Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Script Doctor

I don't have a future as a Hollywood script writer.  Mostly because I do not write dialog well.  I also would probably have difficulty with explosions and glittery vampires.  So I am not about to "quit the day job".  But I think I would do very well indeed as a script doctor.

No, not the anonymous drudge who takes a half baked bit of writing from an entirely baked established Hollywood writer and then beats it into comprehensible shape.  No, I think my niche would be adding little bits of medical detail.

I can't begin to tell you just how "fake" illness generally is portrayed on TV and in movies. With a few notable exceptions such as "ER" and "House" it is considered just fine to have the buxom starlet linger at death's door, delivering her final lines with nothing more than a tiny bit of oxygen whispering past her perky plastic surgerized nose.  No endotracheal tube.  No pallor.  One lousy bag of sugar water hanging on the IV pole.

And of course she has been stricken by some ailment, undiscovered by medical science to date, that progresses from radiant goddess-like beauty, through a few seconds of feeling dizzy, and on to a theatrical demise before the last commercial break.

I think I could write better stuff.  I know I could write more realistic stuff.

There is a lot of great material to work with.  I'm keeping a few to myself, just in case Spielberg calls for a meeting.  But here's one that has been around the block once or twice:

Alien Hand Syndrome.

This happens when a very specific part of the brain gets damaged, usually through a stroke.  The patients so afflicted have a hand that moves and has normal sensation.  But they can't entirely control it.  And more to the point, their brain does not recognize it as "theirs".

The Alien Hand appears to have a will of its own, and tends to reach out to grab things in the immediate environment.  Obviously Hollywood has been using this one for quite a while now!

And of course......

In fact an alternate name for Alien Hand Syndrome is Dr. Strangelove Syndrome!

Ok, so the existing pool of TV/Movie writers get one right on rare occasion.  But lets not give them too much credit.  They were just cribbing from the New Testament:

And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30

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