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October 7, 2015

Ken Levine explains how to write for a medical series

by Adam Finley, posted Aug 5th 2007 11:01AM

mashIf you read this blog on a frequent basis, you know a few of us are fans of TV writer and blogger Ken Levine. The man has written for The Simpsons, MASH, Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, Wings, Dharma and Greg and many other popular and enduring series.

In a recent post, Levine explains how to write for a medical series that uses a lot of jargon: ask a doctor.

I probably could have guessed that on my own, but Levine's approach while writing for MASH was quite clever. He and his writing partner would just make up nonsensical words like "freebazzber" and "eeknonoogle" and then have their consultant, Dr. Walter Dishell, replace the nonsense words with actual medical terms.

I'd like to write a script with nothing but nonsense words, have someone else replace them all with actual words, and then claim that I wrote the script. I'm pretty sure that's how every episode of Yes, Dear was written.

Levine also addresses a few of the inconsistencies in the series, and points out that David Ogden Stiers, who played Winchester, was hired after producer/director/writer Burt Metcalfe saw him in a guest role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

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Considering how ridiculous some the Trek technobabble became in later years they would have been better off making the dialogue up on their own!

August 05 2007 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In one of the BSG podcasts, Ronald Moore talked about writing for Star Trek and said they would use the word "tech" in the script for some technobabble. It would then go to a science consultant who would give up to three choices for the writing staff to pick from. This led to frequent written lines in which Picard would say "Tech the tech."

August 05 2007 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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