The seven–year itch is a psychological term that suggests that happiness in a relationship declines after around year seven of a marriage. The phrase originated as a name for irritating and contagious skin complaints of a long duration.
The phrase has since expanded to indicate cycles of dissatisfaction not only in interpersonal relationships but in any situation such as working a full-time job or buying a house, where a decrease in happiness and satisfaction is often seen over long periods of time.
The past few days I have been in a constant debate with myself of whether to say anything further or nothing at all about the drama surrounding the departure of the two Asian actors from Hawaii Five-0. For us as fans, apart from all the unpleasantness that we have had to ‘endure’ online, the effect of it all was further enhanced by the exclusion of outsiders from the Season 8 Blessing ceremony this week. Since the beginning of Season 2, we have always been a part if this beautiful life event and the lack of any real news from the set this time, was kind of punishment for something that we had no part in.
But I do not want to complain too much or too hard about it, because I can fully understand the reasons for it all….
Not that I myself know a lot about it, but most of what I have seen online, shows the naivety and the lack of basic comprehension of the world of entertainment from so many. Most people chiming in with how they see things from their own perspective, without even the slightest knowledge of what is really going down at all. Most of the loudest comments from people who hardly watch the show. Many just hear slogans, and then they run with it all and spew out as much rudeness as they can find and condemn without the slightest understanding or insight of anything relating to the matter.
The only reliable real comments made during the whole process, were a post from Daniel Dae Kim on his Facebook page and a statement made by executive producer Peter Lenkov on Twitter. Lots of articles from various places with information and speculation were also posted, but none of which is really verifiable, except for the statement by CBS and Peter quoted inside them.
Most people look at actors and see the lights and the glamour, but a few people ever really think of what lies behind those scenes …. of what those actors’ careers are about, how they got where they are or what they bring to the table and the industry. I will list just a few thoughts about my own perceptions and things that I have picked up over the years, especially these past 6 years of following Alex’s career. Most of it I feel is actually just common sense.
- There is no job security in Hollywood. An actor’s security lies only in the contract he/she can negotiate at that specific time and then it hinges on them keeping to their part of the terms of that contract. And of course with a TV show, it also depends on the success of that show whether a contract will last the full term.
- An actor is a business by themself – they are not employed in an organization. Although they might work with a group of people on a specific project, they are always on their own as a business, moving on to another set of people when that project is over. They are contract workers and have a job as long as they have a contract.
- An actor’s skills, abilities and appearance are the product they have to sell. That together with the evidence of their past and present work are their product that they need to display and sell to keep on working. You can add to that their general charisma that might lift them higher than the sum of their attributes, and that might help them soar beyond others in the entertainment world.
- By being their own business, all of them also need to negotiate a good agent who believes that they are marketable and who help to sell them and act on their behalf. A good agent should be able to advice an actor on what they are worth at the time and for what they should negotiate
- And in some cases once they become successful, the actor’s business even employ assistants to help them to organize their lives and travels.
- The road to becoming a successful actor is most of the time hard and an uphill battle, untill that one ‘person’ sees you and give you that chance. But still there are no guarantees that once you got that one chance, that there will be a next and a next and a next …. most of the time you are as good as your last job. And you hope that someone looking for a person with your attributes will cast you in their project and that together you can be succesful.
- Only a few actors really achieve the highest accolades and can make demands as they wish. Then there are many actors who make an above average living from their career, as most of them are pretty well compensated for their work. But still there are a vast numbers who never break into the big-time and struggle to make a real living from it. There are also those who lose their appeal or value after being in a hit show and many just disappear into oblivion, just too happy to be cast in a guest spot somewhere on a show – just too happy to still make a living from their career.
- To expect anyone apart from yourself and your agent to negotiate on behalf of your contract with a network, is ludicrous and ridiculous. If such things happen, it is out of the norm.
I do not know much about Daniel Dae Kim or his career, other than what I have seen of him do during this show and the glimpses of things that he has been so generously sharing with fans on social media. He looks like a genuinely nice guy with a good sense of humour and some great family values. He made a choice to leave the show after negotiations with the Network did not work out as he planned. He also made a choice and with one of the sentences in his statement, together with comments by fellow Asian actors and other friends and together with rumours, might have divulged the major reason for leaving: “The path to equality is rarely easy”.
In my opinion in this industry a person can with one stroke of the pen, erase all the good that they have built over a number of years, just by trying to proof a point of why they are right. Whether they were right or wrong, does not matter and it will be perceived by those who read it from the view-point of where they stand, There are no winners in a case of somebody who claim to have been wronged by history. History is in the past and you can not rewrite it – the present are your only tool to set up a great future.
For Daniel’s sake, I hope he did not cause too much damage to his own career as an actor in the hope of supporting what he feels is a noble cause. There are many talented young actors just waiting in the wings for that break – there are no guarantees for the ones who already got their chance, to be chosen above the ones who are hungry for that one big break. Many young actors who are just eager to show their talent and be purely measured by that, rather by who they want to represent. They do not come with the baggage of their last job and the toes they might have stepped on.
Whether you think they are morally right or wrong, executives make decisions based on making money for their investors and providing entertainment to their audience. Business in a free economy, is about supply and demand ….
But maybe his acting career does not seem that important to Daniel anymore, since he is moving more into producing and he can be in a position of making the decisions, and being at the mercy of the investors and the audience rather than the casting director.
The risk is there that if the show fails after the two actors’ departure, Daniel might be labelled as the guy who killed the show, rather than one of those who helped to make it the success that it became – purely because of the reasons for leaving. Those people who so generously embraced him as part of their Ohana in Hawaii, might feel that he was a big part in them losing their show, just because he wanted more money (because his cause, might not be their cause) – and he might find that the friendly smiles to him and his family from ordinary hard working locals might dry up or just fade away. I have seen with actors like Alex and also Michelle Borth, how people who regarded themselves as their greatest supporters and fans (or even friends), can turn against them in the wink of an eye the minute they feel betrayed for some reason.
So I guess in the end, if the show is boycotted by those ‘many’ who cry inequality and it can’t survive the departure of the ‘Asian Cousins‘, the real people who will actually suffer, are those who were just to glad to earn a living from a hit show, filmed in their isolated Island. A show which not only provided a steady income to many for years, but also brought in lots of tourism and interest, with the show being a permanent advertisement for the beauty of the place. Many might forget that the show was maybe already on its last legs. The Network itself already made, and are still making, their money from the show – At this time they could not care less if it fails or succeeds.
As a final word, I would like to wish Alex and the rest of the Hawaii Five-0 team just the best for this season. The show is their livelihood and their passion. The showcase for their talent. Not only have they all lost a big part of their original cast, but Alex also lost two of the pillars who help him carry the load of the show since the beginning. I can just image the weight he must feel at the moment. Hopefully he and the rest of the cast and crew will get good scripts to work with and in the end will receive ample reward for all their hard work and provide us with lots of entertainment.
Having had enough of everybody’s ‘expert’ opinions on the matter of which most actually know nothing, I decided to make this post just as a statement of general thoughts to ponder – and hopefully made it clear that I am not passing judgment on either the Network or the actors. The Network and the two actors made decisions from their own perspective, and they (and the others whose real life are affected by it) have to live with it. You will therefore find that the comments to this post are closed.
Now that the itch got scratched, we would much rather just enjoy Alex and his work.
PS. After a debate with Paula just before posting, I decided to keep the comments open (for now)