美剧《绝望的主妇》编剧马克.切利谈创作背景

绝望的主妇创作背景

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 22 – Two years ago, Marc Cherry was a 40-year-old television writer who felt his career was rapidly sliding downhill. His script, “Desperate Housewives,” had been sent to every broadcast and cable network as a black comedy and was rejected by all of them. His agent was arrested for embezzlement and went to jail. — Bernard Weinraub

二年前,即2002年,编剧马克.切利是一个40岁电视剧编剧,他感觉到自己的事业正在迅速走下坡路。刚完成的手稿《绝望的主妇》作为一部黑色喜剧,被所有的广播和有线电视线拒绝。他的经纪人因挪用他原本捉襟见肘的存款,被他一怒之下将其告上法庭,孤立无援的自己不得不去年迈的母亲那里蹭吃蹭喝。

“I was devastated,” Mr. Cherry said. “I needed new representation and I went to this agency, Paradigm[‘pærədaɪm]. They read the script and loved it and said: ‘No, no — no one knows what to do with a black comedy. Let’s make a few changes and call it a soap.”‘

马克.切利在接受访谈时坦言:当时的我欲哭无泪、伤心至极。切利急需要找到一个新的经纪人,以期重新振作,他当时找到了一家名为:Paradigm的经纪公司。该公司的经纪人读完剧本之后,非常喜欢,并对他说:“不行,不行,喜剧片不好操作,我们对它做些改动,叫它用肥皂剧吧。”

Within days, Susan Lyne and Lloyd Braun, both top ABC executives at the time, bought the unusual comedic script about the secret lives of women in a suburb that seems ideal but is simmering[‘sɪmərɪŋ], of course, with sex and mystery. “Desperate Housewives,” with its frisky plot and gorgeous actors and actresses, has now turned into not only the No. 1 new series on television but also a breakthrough hit for ABC, which has been in last place among the big four networks for a long time. The opening of the show, on Oct. 3, pulled in more than 21 million viewers, and the series has come close to maintaining that audience since.

Notessimmering:To be filled with pent-up emotion or in a state of mild agitation or turmoil. (频临崩溃的)

几天之内,时任ABC高管苏珊·莱恩与劳伊德·布劳恩购买了这部喜剧剧本,该剧本讲述了几名看似理想惬意、实则频临崩溃的郊区女人的秘密生活,当然还有男欢女爱和各种神秘离奇。伴随着绝望的主妇试播集的欢跃全场以及出色演员班子的精彩表演,不久后这部剧不仅成为了最为炙手可热的电视剧集,也是ABC广播电视台史无前例的扛把子,在此之前该公司一直位于四大有线电视台之末。2004年10月3日《绝望的主妇》开播吸引了2100万观众的收看,之后的观众人数一直保持与这个数字接近。

Steve McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment, said of the series: “It’s a point of view that’s not on the air. It’s incredibly fresh writing.” Mr. McPherson and other television executives said that the abundance of crime dramas saturating television — the “Law and Order” and “CSI” shows — made the offbeat[ˌɒf’biːt] “Desperate Housewives” especially appealing. “There’s nothing like it on television or cable,” said Mr. McPherson, who was previously president of Touchstone Television, which produces the series.

Notesoffbeat:unusual and strange and therefore surprising or noticeable. (另类的、反常的)

ABC娱乐电视集团总裁史蒂夫·麦克弗森曾说过:这部剧了不起的新颖创作在电视剧史上前所未有。麦克弗森包括其它电视台的管理人员感言:过多的罪案剧比如:法律与秩序、犯罪现场调查等在各大电视台层出不穷,市场急需要新鲜的内容来刺激观众的审美疲劳,而光怪离怪的《绝望的主妇》犹如一枝独秀,自然在市场上大放异彩。麦克弗森,这位前试金石电视公司总裁还说:绝望的主妇这类题材在电视娱乐界闻所未闻。

Mr. Cherry put it another way. “In the old days if someone had a hit western, other people came up with their own western — now they don’t even change the show,” he said, adding, “The audience is really thirsting for something new.”

切利先生也有他个人的见解:以往如果有人整出一部热门的影视剧,其他人会变个戏法也整一出,而如今他们甚至连戏法都懒得变了。切利接着又说道:观众们对于新鲜的内容早就饥渴难耐了。

“Desperate Housewives” tells the stories of a group of women on Wisteria Lane whose suburban lives are filled with drama, hanky-panky[ˌhæŋki’pæŋki] and frustration. One of the women, Susan (Teri Hatcher), who works at home, will go to any length to snare [sneə(r)] a handsome plumber who is something of a man of mystery. She’s vying with Edie (Nicollette Sheridan), who is, in nighttime soap-opera tradition, a tramp. There’s Lynette (Felicity Huffman), who gave up a high-powered job to raise four monstrous children. There’s Bree (Marcia Cross), who has turned into a terrifying control freak and whose husband wants a divorce. And there’s Gabrielle (Eva Longoria), who married a rich businessman but feels ignored and is getting even by spending too much time with the 17-year-old gardener. (The show’s raciness[‘reɪsɪnɪs] has led several advertisers to pull out, but they were quickly replaced.)

Notes

hanky-panky:unacceptable or dishonest behaviour, especially involving sexual activity or money. (尔虞我诈的行为)

Notessnare:to win or get something by skillful action or good luck. (谋得、诱惑)

Notesraciness:the quality of being exciting and slightly shocking, especially because of relating to or suggesting sex. (重口味的)

绝望的主妇讲的是紫滕郡郊区一帮女人们的故事,她们过着充满了戏剧化、尔虞我诈与沮丧失败。其中一名叫Susan,在家工作,她将不惜代价追求一名英俊帅气且带有神秘色彩的水管工。而她的竞争对手Edie则是一个浑身都涂满肥皂部泡沫的风骚女人。另外还有一名主妇叫Lynette,她放弃了自己身居要职的工作,专心在家抚养四个调皮捣蛋的孩子。还有一名叫Bree的主妇,她变成了一个令人害怕的控制狂,她的老公正在跟她闹离婚。另外还有一位名叫Gabrielle的主妇,她嫁给了一个富裕的商人,但是感觉被老公冷落,于是跟一个17岁的园丁好上了。(这部剧的新潮大胆和口味之重到了令某些广告商都不敢赞助的地步,不过他们很快被新的广告商替换掉了。)

“Desperate Housewives” was written out of frustration. “The sitcom market had dried up,” said Mr. Cherry, whose previous major credit was executive producer and writer on “The Golden Girls.” “I didn’t have anyone interested in me. At the time I was 40. I’m 42 now. I was determined to show people I know how to write.”

马克.切利曾说:绝望的主妇这部剧创作于一个心灰意冷的时代,彼此整个喜剧市场灵感枯竭,他之前的重要成就是作为黄金女郎的制片人与编剧,除此以外,40岁的时候,在其他人的眼里他是名不见经传。如今他42岁了,当时他就下定决心要让人们知道:干编剧他很在行。

Interviewed at his office, Mr. Cherry recalled sitting with his mother at her home in Orange County watching the news coverage of the 2002 trial of Andrea Yates, who was found guilty of drowning her five children in a bathtub.

马克.切利

在接受纽约时报编辑采访的时候,他在自己的办公室回忆道:他之前在橘子郡跟自己的母亲在看一篇新闻报道:那则报道是关于一个名叫安德利亚·耶茨的母亲被判定应为将自己五个孩子淹死在浴缸的罪行负责。

“I was horrified by this,” Mr. Cherry said. “I turned to her and said, ‘Gosh, can you imagine a woman so desperate that she would hurt her own children?’ My mother took her cigarette out of her mouth and said, ‘I’ve been there.’ I said, ‘What?’ You have to understand I’ve always seen my mom as the perfect wife and mother, a woman who aspired tobeing a homemaker. That’s what she wanted and that was her life. And it was shocking to find out that she indeed had moments of great desperation when my sisters and I were little and my dad was off getting a master’s degree in Oklahoma and she was alone with three kids, 5, 4 and 3, who were just bouncing off the walls, and she was starting to lose it. She started telling me these stories. And I realized if my mother had moments like this, every woman who is in the suburban jungle has. And that’s where I got the idea to write about four housewives.”

Notesaspire to do sth:to have a strong wish or hope to do or have something;

NotesBounce off the walls:to be too excited and have a lot of energy. 

切利说这简直太令人恐惧了,当时他朝着自己的母亲说道:天啊,你能想象那种绝望到会伤害自己亲身骨肉的女人吗?他母亲拿出香烟,呡了一口烟说:我曾经就很绝望。切利当时就懵了。在他的眼里,他的妈妈是个完美的妻子和母亲, 一个相夫教子、持家有道的女人。当时切利很吃惊地发现:他与妹妹们很小的时候,因为父亲在俄克拉荷马跨州读研的时候,他的母亲带着三个精力旺盛、调皮好动的孩子也曾有过相当绝望,甚至是抓狂失控时刻。之后切利的母亲开始跟他讲述过往林林总总的一些故事。

Martha Cherry, the writer’s mother, said over the telephone from her home in Brea, Calif., that her son’s show had struck a nerve with her friends and neighbors. “It’s fictitious[fɪk’tɪʃəs], but closer to reality than most of the reality shows,” Mrs. Cherry said. The show is successful, in her view, because it “takes real-life things and deals with them in a lighthearted way.”

Noteshad struck a nerve:To evoke a strong emotional reaction, such as anger, sadness, or disgust, upon being encountered, heard, read, etc. 

马克.切利的母亲玛莎.切利,在加州布雷亚的房子里打来电话向编辑透露道:“他儿子创作的剧集令她以及她的朋友和邻居们心潮澎湃,尽管是编撰的,但是比大部分的真人秀都要显得更加贴近真实生活。这部剧很成功,依她看来:这部剧能够让她以一种轻松愉悦的方式倒带自己真实世界里的人生。”

Mrs. Cherry said that the character she and many of her friends most identify with is the one played by Ms. Huffman, who barely copes with her children. “It’s so exasperating[ɪɡ’zæspəreɪtɪŋ],” Mrs. Cherry said. “How do you punish them? You can’t keep spanking them. I tried sending my kids, including Marc, to their room. But they had televisions and CD’s in there. They were enjoying themselves. They didn’t want to come out.” She added that she was “beyond proud” of her son.

Notesexasperating:intensely irritating and frustrating.

切利夫人说她和她的朋友们认为这部剧辨识度最高的是由霍夫曼扮演的Lynette,她对自己的孩子实在是难以招架,这会令人非常气恼。切利母亲说:你总不能一直去打他们,我尝试过将包括马克在内的几个孩子们押送到房间,但是房间里有电视机、CD机,他们玩得不亦乐乎,而且呆在里面不出来。她接着还说:她为自己的儿子感觉超级的骄傲。

Mr. Cherry, a bachelor who lives in a condo in Studio City, attributedthe strong response to the show, especially among women, to his taking soap opera back to its roots. “It’s like the old days of women sitting around the kitchen table with a cup of coffee listening to the radio,” he said. “We’ve put, hopefully, a new tonality[təʊ’næləti], a new twist to the genre, a little dark, a little funny, all mixed together.”

Notesattributed sth to sb/sth: to say or think that something is the result or work of something or someone else. (把……归因于;认为是…所为)

Notestake sth back to its roots:it depicts a person or thing returning to the start, from the beginning where it/he/she came from. (将某人或某物带到其最初的落脚点)

切利住在环球影城的单身公寓,他认为这部以女性为焦点的电视剧真正做到了让肥皂剧回归本真,他说:“这部剧让我回想起往日里女人们围坐在餐桌边喝着咖啡、听着音乐的时光。我们将一种新的格调及花样掺入到这体裁里面了:一点黑暗、一点趣味,将它们揉合在了一起。

Mr. Cherry has what he calls a “muddled” background.” Because his father was in the oil business, he grew up in Oklahoma, Hong Kong, Iran and Orange County. He studied musical theater and hoped to be a Broadway singer, but being more the cherub[‘tʃerəb] than the leading man type, he realized he had few prospects. “I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life playing Nicely-Nicely in ‘Guys and Dolls,”‘ he said.

Notescheruban angel that is represented in art as a beautiful, fat, naked child with small wings. 这里使用隐喻的手法,将“长着小翅膀的胖小子”比作“想要飞却飞不高的那种心比天高、命比纸簿”的失意男。

NotesGuys and Dolls:a 1955 American musical film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine.  (1995年马龙·白兰度、弗兰克·辛纳特拉主演的音乐剧,其中有一个名为斯塔比·凯耶的胖子扮演Nicely-Nicely Johnson,饰演主要配角,编剧马克.切利用此人作为映射聊以自嘲。)

Guys and Dolls

影片主要围绕两名赌徒和一名非常传统保守的少女之间展开。老赌徒马斯特森(马龙·白兰度饰)与他的一位朋友那唐·底特律(法兰克·辛那屈饰)打赌一千美元,称他可以说服那唐挑选的任何一位女人,使她在第二天与他一同前往古巴的首都哈瓦那,底特律接受了马斯特林的打赌,因为他现在也急需一笔钱来营造一个流动赌窝。因此,底特律就挑选了一个最不可能被马斯特林打动的女人,那就是一位名为萨拉-布朗的极端保守的基督教救世军类型的女人。为此两个人之间展开了一场较量。

切利先生身上有一种他自诩的“杂乱”背景,因为他的父亲在石油公司上班,他自己在俄克拉荷马、香港、伊朗和橘子郡长大。他学过音乐戏剧表演,曾立志做一名百老汇的歌手,但自己发现根本不是那种能够独挡一面的料,他认识到自己的发展前景比较有限。但他更不想让自己的余生活在表演“少男少女/红男绿女”那种音乐剧里演一个Nicely这个的配角。

He began writing for television in the late 1980’s. Producers from “The Golden Girls” signed him up for the final two seasons of that show. He also served as creator and executive producer on the 1994 comedy series “The Five Mrs. Buchanans.”

马克.切利在90年代后期开始做影视编剧,《黄金女郎》的制片人签约他为该剧的最后两季撰写剧本。此后,他在1994年为喜剧片《俏媳妇》撰写成本并担任执行制片人。

Mr. Cherry said he grew up admiring series starring Mary Tyler Moore, Lucille Ball, Marlo Thomas and Bea Arthur. In some ways, he said, these “desperate housewives” are their daughters.

马克.切利曾说,他一直以来非常欣赏玛丽·泰勒·摩尔、露西尔·鲍尔、马尔洛·托马斯以及碧·亚瑟等出演的电视剧。从某种程度上来讲,绝望的主妇们就好比是老一辈艺术家的女儿一样。

“I call it a post-post-feminist take,” he said. “The women’s movement said, ‘Let’s get the gals out working.’ Next the women realized you can’t have it all. Most of the time you have to make a choice. What I’m doing is having women make the choice to live in the suburbs, but things aren’t going well at all.”

“我将《绝望的主妇》这部剧视为:后-后女权主义产物,女权运动有句话叫:“让姑娘们出去工作吧”,之后妇女们意识到:鱼和熊掌不可兼得。大多数时候她们需要做选择题。而我所做的就是让这些生活在郊区的女人们做选择,但事情一点也不像她们想象的那般美好。

One of the housewives, Ms. Longoria, who plays a former model living with an indifferent husband and sleeping with the teenage gardener, said in a telephone interview that she didn’t realize the impact of the show until the cast appeared on “Oprah” recently and numerous members of the audience told them, “This was me.” Ms. Longoria, who began her career as a soap opera actress, said: “These women all related to the show. Marc hit the nail on the head.”  She acknowledged that the women’s lives on the show are hardly realistic. “It’s exaggerated,” she said. “When you put these women in heightened[ˈhaɪt(ə)nd] situations it’s funny, it’s dark, it’s mysterious. That’s what makes good television. Normal lives wouldn’t be any fun.”

Noteshit the nail on the head:to describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem. (切中了……要害;做了恰如其分的事情)

绝望的主妇里的一名成员:朗格利亚女士,她在剧中扮演一名前模特,与对她冷漠无视的丈夫一起生活,并且出轨了她家尚未成年的园丁。她在电话采访里说道:她并没有意识到这部剧所产生的影响,直到最近剧组成员被邀请进奥普拉脱口秀节目,当时现场的观众有很多人告诉剧组说“剧中的人物简直就是她们生活的翻版。” 朗格利亚最近开始成为一名肥皂部女演员,她说:“这些女人们对这部剧产生了共鸣,马克.切利直击要害。” 她承认:剧中的主妇都是经过虚构和夸大的,如果你将这些女人们置放到一个高光区,这会非常有趣、黑暗和神秘,这些正好构成了一部好剧。正常的生活就没什么趣味可言了。

Although reviews for the shows have been positive, there have been criticisms that the series is hardly feminist because most of the women on it seem to need men to define themselves. “This show is actually a love letter to all the women out there who have issues and are trying their best to be stay-at-home moms,” Mr. Cherry said. “They are smart gals.” He laughed. “Besides, what I hear from everybody is that this show is a guilty pleasure.”

尽管这部剧一直以来正面的评论占多数,但也有不少质疑的声音:这部剧基本上跟女权无关,因为其中的大多数女人仍然需要通过男人来定义她们自己。“这部剧实际上是写给所有那些目前面临问题却依然尽心操持家庭的妈妈们的一封情书,”马克.切利笑道:“他们是明智的女人,我从目前所得知的反馈来看:这部剧让她们体会到了一种负罪的愉悦。

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