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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Food for thought » » The Mentalist: TV Hypnotist (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ViolinKing
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The Mentalist is a television show on CBS. The main character played by Simon Baker is an ex con man psychic, a jack of all trades. His bag of tricks include cons, hypnosis, magic and cold reading.

In one episode I watched recently, he is watching a man die and in order to soothe him, he vanishes and appears a coin. If you haven't seen it, let me paint the picture. He is sitting on a couch and the camera is positioned to the right and behind him. He vanishes and reappears a coin several times from this vantage point.

As a technical matter, I looked at it and saw it to be impossible. The man for whom he is performing is in front of him, but the actor must have seen the main character put the coin in his palm, or the looped coin fall to his palm.

It only shows a few seconds of this from any particular angle, but the one angle that is impossible is the one I described. What do you think the meaning of this is? Are the audience aware of this discrepancy? Do they notice the impossibility of it rationally, or do they accept it as a story device? Do they explain it as "tv" and nothing more?
Count Lustig
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 23:26, ViolinKing wrote:
...Are the audience aware of this discrepancy? Do they notice the impossibility of it rationally...

What discrepancy? What impossibility? What looped coin? Laypeople don’t know how magicians vanish and reproduce coins. So how would they know what it’s supposed to look like from any given angle?
RJE2
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Agreed. To the tv audience it is just the character doing a magic trick. They aren't supposed to know how magic tricks are done, just be fooled by them (and maybe entertained Smile ).
HCM
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It's just TV. It's hard to shoot magic like that and a spectator's reaction at the same time. If they would have shown it from the other side, you wouldn't have seen the dying man and the shot would have just been a coin trick. I see what you're trying to ask, but the audience should never assume that the man saw anything different than what they see at home, because they don't know how magic works.
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2012-03-25 23:26, ViolinKing wrote:
...As a technical matter, I looked at it and saw it to be impossible. ...


As a technical matter it's storyboarding/direction and not about shooting a magic trick/audience performance. As a storytelling matter - it worked IMHO.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
ropeadope
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This is my favorite TV show & I hate it when it is replaced by those infernal basketball games! Even the reruns.
Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

BTW I agree with HCM & the others.

Have fun,
John
Nothing is better than more.
Alan Wheeler
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The show treats magic and mentalism with the utmost respect and sensibiltiy!
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--Alan Wheeler
English Instructor
and Performing Magician
Jesus vs. the Occult
ViolinKing
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Finally figured out what was bugging me about that scene. The actor was acting as a stooge in that scene.
Brad Burt
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Maybe, maybe not. I don't think Mr. Baker really has any great magic chops, but there are some killer vanishes out there. Just watched Eric Jones coins to pocket...yikes! Some great vanishes that fooled me big time.

I remember the episode in question and don't remember being particularly troubled by what happened technically, except that I am always a little (silently) tough on the actors technique.

Best,
Brad Burt
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Brad Burt's Private Lesson Teaching DVDS:
http://www.nexternal.com/bburt/Category18
ViolinKing
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Brad: DELIGHTFUL! Did you buy the DVD?
Count Lustig
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On 2012-05-03 23:40, ViolinKing wrote:
Finally figured out what was bugging me about that scene. The actor was acting as a stooge in that scene.

What you have to try to understand is that there is no magic effect in this scene. There is only a theatrical depiction of a magic effect. In that context, talk about stooges don’t make any sense.
cirrus
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The method of magic a coin vanish shouldn't even be mentioned. What we saw was a man soothing another man that knew he was going to die within a few minutes. The one man wanted to entertain the other man in his last minutes. The effect matters, not the method.

Patrick Jane could have gotten away with any method as long as the effect was the same: entertaining a dying man.
ViolinKing
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Cirrus: YOU may have seen that, but of course being a magician means I have more tools to use in order to think about the scene.
J-L Sparrow
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This scene in The Mentalist reminds me of scenes in movies and TV shows where a character looks at him/herself in a mirror, and we (the audience) see their reflection.

But for the camera to see the character's reflection, the character must be looking at the reflection of the movie/TV camera. Therefore, the actor isn't looking at his own reflection at all, but just pretending to. If the actor really were looking at his own reflection, the camera (and therefore the audience) would be seeing a reflected image of some random part of the room.

I figure that the actor is just pretending to be a character in a movie or TV show, so to know that he's just pretending to see his own reflection in the mirror (when in fact he doesn't see himself reflected at all) doesn't really bother me.
critter
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Real CSIs don't do most of the stuff on CSI. If there were a real A-Team and they used those tactics, they'd probably be dead. Some of the math in Num3ers isn't accurate. A few of MacGuyver's gadgets have been Mythbusted. Most TV psychiatrists act more like psychologists.
It's called "artistic license." I can live with it.
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ropeadope
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Glad TNT moved their back-to-back`s of the Mentalist two hours before the basketball games last night.
Hope they continue.

BTW, since Meir Yedid has decided to discontinue his Magic on TV weekly, does anyone know of another source?

Have fun,
John
Nothing is better than more.
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