Biglaw, Ridiculousness, Television

Nationwide Dissolution Watch: The Deep End

cast-of-the-deep-end.jpgLast night, Marin liveblogged ABC’s new legal series, The Deep End. Over 2,000 ATL readers joined her for the series premiere. From the sound of it, doing doc review would have been a more enjoyable way to spend a Thursday evening. Marin declared:

this is why I only watch reality tv…. too painful to see how our nation’s brightest script writers can’t approximate real dialogue and human experience

The show was created by Biglaw refugee David Hemingson, a ’90 Columbia law grad who summered at Milbank and worked for a few years at Loeb & Loeb in LA before turning to script-writing. Hemingson told the WSJ Law Blog:

How’d you go about making it real? Did you visit law firms?
I’d really stayed on the periphery of the legal world, and checked in with a lot of former colleagues and friends who are partners now. In addition I got in touch with a lot of people in their 20s and 30s. Everyone seemed to say the same thing about life as a young associate: you’re overworked and underfed in terms of guidance. You’re constantly overmatched and outgunned. You love the life and career, but constantly feel a bit in over your head.

Apparently, he stayed very far on the periphery. Says Marin:

Folks, I don’t even know what to say. This show is worse that I thought. It’s too ridiculous for words.

But lots of words have been written about it. Reviews from around the Web suggest that this group of fake lawyers can expect layoffs in the near future.

The WSJ predicted Marin’s criticisms in its interview with the show’s creator:

You know you’re going to get criticisms from lawyers and others, people saying ‘that’s not at all how it is. We mostly stare at computer screens all day.’ Or, ‘the associates here don’t look like that. They’re sun-deprived and exhausted and don’t get enough exercise.’ How might you respond to such critiques?
Well, look, it’s television. If you’re doing a drama, of course you’re going to have those criticisms. But our goal is to tap into the spirit of life at a law firm and replicate the feel of what it’s like to be there. You’re really trying to boil it down and condense it. What I really wanted to tap into was the aspirational quality to the associates.

Well, it wasn’t just lawyers who red flagged the show. The television reviewers’ jury has found the show guilty of sucking too.
From USA Today:

The absurdity of the bed-bouncing might not matter if Deep End had one interesting character or believable plot. Even if you can get over the hurdle of believing first-month associates would be handling major clients or, more ridiculously, wooing new clients, the cases are empty vessels designed to convey pat, tedious moral messages.
Honestly, Deep End is the type of high-gloss, dim-bulb broadcast hour that makes you despair for broadcast hours. Every move the characters make is fake and moronic, every line rings false in one way or another.

From the Washington Post:

I can’t recommend that anyone watch “The Deep End.”
But you could watch it secretly, without your mind.

NPR’s review suggests that any show about corporate lawyers is doomed:

The young lawyers aren’t given much — other than hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt — to wrap their intensity around. They seem to be at this prestigious firm simply because it’s a prestigious firm; they seem to be lawyers just because. There’s a lot of churning worry about their professional futures, but mostly, it’s an excuse to jump in what appears to be the swimming pool built into their favorite bar.

Welcome to Biglaw, NPR.
It sounds like the only positive outcome of this show would be to deter more people from applying to law school.
A Chat With ‘Deep End’ Producer and BigLaw Refugee David Hemingson [WSJ Law Blog]
Verdict on ABC’s shallow ‘Deep End’: Not guilty of originality [USA Today]
ABC’s ‘The Deep End’: Because Television Needs More Attractive Lawyers [NPR]
ABC’s new drama ‘The Deep End’ is a lawyer show that just isn’t that deep [Washington Post]
TV Review: ABC’s The Deep End Is Terrible [The Vertex]
Earlier: Liveblogging ABC’s The Deep End

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