Ovation Inflation

Julian Sanchez notices a disturbing trend: the standing ovation is gradually becoming expected, even for mediocre shows. What are we supposed to do now to signify a truly extraordinary performance? "Tear our shirts and howl like the teens in that old stock footage from the Beatles' appearance on Ed Sullivan?" That might not be such a bad idea, depending on who is doing the shirt tearing...

Along these same lines, I've noticed something even worse. The last few times I've seen a movie in a theater, at the end of a climactic action scene or when the credits begin to roll, a large portion of the audience applauds.

Why? Who are they applauding for? The wall? The directors and producers aren't in the theater, nor are the actors. Do these same people applaud their televisions at home?

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I noticed the same thing a

I noticed the same thing a few years ago with the proliferation of daytime talk shows. No matter what shady character came out on stage, he would receive applause.

"Let's bring out Leon. Ladies and Gentleman, Leon is a drug dealer by day and pimp by night who likes to beat his wife because she 'don't act right'."

*audience applauds as he walks out on stage*

Micha, I noticed "ovation

Micha, I noticed "ovation inflation" at military/government functions for years--I had no idea this idiotic behavior had infected the private sector as well!

In defense of people who clap at non-live performances--expressing approval to the actors, et. al. is not the only purpose of applause. People also applaud to communicate their approval to other audience members. I have clapped my hands, whooped in pleasure, gaped in dismay and howled with laughter in my own home while viewing video entertainment in an audience of two. I've often clapped my hands at the end of a movie at the theater, most recently at The Return of the King. It may be, in part, a regional thing as well. When I was kid growing up in NYC, people often clapped at the end of movies, unless the movie really sucked.

To reiterate what I posted

To reiterate what I posted on Notes from the Lounge, the NYT had an article on exactly that topic a few weeks ago. You can't read it on their site, but it got reprinted here.

I notice the problem most often in New York. In my hometown of Philadelphia, audiences stand for great performances but sit down for the good ones. Audiences in London, the only other city where I've seen a significant number of plays, are similarly subdued.

This sounds snobby, but I blame New York's problem on the fact that a great number of its theatergoers are seeing a major production for the first (and perhaps only) time in their lives.

Enjoyed reading your

Enjoyed reading your posts.

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