Post by annabelleleigh on Mar 27, 2009 11:37:38 GMT -5
Script by (new CI.alt showrunner) Ed Zuckerman and Matthew McGough.
It's always fun to watch L&O roast a celebrity-criminal and this episode, like others, brought out the satisfaction (and the schadenfreude) in me.
It did leave me torn though -- half-wishing that it had been ready for broadcast before Bernie Madoff had been locked up for life, and half- believing that it probably had more impact because it followed Jon Stewart's public fury at CNBC.
As a Viacom employee Stewart was much freer than L&O writers to take shots at financial news networks. He was able not only to accuse CNBC of general irresponsibility but of unspoken collusion with big money players.
"Anchors Aweigh" necessarily offered a vaguer indictment of (some of the) the TV press. These anchors were lazy, petty purveyors of "happy talk" who had long ago thrown away their moral compasses. However, in context of Stewart's remarks (and one could hardly forget them when watching the episode), this story from an NBC series seemed very bold indeed.
So I think congratulations are in order for Zuckerman, McGough and L&O showrunner Rene Balcer. Good to know your moral compasses are still working well.
P.S. Such fun to see Edward Hermann as the Madoff-like character. Unbelievable that his appearance (and Jill Eikenberry's) didn't merit any effort from NBC's promotion department -- especially when there's been so much out from NBC about Jeri Ryan's forthcoming role on SVU.
As I wrote in the other thread, how the heck did Rene Balcer and his writers know this Bernie Madoff characterization would be so relevant right here & now? Only difference is that this crook was portrayed as a Park Avenue WASP, and not Jewish.
I felt bad for Joe, the anchorman. How he finally gave up and admitted to Cutter that his career was over long ago....
Amusing how the two anchors gave each other jabs during their news casts. Reminded me of the spoof movie "Anchorman" with Will Ferrell & the chick from Samantha Who.
For me, some of the last episodes have been a little slack, lacking in tension, and I'm trying to figure out why.
Is there some uneveness from episode to episode involving the DA's? Some episodes involve the tension-filled building of legal strategy, the opposing viewpoints, the compromises. In other episodes that dynamic is lacking and so, too, the tension. Perhaps I'm accustomed to and enjoy the banter and legal strategy aspect, and considering the different writers, that consistency can't be maintained. Also, in daily life not every case is a battle, but I'd like to have that tension on the show.
Maybe it's the white collar criminals vs. everyday blow-joe criminals storylines that cause some disconnect : L & O is more street- beat heat while Criminal Intent is more cool, calculating heat.
I've noticed the close-ups this season; really in close. I enjoyed seeing the actress Jill E. with a face that looks like a person. The early episodes of L & O, before everyone botoxed, had focus on the everyday life stories of everyday folks and many of the actors playing them looked like everyday people. Are those days gone for good?
I agree with Deathroe. Good storytellers do make for wonderful entertainment.
Post by annabelleleigh on Mar 29, 2009 8:38:34 GMT -5
I think you're right about a perceived uneveness, H21, although I don't know that I'd characterize it quite that way. Personally I attribute the differences to those of the various writing teams. While all within the basic hash marks of the L&O bible, there's definitely a contrast in styles and approaches to storytelling.
William Fordes and Richard Sweren are both long-time mothership lawyer-writers. Gina Gionfriddo is a full-time playwright whose L&O work with Sweren deftly deals in mystery (with convincing red herrings.)
Ed Zuckerman writes humorous, ironic pop culture features for outlets like The New Times Magazine. I always expect to see (or hear) a celebrity lampooned in a line or scene of a script by Mr. Zuckerman.
Stephanie Sengupta (I'm told) has some playwriting experience but I believe most of her work has been for television. In that idiom she most notably teamed up with Rene Balcer to co-write some of (IMO) the best CI episodes of all time.
Matthew McGough was also an L&O legal consultant prior to his first script and is the author of a critically acclaimed, coming-of-age memoir about baseball. "(Bat Boy").
Keith Eisner was story editor, writer and producer for "NYPD Blue" for five or six years and was, for a long time, a creative consultant for the improvisionational comedy series "Whose Line Is This Anyway?"
And so forth. I think each of these writers brings her/his own personal interests and idiosyncracies to mothership scripts. If one watches the series closely (and over time) it's hard not to notice that.