‘I had to lie to my co-workers for months’: The Art of Giving a Great TV Touch | the television

actors beautiful beautifulDarcy Cardin, Manny Jacinto and William Jackson Harper They sit straight, their heads tilted forward in anticipation. The viral video in which they were taken is called Cast of The Good Place React to Season 1 Finale, and it has 870,000 views.

About 28 seconds into the video, Jamil and Cardin raise their hands to their mouths in shock, and Harper shouts “OHHH!” discretionary. Jacinto shook his head in disbelief. The stars of the show were just told that their characters weren’t in Heaven – as the creator of the series Michael Schur led them to believe while filming good placeThe first 12 episodes – but they’ve been in Hell, “The Bad Place,” the whole time.

The audience’s reaction was the same shock and joy. Discovery ranks sixth in the world Ranger menu One of the 50 best movies and TV shows of all time. This change is a meticulously measured mixture of unpredictable simplicity: the audience believed that four problematic people had been mistakenly sent to heaven and were trying hard to fit in and learn how to be good. Genk and high horrors ensued until protagonist Eleanor Shellstrup (Kristen Bell) discovers that there was nothing wrong: this was an elaborate form of psychological torture engineered by a demon named Michael (Ted Danson).

From red wedding In Game of Thrones to Too badIt’s such a shocking magnification of a plant pot that we all know how amazing it is to witness a killer development: pimples on our arms, “OHHH!” which can not be controlled.

This year, another show continued that long tradition. + Apple TV to cut, which aired in the spring, was a delicious buffet of “Someone We Thought Dead Wasn’t Dead,” and “Oh, no, this character is the opposite of what-we-thought” reveals. But while the evolution of television may seem like an act of juggling, there is an art to writing. How do you master punches like the many Severance surprises or the grand reveal in The Good Place? How do you keep it a secret from the cast and crew?

“It was weird, because I was like, ‘This is a show that’s basically about morals, and now I’m going to lie to my co-workers for months,'” Shore says of good place. To avoid leaks and prevent actors from overthinking their roles, he kept evolving on a need-to-know basis: Of the six main cast, only Bill and Danson are known. “I later found out Ted was scattering it all over town,” he says, “but thankfully none of the people he told me decided to take the cat out of the bag.”

The Good and the Bad... (from left) Ted Danson as Michael, Darcy Cardin as Janet, William Jackson Harper as Sheedy, Manny Jacinto as Jianio, Jamila Jameel as Tihani, Kristen Bell as Eleanor in The Good Place .
The Good and the Bad… (from left) Ted Danson as Michael, Darcy Cardin as Janet, William Jackson Harper as Sheedy, Manny Jacinto as Jianio, Jamila Jameel as Tihani, Kristen Bell as Eleanor in The Good Place . Photo: NBC / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal / Getty Images

Shore says that the 1995 vision The usual suspects -With the reveal of the true identity of the villain Keyser Söze considered to be one of the best flips ever – “it was one of the greatest experiences of my life”. Shore wanted The Good Place to get a similarly big reveal, and see if I could “achieve something like this in this day and age where everyone guesses everything and people are so smart.” In 2017, Redditors correctly predicted an upcoming plot twist in Season 2 of WestworldShow director Jonathan Nolan had to rewrite the script.

For Severance creator Dan Erickson, it’s not a bad thing for fans to spot plot twists. “If no one ever guessed this twist, it would be like Baldardash. That means your choice was pretty crazy,” he says. His sci-fi series centers on employees at Megacorp Lumon who split their home and work selves apart so they can’t remember each other’s lives. Hailey R., a newcomer at the office, is annoyed by the procedure, which makes her feel like she’s always on. She is trying to quit smoking, but her “outsider” at home will not allow her to do so. In the final episode of Season 1, we find out that Hailey R is Helena Egan, the daughter of the CEO of Lomon.

Even as soon as the second episode, Erickson says, he started to see a “grumble” of people finding out about Hailey’s true identity, both online and among his friends. “At first I was like, ‘Oh, no, did we make it too obvious? ‘, but it is a balance. When people look back, [you want it to seem like] It didn’t come out of nowhere.”

It’s a hidden dance. “You take half a step too far and everyone expected this,” says Erickson. In the rooms of writers, Shore often mentions Aristotle’s quote that the best endings are “sudden, but inevitable.” “If you don’t leave enough breadcrumbs behind, you won’t feel inevitable, but if you leave out too much, you won’t feel surprised,” he says. So how exactly are Hansel and Gretel in the right amount? Shore and Erickson say humor can be used to mask clues.

Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore and Thandiwe Newton as Maeve Millay in Westworld.
Simon Quarterman as Lee Sizemore and Thandiwe Newton as Maeve Millay in Westworld. Photo: Home Box Office (HBO) / HBO

“In episode two, Ted Danson saw a dog and ran and kicked it in the sun and exploded,” Shore says, explaining that he hoped the audience was too busy laughing to think hard about the scene. Later, you’re like: ‘How did we not know this guy was a villain?’ He kicked a dog! The “inner” Mark doesn’t know he has a wife; the outside thinks his wife is dead. The series ends with words that should sound cliched but are actually a spinal numbness: “SHHHHHE’S ALIVE!”

“We wanted to sort of hide it from everyone’s sight,” Erickson says. To this end, Ms. Casey was originally presented as a satire of corporate wellness routines. Ericsson brings Star Wars. “Refer to the Empire strikesYoda is this goofy little hermit before you know he’s the Jedi master Luke is looking for… We’re not looking for another reason to have him on screen because he makes us laugh.”

However, some of the twists break all the rules, putting very little breadcrumbs in front of them. In the first episode of the fifth season of Buffy the Vampire SlayerBuffy had a sister, Dawn suddenly, and the characters acted as if they had been there the whole time (slowly, over the course of the season, viewers figured out why Dawn appeared in the universe). Jane Espenson, one of the show’s writers, says no one could have foreseen this development. “There was a fun hint of Dawn’s arrival that was only designed to be noticed at a later time,” she reveals. (At the end of season four, one of the characters remarked in a dream: “Go back before dawn.”) “Obviously anyone who saw that and said, ‘I bet they introduce someone named Dawn’ would have come out on a random tip,” Espenson notes. However, it was important to include it so that the writers would not be accused of making things up as they went along. the television he is “It pretty much makes up as you go along,” she says, “but you do your best to stay a little bit ahead.”

From left: Anthony Stewart Head as Robert Giles, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris and Allison Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
From left: Anthony Stewart Head as Robert Giles, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris and Allison Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Photography: 20th century fox

Espenson believes that there are now a few logical moves the shows can make that no one expected (“kill a main character, jump in time, reveal a different comet…they’re all too familiar now”). The temptation, then, is the irrational swings or the red herring. In one of the Severance scenes, our main characters stumble upon a strange room full of goats. I asked Erickson if he had put it there to distract the audience from discovering the other ups and downs.

“I wasn’t allowed to put the goats in there until I got a very good explanation of how that would pay off” (although viewers are still waiting for an answer), he says. Erickson and executive producer Jackie Cohn used the term “Hurley Birds” to warn each other about the illogical developments. Hurley was a central character in ABC’s twist-tastic LostIn two episodes of the show, a strange bird flies and shouts his name. “And then it wasn’t referenced again, the whole show,” Erickson says. “Maybe they thought they might find something they could do with it later – we’re trying to avoid that.”

However, it can be difficult to write more ups and downs after successfully achieving the first season shock. Espenson thinks viewers are experiencing a “reflexive twitch,” where people even anticipate this twist. “It’s a bit like the M Night Shyamalan movies: You’re just watching the trailer thinking, ‘What a big transformation?’

Erickson is “terrified” at the thought of the expectations for season two of Severance: “It’s hard to play the same game multiple times,” he says. You might think he has mastered it all, but there is no step-by-step science for the perfect trick. “I still don’t quite understand what makes my swings work.”