Saturday, May 23, 2009

3 Hours Earlier: They Surrendered Their Creativity

I don’t know about you, but nothing turns me off quicker than a plot that starts off, seemingly, at a critical moment, and then recedes to an earlier time with a “3 Hours Earlier” tag on the screen. I’ve run into a few of these in the last couple of weeks. Flashbacks, I guess you’d call them. Overused, is how I see them.

C’mon writers, do some research. If one show on any network has used this ploy during the last 9 seasons, then you should opt to refrain from torturing your faithful audience who, most likely, continue to watch your show despite a myriad of other shortcomings. Give us a break.

A little research revealed that the flashback, a.k.a. analepsis, was employed by writers as long ago as the 8th Century B.C. in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata.

I also found that more recently, in the 1927 book The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the progenitor of the modern disaster epic in literature and film-making, Thornton Wilder takes the victims of a single disaster and intertwines their stories with events leading up to the disaster by means of flashbacks.

So, enough already. If, as a writer, you find yourself typing anything that even narrowly resembles the dreaded “3 Hours Earlier,” immediately hit control + A, then delete. Thus, you will prove yourself to be a true humanitarian.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Thrill Is Gone

I’m still a baseball fan… a Yankee fan; but, I’m not anything like the baseball freak I was once upon a time. It’s no wonder I was something of a math whiz when I was a kid, the way I used to pour over the daily box scores and monitor the stats wars. By the time I was 10, I had memorized the Red Book, the encyclopedia of baseball stats and records, cover to cover. And, although my enthusiasm for the game lessened over the years, I remained a dedicated fan.

But, now, in the wake of the steroid/performance-enhancing-drug scandal, I find my interest in ye olde national pastime has fallen to new depths. The endless revelations regarding McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, Clemens, Bonds, A-Rod, Giambi, Ramirez, not to mention scores of fringe players, have made me an unabashed skeptic, distrusting the performances of all players.

Now, if someone’s knocking the snot out of the ball, I know they’re on the juice. It’s obvious. Contrarily, if they are mired in a slump, like Big Papi has been thus far in the 2009 season, I automatically think that their prior success was the result of steroid use and that, now, they are off the juice. That’s just the way it is.

While I was watching a game the other day, the players suddenly appeared to me stripped of all magic, lure, and charisma. There was nothing special about them at all – they were just a bunch of pitiful old men getting paid big bucks for playing a little kids’ game.

Will baseball ever recover from this mess?

Will I?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trump’s Kind of Girl

Maybe it’s just me, but I couldn’t help noticing a resemblance between Miss USA Runner-up and Miss California Carrie Prejean and former Mrs. Trump Marla Maples. It’s no wonder Miss Prejean has The Donald’s full support following the revelation that she had posed for topless photos when she was a teenager.

"We've reviewed the pictures carefully," he claimed, probably while he was fondling himself. "We've made a determination that the pictures taken were acceptable. Some were risque, but we are in the 21st century."

It’s been more than four years since his marriage to Melania. It’s about time to trade her in for a new model… pardon the pun.