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December 21, 2007 2:36 PM   Subscribe

The Daily Colbert Show Report returns January 7th! ...sorta.

Ever since the WGA and the AMPTP AMPTP parted ways in November, Real Americans everywhere have been mourning the tragic loss of Truthiness and Zen.

But fear not, citizens! Stewart and Colbert will be back at the helm just in time for the New Hampshire primary... albeit without their writers.

Said the two Jewish comedians in a joint statement:
"We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence."
Since the two are writers themselves, they are technically crossing the picket line, leaving some fans upset and vowing boycotts.

Of course, all involved are itching to get back into the routine, from the writers to the fans to the higher primates. As for Stewart and Colbert... they're a bit tied up at the moment. At least there's always the Schmaily Schmow.
posted by Rhaomi (135 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Said the two Jewish comedians...

Uh, since when is Colbert Jewish?
posted by mrnutty at 2:38 PM on December 21, 2007


Colbert is Catholic.
posted by uaudio at 2:39 PM on December 21, 2007


...but he has a 75% chance of being Jewish anyway.
posted by uaudio at 2:41 PM on December 21, 2007


Uh, since when is Colbert Jewish?

Feel free to click the linked text you're quoting before talking about it. Or just hit post. Up to you.
posted by Partial Law at 2:45 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Colbert Chosen AP Celebrity of the Year.
posted by ericb at 2:45 PM on December 21, 2007


Feel free to click the linked text you're quoting before talking about it. Or just hit post. Up to you.

I'm on an old linux box that doesn't have the latest flash player. Tried to watch the video, didn't work. Sorry, chief.
posted by mrnutty at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2007


I've read the links, but I'm still not sure what "without writers" means... are they ad-libing this? Are they hiring non-union writers? Will there be monkeys with typewriters?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:47 PM on December 21, 2007


grapefruitmoon: "I've read the links, but I'm still not sure what "without writers" means... "

It will be the Schmaily Schmow. And I'm looking forward to it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:58 PM on December 21, 2007


erkj[udg[eirtk[moie
Sorry, this monkey has linux.
posted by Mblue at 2:59 PM on December 21, 2007


Metafilter: I'm on an old linux box that doesn't have the latest flash player.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:00 PM on December 21, 2007 [4 favorites]


I hope it's 30 minutes of Jon Stewart making comical faces in reaction to a live CNN feed. (Also looking forward to it.)
posted by tepidmonkey at 3:01 PM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


I assume the interviews will be longer.
posted by empath at 3:03 PM on December 21, 2007


If it's, as much as possible, business-as-usual, then shame on them.

But, as someone mentioned in the linked thread, they could show up and be exceptionally boring. Still on the air, still fulfilling their contract to the letter, but with terrible ratings because they don't have their writers.

One can hope.
posted by Malor at 3:04 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


"And here's you're extreeeeemly protracted moment of zen."
posted by cortex at 3:05 PM on December 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


Can they brainstorm or at least come up with ideas before a show? What does it mean to write? If Stewart sits down with correspondents and comes up with a few improv sketches to do on air, without writing anything down, is that a breach?
posted by geoff. at 3:08 PM on December 21, 2007


That's really the one thing you can hope at this point, Malor. Putting aside what you think about the writers' strike, crossing the line unironically would pretty much be a career-ender for two comedians with such egalitarian images.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:09 PM on December 21, 2007


People like to believe the Jon Stewart they see is Jon Stewart, not the combined wit of 20 writers. If he's not funny without the writers I can imagine his reputation being hurt.
posted by null terminated at 3:09 PM on December 21, 2007


Well, since they're both members of the WGA, even scribbling little notes to themselves prior to broadcast may constitute writing. This is going to be seriously bizarre.
God, I wish I had tivo.
posted by maryh at 3:12 PM on December 21, 2007


Thank God. To lose the Daily-Colbert block during an election season no less ridiculous than usual was a travesty.

Regarding how they're going to fill the time, Daily already does repeats of the field reports. One of those and a two-segment interview and that's almost a whole show. Colbert will have to change the format a lot more, though.
posted by abcde at 3:15 PM on December 21, 2007


But, as someone mentioned in the linked thread, they could show up and be exceptionally boring. Still on the air, still fulfilling their contract to the letter, but with terrible ratings because they don't have their writers.

I don't think they even have to try to do that. Colbert may have a leg-up based on his extensive improv work, but it is still very hard to come up with material on the fly and have it suitable in a television framework. The first couple of days could be very good, given the build-up of material and the absurdity of the situation, but it is going to really suck.

Anyone who watches The View, which one would think would lend itself to being unscripted, will quickly realize that the research and topic creation writers do is something that hosts are incapable of. There is no reason to believe that Colbert or Stewart will be any different. Sure The View hits the big topics, but it is the awkward dead time that is the killer. The "oh wow we still have 5 more minutes to talk about this ... uh," and Whoopi is as experienced or more so than Colbert or Stewart. Even Joy Behar has experience with crowds as a stand-up comedian, but that doesn't translate into entertaining a broad spectrum of people for so many minutes every day.
posted by geoff. at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2007


Could they do a collaborative show, where they ask for viewer submitted jokes about current events? Or would that constitute crowdscabbing?
posted by null terminated at 3:16 PM on December 21, 2007


If he's not funny without the writers I can imagine his reputation being hurt.

Exactly, the fact they are bringing them back speaks volumes, because it is very risky doing it. It makes me think they are losing viewers at an astonishing rate. Even if the strike ends tomorrow, the long-term effect on ratings is probably permanent.
posted by geoff. at 3:17 PM on December 21, 2007


"Could they do a collaborative show, where they ask for viewer submitted jokes about current events?"

Sounds like a job for JewTube.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:23 PM on December 21, 2007


John Stewart and Stephen Colbert ad libbing the normal format of the show for half an hour each night still constitutes "writing for television" in my book. If that's what they're going to do, they're scabs. Not clear that's the plan though.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:23 PM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Scab! Scab!
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


But, as someone mentioned in the linked thread, they could show up and be exceptionally boring. Still on the air, still fulfilling their contract to the letter, but with terrible ratings because they don't have their writers.

If it's not some kind of joke, I'll never pay attention to anything they do again.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:25 PM on December 21, 2007


I don't mean to imply, by the way, that the strike doesn't factor in for me. If this was in any significant way bad for the writers, I'd much rather they don't. But, with both show-runners being WGA members with openly sympathetic stances, I'm guessing this is somehow regarded as not so bad.
posted by abcde at 3:26 PM on December 21, 2007


In a perfect world, they would dispense with the two show format and Colbert and Stewart would just sit across a table from one another and read items out of a big pile of newspapers, and they would take turns making fun of the stories by just riffing ideas off the top of their heads.

No writing needed, and it could be quite funny.
posted by quin at 3:33 PM on December 21, 2007


"Well, since they're both members of the WGA..."

...they are crossing the picket line.

This is very simple. Let me spell it out for everybody.

Colbert and Stewart are scabs.

Just in case you didn't catch that.

They are scabs.

Step one to understanding this very complicated scenario: They are scabs.

Step two to understanding this very complicated scenario: please see step one.

Are they writing stuff down or making it up in their heads? When they interview people will the questions be on cue cards? Didn't someone have to be paid to do that? Blah blah blah blah blah. Who gives a fuck? It doesn't matter.

They are scabs.

They are going to provide product. This is known in some circles as producing. Guess what the second P in AMPTP stands for? No it's not urine.

They are scabs.

They are breaking the strike. This makes them strike breakers. Hence, the aforementioned usage of SCABS in reference to COLBERT and STEWART.

They are scabs.

The fact they're not paying writers to help them means they're hurting writers while helping the producers.

They are scabs.

They can try to paint it however they want, and the majority of the world may even accept their explanation. I'm sure they're great guys and if I were to sit and have a beer with them it'd be a great time. Got nothing personal against them. I understand having to quietly pay their employees under the table might adversely affect their tax bracket. We can't have that now can we?

They got bills to pay and so do the employees that they'd have to otherwise eventually lay off if they didn't do this now. Just like Ellen Degeneres. Just like Carson Daly.

Can ya blame them? Doesn't matter.

They caved.

They gave in.

They are scabs.

I know you have rebuttals and 'buts' and 'waitaminutes' and 'youaremistakens' and before you respond to my 'opinion' please see step number one.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. They are Scabs.

I'm assuming Jay Leno's probably gonna be next if he hasn't already, cuz he's got a spine that a feather would love. Frankly I'm surprised he wasn't the first. David could last indefinitely, but he'd be a fool to try, cuz guess what? AMPTP could go for YEARS without the writers. Reality tv may not bring in higher ratings, but it usually costs a fraction of what high quality drama or comedy costs to produce, and it's far less of a gamble.

They fought the Flaw. And the Flaw won. Producers rule. Writers drool. Nothing more to see here. These are not the droids you were looking for. Move along. Show's over. We can stop rubbernecking at the train wreck now, peoples.

AMPTP wins. Film at eleven.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:49 PM on December 21, 2007 [22 favorites]


I'd like to hear the WGA's take on this.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:53 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I really couldn't be a bigger Jon Stewart fanboy, but I won't be watching until the strike ends. Not because I think the show won't be funny — probably will — but because, as ZachsMind said (at length), Jon's now a scab.

I'm actually really depressed about this. More than I would have thought. It really sucks that Jon Stewart the person turns out to be such dick; Jon Stewart the persona would never have crossed that picket line.
posted by jacobian at 3:59 PM on December 21, 2007


So they're scabs then?
posted by ODiV at 4:05 PM on December 21, 2007 [8 favorites]


For those of you in the know, there's something I've been wondering about. Could a TV writer effectively work under a pseudonym during the strike and get away with it? You don't really need to be physically present to write TV as much as say build a building, right?
posted by ODiV at 4:09 PM on December 21, 2007


"We're puzzled and disheartened by an ongoing WGA negotiating strategy that seems designed to delay or derail talks rather than facilitate an end to the strike," the AMPTP said in announcing a halt to further bargaining after Friday's session.

Translation: They tell us what they want. We tell them no. They walk away from the table. This is a strange negotiating strategy on their part! They're supposed to go 'okay' and continue working for us without getting anything they want. We're so puzzled and disheartened! Why don't they know how to negotiate?
posted by ZachsMind at 4:10 PM on December 21, 2007


jacobian Really?

You really think Stewart believes what he says? He absolutes in every monologue.
posted by Mblue at 4:11 PM on December 21, 2007


"Could a TV writer effectively work under a pseudonym during the strike and get away with it?"

But of course! People hide their faces behind masks and steal from stores and banks all the time. Sometimes they even get away with it. That's what pseudonyms are for. To get away with stuff without having to take responsibility. Sometimes it doesn't work, but more often than not, it's very effective.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:12 PM on December 21, 2007


ZachsMind: Well if it's as you say Show's over...AMPTP wins then yeah it does seem like a strange negotiating strategy.
posted by ODiV at 4:14 PM on December 21, 2007


If he's not funny without the writers I can imagine his reputation being hurt.

More than by being a scab?!
posted by jack_mo at 4:15 PM on December 21, 2007


Also, I can't tell if you're being facetious or not. Is this something that's a big, well known problem so I'm stupid for asking or is this something that is impossible so I'm stupid for asking?

More than by being a scab?!

Do you really think anyone cares? Not that I don't sympathize, but I doubt many people outside the industry are too emotionally involved.
posted by ODiV at 4:20 PM on December 21, 2007


I think people care. TDS and the Colbert Report are very much presented as voices for the little guy in the face of corporate bullshit. They really can't say anything to make crossing a picket line seem okay to their audience.

Family Guy, on the other hand... it could reuse the same jump-clips for decades. Maybe it is; who would know?
posted by roll truck roll at 4:26 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


ODiV

Do you really think anyone cares? Not that I don't sympathize, but I doubt many people
outside the industry are too emotionally involved.


Wrong. I'm union, I'm outside the industry and I care.
posted by Mblue at 4:29 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I doubt many people outside the industry are too emotionally involved.

I hope you're wrong, really. Anyone who's in any way been involved with unions or unionizing should care. Who knows, though... it's literally impossible to overestimate the level of apathy we're capable of.
posted by jacobian at 4:33 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's possible that Comedy Central--like CBS--are trying to work out a seperate deal with their writers. Or, since they are both owned by Viacom, one overarching deal for the two. Since the AMPTP is proving so intractable, one wonders if this is how the strike will be resolved, or not: individual production companies will either strike seperate deals, or transform themselves into writer-less entities.

In any event, it's my fervent hope that none of these shows return to the air sans writers. It really feels a slap in the face. What's next, an ad-libbed episode of Law & Order?
posted by kjh at 4:33 PM on December 21, 2007


I think the fuss about the writers underestimates their ability to do improv. I've gone to tons of shows at Improv Olympic in Hollywood, and I've seen Opening Night do some shit that made me fall out of my chair laughing. All without writers. Colbert and Stewart are both intelligent guys who are quick on their head-feet, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them pull off some great comedy freestyle.
posted by mullingitover at 4:43 PM on December 21, 2007


While I don't think what Stewart and Colbert are doing is right, I also strongly suspect that the AMPTP is going to lose the most once these and some of the other shows that make fun of current events go back on the air. Up until now, the mainstream media has mostly showed the AMPTP's version of events. I realize that Stewart and Colbert are usually backed by a team of scathingly accurate writers, but from what I understand, their own writing chops are pretty remarkable. I think the issues the WGA is fighting for are about to catapult up in public awareness, just in time for the script backpile to run out, and with the information delivered in a fashion that makes the AMPTP look exactly as ridiculous as they are. This is like choosing the guys with the best aim for your own firing squad.

Let us not forget that Colbert is also a sufferer of enlarged balls [SFW]. Let's hope he still has them.
posted by Tehanu at 4:43 PM on December 21, 2007


Do you really think anyone cares? Not that I don't sympathize, but I doubt many people
outside the industry are too emotionally involved.


I'm non-union and fine with that. Is there even a union for sysadmins? But I care as well. No one loved TDS more than I, but I won't be watching, and this SEVERELY taints my image of both shows, even when this situation is resolved.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 4:48 PM on December 21, 2007


Also: The comments on this at Deadline Hollywood Daily are interesting.
posted by Tehanu at 4:52 PM on December 21, 2007


It'd be pretty hilarious if they went back on air and covered the WGA strike exclusively - just turned TDS and CR into vehicles for strike support... other than that, I dunno what to make of this. I'd hate (and be terribly disappointed) to see either of these men cross a picket line.
posted by stenseng at 4:52 PM on December 21, 2007


ODiV
Do you really think anyone cares? Not that I don't sympathize, but I doubt many people
outside the industry are too emotionally involved.

Wrong. I'm union, I'm outside the industry and I care.

Yeah, I'm not union (wish I were) and outside the "industry," and I definitely care too.

In my experience, most people feel that the writers, workers, laborers, etc. are more deserving than the lazy executives at most companies.
posted by peppito at 4:53 PM on December 21, 2007


You can call them scabs all you want, but they both wear multiple hats-- performer, producer and writer, and they have more responsibilities than just the writers union. I think show runners like JJ Abrams etc, should get some leeway in how they handle the strike.
posted by empath at 4:56 PM on December 21, 2007


The main problem here is that they're both management and organized labor and that's always a difficult place to be in and the appropriate thing to do is not always clear.
posted by empath at 4:57 PM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


To be fair, there was a showrunner's meeting right before the strike started, and they decided as a group to honor the full spirit of the strike-- no producing, no editing, no working on their shows at all. It was not a full consensus-- some showrunners have felt that went too far. So to be clear, there are many people wearing multiple hats who are on the picket lines every day and 100% behind their staff in word and action. It is very complicated though.
posted by Tehanu at 5:05 PM on December 21, 2007


Do you really think anyone cares? Not that I don't sympathize, but I doubt many people outside the industry are too emotionally involved.

Despising scabs is hardly an industry-specific thing. (I'm approaching this from a slightly irrelevant British perspective, though - there's no worse insult than 'scab' here, really.)
posted by jack_mo at 5:07 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I strongly suspect there's more to this than just them being scabs.

For one thing, it's impossible for them to do the show at their accustomed level of quality without writers. Stewart and Colbert are brilliant, but they're not demigods. There's no way to do the show without writers without it sucking, Mystery Science Theater 3000 first season style.

The idea here may well be to illustrate this on the air. Think about it... for affecting so much of television, the strike has gotten fairly low coverage on the news. This would be a way to bring the strike into people's homes, bypassing the media's reluctance to cover it.
posted by JHarris at 5:09 PM on December 21, 2007


This really needs a scab tag.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on December 21, 2007


"What's next, an ad-libbed episode of Law & Order?"

An hour of "DUN DUN."

Please.

I'll watch.

And it won't have whatever ant-headed immature cheesecake sidekicks they've saddled Jack and Ed with this year.
posted by klangklangston at 5:24 PM on December 21, 2007


mrnutty writes "Uh, since when is Colbert Jewish?"

ericb writes "Colbert Chosen."

So he is Jewish!?
posted by orthogonality at 5:29 PM on December 21, 2007


I'm sure that people "care" as in when they hear about it they say, "Yeah, scabs suck," but I really doubt they care in the sense that their friends and loved ones will still be receiving Heroes: Season One for Christmas.

I'm not saying it isn't a worthy cause. Not by a long shot. I just don't think America (including Canada) is doing very well with its worthy causes.
posted by ODiV at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2007


KJH: "What's next, an ad-libbed episode of Law & Order?"

I hate Law & Order with an absolute passion, yet I'd tune in to see that train wreck if it's ever advertised.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not necessarily taking sides. It's not like the Writer's Guild has ever raised a finger to help me realize my dream as a writer. If anything they make it harder for someone like me (without connections and credentials and.. y'know.. talent. stuff like that) to ever be a financially successful writer.

But the Producers haven't done jack for me either. I want whatever solution would allow me to find out relatively soon how the fuck Kate & Jack got off that island. Is that too crass? Am I being apathetic? Should I care more about fair wages for writers? Fuck that. How'd they get off the damned island?

I understand that improvisation is performance with little to no formal preparation. Extemporaneous. Formally, it doesn't require any writing, although sometimes notes are utilized. If multiple people are participating in an improv, some communication has to be hashed out just beforehand. What is writing anyway? It is communication.

If the person improvising is a member of a writer's guild, not writing down his speech doesn't exempt him. Notice that's a double negative by the way. It's still producing product. They're cavorting with the enemy. I'm not saying this with any bitterness intended. I quite enjoy the spectacle.

IF there was strategy on the part of the WGA? Colbert & Stewart throw rocks at it by announcing they've caved. I'm not saying I take this personally or have any emotional investment in the situation. When I call Colbert & Stewart SCABS, I'm not name calling. I'm not insulting their mothers or questioning their manhood.

It's like calling a rose a flower or calling a collie a dog. Colbert & Stewart are SCABS.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:42 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. What assholes.
posted by serazin at 5:48 PM on December 21, 2007


Don't pick on Jon and Stephen, they'll get infected.
posted by squirrel at 5:48 PM on December 21, 2007 [7 favorites]


"So he is Jewish!?"

DRUMROLL PLEASE! FROM THE HOME OFFICE IS SIOUX CITY IOWA!
TOP TEN RESPONSES TO STEPHEN COLBERT'S RELIGIOUS PROCLIVITIES!

10. Is he jewish? That all depends on what "ish" is.
9. He occasionally plays a Jew pretending to be a Protestant on television.
8. Whut? Yewze gotta problem with Jews? Ya racist bastad! Ah giv ya problemz!
7. Colbert was Jewish but he became Spanglish. They had a ceremony and everything.
6. He's an unorthodox jew. You don't want to know where his yamaka has been.
5. Stewart's an atheist jew. Colbert's a jewish atheist. They fight crime!
4. Only his mother's milkman knows for sure.
3. Yes, but he's not kosher; if you cook him with hollandaise he goes very well with brandy.
2. On alternate Thursdays during a full moon only, provided it's not cloudy with a twenty percent chance of rain.
1. Does the pope shit in the woods?
posted by ZachsMind at 5:57 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


...and to think, less than eighteen months ago, Jon Jon Stewart was the fifth most powerful American. Now? He's just a scab. But. Y'know. A powerful scab. Oh sure.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:07 PM on December 21, 2007


I understand why the writers are on strike, and I agree with them that a good deal has to be struck on all these new uses that their works are being put to.

But... I'm having a hard time joining in on the "scaaaaaaaabs! SCAAAAAAAAABS!" booing and hissing, or generalized strike-solidarity sentiment. Probably because I can't think of a local strike in which the strikers didn't act like assholes. Transit workers and firemen vandalizing buses/firetrucks, Vidéotron (cable company) workers cutting cables and causing people and businesses to lose their internet connections.

Or the port stevedores/longshoremen who would often go on strike when my mother worked as an accountant in a shipping company. They'd routinely barge into the offices to harass the management; but they'd also go around physically intimidating the - largely female - clerical staff, just because they felt like it. Bunch of thick-necked mouth-breathing thugs.

I'm sure the writers haven't done anything like that, but I can't work up enough sympathy to be scandalized by the crossing of a picket line. That Pencils2MediaMoguls internet campaign is a neat idea though.
posted by CKmtl at 6:09 PM on December 21, 2007


I'm sure that people "care" as in when they hear about it they say, "Yeah, scabs suck," but I really doubt they care in the sense that their friends and loved ones will still be receiving Heroes: Season One for Christmas.

Wrong again. "Heroes" was(is) written by members of the Screen Actors Guild. These professionals don't desire the view, they want (and have earned) compensation for viewing.
posted by Mblue at 6:12 PM on December 21, 2007


I don't understand what that last sentence means. If it means that the writers for Heroes are being fairly compensated and aren't on strike then great. I apologize for picking a bad example. Should we say The Office: Season Three instead?

And I still don't think I was wrong the first time, just because you and doubtless many others personally care to the point of it affecting your actions.
posted by ODiV at 6:20 PM on December 21, 2007


Zachs, that top-10 looks an awful lot like writing. Are you shure you should be doing that during the strike?

I dunno, I kind of think of my own job. I used to be a "scale technician." A more straightforward trade job than most since it's licensed. I'm still licensed and just paid $50 for the privilege of being a scale tech in 2008. But my business card says "programmer" and what I've mostly been doing is writing software for the last 15 years. I still do scale tech type stuff, but not very often and I could do my real job with only minor additional inconveniences if I had to give up my license. In fact, my license is only valid in Louisiana so when I visit our offices in Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama, I have to be escorted by a tech who's licensed there if I have to actually open up a scale and mess with its innards.

So I wonder, if the nonexistent scale tech union were to strike, would it be copacetic for me to cross the line? I probably wouldn't, since I still feel close to the job, but my new job isn't as a cultural icon that brings together a lot of people who had never heard of scales before I made it big. I could certainly see the logic that maybe I shouldn't let a billion dollar chemical plant get shut down for a month because the gizmo only I know how to fix goes down. (That sort of thing happens a lot more often than you'd like to know, in other news.) I know the strike is about putting pressure on the employers but there are other pressures in other dimensions too.

I think Stewart and Colbert are WGA because they actually participate with their other writers in activities that are unambiguously writing as preparation for the show. When they are doing stand-up I'm not so sure. Legally, when I open an indicator so I can re-flash an application program I have to be licensed and I'm considered a scale tech because diddling with the innards of a legal for trade scale is defined that way. But really, what I do is very different from what I did in 1984 when I first got this job and what most people who have the same license I do do. I think you vastly oversimplify the situation with your SCABS SCABS SCABS rhetoric. Just sayin.
posted by localroger at 6:20 PM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


Sorry, I am wrong. I said many when I shouldn't have. I meant most. My apologies.

Thread: continue!
posted by ODiV at 6:22 PM on December 21, 2007


I'm sorry if I'm vague, but the point is just compensation for talented work. The best actors are famous for words written by an author.
posted by Mblue at 6:29 PM on December 21, 2007


I'm sure the writers haven't done anything like that, but I can't work up enough sympathy to be scandalized by the crossing of a picket line.

To me, this is the voice of the most frightening segment of the American population. More dangerous to the state of labor rights than outright scabs are those who cultivate a poorly-informed and yet smug indifference and wear it like a badge of hipness. Keep letting the mass media outlets context your labor picture, ya yahoo. People who worked up enough sympathy to bring you the minimum wage and the 40-hour work week fought and died for what you idly dismiss on account of a few jerks.
posted by squirrel at 6:47 PM on December 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


"Zachs, that top-10 looks an awful lot like writing. Are you shure you should be doing that during the strike?"

I don't belong to their precious guild. I don't get paid to write. I'm not licensed to write. I haven't 'paid my dues' for the 'priviledge' to write. There is quite simply no line for me to cross, nor are there sides to take. I find the whole thing wondrously entertaining.

"I think you vastly oversimplify the situation"

I think you make this way too complicated. Please refer to back step one. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Thank you. Drive-thru.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:52 PM on December 21, 2007


Keep letting the mass media outlets context your labor picture

Wasn't the core of that post a person anecdote?
posted by maledictory at 6:54 PM on December 21, 2007


I don't understand how you're wrong either ODiv. Also, if Heroes was really written by members of SAG and not the WGA, that explains so much about the latest season.
posted by smackfu at 6:55 PM on December 21, 2007


smackfu - The writer with the talent left to do Pushing Daisies.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on December 21, 2007


I find the whole thing wondrously entertaining.
Yes.
posted by Mblue at 7:10 PM on December 21, 2007


squirrel:

1) Not American. Canadian.
2) It's not a "cultivation". It's not smug. I'm not hip, nor trying to be. I only had a goatee for a year, have listened to precisely zero emo music, own only one silicone bracelet that I bought when a relative was going through chemo and radiation therapy, and I don't ironically wear pinstripes and fedoras.
3) I have an appreciation for past labour rights struggles. I don't think those who fought and died for them were wrong, or shouldn't have fought.
4) I'm not "dismissing" anything. I explained why, while I support the writers' strike, I can't bring myself to be angry about scabs or picket-crossers. If you or others can or do get pissed off at them, feel free. Knock yourselves out.
5) Yahoo? Threat to international labour movements? Blow it out your ass, sir/ma'am.
posted by CKmtl at 7:16 PM on December 21, 2007


and I don't ironically wear pinstripes and fedoras.

Has this really become an acid test for credibility?
posted by maledictory at 7:24 PM on December 21, 2007


It makes me think they are losing viewers at an astonishing rate. Even if the strike ends tomorrow, the long-term effect on ratings is probably permanent.

Of course they're loosing viewers. I mean who would watch a Current Event's show about, um, non-current events?

I'll certainly be curious to see what happens, but I am a little disappointed. But it's tough; on the one hand this would be their absolute prime, and their really missing out. It won't be until the general that so many people would be interested in what's going on.

On the other hand, I kind of liked not having to worry about my TV At all. I might not watch as often as I used too until the strike ends, though. I support the strike because frankly I'd love it if the studios went and died. I want the strike to last forever. I mean, who needs the studios?

--

Oh, and on the other hand, It's not like news writers are striking. Couldn't Colbert and TDS be considered "news" shows? They are definitely more "news-y" then a lot of other WGA written stuff.
posted by delmoi at 7:27 PM on December 21, 2007


ZachsMind, neither hysterics nor saying the same thing over and over make an argument.
posted by xmutex at 7:34 PM on December 21, 2007 [20 favorites]


What if they go on air and do nothing but talk about the writers' strike until the network pulls them again?
posted by uosuaq at 7:36 PM on December 21, 2007


I suppose I'm more like CKmtl. I have great respect for what unions have accomplished. Go back a couple generations on my mother's side of the family and its steeped in the UMWA, including an organizer of the first chapter in a mining county.

That said, unless I'm misinformed, the present strike concerns writers being compensated (royalties) for their work in new mediums like internet streaming and downloads, etc. Its not exactly a hot button, crucial, this is a quality of life issue. Its "we want more of a share of this money!" type of issue, which I understand as being a fair enough claim, but not something that I feel will be read about in history books down the road.

Stewart and Colbert won't be the first (Heck, Whoopi Goldberg has been on the air, admittedly stating she has conflicting interests), but somehow I don't see them as being traitors to some great, union tradition going back to the bloody and deadly strikes of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most certainly, they will highlight the cause of striking writers and make others aware of it on a scale that will reach many more people in this country, even better than one more reality show or game show.

As is, union membership in America is down to 12% of the workers in America, and it simply does not hold the same real or emotional connection to the nation as it did thirty to forty years ago. If the writers in Hollywood and New York want more attention to their cause, then they need cultural icons like Stewart and Colbert pulling them into the spotlight. They'll do more for the union in front of the camera versus behind a picket line.
posted by Atreides at 7:50 PM on December 21, 2007 [5 favorites]


Well argued, Atreides.
posted by squirrel at 7:59 PM on December 21, 2007


nor are there sides to take

You could have fooled us, ZachsMind.

People who worked up enough sympathy to bring you the minimum wage and the 40-hour work week fought and died for what you idly dismiss on account of a few jerks.

I mostly sympathize with the writers, but part of me is also enjoying the show -- seeing which side will buckle first. Let 'em fight it out. This is not a life and death issue and, in spite of the storied history of unions and labor fighting for basic living conditions (such as the right to a couple days off), it's completely disingenuous to hearken back to this "fought and died" rhetoric. This is about how much profit each side deserves to make. If the WGA buckles and accepts less than what they're asking for, then they lose fair and square.
posted by dhammond at 8:21 PM on December 21, 2007


ZachsMind, neither hysterics nor saying the same thing over and over make an argument.

Quoted for truth. We know so little of what is actually planned its a bit presumptive to vent your spleen, even if it was an entertaining rant (for a bit).

I will say the current hive mind of televisual dross that passes for American TV really needs putting down. And preferably before the snotty infection hops over the pond on to our screens.
posted by monkeyx-uk at 8:28 PM on December 21, 2007


Wrong again. "Heroes" was(is) written by members of the Screen Actors Guild.

So how come they're on strike?
"Heroes" showrunner Tim Kring is first and foremost a writer, so the choice of whether or not to cease and desist his producing duties was no choice at all.

(...)

"We were 2/3 of the way through production on the last episode of volume 2 when the strike hit," Kring said. "So on the day before we actually went out on strike, I was able to lock picture, meaning edit, episode 10. And episode 11 was directed by Allan Arkush, my longtime directing/producer partner who I've spent 500,000 hours in the editing room with, so I felt like it was in really good hands and I didn't have to be there for it, so it allowed me to walk away without having to feel like I was really abandoning the show. A lot of shows were not in that position, they had multiple episodes in post, multiple episodes yet to film, and so I really felt for my fellow showrunners."
Plus it wouldn't make any sense for the writers of the show to be associated solely with SAG, seeing as how it's an actors' union. Tina Fey of 30 Rock is head writer on her own show, for example, and is a member of both SAG and the WGA.
posted by chrominance at 8:29 PM on December 21, 2007


"ZachsMind, neither hysterics nor saying the same thing over and over make an argument."

heh. They're SCABS!

*goes into hysterics*
posted by ZachsMind at 8:38 PM on December 21, 2007


I think jharris is right. I suspect that the shows that come back will be intentionally dull or used to promote the cause of the writers. I'll wait to see what happens.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:39 PM on December 21, 2007


Whether Stewart and Colbert crossing the line makes them scabs or not, I think it's funny that Colbert (the character) would TOTALLY cross the picket line. At the very least, I hope they have some fun with that. But I'm having a hard time seeing how they're going to pull this off. Both shows are heavily scripted, as far as I can tell.
posted by dhammond at 8:41 PM on December 21, 2007


Not that I know anything, but Zachsmind, I'm not sure they are scabs.

Don't they both produce their own shows? Jon Stewart definitely is an exec producer on his own show and I think he is one on Stephen's as well. Doesn't this put them on the other side of the struggle? Aren't the writers striking _against_ Jon and Stephen?

If I run, say, a coalmine, and all my workers go on strike, and I say fuck it and put on overalls and go into the hole and dig the coal out myself, am I a scab? I think you're only a scab if you're a third party, and offer to work while the union members are on strike.

Maybe Jon and Stephen are just trying to keep the lights on, like Krusty with the Stingy and Battery Show.
posted by aLearnerRather at 8:46 PM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Atreides writes "That said, unless I'm misinformed, the present strike concerns writers being compensated (royalties) for their work in new mediums like internet streaming and downloads, etc. Its not exactly a hot button, crucial, this is a quality of life issue. Its 'we want more of a share of this money!' type of issue, which I understand as being a fair enough claim, but not something that I feel will be read about in history books down the road."

From what I understand, the issue of revenue from media sources is just a battleground within a larger fight about the very existence of the writers unions, since "new media" is going to supplant television in a technical sense anyway. The idea that if this battle is won, it will protect the unionization of writers in general, because television is just a small part of a rather big picture. Writers were pressured to be paid 4 cents per video sold back in the '80s as a temporary concession, because the media companies said it was an untested market. The 4 cent payout hasn't changed since then (the manufacturers get paid significantly more per DVD than the writers). Now they're saying the same thing about the Internet.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:00 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's really a matter what is the least bad of the bad choices... being a TV Scab or being locked in the basement.

All of the Late Night hosts/comedians who return to work in January are technically (and some in spirit as well as in fact) scabs. I wrote 1900 words on the mess surrounding those shows (that got edited to under 1000 on a website affiliated with one of the networks involved) and I still don't even begin to understand everything that's going on. There are divided loyalties, pressures unrelated to the WGA issues, egos, insecurity, frustration and BIG money involved...

And then we have The Daily Show's "correspondents" who are both performers and writers. Will any/all of them follow Jon back?


Full Disclosure: I'm NOT a WGA member. I haven't written anything for MSNBC.com since the Strike-related article, and right now I don't know if I will. While still in college, I was screwed over by an L.A. radio station whose "on-the-air talent" (which in practical terms included me) was represented by the AFTRA union, and AFTRA looked the other way and told me "it'll look good on your resume". The AMPTP (the Networks/Studios uncleverly disguised as Producers) claims that the writers' demands would "destroy Show Business as we know it," which IMO, would NOT be a bad outcome. I will continue to try to have as little as possible to say on the subject; it depresses me.
posted by wendell at 9:02 PM on December 21, 2007 [2 favorites]


Many of the articles seem to use the word "forced," and emphasize Jon and Stephen's unhappiness with the action. Is there any truth or traction to that?
posted by absalom at 9:27 PM on December 21, 2007


.
posted by Flunkie at 9:57 PM on December 21, 2007


I'm sorry, but I'm unable to equate minimum wage and the 40 hour work week and the battles fought for these just causes with wanting 4% of internet royalties. The writers are in a business negotiation with the producers and a strike is simply another tactic. More power to them, but this ain't no moral cause.
posted by xmutex at 9:59 PM on December 21, 2007


If no one noticed, its the middle of an election, and Stewart/Colbert are pretty much the only source for a (somewhat) counter-establishment voice on television. I think having their voices back on television during a CRUCIAL 2008 primary season is in the best interest of the nation as a whole, "scabs" or not.

Outside of Hollywood, we the people don't give a shit about DVD residuals. We SHOULD give a shit about who is going to highlight Guiliani's theocratic messiah complex, Romney's constant lying, and Hilary's poorly hidden corporate sponsorship. The nation of 300million needs them on TV more than it needs to support 12000 writers.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:14 PM on December 21, 2007 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, but I'm unable to equate minimum wage and the 40 hour work week and the battles fought for these just causes with wanting 4% of internet royalties.

I believe you. I believe that the connection is invisible to you.
posted by squirrel at 11:05 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


All of the Late Night hosts/comedians who return to work in January are technically (and some in spirit as well as in fact) scabs.

20 years ago, during the last major writers' strike, both Letterman and Carson returned to the air midway through. Carson wrote his own monologue. Letterman brought out Hal Gurnee's Network Timekillers. It wasn't the same, but the shows went on, the non-WGA folk got paid, and eventually the strike was a few months later.

I have not heard one member of the WGA call Carson or Letterman a scab because of '87.
posted by dw at 11:28 PM on December 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow - in this one post ZachsMind replicated the cycle of an overplayed pop single. At first I liked his tune. It was pretty catchy and it made me smile, even though it went on a bit too long. And then there was that comfortable familiarity that I hummed along with. And then it got sort of annoying to where I noticed that the chorus actually wasn't that good. And now I fucking hate that song.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:03 AM on December 22, 2007 [8 favorites]


Many of the articles seem to use the word "forced," and emphasize Jon and Stephen's unhappiness with the action. Is there any truth or traction to that?

Well, maybe it's spin, but one article has a WGA statement claiming as much (they use the word "forcing").
posted by juv3nal at 4:33 AM on December 22, 2007


Hal Gurnee's Network Timekillers
I thought I was the only one who remembered the time killers. I was only six years old at the time, but was a rabid Letterman fan. I've been telling people now about how they handled the strike back in the "old days", but I can never remember any of the specific time killer bits to give as examples.
posted by Servo5678 at 7:13 AM on December 22, 2007


Hal Gurnee's Network Timekillers. NYT, 1988.
posted by absalom at 7:24 AM on December 22, 2007


I fully support the writers. Sure, it's no struggle over basic workplace safety or trying to keep 12 year olds from working 16 hour days down a mine, but it is a legitimate grievance. Profits are made by the production companies everytime the product is sold. Writers have residuals from the older formats, but are being denied residuals from the newer formats, which will increasingly be the ONLY formats. It's like you sold cars on commission, and then your boss turned around and said you only got commission on last year's model, because this year's model is a "promo".

So I will show my support for the writers by only watching The Daily Show or The Colbert Report on YouTube.
posted by jb at 7:33 AM on December 22, 2007


The right to not get fucked in the ass with rusty barbed wire by your boss is the fight to not get fucked in the ass with rusty barbed wire by your boss, regardless of the specifics.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2007


Pope Guilty: The right to not get fucked in the ass with rusty barbed wire by your boss...

Shit, I would make this the top priority to get fixed before trying to get the 4% of internet royalties. That's just not right.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:22 AM on December 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


squirrel wrote I believe you. I believe that the connection is invisible to you.

Maybe instead of trying to be superior and sniping at people who don't automatically agree with you on this, you could explain why you think a legitimate dispute over royalties is de facto equated with past disputes over the right to earn a wage that can support life, the right to basic workplace safety, etc.

Re: Threat to labour movements

Now that I've slept on it... How am I and my opinions, or ones like mine, the threat to labour movements, but the Strikers Behaving Badly are just "a few jerks"? If anything, they are the threat.

Perhaps their vandalism/pranks/intimidations were intended to piss off and hurt management, but it spreads beyond management. The Vidéotron cable-cutters didn't just cost the head company revenue; they cost small businesses - ones completely not involved in their dispute - revenue. If Vidéotron didn't want to absorb the cost of repairing the vandalism, those costs got passed on to their clients or recouped by laying off non-unionized people (retail workers, call-centre types, etc). Ditto the bus vandalism and everyday riders. Ditto firetruck vandalism and taxpayers. And what's the possible constructive point of staring down and breathing down the necks of office women who are half, if not a third, your size?

Strikes involve a PR element, right? "Get people at large to be on your side, voice their complaints to management, etc" is the gist, isn't it? The ones who cause a foreseeable break in that PR should be the ones seen as a threat, not the public whose relations are soured by those actions. If it weren't for those things I mentioned earlier, I probably wouldn't have the immediate gut reaction of "OK, when's the thuggery and vandalism going to start?" when I hear a strike announced.
posted by CKmtl at 8:35 AM on December 22, 2007


One possible solution.
posted by EarBucket at 10:21 AM on December 22, 2007


I think it's probably gotten into a 'do or die' situation for some of the staff members there... I can't imagine them doing this unless people were going to get the axe.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:44 PM on December 22, 2007


EarBucket, I already posted that link, suggesting that Jon might actually prefer going back to work without writers to being locked in the basement.

For the record, I said that all the returning hosts who are WGA members fit into the technical definition of 'scab', whether anybody uses that as an invective against them or not. There were a lot of things that Johnny Carson was that nobody ever publicly called him.

Now, we must acknowledge that the Late-Night TV Stars have a variety of conflicting interests, that may include the following (not necessarily all of the following for every one of them).

1) Membership in the Writers Guild

2) Membership in a performers' union, SAG or AFTRA or both

3) Producer or Executive Producer credit on their show

4) a personal "Production Company" that owns part or most (but not all) of their show's rights that is a signatory to the AMPTP

5) other shows currently airing belonging to their Production Company

6) contracts with the parent companies of their networks for other things like book publication

7) longstanding working relationships and loyalty to both the striking writers and many other non-striking co-workers on their shows (that may even include former or current mistresses who would consider making up for their lost income by selling their stories to the tabloids)

8) clauses in their individual contracts that could be enforced by their network on the first workday after New Years 2008 that go beyond force majeure and may include cancellation of all their contracts with the parent corporation, penalties assessed against them in the millions of dollars (or first born child for all I know), and non-compete rules that would keep them off television altogether until 20XX, which their mangers and lawyers agreed to because they thought the circumstances under which they'd be enforced "could never happen". (Easy prediction: after this is over, at least one of the late-night stars will get new managers)

9) a cooperative relationship with all the other stars who are returning to work

10) a fiercely competitive relationship with all the other stars who are returning to work

11) a deep burning desire to make fun of the President of the United States and anyone currently attempting to get that job.

For the first time in my life, I do not wish I were a late-night TV show star.
posted by wendell at 12:53 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Meh. Everyone's a critic.

This is an intolerable situation.

Anyone who saw the last episode of Heroes may recognize that phrase. It's what Noah Bennet said to his daughter Claire (the cheerleader) when convincing her to do what the Company told them to do.

I'm taking the scenic route. Bare with me.

Heroes may have had more to do with this writer's strike than any sane person (unlike myself) would see on the surface. The cheerleader character has been hunted by this "Company" for two seasons (well a season and a half technically) because she has this power of regeneration. Her body can heal itself at an alarming rate, and her blood has been proven to have similar healing abilities when injected in other people. So the company wants to capture her, experiment on her, and see if they can use her to essentially grant immortality to whomever they deem worthy.

The cheerleader's been running all this time, and at the end of season two she decided to respond finally by threatening to reveal the Company's secrets, even if it meant revealing her own secrets. Even if it meant ruining her own life, she'd take them down with her. So she could stop running.

Her adopted father used to work for The Company, but he rebelled and attempted to 'negotiate' in multiple ways for the safety and security of his daughter's future. Now the Company has him in their custody.

They manipulate him by threatening to harm his daughter, and they now manipulate the cheerleader by threatening to harm her father.

No one wants to work for The Company, but once you're under their watchful eye it becomes increasingly difficult to not work for them. Attempts to improve one's situation are met with stern resistance. You're usually allowed to continue to exist, but your actions become something that promotes the Company, or they'll eventually just insure you cease to exist. Kinda like the Mafia, or so I've been told. This whole thing reads to me like a metaphor for how some writers must feel when entrenched in contractual agreements that were not written with their best interests or their future in mind.

The Company decided what was fair, and the writer either agreed by signing on the dotted line, or they didn't work. That's the long and the short of it.

Okay. Come to think of it, this has no more to do with how Producers treat Writers than Fritz Lang's Metropolis mimics how today's management treats today's labor force (sic).

However, this is perhaps how Tim Kring feels about himself. Inside.

Imagine if the Cheerleader were also the Company. Imagine if this woman had the power to use her blood to cure all the illnesses of the world, but to do so she'd have to hook herself up to a machine that'd essentially suck the blood out of her as her body generated it. For the rest of her life. Now that'd really suck. Literally. Let's say she realized the importance and the responsibility and the power her regenerative body has for all of humanity, but bloodletting herself for the rest of her life is gonna freakin' hurt.

Kring's the guy who started the tv series; he's both a producer for Heroes, and one of the writers of course. Like Stewart, he's both a producer and a writer, and therefore exists in a state of conflict of interest.

So this is probably how the battle feels inside his own head: an intolerable situation.

Stewart and Colbert can no doubt empathize. Those of us who are not both producer and writer for a tv show, maybe we can sympathize but I'm not even sure if one can fairly call it that. We can understand their intolerable situation. We can perhaps even condone their crossing the picket line. Doesn't change the fact that they're scabs. Broken record or not, facts are facts.

Tim Kring the producer won't be a scab if he starts work on Heroes again before the strike is over. Tim Kring the writer? Very much would be. Like I said. Intolerable situation.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:40 PM on December 22, 2007


On reflection, I realized that the WGA needs Stewart and Colbert back on the job, for two reasons:

1. Those two, more than any other late night people, are sympathetic to the writers' demands, so they will be advocates for resolving the strike in the WGA's favor, whether their corporate handlers let them or not.

2. There's growing animosity between the WGA and the rest of the smaller unions in Hollywood. Sure, the SAG is backing them up, but everyone else is starting to get restless. There's been some grumbling surrounding Leno, since his writers actually do make the big bucks ($500K) compared to the rest of the show's staff. The longer the strike goes on, the more likely the smaller folks decide they're going to stop supporting the WGA and start listening to replacement writers. The WGA needs to show some measure of goodwill.

At the same time, though, they can't make it look like they're OK with this. So it's public disappointment, shouts of "scab" on the picket lines. But they know they need to do something to show that they're willing to move while assuaging the "little people" that this will eventually end.

If the WGA wanted to, they could monkeywrench all the late night shows. They have the clout right now. Of course, if they did, they wouldn't have anything left for when the replacement writers start rolling in come June.
posted by dw at 2:15 PM on December 22, 2007


Shoot. I was hoping it would go on long enough for television to go out of business. All of it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:37 PM on December 22, 2007


TV sucks amirite?
posted by smackfu at 3:21 PM on December 22, 2007


If multiple people are participating in an improv, some communication has to be hashed out just beforehand.

Generally not true. The communication is hashed out during the game/session--performers give each other cues to pick up on or not.

6. He's an unorthodox jew. You don't want to know where his yamaka has been.

Yarmulke, please.

Hal Gurnee's Network Timekillers. NYT, 1988.

Is it just me, or did the NYT have significantly better writers back then? Comparing that article to one written today betrays a gulf of lack of erudition in today's writing.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:01 PM on December 22, 2007


Yamaka would be the Japanese variant, natch.
posted by cortex at 4:24 PM on December 22, 2007


To be fair, wendell, I posted that link before you did. In the FPP.

(OH GOD WHY DOES NO ONE FOLLOW THE LINKS IN MY FPP. A MERE TWO COMMENTS OUT OF A HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN HAS CONVINCED ME THAT THIS IS THE CASE.)
posted by Rhaomi at 5:09 PM on December 22, 2007


I MEANT A HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN COMMENTS, DAMMIT.

NO WAIT -- NOW IT'S A HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN.

I THINK.

posted by Rhaomi at 5:11 PM on December 22, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy: "Generally not true. The communication is hashed out during the game/session--performers give each other cues to pick up on or not. "

I used to do improv theater both on stage and in nonpolitical 'guerrilla theater' situations. If you don't communicate with one another ahead of time, you're a ticking time bomb of train wreck. I'll admit 98% of the time when I open my mouth in MeFi I don't know jack about what I'm talking about, but this is one area where I have extensive personal experience - most notably on how NOT to do it.

It is both impractical and unsightly to perform improvisational theater without having some minimal communication with your fellow participants (minus any 'marks' of course, if you choose that route) ahead of time. Just ask these guys. Even if it's just an email or a cellphone IM. Somebody in the planning stages most often has to WRITE SOMETHING DOWN somewhere, for others to read.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:52 PM on December 22, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy: "Yarmulke, please."

cortex: "Yamaka would be the Japanese variant, natch."

I'd classify that as nitpicking, but then I'm obviously not Jewish. Look on the bright side, I almost accidently typed "Yamaha" so it coulda been far worse! =)
posted by ZachsMind at 5:57 PM on December 22, 2007


ZM, obviously it works better if you have a working relationship beforehand. But all the improv I've seen and participated in has had minimal communication before each game or scene. Enough so that everyone understands how it works, sure, but no hashing out of how it's going to work once you have your seed material.

Except, sorry, I have to admit, in the case of really long-form (1hr+) improv. But that's rarely done anyway.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:05 PM on December 22, 2007


I would not classify it as nitpicking to note that you're obviously not Jewish, but, feh; goys will be goys.

[NOT GOYIST]

posted by cortex at 7:19 PM on December 22, 2007


Someone once said at a dinner, after suffering through a long oration by a Jewish guest:

How odd
of God
to choose
the Jews


To which the orator responded:

Not odd
of God;
Goyim
annoy 'im


I really wish I could remember the names of the people involved.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:24 PM on December 22, 2007


I have no comment pro or con on Colbert or Stewart (well, except that I have missed The Daily Show and that I'm certain it will be sub-par without writers). The WGA's demands strike me as reasonable.

Now I'm going to be an iconoclast. As a leftist, I dislike unions. All the energy that has been invested in pushing for entirely appropriate reforms in particular industries to benefit specific groups of workers might more effectively have been deployed to effect political changes that would have benefited the population more broadly. For example, access to healthcare is something everyone should have but, by negotiating it in contracts, unions both reduced the impetus for a national program and saddled manufacturers with costs that have become unsustainable.
posted by Octaviuz at 10:10 PM on December 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kudos to Octaviuz for speaking an unpopular truth. Well done.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:20 PM on December 22, 2007


Heroes may have had more to do with this writer's strike than any sane person (unlike myself) would see on the surface.

If you can use that analogy to account for the shite-awful Irish accents, you deserve a WGA card.

Picking up on Octaviuz' point, it's easy to make the conclusion that union membership is a luxury because only those in 'luxury' industries (Hollywood, professional sport) appear to have unions with the clout to challenge a monolithic or pseudo-monolithic employer. I don't think it's an either/or choice, though, between pursuing local and national reform.
posted by holgate at 11:34 PM on December 22, 2007


My personal apology to Rhaomi for duplicating one of your original links. I neglected to click the links as much as I usually do for a subject I'm interested in, but I have an excuse! Topic fatigue... I'd done so much research for my article (no, I won't link it again - it's hopelessly out of date anyway) and yet so much has been reported since which frustrates and confuses me, I just wanted to do my own brain dump here and leave it at that.

As for Octaviuz's excellent point about Union Benefits vs. Universal Human Rights, it's quite similar to the conclusions I have reached, but I consider the Original Union Movement to have been a necessary and valuable step toward that Universal Human Rights stuff, however a mix of the Law of Unintended Consequences and the natural tendency for Power to Corrupt (by the relatively few 'leaders' of the Union Movement when it was its largest and most powerful) derailed that train but good.
posted by wendell at 11:21 AM on December 23, 2007


Holgate: "If you can use that analogy to account for the shite-awful Irish accents, you deserve a WGA card."

I initially heard that in my head as "shiite awful Irish accents" and for some reason that just cracked me up.

There was absolutely no excuse for the terrible irish accents in Heroes. It was chalkboard scratching for me too. Especially that one guy who was brother to Peter's love interest. They couldn't have killed him off any sooner? I liked Dominic Keating in his role. He didn't try too hard to affect irish. His accent didn't ring false to me. All the rest of them made me wanna change the channel.

Man, talk about prejudiced stereotypes. Not all irishmen mill about in bars planning their next heist. Not all irishmen work on the docks. I'm only one fourth irish, and that whole plotline offended me to high heaven.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:39 PM on December 23, 2007


The strikes basically a stroke of luck for Tim Krig - he get's to cut short a doomed season, hopefully retool for a more successful season 3, and blame all season 2s shortcomings on the strike. Gold!
posted by Artw at 8:45 PM on December 23, 2007


THIS is how you do it ethically, people:

"'Late Show with David Letterman' and 'Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson' will be back with their writers airing joke-filled new hours starting Wednesday, the shows' production company, Worldwide Pants, announced Friday.

An interim agreement between the Letterman-owned company and the Writers Guild of America will allow the full writing staffs for both shows to return to work, even as the Hollywood writers strike continues to shutter much TV and movie production."

posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:13 AM on December 29, 2007


That's NOT how you do it 'ethically.' That's diminishing the effect of the strike. If the networks can get their content without AMPTP adhering to WGA requirements, why would the AMPTP ever come to agreement with the WGA?

Even Letterman caved. Wow. This does not bode well.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:32 AM on December 29, 2007


Letterman "caved" by giving the writers exactly what they wanted? That makes no sense.

This shows the networks that they can get their content...
by getting it from people who are adhering to WGA requirements. Like Letterman.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:34 PM on December 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Letterman's deal also avoids some of the sticking points, like whether reality show and animation writers should be included in the guild. Since he doesn't do those, he can just ignore those issues. So it was really just about the internet stuff, and he only has two shows, and I'm sure he would agree to anything to get back on the air ASAP.
posted by smackfu at 9:27 AM on December 30, 2007


Even Letterman caved.

He "caved" to the WGA. Worldwide Pants is wholly independent of CBS/Viacom. Letterman wanted an interim agreement with the WGA so that he could go on the air in good faith.

He sought an agreement with the WGA, and the Guild granted it to him. The union wins, Letterman wins, Ferguson wins, Leno and Conan lose. To paint it any differently shows you're not going to enough union meetings, Zachsmind.
posted by dw at 12:29 PM on December 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Filler Evident in Late-Night TV's Return
posted by homunculus at 11:26 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thread isn't archived yet, did anyone see the episode? I missed it, what did they say?
posted by JHarris at 1:25 PM on January 8, 2008


It was alright. They kept the normal format, but didn't have any corespondents doing "feeds" from any other locations. TDS did an opening bit, then had a guest to talk about how the strike was working. TCR (of which I only got halfway through before work this morning) was pretty similar, but spent more time on jokes that directly related to the lack of writers.

All things considered, it was pretty good. Not their best work by any stretch of the imagination, but for running on a skeleton staff, a decent effort.
posted by quin at 1:34 PM on January 8, 2008


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