Friday, February 18, 2005

Ellen's Talk Show

I have a confession: I hate talk shows. Yep. I find watching stars engage in mindless, self promotional chit-chat with a whitebread host, well, boring as hell.

And a lot of the conversations seem to have been planned out beforehand...

Host: "I heard that an interesting thing happened to you while you were (working on the movie/album/show being promoted)."

Guest: "Oh yes, it was the craziest thing (insert mildly amusing prefabricated story here, which amazingly takes no longer than until the next commercial break to tell in it's entirety)."

So when I was flipping through different channels and stopped on Ellen's new talk show for a sec, I was not the least bit surprised that it followed the same basic format. A place for the stars to get publicity for their latest project, basically a really long commercial. Yawn.

However, one thing did surprise me: it was actually good. Yah, I know. I couldn't believe it either. In addition to the fact that talk shows are incredibly dull by nature, Ellen's sitcom sucked big time. Zero plus zero should equal zero.

So what was going on? Was there something different? Self promoting drivel, check. Prefabricated anecdotes, check. A host pretending to be interested in whatever story is being told, check. It took a minute, but I finally realized what made it so interesting to watch: the rapport.

I don't know how, but she had great chemistry with every single guest. It was fun to watch and you could even imagine that the conversations were spontaneous and...well...real. They say that the key to writing good fiction is to somehow get the audience to suspend disbelief. Apparently this is true for talk shows too.


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