LAST EDITED ON 06-06-07 AT 01:01 AM (EST)
I hope that after the concluding episode airs, the Picton Castle Website will publish a sampling of what I imagine are hundreds of candid snapshots/vignettes of the interaction between the cast of Pirate Master and the ship’s crew and complement of sail trainees. For example:
Just as ‘going aloft’ (the topmost rope perch is eight stories above the deck) is optional for the ship’s trainees it was, evidently, optional for the show’s castmembers. And I think we would have been treated to some really interesting footage if we had been privy to the vetting process.
But, we are early in the show, so perhaps this criticism is a bit premature. Maybe we’ll yet discover who really tried, who didn’t bother, and who actually made it to the top (and managed to stow a sail when she got there).
And I may be in a distinct minority when I say that I would have much preferred that Pirate Master’s producers had opted to tell me a credible, suspenseful tale of modern swashbucklers from diverse backgrounds a’treasurehuntin’ in Dominica from their base aboard an illustrious world-sailer …
Or that they had cast the show from a pool of tall-ship sailors with equally diverse backgrounds, a mastery of traditional seafaring skills and a store of pirate lore sufficient to the task of recreating a rollicking (and realistic) 18th Century race for gold and glory in the Caribbean …
Rather than to trick out a perfectly good ship (although I must admit that I think that the black and red hull scheme was a splendid idea), hide its superlative crew, layer bad period costuming over miniscule swimwear plastered upon outrageously amateur overactors and then veneer the whole too-camp debacle in faux reptiles, relics and rituals.
But, if jase’s post above is any indication, I am at least not a minority of one for whom the dialogue during Episode One’s Pirate Court was just “too stupid (and staged)” …
Reportedly (by our host), John is an “intelligent” lad. Yet, when faced with what a reasonable person would assume to be a rather dismal end to his mini-career as the lecherous lubber gone to sea, John pursued a course of action and, eventually, a defense that on its face can only be described as … inane.
Now, it doesn’t matter what we saw. Editing will have its way with reality. But, John was there. And so was every member of the ‘Court’ that was, purportedly, about to be the sole determinant of his fate.
There, surrounded by cameras and lights and props and hundreds of CBS and Picton Castle production and sailing personnel.
There, in the middle of a multi-million-dollar investment with a budget and a timetable and a success/failure factor dependent upon the execution of elaborate, predetermined legs involving multiple repositionings of its central ‘set’ and the conduct of subsequent ‘treasure hunts’.
There in front of a ‘Court’ whose every member knew that (1) For a host of legal, pecuniary and moral reasons, there was no way in hell that Cap’n J.D., or any other individual castmember, or group of castmembers, was going to be permitted to navigate/command the Picton Castle (the Crew Journal entry that you linked very carefully notes that the cast mastered ‘most sail handling maneuvers’ and successfully performed many of the routine housekeeping/maintenance tasks aboard … only) and that (2) For a host of legal, pecuniary and amoral reasons, there was no way in hell that John, or any other individual castmember, or group of castmembers, was going to be permitted to sabotage/scuttle a CBS/Mark Burnett enterprise.
All of which begs the question: What then was John’s defense/threat about? Because, as I've said, taken at face value it was totally inane. Absolute bull. Pfft! personified. A farce.
And everyone there, including the ‘intelligent … perhaps too intelligent’, ‘loose cannon’ on the deck, knew it.
Because when compasses were required to locate a ‘treasure’ (on schedule), they could all bet their bottom doubloon that there would be compasses. And when the ship needed moving (on schedule), they could double-up that bet: the ship would get moved.
So, the only answer that makes sense to me is that it was (1) attempted blackmail and (2) failing the success of the first, payback. Remember the stripper’s parting shot: ‘They didn’t care about the compasses.’?
Of course, the only response to that is ‘Duh! We don't have to care about them, you dolt!’ But perhaps that was precisely the chain-rattling response that the ‘dolt’ hoped to evoke/provoke with his (I think, extensively self-rehearsed but unscripted) on-camera exposure of the extremely shallow depth of Pirate Master reality. And while the gambit didn’t keep John on the show, it did, I think, occasion the hasty scripting of J.D’s hilariously lame (and transparently disingenuous) ‘navigation’ soliloquy.
And I’ll wager that, although he’ll certainly be remembered, John isn’t going to make many new Christmas Card lists …
But, I have a tendency to read into most situations a complexity that isn’t really there. So, I’d love to see Michel or another ‘Editing Analysis’ guru begin a thread dedicated to that art in this forum. Because, whether I’m right or wrong about John’s behavior, I do think that Pirate Master is going to be a treasure of contrivance beyond compare!
That’s enough to keep me watching.
BTW: I think that there is going to be a difference made between ‘Adrift’ and ‘Marooned’. That the latter (the abandonment of a contestant upon a fixed point of land to which the ship can … believably … return) is going to be used as the ‘Exile Island’ component of this show.
Too, if anyone is interested in a bit more insight into the making of Pirate Master, I recommend this entry in Captain Dan Moreland’s Log.