Date:  4/24/2001
Subject:  Eberts' File: The Camp

Greetings all!

Well, once again I begin something that began as a lark some 25 episodes ago. Welcome to another mildly amusing installment of Ebertsí files! Glad you could all come, pull up a chair and letís get started!

Hey, is it me, or did this seem like the real season two premiere? We got a change of agencies, new opening, new music and slick camera angles?

Oh, and if you didnít notice, a new character too.


Well, before we address that, letís look at "The Camp" first. I thought that this was a real whiz-bang of an episode. With old Chrysalis up to their tricks and some of the best camera work and score (I think) so far, this episode really had a lot to marvel at.

So with that in mind, letís see what the Ďbitsí there are todayÖ

Well, we moved again! Department of Health and Human Services it is. Interestingly, I always thought it was Health and human Resources. Evidentially those agencies only exist on a state level. Also, our logo is red while the HHS website features a blue logo, which is reversed from ours.

Iíve been harboring this little truth for a while and now it seems to be a good time to tell: there is no Fish and Game department on a national level. It is titled Fish and Wildlife with F & G agencies once again on a state level. This means that we were either working for the State of California or we simply never got the name change. I choose the latter.

The funniest/weirdest part of this episode for me comes right before The official and I say "Freebie". Eddie kinda grunts ĎAhí. Watch as I open my mouth at the exact same time. I couldnít see Eddieís face so we just must have been in sync. It just looks really weird!

One sequence for Alex behind me had her goosing me. We never got around to it.

Mason is actually a good friend of Paul Ben-Victors!

Paulís second story about the redhead Russian is one for the blooper reel. In his magical style, Paul just started telling this story. It left the scripted words about 1/5 of the way in and just kept going. It got wilder and raunchier until finally the whole cast and crew were doubled over with laughter. During our coverage of Paulís story (which was different every time!) The official and I passed the time by whistling, dozing, checking our watches and doing some paper work.

Bloopers anyone? In the opening sequence, the smaller boxes have outtakes from almost all the cast. Mine is the most obvious as Iím laughing my way through a take.

How about that new sequence! One change that never made it was instead on the block letters "I-Maní at the end, it was a sort of scratched in set of symbols | ^^^^/ (very rough approximation, the ^ were all connected.) then a horizontal line scratched through to form the word |-MAN, completing the hyphen and the ĎAí. Very cool, but slightly confusing.

One sequence that left unfinished and out of the final cut was a crane shot of the gymnasium filled with babies. CGI effects would have cut and pasted the carts and made it seem like thousands of cradles. The other shots proved to serve the point (And saved money!)

Well now letís get down to our new addition

First, letís talk about Brandy Ledford. When Brandy first came on stage we were all a little apprehensive. Her first scene was the first scene sheís shown in the Officialís office. No one outside of Vince had acted with her (He auditioned all the actresses for the role) and so we just sort of held our breath. After the scene we all sort of compared notes. In short, her acting blew us all away. Sheís a consummate professional and her abilities and technique had us all impressed. Brandy is a sweet, down to earth person who has been very respectful of coming into a show in progress and is always wary about stepping on anyoneís toes.

Now as far as the character goes, well you all obviously have your opinions. Boy, do you ever have your opinions! Nothing has ever stirred up this Bboard like Ms. Alex Monroe. To be honest, it is never my place to influence your decision as to whether you like someone or thing on the show or not (except Eberts which you must always love!). We make this show for you and if you donít like it, thatís our problem. I do, as a favor to me, ask two things:
One that you, as you have always done with this show give the character a couple of episodes to decide. Going through old posts I located several Ďanti-keeperí posts when she was introduced. Eventually, her character got fleshed out and now sheís truly a part of the team.

Secondly, Ďhateí is a big word. I came across a lot of it in the posts and while it may be what you feel, it is not as constructive as it could be. In theatre in college I learned that no matter how much you dislike and actors performance or the play, constructive criticism is the most effective way to deal with it. It hurts no one and it supplies an option that you think will make the character better. You all know that myself, other actors and some of TPTB read this forum. Use it and if you donít like something, state your case. Youíve done it before and you should do it again! Democracy in action!
I might be way out of bounds for saying all of this, but I felt I had to address it. Please donít let this sway what you post here too much. I am only a guest here at your permission.

Wow, heavy stuff! Well I promise you none of that for the next episode! Next when I post the episode file (which name escapes meÖ) itís gonna be a big one and a fun one. So until then, thank you so, so much for tuning in. You are all true fans of this little show and everyone on set and in production knows your importance. That goes double for me.

Thanks, Mike