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March 31, 2008

CAAF: Culture clash

Last week I discovered the show Damages and watched all 13 episodes of Season 1 over a marathon of on-the-couch dinners and before-bed cups of tea (see Top 5 at right). One of the best parts of the show is Ted Danson's character of billionaire Arthur Frobisher, the defendant in an Enron-esque class-action lawsuit brought by the former employees of his bankrupt company. Danson was nominated for a Golden Globe for his part, and if the world were a right one, his giant block of a brow and his white, wolfish chompers also would have gotten nods.

As his case comes closer to trial, Frobisher is taking a p.r. beating in the media and, against the advice of his attorney, he arranges to have his biography written. Now Frobisher is very much Forster's man on the golf course, and it's clear he expects this project to be a glossy piece of hagiography, one that will chart his self-made rise to captain of industry, his triumph over childhood dyslexia, his family values, etc. etc. In due time, a biographer is procured -- a nervous plug of a guy named George, "a fellow from Yale, writes fiction no one reads but he's one hell of a biographer" -- and the project commences. Yet as the interviews between writer and subject continue Frobisher's confidence visibly wavers as he becomes more nervous about how his biographer (and hence history) will judge him. He pays a midnight visit to his biographer's tiny city apartment to drum up camaraderie. The attempt fails, and, desperate, Frobisher tries one last sally:

FROBISHER: Tell me about your book.

GEORGE: My novel?

FROBISHER: Sorry, your novel.

GEORGE (looking pained & emo): It's hard to describe.

FROBISHER: Just tell me what it's about, will you?

GEORGE: On the face of it, it's a love story. It's about nostalgia and how that affects our core relationships --

FROBISHER (incredulous): Jesus, George! I mean, that sounds like crap! Are you kidding me? Look what you're doing here? (motions around apartment) You're living in -- You're sleeping on a futon. C'mon! Of course you're writing about my life. You don't have one!

A short scene but the "On the face of it, it's a love story" line and the sputtering "You're sleeping on a futon" (I do!) are killers.

Posted March 31, 2008 2:18 PM

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