Political Behavior


While I have long been interested in our national politics, the idea of having to work in a political environment often seems unappealing to me.Still, making television requires the collective collaboration between an army of artists and a formable force of bean counters, so getting the job done means political skills are a must! In fact, I’ve often wondered how different our national problem solving mechanism would operate, if it worked more like the political structure on a television show.

For example, in the Nation of “Bored To Death,” our President is Showrunner Jonathan Ames. The Congress is our entire crew, made up of subcommittees including: Accounting, Art Department, Camera, Casting, Construction, Electric, Grips, Hair and Make-up, Locations, Post, Production, Props, Scenics, Set Decorators, Sound, Special Effects, Stunts, Transportation & Wardrobe. We have several Vice-Presidents in the form of Writers, Directors and Producers. The Network is both Senate and Treasury. And this form of government seems to work!

Over the past years, I’ve watched crews deal with obstacle after obstacle, under the tightest of time constraints, and not once have I ever seen them fail to get the job done.

I find it very frustrating that in spite of our country’s dire circumstances, so much energy in Washington is currently being spent trying to undermine the side that’s in power. The concept of working together is merely given lip service. It’s as though we’re trapped inside an endless high-octane sports event – “Our Side” verses “Their Side.”

Being in the game requires massive resources, which of course necessitates corporate sponsorship that goes well beyond supplying logos for the stadium. In the case of our political system, corporate interests influence the agenda on both sides, stymieing progress in order to maintain a status quo that’s profitable for a relative few, but disastrous for the rest of us.

Some may say that the structure of a television show is more like a dictatorship than a democracy, but I disagree. No one person can make a show by themselves. The Showrunner’s vision must both lead and inspire the collective efforts of all the “citizens” in order to get the job done.

Everyone must cast their own version of a creative “vote,” whether it be moving a lighting stand to a better position, or securing the number of parking permits needed for that day’s shoot. Each of those votes are mandatory, because it takes all of our collective efforts in order to achieve the goal, or nobody’s votes will count, because the show won’t get made.

With the challenges ahead for this country, we must educate ourselves so we can understand what we’ll all need to do to help. We must express our views to the leaders we have, and then we must vote for the leaders we prefer. Because if we don’t participate in the democracy we have, this show won’t be on the air for much longer, and there may not be a midseason show to replace it!

About The Author

I was raised in the Des Moines, Iowa, and had the good fortune to come out during my early days at Stanford University, which meant that I came of age in the San Francisco Bay Area, circa 1978! (That deserves two - !! ) I was thrilled to finally understand that piece of myself, and found many inspiring members within the gay community that helped me feel great about who I was. After college I moved out to New York to pursue a career as an actor. My 20's were fairly eventful (it was the 80's in New York, mind you) but by the end of that period in my life, I was looking for a more satisfying way to work and live. When my agent and manager both started moving clients to LA, I went, happily. Eventually I found my way into Renaissance Pictures, the production company run by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, where I worked on "Hercules" and "Xena." After several very cool years with them, I headed back to New York, motivated by a possible position on a gay cable network (that never happened) and a new love (that most definitely did!). 13 years later I find myself happily married to my husband Chris, working on two cool shows ("Nurse Jackie" and "Bored To Death"), and living in Chelsea with our golden retriever Jezebel. During the summer we're lucky enough to balance our time between the Pines on Fire Island, and Ptown on Cape Cod. During those visits, Jezebel loves nothing more than to jump the waves after a ball, or chase seagulls along the beach. She's a good role model on how best to enjoy the simple pleasures, and as easy a child to raise and love as ever there was! (She is a golden, after all!) You can reach Brad at carpenterbrad@me.com.

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