Swimming with the shark

Shark airs on YES Stars 2 Thursday nights at 22:20.

whale shark 88 (photo credit: )
whale shark 88
(photo credit: )
Bailiff: "The court will hear Woods vs. the State of California, your honor." Judge: "Very good, bailiff. Is the prosecution ready, Mr. Burger? Burger: "Yes sir. We will attempt to prove that the defendant, Mr. James Woods, a well-known Hollywood actor with a long list of movie credits, did willfully and wantonly steal the concept of another, existing TV show to better his own somewhat flagging career and did attempt to hoodwink TV audiences into thinking they were getting something original. Judge: "Very good. Is the defense ready, Mr. Mason?" Mason: "Yes, your honor. We will attempt to show that courtroom dramas are basically the same, and that Mr. Woods was simply following a formula used by network television for generations. Judge: "Proceed, Mr. Burger. Burger: "I call the defendant, James Woods, to the stand." Clerk: "Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Mr. Woods?" Woods: "Hey, this is Hollywood, but OK - it'll be close." Burger: "Could you please tell the court in your own words what this show is all about?" Woods: "Certainly. I play a prosecuting attorney in the LA district attorney's office much like yourself, Mr. Burger, but with a far better record, who used to be a defense attorney like Mr. Mason until he got a client off for wife-beating who subsequently murdered his wife. That led him to take time off from the legal world to ponder his next step, until his old rivals offered a chance to join their side of the legal fence. Burger: "Now Mr. Woods, isn't true that once this premise was set up - that you and the writers gave your character, Sebastian Stark a team of young, exuberant yet downtrodden beginner lawyers to work with him?" Woods: "Yes, that's right - about five, equally mixed men and women." Burger: "That would be good-looking ones, with a black thrown in, right?" Woods: "Yes." Burger: "Exhibit A, your honor: The team of Dr. House, of the show by that name: note the black man and cute girl. Mason: "Objection, your honor. Assistants are part of any lawyer show - just look at Della Street, who couldn't take shorthand but looked damn good in a suit… Judge: "Sustained, Mr. Mason. Continue, Mr. Burger, but get to the point." Burger: "Yes, your honor. Tell the truth, Mr. Woods, did the writers not supply you with sparkling dialogue, featuring lines like "Trial is war; second place is death." And did they not have you berate those young lawyers but sometimes find them indispensable to winning your cases?" Woods: "Yes, that's true." Burger: "People's Exhibit B, your honor. A tape of last week's episode of House, in which Hugh Laurie and his team of young doctors finds that the man with the high fever and strange grey spots on his body actually swallowed a pencil, after he first tells them what a bunch of ninnies they are. No further questions, Mr. Woods. Judge: "Your witness, Mr. Mason." Mason: "Mr. Woods, isn't it true that your program tried to be slightly different by making Mr. Stark a divorcee with a foxy teenage daughter, while House clearly is single? Woods: "That's right. And we have soulful talks and she's sensitive beyond her years." Mason: "Right. And isn't it true that you try very hard not to chew up the scenery despite the fact that is what the creators of the show wanted you to do in the first place?" Woods: "That's right - but only because those young lawyers are awful actors." Mason: "And isn't it true that you nearly lost the case in the pilot and were ready to throw in the towel, whereas House always eventually finds the problem?" Woods: "Right. And I don't have a fake accent." Mason: "The defense rests, your honor." Judge: "Mr. Burger?" Burger: "Is it not also true that you use more facial expressions than even Hugh Laurie to save a weak script?" Woods: "Yes, but…" Burger: "And Mr. Woods, despite the show's ratings success at CBS, are you so callous that you can't admit you stole the concept, changed a few things, added a few and convinced the viewing public this was something new?" Woods: "OK, okay - ya got me. But I'm 60 years old already and it's not like I was up for the lead in the next Mission Impossible! I did it. I'm guilty. Guilty…." Judge: "Anything, Mr. Mason?" Mason: "Let the defendant fry, your honor - he's a good actor, but I'm afraid he's guilty as charged. You finally beat me, Hamilton." Judge: "Very well then, I find the defendant guilty and order him to watch reruns of The Defenders, Burke's Law, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, L.A. Law and Rumpole of the Bailey for the next six months, 12 hours a day. And if this continues, Mr. Woods, the court will have no choice but to sentence you to the most severe punishment of all. Woods: "Not that, your honor!" Judge: "Yes, Mr. Woods - the last season of Ally McBeal!" Shark airs on YES Stars 2 Thursday nights at 22:20.