The Writers’ Room

If you like TV and have not heard about Sundance Channel’s “The Writers’ Room”, I heavily recommend it.  Jim Rash (who played the Dean on “Community”) hosts a different group of writers from a hit show each week.  So far they’ve done “Parks and Rec”, “Dexter”, and “Breaking Bad”.  It seems like a no-brainer of an idea that I’m sort of surprised hadn’t happened yet.  Basically, it is “Inside the Actor’s Studio” for writers (though Jim Rash ain’t James Lipton).

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10 thoughts on “The Writers’ Room

  1. I’d say the recent trend in fetishizing TV writing/writers (or, alternatively, giving them their proper due), and TV generally, for that matter, is new enough that, if this is a no-brainer idea for a (commercially successful) TV show, it hasn’t been one for very long. That said, even if we weren’t fetishizing TV writing these days, this would still be a very good subject for a show; I’m certainly interested in it. (I may have vaguely heard of it, but I’m glad to have it brought more fully to my attention. I’ll see if I can find it online.)

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    • Good point. I only learned about it from a copy of EW that someone signed Zazzy up for while doing a midnight feeding… very random indeed. It appears that episodes, or at least clips, are available via the Sundance Channel’s website, at the link above. I think they also might be available On Demand, but that depends on your cable provider. I have the DVR set up for it, which I think captures them on Sunday nights.

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    • I prefer “giving them their due” over “fetishizing”. The fairly recent Hollywood elevation of writing to the level of respect due it is a welcome development. For most of Hollywood’s history writers have been accorded miniscule respect in relation to their contributions to great film and TV.

      OT, but is Jim Rash less annoying here than he is on Community? I am aware that he’s playing a character there who is supposed to be over-the-top, but he became like the (anti-)Fonz for the show, it just screeched (pun intended) to a halt every time he came on-screen. He makes Ken Jeong look nuanced and versatile.

      I know he won an Oscar for The Descendants screenplay (which I haven’t seen), so he probably knows a thing or two about writing.

      And hoo boy, I’ll have to see if I can catch the Dexter episode, for additional insight (if any were needed) on how NOT to write a show. I am still watching the show, but primarily to participate in its hilarious ritual slaughter on the subsequent AV Club comment threads.

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      • Ah, gotcha. No, I don’t really listen to a lot of podcasts.

        This is probably as good a time as any to mention this, since it’s a neutral topic and nobody’s het up under the collar – but I seem to frequently misunderstand (or sometimes don’t understand at all) your comments. Your writing style often seems to either layer lots into a comment (parenthetical/recursive concepts, nested brackets and the like), or leave something implicit that I need stated explicitly for comprehension (as here – the “podcast” connection completely eluded me, to the point where your response seemed a non-sequitur).

        In fact, the only commenter I used to have more trouble comprehending was CK – I was surprised to find, either because he started writing “down” a little bit, or I was just starting to grok him, that he was somewhat more conservative than I had initially guessed. (If it makes you feel any better, Jaybird occasionally loses me too).

        I tell you this not as criticism – people think how they think and speak how they speak and write how they write – but to get it out there now, so that if we are disagreeing with each other on a future topic of more importance, we can maybe look for comprehension issues on each side before anybody *does* get too het up under the collar.

        Do you by chance have an academic or philosophy background?

        And apologies in advance if this is coming across as jerky, that’s really not my intention. I’m no stranger to being misunderstood myself – it’s just part of being geniuses, like we all are here. ;-)

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      • I think the last season of Dexter is a step of from the previous ones, but I definitely look forward to it wrapping up. I want to see how it ends. The first few seasons were great, but after the Trinity season ended, they really did not seem to have any idea what to do.

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      • Dexter is an example of totally wasting a good concept, character, and actor. Honestly, I’m not sure the first few seasons were much better, I just think the novelty and then-promise of the premise overshadowed the glaring flaws (serious plot holes, a completely uninteresting cast of secondary characters played by mostly-terrible actors – though the season guest stars, like Smits and Lithgow, were often good).

        I will grant that the VO and Ghost Harry used to be better-utilized at least – now they are utilized to tell you the same thing you see happening on-screen.

        Each season follows pretty much the same pattern:

        1.) Qrkgre zrrgf fbzrbar jub xabjf uvf frperg naq/be gung ur guvaxf ur pna bcra hc gb (uvf oebgure; Yvyn; Fzvgf; Yvgutbj; Yhzra; Unaanu; abj Puneybggr Enzcyvat naq guvf xvq)

        2.) Guvf crefba orpbzrf Qrkgre’f cevznel nagntbavfg (gubhtu Yhzra qvqa’g sbyybj guvf cnggrea, abe qvq Pbyva Unaxf)

        When Kazzy was talking about guilty pleasures, Dexter was the first thing that came to mind. I would stop watching it, but then I wouldn’t be able to read people ripping it on AVClub (and I do get a certain amount of incredulous “Come ON, this is RIDICULOUS!” entertainment from watching it.)

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