Photo: 20th Television, HBO

The Turn & Smile At The Camera Opening Credits Cliche vs. Al Swearengen Passing A Kidney Stone

It's that thing they used to do in all the opening credits that both horrified and entranced you vs. the most through-your-finger two and a half minutes of TV viewing ever!

55%
178 votes

The Turn & Smile At The Camera Opening Credits Cliche

45%
143 votes

Al Swearengen Passing A Kidney Stone

The case for The Turn & Smile At The Camera Opening Credits Cliche

I don't know when these really started, but for many years the most common mode of introducing your actors to the viewing audience was through an opening sequence, with an extra peppy song playing in the background, and those brief moments of fourth wall breaking (long before that even became an acknowledged concept) where each actor in turn stopped playing their character... for just one second... and turned to look directly down the barrel of the TV camera to smile at you--the viewer.

Really there are hundreds of show opening credits I could have included in this to illustrate it. I wound up using what I think is one of the absolute silliest--but one which I suspect even in the mid 80s actually might have been pretty self-aware of how silly the convention was. After all, the show it was FOR was even sillier than the Turn & Smile. And they knew it. And they knew YOU the viewer knew it and were watching anyway.

You decide. I'd also encourage linking or embedding your own favorite examples of Turn & Smile credits in the replies to this entry. — Kromm

The case for Al Swearengen Passing A Kidney Stone

It's the Deadwood scene so painful, so empathically terrible that YouTube dare not let us embed it! When town monster Al Swearengen passed a kidney stone we all felt it. — David T. Cole


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