Monday, March 21, 2011

Everything I Learnt About Life I Learnt From TV

Part Two, Making a scene

It’s a situation we’ve all been in, we’re walking along minding our own business when suddenly, two people start having a fight. It’s really awkward, ‘cause what can you do? As much as you’d like to walk away and mind your own business, the spectacle draws you in. What are they fighting about? Are they going to start throwing punches? It’s the same process that sent you running whenever they started to chant “fight” in the playground, you just want to see what happens next.
But apparently, we’re doing it wrong. Americans NEVER stare when something interesting is going down. At least, Americans on TV don’t. In fact, nobody on TV makes a mention or even a peep when two people are having a shouting match or love making session in a public place. In a recent episode of Greys Anatomy, Callie and her girl friend Arizona are having a screaming match at each other at the airport. Dozens of weary travellers all have a front seat viewing for this fight, but no one is looking! None of the extras are even paying them any mind. Even worse was when Arizona mentions that they are fighting in an airport, acknowledging that this is not an everyday occurrence. Someone on the staff knows that this is odd, and yet no one is looking at this.
I’m no dummy; I know there are rules about this kind of stuff in the “real world” of TV. The only sound that is allowed during filming is the dialogue, so everyone on set including the extras has to be quiet, and if a director speaks to you then you are upgraded from extra to guest actor. And to be fair, it would be extraordinarily hard to do 30 takes of any emotional scene, especially with a dozen or so strangers staring at you. But for the realism of the piece, if two people, especially a lesbian couple, are having a domestic in a crowded airport, people are gonna be looking.

So, should we be more like these American Extras and pretend there’s nothing going on when we see a blue (a fight), or should we just give in to our baser instincts, so long as we only do it out of the corner of our eyes? Leave your opinions in the comment


1 comment:

  1. I've never watched an episode of Greys Anatomy but I did see this scene the other week while I was waiting for Desperate Housewives to start. What made this scene fascinating for me was the fact that I watched it muted. I had to guess who these characters were and what they were fighting about. Muting the scene provided much humour for me.
    I think we'd watch but we’d use our peripheral eyesight or not look and listen intently. I’d probably nudge the person beside me and say, "Ooh look, lovers having a domestic at the domestic." You'd be lying if you said you wouldn't watch or listen. Its part of human nature to be voyeuristic... at least I think so, anyway.
    Thanks for sharing Kathy...
    see ya