“How come Gibbs is wearing a coat in Arizona in the summer?”

I was talking to Garry. It was an NCIS rerun. We watch a lot of reruns, though this new fall season of TV is shaping up better than I expected, so maybe there will be new shows to watch.

YLE Wardrobe

The question about costumes comes up often and on various shows. One of the more common “huh” moments is when the male lead is wearing a coat and the female lead is skimpily dressed. No explanation needed for that one.

More weird are when each cast member is dressed randomly, apparently without regard for the story in progress. One is wearing a heavy winter coat, another a light denim jacket. A third is in shirtsleeves. Some are clothed in jeans or other casual stuff while others look ready for Wall Street … or a cocktail party. Women are supposedly hiking and running from or after serial killers while they wear 4-inch spikes. My feet hurt just looking.

Garry and I have done a tiny bit of movie “extra” work so I’m guessing it goes like this:  “Go find something that fits in wardrobe and be on set in ten.”

Everyone hustles off to wardrobe, which looks like a jumble sale or the clothing racks at the Salvation Army store. Most of the clothing in wardrobe probably came from some second-hand source or other. Everyone dives in looking for something that fits. As soon as they find an outfit … any outfit … they head for a changing booth, then off to be on set before someone yells at them. Stars get slightly better wardrobe or wear their own clothing. Wearing ones own clothing, both on TV shows and movies is quite common. I understand why.

NCIS Filming

The real question is not why everyone on a show is poorly or inappropriately dressed. It’s whether or not the people who produce the show think we won’t notice. My theory is they don’t care if we notice or not. They are cheaping out on wardrobe figuring if you and I notice at all, we won’t care or we’ll keep watching anyhow.

It’s a bottom-line driven world and wardrobe is one area where corners can easily be cut.

The thing is, we do notice. You don’t need to be a professional critic or especially astute to see the incongruities of television costuming. Movie costuming is often no better. Whoever is in charge figures if you’ve noticed the clothing, you are must be watching the show. They’ve got you. Why worry?

The thing is, the overriding disdain for viewers adds up over time. Eventually it feels like a virtual slap in the face. As a viewer, I have to assume they think I am astoundingly unobservant or plain stupid … or so hooked on their product they needn’t worry about retaining my loyalty. They are wrong.

NCIS Filming

This nonchalance extends beyond costumes. Sloppy editing, crappy scripts, stupid plots that include blatant factual and continuity errors … Ultimately, we do stop watching. Because it’s obvious they don’t care so why should we?

You notice it on long-running shows that had good scripts and editing but suddenly don’t. The quality of the show starts to slide. Producers are baffled when loyal fans stop tuning in.

It isn’t baffling to a normal person but is apparently incomprehensible to producers and network executives.

The most surprising thing is when quality stays high for longer than two seasons. Few shows survive more than 3 anymore. An embedded disrespect for viewers is, in my opinion, the root of much of the illness besetting the television industry. They either treat us like morons or discount us because we are too young, too old  or some other incorrect and undesirable demographic.

If you are under 18 or over 49, you literally don’t count. There are other, subtler forms of discrimination. Someone decided young people and old people don’t buy enough stuff. No TV for us!  Reality never intrudes into the decision-making process. I’m pretty sure I buy a lot of stuff and so does my granddaughter. Her and her friends are always shopping.

They should be nicer to us. We are, after all, the customers. Aren’t we?

Categories: Economics, Entertainment, Media, Movies, Show Business, Television

Tags: , , , , , , ,

27 replies

  1. These days most TV shows just seem to me to be a filler in between the adverts – if you get ANY kind of script you can follow it’s a bonus. I don’t anticipate or even expect these days for shows to have any connection to reality – have you seen ‘reality’ shows these days? If that’s the standard they hold to what can you expect from fiction?? I suggest you slowly undress Gibbs in your mind to distract you from the wardrobe boo-boos 😉


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Running from a serial killer while they wear 4-inch spikes makes them an easy prey. ….not me any more… but I do like to look at those pretty shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good points. I am always looking at the clothing. It irritates me when the shows get that wrong. Sorry Garry, but the spaghetti westerns of the 60’s and 70’s were the worse. Firstly women never dressed like that in the past. And they would never have worn make up, only those ladies of a certain profession would wear it. And I am pretty sure that those women never wore those sort of clothes all the time.
    I think I spend most of the shows watching the clothing, and continuity instead of what they are actually saying. It has got to the stage that everything blurs into the same plot line. Nothing really new at all. So I watch older shows and laugh at the graphics and other technical stuff, along with my son.


    • Garry enjoys the “show.” We both know it wasn’t really like that, but he enjoys the pretend. I’m sure most women wore whatever they could find. It wasn’t like they could go downtown and really SHOP, you know? There wasn’t a lot of “new clothing” dropping by old western towns. But the disconnect on modern TV is ridiculous. We ALL know what people ought to be wearing in most situations and it’s just annoying that they don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I often think that TV producers think audiences are stupid or really don’t care what they think. My mother loved the soaps Days of Our Lives was a favourite. My sister and I would have a good laugh at the stupidity of some of the plots and how often they repeat the same one with different characters. David enjoyed Jerry Springer, he found it funny. I thought “these can’t possibly be real people with real stories.” If they are that is even more frightening. I’ve been working my way through Star Trek Voyager and even though I have made it to season seven there have been times when I’ve thought some of the plotlines were at best lazy. There have been so many episodes where they have inflcted terrible things on the crew, they are always being kidnapped too. Would never have happened on The Enterprise, well not that often anyway. Next Gen was a lot more thought provoking. I enjoy re-watching episodes of it. I’ve enjoyed Voyager but I can’t say it has made me think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • With rare exception, the shows all go that way eventually. They change producers, writers, whatever — and they start writing more “standard” stuff. The better British shows are better than most American ones, but eventually, even the best begin to slide down that long hill. Lazy staff? Or maybe just not very good writers? Many American shows start off stupid and never get better. Recently, we have a few better ones, mostly on cable.

      I like having series. I don’t expect Shakespeare, just reasonably competent stories where we can’t guess whodunnit before the credits finish rolling.

      We haven’t gotten to Voyager, but we will. Eventually.


  5. To be honest I never really notice what the actors are wearing. Well, not the men, anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aha! Garry notices too, though he doesn’t understand high heels. The really HIGH ones just look painful to him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t get high heels either. Like you, Im into socks in the winter and barefeet in the summer.

        High heels are apparently what turn some men on, since they ‘define the calf”. oh, please. If they get that turned on by heels, let THEM wear them for a few hours…early commercials would often show a ‘housewife’ in a shirtwaist dress and heels, demonstrating her spiffy new vacuum,. Of course. What we all ascribed to.

        I have a pair of my husband’s old laceup sneakers that he discarded when they split along one of the seams. I tried them on, and he said, ‘you’re kidding’ with a look of horror. I promised him I’d never wear them in public, and they are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. Great for yard work.

        We will never tell him about the day I forgot i was wearing them until I was in the grocery store. “anyone asks,” I thought, “bunions”.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Dral, I always noticed how well Cary Grant dressed. He was pretty special. His clothing was timeless, transcending changing fashion.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are so lucky to be on the set. Great shots, we love that guy from scent of a woman

    If you like TV and you like cinema. Than please come on by our blog at Gastradamus. Your feedback would be great. There is talks about bringing these short stories of mine to the silver screen. But we need feedback from people like you. Hope to see your there


  7. Some interesting facts that someone with no film experience like me would no know. What I find strange are the housewives wearing fashion shoes at home and men wearing ties at dinner or otherwise at home. Do they never wear slippers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t get the shoes. I wear slippers all the time at home and comfortable shoes are LIFE to my achy feet.

      Liked by 2 people

      • In the good old days, it was easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Our heroes wore clean, tailored clothing. Shoes or boots were shined. They had nicely shaped hats. CLEAN hats! The bad guys were always dirty, unshaven, sloppily dressed. Dirty boots. Their outfits were never coordinated. Their hats were floppy, usually too big for their messy heads.
        The good guys rode pretty horses. White, Shiny Black, Sleek Gray or Palamino. Nice designer saddles and stirrups. The bad guys rode (badly) dirty horses with discount saddles.

        I was always a good guy!!

        Liked by 2 people

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