Dear “Hawaii Five-0” writers,
We feel your pain.
It’s hard enough making the show interesting, figuring out creative plot lines and ways to get Grace Park to wear next to nothing in every episode. We get it.
But we didn’t realize writing in local references could be so tough.
Take tonight’s episode. Did we really need the crash course in how to make kalua pig? We thought just thought the dead body — a cop’s no less! — in the imu was enough.
Or your second episode. You tried to weave in the malassada, a staple in the Islands. But it sounded too forced, like you had to explain to the Mainland audience what it was. Why couldn’t Danno just have eaten the sugary fried dough? Why explain it?
Or when you made the snap — and, well, somewhat controversial, at least on Twitter — decision to use “flip flops” to refer to “slippers.” Oh, that was bad. That was almost unforgivably bad. I mean, we weren’t expecting “rubbah slippahs,” but “flip flops”? That’s just as bad as saying, “thongs.” But local fans came back, hoping you learned from your mistakes.
And the jury is still out.
We know how hard Hawaii can be. It becomes its own character in shows, it has its own personality and quirks. You can’t ignore the beaches and surf and swaying palm trees. But you have to get the basics right. You can’t have a suspect heading east on Ala Wai Boulevard, for example, when it’s a one-way street going west. And you can’t serve shave ice in a stand? We don’t eat it that way.
You got in pakalolo, haole, katonk and fire dancing (that was tonight). But what about plate lunches, sudoku, Spam musubis, Honda Civics, TapouT T-shirts, tribal tattoos, ribbon leis made by Joy Shimabukuro, Zip Pacs and cocoa puffs from Liliha Bakery. I mean, may as well, right?
We don’t envy your job. We’d hate to have to write about, say, Houston or Naperville, Ill. and appeal to the local audience. But maybe having some local input would help.
Or just listen to the #H50 feed. Honestly, you could learn a lot.
• Opening. Sure, it was predictable. But I was a big fan of the dead body in the imu.
• When Danno said to Steve McGarrett, “No issues, Oprah.” I don’t know why, but I laughed.
• The use of the old Honolulu Advertiser building. It looks better in the show than it did when I worked there!
• Wasn’t the biggest fan of Dichen Lachman (“Dollhouse”) in the show. She wasn’t convincing. Still confused why they’re not using local actors…
• Glad to see Jason Scott Lee on the show but couldn’t get over the overly thick Pidgin accent. It was a bit over the top.
• Bronson Pinchot. Balki didn’t work for me.
To read all of Cat’s blogs, visit www.nonstophonolulu.com/thedailydish. Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at [email protected]
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Flip Fs was definitely bad. With that one, there was an obvious visual reference so slippahs would have been easily understood.
@J Daniel Dae Kim did tweet that he submitted a tape with “slippers” instead of Flip Flops but he was turned down. Maybe the Director could have modified the scene and pan a camera down to the feet showing the slippers as it was being said. But this is post production talk now.
@Harrycovair Daniel Dae Kim The visual reference was there. One talent was in shoes and the other talent (DDK) was wearing slippahs. I saw his tweet about it…
No matter what, I like Five-O, warts and all. It’s entertainment.
Regarding Jason Scott Lee, I thought it was sheer brilliance in casting that htey take a local boy (raised in Pearl City) and give him the role of an HPD cop. The pidgin wasn’t thick enough. Hey, we gotta educate the visitors that in the background, they’ll need to decipher the cryptic code of the island if they really want to get the real scoops.
I’m liking how they weave the references in the episodes together. Adds texture to the plot. That also means you gotta keep up and watch each episode to keep up with the bit pieces.
Grace Park is doing fine. All she has to do is flash her pearly whites — that’s plenty enough for me. And, don’t mess with her on the business end of a piece of firearm.
This week’s item was a shrimp truck. When are they going to get a real plate lunch truck? They’re still filming Ala Moana Beach park as if it’s Haleiwa last week and Kahuku this week. Next week, they bring in Krispy Kreme from Maui? *grin*
They day they feature spam musubi from 7-11, you know they’ve hit local big time! That’s real contemporary Hawaiian MRE!
You’re really taking it too seriously Cat. Just relax and enjoy!
At least they didn’t name the meat course Jimmy Cook.
I really hope people aren’t still thinking TV shows are aired immediately after they’re filmed.
There isn’t gonna be a change in writing and local references/inclusions/features, until next season, if at all.
@hakuuu You’re right. Filming is already in progress for Season 1 Episode 11.
The shootout scene was hilarious … but, then none of them are realistic. I’m not sure if the show is supposed to be serious or tongue in cheek. But, (time difference here) the Steller Bengals game was more interesting.
I agree with you on the local actors thing! When I watched it, I thought, “Why do all the locals have non speaking roles?” Maybe they thought that girl from Dollhouse would bring “star power” to the show.
@Melissa808 I thought Dichen Lachman’s acting was way too weak. Especially the opening scene when she’s telling Danno about her husband’s passing. I’d expected her to be sobbing but she only has a tear running down one side of her face. Either she’s a strong willed woman or she couldn’t muster up extra tears.
Probably would have look more convicing if she was sobbing uncontrollably then a cut to scene where she’s puffy eyed and talking to Danno. That might take away a minute or minute and a half from total viewing time but it’ll have the audience in her corner.
Can’t wait for Tia Carrere to kick some A$$.
@Melissa808 People tend to go with who they know…and maybe the rock and hard place of needing a SAG card to get lines but needing lines to get a SAG card is also a factor.
Somehow I missed it and didn’t get to review the episode yet because I was too busy tweeting during the broadcast but how did Danno know the Officer in the Imu? Didn’t Danno just get in from New Jersey within a 6 month span of McGarrett forming 5-0?
I shouldn’t have been laughing but the references to Kalua “Pig” was just overwhelming. “Pig” as in the 70’s term for any one in any kind of Law Enforcement position.
It was nice to see Jason Scott Lee finally back on the screen. Unfortunately I noticed that his intonations and glutteral stops didn’t sound natural. As if he had to “haole-fy” his pidgin to conform to “bird” standards.
Five 0, I don’t mind that they get so many things wrong. I thinks it’s charming and amusing. My friend is a paramedic and he watches the old 70’s show Emergency, and he enjoys spending each episode stating what the paramedics on that show keep getting wrong.
Last night’s episode highlights : the kid’s swingset on Ala Moana Beach !!!!! : a slightly overweight Bronson Pinchot doing a riff on his Beverly Hills Cop / True Romance characters : the over the top quasi torture of the week ( aforesaid Pinchot tied to the hood of Danno’s car to get him to talk ) : the glaringly obvious product placements ( Bing, Primo ), cool scenes set at Ala Wai Golf Course and JJ Dolans, and local boy Jason Scott Lee, his first bad guy role since 1998’s Soldier.
And was that Johnny Depp as the guy in the art gallery who spills his drink ?????? Sure looked like him. Good times.
I think last nights episode went a long way toward bringing the show to ‘that could happen hereville’ because we weren’t in a nation security mode with oddball sattelite capabilities. And I liked featuring Danno last night. Wonder who is featured next? As far as the gun play goes, get a grip. As many bullets as have flown by it is a miracle no one has gotten killed on the H50 team. Fix that and I think the show is more Hawaii like. Hawaii is the land of theft not gun battles.
They need an episode with scenes from Rainbow Drive In, Chaminade, Byodo, Haleiwa Joe’s Kaneohe, playing volleyball out on the sand bar, with people eating tons of Spam Musubi. Why not do something up at the lighthouse?
And downtown has been completely ignored, film at Indigos, or do a chinatown episode and eat at Duc’s.
Loved last night’s show and agree Jason’s pidgin was a little too thick but at least they are trying. I think they stay jammed under the fender on that one.
About Lachman (and the acting in general): I look at this show as a shoot-um-up type of deal and don’t care if robots acted, so long its face-paced and something blows up. Lachman is pretty hot, like Grace Park, and that’s what they’re selling. I don’t think we’re supposed to have our brains on while watching.
Totally agree on the local slang / references. There are other ways to explain it w/out actually explaining it.
Let’s not forget that this show is set in Hawaii; it’s not “about” Hawaii. Lighten up and enjoy
Normally I’m on the side of just saying “hey it’s entertainment” when it comes to shows like this new 5-0, but I do have to agree with Cat a little here. It was the writers of this show who decided to make 3/4 of the 5-0 crew local (btw I am still shocked at the move to make McGarrett a local). They also bring up Da Bird (ugh), malasadas and other local references. They have gone farther than the original 5-0 and Magnum P.I. ever did in that respect and that’s cool. So since they decided to “go there” I also wish the writers and producers would try just a little harder to get it more right for the locals. However, this is Hollywood and who knows how they come to some decisions on how to portray a place. The whole crew here could shoot a scene that locals would approve of but then some suit back in L.A. wants it changed because they have their own ideas. It’s annonying at times but what can you do? Looking at DDK’s tweet in response to the flip-flop #H50 comments we see that at least *someone* on the crew is trying. They got the full season pickup so let’s see where it goes from here. I think the show is steadily improving.
Maybe we should start a live twitter stream for the Magnum P.I./original 5-0 block of weeknight reruns on KWHE to see how much we would criticize those shows on their portrayal of Hawaii as opposed to the new 5-0, ha ha. #magnum50 anyone? Just kidding. 😉
@808marv i agree they’re “trying”, but i think Magnum’s premise made it a little more believable. like you noted, making McGarrett local kind throws it off course before it even starts. at least, with Magnum, all the lead characters were transplants so the head scratching (to local viewers) fish out of water were, at least, in context. plus, in Magnum,they did have a few local actors as regulars. Kwan Hi Lim and James Grant Benton stand out in my memory, and i’m sure there were others. I think Andy Bumatai was on there a couple of times, too.
I don’t think I’d enjoy ‘Hawaii Five-O’ either if I took it all so seriously. I try to be realistic. It’s not a documentary or anthropological study; it’s a fictional TV show. I’m watching with that in mind, so going east on Ala Wai Blvd is most definitely not something that I’d let bother me. As long as they’re not being disrespectful to our culture or way of life, I’m happy for the publicity and the money they bring into our great state.
@bumper I agree… 99.9% of the people watching don’t know that Ala Wai runs west, so why should it matter if they travel east for filming logostics?
@MaxMaxMax @bumper Considering that in the original series McGarrett says “heading East Bound on Ala Wai” which prompted a local comedian (Andy Bumatai) to think up a quip: “What, he stay swimming across the Ala Wai”.
Hey if it were perfect then there would be nothing to tweet about. The stream of tweets durng the show is great entertainment and hilarious. We wouldn’t have Kukui High School either if they used a name of a real school.
They do need to portray locals better and have more locals in the show though.
@nkvball Aren’t all the extras local? That should be enough. But let’s not forget the cameos of local personalities either that have been on the show already. They owe the local acting community nothing, yet they use locals as extras and the occasional local personalities… good enough for me.
It’s not a “Hawaiian” show. It is a pure Hollywood show set in Hawaii. With Hawaii’s one million only population, it’s a numbers/ratings game, and they have to cater to the masses. Getting too into the nuances of the local lifestyle would probably sink the show.
Their aim is to please mainland viewership of 300 million… not Hawaii’s one million. It seems they’re doing that.
Again I ask: Is it better to have a fictional portrayal with expected inaccuracies of Hawaii shown ’round the world bringing in tourism and money from the production? …or a documentary style accurate show that lasts less than one season?
@MaxMaxMax While I agree what you’re essentially saying about the viewership and pleasing the majority, they are eventually going international and when it comes to the ‘flip flops vs slippah’ thing (and it being done for the majority of the viewers), they should have gone with slippers as hardly anyone outside the mainland US knows what flip-flops are. So, in a way they can try and please the mainland US but, in the end, the viewership is not going to stop there.
(also, let’s not forget that while they might get confused about the slippers, I doubt most of the people on the mainland know words such as imu, kokua etc etc).
As for the inaccuracies, I find them mostly amusing as it doesn’t bother me much, it just brings more fun on the #H50 feed, but I also have to agree with some of the others here who say that if they claim said accuracy themselves, they should try a bit harder
if i ever get worked up about the geographical/cultural inaccuracies in H50, i just think back to Monk (set in SF, filmed in Vancouver), Charmed (SF, LA), Las Vegas (LV, LA) and others and am thankful that, at least this show, Magnum, etc were filmed on location and the money went into local hands.
Here is the thing: The H50 show runners don’t get to have it both ways. They cannot tout how they are “keeping it real” with the technology, weaponry, location, etc. and then screw it up consistently. Either do it right all the way ‘round or lighten up, have fun, and don’t go for authenticity. It is when they say they are going for realism and then do something goofy (pinging Catherine constantly for intelligence, speaking bird, flip-flops) that they lose credibility.
Also, there are quite a few shows that don’t over-explain everything to their viewers, especially crime procedurals and medical dramas. So why not say “slippahs” and let the viewer figure it out? Are people really going to be so thrown off by someone speaking real pidgin or the actors throwing local slang in there? Doubtful.
Lastly, there is no reason at all to fill minor roles with actors from LA. The cop’s wife, the big white guy who rushed Adam Beach last week, etc. could have easily been filled with a talented local actor. We have lots of ‘em. Use ‘em. Mahalo.
If you are from Hawaii, it is hard to be objective about Hawaii Five-0. It just is. I honestly don’t know whether or not I would be watching the show (or defending it so staunchly!) if I had not grown up there. In almost all the postings, it seems to me that even the locals who complain about the pidgin and other errors do so in an effort to make the show better, more authentic, and more enjoyable for the viewer rather than out of a sense of the show sucking. We all want it to succeed, not just for being a good show but for what it can do for the people of Hawaii. Remember your aloha, folks! Mahalo.
As someone who hasn’t been home in awhile, I enjoy seeing many places I recognize and don’t recognize. I can push aside many of the problematic things such as serving shave ice from a cart. I loved seeing Jason Scott Lee in the episode but was sad that they made his character bad. I don’t suppose we will see him in a subsequent episode. The other thing funny was how much he sounded like his Bruce Lee character at times. Not sure what’s going on with that. The thing I groaned about a lot last night was the blatant Bing product placement when Chin Ho’s character tells Kono to “Bing it” about the artwork. Bad…. very bad.
@islandgirlinnc I so agree on the “Bing it”… that was even worse than seeing Kono’s red car being all shiny and obvious on screen while she drove around the island with it.
Oh well, guess they need some extra money lol
I’m good not seeing Grace Park wearing next to nothing. Show me more of Alex O’Loughlin in less clothing and I’m all good…..And with all the criticism about what the writers are doing right and wrong; well they must be doing something right for the show to continue to be #1 in the ratings of CBS:-))
@Fran1 I’d rather see Kelly Hu in a bikini than Grace. Kelly has curves!!! ;^D
Bing it! 😉 Like others have said, it’s Hollywood…not a documentary. We locals are going to be the most critical of it since it’s a show about our own backyard. it’s the other 99.9% of the viewers the producers have to think about exciting too. Though I will say the pidgin is a bit tough to listen to…don’t force, just go with it.
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