Posted on

Support the writers and save us from ‘reality’

I’m going to be honest. I love TV.
I love the intellectualism of ABC’s ‘Lost.’ I love the subtle humor of NBC’s ‘The Office.’ I even love the rerun episodes of George battling the soup Nazi on ‘Seinfeld.’ Judge me how you want, those are television shows I make a point to watch.
In fact, my husband, Dan, and I love TV so much, we have it on nearly all the time in our apartment. We have it on in the background when we eat dinner. It’s on Saturday mornings as I fold a week’s worth of laundry that’s piled up. We’ve even elected to purchase DirecTV’s equivalent of TiVo, the Direct DVR, so we can record ‘our shows’ when we might be unable to watch them the night they air.
We seriously love TV. (Seriously? That’s a ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ reference for all you TV fans out there.)
So imagine my utter shock and disappointment to learn that my favorite TV writers, the ones who have given me the sexual tension of House and Cuddy, the dynamic duo of J.D. and Turk, or the mind-numbingly brilliant ‘Save the Cheerleader, Save the World’ campaign, are, in effect, getting the shaft from major network corporations. In an effort to get what they rightfully deserve, they are on strike and soon, the televisions in my apartment will, in effect, go dark.
What’s going down is an issue of ‘new’ mediums: the Internet and DVD sales. Everything is now being uploaded and rebroadcast either via iTunes (an online store with music, movies and TV shows offered for purchase), on a major broadcasting network’s main Web page or sold in boxed sets at major retailers, and the writers get none of the profit.
If, say, the entire Season 3 of ‘Lost’ has been purchased on iTunes by an overzealous fan who simply couldn’t wait until February for the return of her favorite show, not one penny of that money was given to the writers of the show. And if I could have waited until February, well, that wouldn’t have mattered much because the writers wouldn’t have seen money from those DVD sales. Even though, without them, the show (and its cult following) wouldn’t exist.
That doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?
I need to know what’s happening on that island. For that matter, I need more Dwight K. Schrute, assistant (to the) regional manager of the Dunder Mifflin, Scranton branch. I need to know if Meredith and McDreamy are ever going to have a ‘normal’ relationship.
I need these people because after watching even 20 minutes of national news and being bombarded with the problems our nation and our world are mired in, I enjoy seeing the fictional craziness someone else can conjure up. I want to be entertained with such off-the-wall drama or such bizarre humor that I can look at my little life and my little problems and be thankful, for once, I didn’t have to worry about my cheerleader friends seeing my broken bones heal within seconds or contemplate moving my highly successful plastic surgery business from Miami to Los Angeles.
And for that, I need quality writers.
To me, the difference between sitting on my couch and watching the computer in my lap or the TV 15 feet away doesn’t equal much. Plus, TV on DVD is a fantastic way for me to catch up on shows I missed during the original runs and the classics I love more with each episode.
So, I can’t see why writers, who work for average money (it’s only show runners, producers and, of course, actors who ever really get big money out of TV shows) are being squeezed and shut out.
And for fans of TV, like myself, we’re being punished, too. ‘The Office,’ for example, has only one more episode tomorrow night. That’s because star Steve Carrell is a writer himself and has refused to cross the picket line to even be available to film scenes. Many other mega-celebs are doing the same, including the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ cast. It’s all about solidarity.
If you love TV, and you’re interested in keeping quality television (this season’s ‘Cavemen’ not included) available, instead of reality shows like ‘My Dad Is Better than Your Dad’ or ‘Farmer Wants a Wife,’ both of which are slated to begin if the strike doesn’t end soon, don’t buy TV on DVD sets or download episodes on the Internet, and go to and sign the Writer’s Guild of America support petition. Let’s support those who entertain us.
Because, really, is anyone ready for season 2 of ‘Skating with Celebrities’?