Decoration Day

Via Kate, a follow-up to my post on TV sets (not TV sets, I mean the sets on TV. I mean, TV set design. No, wait, I mean…). The IT Crowd, a comedy with a great central set, is soliciting fan suggestions on how to decorate it for the upcoming third season or “series” if you’re British, which they are:

How would you like to help in designing the look of series 3? Specifically, you’d be helping us choose the stuff that litters the main set. I’m talking about posters, comics, fanzines, T-shirts… anything you’ve seen in the last few months that you think is pretty cool or captures the spirit of the show or a particular character.

Once a show has been around long enough, the props and decorations that are added to the set can become almost as important as the set itself. I say “can” because different shows seem to have different ideas about how much extra stuff is acceptable on the main set. Some shows will go through very long runs not having much of anything on the set that isn’t directly related to the plot, or even taking stuff out as time goes on and the show gets pared down. I recall Cheers, for example, as a show that didn’t have much in the way of extra decorations either in the bar or Sam’s office; it was basically a clean set that included only what was needed. Other shows add movie posters, comic book figurines, even stuff that gets sent in by outsiders. Seinfeld’s apartment started out looking pretty bare and got more stuff put in as time went on.

(This also applies to extras. Some shows add in more extras to their coffee shop or workplace scenes as they have more of a budget. Other shows eliminate extras as they get less and less interested in verisimilitude; NewsRadio originally had a bunch of extras in their scenes, and by the end there were only seven people in the entire office.)

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