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Talk:Episode 223: John Cleese

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So, this is the first TMS episode to use the Sesame Street episode format. Is this going to be the preferred method for TMS episodes? There'd been some discussion on how to structure a TMS episode in the past, but I can't find it right now. I'm still on the fence about it and I'd like to hear what everyone else thinks. —Scott (talk) 21:42, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

I'm also on the fence. The extra illustrations help, though right now it seems to push the text apart making it harder to digest, but that's just because I'm not used to it yet like on the other pages. But The Muppet Show had no repeated identical bits like Sesame Street or a format rigidly devoted to repetition like Elmo's World. Right now, the table seems to be trying to do that. In particular, I'm not sure if we want to include the theme/opening gag and joke for every episode, which seems just a tad excessive (yeah, so do some of the repetitive elements in Elmo's World, but then *everything* about Elmo's World is excessive). I'm also not sure how to integrate the format with the more text-heavy pages. That doesn't apply to most of them, since in general in fact, the Muppet Show episode pages are straight forward but a bit skimpy on other analysis or quotes and so on. But I recently beefed up Episode 314: Harry Belafonte, and I'd want to be sure that background section could be placed upfront or otherwise not pushed down by an image chart. I can also foresee covering every backstage bit becoming complicated with the later "book" episodes (Liza Minnelli, Brooke Shields, etc.) where there's more of a continuing storyline, and transitions between backstage and on-stage are more rapid. I think that's the part, since it's the most variable, that seems like it could get excessive, as opposed to a general summary of the backstage plot. It also seems more spoilerish in a way. That seems like an odd quibble, perhaps, but on the Sesame pages and so on, we don't usually give away every single gag, just as necessary, and this page seems to include a large number of punchlines. Not a major problem, perhaps, assuming that either a) readers all know the episodes well or b) they want or expect to have even the opening credit gag spoiled, but it bothers me slightly, in a way that the Sesame Street episode summaries, which are less reliant on joke and gag moments overall, don't. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:19, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
Dean's edit further highlights my concerns, sticking in every cutaway to the balcony. With Sesame Street, it makes sense to detail everything since inserts were repeated, and having them on an episode page makes it easy to return to them for other pages, individual sketch articles, etc. Thinking about it, I think I'm semi-in favor of this, but with some limits. I don't think we need every opening gag, every balcony comment, etc. And possibly a block summary at the beginning of the table of the backstage plot, instead of scene by scene; that one, though, would probably depend on the nature of the given episode, and whether there's a clear "plot" or just random gag scenes which need to be summarized individually . Just some thoughts. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 22:47, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with everything you said. Episode 409: Beverly Sills is a pretty good example of what a TMS page should be. It's got a list of songs and sketches for quick reference and then a nice, meaty summary. Replacing the summary with a table for pictures cheapens it I think. Plus, the longer the summary, the more pictures we can fit on the side. Which is a better alternative than trying to find something for each indefinitive moment that wasn't a song which could be more prominently displayed on a song page. Which is another concern of mine. With the table format, the song pages become nothing more than placeholders for the song box and a repeat of the description in the table on the episode page. If you look at the Sills page, I think I succeeded in providing pictures that give a feel for the episode without stepping on the shoes of any images for song pages.
If it's Episode 409: Beverly Sills and Episode 314: Harry Belafonte versus Episode 223: John Cleese right now, I'm far more in favor of Sills and Belafonte. —Scott (talk) 22:48, 18 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I completely missed this conversation until now. I like the table format for TMS episodes. I took out the balcony jokes which Dean added, because I think that's excessive -- like you guys were saying, we don't need to transcribe all the punchlines. I actually don't think we need the Statler and Gonzo stuff in the theme, either -- I kept them in because they were in the original version of the page.
Anyway, the reason why I tried this format was because I found that list hard to process. My eyes just can't focus on the individual items -- although it didn't help that the list also included the cold open and the theme. I agree that the list and summary on the Sills page is a lot cleaner and easier to read.
I moved some stuff around on this page to put some more information "above the fold". If you guys still don't like it, then I'll be fine with the Sills format. -- Danny (talk) 15:31, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I actually think this is a good compromise. A quick list at the top, which for me is easier to process at a glance, and then the detailed rundown. I'm also glad to know that it wasn't your intention to include the theme gag for each episode. So I might be able to get behind it, but I'd still like to see a test on another page, or in sandbox, before we try to fit every episode to this format. -- Andrew Leal (talk) 15:44, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
If Andrew likes the compromise, and I'm the only one left, I'll go with it. The likelihood that we'd ever get meaty synopses for all 120 episodes a la Sills and Belafonte is very slim anyway. We may as well go with the easier way. —Scott (talk) 14:54, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I very much like this format for the episodes. Are there any plans to do other episodes in this way? I would gladly work on some. Perhaps another test page, as was suggested? I could put one together, if anyone else would like to see how it works with other episodes. --Justin 23:48, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

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