Folks, I’m here tonight to make you a pledge. Actually, a set of pledges. I don’t really expect to make it big, ever — but let’s say I do. Let’s say the stars align, or I come up with some good dirt on somebody important, or grow some damned talent, and get involved with a sitcom someday. Let’s just say that happens.
Got that? It may take you a few seconds to suspend disbelief quite that far. That’s okay; take your time I’ll wait.
Okay, so now that we’re in fantasy-land, I’m prepared to make a few promises — to you, and to myself — about what will not happen on that mythical sitcom. Not as long as I’m involved, anyway.
1) There will not be a laugh track. If you want yuks in a can, buy a tin of cocktail weenies. They’re a real hoot.
2) There will not be an episode, ever, concerning a mixup of identical twins, and the shenanigans that ensue. As a matter of fact, forget twins altogether. Creepy things, anyway, what with all that ‘we know something you don’t know‘ crap.
3) The show will not be used as a vehicle to tug on anyone’s heart strings, or to teach people a damned lesson. If you want drama, then watch Masterpiece Theater. If you want to learn, watch Nova. Or turn the TV off altogether. How’s about that?
4) The show will not be set in the ’70s, or the ’80s, or any other time besides the present. We’ll not be making ‘That 1870s Show‘, ‘Battlestar Hilaria‘, or any other ‘period fluff’. If a guy walks onto the set wearing bellbottom pants, I will personally kick him in the balls. Seriously.
5) There will not be a crotchety-but-sympathetic ‘tough’ character on the show, whose gruff exterior belies a tender, fluffy heart of gold. Bullshit. In my experience, a gruff exterior is evidence of a gruff, snippy, shriveled interior. Maybe I just don’t look hard enough, but screw it — it’s my hypothetical show, dammit.
6) The name of the show will not be longer than three words. After that, it’s too damned hard to remember — or bother to watch. Observe: Seinfeld — fine. Friends — very popular. Life According to the Other Belushi, Who’s Really Let Himself Go But Inexplicably Has a Smoking Hot Wife in This Show? Sorry. Not happening.
7) The show will not include a random older character, like a grandparent or senile neighbor, just to pique the interest of the gradually-aging population. Screw ’em. If the old folks can’t relate to a ‘regular’ show, let ’em go back to Matlock and Golden Girls. I hear Murder, She Wrote is good this time of year, grandma. Move it along.
8) We’ll not be having a bubbly hot chick who can’t act on the show. If she’s got nice boobs and huge tracts of talent, then we’ll talk. Otherwise — against my better personal judgement — we’ll have to pass. Eye candy does not a fine comedy make. (I reserve the right to reverse this rule, if we happen to be on HBO, where the girl can actually get naked on camera. I’m only human, people.)
9) There will not be obvious stereotypes on the show. We may have a gay male character, but he won’t wear all pink all the time and listen exclusively to Streisand and show tunes. Possibly, there’ll be a girl from the South — but will she twang it up, drive a pickup, and line dance her way to NASCAR races? Maybe — but not on every show. And if we have smart kids, they’ll do more than wear Coke-bottle glasses and fail to get girls. I went through enough of that shit in high school; I’m not putting it into the damned show.
10) There will not be any product endorsements going on during the show. Have you ever watched a sitcom and seen a Sprite, or an iPod, or a box of Rice-a-Roni ‘accidentally’ left in the camera shot, label perfectly angled towards the camera? Shameless. Save the fucking commercials for between the plot lines. Otherwise, how will any of us know when to slip out to use the can?
11) The show is not going to feature any sort of ridiculous gimmick like dream sequences, flashbacks, or any other fantasy bizarro world bullshit. If you see wavy shimmer lines on my show, you can just frigging shoot me and get it over with. Save me the pain.
12) Finally, the show will not last longer than it has to. There are too many ideas out there, too many other things to work on, and too many crappy-assed shows already on the air. Forget about ‘jumping the shark’; when the shark is walking up to ring the doorbell, it’s all over. Time for the next adventure.
Well, there you go. It’ll never happen — and if it ever does, I have no idea what it might be… but I can say for damned sure what it won’t be. That ought to put it ahead of ninety-nine percent of the crap out there now, eh?Permalink | 2 Comments