Saturday, October 23, 2010

Burn Notice

There's something about That Show that's been bothering me since I learned it. It really doesn't have a whole lot to do with the actual quality of the show, but it's been bugging me.

Apparently the producers let Gabrielle Anwar choose most of her own costumes.

That may not sound like such a bad thing, I mean, the actress should know her character better than anyone else right? Well yes, but that doesn't make it okay.

There's a lot that goes into costuming that I, with eight years of experience in technical theatre, had no notion of until I took a class devoted to costumes. It's not ever just about "what the character would wear." In fact, "what the character would wear" is generally considered after fabric choice, color, style, scenography, and whether she can fight in those shoes. Once everything has been hashed out, then they look at "what the character would wear" from what's left.

The result of Anwar picking her wardrobe? An insufferable amount of short, ugly-ass dresses in a limited color palette that's totally inappropriate for her coloring, and no bras. I can't stress enough how much I'm bothered by the lack of bra. For someone who might have to get into a fist fight on moment's notice, bras are awesomely practical.

And the wedge heels. Good Gods. First off, high heels in combat is downright stupid. Breaking an ankle fighting, or at the very least twisting one, is shockingly easy. Heels throw off your posture and balance and make combat almost impossible unless you already outweigh and outreach your opponent by a significant margin, which is unlikely if only because there's not a whole lot of men or orangutans who wear heels. Then there's wedge heels, which are actually more awkward than ordinary spike heels. They're worse for balance and leverage.

So then why does Fiona wear them? Because the actress who picked them out likes them.

What a bullshit reason. Actors act. Costumers dress. Seems like a pretty straightforward division of labor to me, but then here I go again, expecting people to do their jobs competently. The actress stepped out of bounds, the producers allowed it, and the costumer didn't fight back.

I'm having some serious trouble expressing just how much I'm bothered by this, so discuss among yourselves: Does an actor have the right to choose their own costumes in a show where physical limits must be observed for safety reasons? Or indeed, should an actor be able to say anything to a costumer other than, "Excuse me, but I tore out the underarm tossing the baddie into a wall, can you do something about that please?" in the politest and most obsequious of tones?

Edit to add: Also, the store is opening on December first, and the lease starts of November first, so I will in no way be attempting to keep up with my review schedule. I'll still work on them, but slower. Especially as Burn Notice must be submitted by October twenty-ninth, so it's a priority.

Also, one week until Monthly Munchkin!


  1. Does Anwar have any sort of formal qualification as a costume designer, has she worked in that field before? Because that's the only thing I can think of that would justify this sort of decision.

  2. @Knoxy Nope. Her only technical credit is as Co-Producer for "Nevada," a film from 1997 that she also acted in.

    And maybe if she had a talent for it I'd forgive it, but she just does such a terrible job costuming herself that I have to wonder what they were thinking.