The New York Times article, “Cosby Puts His Stamp On A TV Hit,” written by Sally Bedell Smith quoted Jay Sandrich: “I have to understand what the story is about so I can not only shoot it but shape it. My function is to speak as the audience, to make sure we know what we are trying to say.” In the episode A Shirt Story, I found Sandrich’s statement particularly applicable. From the moment Theo comes home with a shirt by designer Gordon Gartrelle, the form of the episode is communicated to the audience beyond the accompanying laugh-track. From the beats that Sandrich emphasizes, the audience is able to both sympathize with Theo while also comprehending the obscene cost of the shirt. Because Sandrich assumes the role of the audience, the episode’s intention and commentary is clear.
In the pilot of The Golden Girls, Sandrich’s approach of representing the audience benefitted the pilot episode. Sandrich’s aesthetic method made the three women relatable and lovable. Shooting the characters in such a sensitive manner resulted in the creation of empathy for the audience immediately. The characters were loveable from the start of the series. Prior to reading about Jay Sandrich and viewing some of his work, I am not sure I could have articulated how Sandrich’s style is distinctive; however, upon reading his quotation as reported by Smith, I understand Sandrich’s point of view and believe it was effective.