Much as been said about Carrie Underwood's performance, especially her acting, in NBC's ambitious live televised version of the classic story The Sound Of Music. Many flocked to social media to denounce Underwood's performance, including Kym Karath, who played Gretl Von Trapp in the original film, as well as members of the actual Von Trapp family. Very little has been said about the stellar performance given by Broadway maven Audra McDonald in all of this, quite frankly because no one cares. Audra McDonald is not a household name, Carrie Underwood is. She is also very likely the reason this beloved masterpiece was consider for television, let alone live television. Carrie Underwood has an incredible singing voice. This does not make her an incredible actress. But should Miss Underwood turn away an opportunity to do so when it is offered her? Perhaps not. Perhaps the offer should not have been made in the first place. So why was it? Why offer this much loved role to someone with very little acting experience when there are likely hundreds of talented actresses with great voices out there who could have pulled it off?
Because those actresses don't have hit records.
The decision to cast Miss Underwood was not informed by finding the best, most talented person for the job, in was informed by what would bring inthe most ratings and, in turn, generate the most revenue for the network. By that account, she was absolutely the right choice. The Sound Of Music live broadcast brought in 18.5 million viewers, many of whom took to their social media outlets to derail what they were watching. NBC hasn't seen numbers like that since the series finale of "ER" back in 2009. Suffice to say, NBC could not care less about the ramblings. Neither could Miss Underwood. Her response to the backlash? "Mean people need Jesus."
Why did this happen? How did it happen? Who is at fault here? We, the American audience are. You see, we've trained Hollywood to give us crap with people we know instead of good stuff with people we don't. Hollywood has become the mother of repetition. Despite what many though, don't believe that, thanks to the incredible ratings, Miss Underwood won't be offered acting roles again. And we will tune in again, tweeting and facebooking the entire time of how horrible she is, thereby driving up ratings, making money for networks, which is all they care about, and setting in motion yet another crappy project, while deserving unknown talent scraps by or gives up all together, denying us of the greatness that might have been.
It's not Miss Underwood who should get a grip, it's us. Complaining about the faux pas of the famous doesn't change anything. It doesn't motivate any executive at any studio or network to seek out better material or better talent, it encourages said executive to stay the course. Every ticket sold to see another pointless installment of some inane film series without real merit, or some senseless unnecessary remake or reboot, or even one more superhero movie (because I guarantee you there are some amazing artists and writers out there who go completely unheard that have probably come up with new fresh superheroes that aren't as ancient as the ones we keep getting), the message is sent to Hollywood that everything is right on course. The message is sent that the same old crap is good enough, so it will keep coming. Hollywood is a business. It responds to money. Until the audience stops paying for or viewing these lackluster, passionless projects, they will keep coming. Perhaps the time has come to say no to the uninspired big budget films and television shows and to say yes to independent productions with unfamiliar, but incredible talent. Perhaps the time has come for fame to take a back seat to talent. There was a time when talent came before fame. Perhaps it's time has come for that to be reinstated as the rule of thumb.
Just as many would rather support a local Mom and Pop shop than a multi-conglomerate, it may not be a bad idea to, instead of tweeting your way through something you despise, switch over to Netflix, look for a plot description that interests you instead of names you recognize, and give something new a try. The rule is simple: Want to see better stuff? Patron better stuff.