A very interesting detail in Michael Kranish’s article on the presidential campaign was that Romney’s chief strategist was Stuart Stevens. Actually, I knew that. He was the most intriguing member of the campaign. People often commented on how weird he was. My kind of man, I thought.
Anyway, in the article I learned that he had written some screenplays for Northern Exposure. When I was younger, I really liked that show, although looking at it now, I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was that I had a crush on Janine Turner. It had to be the hair, because I knew even then that she was a weak actress and kind of dumb. (Really, this have nothing to do with the fact that she latter because a Tea Party wacko; watch interviews with her at the time. She’s dim.)
It turned out that Stevens wrote the script for the only episode of Northern Exposure that I remembered: “Jules et Joel.” And here I have put together a heavily edited version of it. The actual show would have been roughly 45 minutes and this is 28. But it gives you the main points. Basically, Joel’s evil twin brother Jules comes into town, they switch places, predictable things happen, and Jules leaves. Then Joel wakes up from what had all been a dream, having been knocked out due to a hit on the head. And there is a cute Wizard of Oz ending.
A couple of things really come out in this video. First, even more than I remember, Janine Turner is a terrible actor. Just in terms of screen charisma, Rob Morrow blows her away. Also clear is how good an actor Morrow is. His abilities really shine in the transitions from Jules becoming Joel and visa versa. Another thing that comes through is that the show was not that strong. This is especially true compared to more recent series like Ballykissangel and Kingdom. But for its time, it looks like it was all right. And the script is solid if not exactly inspired. (Kind of like Romney’s campaign. Hmm…)