Monthly Archives: July 2010

The art of the laugh track

The Paris Review on the creation of the laugh track:

Today’s sitcoms are based mostly on witty repartee and no longer rely on outlandish situations or sight gags, such as you would see in an episode of Mister Ed or The Munsters or Bewitched-and today’s muted laughs reflect that. Generally, laughs are now much less aggressive and more subdued; you no longer hear unbridled belly laughs or guffaws. It’s “intelligent” laughter-more genteel, more sophisticated. But definitely not as much fun. There was an optimism and carefree quality in those old laugh tracks. Today, the reactions are largely “droll”.

The mysterious Bill Murray

GQ on Bill Murray:

It’s like the first day you check into a hotel in L.A. there’s a message under your door. The second day, there’s eleven messages under your door. The third day, there’s thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy messages. And I realized that they just want fresh blood. They. Just. Want. Fresh. Blood. You gotta get the hell out of there.

Climategate? What Climategate??

Total exoneration of the scientists at the centre of the “Climategate” email brouhaha by three separate independent inquiries. Not that you’d read about it in the very media that created the firestorm. Appalling.

You might imagine the media would be keen to report on authoritative conclusions about allegations they had found so newsworthy in December. But coverage of each of the reports has been non-existent in many news organisations and in others brief or without prominence. At best, the coverage of the inquiries’ conclusions added up to a 20th of the coverage the original allegations received, which leaves us to ponder the curiosities of a news media that gets so over-excited by dramatic allegations and then remains so incurably uninterested in their resolution. The newspapers that gave greatest play to the allegations tended to give less attention to the findings. The columnists who gave greatest vent to their indignation have not made any revisions or corrections, let alone apologised to the scientists whose integrity they so sweepingly impugned.