BLOG-EARED: Besides mobisodes, webisodes, web commentary, production diaries and forums, another way that networks have found to increase the profile of shows online is blogs by cast and crew of shows, some of them written in character. “I've got a blog, you've got a blog, everybody's got a blog,” as the first line of a New York Newsday piece put it, before going on to talk about the blogs “written” by characters such as Dwight Schrute from The Office, Hiro Nakamura from Heroes, Frank Rossitano from 30 Rock, Margene Heffman from HBO’s Big Love and Joe the bartender on Grey’s Anatomy.
The latter is actually written by Chris Van Dusen, assistant to Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, while the actors who play Frank, Dwight and Hiro are the authors of their respective blogs.
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“It was my idea in the very beginning that Dwight should have a blog," said Rainn Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office, and who is the author of his blog, Schrute-Space. "I think that a blog is a perfect way for Dwight to express himself. Most people's blogs are like boring, pontificating rants, and that is right up Dwight's alley.”
Masi Oka was also insistent that Hiro should have his own blog, and talked with NBC staff before the show debuted to see whether their website could support Japanese language character. Another Grey’s Anatomy blog, Nurse’s Station, was created around an anonymous nursing staffer at Seattle Grace Hospital to trade in gossip about the show’s characters, but it became popular enough that the show had to write a part for its fictional author, Nurse Debbie, played by Cathy Lind Hayes.
One begins to speculate about the day when a fictional character’s blog becomes more popular than the show that spawned it, and ends up surviving the series’ cancellation. And they say that reading is dead.
WHITE COLLAR CRIME: I was amazed to discover that the second season of Billable Hours, which debuted last night on Showcase, was a remarkable improvement on the first, which seemed to suffer from two uniquely Canadian sitcom flaws – flaccid pacing and a smirky, smug tone that the jokes being retailed did nothing to earn. Under a new show runner, the show has discovered a backbone of pure bile, and a jabbing, restless pace that gives the viewer the impression that it can’t wait to get to the next humiliation it has in store for its characters. It even had a “wow” kick off, with some self-satisfied suit flinging himself merrily through a supposedly unbreakable plate glass window. It’s written from a perspective that imagines that the residents of downtown corporate office towers are engaged in a fiendish agenda that’s actually quite far from the banal reality, but as a fantasy on the unique hell that we create for ourselves by spending too many hours a day with people we can’t abide, the second season of Billable Hours hits a bullseye.