WTF: Is SAG the Hillary Clinton of Entertainment Guilds?

SAG will fight AFTRA!

If you don’t get enough drama on television or in the movies, you can always turn to the internal bickering of the entertainment industry. Case in point, while Hollywood was put on hold with the WGA strike a few months back, the American public got their fill of drama by watching the industry whine about the fact that shows like “Desperate Housewives” wouldn’t get its full slate of shows for the season.

Now, there’s another strike on the horizon…

…or is there?

Some industry insides said the summer would feature a multi-guild strike with both actors and writers. But this dream vanished when the WGA led a 100-day strike that has now cobbled any strike by the actors. The TV and radio people get this. The film actors don’t.

For the past few weeks, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) has warmed up to the studios. Now, it’s final. AFTRA has come to an three-year agreement that will keep “Desperate Housewives” on the air. We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

But not all actors favor this. The Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) has not come to an agreement. And while SAG hasn’t called for a strike, it’s leaving the door open for one.

To which I say… what the fuck?

To make an analogy to a similarly bitter (and ultimately futile) fight, the SAG leadership clinging to the possibility of another strike is like Hillary Clinton pounding through the final days of her presidential campaign when Barack Obama had the nomination wrapped up for weeks.

I’m not exactly sure why SAG is holding out. A strike would be a pointless effort right now because it would go virtually unnoticed.

If you recall from the WGA strike, the pinch was first felt with TV writers, and even then it was first felt in the daily grind late night cavalcade – Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and the like. The next ripple went through series television. We lost an entire season of “24,” got truncated versions of “Lost” and “Heroes,” and saw other series like “Battlestar Galactica” get their seasons split in half.

But even with the industry shut down for more than three months, we never saw a loss of movies. There were no weeks with empty multiplexes. The release schedules remained full, and we’re currently in one of the coolest summers for blockbuster movies in years.

In fact, even if SAG strikes, there’s enough movies in the pipeline to take us well past Christmas. Right now, the studios are thanking God for hefty post-production schedules.

The bottom line is that the WGA strike was felt almost entirely in television, and there was a solidarity among the folks in the industry to not muck up the strike by working on scabbed shows. After the industry has lost a third of its income this year, the rank-and-file workers (who suffer the most in these strikes, anyway) won’t be happy to give up more.

So, members of SAG… we get it. You aren’t insignificant. But you still waaaaaay more money than losers like me, and the public sympathy is dangerously thin right now.

Just take the deal, SAG. And then you can strike in three years when the wounds have healed a bit.

Kevin Carr crawled from the primordial ooze in the early 1970s. He grew up watching movies to the point of irritation for his friends and was a font of useless movie knowledge until he decided to put that knowledge to good use. Now, Kevin is a nationally syndicated critic, heard on dozens of radio stations around the country, and his reviews appear in a variety of online outlets. Kevin is also a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA).

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