Something I've noticed, as we've worked our way through 88 episodes now (actually, 89 — since ROX #88 was edited after ROX #89 was completed.... or wait, no, actually, 88, since we somehow managed to skip #33 entirely), is that Editor B's thoughts as he goes along through the process of editing a program are often quite contrary to my impressions upon viewing the finished project.
I have no idea why this is the case. Episodes that I can remember him despairing during the editing process, are often among my personal favorites, shows I'm most proud of having participated in.
In some cases, his frustrations seemed to crop up as he edited shows that lacked a central, clear kernel of focus — episodes like “Trip,” for example (which is about nothing more than a journey to Chicago), or “Flow” (which can't be described as 'about' anything).
Sometimes, though, he would express initial unhappiness with programs that did have a clear (if silly) focus, shows like “The Potable Gourmet,” or “Moving On Down.”
Why? It was never clear to me. Probably because I was never in the editing room with him, watching all the crappy footage that got left out, trying to organize all the slightly-less-crappy footage that got left in, avoiding calls from creditors, trying to fix broken tape decks and reboot dead, outdated computers.
And, in fairness, “The Potable Gourmet” never emerged in my mind as our most cutting-edge, politically informed work of all time....
Thus we come to this episode, “J&B's Mid-Life Crisis.” Throughout the process of editing this show, Editor B seemed variously frustrated, distracted, and disinterested. “I hope to wind up 'Crisis' this weekend. That may be a foolhardy commitment on my part. Damn, but this one has been tough,” he wrote to me — a full month before he finally completed editing the program.
And in the end? After two viewings, I personally feel like it's a darn fine representation of what we were trying to pull off; a show with some heart and some brains, some timeliness and timelessness, not to mention some giggles — which is the combo that I, personally, wanna see in every episode.
Some parts are certainly silly — most notably, in my mind, our initial co-hosting segment, in which we “converse” in a split screen. In order to tape that segment, I sat in a chair and videotaped myself having a one-sided conversation, not hearing any response (from B, or anybody else). I then sent the tape to B, who taped his responses in real time, on first impression, as he was watching what I'd taped. Obviously, it doesn't work as a means of co-hosting the show. We KNEW it wouldn't work. It was just a silly improvised skit, a kind of video exquisite corpse that falls rather flat.
But hey, this is low-budget, improv TV; and we didn't expect that part to be great. Most of the rest of it, I enjoyed watching. And I really enjoyed taping my parts. The peace rally in Seattle was probably the biggest activist street event I've ever attended; it was truly awe- and spirit-inspiring. The hosting segments were a great excuse to talk to my houseplants, and later, to Editor B on the phone (something we do far too seldom). And while I made a complete dumbass of myself in the process, it was fun (more fun than I expected going into it) to interview people at the WalMart.
And for me, that's what getting back into production of this show is about: having fun, challenging myself a bit, finding inspiration and learning about the world by exploring with camera in hand. So shit yeah, I dig this show. Hope you do to!