OK, I confess that I didn’t read the Los Angeles Times feature about “Law & Order: Los Angeles” potentially creating roles for stage actors in L.A., as the original did for performers in New York.
But then I saw Sandra Willard’s letter in the Times on Saturday, thanking the Times for “the biggest laugh of my morning” because of writer David Ng’s unwitting line, “But in a city filled with TV veterans, will stage performers be able to compete for space on the show’s casting couch?”
Now, “casting couch” has slightly different connotations than Ng clearly intended, suggesting a version of “Law & Order” that might be better suited to Cinemax than NBC. Think “Law & Order: Dangerous Affairs” or “Law & Order: Naked Betrayal” — both of which, frankly, sound better than a new version of “Law & Order” where half the “ripped from the headlines” cases are knockoffs of O.J. Simpson and Lindsay Lohan. (Best Cinemax title I’ve seen lately, by the way: “The Devil Wears Nada” — not to be confused with “The Da Vinci Coed.”)
The more subtle point, of course, is that this represents another one of those “copy editor on holiday” items — although by “holiday,” in this case, that actually means sadly reduced in number by brutal newspaper industry layoffs. At the very least, an extra set of eyes to peruse the story might have caught that the use of the term “casting couch” in this context wasn’t the most artful way to get the point across — although it was, as the letter writer noted, the unintentionally funniest.
On the plus side, I’m sure the writers of “LOLA” (which critics have yet to see) are already casting about for plots, and the idea of someone who gets killed on a casting couch — Sex! Murder! Hollywood! — certainly sounds like a winner. Maybe for sweeps.