The director of the Weaver-Horgan show should ramp up central characters' humility

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      More than 30 years ago, writer-director Woody Allen fired Michael Keaton from The Purple Rose of Cairo.

      Allen wasn't happy with Keaton's suitability for the role of Tom Baxter/Gil Shepherd, which was later filled by Jeff Daniels. 

      At the time, there were suggestions that Keaton was dumped solely because of how he looked on-screen. But another report declared that Allen wasn't happy with Keaton's manic acting, with the director shouting "less, less, I want less" during the filming.

      Here in B.C., we don't know who's producing the Weaver-Horgan show that's been dominating the media over the past few days.

      But as a viewer, I'm also inclined to shout "less, less, I want less" at the TV screen as I witness this pair's performances at a series of staged events. 

      First, it was the chance encounter at a rugby game. Weaver and Horgan supposedly just ran into each other and happened to sit side-by-side in the stands.

      Then it was the news conference at the legislature to announce their agreement.

      It would have been fine had the curtain fallen then after the Green-NDP deal was reached. But of course, Horgan and Weaver went before the cameras in advance of "ratification", as if that were ever in doubt.

      So Weaver and Horgan had to host another event, a signing ceremony no less, in front of their adoring assembled caucuses and the media.

      Perhaps I'm hallucinating and perceiving too much stage management, but it struck me that female MLAs-elect might have been deliberately placed in the front row so that Green members Sonia Furstenau and Adam Olsen were appearing alongside NDP stalwarts Jinny Sims and Judy Darcy.

      It conveyed to TV viewers that this wasn't some sort of rugby boys' putsch in which Horgan and Weaver were kicking a female politician, Christy Clark, to the curb. But to me, it looked canned.

      Then yesterday, Weaver and Horgan appeared at the lieutenant-governor's home to drop off their signed agreement. Protocol dictates that Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon should only be dealing with Clark at this time, but that didn't stop the Odd Couple from knocking on the door while surrounded by TV cameras.

      It seemed a bit gauche for them to show up unannounced. Guichon had the good sense not to be home at the time.

      This duo's constant grinning and the ego that's creeping out from time to time, particularly on the part of Weaver, elevate the risk of Clark appearing as a more sympathetic character than she ought to be, given her government's record.

      Whereas Clark has suddenly donned a cloak of humility in this drama, recognizing that the end of this first act is near, Weaver and Horgan are coming across on TV like two guys who've won the Stanley Cup. Act 2 hasn't even begun.

      The director of this show should have screamed "cut" two days ago and instructed them to play their roles with far more modesty and a much more reserved demeanour. Less Brad Marchand and more Barack Obama.

      The tone has missed the mark, no matter how happy Weaver and Horgan might be in private over defeating the B.C. Liberals.

      Shortly after the election, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Kevin Falcon told the Vancouver Sun that his party was punished because there was far too much politics and not enough leadership. The message seems to be sinking in with Premier Photo Op, judging by her demeanour this week.

      Weaver and Horgan have a mere one-seat majority and there's no guarantee that something won't happen to trigger another election over the next few months.

      How they behave now can shape perceptions that will remain in voters' minds for a while. Clark is a crafty politician and she's trying to play the long game.

      These days, elections are often decided by suburban soccer moms, new Canadians, and young people. I suspect when the results of the recent vote are dissected, they will show that the NDP made major gains with all three groups and that the Greens performed exceptionally well with the young.

      The NDP's success can be attributed, in part, to Horgan's tone during the campaign. He demonstrated through his words and his actions that he was there to serve the public, not rich party donors. This was reinforced through the party's advertisements and policy pronouncements.

      The NDP leader should get back to being photographed with ordinary people who helped get him elected. He should be reminding folks that he's a regular guy.

      Weaver isn't the co-premier. And at times, Weaver can come across as an elitist from behind the Tweed Curtain.

      If the B.C. Green leader appears in too many overproduced photo-ops with Horgan, it's going to hurt the NDP brand.