It’s the popular discussion amongst Hollywood’s talking heads, one that’s been prevalent for about two years now: The tide for fictional on-screen storytelling has shifted, and, these days, the work that’s being done on cable television is largely better than what’s seen in movie theaters.
That’s why industry giants like Martin Scorsese, Aaron Sorkin, and Jessica Lange have been spending so much time concentrating on their small-screen efforts. With more hours to flesh out characters and less need to satiate major studio’s box office requirements, TV show controllers and performers are relishing the opportunities to put the art first and commerce second.
And it’s not just dramas, either. On Showtime, Edie Falco has triumphantly made us forget all about Carmela Soprano on the masterfully written and sharply funny Nurse Jackie; meanwhile, over on HBO, Sandler’s old pal Judd Apatow wisely backed indie filmmaker Lena Dunham’s Girls, all the way to critical praise and high ratings, and Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus found a character even greater than Elaine Boosler in the form of her Veep counterpart, Vice President Selina Meyer.
Now that Apatow has some power at HBO, it’d be a great look for Sandler if the two of them came up with a TV character full of tragedy, humor, and pathos—think Happy Gilmore without the lucrative golf hustle.