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Saturday, 01/15/05

I've read that the Simpsons was the first show to anticipate that its viewers would pause their VCRs to get jokes that only remained on the screen for a few frames. That was a long time ago, though, and the advent of Tivo has dragged freeze-framing more thoroughly into the mainstream.

I confess that I've indulged in the practice from time to time, and I'm consistently surprised that TV shows still think they can get away with filling memos with text copied from newspaper stories, newspaper stories with text copied from memos, or repeating the same sentence or paragraph ad infinitum. Once in a while I'll catch a inside joke (on the West Wing, I once noticed a phone log that whimsically included the consecutive first names "Bill", "Hillary", and "Monica"), but laziness often prevails.

24's third episode this season contained a laziness whopper:

bad technobabble from 24

Note the doubled misspelling of "override", and the contemptuous line-noise: numerically and alphabetically segregated, the latter derived disproportionately from the center row of a QWERTY keyboard. For shame, intern, outsourcing your graphic creation to a baby.

By way of contrast, Ron Moore's openness with his show's fans' pedantic questions, and his belief that concocting an answer would hurt his story, is sort of a breath of fresh air. 01:50PM «


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