Last night my husband told me that the lead character of a cartoon watched when we were younger, Rugrats’ “Tommy”, was based upon the writer’s favourite sci-fi character, Dr. Who. This blew my mind. For those of you that don’t know, Tommy also has his own trusty screwdriver wherever he wanders off to. Pure genius now that I can see the connection.
What’s striking to me is that both Dr. Who and Rugrats are so relatable for the very same things. The content —not the lead character and a screwdriver— but of a leader amongst a pack of oddballs and familiar faces. A leader all admire that’s full of compassion, passion, and guts. —And if you’re Matt Smith, quite fetching as well.
The other and more obvious topic I wanted to discuss from my week was the show “Friends” itself. Recently I watched Oprah’s interview with them. You know, The one where Oprah and the cast tell us that there will never be another interview or reunion of them all together for a camera crew. It’s The One where we realize how incredibly talented the writers are for inviting us to coffee weekly, with six unique yet completely relatable characters, for a decade stretch. Not only that, but they made life into entertainment with class and comedy, with tears and frustrations. In real life, off the screen, any addictions or struggles were dealt with responsibly and tackled as a team that really did turn into a family of friends walking through life together beyond the t.v. series.
What struck me most watching this thing was that today we desperately need this high level of commitment from both writers and the cast and crew that support those words and bring them to life. We desperately need real people that pick up their humanity and embrace IT rather than their celebrity. We need creatives and creativity that breed more originality and less recycled, half-hearted garbage.
Back in the industry when Friends had it’s series finale, ad spots for commercials were running as high as two million dollars. (Higher than the superbowl spots at the time). The problem? Today it’s as if the ads are the product running the entertainment, rather than being supported by the product of a great show. Truly, many entertainers make so much money from perfume or their ugly attempt at fashion design, or press popularity they set up and sought after by jumping off wrecking balls and egging houses with drug-faced friends in their off time. Right? Honestly. Where did everyone’s real friends go?
If the core of entertainment is enjoyment, then where the heck is it? Because at this rate, at this standard, it’s no wonder many of the talented entertainers (and decent human beings) are increasingly seeking higher standards within the environments of live theatre, Broadway, TIFF and other self or collaborated projects. Heck, even Anchorman 2 was funded mainly by Mr. Ron Burgundy himself.
It takes great talents and commitment from a team of people to make a show run for ten years, or for a movie to make it beyond the first story. Money can force the same, but with far less positive results on the audience and industry long term. Great teams and works that kept going? M.A.S.H. did it. The Cosby show and Saved By The Bell did it. We really need to come to a point where we let the classics of the content inspire us, and rise above the empty ideas and capitalist opportunistic greed. If we do that, then maybe the real talent could keep creating; then the viewer could get back to decent cable t.v. or netflix seasons where we have the basics of humanity (and our stories) being played out for us as the Friends we know, as the Community we need, and as the Scrubs we all are.
-six seasons and a movie.