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  • Paul Davidson

<i>Unscripted</i> Words

There are times when you see a TV show and you can’t stand it.

And there are times when you see a TV show and you can’t stand it, yet you continue to watch it and by the time you view the season finale, you no longer hate it but actually find yourself singing its praises on your own weblog.

Well, Unscripted, is one of those shows.

It’s hard to fully explain just what Unscripted is. But I can tell you what it isn’t. It isn’t a reality TV show about struggling actors in Los Angeles and their jabs at fame. It isn’t a scripted show about characters who happen to be actors and their lives among starletts. It isn’t fake. And it isn’t real.

It’s damn confusing. And it makes me giddy.

Unscripted stars three real life actors. Krista Allen, best known for her roles in the sexy movie Emmanuelle and as one of George Clooney’s ex-girlfriends. Bryan Greenberg, not known for much. And Jennifer Hall, also an up and comer. Their acting coach, played by real-life actor Frank Langella (Dave) plays character Goddard Fulton. The show, produced by Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s company, combines real actors playing characters with real actors playing themselves in fictional situations.

But that’s where it gets even more confusing and addictive.

Take for example a previous episode where Jennifer Hall gets a walk-on extra part in the movie Constantine. The sequence has her rubbing elbows with the movie’s Shia LaBeouf and Director. The sequence has her actually walking behind Keanu and Shia as they film a scene for the movie.

But is it real?

Well, I just recently saw Constantine and there in the movie is that exact sequence, and there is Jennifer Hall, walking behind them. What she shot for the show, as a part of the narrative of the show, including real actors and a real movie, was actually real.

Take for example another story point involving Bryan Greenberg getting his first big-time movie role opposite Uma Thurman and Meryl Streep. It’s a great character moment cause the struggling character of Bryan Greenberg flies to NYC to act in this movie. He gets way drunk one night, shows up late to his call, and ends up embarassing himself in front of Uma and Meryl.

Well, you can imagine my surprise as I’m looking through a magazine this morning and I see that there’s this movie called Prime about a New Yorker (Uma Thurman) who is wooed by her shrink’s son (Bryan Greenberg). Huh!? It’s real!?

What Clooney and Soderberg have done is to create a world that feels real and is populated by real actors playing themselves in stories that are scripted but which, periodically, end up being true and which have the most amazing synergy with real life media.

It’s awesome. And HBO, which just wrapped the first season of 6 or 7 episodes is starting to re-air them again. Give it a chance and see if you can wrap your head around this one.

God knows, I’m still trying.

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