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2020 will give odds to many films: in Hollywood suggested how this year will end

If 2020 were a TV show, what exactly would it be. The premise is promising (which can happen when political dysfunction meets a deadly virus), but execution needs to be worked out. Think about how jumbled it all is: competing storylines, oversized twists, villains, stories - first introduced and then just as quickly forgotten. The publication told more about this idea. The Washington Post.

Photo: Shutterstock

Whether we like it or not, this TV show is racing towards the finale and nobody knows what will happen in the final episode. Will there be a good ending? Or one of those disturbing and ambiguous ones that gnaws at you long after you've finished watching? And will this ending be the end?

Hollywood plot masters also thought about this.

“This year's script is very similar to the joke we often play in the writers' room,” says Bruce Miller, showrunner for The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. - And the joke is this: if all the crazy things happening in the world became a show, what would it be? Maybe a comedy? Or tragedy, dystopian thriller, political and legal drama, medical procedural, apocalyptic fiction, horror and satire? Or is it all rolled into one?

But mostly it's a completely insane plot. Remember everything that happened this year: coronavirus, quarantine, George Floyd, mass civil rights marches, Lafayette Square, Elmhurst Hospital, fires, destruction of the American economy, death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, impeachment of US President Donald Trump, president's illness, New York Times publishes presidential tax returns, brexit and megsit, killer hornets and much more.

The journalists asked the five writers to tell what they would have done with such a plot plan: how they would have turned it into something viewable and how they thought it should end (not necessarily how they would like it to end).

  Structure

Looking at the endless daily twists and turns and plots of the notorious 2020 scenario, experts expressed multiple opinions.

“I would say to this writer, 'Hey, slow down,'” says Eli Atti, NBC's writer. "For example, show us who these people are, or highlight and extract some of these plot events and keep one story central."

Miller says that when he writes, he is trying to "give people enough time to really think about something complex." In 2020, "we have so many complex things that are very difficult to handle, and they appear one after the other."

As an example, Miller cites the notes of the first lady, Melania Trump, which were released by her former adviser Stephanie Winston Volkoff. “It's ignored in the next scene, and we never hear about it again,” says Miller. - It happened in the real world. But that doesn't work in fictional storytelling. "

On the subject: 12 Funniest English New Words Added to 2020 Dictionaries

Angela Kahn, showrunner for the Walking Dead project on AMC, made a similar observation: "A lot of things happen, and then everything seems to disappear and not end."

A parade of people and storylines that just disappear sets 2020 apart from a TV show. While there are many startling twists and turns, "it doesn't seem to have the kind of narrative structure we expect from television," says Dan Schofield, writer and producer on NBC's Good Place.

This is worse than bad, Schofield said.

“Even a lazy show tends to end,” he says.

Genre

"There are options that it could be black comedy, drama or satire," says Schofield, "but it depends on how you narrow your focus: COVID-19 or something else."

Pandemics in real life are slow and painful, which is not very convincing. This is why entertainment pandemics tend to become “a kind of contagion that quickly makes people drop dead,” says Cheo Hodari Cocker, a Netflix showrunner. He thinks 2020 could be a 24-style action show, where the hero is tasked with saving the country - both from the virus and from an infected president who is "clearly out of his mind."

Or maybe it's a series about a zombie apocalypse. Kahn has a few ideas: the show will start with impeachment, with a few hints about “this strange flu that started in Asia,” she says. “Little by little, people disappear and you don't know why. And then, of course, over time, you will find out that the dead are actually marching through China. "

The zombie virus is spreading in the United States. The President becomes infected, and the previous scenario kicks in on its own.

“You have to go through a chain of different people who are supposed to take the presidency,” Kan develops. “And one by one they get infected. Then you'll have a scene in the halls of Congress where senators tear each other apart, which is kind of a metaphor. "

Characters

You might think that US President Donald Trump would be a good hero for the show. But the scripting experts disagree.

“He doesn't have that inner life, emotional life, like a three-dimensional character. I don't know how to make it interesting. There are no nuances in it. This is not a contradiction. He's not at war with himself, ”explains Atti.

Schofield puts it more bluntly: “He is almost like Jaws: a huge creature that causes destruction, but without anything that might sound like motivation or logic. So it's good for the show, but bad for the character. "

Perhaps the problem is lack of imagination. Kahn sees a little more room for nuance in Trump's character. “The villain is the hero of his own story,” she says. "If you want to write a story in which the president is a lovable anti-hero, you can do it."

However, the writer is probably better off focusing the plot on someone else.

“Often your main character is the audience,” says Atti. "It's a vessel through which the audience can immerse themselves in history and see what is happening."

He thinks a good target would be “a person who starts out as a Trump supporter, radicalizes and changes, and then realizes that he has to risk everything. Perhaps this is an administration official who was driven to mutiny. "

According to Miller, the story of 2020 is best told “through the eyes of someone who sees it as the end of one era and the beginning of another,” ideally someone who is not involved in politics.

“I would definitely use the point of view of a young, non-white woman,” he shares his take on plot construction. - I think this man has the greatest and most interesting view of history. Someone who is just trying to grow up in this world and start his life. "

Plot twists

“It was such a crazy year that when the government declassified the UFO footage, almost no one talked about it,” says Cocker.

Then there were the killer hornets, also known as the Asian giant hornets, an invasive species that decapitates bees. Their presence as harbingers of the End Times is perhaps exaggerated. But if it was a series, it is likely.

“It's the kind of thing where you just mention it somewhere in an episode and then forget about it,” explains Kahn. "And then this information should come back at the end of the season in some unexpected way."

This year we saw stocks of toilet paper, Tom Hanks' coronavirus, and Kanye West's presidential campaign. Another moment created for television was Kimberly Guilfoyle's bizarre and harsh speech at the Republican National Convention. (Guilfoyle, the ex-wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, is now meeting with Donald Trump Jr.)

“The fact that the girlfriend of the president’s drugged son is also the ex-wife of a governor whose state is buried in fires seems too convenient,” says Schofield. “It's kind of fictional when the show's producers say,“ Oh, we already have this actress that we like. Let's just take her again. "

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And then there were the events of late September - early October, when Judge Ginsburg died, the contents of President Trump's tax returns were disclosed, the disastrous first presidential debate took place, and the president and many of his employees tested positive for coronavirus. The revelation that Amy Connie Barrett, the conservative judge appointed to replace Ginsburg, once held the title of “handmaid” in a Christian group, was a particularly bizarre clash of reality and fiction for Miller, author of The Handmaid's Tales.

“In those two weeks, it really could have been a mini-series,” says Kahn.

But will the president get the coronavirus in the 2020 dramatic version?

“People will say it's too primitive,” Cocker said.

Atti disagrees.

“I think the most Shakespearean element of those two and a half weeks was Trump's diagnosis of the disease and his inability to change it,” he counters. "This is karmic irony."

Ending

We're almost at the last episode. So the challenge for these writers and showrunners is: With everything that has happened, how can this end?

In the script, as in life, there is no simple answer.

"The first thought that came up was this: is this the season finale or is it the series finale?" Schofield admitted. He thinks it will be difficult to complete all the unfinished business this year in any meaningful or satisfying way.

This forces him to think about the phrase “it was just a dream,” or the famous St Elswehr finale, which ended as follows: the camera lens went to the side to show that the hospital drama took place inside a snow globe and may have been a figment of the imagination. autistic child.

Or maybe the writers will have to rely on the deus ex machina - the unexpected actor who changes everything at the last minute. “The killer hornets appear,” Schofield lays out the storyline. - Aliens are approaching simultaneously with floods. Fires come from all sides. Humanity is disappearing. This seems to be the only possible way to tie all ends to ends. "

"I think I would look for some absurd twist," says Kahn, "not the one with zombies."

“Maybe Trump is leaving for California, and there are fires,” she develops her thought. - The President goes to the set to take a photo and disappears. He is considered dead. But it turned out that he used it as an escape to go to Russia, because he thought: "I will lose, and Russia will protect me, and I will not have to pay taxes."

“The happy ending is as follows: right on the verge of collapse, the president comes out of a steroid stupor and realizes that he has lost himself, lost his country and resigns,” Cocker shared his version of the final.

“To be honest, I think the end might be on tour now,” he says. "Biden leads the polls, but it's unclear if his leadership will lead to victory."

On the other hand, artful ambiguity is a risk. Spectators demand satisfaction.

“You want to end up with Trump leaving the White House whenever that happens,” Miller says.

“I don’t know if this is a happy ending,” he continues. - I mean, this is the beginning of something difficult. And this is not the end at all. "

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