I Blogged Myself

Why do you always come here? I guess we'll never know. It's like a kind of torture, To read this blog, y'know.

Welcome to the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational blog since Kermit left just a little bit of the swamp in his pants.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My Addiction - Part 6

Credits; Part The Second.

*Ahem*, so where was I, oh-so long ago? Oh yes ...

Like most people (I suspect), I find it more enjoyable to watch the opening credits of TV shows that actually display an image (or images) of the actor when their name appears on screen. Shows that get all 'artsy' or perhaps consider it a way to avoid kitsch by giving us a series of names and no faces to place them against annoy me for their air of superiority. They might think they're being trendy, but it is the nature of many TV viewers to want to know who is playing which role. Yes, it sometimes gets in the way of the viewer accepting that this person is playing a character and doesn't help morons tell the difference between reality and fiction, but if star draw power wasn't real, movies and TV shows wouldn't try to get big names. They know it's important and so do we, so don't frustrate us by giving us a bunch of names with no corresponding faces so we know which of the seven male names is our favourite and so on. Also, respect the actors (whose careers are based on popularity, let's face it) by allowing even the most dunder-headed viewer to learn their name.

If a show considers its credits to be important part of capturing the viewers' interest, it may chop and change the opening sequence from time to time (just to keep a little mystery in the relationship, you know). This normally happens at the start of each new season, particularly if it's a long-running show and footage used in earlier seasons contains too many older shots of the actors looking very different to how they now appear (haircuts, fashion, "laugh-lines", etc). Not to mention any footage of actors who have since left the show. It can be quite expensive to edit together a completely new opening title sequence (even though most only go for 30 seconds - or sometimes 45 or 60), but loyal fans often appreciate a fresh credit sequence at the start of each new season, showing glimpses of newer footage (and occasionally retaining 'classic moments' from earlier years).

Personally, I feel you can't really go past the Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel opening credit sequences (as an example), for all of the reasons given already. They provide fast, flashy, fun and action-filled shots, timed to precise, exciting and cool music, they show various cool or funny images of each actor while their name appears below their face, they re-cut the credit sequence for each new season (keeping it somewhat exciting and fresh), and they provide a realistic 'vibe' of what to expect from the show.

But what of non-actors appearing in the opening credit sequence? I'm of two minds about this. I certainly agree that directors, writers, producers, caterers, etc, all deserve their 'credit' moment for all their hard work, but the question is this: Should they be credited over the title sequence, or should they be credited by superimposing their names and positions over the top of the opening scenes? (If their role is such that a closing credit sequence is all they require, that's fine and doesn't enter into play here.) Let's break down the pros and cons of each of the first two options:

DURING THE TITLE SEQUENCE

Pros:

(i) Less text appearing over the top of the opening scenes, which means the possible excitement level during those moments isn't being restricted;
(ii) Actors get better recognition from fans, therefore raising their profile all-the-more (and in turn raising the show's profile);


Cons:

(i) The average viewer isn't interested in seeing the actors' names if they can't put a face to them;
(ii) Actors' profiles aren't raised as high, making them harder to contain and harder to keep in the show;


SUPERIMPOSED OVER THE OPENING SCENE


Pros:

(i) Depending on how many credits are used here, and how big they are, it generally doesn't distract the viewer from the action on-screen (but many can easily be distracted and get annoyed);
(ii) I can't think of a second point for this;


Cons:

(i) The average viewer doesn't read these names and credits, preferring instead to watch the show already underway (and this can be quite a distracting - and lengthy - process);
(ii) The credit sequences may need to be longer or more rapid-fire if too many names have to be displayed;


Let's move on from the names in the opening credit sequences and look at an example of no names appearing in the opening titles at all. I am referring, of course, to your favourite show and mine, The Muppet Show. All performers, writer, directors and crew names are given in the closing credits only. Not even the special guest star for that particular episode is given an opening credit (however, Kermit announces them by name during his intro). Instead, the entire opening title sequence is used for setting the tone of the show we are about to watch (as well as becoming a highly-enjoyable romp, set to music we all know and love - okay, so it's just me), with a differing failed 'gong' attempt by Gonzo at the end.

The closing sequence is the same - the first five to ten seconds is the cast coming on stage in some way or other to accost or congratulate the guest star (depending on the 'plot', ie. running gags, of the episode), and then it's standard footage of the band playing the closing credit sequence. However, we all used to hang around and watch to the end as kids (didn't we ... or is that just me as well?) to see the individual and unique joke from Statler & Waldorf. And of course Zoot's perpetually confusing (at least to himself) final note on the sax. It was always the same, but we stuck around to watch it anyway (okay, that's just me again).

I must say (and this was touched on by someone in an earlier Part of this long-delayed multi-post), I absolutely hate it how Channel 7 and Channel 10 in Australia have started shrinking the closing credits of every show so they can promote another show or two during that 30 - 60 second spot. Channel 10 simply shrink it to a quarter of the screen, whereas over at 7, some poor duck has to re-type the entire closing credit sequence for each show, which then plays at the bottom of the screen. Has Channel 9 started doing this as well? I forget now, to be honest. Probably. This means that in addition to not hearing the music (and any amusing dialogue that sometimes plays over the credits, as per the occasional episode of The Simpsons), we're now not able to read the names or details of the supporting / guest cast, the crew, and any additional details we may have wanted
to check, such as the year of production, filming locations, special thanks to, etc.

"Why watch the closing credits, though?" I hear you ask. No, really - I heard you. Sometimes there's something amusing hidden away there to keep people watching - and when that happens, it's a great nod to those of us who pay attention. More often than not, though, I watch them to learn about actors and the show in general. The reason I have such a vast knowledge of actors and TV shows? (Which I do, if you didn't know. Trust me on this.) It's largely because I read the opening and closing credits - in full - of every TV show I watch. However, it's also because I regularly read (and I'm really going out on a limb here with this confession) TV Week. I know, how dorky. But you see, it's a good guide for TV shows (generally), and I also enjoy the crosswords. :) But more importantly, it provides a lot of insider information on actors and TV shows. I call it my weekly research. And crosswords.

------------------------

I need to stop this here, although there is still much I intend to say - even just about Credits! So I will post Part 7 of the 'My Addiction' multi-post (which is also the third section of this Credits discussion) soon. Props to you all, especially MelbourneGirl.

:)

15 Comments:

At Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:50:00 pm, Blogger Clokeeeey! said...

Good to see you could find a parking spot. I'm pretty sure channel 9 runs the ending credits on a half screen and yes, sometimes there are things to see in the end credits. I remember "Home Improvements" used to run the out takes through the ending credits which would be missed in todays promotion at all costs attitude.

BTW you won the auction for the broken down old Galaga, I'll send you the account number and once I have the cash, I'll not send you the goods as you wished. Nice doing business with you.

PS: Tips for word verification haters, click on preview until you get a short word or one that you can read.

 
At Tuesday, December 13, 2005 11:56:00 pm, Blogger Clokeeeey! said...

Hey, where are my props, I tol's you bout the split screen stuff.
DOn't make me come over there and props a crap in your ass!

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:21:00 am, Anonymous gav said...

Wasn't going to comment, but my word verification thingy has forced my hand.

lvejsm

ummmmahhhhh rude (well nearly).


So while I'm commenting - my 2 cents on credits is I also get frustrated when they run promo's over them - channel 10 being the worst. Not only do Channel10 do that, with say The Simpsons, they also cut minutes from the show, both conspicuously and inconspicuously, to cram in more ad's.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 9:26:00 am, Anonymous Mr. Kahfarknarkle said...

Well I would have to say the best opening credits on a show would have to be for 'Elvira Mistress of the Dark.'
Does anybody here like Elvira?

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 1:17:00 pm, Blogger problematic said...

You really make me laugh Bevis. You're sharp.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 10:37:00 pm, Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

why did i get props, man?

(notice i'm talking like randy jackson now. is that his name? the one to the right of paula on american idol.)

but thanks anyway. i wish i had a spare 15 to read this work, man. props to you.

(how do they say goodbye, these cool dudes?)

hey, my word verif is phat.

no, not really, just joking. it's petlmr.

 
At Wednesday, December 14, 2005 11:41:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

MelbourneGirl, what? I read yours! (How rude.)

The one to the right is British bad-mouth Simon Cowell. He doesn't quite talk the same way. If you mean the one on Paula's right, then yes - that's Randy Jackson.

You got props just because it was the 'thing' I was writing wherever I went on the blogosphere last night (including this post and a comment on your blog, I think I left four or so references to the word 'props' around the traps). I gave everyone props, then specified you and finished with a smiley face. It's all a subtle arty masterpiece.

I think 'these cool dudes' (is that a racist reference, madam? Considering today's topic on your own blog, I'm giving you a big frown about now ... just teasin') use the word 'word' for goodbye.

So: "Word" to you. (Possibly with a "y'all" to follow.)

Clokeeeey, I had to park in a handicap zone out the front, which is why I also had to dash off so (relatively) quickly. The original post was going to be much longer, as you will see when I get a chance to post Part 7.

I'm very happy to have won the bid; thanks for not sending me the Galaga (said quickly) you're selling. I'll do my best not to send you the promised money, too (it seems only fair).

Oh, and I'll take care of all the 'craps' in my ass, if you don't mind!

Gav, I'm glad you commented. Don't be shy. (I don't know what I'm meant to take from your statement that you weren't going to comment - should I be offended? - but it's always good to see some affirmation.) Don't get me started on their slicing and dicing of shows like (but not limited to) The Simpsons. You don't want to go there, girlfriend.*

* Sorry about the 'girlfriend' thing.

Mr Kahfarknarkle, I could have sworn you asked that question last time. Oh well. I think it's fair to say that Elvira always had a couple of big points going in her favour. Who wouldn't be a fan?

Cotton, are you being sarcastic? I'm not sure what to make of your remark either.

I think I must be a bit fragile today; I don't know what it is. Sorry folks.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 9:44:00 am, Blogger Gianluca Di Milano said...

I'm very like the opening credits of many porns. is a nice introduction for the ladys and we can see if we are want to continue or return to the little chinese in the bar.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:05:00 am, Blogger Peter said...

You know how much I'm loving this, Bevis. So much that I would like to run something by you - could you email me (peter AT glutbusters DOT com) with an address to get you on?

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:09:00 pm, Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

hey bevie, i didn't know what to make of cotton's comment too. yeah i know, sorry about not reading it. i'm just not that interested in micro-analysis of credits.

"so tell me, do you hate me?" [said in prude or is it trude voice]

actually i am interested - what really annoys me is the cutting in during the credits to promote another program. i don't always watch the credits at the end, usually to try to spot that minor character who i think i know the obscure actor's name of. my sister is an absolute master (mistress) of picking those obscure faces and putting them in context, ie the guy who played next to tom hanks in bosom buddies.

you are so right. as i typed to the right of paula i was meaning on HER right (not shouting there, just no italics) yep i meant the black guy. no that's not racist. and i know you were just joking about calling him and others "these cool dudes" i also meant honkies who do the blackspeak thing. that is racist. but i can say it because i am one. a honky.

[mg sees sign post marked "dangerous territory" and decides to pull back]

i know simon, i know paula, just wasn't sure if i had randy's name right. also, "word" i've seen that around on here a lot. also spelled "werd". please to give etymological explanation mr bevis?

you know you want to.

i'm going to start calling you The Font from now on. not helvetica or arial but as in knowledge.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:10:00 pm, Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

but isn't y'all a hick/cowboy way of talking, or us southern? would that be used with "word"

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 2:42:00 pm, Blogger gav said...

BEVIS, I'll let the girlfriend thing go, if you conveniently forget about my previous request for some of your lovin' (or love points, more accurately).

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 3:43:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Thanks, Gianluca, I'm very happy for you. I don't really understand the last part of your comment, but I don't think I want it translated anyway.

Ooooh! You've piqued my interest, Peter. I've sent you an email.

MelbourneGirl, are you questioning The Font?? (I really like that moniker - it has remnants of The Fonz; only with much more 'book-smarts' at the expense of 'cool' -- but I'm fine with that.) I'm sure the spelling of 'word' as 'werd' is more to show that it's meant as an agreement / greeting / farewell / etc, rather than a description of a combination of letters. Sounds like your sister and I would get along well. We share the same 'spot the inconspicuous actor and name three other things they've appeared in as an inconspicuous actor' talent. Although I'm sure you'd be my favourite of the sisters!

Gav, deal.

PS - You're looking very beautiful today.

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 6:47:00 pm, Anonymous gav said...

**blush**

You're looking quite dashing yourself.

Ahem ..

.. I mean, fuck off!

 
At Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:14:00 pm, Blogger MelbourneGirl said...

no, you'd probably like my sister better. you'd be able to talk for hours about obscure actors etc. actually, no. you'd have to watch the films together because she needs a stimulus to jog the memory. she has a real knack though. even down to voices, in case the actor is in "stage makeup" or special effect prophylactic thingos.

and i will just sit in the corner, gently weeping.

but it's ok.

 

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