WHAT’S THAT SHMATAH YOU’RE WEARING? – Marilyn Armstrong

“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.

 

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.

A pair of red shiny leather stiletto heels with gold heel-pieces

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 the wardrobe probably came from some second-hand source or other.

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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 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 a 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. A wardrobe is one area where corners can be easily 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.

Open closet

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?

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You notice it on long-running shows that originally had good scripts and editing, but not anymore. The quality of the show slides. 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?

7 thoughts on “WHAT’S THAT SHMATAH YOU’RE WEARING? – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. I never thought of that, although the whole woman cop running in high heels and not breaking her fool neck or spraining her ankle while doing it, plus being unable to catch the freakin’ criminal, always mystified me too. I usually stop watching when they change the original, and excellent cast to other actors, even a bit at a time (like the original CSI). The cast WORKED, and although I do realize sometimes a ‘star’ dies IRL or is injured or whatever, changing up a good cast ruins the show. IMHO. That’s why I liked “The Big Bang Theory”. They kept the original cast in place the whole time they were on air.

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    • Two things break up a cast. Actually, three. One of the cast gets what he or she thinks is a better offer. Second, one cast member doesn’t get along with the others or the director doesn’t feel he or she is doing a good job, and typically, at number three, the individual wants a bigger paycheck and the production company won’t pay it. Sometimes, entire shows disappear at the peak of their popularity (like “Star Trek: Next Generation”) because EVERYONE wanted a raise.

      Generally, a variety of these things happen to long-running shows. Worse is when the original writers leave, often because THEY have a new project or a better deal in the works. Sometimes the replacement is better than the one who left, sometimes worse. I always give it a few tries and hope he or she will be okay. And sometimes, we just give up.

      Often, for me, it’s the bad scripts that drive me away. The shows were good and now they are stupid. I can only handle a certain amount of stupid. After a while, I can’t watch it,

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    • I think they believe viewers won’t notice. They are wrong. We notice. I can ignore the stupid dressing as long as the acting and the scripts are decent, but when they scripts get really dumb, I look for better-written pastures.

      Liked by 1 person

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