is what stood out in "Desperate Housewives" -- terrible pacing.

You don't encourage your actors to rush through dialogue like they've got a dentist appointment.

You don't rush through your plot like you want to be earing episode six during episode two.

You take your time.

You let things sink in when they need to sink in.

You use silences when they're appropriate.

And then, when you amp up the pacing for a valid, story-based reason, it's that much more effective.

It's just one little thing, but it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to storytelling and filmmaking.

So, the next time you're thinking of turning on something terrible like "Desperate Hosuewives" -- remind yourself to look up the broadcast schedule of a show like "Dead Like Me."

Or maybe "The Sopranos." That's pretty good too.

[EDIT: In a weak defence of "Houswives" -- Marcia Cross is pretty good. And Teri Hatcher is still pretty hot. Still, it's a crappy show...]

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