Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Gibbs Girl

I admit it. I love television.

I know. So many writers pooh-pooh television, saying that it shrinks our brains and hampers our creativity. But give me a well-written drama, and I can learn so much about writing and pacing from it.

Say ... NCIS.

I further admit that I am a Gibbs girl, myself. I love me some Gibbs -- Gibbs is one of those characters that appear at the top of my "If I were ever stranded on a desert island" lists. He'd probably hammer me into the ground by the end of the first day, but by gosh, he's nothing if he's not competent. Give the guy a case of toothpicks and a piece of innertube, and he could probably build a raft.

NCIS is one of the few television shows that The Husband and I will watch together. The Husband's non-ESPN tastes run to sit-coms, which I file under breaches of the Geneva Convention. Most sit-coms turn on pratfalls and abject humiliation, and I never got past the stage where I just empathized so strongly for the poor blighted character that I had to walk out of the room at the moment of their humiliation.

But NCIS, somehow or another, caught The Husband's attention. It has to do with several factors. One, it's not a particularly gory show after the first five minutes -- unlike some of my other fave TV show -- CRIMINAL MINDS or CSI. Two, it's got comedy in it, and if you want to keep The Husband's attention, you'd best keep his funny bone tickled.

As I write this, both The Husband and I are rather tickled at the prospect of the season premiere of NCIS. I've waited a long time to see what old Gibbs will do following last season's cliff-hanger -- and if his dad makes it after facing down a gun held by a revenge-bent woman.

I try to remember that I need to bring just that sort of balance to my own writing -- some choke-you-up tender moments, some shoot-em-up action sequences, some belly-laughs. What a good writer is doing is constructing a roller coaster that will take the reader on a ride. NCIS and other good shows like that help me remember that.

Or at least, that's what I tell myself about why it's worth 45 minutes a week for me to speed through the DVR'd version of NCIS. It could, of course, just be a fatal weakness for Mark Harmon.


Piedmont Writer said...

Funny you shoud say this, I'm a Cullen girl myself. From NCIS: LA.

Cullen is just so tortured from his past, plus he's incredibly smart, speaks 5 or 6 languages, and he's pretty to look at to boot.

My manuscripts are kind of like that. I always have a smattering of a foreign language, my MC's are usually pretty smart and the angst level is enough to make the poet Shelley roll over in his grave.

Stephanie McGee said...

Variety and balance are the key to everything.

Enjoy the premiere.

Linda G. said...

If you want Gibbs, you'll have to wrestle me for him. ;)

Hubs and I watch this show together, too. I'm pretty sure he's ogling Ziva while I'm ogling Gibbs.

Kelly Breakey said...

This is the little TV show that could. I have been a big fan since they started the show eight seasons ago. I have all of them on DVD including the recently released season. I too can't wait to dive in. I TIVO it so I never miss an episode and this way I can save them all season just in case I want to watch them over and over again, which I do.

Donna Hosie said...

I love Gibbs, but for me, it is the entire dynamic of the team that works so well. A great example of how to really use peripheral characters.