- Dan Goor: “We had a similar thing at <i>Parks</i>, where in season 2, the network really wanted Leslie to have a new love interest. And they were pitching, you know, like, Channing Tatum, and people they couldn’t get, but like, really, just, kind of good looking dudes. And, um, we created a character in the room which was kind of a dumb cop who likes Leslie, but she’s not sure he’s smart enough for her.
- Michael Schur: But he was super handsome, that was the thing.
- Dan Goor: Super handsome. Not that bright. <i>Super handsome</i>. And we went to Amy Poehler—Mike went to Amy Poehler, and said, “what do you think?” and he sort of showed her the list and she was like, “Get Louis C.K.” And Mike was like, “Super Handsome was—“ Louis C.K. is a fine looking dude, I think he would acknowledge that he is not Channing Tatum—um, and her point was he’s super funny. He’s a really funny guy, and you might as well get the funniest person you can get. And then he came on the show, we morphed the character a little bit, it was still not the brightest cop, and they had great chemistry, he was hilarious, and he was wonderful on the show. And it became what we call “The Poehler Doctrine” of just getting the funniest person we can get, and figuring out how to make the character work for that person.
- Michael Schur: Yeah, The Poehler Doctrine has proved incredibly valuable. And that’s why, like, Jenny Slate has been on the show in a recurring role, and Patton Oswalt, and Fred [Armisen], and Will Forte, and it’s like, just, literally for us is like, who are the funniest people we know, and are they available? And then we sort of work backward from there.
Still, Rhimes observes that people, even the ones who like “Scandal,” describe it as “ridiculous,” which she can live with, or a “guilty pleasure,” which she ardently despises. The worst reaction, she says, is when people dismiss it as a show for women, the TV version of chick lit. “It’s superinsulting that because Olivia is a woman, and the girl who wrote ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ wrote this, it must be for chicks,” Rhimes says. “Like if it’s geared for women, it’s somehow not as serious as if it’s geared for men.”
These slights — that it’s just a prime-time soap opera! — obscure the series’ ambition and intelligence. We’ve been trained by the great TV shows of the last two decades to think that quality television has to come draped in a shroud of somber respectability. But that’s just not Rhimes’s style.
Try this blind test: A politician and a workaholic have a passionate extramarital affair that endangers their careers and national security. A scheming Washington insider murders an innocent and makes it look like a suicide to further his own career. A person assumes a false identity after a gruesome incident and uses that identity to build a new life. To protect his legacy, a man preemptively murders a former ally once essential to his success. These are all descriptions of plot points on “Scandal” — but also on “Homeland,” “House of Cards,” “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” respectively. “Scandal” may not look or feel like TV’s other prestige dramas, in which! (usually male) antiheroes mix it up under the oversight of an (almost always male) auteur who has complex feelings about! entertaining his audience. Rhimes feels no such ambivalence. Even more than Olivia and Fitz’s racy clinches, that’s what makes the show exciting: Rhimes is making a different kind of quality television.
—Network TV Is Broken. So How Does Shonda Rhimes Keep Making Hits? [X]
“Scandal” is out of the melodrama closet. It embraces all the freedoms afforded a soap opera — the outlandish plots and juiced-up emotions — and it plays them out on a world-historical stage where typically marginalized people are at the center of power, doing exactly what the white guys usually do: making a sloppy, sordid mess of everything.
Connie and I, the whole on-screen marriage happened the first day we met downtown. We were going out to lunch — “
“Dinner,” Britton interjected. “He always gets this wrong.”
Seemingly with practice, Chandler continued undeterred, “And it was, I think, within the first five minutes that … sometimes you meet someone and it’s like, ‘Oh, OK! We’re in good shape now,’ and within the first five minutes we realized … we were gonna have a good time, and in the next 10 minutes we realized the acting styles were gonna work, and within the next half hour, we were excited to begin. And the greatest thing between Connie and I, I think we’d both agree, is that when we’re working together, we’re both fools, we like to play the fool, but no matter what, we would always let the other person … fall as far as you wanted to, but you knew the other person would grab you. And in the acting, that’s perfect because that’s the timing and everything. So you always felt safe making the biggest fool you could of yourself, so we could always turn back around to the sentimentality or the humor of it.”
Britton agreed, adding, “Right from the beginning, it felt like we could trust each other, which was crazy, but we did. I think the other thing that felt really important from the beginning was, we shared the same values about what we wanted that marriage to be, which we shared with the writers. We really wanted that marriage to be about two people who were committed to being married to each other, through thick and through thin, as opposed to having affairs and all of those dramatic things that happen on other TV shows …”
Hudgins noted, “It was certainly a challenge in that marriage because there was the idea that no matter what happened and how much we tested Coach and Tami that they would never get apart, which is a challenge from a writing standpoint — but it sounds like you felt like it worked.”
“Oh yeah, I think, not only did it work — and I remember you writers saying in the course of the seasons, ‘This is challenging from a writing standpoint’ — but I think that the audiences appreciated it so much because, oddly, that was a rare thing to see on television,” Britton said. “And I think that’s what most people are trying to do out in the world, is live a life where they’re doing the best they can with a partner and making it work. We were really true to that.”” —Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler (and writer/producer David Hudgins) about the best marriage on television (x) (via lindcherry)
As for why Bob would ever fall for, or be attracted to Pete, we don’t even think it rates a question. A succession of very attractive women of varying degrees of intelligence and sanity have gotten it on with Pete; from Trudy to Peggy to Beth Dawes, to that model he followed home, to that crazy neighbor lady who broke up his marriage. In fact, if you want to be a little crude about it, Pete’s probably the Number 3 swordsman on the show, behind Don and Roger. He hasn’t done badly for himself at all and he’s not nearly as unattractive to certain people in the story as he is to us, the viewers. Bob doesn’t know all the various ways in which Pete has been an utter shit the last 6 seasons, from raping that nanny to shitting all over Peggy’s self-esteem, to petulantly blowing up his marriage because he was mad at his Father-in-law. To Bob Benson, Pete is a fussy, droll, highly emotional, well-dressed, slightly effete, old-money WASP who left his wife, frets over his mother, and just recently started smoking pot. It’s the Niles Crane effect. Combine that with his being a junior partner at the agency, and he becomes irresistible to a go-getting guy like Bob. Making his move now – even after hearing him use the word “degenerate” – made a certain amount of sense to him, even if it didn’t to the audience.
—Tom and Lorenzo’s Mad Style recap of Mad Men S06e11 [X]
There. That’s what we see when we look at the story of Bob Benson, knowing what we know about gay men of this period. He’s not a sociopath or even a schemer of any great note. He’s an obsessively go-getting, emotionally damaged gay Golden Boy type who has lousy taste in men and is so bad at social cues that he’ll declare his love for someone who’s currently worrying that his mother has been raped. This doesn’t preclude Bob from doing something nefarious down the line in the story, nor does it totally negate the idea that he’s bisexual or not entirely gay (which is how Matthew Weiner coyly put it - “not gay, necessarily” – in the “Inside Mad Men” video this week, but he has a history of being not entirely trustworthy when talking about ongoing storylines).
holy shit, i was reading the latest mad style post by tom and lorenzo, and they were talking about bob benson and being closeted and they linked to this post that mentions a book written by a closeted gay man under the name andrew TOBIAS. which has to be the origin of tobias’s name on arrested development. also thinking about the funke’s names made me realize for the first time ever that they’re trying to say maeby may be a funke. i mean, i know they’ve used her name in puns before, but this is the first time it really clicked for me.
although one wonders why tbbt won so many awards at the critics choice awards of all places.
haha i just watched the source video for that tatiana maslany win and the looks on the people at the modern family table are priceless.