Making the world a better place, one show at a time.

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Washington, DC, United States
I guess you would like to know a little bit about the person making all these proclamations upon good taste and horrid characters. I'm Andrea and when I was 15 I fell in love. An hour after meeting "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" I was forever altered in the way only love can, and I never questioned for one minute afterwards that television offered me an amazing chance to experience lives and moments that I could never imagine. So now, when I'm not getting distracted by my real life, I write about TV. I also read, am finishing a Master's degree in English Literature, travel, am attempting to learn vegan cooking, am the 5th of 6 children, and drive my roommate nuts by constantly cleaning our already clean apartment. Now that we're old friends, time for you to take my opinions as the be all and end all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Internal Debates: Art Versus Artist?

Okay, so I haven't been writing because I haven't really been watching anything.  Don't worry, I get back to Lazyville (my couch) soon enough.  But for now...

I'm sure we have all heard all about the big drama drama going on over Season 5 of Mad Men.  You haven't?  Well:

EOnline!-Mad Men Delay

EOnline! - Twitter Outrage (?)

In all fairness, I should say that I don't watch Mad Men.  I watched S1, started S2 and always meant to get back around to it, ya know since everyone and their grandmother thinks it's just brilliant, but I never really wanted to.  The pace made me want to gouge my eyes out, every time I saw Vincent Kartheiser I thought "Connor!" which for all you Angel fan out there you know is not a good thing, and for all that Jon Hamm is an extremely handsome man I found Don Draper to be an unbelievably ugly character.  I have no personal stake in the result of these negotiations; if Matthew Weiner get 30 million or 30 cents it make no difference to me, and I will continue on without much though to it if Mad Men runs another 2 seasons or another 10.

That said, sounds like a lot of money to me, maybe somewhat disproportional to the audience of his show.  It doesn't make me think well of him, and that got me thinking more about something I think about on and off: does it matter if we think that a show's creator/executive producer/show runner is a good person?

I ask myself the same kind of question when I look at Picasso, or read Tolstoy, or watch Katherine Hepburn, and as yet I really don't have a good answer.  I'll give you 3 cases in my TV life: Joss Whedon, Ryan Murphy, and Kurt Sutter.  (I do not know any of these men  personally, I am not attempting to present anything but my own opinion, I am simply giving my thoughts on the public impression they make.)

In my head, Joss Whedon is Santa Clause: a really nice man who just wants to make people happy and therefore continually gives them presents.  Is this a projection onto him of my love for his shows? Yes.  Have I ever read anything to the contrary? No.  I hope that he really is as nice in real life as he is in my head, but barring his turning out to be a murderer or something along those lines, my love to too longstanding to be shaken.  I would still watch Buffy and Angel even if he should give an interview that makes him sound like a jerk.  I would still cry a bit when Wash dies even if rumors were to surface that Mr. Whedon was a demanding boss or difficult to work with.  For me, Joss Whedon has created a body of work that is humorous, thoughtful, and honest.  His contribution can stand on it's own should be some sad turn of events I were to find out that he is less than the ideal of kindness that he is in my head.

On the other hand, it made me even less inclined to like Glee when Ryan Murphy started lashing out at musicians who didn't want to license their songs for his show.  My low opinion of Glee (such a shame, such wasted potential) dropped even lower as Mr. Murphy's comments displayed an (apparently) inflated ego and uncharitable disposition.  More than that, his attitude seemed to me so self-defeating, it made me think he wasn't very bright.  (It's possibly a bad tactic to encourage people to work with you by the implicit threat of "I will drag you through the mud if you don't.")  When Mr. Murphy had his little hissy-fit at the Kings of Leon, all I could think was "of course someone who makes a show that is that self-indulgent and inconstant would say things like that."  The public persona of the creator affirmed, what I see as, the underlying arrogance of the creation: the exaggerated bafflement that different people hold different opinions could have been a speech given by one of his cartoonish characters.

And then somewhere in the middle lies Kurt Sutter, and for those who don't know that name, he is the man behind Sons of Anarchy.  I follow Mr. Sutter on Twitter and I read his blog.  This (admittedly slim) public record does not give me the impression of a super friendly happy-go-lucky guy, but rather someone who is direct, opinionated, acerbic, and maybe somewhat proud of himself for coming off like a jerk, but also someone who holds himself to the same standards he holds everyone else to.  As a friend can attest, I initially found Mr. Sutter's straightforward-ness on  Twitter somewhat distressing and from what I can glean, if he and I were to sit down and have a long chat about politics and religion we would most likely have significantly differing opinions (or more likely I would be to frightened to say anything at all).  The more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder what I was looking for in a show: was niceness or truth more important to me?  Do we really do anyone any favors if we smile while he correct their error or do we only compromise the sincerity of our beliefs in the name of politeness?    The beauty and brutality of Sons of Anarchy wouldn't be enhanced if Kurt Sutter (appeared to be) a swell guy to have a beer with.  The subject matter doesn't necessitate tact, it necessitates integrity; so while Mr. Sutter (seems) to lack the former, he has not betrayed by his public declarations that he lacks the latter, therefore as yet my view of the show is essentially unaffected by the figure from whose mind it sprung.

But now I have to ask myself if I'm the hypocrite?  Am I easy to forgive if I like the show and quick to scorn if I don't?  Or is this whole problem a result of the information overload of our age and would I have no dilemma if I just stayed off the damn internets?

Too many questions.

The TV Girl

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