Friday, March 30, 2012

One Desperate Actress In Search of a Soap

The notion of killing off a character in a television series because the actress who plays her irritates the producer has dramatic possibilities in and of itself. According to a piece in the Business Section of the Times (“A ‘Desperate Housewives’ Mistrial,” NYT, 3/19/12), Nicolette Sheridan’s suit against “Desperate Housewives” producer Marc Cherry and ABC ended with a deadlocked jury. According to the Times, Sheridan, who was paid $175,000 per episode of the series, was suing for damages totaling approximately $6,000,000, after her character, Edie Britt, in a scene reminiscent of the Thomas Eakins painting, “The Gross Clinic,” met a tragic end. The new series would actually be a drama of Pirandellian passions and Jacobean revenge. Let’s call it  “One Desperate Actress in Search of a Soap Opera.” Usually characters are killed off in television series when an actor or actress is moving on or the series is taking a new twist which makes the role that was being played superfluous. When you think of it, the notion of killing a character off out of revenge against the actress who played her is unique. OK perhaps Sheridan was hard to work with, but she wouldn’t be the first primadona on the sound stage. No, to go to the lengths he did, Marc Cherry must have been pretty fed up. “Hell knows no fury like a woman scorned” and we can be reassured that “One Desperate Actress” would be filled with sex and violence. The character who plays Marc Cherry would undoubtedly have an order of protection issued against the lead actress who, though she would be playing herself, would be fueling her rage with lines from Medea. In fact, life has already begun imitating art with regard to all the legal wrangling. The Times quoted, Camilo Becdach, 29, a fan of the show as saying, "It's been like watching 'Desperate Housewives' again,  but in the courtroom. It really would be like a storyline in the show, which makes it ironic. It's something that Edie would have done."

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