WOW and HOLY SHIT. I feel so good about my wedding day suddenly (though my fantasies of mildly torturing the hotel organizer with nonstop Justin Bieber in a small room with no windows still persists). As one twitter on this montage of best twitter rxns said, “makes you think twice about hiring a good band.” (My personal fave tweet: there’s good luck, there’s bad luck, then’s there’s Stark luck). This “Red Wedding” has become the episode “that destroyed us all.”
Am I tired of talking about it? HELL NO. That’s why I’m writing for TV. Showrunners and executives are all like, How can we get this reaction from our viewers??? Just like when “Lost” was on. Suddenly, there were plane crashes and close-up’s of eyes everywhere. How? Well, for one, it takes balls by the network. It’s about trusting your writers and showrunners who are passionate about the project and have the experience and talent to write an incredible yarn. Isn’t that trust why they got a deal for a pilot in the first place? One would think… But sadly, few execs would have the cojones.
Side note: This is why HBO rules. The execs there seem to have no ego in letting writers do their thing. Of the top written shows judged by the WGA itself, btw, “The Sopranos” came in top place. [the top ten, even 20, on this list, I wholeheartedly agree with though not necessarily the order. Here’s the complete list — and for God’s sake, get a character like Archie from “All in the Family” back on air. We can be as risky as they were in the 70’s even in our music.]
Here’s a question, though. As awesome as it is in a novel, in a TV show that, one assumes wants at least 6 or 7 seasons, how long can killing off beloved characters last? The reason I love TV and switched from film is that you can take viewers on a real journey — very rarely can real journeys be shown in 2 hours, at least not in the way that can get your greenlit in the studio system these days. When I started at Miramax back in the day, they were still riding high on gems like “Sex, Lies, and Videotape.” No more, my super hero friends. Now it’s opening box office or die. Thus, my switch to the real writer’s medium.
And one of the first things taught in TV writing is write incredible characters. That’s why viewers tune in. And there’s actually a psychology behind it. As scientists say, “it’s okay to be so upset about Game of Thrones” or any characters dying on any show. Or to want Joffrey to get bitch slapped or better yet, tortured, along with his grandfather/father (and to be grossed out about that slash). That’s good writing. That’s writing to aspire to.
But, just like in real life, at some point, you start putting up a wall. You start not wanting to care because that person could just die. You could feel cheated maybe because that was the hottest actor on the show, or you loved them, or you just wanted a glimmer of hope in the dark world of Westeros. You resort to teenage angst days of bad poetry and thinking the world is an empty, dark hole because that cute someone doesn’t know you exist – do you exist? You resort to bad breaking up behavior (is there any other kind). And now, when we’re neither teens nor breaking up, “Game of Thrones” is there to send you back to eating Ben and Jerry’s out of the carton and drinking bad wine…and they’ll get the Emmy while you gain weight.
So when is enough, enough? Or is it ever? Is this a new format and viewers will just have to get adjusted? Is this setting a new precedent? Will Rick be killed in “Walking Dead,” or will only stardom guarantee longevity, i.e. Kevin Bacon or Keith Sutherland will not get off’d on “The Following” or “Touch” (he made it through “24” didn’t he…). Or maybe TV’s going Hitchcock and killing Janet Leigh in the first 20 minutes and not even Jack Bauer is safe …?