WHY ARE YOU WEARING THAT THING?

“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.

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The question about costumes comes up often and on various shows. One of the more common “duh” 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 is when each cast member is dressed randomly, apparently without regard for the plot. 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. Or running from or after serial killers while wearing 4-inch spike heels. My feet hurt looking at them.

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. The cast 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.

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 don’t want to spend money on wardrobe. They figure if you and I notice, we won’t care. In any case, we’ll keep watching. And they’re right. It’s a bottom-line  world. Wardrobe is an 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.

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It’s not just costumes, either. 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 not any more. Quality drifts away. Producers are baffled when loyal fans stop tuning in. Obvious to a normal person, but apparently incomprehensible to network executives. Disrespect for viewers is at the root of much of the illness besetting the TV industry.

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

15 thoughts on “WHY ARE YOU WEARING THAT THING?

    • You’ll be amazed and appalled at what you see. it’s pretty funny and yes, they really DO have a great big closet full of used clothing, arranged by size. If it’s a movie, someone is there directing you to whatever “style” they’ve chosen for the movie. But it’s all rags.

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  1. You and Garry know more about how it works on TV than I do, but I have also had my thoughts. The only Programme I bother to watch is the soap Eastenders. No-one seems to have a job but they are always wearing different clothes and good clothes. Their dark suits and newest fashions all seem to be bought on the local market stalls. I grew up in a place with a market and wouldn’t be seen dead with the rubbish they sold under the name of clothing.

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    • We were “extras” on a couple of movies. We were cut before the movie was released and they were tiny parts. But we learned a lot about movie making … and incidentally, TV. Anyway, Garry WAS on TV for more than 40 years. I used to watch him every night while I made dinner.

      My favorite ridiculous costumes are the ones in which they dress the coroner. She’s the one carving up the corpses in the morgue. She’s dressed for a party AND she is wearing 4-inch heels. To carve up dead bodies. Oh, and she has PERFECT make up. Not a piece of hair is out of place. I don’t think I’ve ever been that well dressed.

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    • Here’s another thing. Cop shows. Invariably, the buddy team has to track clues in muddy and or rural areas. One or both are wearing their good clothing. They complain about getting their shoes, etc soggy and dirty. In real life, you ALWAYS have travel clothes in the office or the car. I always had alternate outfits including high boots, surgical masks (for pungent corpses), hats, rain gear, gloves (glubs), etc. Remember I was just a reporter tracking cops who were tracking the bad guys. C’mon, people!!

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  2. I think that disrespect for others, whether viewers of TV or just other people, has become the root of much of the illness besetting the country right now — but don’t let me get started on that!

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  3. I agree, no respect. How many times do you see it in the soaps. An actor leaves but the character is popular so they find another actor to play the part. I’m fine with different colour and style of hair up to a point but people don’t change their height overnight or the shape of their face or their build. That tells me that the producers have no respect for the viewers. This is the main reason that I don’t watch soaps as a rule.

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    • I don’t watch soaps because I can’t afford another addiction. But yes, they do that. I think some of the long-running soaps, they’ve had three or four (more?) actors/actresses playing the role. I suppose they have to change them. General Hospital has been on since I was a child. I don’t know why they don”t create a new character with the same persona, just a new name. Call them a cousin or something.

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  4. I guess thats why I always enjoyed the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. The costumes are amazing. I think they have done some acting without the costumes and we still get caught up in the play. But then that is Shakespeare for you.
    Leslie

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