Thursday, September 22, 2011

I thirst for REVENGE!!! (and a pony, please)

Looking through the entertainment section of the Gray Lady (something that sounds far more scandalous than it actually is), I see that a wonderful new miniseries is going to rear its head on the networks. "Revenge," a tale of...revenge apparently, involving various high-society and filthy rich and snobby types traipsing around the Hamptons and getting what is coming to them. I glanced at the review and an online preview (I won't provide the link, as a gesture of my respect for you), and Gott in Himmel it looks unwatchable.

Normally I wouldn't bother to read such a review, but for the fact that I got to see some of the filming of this entertainment. The last time I visited my parents, we went for a hike at Will Rogers State Park. Old Will was quite a horseman, quite wealthy, and so his estate (now the state park) has a polo field. Apparently the Will Rogers polo field is more convenient for filming than one in the Hamptons, so the place was swarming with the film crew, real polo players and ponies hired for the show, and a passel of extras. But how to make it look like the Hamptons, and not Southern California? Just label everything "Hamptons" with a sign fresh out of the laserjet (click on the picture to enlarge).
Never you mind those eucalyptus trees! Now, all that's needed for total Hampton-ness is some Hampton-y looking people. A cattle call and a quick visit to wardrobe produced this tony crowd:
(Not the best photo, but it was very much the rich-east-coast stereotype (except for being, overall, several skin shades less white). Oh, and do make sure that the Porsche and Land-Rover stay in the picture!)

Finally, the polo. They had to make the polo grounds look like they'd been used. Rather than actually waste time playing polo (which I'm sure the real players would not have minded being paid for), they had this guy drive all over the field, randomly flinging clods of turf around.
At this point, I started wondering just how many minutes of screen time this was going to amount to, how much it was costing--and just how much it would be worth. Oh, and make sure the Mercedes stays in the picture.

Finally, some polo! First the leading man has to get his polo jersey sweat-stained--easy, he lifts his arm and the make-up lady spritzes them with a spray bottle. Then, it's up into the saddle of his doughty steed, already poised in front of the camera:

Well, that was worth it. If anyone out there who reads this actually sees this moment on TV, let me know. I'm curious as to whether it was worth the efforts of everybody at the shoot. We found it diverting, but it was free.

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