The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Monday, August 09, 2004

REALITY CHECK: SITCOM STYLIN'
Who hasn't slumped back into the couch, disgusted at the realization of having squandered a half-hour of one's life watching some crapola like "Everybody Loves Raymond", and thought, "I could write something better using half my brain!"?

Time to put your money where your mouth is. Or at least, your creative energy (assuming you have any). Bravo Television's "Situation: Comedy" will be a contest/reality show about the search for the next sure-fire sitcom, and it's soliciting script ideas from the general public.

The AP's Frazier Moore has some interesting plot pitches, based on the Hollywood regurgitation method of series creation:
Just consider the new Fox sitcom "Method and Red," where two rap stars cope with living in a stuffy gated community. Will Smith was living with a starkly similar concept a decade ago on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." And what about the WB's fall show "Commando Nanny"? It's a Y-chromosome twist on the 1990s Fran Drescher sitcom "The Nanny."

In the eyes of sitcom-makers, to copy is an act of genuflection.

So ... how about six attractive young Manhattanites who hang out and drink a lot of, I don't know, maybe herbal tea? How about a button-down version of "Will & Grace" with Log Cabin Republicans?...

Or what about a cutting-edge sitcom for post-9/11, set in the Department of Homeland Security? Laughs galore! Someone keeps stealing office supplies. The boss's deputy has agoraphobia. One of the operatives (too bad Andy Dick isn't available to play him) spends all his time swapping music files with suspected terrorists.
They all sound like winners! Damn, I'm not even going to try now.

Moore does touch on a pertinent point: Many TV shows, especially comedies, are built around a specific star in mind. Indeed, that's factored into a network's commitment to go with a show. "Situation: Comedy" isn't going to be like that--it's presumably going to be judged largely on the merits of the writing. God help them.

On second thought, I think I will enter the contest. What the hell, I can write, and I'm damn funny. I won't even need to resort to Plotto to do my dirty work; I already know what it takes to make a successful sitcom these days:

- Ensembles with hot chickies and metrosexilicious men!
- Monkeys, monkeys, and more monkeys! That solve crimes!
- Going for youth market--straight to the womb!


I know what you're thinking, and you're right: Don't bother entering. I've got it sewn up, baby. See you in Malibu...