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Calling All Readers! Let Your Day Job Be a Ticket to a TVWW Guest Column
March 13, 2012  | By David Bianculli

The next incarnation of TV WORTH WATCHING really, truly is coming -- maybe a month or so away, at this point, but closer all the time. And we're making room, among other things, for one new feature that will allow us to take advantage of you. Yes, you. In a way we hope you'll enjoy.

We want to match our readers -- the most literate TV fans on the Internet, so far as we're concerned -- to certain shows, and allow them to remark on programs in which they have specific, professional expertise.

good wife baranski.jpg

So share with us what you do, or what you've done in the past, that we can keep on file to assign and match new shows for you to tell us what does, and doesn't, ring true to you. We already have a theatrical lighting designer examining Smash, and we're looking for more...

We don't expect, or necessarily want, to have any meth dealers who can authoritatively criticize the plot points of AMC's Breaking Bad. But are there any U.S. Marshals in the house to take on FX's Justified? Any attorneys or campaign strategists to react to CBS's The Good Wife? Any scientists to test CBS's The Big Bang Theory?

Let us know what's on your professional resume, and the intersection between that and what you're watching. It may lead, in the near future, to a chance to write for TV WORTH WATCHING somewhere other than the COMMENTS section...




Erin said:

I'm a college professor, but someone's already got the market cornered on that one.

[Cornered? NOBODY puts Bianculli in a corner! You're welcome here, too. - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 9:47 AM

Eileen said:

This sounds like fun! What a great idea.

Prior to, shall we say, an "unplanned vacation" due to my employer's bankruptcy, I worked for 15 years at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan. I started as an Executive Assistant to the Board of Trustees, and went on to work with several VPs and CEOs. But the best was the last few years when I worked in administration for the Emergency Department. And I can assure you, hospitals, the ER in particular, are nothing like they're portrayed on tv -- with the possible exception of "Real Stories of the ER".

I've worked as a catering manager, sales for an electronics firm, written a weekly column for a newspaper -- you name it, I've done it.

I'll be curious to see how this shakes out.

[Trust me, Eileen -- you'll be one of our first. You've written more on this site than many of our contributors already, and we're always happy to read what you have to say! - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 11:02 AM

ceolaf said:

This is a decent idea that fails upon closer examination.

I do not know anyone who can really stand watching shows about their profession.

Boston Public? Oh, my god! That would never fly. That would never work. That person should be fired immediately. Kids aren't like that. Blah blah blah blah.

I cannot watch a show about teachers. The needs of story telling and drama and and and -- it makes everything incredibly unrealistic and -- in my view -- gives the world and incredibly poor view of what teaching is really about.

Lawyers I know can't watch lawyer shows. (My wife has given up The Good Wife, because the legal stuff is such garbage.)

I know doctors who can't deal with doctor shows. Grey's? ER? Once the initial thriill of seeing their profession on screen wears off, the inaccuracies kill them.

So, unless shows get much better (i.e. more accurate and less slanderous) of those who work in education? Count me out.

[Will do. As in, will do for one vote won't do. Got it. - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 11:47 AM

Jon Delfin said:

*So* glad you have somebody on "Smash," lest I would have to start watching it again. (Theater pianist here.) [VERY funny -- as as reviews go, VERY concise! - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 1:22 PM

Len said:

I guess you won't have anyone reviewing "Sister Wives", will you?

[Hah! Very funny, Len. I probably won't... though the Mormon, the merrier... - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 2:27 PM

Neil said:

OK, I'll play along.

Technologist. Computer programmer, software engineer, project manager. Started out computerizing paper mills and plants that made bulk packaging (fibre drums). Ended up in Silicon Valley, managing a piece of the buildout of the broadband internet. (If you're in Washington State, Oregon or Northern California and use what had been AT&T and is now Comacast, blame me.)

I spent a year working, in Manhattan, for a company run by a guy who turned out to be a massive crook, running a Ponzi scheme. That was weird in real time, and weirder in retrospect as the details emerged, with the "whip cream and cherry" being a visit and interview with an FBI agent.

I'm also a world class radio geek and know way more on that topic than any three mortals should.

Is that enough, or should I discuss what Sam Goody's was like to work for back when Sam Goody was a person, not just a brand?

[Wow. Want to take on Big Bang Theory, for starters? Or teach me how to use my new iPhone? - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 2:54 PM

Eileen said:

Thanks for the kind remarks.

I've lived in Manhattan for 30 years now, and I'd love to comment on the use of NYC in shows -- or not!

To give one of my favorite examples, "Friends" was supposed to take place in Greenwich Village; the exteriors were all shot there. Any episodes involving a hospital usually had an exterior of St. Vincent's, a Greenwich Village Landmark, prior to one of the "Friends" being shown in the hospital. In particular, when Rachel gave birth. We actually received several phone calls the day after the episode aired from women wanting to "reserve" Rachel's room for their delivery. How do you break their heart by telling them it was a "set" in Hollywood?

[The same way you tell them Mister Ed couldn't talk without outside assistance. And neither can Snooki. Quickly, but firmly. - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 2:57 PM

Dan said:

Should be plenty of work for me - retired police detective, currently involved in security training, private investigations, and tax preparation!!!

Seems like there is never a shortage of cop shows.

However, I love good, quality television so much would love to write about anything on TV!!!


[Boy, did you pick a bountiful genre to represent. So here's a question: Which do you think is the most accurate of all of them? Whether or not it's currently on TV, let's start there... - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 3:59 PM

Hilarie Mukavitz said:

With "Buffy" off the air not sure if you have need of a school librarian...but certainly have plenty to say on how we've been portrayed on TV in a variety of shows.

[Oh, good. I thought, for a second, you were volunteering as a vampire. And though school librarians may not have figured too prominently on TV, rest assured they're above-the-title players in my own personal fantasy life. But enough about me... - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 8:51 PM

Sally W. said:

In my day job, I'm a lawyer for a New York City agency. Currently, I don't quite feel right about doing much critique on legal fiction shows because I've lost so much patience/tolerance with them; they seem to me to be more about being over the top (the Supreme Court show with Jimmy Smits from a couple of years ago had irritated me so much for being both inaccurate and not fun; David E. Kelley's worst flaws can be so annoying, too).

I won't shy away from every legal show, but I don't really gravitate toward them; I seem to watch more sci-fi at the moment (I like "Fringe," but won't attest to the accuracy of how it reflects on the FBI any more than "X-Files" did, and "The River" is campy and creepy).

However, various my colleagues or law school mentees seem to like "The Good Wife" for being entertaining, even if it's not accurate and I've enjoyed "Law and Order" now and then - so, I think it all depends on the execution.

And, who knows - I might give "Harry's Law" another shot (but the five minutes of watching the latest episode did not compel me to keep watching so far; hmm!).

I keep meaning to watch "Fairly Legal," because I'm on a mediator e-mail list serv where so many mediators are just happy that the show got mediation on the tv viewers' radar at all and maybe it could get people to think about something other than lawsuits as an option.

I've gotten a kick out of watching "Parks and Recreation" for making public sector work relevant in an entertaining way (yes, we public servants at the municipal level are feeling really burnt and seeing Leslie do what she can cheerfully - well, it gives me some hope!).

With "Community" back, I'm hopeful that Jeff Winger can one day graduate and be a lawyer again (not that I'd want to be Jeff's kind of litigator!)... Just my two cents on the cross-section of what I do and what I watch, for what that's worth...

[Since "Fairly Legal" begins its new season later this wee on USA Network, why not keep an eye on that one, and see if it strikes your fancy? Or any other part of you? - DB]

Comment posted on March 13, 2012 10:10 PM

DenisDevine said:

Hey David! This is a GREAT idea. From waayy back, when I was a youthful ocean lifeguard, we used to LOVE laughing at Baywatch! Not just because we rarely got to break up international drug rings on our shifts, but sometimes the lifesaving on display was so terrible.

And if this show about public radio with Larry Wilmore and produced by the It's Always Sunny guys comes to pass, who knows? ;)

[Maybe we have to open a "vintage" section, just to get your Baywatch take.- DB]

Comment posted on March 14, 2012 12:50 PM

Hilarie Mukavitz said:

LOL yeah for some reason these days on television librarians are often portrayed as sexy....in the movies it's been more of a mixed bag. There is an Australian series called "The Librarians" that's been on for 3 seasons, and can be seen on hulu. I'm going to give that one a try.

Comment posted on March 14, 2012 2:07 PM

ceolaf said:

You want us to tell you what doesn't ring true?

It's pretty clear that than answer is virtually always "Nothing."

I'm curious to hear from anyone who says that a genre DOES represent their field fairly, or even a show does. Yes, some are less bad at it than others, but are there any that actually get it?

Comment posted on March 14, 2012 3:06 PM

elise said:

Well this could be fun....

I started as a medical technologist: hematology, microbiology and immunology. Lots of microscope and instrumental diagnostic tests....

Changed careers to financial planning, the personal kind, where I sold the "financial products" to clients to help them plan their financial future. (Never, ever any hedge funds or bad mortgages, at least that I was aware of...) (Think Glengarry, Glenross...)

I am a long-time quilter. Oh, wait. I can confidently predict there will never be a primetime show with quilting at its core.... Oh well. I do enjoy it, anyway! [There already was one -- an HBO documentary about the AIDS quilt! - DB]

Comment posted on March 14, 2012 4:39 PM
sue said:

Eileen - as someone who used to work for Guiding Light, the detail I found really irritating on Friends was that Joey was allegedly on Days of Our Lives, which shoots in LA - would it have been that hard for him to be on All My Children? I know that's ABC and Friends was NBC but they could at least have had him star on Another World...

Comment posted on March 14, 2012 5:33 PM

Diana T. said:

I have a Ph.D. in chemistry, worked for many, many years as a postdoctoral student in the field of biochemistry/structural biology and eventually landed a faculty job at a major medical school/graduate school of biomedical research. When "The Big Bang Theory" started I watched a few episodes and thought, "this is not the world of scientists I know, they are actually more clever and interesting than these characters." Lately I have gravitated back to the show, primarily due to the inclusion of the female scientists in the storylines (casting Mayim Bialik was a stroke of genius!). What has changed about this show is that it now deals with the real-life problems of how to balance career versus private lives, with a backdrop of scientific and geeky in-jokes. Now that's the world of science that I can relate to! I'd also like to know how I can get some of those T-shirts that Jim Parsons wears on show...

I started watching "Breaking Bad" because I was curious to see if the scriptwriters would "get the chemistry correct" and was pleased to discover that not only was that fairly well covered, but also the depictions of Walter White teaching basic chemistry to a group of bored high school students seemed spot-on. I have told so many fellow scientists they should watch this show, yet almost uniformly their reaction is one of disbelief - they can't seem to understand why a show about a Ph.D. chemist turned drug kingpin would be compelling drama. Maybe that's because they are all still successful (and healthy) scientists.

[Okay, that's perfect. Think about writing an insider's view of the actual chemistry in Breaking Bad. And if you can conjure up a winning formula, I think we're on! - DB]

Comment posted on March 15, 2012 12:40 PM

Sarah said:

I love this idea! Unfortunately I haven't had a job in a few years now so I won't be very useful for this although I did serve two summers working as a food server in period Elizabethan clothes at the local Renaissance faire and washed dishes while I was a history major during college. Recently I have been volunteering as a judge for a local multi high school theater contest along the lines of the Tonys. These days I just call myself a writer, even if I haven't been discovered or published yet if that helps at all.

[I love the Renaissance costume food serving stuff as an idea -- but we may have to wait a while for THAT series. - DB]

Comment posted on March 15, 2012 1:41 PM

Phillip R. Crabb said:

Well, Dave...

Freeholder Director, County of Sussex

I know, looks are deceiving.....

You know my affinity to the golden years in the 60's, and our common crusade to maintain their respect. That and corners of PolitickerNJ topicality I might be able to lend some relevance to.

But Hell, I'm a happy reader here as well and expect that to continue. And as long as they don't show Christmas specials in November, well, all will be right with the world.

Franklin, NJ

Comment posted on March 15, 2012 9:56 PM


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