It’s time for the Sitcom Pitch Game 2 – This Time It’s Not The Sitcom Pitch Game 1. The rules are the same – I give you a sitcom title and your end of this Faustian deal is to give me a plot synopsis for the game.
First, the winner of the last game is David! Congrats to him but kudos to everyone who entered, they were all good entries. Except for the one that was a direct ripoff of Seinfeld, although that one would have won if it had been entered via Trackback.
Today’s sitcom title is:
Extra points for coming up with cast members, a theme song, a catch phrase and the correct network for the show to air. You can subtly alter the title, such as changing the name to Wrighter’s Block to make a sitcom about Sims creator Sid Wright.
The recommended entry method is to post your response to your weblog/LiveJournal and then use the trackback form below to add a link to your site. Alternatively, you can post your plot synopsis in the comments.
Good luck and let’s have a clean fight!
7 responses to “Sitcom Pitch Game 2…”
Deathrow meets front row, and roll call means curtain call when this rambunctious group of miscreants on deathrow put together a theater company that ultimately leads to a stay of execution. As long as they keep writing, they keep our hearts a’flutter and their lives a’livin.
Starring Danny Pintauro as Willie “The Gouger” Hunter, the inspiration of the crew. Jennifer Grey as Officer Shelly Picks, the lead of many of Hunter’s plays. Katherine Helmond returns to television as The Widow Bauer looking for love from the man who killed her husband. That man, played by the lovable Richard Mulligan. Rounding out the crew is Anthony Head as the neurotic Jewish warden of this hilarious hell hole.
With the upcoming WB line up, this one is sure to be a electrifying show for these classic television icons.
Coming to the home of Star Trek, “Urban” Sitcoms, and Rasslin’ is this fall’s sure-fire hit:
In the pilot episode, guest star John Ritter (Three’s Company, 8 Simple Rules…) plays himself being given a VIP-tour of a secret military lab for his birthday (think James Brolin and the Komodo incident). In a brilliant bit of physical comedy, Ritter falls into a piece of lab equipment and–FOOM! is played for the rest of the season by Tim Ried (Sister Sister, WKRP).
What follows is a fish-out-of-water, on-the-run-from-the-government, inside-look-at-the-kooky-world-of-entertainment laff-fest with Tom Poston (Newhart) as the inept general hunting Ritter down, Faith Ford (Murphy Brown) as Ritter’s long-suffering Hollywood wife, Queen Latifa (Living Single) as Ritter’s wisecracking secretary who is suddenly attracted to his new form, and introducing Ben Gutz as Ritter’s 5-year-old son, whose mugging for the camera will melt your heart. The studio audience goes wild whenever he yells to his father in that squeaky little white-boy voice, “Word up, daddy!”
Ritter’s Black will not only tickle your funny bone, but will tackle some serious issues, too. Can you imagine what hilarity ensues when Ritter tries to hail a cab? Or when he runs into Suzanne Summers? And in a recurring role, LeVar Burton (Star Trek the Next Generation) plays a scientist torn between changing Ritter back and teaching him to live as a black man in today’s topsy-turvy world.
Be sure to tune in Mondays at 8:30 and possibly Wednesdays at 8 and 8:30 for bonus repeat showings when the show in that time slot doesn’t work out.
The premise of my show is simple: a writer gets hit by a block. Maybe this writer is an exceptionally bad one, or writes something scandalous or untrue about one of the other characters. Either way, he gets what’s coming to him. It makes for some good television.
The show focuses on a hollywood plumber, desperate to break into the industry. Fortunate enough to find a rejected script blocking someone’s plumbing he makes a killing selling the idea, and becomes an international writing star. (i.e. he can just about afford his rent.) However now he’s stuck with the problem that he has to continue to create material for the series he spawned.
In desperation he tries to find, write, or in other ways create some new scripts before the ones he submitted run out (at the end of the current series of the show). Meanwhile he falls for the lead actress in the show, and his overbearing mother who’s always on at him to make something of his life, is so pleased he finally managed to that she’s boasting of her son’s fame and fortune to all and sundry.
Of course while all this is happening the original author of the scripts discovers his show is being aired, and is, to put it mildly… a tad miffed.
Will he be able to get some new scripts in time? Will he be found by the original author of the series?
Will he get it on with his new love?
Will his mother ever shut up?
All this and more will be answered in the fantastic new show “Writer’s Block”
wRi(gh)ters’ Block will keep you laughing till Christmas! Thrown together by fortune, a Madison Avenue copywriter (Ted Danson), a gun-toting Right-wing extremist (Bea Arthur) and a Wright Brothers and powered flight obsessive (Tom Bosley) all discover their shared interest in trying to block controversial European trade tariffs that threaten to destroy the US gyrocopter industry. In the first episode a misunderstanding causes to Arthur’s character to spray the Dutch parliament with machine-gun fire before her wise-cracking eleven year old daughter (Ashley Olsen) points out that violence is not the way to solve our problems. Meanwhile Danson and Bosley experience a homoerotic awakening after being trapped in a cargo container overnight. Wacky yet completely intellectually non-threatening rWri(gh)ters’ Block will reassure you that everything is OK…no need to worry..it’s fine.
Tuesdays, 8:30 only on BBC America and the Gyrocopter Channel
Ryta’s Bloc recounts the hilarious and heart-warming tale of a Polish immigrant’s attempts to form her own group of Socialist states in Western Pennsylvania during the Second Great Hula Hoop craze of the early 1980s.
Pining for the Soviet-style oppression of her homeland, dowdy Ryta Wochalsowski (Olympia Dukakis) is inspired by a vision of Karl Marx to collectivise local farms and take back the nearby steel plant for its workers. From there, a mapcap politicisation of the proletariat ensues, climaxing in Ryta’s Bloc seceding from the USA after a side-splitting face to face encounter between Ryta and Ronald Reagan (George Foreman). Along the way Ryta falls in love with penniless poet Andrei (Lance Bass in a comic tour de force) and defeats American imperialist aggression in what must be the slapstick scene of the year!
Wednesdays 8:30, only on the History Channel and VH1
Comedy, 1/2 hour
(Tuesday, 7:30 pm., ABC)
Dan Writer (Ted Danson) is an English professor at a small public college in New Jersey. A youthful 55, he enjoys the banter with his students, acting in the college’s small (and very bad) Shakespeare productions, and bantering with his colleagues (Tom Lafontaine (Jason Alexander), a nasty-tempered foul-mouthed philosophy professor who continually misquotes famous writers, and Jill Saint Claire (Shelly Farbares), a worldly English professor who once published a famous romance (the name of which is never mentioned on the show) and who dreams of living in a cottage in the Costwalds. Other college cast members include include the ruthless and ambitious young(ish) department head (Vicki Lewis).
But the focal point of the show is Writer’s neighborhood, an upper west side block of apartments, shops and (of course) characters from which Writer commutes every day. On his salary, Writer is able to afford a small apartment (and is, consequently, always running out of money) and hence, to enjoy (which he obviously does) the diverse and unusual neighbourhood in which he lives. Some regulars on the block include the Chinese grocer (Pat Morita, who of course speaks and acts Japanese (and constantly complains that Japanese food would never sell, so he must sell Chinese food), ‘Nell’, the waitress at the coffee shop (Christine Lahti) where Writer eats breakfast (he doesn’t have a kitchen, of course, and is constantly trying (and failing) to get breakfast on creadit), the news-stand guy (Pat Morita again, in a different role), the rap kids outside Writer’s front door (new), and Andrew Jackson (Avery Brooks), a local resident and Writer’s foil in the neighbourhood.
Episode narration and setting of context is provided by Writer’s continuing chapters in his ‘novel’ (we learn, over time, that Writer is and always has been a failed writer: he has never been published, not even once, and over the course of the series his work is rejected by the Times, the New Yorker, the community newsletter, the college student paper…). To get the gist of the narration, you have to picture Ted danson as an author and… well, you get the picture.
Writer is attempting to write a story of iner-city new york told from the perspective (not the point of view) of a suburban college professor – consequently, his work is full of really obvious, sometimes trite, observations about inner-city life. Gradually, through the course of the series, he and his writing are pulled into the complexities of the inner city, until eventually he is writing about suburban life from the point of view of an inner-city dweller.
The hook for the story is, of course, the contrast between the inner-city experience (which includes poverty, crime, crowding, etc) and the surreal setting of the New Jersey college. Writer comments frequently that entering one from the other is like entering a “different world”. The sub-theme is the similarities between the people who live in the two cultures (an understated and not obvious parallel is drawn between two characters, one from each side, in every episode).
It’s important to keep in mind that throughout the series, Writer is a well-meaning an earnest – even naive – college professor who is, despite his continual failure, always hopeful about his writing career, genuinely caring about his students (so much so that they take advantage of him from time to time), intelligent (in a home-spun kind of way) and reasonably articulate – just not very insightful. The world (both worlds) is passing Writer by, and he just doesn’t quite understand what exactly is happening, but he is confident of his place and role in the world.
Theme song: paperback Writer (of course), and the outro is an instrumental with the same music.
Catchphrases: “It’s like entering another world.” – “Can I owe you for that? (varying sarcastic responses)” – “I have just sent a manuscript to –” ; “I have just received a letter from –”
Begins in Writer’s apartment as he begins the ‘Novel – he is writing by candlelight (during the series he uses flashlights, candles, whatever, because his power is frequently (but not always) shut off because the payment is overdue). As writer describes his block in increasingly romantic terms, the sounds of the inner city increase in intensity – horns, shouting voices, sirens, gunshots…
Quick cuts: Writer leaving the apartment, eating breakfast, buying a newspaper, then (longer shot) cycling over the bridge to New Jersey (during the show he explains that while he could probably afford a car, he can’t afford the parking), cut to Writer parking his bicycle (no lock (he’s naive), and hence, different bicycles over the course of the series, different weather during the cycle as well), cut to Writer standing in front of a class, Shakespeare in hand, reciting as the opening music fades…
… and you get the idea. In the pilot, Writer takes to a young man of indeterminate ethnicity who thinks he’s a rebel (a cross between Springsteen and James Dean) – after a trigger event (fighting in the hall), Writer decides it would be a good idea to take this suburban punk into the inner city to show him “what being a failure is really like.” They get into the city and the young punk adapts like a fish to water, rapping with the rap kids, getting along with the newspaper guy, so on. But in the third act, the kid says the wrong thing to a gang member and looks like he is in trouble until Writer placates the gang with a mixture of naivite and indifference (“Look,” he says, “if you do me then you can pay my power bill.”)
– The department head plans to get rid of the English department, so Writer plans to convicne her of how wrong she is by showing her the bad English spoken on the block, she agrees to go with him but one after the other she meets a Pulitizer prize winner, a peabody prize winner, a Nobel laureate… but she relents anyways, reasoning that if English can survive on the block she has no chance of killing it.
– Writer and Lafontaine deside to go hang out in the cafes of the lower east side, where they discover some of their students busing tables. Writer spends some time complaining to lafontaine about how today’s youth are neglecting their studies, but on the way out spots the student’s Shakespeare, open, on the top of the diswashing machine, and has a change of heart (unseen, but shown after Writer leaves, the other half of the book, propping up a bucket collecting water from a leaky roof)
– Writer decides to mount (yet another) production of Shakespeare, but decides to import some of the people from the block (and in particular, the rap kids) to play some of the roles (reasoning that by being exposed to the more cultured life, they will want to make something of themselves). The play is eventually produced entirely in rap.
That’s it, it a nutshell. I have a large basket outside my door to collect the royalty cheques. 😉