Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Case Study No. 0962: Jack the Librarian

Book Club Teaser Trailer
http://www.book clubthe series.com
Teaser Trailer for the hilarious new web series, Book Club.
Tags: Callum Blue Julie McNiven Book Club Ericka Kreutz
Added: 2 years ago
From: novelruby
Views: 741

["They were rejected" appears on screen, then cut to a young woman wearing a pink "Stories" t-shirt as she stares directly into the camera]
AUBREY: Your story is not for us.
["They were humiliated" appears on screen, then cut to an older man dry-humping the leg of another young woman]
MARLO: Oh! Uh, okay ... "Old Yeller!"
["They were well read" appears on screen, then cut to Marlo reaching into a bag (as the rest of the book club sits in a circle around her) and pulling out an old book]
MARLO: Our first book is ... "Ulysses!"
THAD: Oh, yes!
LOUIS: How long is that book?
MARLO: [pause] Nine hundred and ninety four pages ...
[she hugs the book to her chest and has a big smile on her face, but the other members just stare at her]
SHARON: I thought we could start with some Danielle Steele ...
FATHER JOSEPH: That's a good idea!
[cut to Marlo and Thad sitting and speaking directly to the camera, as she tries to tie up a balloon in her hands]
MARLO: We are the co-founders of the--
[the balloon slips out of her hand and goes flying off-camera]
MARLO: Walhalla Book Club!
[cut to Marlo blowing up another balloon (as Thad gives her an incredulous look), then cut to Marlo speaking directly to the camera]
MARLO: My therapist said, the only way I can relate to people is through books, but ...
[she tries laughing off the mere suggestion of such a thing, then gets a serious look on her face]
MARLO: That's not true.
[cut to Thad speaking directly to the camera]
THAD: I originally intended to join "Stories" ...
[cut to a closeup of a pink sign reading "Stories Auditions Today," then the camera pans down to show Aubrey with a forced smile on her face]
THAD: [in voice over] The elite book club of Walhalla.
[cut back to Marlo and Thad speaking directly to the camera]
THAD: In a moment of weakness ...
[cut to a shot of Thad sitting alone at a table, next to a whiteboard reading "Tea Before Typing, a love affair with Margaret Mitchell"]
THAD: [in voice over] I agreed that ...
[cut back to Thad speaking directly to the camera, as he tries to force the words out]
THAD: We should start our own club.
[cut to Marlo, who (apparently not realizing her co-founder's disgust, smiles broadly and throws her hands up excitedly]
MARLO: It is going to be great!
[cut to Father Joseph (wearing a Hawaiian shirt over his priestly collar shirt) walking into the room arm-in-arm with a young Asian woman using her cellphone]
FATHER JOSEPH: Hello, everybody!
[cut to Louis (an African American man dressed like a gang member) grabbing Thad and pulling him in for a hug]
THAD: [in voice over] This is book club!
[cut to a young male librarian (short brown hair, blue shirt) standing in front of Marlo and Thad as he holds up a cart of books]
JACK: Uh, I've got the books ...
[cut to Sharon reaching her hand towards Ling]
SHARON: I smell a rabbit!
[Ling slaps her hand away]
[cut to various shots of the members of the book club, then cut Marlo and Thad facing off against the members of "Stories" (Aubrey, Chad, and Fatik)]
THAD: Chad ...
CHAD: Thad ...
[cut to Marlo laughing (as Louise walks away in disgust), then cut to Sharon handing Father Joseph a carton of brownies]
SHARON: Take one, pass one.
[cut to Marlo speaking directly to the camera]
MARLO: They're prescription!
[cut back to Father Joseph and Sharon]
[cut to Louis standing in front of Thad]
LOUIS: Yo, I'm here for book club, I'm Louis!
[cut back to Father Joseph and Ling]
FATHER JOSEPH: And this lovely little ... china doll right here is my new friend!
MARLO: Oh ...
[she holds up her cell phone and takes a picture of Marlo (who quickly smiles), then cut to the librarian entering the book club]
JACK: Knock knock!
[cut back to the members of "Stories"]
FATIK: There's nothing like cruising with the top down, reading your Kindle, eh?
[cut to the group looking at Louis in surprise (fear?), then cut to Chad pointing at Thad]
CHAD: Listen up right here!
[cut to Marlo holding up a "Books Have Me Hooked" t-shirt]
CHAD: [in voice over] There's only money in the town budget for one book club!
[cut to Thad with a disgusted look on his face, then cut to all of the members of the book club putting in their hands for a cheer]
MARLO: Books have me hooked!
[they all cheer, as "Book Club www dot bookclubtheseries dot com" appears on screen]


From imdb.com:

Book Club (2011– )

Callum Blue ... Jack the Librarian
Terrence Edwards ... Louis
Richard Allan Jones ... Father Joseph
Kamran R. Khan ... Fatik
Ericka Kreutz ... Sharon
Elaine Mani Lee ... Ling
Noah Longo ... Thad / Chad
Julie McNiven ... Aubrey
Jessica Runck ... Marlo


From bookriot.com:

A few days ago, an acquaintance posted a link on my Facebook wall.

"You will LOVE," she insisted.

The link took me to Hulu's "Book Club: A Web Series For Bibliophiles." The first season is made up of eleven episodes, each five to seven minutes long, excluding the fourteen minute pilot. The log line was easy to find: "After being rejected from their town's elite book club, a pill-popping young woman and a deeply closeted gay man start their own book club made up of local misfits and both fall in love with the town librarian. With every other meeting focused on a different book, Book Club explores both literary lessons applicable to daily life as well as the humor found in simple, monthly interactions of people dying to relate."

That was more than enough to get me watching. I'll just come right out and say it now, I did not love this series. I wanted to. I didn't. Let's talk.

First, I want to touch on the technical storytelling problems. Then I'll get into why I don't think this is a web series for bibliophiles, why I think it completely misses the point of being a bibliophile.

Let's start here. After pill-popping Marlo and deeply closeted gay man Thad found the organization, "The Walhalla Book Club" is rounded out by ex-convict Louis, unhinged mother of small children Sharon, sexually inappropriate priest Father Joseph, and offensive Asian stereotype Ling. The books they read are, in order, James Joyce's Ulysses, fictional soft-core romance novel Cougar Enchantments, Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, Barbara M. Joosse's inner-city set picture book Stars in the Darkness, and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. The books are rarely discussed. Instead, the club either participates in book-related arts and crafts and performance activities that makes the majority of the members look and feel foolish, or "Stories," the elite book club referred to in the log line drops in and delivers vaguely ominous dialogue. The members of Stories were far and away my favorite characters, in particular their ice-queen leader Aubrey, played by Julie McNiven (recognizable in that "I remember her from something" kind of way, she plays Hildy, Pete Campbell's secretary on Mad Men.)

I knew I was supposed to be rooting for the misfits of The Walhalla Book Club, but I found so little to root for. The characters were cartoonish, none of their interactions felt honest, I couldn't understand why these people kept meeting up to spend time together month after month. I would have been out of there in five minutes flat. No, that's a lie, I'm not that assertive, I would have waited 'til the break, pretended to get a call, lied to everyone and explained that a friend's car broke down, and then gone home and eaten something with a lot of calories to get the taste of all that crazy out of my mouth. The Walhalla Book Club clearly doesn't like each other very much, and because of that, I don't like them very much either. The books they read make no sense together, and the characters seem to gain little to nothing from reading these classics and eclectic finds.

(Also, word to the wise, if you're going to start your book club off with a classic, don't make it all-783-pages-of Ulysses. Slant the prompt and pick a slim, hip NYRB Classics book like John William's Stoner or Elaine Dundy's Dud Avocado. I'll go to that book club. And I'll watch that web series.)

I didn't believe The Walhalla Book Club as an organized group. I didn't believe many of them as human beings. Most of all, I didn't believe them as bibliophiles. Certainly not bibliophiles worthy of my eyeballs. Every day on Twitter, Tumblr, and book blogs, I see hilarious, fascinating, borderline-explosive, and every once in a while certifiably enlightening interactions between book lovers. These bibliophiles are characters worthy of fiction and I'm sure most of them don't even realize it. I think the problem with Book Club is that the series did not trust its premise. It seemed like these bizarre characters and their improbable interactions with one another was storytelling smoke and mirrors, as if the creatives behind this series were worried that people talking about books wasn't enough. I think it can be enough. I think it can be the core of a story worth telling. Certainly books like The Jane Austen Book Club and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society figured it out. Book lovers are worthy subjects of fiction.

You just have to have the right book lovers. And you just have to have the right books.

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