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Infant Item

January 25, 2008 1 comment

Rumor has it the Writers Guild is nearing a contract. This will mean new scripts and/or those on hold, will be available for projects all across the media. Yippie. And I mean it.

I have some things I don’t grasp about writing, specifically for television(teleplays). It’s centered around a pedestrian plot device & female foot wear. Any veteran viewer will know of what I speak, as soon as I get to it.

SCRUBS, a much better than average hospital situation comedy, is in it’s final season. They’ve had a roller coaster ride. Every season renewal was doubtful, though critically acclaimed. One of the young leads, Zach Braff, has launched a independent film career during his tenure. But ratings were always less than what NBC had in mind. Still SCRUBS persevered for seven seasons. Can you say syndication bucks? They sure can.

Here’s why I cite them. Seems as if every freakin’ character on the show has had a baby, a second baby, wants a baby or just likes to talk about babies ( creepy ). Historically in TV Land, in the land of the bland, the one note man is King, that TV Land; a baby( or theoretically cute young child ) is injected into a show, in hopes of boosting sinking ratings. Once upon a time, some network suit made that suggestion ‘ take one baby, just add poop jokes ‘(or stole it, more than likely from a kid in the mailroom) and it worked. So, for the last 50 years, it’s the go to fix. The phrase Jump the Shark, is more like it. Does anybody remember Cousin Oliver?

My best guess is the SCRUBS people are just having a laugh up their scrubs sleeves. Meanwhile, the writing is still funny & occasionally poignant. The baby shit however. . . not so much. And yet, I wondered, what larger scenarios might become more popular, by adding a baby.

OK I bet you thought this right away too! The White House. Mr. & Mrs. Bush could get the married twin ( one is married right? I’m a writer dammit, poetic license ) and have her live there pregnant and give birth ( ideally in the Oval Office ), for the final year of Bushocracy. Wackiness ensues at press conferences and State dinners. Grandpa George was a wild card at them—imagine the grandkid! I smell a hit. Possibly something else. . ..

By extension then, add a baby to the Iraqui War. Have the whole Armed Forces adopt one. Humanizing, sentimental and distracting. Can’t miss. There can be new WMD jokes ( make up your own words, it will be easy ), scenes of the baby being fed during house to house searches, first steps ( and missteps, booboos!), first words: I’m guessing they will be: fire my !@#%* agent! Let’s call it: Shock and Awwww.

Apologies to Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal aside, I could go on and on. Luckily for everyone, I am having an episode of dropsy. So, just one more pitch. It could get rough here, you might want to stop reading. Hey! I warned you. How about for special downs during the Super Bowl, instead of a football. . .. Just kidding. They don’t need bigger ratings. Maybe just get the kid drunk on Bud, put it behind the wheel of a Dodge RAM. If they can get it to drive to an Army recruiter? BOOM! TV gold.

Now, for the footwear. I don’t like high heels. So, from my POV, no occasion, in any room. . . calls for a woman to wear them. Yeah, yeah I know what they do. Who cares. They can’t be fun to walk in or really do anything upright; most women would likely agree on that point, right after attending to their blisters. But when I see female characters who are purportedly police or FBI or meter maids running down a bad guy wearing stilettos, my brain blisters. You can’t convince me a woman smart enough to be a doctor or a nurse is working those 20 hour shifts in spikes. Who has final script approval? Hugh Hefner? Where are those femi-nazis when you need them? It’s just dumbass. Somebody needs to er, step in and put their foot down.

Though, if there was a show with a baby cop in a pair of sky high heels! Wow. I think I’d watch. If the writing is good, naturally.

Hack-ting Out

November 15, 2007 Leave a comment

The Writers Guild of America, read: Hollwood hacks, is on strike. They have a point and you may find their issue described elsewhere in detail. Nub of the quill pen, hmmm I mean nib, would be writing royalties or residuals for DVD sales. Simply, they want to be paid part of those huge monies derived from television series sales; I agree.

Well, I agree, some of them should be paid. Not the clowns who write the same kinds of bad teleplays and scripts using phrases such as ‘ Excuse me!’ when a character is indignant ( typically when they are being told the truth about themselves.) AND my new favorite stereotypical response to being asked to comply with some questionable act: ‘ Hell, no! ‘  Nobody should be paid for that, in fact, money should be deducted! Every time either of those lines is uttered, an angel loses its wings. I bet they don’t do that kind of lame work in Islamic countries. At least not more than twice.

Make no mistake, even hack writing is work. It does require a modicum of discipline and an ear for everyday, conversational speech. Not to mention re-cycling other’s pap, churning out cliched crap and/or— I can get it for you wholesale plagiarism. If it was easy, I could do it! Actually, the real skill of these people is being able to sit down and type. Or having a girlfriend/boyfriend/life mate, who can. Being able to make it snow year round in a warm climate, doesn’t hurt either.

While I’m at it, last TV season’s breakout show Heroes, has sucked so far. It’s been soap opera slow with repetitive scenes. The producer, Tim Kring has acknowledged this, and vowed to fix it. Not having writers will be an impediment. Or will it? First sign of Heroes super-shark jumping for me, was the appearance of overly familiar ( and obnoxious ) faces such as Stephen Tobolowsky and Alan Blumenfeld. Whoever thought this was a worthy followup to first season casting of George Takei, Eric Roberts, Christopher Eccleston & Malcolm McDowell, needs to be terminated, rehired, then fired again, right after they buy a house in the Hills.

My sole experience with screenwriting was when I worked for a guy who scored movies. One day, after I had done a particularly good job feeding the cat, he took me aside. Seems he and his writing partner had a screenplay, a teen sex-ploitation comedy. I won’t tell you the basic plot ( think law suit ) but the catch phrase could’ve been: ‘ This one time. . . at Van Camp’s. . .. ‘ *  He thought I could take a run at punching it up. What apparently inspired him, was my never-ending supply of anecdotes featuring my show biz failures. Also, he’d just torched some excellent weed. Wow. . . he should hear me now.

Once the smoke had literally cleared, that project went nowhere. However, after reading my version, he did say that I was really wacky. Excuse me? Then he told me it was time to clean the cat’s litter-box. Hell NO! So, I ain’t in the WGA. Or on strike.

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* sorry—gotta know your pop culture and canned goods for that one