Oh, So Clever
It's not Monday yet, but I can't wait for this particular peeve.
I can't stand writers who pop out of their work to show you how clever they think they are. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I do watch news on NBC, and sometimes Leno. Lately they've shown a commercial for their psychic loophead series "Medium." I won't give you a link, because... well, never mind.
Anyway, in this recent commercial, of which I unsuccessfully tried to find a video clip (just for Paula!), this psycho lady is standing at the scene of Some Awful Event with some dude. If I recall correctly, they're standing over a freshly dead body, made dead by the surrounding coppers, and she says they killed the wrong man.
He says to her, "And we know this because..."
And she answers, "Because of the wonderful things she does."
Hullo! I'm the writer! See me being clever? I'm so clever!
How long do you think that diphead was waiting to use that particular line. He probably wrote that little exchange two and a half years ago while watching the Wizard of Oz with his kids, who live with the now ex-wife three states away.
A writer can be clever, but for crying out loud, the story comes FIRST. They are standing near a freshly dead corspe full of police holes. Moreover, the corpse shouldn't have been ventilated. They've made a horrifying mistake, and taken a life they should not have taken, and what? Now we're making jokes???
Maybe I've read too much into that, but every time I saw that commercial, which must have been a half-dozen, I cringed.
Those writers are going onto my list.
Oh yes, I have a list. It's called the List of People I Will Fire if I Someday Find Myself Accidentally in Charge of Them.
Because you just never know, do you?
You see, cleverness is good, if it serves the story. Watch the following video from one of my all-time favorite movies:
"I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?"
With every word of that scene, you know exactly who wrote it. It's all Tarantino.
But that doesn't matter, because every word of that scene is exactly what Jules would say in that situation. Tarantino is clever, and some might say to a fault, but it works because he writes to the story at hand and to the character on stage, and not to pop out his head and say Hullo!