Monday, January 11, 2010

TV
  • Leno switch. I like him and feel bad for Conan O’Brien but felt cheated: it was obviously a money-saving measure like in a writers’ or actors’ strike, like ‘reality’ game shows are cheaper to make than hiring screenwriters and actors. I missed ‘Law & Order’ etc. in that slot. Possible down sides/unintended consequences: americanising ‘Prime Suspect’ (no silver fox Helen Mirren among other problems... well, American ‘The Office’ is watchable) and more from David E. Kelley, the man who gave us ‘Boston Public’, a train-wreck dumb show that couldn’t decide if it was ‘90210’ or a realistic show about a ghetto high school in Boston, with hardly any black kids and the whites didn’t have Boston accents. Next...
  • Catching up on ‘Mad Men’, it took me until the beginning of the second year, when we see Peggy’s family and their Catholicism (yes, I caught the liturgical gaffes in one of the Masses... I believe every word of one of the monsignor’s sermons I’ve heard), to hear its mistake: where’s her Brooklyn accent? (I read in this and other threads she had one in the pilot and it comes back with family but I don’t remember hearing it.) She’s the same age and grew up in the same city as my girlfriend’s parents... and doesn’t talk like them or her (they’re Italian but Peggy would have a similar sound). And ‘Olson’? All along I’ve just assumed Peggy’s a hard-nosed Swedish girl from Des Moines (no Minnesotan accent either) finding her way in the mean city; I forgot where she was supposed to be from. The execs sound right, like polished newscaster American today, a cosmopolitan accent, but in this golden age you’d have heard half-English ‘mid-Atlantic’ accents (the sound Kelsey ‘Frasier’ Grammer made his acting career making fun of) from some of them. (‘Crime Story’ got that right: one of Ray Luca’s lawyers, Steele, nailed that very subtle sound.) Some of the secretaries and switchboard girls (the best sight gag in the first episode: ultramodern skyscraper with old-fashioned phones) would have talked Noo Yawk. Not Joan though: she went to college (she’s from a higher social class than Peggy) and is upwardly mobile so understandably she would have acquired the same tone as the execs. If they wanted to make Peggy a Brooklyn Catholic, name her Peggy Shea and give her the right original accent (which she masks or loses as she moves up).

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