THE COLLISION OF ART AND COMMERCE
I didn’t hate “Sound of Music” Live. It was…okay. In fairness, I was never crazy about the movie and have never seen the Broadway show. This wasn’t really a show for me, certainly. However, a few things were clear.
Yes, the acting was weak, even by the standards of theatrical musicals where dialogue is just there to set up the next song. Yes, there was no chemistry between well, anybody on stage really. But I don’t entirely fault the actors or directors.
I think the problem was the format. Stopping the show, literally, every five minutes for three minutes of commercials, totally kills the flow of the show for the audience and the actors. Theater isn’t made for that. If networks want to do more live theater on TV, which I support, they should do it the right way: plug a sponsor at the top and at the end, then leave the show alone. They don’t interrupt “The Glass Menagerie” on Broadway to sell us toilet paper. Why do it during a Broadway show on TV?
Of course, sponsorship of artistic endeavors is a tricky thing. I think it’s okay for a character in a show to mention eating “Doritos” rather than “unspecified cheesy snack corn tortilla chip”, but not if you’re going to drop a commercial in the middle of the action.
THE HERO: Do we have a report on the cause of death?
CORONER: *munch munch munch*
THE HERO: Good god. What are you eating?
THE HERO: Nacho cheese?
CORONER: Cool Ranch.
THE HERO: (eyes narrow) I’ve busted guys for less than eating Cool Ranch. In my jurisdiction, it’s straight up nacho cheese original…or nothing. They’re the best snack with the cheesiest crunch. Taste great alongside a sandwich too.
CORONER: Yeah, anyway. Here’s the murderer. (Wipes cheesy fingers on his lapels. Hands the hero a report.)
THE HERO: Who cares? Cool ranch disgusts me. You sicken me.
CORONER: Dude, you want to talk disgusting? My arm was halfway up this guy’s lower intestine.
THE HERO: Rough. Sounds like you could use some more Doritos.
CORONER: Don’t mind if I do! (Reaches for bag)
To keep making art, artists need money. To sell their stuff, commercial endeavors need artists too. No one is going to pay to see car commercial and feminine product ads on the big screen. But they will pay to see a movie that a bunch of creative made and will tolerate an ad or two to do it.
Still, some support I could do without. Do sports stadiums and concert halls and other venues really need to be named after giant corporate entities, most of which already have their names plastered all over everything?
Related to that, let’s stop naming buildings after people. You may be deservedly proud of being George P. Nippletwister IV, and rightly so, but it’s a (sorry) stupid name for a building. Let’s let buildings and stadiums and estates be what they are, which is not people, and give them stately, inspiring names. If the estate in “Gone With the Wind” had been called “Suzy Land Plot” instead of “Tara”, would you have still pretended to read that huge-ass book to get the extra credit points in high school history class?
Besides, with everything going on-line, including correspondence, financial transactions, all transactions really. The milestones of human existence now include getting a driver’s license, a diploma and a Twitter handle. Some people are more active online than off. Bitcoins, an entirely fictional, Internet-based currency is gaining traction in the real world.
But are we really ready for an art museum called “The @LovesHugeKnockers Pavillion”?
Well, maybe we shouldn’t be too hasty…