Wednesday, September 06, 2006

An open invitation for the writers of "Vanished" to actually visit Atlanta

, the latest television program to try to emulate the "Lost" hysteria (slowly revealed mystery, strange symbols, conspiracies, attactive folks in tiny clothes, etc.) is based in my hometown of Atlanta. Or at least some West-coast writers' version of Atlanta.

Folks here in Atlanta are pretty excited that our fair city is featured. Honestly, we're a bit tired of being only associated with "Gone with the Wind", "Sharkey's Marchine", and "The Dukes of Hazzard" (although that scene where Burt Reynolds throws the guy out of the Peachtree in "Sharkey's" is pretty cool).

Spike Lee did a pretty good job for a while of portraying Atlanta in a more modern light, but then he moved to New York and started supporting the Knicks. Tyler Perry shows Atlanta off pretty well, but white folks just don't flock to his movies in the numbers that they should. And no one's addressing the couch-potato audience very well.

So it was with great anticipation that I - and other Atlantans - tuned in to "Vanished", a sleek little number that started well with lots of images of the skyline and some iconic Atlanta buildings. There was even a car chase in front of the Georgia World Congress Center downtown. Then the little, minor errors started showing up, and it became painfully obvious that the writers have not actually ever been to Atlanta.

  • Chamblee, a suburb of Atlanta is pronounced "Sham - blee", not "Shum - blay". It's not a wine from an obscure Napa vineyard. It's a southern city.
  • Buckhead is a section of Atlanta, not a separate city. So no one would ever say that they were reporting from "Buckhead, Georgia". That would be like reporting from "Stockyards, Illinois" or "East Village, New York" (if they hadn't named that city and state the same thing just to bollocks up my example). Ironically, there actually is a "Buckhead, Georgia", but it's not all that close to Atlanta.
  • Although I know that you California types like to put the word "the" in front of your interstates and highways (I was on "the 101" this morning for 2 hours), we don't do that in the south. So a suspect about to drive onto Interstate 20 in the middle of Atlanta would not be "getting onto the 20". He would be "getting onto I-20".
  • I will give some props to the writers for not falling into sterotypes, but couldn't at least one character have a subtle southern accent? It's true that the majority of folks in Atlanta don't talk like Cletus, but this is the south. There are some very beautiful accents floating around. However, the first character that shows up with a deep southern accent and is either (1) a sterotypical doofus or (2) Matlock will be the last character I watch on this program or any other program on this network.
  • In episode 3, the Senator is forced to drop off $5million in the middle of a crowded plaza. The problem is, that plaza doesn't exist. I can understand that the writers couldn't find exactly what they wanted - a plaza with restaurants, a fountain, a manhole, media nearby, and a glass elevator, but how hard would it have been to write something similar with, say, the fountains in Olympic Park, CNN tower next door, and the glass elevator on the Westin Peachtree tower? Come on, try a little bit folks.

  • And I hate to bring it up, but where are all of the people of color in this show? Have you ever been to Atlanta? At least some of the police officers, city officials, hotel workers, news reporters, random people on the street should be black folks. "Vanished" has one guy - the Senator's aide. Surely there are some actors with darker complexions that could clear their schedules for a weekly drama.
So, on behalf of the people of Atlanta, I would like to invite the writers of "Vanished" to visit the city - at least once. You might find enough interesting about Atlanta that you don't need to invent a fictional Atlanta from scratch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Well said.

And could a Senator really be elected in the State of Georgia without just a HINT of an accent? I think not!