New Television Season

Well, here it is, that time of year when the big TV networks dump the shows that are stink bombs, (or, those programs that are not pulling in the “desired demographic”, apparently teenagers who spend their time and money at the mall.) and replace them with, you guessed it, more stink bombs. So, being the good little writer that I am, I am once again trying my fingers at writing for tv.

Hey look, I cannot be worse at this, than the people who are doing it now, right? So, here goes: (And I admit, I was wrong about “Dark Angel”. It’s a decent show, and Jessica Alba is a hottie. My “Dirty Old Man” extensions are loaded and active.)

So, here are some television programs I conjured up, all by myself. Given the present taste the American public has in tv shows, I am sure that all of these would be huge hits. Enjoy.

“That’s My Pi!” Sitcom starring Pamela Anderson as a woman with a PhD in Physics, working at a large, federally funded research lab, and struggling to be taken seriously in the male-dominated world of science and engineering.

You’ll howl with laughter as Pam tries to present her latest published work while wearing her trademark mini, low-cut blouse, and high heels. Watch the antics of all the male employees at her lab as they try to sneak peeks down, up, and through her clothes. Laugh with hysteria as “Old Mike” the supervisor of maintainence, drills a large peek hole in the women’s bathroom, using a huge auger bit, and no one seems to notice! Could things be any nuttier? Also stars Shelly Long as Pam’s “plain jane” secretary, who cannot understand why the men don’t notice her the way they notice Pam. ( She really is clueless. )

Fun for all. From the same producers as “Ally Mcbeal”. On CBS. ( Note: The producers have assured us that there is nothing sexist about this family comedy. )

“Three’s Company, Again!” This series reunites the original cast members of the 1970’s sitcom, John Ritter, Joyce Dewitt, and Priscilla Barnes. Today, Jack Tripper ( Ritter ) is the owner/manager of the finest restaraunt in L.A. His clients consist of a “Who’s Who”, of the Hollywood “A” list, and the L.A. banking and real estate industries. But alas, his former roomates, Janet and Terri, have not been so lucky. Seems they lost everything when their dot-com companies went down the tubes, and now they are, well, homeless and flat broke. Being a good-hearted guy, Jack let’s them move in with him, in his luxury condo. Right away, things get crazy, as Jack passes them off to his strict condo association as his cousins from France. Things get even nuttier when Janet wears her thong bikini to the pool by mistake, during “Senior Water Aerobics” class, and a couple of old timers discover they really didn’t need viagra after all. Watch for a cameo by Don Knotts, playing his old role of Mister Furley. ( He still believes Jack is gay! ) On ABC. ( The Ropers will not be appearing because, well, they died. Jack’s original sidekick, Larry, played by Richard Kline, will also not be appearing because no one knows where he is.)

“Beverly Hills White Trash”. 1/2 hour sitcom on ABC. Westwood Heights is a gated community, full of self-indulgent yuppies with the latest fashions, SUV’s, hairstyles, and beautiful children. And their worst nightmare comes true, when Roy Bertaneau, a “White Trasher” from the most run down mill town in the state, wins twenty million dollars on a lottery scratch ticket, and moves into their gated community, with his trashy family in tow. Laughs fly when Roy’s fat, foul-mouthed kids mingle with the yuppie kids. ( “Dad, they’re so Retahded!”) And when Roy’s pet Doberman, named “Blackie” goes after the neighbor’s pure-bred female golden retriever, well, you know what happens. The doo-doo really hits the fan when Roy brings in all his old junk cars, and puts them up on blocks in the front yard. Yep, it’s a downright hilarious look at the funny, funny, growing caste system in America.

“Lawsuit!” Reality series, with different participants each week. Follows a selected group as they try to sue large corporations for the most ridiculous reasons ever conceived. First up: A a trio of overweight women in the mid-west try to run a “slip and fall” scam on a fast food restaraunt. The scam is uncovered by security cameras, which reveal the trio plotting the “fall” move”. In the second segment, a suburban mommy sues the makers of a ballpoint pen, because her daughter swallowed the plastic cap. Her argument is that “they should have known that children would swallow it, and put on warning labels”. Third, A high schooler sues a large hair salon chain, over what he believes is a “bad haircut”. He sues for “pain and suffering, which he had to endure for three whole weeks!” Series will be hosted by former Los Angeles police chief Daryl Gates. On Fox.

“Naked Town”. Set in the fictional dessert town of Golden Gulch, (Somewhere in the Mojave Dessert, just off Route 66.) This town of 30 permanent residents decide to go around totally naked, all the time. At first, it’s just for fun, but they are surprised when the town catches on with the tourist trade! It’s fun galore, when the all-american families pull in, and toss their clothes off! Lots of laughs, when the towns residents “convert” some prudish seniors! Stars Farrah Fawcett, ( she runs the local gas station ) Heather Locklear ( she owns the towns only radio station. ) Rosanne Arnold, ( Shes the town manager. ) And Lee Majors. ( He’s the town’s constable, annoyed because he has to wear his badge on a lanyard. ) Look for Rosie O’Donnell in a recurring role as “Doris”, who owns the towns only convenience store, and has a “thing” for microwave burrito’s. ( On the FX Cable Network. )

“Swedish Barn” The wacky goings-on at a trendy furniture store. In the pilot, the store manager ( Matt LeBlanc) is aghast when a consultant hired by the central office puts all his salespeople on a quota system, whereby whoever sells the least each month gets fired. Laughs galore as the sales people scheme, backstab, and sabotage each other. Other parts not yet cast, but Jennifer Anniston will co-star as “Julie” a regular customer whose orders always get screwed up. Also stars Lance Henricksen in a recurring role as “Ralph”, a homeless guy with really wicked lice, who frequently breaks in to the store after hours, and makes himself at home on the expensive designer couches and sofas. Laughs a-plenty! ( ABC)

“Wheels”. Stars Yasmine Bleeth, as an un-employed waitress who inherits a Boston bike messenger service from an uncle she never knew she had. Watch as Yasmine butts heads with the rough bike messengers, who don’t quite know what to make of the equally rough Yasmine. The jokes and “Double Entendre’s” fly. Co-stars Ice-T as “The homless guy in Post Office square”, and Richard Greico as “Greaser” the top messenger who has a mysterious past.

“Split Ends”. Suzanne Somers returns to weekly tv, as the owner of a new Hair Salon, located near Boston’s Financial District. Her clients include the “Cream of the Crop” of the Boston big-buck elite, and the occasional “Big dig” worker. The jokes and “Double Entendre’s” fly in this fast-paced sit-com. co-stars Sarah-Michelle Gellar as a hair-stylist/Escort girl, and Ice-T as “The homless guy in Post Office square”, Watch for a “Crossover Episode” with “wheels”, and a Cameo by Acting Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift, who comes in to “have her Bangs Trimmed”.

“The Off-Season”. One hour surreal drama, shot in Black and white, that takes place in the fictional town of Seacrest, Massachusetts. Seacrest is one of those “Summer Boom Towns”, which becomes all but deserted after October. Among the bargain priced hotels and condo’s, you’ll find mystery aplenty. You never know who you might come across. There’s “Paula”, ( Heather Locklear ) The mysterious young woman, who walks the empty beach every morning, as though waiting for someone. There’s “Sam” ( Terry O’Quinn) the conspiracy buff, who never gives his last name, and is hiding in seacrest from what he claims are “enemy agents”. And there’s “Ruth”, (Roseanne arnold ) who owns and runs the only Diner/motel that stays open year Ôround. Ruth seems to know everyone’s dirty laundry and likes to talk. In the opener, (Directed by David Lynch) two men in dark glasses rent a motel room at Ruth’s, and spend a lot of time watching the area of the beach where Paula does her walking. What do they want? What are the strange signals that keep appearing on everyone’s tv? And who is the “Newcomer”, a mysterious tall woman, who always dresses in black, and only comes out on grey, bleak days? ( “Chyna” of the WWF in her first tv series role) Series will premier on the WB network.

And there you have it. So, why the rant and jabs against television? Well, it’s simple: I remember a time when tv was actually fun and interesting to watch, a time when programs challendged the imagination and caused you to think. Now I know, you’re probably thinking, “He’s just another baby boomer, nostalgic for “the good old days”. No, not quite right, but it’s a good guess. I really think that television blows chunks, compared to the programming I grew up with. Need proof? Well consider why “The Twilight Zone” is still on the air, both on cable, and on certain UHF stations in some markets. Graduate thesis papers have been written on it. Think that in thirty years, the same will be true about garbage programs such as “Love Cruise” and “Survivor”? No, of course not. Those shows will have done well, if anyone remembers them in a year. Want more proof? Look at the number of old programs which have been brought back in a new form. Now granted, some have been successful and some have not. The classic early sixties science fiction program, “The Outer Limits” enjoyed a very successful seven year run, as a new program, on Showtime, and in a “toned down” version, in syndication. It ended, but demand is so strong for it, that the scifi channel is now picking up rights for new episodes. Some “Classic” shows which have been brought back have not done so well. “The Fugitive”, which starred Tim Daly as the wrongly convicted Richard Kimball, did not fare well in the all-important ratings, despite being well-acted and boasting fine production values. Alas, maybe it wanted people to think too much.

I’ll close up with this statement: If I had kids, mine would probably be a “TV free” household. Granted, this would mean some sacrifice on my part. I would certainly miss the new “Enterprise”, and the “X-Files”, but that’s about it. ( Sorry, Anhueser-Busch, but I don’t watch sports on tv. ) I just cannot fathom allowing kids to watch the constant mind pollution that is commercial television today.

And that’s that.

Bruce Black

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