I’ve been writing plays since I was thirteen and thought that “nothing happens” was a snazzy and unexpected plot twist. Since then, I’ve picked up a few things about story structure from dudes like David Mamet, Aaron Sorkin and Martin Scorcese. It’s a wonder I didn’t wind up as either a secretary or a mob wife with bad skin. (Suppose there’s still time.)
Just in time, I found the films of Woody Allen—Annie Hall in particular—which taught me a valuable lesson about modern women: they could also wear ties. I’m fascinated by writers and directors who create their own trademark worlds through dialogue and pacing, whether it’s Tarantino’s colorful and violent oddballs, Armando Iannucio’s dirty-mouthed government drones, or Noah Baumbach’s sharp-fanged losers.
I’m particularly excited by how the semi-bleak observational comedy honed by Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries (Best in Show and Waiting for Guffman, among others) has gone somewhat mainstream with the success of network mockumentaries like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and HBO’s Summer Heights High. As a parting thought, I’m curious why there’s so much conversation about identity politics and TV these days. How much feminist progress do we really need The Mindy Project to make for us? What was actually achieved when Girls’ Hanna Horvath dated a black guy for two episodes? I think asking these semi-goofy questions can result in some productive answers.