Dreary, Violent Shows Set To Return As Writers' Strike Ends

When the writers return, so will TV’s extreme violence and penis jokes.

Having planted that hopefully intriguing lead sentence atop this TV Blog in order to provoke readership, let me at least wish the striking Writers Guild members all the best as they return to work now that their nearly five-month strike appears to be coming to an end.

It cannot be easy to go without pay for 146 days -- which was the length of the strike as of Sunday since it began on May 2.

This was likely especially true for WGA members who fall under the category of rank-and-file -- i.e., they are not among the top tier of writers who are paid more than they for their TV and movie scripts and can afford to live for a few months without working.



But in the wake of the news on Sunday that a new deal with the producers is likely to be officially signed, sealed and delivered later this week, my thoughts turned to what the TV writers actually write for the rest of us.

On that subject, the TV Blog has written time and time again about the scenes of horrendous violence that splatter buckets of blood all over our TV dramas; and in our comedies, all the childish wisecracking about penises and bodily functions that take place usually in bathrooms (or so it is hoped).

Note to readers (if any): When reading this TV Blog, please do not roll your eyes or otherwise think to yourself, “Oh, no! Not again!”

All I had to do was search the keyword “violence” on MediaPost to come up with numerous TV Blogs on the subject of TV and its resort to serial-killer storylines and schoolyard snickering.

And here is something that occurred to me as I have been writing this: At least where our violent and sad, dreary TV dramas are concerned, I will concede that these things are well-written, in their way.

Generally speaking, the stories in these shows hold together through single episodes, or limited series of six or eight of them. This cannot be easy to achieve (as compared to, say, writing a TV Blog every day).

And many times, the violence and f-words are integral to the plot. They set up the story, provide motivations for the characters and help us understand who they are.

But what must it be like when these writing assignments come around and the writers begin to get their heads around what they are being asked to write?

The subject that interests me the most: The creation of new serial killers and the lengths these psychopaths will go to trap and butcher their victims and, just for fun, taunt the police.

As written here many times, TV is awash in serial killers and their methods -- each more imaginative than the last. Presumably, it is TV writers who think of most of this stuff.  

For example, in a show that came up for a review here two years ago, a serial killer would dismember his female victims and sew them back together in the manner of rag dolls. 

The show was titled “Ragdoll” and the killer became known as The Rag Doll Killer.

To whoever wrote this show, I say: A job’s a job, right?  When we are assigned things to write, we do them.

More recently, our review of the Peacock mystery series “Based On A True Story” (starring Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina, pictured above), a show that is supposed to be at least a little bit lighthearted, started with a scene of a brutal knifing that set a new standard for unnecessary violence on TV.

Oh, well. Work is work. And it beats walking picket lines.

1 comment about "Dreary, Violent Shows Set To Return As Writers' Strike Ends".
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  1. Linda Shafran from NBCUniversal, September 26, 2023 at 5:23 p.m.

    Ha!  It worked!  Ya got me with the first sentence

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