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Thursday, December 08, 2005
Doctor, Doctor, Gimmie Tha News...

Recently a friend of mine posted some of his early reactions to one of my favorite shows on television: Lost.

Hopefully Discostup won't mind me quoting him here:

Some of the doctor stuff (main guy) is a little overboard as well. The guy's story about his surgery on a young girl (a solo pediatric spine surgery in residency?! Um...yeah) and his fear issues (count to 5 - it's fun!) was ridiculous; the story happens early and was so bad it just about made me want to turn the show off. Luckily it was only a small piece and eventually it's forgettable. But that shit right there belonged more on House M.D. than this show. In that context, some of the other medical stuff is bogus, which is I guess to be expected and with the exception of that one time actually isn't that big a deal.

Discostup is an actual doctor and in case you haven't noticed, doctors have been getting a lot of play on television dramas over the last 5 years. Anytime you have a highly specialized field, especially one that deals with the obvious drama of life and death, you've got the makings of something potentially glamorous. Because doctorin' is requires so much training, it's pretty mysterious to most of us.

It goes without saying than that if you are a writer for a show like E.R. or House (M.D.) or any other crazy medical drama, you probably feel pretty secure in making up almost any crazy senario that pops in your head. Your audience will have no clue that story is built upon shaky science. Or as Disco' puts it...Is complete bullshit.

All this means that Pop Culture keeps throwing out fantastic stories that only a small percentage of the population can really understand as impossible. I actually really enjoy listening to a real doctor tear into stuff like that. Not only is it somewhat educational (although most of the time the actual medical facts go in one ear and out the other), but trying to discern what the underlying frustration is can be entertaining.

It's not like most of us are caught by surprise when we are told that television embellishes, exaggerates, and invents in order to create interesting stories. Deep down most of us realize that even the most grounded drama, the most faithful biopic, contains at least a lil extra zazz.

So why is it so frustrating when that zazz trespasses on something we are intimately familiar with?

I was thinking about this and an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 came to mind. In it a man has been bombarded with radiation of some sort. Naturally the 1950's understanding of this is that he would grow abnormally large...amazingly colossal even. According to the film, one of the downsides of getting so upsized (aside from enduring the humiliation of being forced to hang around in amazing colossal diapers) is that your heart doesn't grow enough to compensate for the rest f you. The reasoning for this?

Your heart is only made up of one cell.

one single cell.

one single enormous cell.

I'm no doctor...But I'm pretty sure that's wrong.

So I guess what's so frustrating about all this false medical information is that it makes it impossible to suspend ones disbelief. Which is too bad 'cause I was sorta hoping it was just arrogance.

Now that I think of it...I work in something of a specialized profession. Why don't they make an intense night-time drama about animators workin in motion capture? You could call it "MoCap". Like the title E.R. -- that's a lil bit of jargonized short hand for what we do (it stands for motion capture).

You could have the stodgy conformist boss who doesn't care about the art only the industry. You could have the main character who's something of a maverick..Constantly coming up with outlandish solutions of mundane run of the mill problems. You could have the sycophantic suck-up who has not real talent but kisses ass to a position of authority over the main character. Some fat guy for comic relief.

I could start throwin out terms like gimbles, platforms, pipelines, specular mapping, polygonal, and mash them all together into something totally incoherent but cool sounding. Throw in a bomb threat and a couple of haunted capture-stages and boo-ya! Emmy award-wining entertainment that's bound to piss off a few thousand people who are "in the know".




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