UPN - Nowhere Man

Mid-season Thoughts Larry Posted to alt.tv.nowhere-man

[Webmaster note: I am posting the comments Larry posted on the newsgroup here because many do not get the alt newsgroups (me included) and I felt that Larry's comments deserve wide readership. Vidiot]

Well, we're almost through with the first 13 (we've aired 12 including the pilot) but since we're in the "holiday break" I thought it'd be a good time to post some mid-season thoughts.

If you've read my "thoughts" on the WEB SITE, you certainly know how much all our interaction means to me. I think the "Family," the "Nowhere MANiacs" are all a bright, opinionated bunch.

One of my favorite aspects of this experience has to do with "clue-following ." Despite the gazillion times that I've said that NwM is not a clue show, people persist in digging and digging. I love that. It reminds me of a true story that happened shortly after the Pope had de-canonized a number of Saints. I think this was back in the early 70's. Among the no-longer-sainted was St. Christopher, patron saint of travel. A cousin of mine hopped into a New York City taxi where the driver, obviously a practicing Catholic, had a St. Christopher statue on his dashboard (not uncommon). My cousin, Doug, decided to "take him on." He pointed out to the cabbie that St. Christopher had been de-canonized and asked if having him on the dashboard wasn't a conflict. The cabbie looked at him, determined to cling onto *all* his beliefs and said, "Yeah, I know. I just call him MISTER Christopher."

I've read, with interest (and a smile) comments on everything in the show. I won't bust the bubble but let me point out a few things. Episodic television, even at its best, is chaos. Scripts are "eaten" by the production company at the rate of one every seven days. It's gruelling. In the case of NwM, our post-production schedule has been equally tumultuous. In short, with the many things that *are* planned - a lot of things "just happen."

I may be watching a scene while we're editing and say to my associate producer, "hey we could use a peek at that file that Tom's holding." She sends out our 2nd unit director to pick up shots. He often calls me and asks for details, but they're usually cursory, style points at best. He then puts his "crew" together and has a prop man make up props. None of these people "are in the know" about the "mystery" behind NwM. It therefore is entertaining to watch people come on line and tell the world how they've freeze framed this "insert" and "here's what we know."

Please - like the cabbie - don't stop. It's far too much fun, I think, for all of us.

In keeping with the sentiments above -- it has to be said that not all directors are created equally. You'd be shocked to know how often we have people up in Portland, behind the lens, who just don't get it on the most basic levels. So, something tremendously *wrong* appears on film and then is subject to this level of introspective analyses.

Often what some have interpreted as a major clue, is merely a director's mistake (or lack of talent).

Following that, I've had a number of e-mails (a huge number) from people who are just "getting fed up with this show." "How can I go on without some clues." ETC. Considering all the above, this is always interesting to me.

There's a group that finds clues in the pauses between words and there's a group that's "had it" with me because there are no clues.

Well, of course, there are clues. They're subtle (and have been registered and commented upon by many) but they're there. But mainly, I've asked some of these "I've had its" how they can be sure that they're not getting clues when they don't know the answers? (When people get outraged, "why did they just let him go! This show doesn't make sense!" Again, how do you know until you know what's going on?)

I've taken it upon myself to intrepet this latter group as "the frustrated." Well, hop on folks. In part, NwM is a show about being stymied, played with , manipulated and f***** over. It's a show about what it takes to survive in a world as an individual, etc., etc. I guess it's not for everyone.

The XMAS show has kicked up a lot of contraversy (and that's a good thing). Some people think it was a "rip-off" some don't. First, it was a little bit of a "joke" to and for myself and a Christmas present to the "we want answers group."

There's been a lot of speculation about the "history" of this show. A lot of people think that UPN interfered here and that it once was the "real" ending , etc. Not even close. UPN had nothing to do with it. It was never planned as anything other than it was. A Christmas present to Tom and the audience, inevitably showing them just what and where that present will get them.

I've seen some comparisons to the Prisoner episode, "Many Happy Returns" and that, I believe, is fair. Someone commented that, "at least MHR was about something." Well, maybe we didn't communicate it, maybe we did - but I think that "...Wonderful Life" was about something, too (even beyond the questions it opens up about Alyson and Mom).

I think it's about women and men on a lot of levels. I think there are times when someone of our same sex could never illicit the second and third chances that we give to the opposite sex. If a girlfriend slammed a girlfriend against a wall on any regular basis, I doubt that she could use "I love you" as the buy-it-all-off routine. But men do it all the time. Same with men -- if a male friend betrayed trust in a big way - they'd have an almost impossible time earning it back. But sex and the need for intimacy is a big lure. It takes what might seem impossible (a woman staying with an abusive man - Tom reinstating his trust for Alyson) and makes it likely.

The show also goes to the heart of Tom's trust. With everything "They" did.

With the elaborate ruses that were set up. Even with Alyson's seduction and mom's tearful entreaty -- Tom still didn't trust it enough to leave the negs in his bag. (Shades of Gus?). Who is Tom? Will he ever trust? Did he trust before this all happened? Does it have something to do with why he's in this mess to begin with?

I've had people say, "well that's it for Alyson," no more. But I remind them that that was said hundreds of times after the pilot. Once she was seen laughing with Dr. Bellamy it was "history" for Mrs. Veil. I believe it's easy enough to see a scenario in which the "Veil family" was drugged by Roy's fruitcake, Alyson and mom were nabbed, Alyson forced to write on the card, and the place ransacked.

Can we really never believe Alyson again?

In any case - what are clues, what aren't clues and what the series is about has changed very little since its inception. This newsgroup appears to be the place to come to discuss all of those nuances.

Each theory, each jab, each complaint and each horray is a wonder and a joy to behold.

Don't let the holiday "hiatus" slow you down. I'll be here and I hope you guys'll be here too. It's a good time to start watching those old eps on video in slo-mo, looking for answers. Gotta go, someone just dropped some glasses in my kitchen.

Larry

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vidiot at vidiot dot com
Last modified on November 30, 1995