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About Sydney's propensity for disrobing

From: Bill Taub [Producer for 1st season Relic Hunter]
Newsgroups: tv.relichunter
Subject: Re: Skin Scene Changes in RH?
Date: Mon, 07 May 2001 17:34:38 -0700

I join in here, only because you've hit on an issure that concerns me all the time. While not as big a hot-button issue for me as 'violence on screen', the use of 'gratuitous' sex is second. Having written many of the episodes in Season One of 'Relic Hunter' - I can not compare it to Season Two -- since I wasn't on the show in Season Two - but rather was working on the other show you mentioned -- "Sheena" -- I personally think both viewpoints I've read here valid.

I think you sell both shows short thinking because they both have sexy female leads -- they're geared strictly towards teen-age boys -- and don't concern yourself about offending the female audience. Not only that, the irony is that both shows feature strong female role models. Why tamper with that???

I personally think the 'campy' aspect of the skin scenes is important. Taking it seriously makes it offensive. We all know that teen-age boys (even if they're middle aged) like the titillation factor and seeing skin. Boys will be boys. But to favor that audience to the exclusion of the female audience is to underestimate the broad appeal (no pun intended) both series can have. Both series have an attractive female and an attractive male paired -- to appeal to both genders -- and do have their share of beefcake as well.

For me personally, the Relic Hunter 'skin scenes' in Season One I found fun, were things that were not taken seriously -- and fit the context -- for instance, in an episode I wrote, Sydney realized that somehow she and Nigel were being spied on and had a 'bug' on them. She jumped into a cab -- and forced Nigel and her to take their clothes off -- to try and find the bug. All the while playing up the discomfort of it.

I also did a 'nudist colony' spoof in one episode -- stealing from one of my favorite series, the 'Pink Panther' where all nudity was hidden behind beach balls -- trees --- waiters passing in front, etc. It was done as much for comedy and for me to pay homage to one of my all time favorites.

In the pilot, 'Buddha's Bowl' I thought Sydney in a native costume doing a Maori dance in the classroom (which I must add was not my idea) was great -- it showed her being an iconoclastict teacher. The scene where she went into her office and changed clothes before our very eyes (which was also not my idea) I personally found offensive and unnecessary.

And several times I think we put Nigel's face too often deep into cleavage. (...Although Nigel might disagree...)

It can be great fun -- when not taken too seriously and when in context. What they're doing in Season Two I have no idea.

The one thing I do DISAGREE with you on is that Gine Lee Nolin is not nearly as attractive as Tia. They are both gorgeous women. Different types. You pays your money, you takes your choice. And wouldn't mind spending a week-end with either -- if just to talk to...

I also think Sheena in many cases used the 'nudity' card too heavy handedly...but then, it's harmless other than to detract from the episode.. I find 'violence' far more offensive and detrimental. Whether 'Relic Hunter' lasts past a third season or not I have no idea. But I would like to point out to you that by no means is 'Sheena' a run-away hit...and its lasting past a second season is quite marginal... but I don't think it's the 'skin' issue that's at the core of either....

...Just one writer's perspective...but it's a topic worth exploring...

Bill Taub




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