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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Flippin' And A Floppin'

Now, you might think I'm referring to Mitt Romney, or Herman Cain, and you certainly wouldn't be very far off-base.
But that's not what I'm referring to.

Or you esoteric old-time classic TV fans may think I'm referring to Sid Caesar's trio, The Haircuts, a takeoff on the Rock and Roll
group, The Crewcuts.
The Haircuts' "Big Hit Record" was "You Are So Rare To Me".
The "flip" side, of all things, was called "Flippin' Over You".
I thought "Flippin' Over You" was much funnier than "You Are So Rare To Me".
The "release", or middle part of "Flippin' Over You" involved Carl Reiner and Howard Morris laying out so Sid could handle it by himself.
And he sang, at breakneck speed, "Flippin' and a floppin' and a floppin' and a flippin' and a flippin' and a floppin' and a floppin' and a flippin'
Flippin' and a floppin' and a floppin' and a flippin', yop pop pop pop pop pop pop, pow!"

That's not what I'm referring to either.
Nor I'm I referring to old time character actor Jay C. Flippen, whom to my knowledge, was never involved in floppin'.

What I am referring to is a filmic device that I've only seen employed in sitcoms.
I first became aware of the term by Garry Marshall.
It was a device we employed occasionally on his shows.
Probably most often on "The Odd Couple".
It involved the actual optical flipping of the picture that was used when a character indicated some resistance to doing something.
The "flip" implied that time has passed, and the character's resistance has been broken down.
The set-up line most often associated with "flips" is a male character saying "You're not going to get me into a dress"
Flip to: that character all gussied up in a dress.
Not the most sophisticated device ever conceived of.
And I've never seen it employed in a movie or in a theatre.
But done with good timing, it can be at least somewhat effective.

Lately, the flip has been used without the optic device.
It used to be often accompanied by a musical slide up the scale of a xylophone.
Now, it has been refined to a straight cut, but it's effect is the same.

And lately, it has been overused by of all people, my hero Chuck Lorre.
Last week, Alan Harper was in his bedroom with his girlfriend.
He said something untoward towards her.
Flip to: Alan leaving the bedroom, blanket in hand.
They used it as a running gag in the episode, and in that context, it was kind of funny.

The following week, Alan's mother (Holland Taylor) invites Ashton Kutsher in for a drink, assuring him that she has no designs on him.
Flip to: The two of them under the covers in the after-glow.
It was quite predictable, and that's when they lost me.

In the very next half-hour, on "Mike and Molly", it was their Halloween Show,
Molly was all dressed up to go to a party as the Bride of Frankenstein.
She wanted Mike to go as Frankenstein.
And we actually had a minute and a half of "You're not getting me into that costume"
Flip to: The two of them in their car, Mike behind the wheel, covered in green makeup, all decked out as Frankenstein.
I can't imagine that there was anyone who did not see this coming.
So Chuck Lorre has become enamored of the Flip.

Flipping in itself is not an atrocious idea.
But one must be judicious about it.
You can't use it too often, or your audience will be waiting for it.
And not happily.

And your flippin' will be floppin'.

My book, "Show Runner" and it's sequel,"Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store, You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
You might want to check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperback, "Mark Rothman's Essays" is still available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings remaining, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
The website "On Screen & Beyond" has two hours of an interview I did on it's podcast in their archives.
Just Google On Screen & Beyond to find them if you're interested.


1 comment:

  1. I've heard that referred to as "the Gilligan Cut"




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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."