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Why did the producers have no idea how to do "upper class"?

Discussion in 'Dynasty' started by Snarky's Ghost, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Well, okay, maybe they did in the pilot and the very earliest episodes, but why were the producers seemingly unable to portray the upper class during most of DYNASTY?

    Yes, they could do couture but, it would appear, little else.

    But why?

    I'm not suggesting that DYNASTY should have become MASTERPIECE THEATRE or even UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS, but why did the brass seem unable to give us anything more than mostly well-cast actors in splashy frocks in a show with a decidedly bourgeois psychology?

    Everyone from John Forysthe to little Karen Cellini said the problem was that the producers "didn't know what they wanted."

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I dunno
    Because Aaron kept interupting with budget issues, especially as more successful they got he wanted to invest less cash.

    Plus that wrapping room of Tori's wasn't going to pay for itself...

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    It doesn't always take expensive outdoors scenes to put this concept across.
    Minor characters can help to make it resonate - a classic example is when Virginia enters the Carrington mansion for the first time.
    Gordon Wales, Chris Deegan, Susan Farragut, but also nameless characters. Many of these actors give their best perfomances.
     
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  4. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Yes, it's detail and tone, not budget.

    I Farragut who she was.
     
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  5. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    The nurse with an attitude, who got fired by Fallon.
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Oh, yes, the one who wasn't an indentured servant.
     
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  7. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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  8. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I dunno
  9. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Is that bad?
     
  10. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I dunno
    It's very Alexis somehow.
     
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  11. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Thank you :tv2:
     
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  12. Michael Torrance

    Michael Torrance Soap Chat Star

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    I think there are multiple reasons. One big one is that Spelling is not the kind of producer who takes pride in his work. To use an 80s analogy, he is no Steven Bochco. More broadly, the way TV as a genre was received then has nothing to do with today. We are experiencing a TV renaissance with all the venues trying to make high caliber shows, but back then it was the few dedicated producers who saw their work that way. And more important of all, there were so many seasons when Dynasty did not have a single guiding vision. Whether people love or hate season 9, they know it has Paulsen's vision of it. But in the limp-along seasons such matters along others were left with nobody to care for them. For something to look big and grand, one has to attend to the small and minute.

    Additionally, American TV (and American culture at large) is very anti- "high class." Americans can accept a billionaire if he has a ranch and eats food with his hands and dresses like Walmart exploded all over them. Anything that says elite Americans hate--that is why even presidents who went to ivy league schools have to pretend not to know to pronounce "nuclear" to win elections (and people buy it). So, it could have also been a conscious decision--after all how cheap and tacky the Ewings looked seemed to work ratings-wise and for audience acceptance.
     
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  13. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    I don't mind "cheap & tacky" if that's what it's supposed to be - btw, I don't think the Ewings look cheap just because they didn't wear outrageous haute couture. I think it was a different kind of glamour (OK, except Miss Ellie, her wardrobe was a mystery).

    I honestly can't imagine that they thought, "season 1 was too upper class, let's reduce that so they look wealthier and more important. That doesn't make sense.
     
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  14. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Yes. Now, by Season 7 (per DVD count) you do see the Ewings dressing a lot better because it became anachronistic for them not to by that point in the '80s. But once they maxed out on the glitz the year Bobby was dead, it was way overboard for DALLAS.

    That's tricky, too. The real upper class are too aloof to appeal to the viewing masses -- you can do wealth in the movies and TV far more commercially if they cast warmer "Hollywood types" who have more charisma and star quality than cold snobbery (even though they'll likely need to be able to play cold snobbery here and there) like they did in both DALLAS and DYNASTY.

    Which is why I want to see the Carringtons socialize with a more legit, Ivy-league kind of family, to legitimize the privileged environment a little bit. We need to see them rub shoulders with the type of skinny people with pinched faces who can smile disapprovingly and purse their lips in dismissive bemusement without moving a muscle, and whose eyes gently accuse of illegitimacy without actually making an expression or even looking at you.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  15. tommie

    tommie Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 3 Years

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    I dunno
    In all honesty - this sort of follows Aarons Spellings work (and yes, he is the common denominator). In Beverly Hills 90210 we were supposed to follow the lives of rich kids, yet often it ended up being absolutely schizophrenic; one minute you had them not worrying about money, the next Donna Martin was asking Kelly Taylor - that tramp - for 20 bucks. So what is it? Are they extremely rich or just getting by?

    Add that Aaron Spelling himself was notoriously cheap and you'd be surprised that the actors weren't killed by the wobbly sets.
     
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  16. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    That's also tricky.
    The Carringtons looked upper class enough to me, especially in season 1. Put Blake next to the real cold snobs, and he looks like that filthy oil-man who thinks he can buys his way to the real upper class.
    They got involved with Moldavian royalty, and yet none of that royalty rubbed off on them.
     
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  17. Snarky's Ghost

    Snarky's Ghost Soap Chat Oracle EXP: 19 Years

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    Upper crust snootery is an attitude, an often non-verbal one. You could believe Forsythe, PSM, and JJ could do it -- probably even Collins. But they didn't much. They were TV rich most of the time, sarcastically inviting but not subtly rejecting. Same with THE COLBYS.
     
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  18. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Hero EXP: 13 Years

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    This is connected but not quite. A while ago I was watching something on YouTube, one of those silly American gossipy videos and they were discussing cars or something and the presenter randomly brought up DYNASTY. He seemed to be in his 20s but said that his dad knew someone who knew Aaron Spelling and a story he used to tell was about a producer of DYNASTY, I think it was Doug S. Cramer. He went to buy a Rolls-Royce or Bentley or some other high end car and while he was at the show room the sales man asked him if he would like to test drive it and so he agreed. Cramer then opened the back door of the car and got into the back seat, assuming that he would be driven.
     
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  19. Alexis

    Alexis Soap Chat Hero EXP: 13 Years

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    I think Beacham did it best of them all, and on The Colby's not Dynasty. I mean on Dynasty she had to do scenes with Rita... F**k off and Die Dynasty!!!
     
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  20. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 18 Years

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    Well....maybe if La Mirage had looked a little more...or should I say a little less...then maybe the guests could have been more, eh....respectable.
     

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