New TV Season, Redux!

On September 17, 2003, in Opinion, by Bruce Black

“There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” – Frank Zappa

I hate to admit it, but I do watch some television. I love a good episode of “CSI Miami”. I think David Caruso is a fine actor, and the character he plays, Horatio Caine, is “cool”. Why do I think this? Well, Horatio gets the bad guys, just by using his brain. He is not a big, brawny guy. He does not use one-line zingers. He doesn’t get involved in high-speed chases where fruit stands get knocked over, nor does he throw guys onto the hoods of cars. In fact, I cannot recall any scene where Horatio even pulls out his gun. No, He just uses his gray cells. That, and that great, authoritative speaking voice. You know he’s a man who means business. (Side note: Mr. Caruso, on the outside chance you’re reading this, Excellent work!)

I hope CSI Miami stays on the air for a long time, but I have read that despite high ratings, it does not pull in the “desired demographic”, which is teenagers who hang out in malls, and spend something on the order of eighty dollars per week in said malls. (More for females, I guess.). I am cheesed off big time, over the decision by CBS to cancel another great show I liked, “The Agency”. That program was well acted, and had fine production values. But, It aired on Saturday nights, when the desired demographic is at the malls, or, if they’re a little older, getting drunk at clubs, while trying to meet drunks of the opposite sex. The people who were fans of “The Agency” were all males over forty, just like myself. So, despite the fact that a given show has good ratings and share points, it can still be given the ax, if it is not pulling in the right viewers. That was the case with “Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman”, and it apparently was the case again with “The Agency”. (And yes fellow males, I did have the hots for Jane Seymour”)

I really have to wonder what the heck is going on. This years offerings from the networks seem to consist of more of the so-called “reality shows” than ever, and yet even more of the 1/2 hour sitcoms, with the standard formula of one-line zingers, and a joke every thirty seconds. Toss in at least two kids who crack wise to their parents, and perhaps a whacky neighbor who keeps coming in the back door, and you have the basic formula for a typical 1/2 hour sitcom.

So what? Well, I’m hoping some network executives are reading this. You see Mr. network executive, this year I have purchased a new car, and a new computer, and both are big-ticket items. So, Mr. network executive, I do have some money to spend. But, your sponsors (The ones who buy ad time, and pay for that nice office you’re sitting in) aren’t getting very much of it, because I’m not watching the dreck you are offering. Thus, I’m not aware of what products or services your sponsors want to sell to me. I should also mention that I buy razor blades, toothpaste, deodorant and all sorts of expendable stuff. Mr. network executive, can you hear me now? Good.

With all that in mind, I will once again offer my own ideas for new TV programs. Now really, could I possibly be any worse at this, than the turkeys that are doing it now? So dear readers, knock yourselves out.

That’s my Smock! Laughs galore on this new sitcom, about the trials and tribulations of a group of former hi-tech workers, who must now put on the old blue smocks, and go to work at WalMart, the only place in town with any jobs at all. There’s Cathy, (Used to be a System Administrator), and Bill (Used to be a software engineer), and Mike (Used to be an Optical engineer) and Paula (Used to be a Network Technician)

In the first episode, It’s learned that someone in the group has been talking to union organizers. Things get nutty as the cast tries to find out who. Will they cover for their fellow underemployed human being, or turn him/her over to WalMart internal security out of fear?

Stars Jennifer Anniston, Roseanne Arnold, and Anthony Edwards.
Guest starring Lee Majors as the manager of sporting goods. Special appearance by John DeLancie as:”The Time Study Supervisor”.

Pleasant Valley High. About as real as it gets. Parents will love this show. Pleasant Valley High is your typical white suburban high school. Unknown to the students, we’ve hidden cameras in almost every classroom and places where students hang out. Our operators, hidden in a central control room, watch everything, and zoom in on the “good stuff” Plus, we’ve got a few moms and dads to join in the fun. In the first episode, a group of girls get surprised, as our cameras tape them walking down the main hallway, after they’ve changed into their mini’s and halter tops, which they thought mom didn’t know about! Watch their faces when their mothers confront them! In the next segment,
A group of school athletes gets caught by the all-seeing camera, while injecting steroids and performance-enhancing drugs. Watch what happens when the police burst into the locker room, and the coach (who supplied the steroids and drugs) denies everything! Most hilarious are the antics of the stoner crowd, a few of whom are at the maximum age limit for high school students! Check out the facial expressions of school officials, when they call their parents in for a meeting, only to learn the stoners’ parents are stoners themselves!
You won’t want to miss this! On FOX, of course.

American Bar Fly’s’. Or, is that “Barflies’ ‘”? This reality series follows a group of single women in their late 20’s, to early 30’s. All have the same problems: They hate their jobs, they hate their meddling parents, and they hate not being able to find “Mister Right”. In fact, they hate their lives! So, they get drunk on Coronas’ every weekend, and frequently on weeknights as well.
Wow! What a fine indicator of what’s going on in the country, a group of adult women, acting like they’re still members of the “fake I.D. crowd”. Series pulls no punches, as it follows the women around, as they get plastered, meet sleazy drunks of the opposite gender, and wake up in strange places, wearing their own vomit, then calling anyone who doesn’t have the same lifestyle “a loser”. (Guess who are really the losers here?) On ABC. (Big Ratings are expected, of course.)

Peter Pans. As a “Companion show” to American Barfly’s’ this all new reality show follows the lives of a group of men, aged thirty to forty, who, as the title suggests, simply won’t grow up. No, they still live at home, mostly in their parents’ basements, and drifting from job to job. But on weekends, look out! These bad boys know how to knock back the brewskis and party till they puke! They’ve got their problems though, as seen in the opening episode, when one of our “Frat Brothers” gets arrested, after he gets caught buying a few six-packs for a group of underage college girls. (He thought he was going to get lucky.) In another segment, another of the “Peter Pans” has a heated argument with his parents about his latest firing, and decides to make his living using his Dell computer and printing equipment to start a business, making fake I.D’s for college kids. (Hey, the college kids think he’s the best!) On CBS.

Trophy Wives. This fictional series explores what it’s really like to be the trophy wife of a typical American corporate executive. You think it’s easy? Well, our group of three trophy wives has very busy, hard days. There are the endless appointments with the plastic surgeons, personal chefs, and private aerobics trainers. (“Can’t lose that “six-figure figure” now can I”, quips one of our heroines) Then, there’s getting the BMW serviced, which really eats into the time. Then, there’s the charity work, such as reading books to poor children, who live in the working class part of town, and volunteering at the local museum. Hey, its got to be done, right? And then there are the inevitable confrontations with their executive husbands’ adult children from their first marriages. “Those kids had better know just who they’re messing with”, says another of our heroines.

Ahh, but the payoff comes. Being seen on the town, and attending very important functions with the executive hubby, plus the McMansion, the luxury ski condo, and the summers on the Vineyard make it all worthwhile. On UPN. The Network is targeting the types of women who used to watch the nighttime soaps, “Dallas”, and “Dynasty”. Hosted Monica Lewinsky. Cast to be revealed on premier night.

The Mechanic. Matt LeBlanc stars in this new situation comedy for adults. Matt stars as Vini Botempo. He’s a great gas station mechanic, the best of the best. But, in a white suburb full of wealthy, divorced ladies, he’s also the town stud! All the women want him, and all the men want to be him! In the opener, Jennifer Smith (Shelly Long) pulls in, to see about that shifting problem in her Volvo Wagon. Well, one thing leads to another, and Vini has to do what he always does, and that means closing the office door for a while! Things get crazy as Vini’s ladies keep popping in, one after another. Will poor Vini ever get any work done on cars today? Tune in and see! On ABC.

Fire and Brimstone. Julia Louise-Dreyfus stars as Ellen Brimstone, who gets hired as the security manager at a chemical plant. Things get nutty on her first day, as the goofy head of shipping, (John Goodman) lets workers stack barrels of pure chlorine way too high! Laughs galore as the barrels fall over, break open and fumes spread everywhere! As Ellen says while grinning at the camera, “You’ll be fine, as long as you don’t breath for awhile!” On ABC.

All American Bitches! What’s the deal with some twenty-something women today? Why do so many pre-30 women have such a self-absorbed, belligerent attitude? This new reality show from FOX takes a daring look at the trend. This reality show follows the format of “Cops” and uses hidden video cameras for a candid look. In the opening episode, “Sandy”, aged 22, gets pulled over for speeding in her Honda. She gets nasty when informed by the police officer that her registration has been revoked due to her insurance being canceled. Enraged by “that stupid cop” Sandy is not about to be pushed around by “some stupid law”, so she kicks, bites, and gouges the officer when he tries to arrest her. It all changes of course, when she calls her latest boyfriend to cough up the bail money. (Note to readers: I draw Ideas from what to write about from what I see going on around me. That includes news events, some major, some minor. Here is an example.

In the next segment, “Lana”, a 19-year-old college student, gets in a little hot water with the campus police. Seems Lana has been stalking her ex-boyfriend, and his new girlfriend, and has even been making threatening phone calls to both of them! Isn’t that amazing? In the openers final segment, Security cameras at a grocery store parking lot catch “Nancy” a twenty eight year old account executive, pulling in, fresh from her step aerobics class. Of course, she zips into a handicapped parking space, cutting off an elderly driver who had been waiting patiently for it. “What’s the big (expletive) problem?” Nancy asks of a store manager, when he tries to confront her.

Well, there you have it. Yet another collection of ideas, which would obviously make for very lousy TV shows. If you think what I’ve put down here is bad, just check out what the networks are really bringing out this fall. And yet somehow, television executives are totally convinced that this crap is what people want to see.

Sorry network executives, but until you cough up something which is on par with the original “Outer Limits”, or “The Invaders”, or “Millennium” (Yet another great show, canceled because it didn’t pull in the desired demographic) my money is staying in my wallet. Got it? There is nothing else for us to discuss, is there?


Bruce Black

 

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