Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pilot Breakdown (overheard) round 3: NBC

It’s pilot season, which means for the next couple/few weeks everyone is going to be wondering what’s going to be new on their televisions this fall. Not being an “insider,” I usually am in the same boat, but I had the good fortune to be sat next to a couple of real Hollywood types at this great lunch place that doesn’t have a name but they seat you on long benches like you’re in Europe, but they treat you like shit like you’re in prison and then they charge you like hell because you’re in Beverly Hills (adjacent). I got to overhear their conversation, which was literally just a list of all the shows at all the networks. Between bites I took notes on a napkin. These are those notes and my reactions.

Sixteen Hundred Pens – this is where I lose a bet with my college televisualism professor. 7 years ago, he said that Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes was tailor made for television. I yelled BULLSHIT and got kicked out of the library. After he finished his research, while he was driving me home (he was my ride), we made a bet. I lost. If eating 7 years of toenail clippings will kill a healthy(ish) adult male, then it was nice knowing you all and thank you for reading this. Also, THAT’S A LOT OF PENS!

Fanciful King Dumb – this was the most alarming of any pilot I’d heard of. Honestly in 2012 I thought we would be beyond deriving humor from the mere fact that a man is a homosexual monarch on the autism spectrum. I’m wagging my finger at you NBC. Shame on you.
Down in Chernobyl – ok, so a bunch of strangers on a plane crash in some faraway place in the pilot episode? Then what? Sounds like it’s going nowhere to me.

Fry the Bright Sinner – maybe the first contestant on this show should be the writer of Fanciful King Dumb, because that’s a goddamn sin if I ever heard one! I’m really interested in this show, though because there’s too many people working against the lord and no television shows kill any of them. this isn’t niche programming, this is the broadest appeal ever. And it takes god’s mind off of the bright sinners to free him up to smite all the non-believers and other minorities.

Fry Hay Mike Winter! – I see this as a blue collar take on “john tucker must die” mixed with “10 things I hate about you,” which I could see as appealing but tough to sustain without a doubt unless there is some sort of deal with the devil type situation where the main character has to be ridiculously unlikable to people to force them to get so angry that they tell him (mike winter) to go fry hay, which is a real big insult in texas. I guess it could work as a game show, too but I don’t think NBC is really looking for any game shows, they know that reality TV is worthless and never benefits anyone. Either way, I’m going to skip it, because it’s too close to “deep fried movie” and wont be anywhere near as funny.

Pies with Lids – first of all, genius. This show markets itself (and it’s gonna have to because there is literally NO platform on the network or coming in the next 3-4 months from which to launch anything at all). But a food improvement show like the shark tank where virile young food inventors pitch their improvements to established food executives and lunchrepreneurs (I just made that word up. What I did was combine: lunch and entrepreneur), is bound to at least make people hungry, which is when NBC reveals that it’s been purchased by con-agra and now they’re making and selling food! Some might say that a tv network being owned by a food conglomerate is a conflict of interest, but that is a phrase for poor people and weak stomachs. Tell me what I want to eat with your programming and commercials and then sell it to me, I’m tired of this charade!

Nappy Sally – just because 30 rock did a sketch with john hamm in blackface does not mean that we can start making fun of minorities again. Sorry NBC. Though, I really do think a black ugly betty would rake up ratings in the middle of America, some of the rest of the country with their fancy political correctness and smart lawyers might ruin the fun for the rest of us good ole patriots.

Is a bell? – I’ve never even imagined what an existential television program would look like, how it would form, if it would occupy a time slot or have commercial breaks or even have pictures. This is that program. I think. Though it could be dead air for the entire season with the finale being a bell ringing in an asking tone like “ding?” I might have to watch, but what is watching?

Fetch Baller Please – ah, the bachelor killer that networks have been wanting for 22 cycles. Here’s the twist: well to do woman sends her ASSISTANT to go out into the city and fetch her a baller. So you’re not competing for the assistant, but the assistant’s boss, so you don’t really get to know what the prize is, except that it can afford an assistant which is pretty sweet and honestly is probably is the least crazy thing about anyone who would go on dating shows like this. also, because of the use of the word “baller” it’ll probably be “urban” which may encroach a little bit on the whole let’s not be racist thing, but it’s much less obvious and may actually slip by most untrained and unprofessional viewers.

Bic and Ben – a story about a man who can see his razor is actually a person and even though he’s the only one that knows this truth it actually teaches him how to be a better person and reveals certain previously inaccessible truths about the world? Hm. Actually really original. Never seen anything like it, ever. I’d change the name though. Bic and Ben doesn’t roll off the tongue like “Ben and Gillette.”

Snoozing free for teens – this is a bad idea. Trust me. First you are trying to be the cool neighbor and let the high school kids hang out and crash sometimes so they don’t drive drunk because that’s the right thing to do, but sooner or later the parole board gets involved and they’re fucking rude and insist on watching you pee in the cup once a week. It. happened to my friend. Not me. I never made and posted that sign in my front yard.

Stable for Dreams – Horses don’t get enough play since Mr. Ed got cancelled. I mean sure the Kentucky Derby was on NBC this year, but it didn’t do well enough to spawn a whole series on the breed, did it? I just worry about who they cast for Dreams. I doubt they’ll have the command of the English language that Mr. Ed did and believe me, the comparison is inevitable and if they had a horse that stood up already, there would be a show about him already. Nuff said.

Now onto NBC’s Drama

Fat Pearl – I don’t get how this isn’t a comedy instead of Nappy Sally. Nappy Sally is racist. Fat people don’t have feelings because they squash them all with poor diet and exercise choices so we can make fun of them all we want, right? You don’t have to answer it, I own a TV and know a little bit about hate speech, being 1/64th jewish American. Thanks to missing the target on the genre, I will refuse this show outright. It just can’t be good and I’m not sorry.

Snooty Cool Steeple – A hipster adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I don’t think the world is ready for someone judging others with such gems as “I was differently abled back when it was ‘handicapped’!”

Mounty – I’m in. A cop show about the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? What could be better than polite Canadians trying to assert authority over other polite Canadians. “oh, I think you might have been speeding, eh?” “who me? I surely didn’t mean to speed, I’m so sorry.” “oh no, I’m the one who is sorry. I don’t like writing tickets.” “I feel awful for putting you in this position, officer, allow me to write my ticket for you” “that’d be nice of you.” “I agree.”

Moo no Farm – EMMY BAIT! Critics will love this story about a cow searching for the farm on which it was born so it could regain a relationship with its biological parents (set in feudal Germany) but ultimately realizes that the journey is more important than the destination, BUT it will be tough to find an audience.

Fun Tears – I think all tears are fun tears because crying is the funniest of all emotions. This is so much on the nose that I don’t think it leaves enough of the goal of the show to the imagination. Good TV needs to hide as many facts and realities from the viewer as possible so they will keep tuning in week to week and year to year (look at M*A*S*H* and LOST), guard those truths and lie about them as much as possible at every opportunity. That said, the show about fun tears will be more like a wheel than a roller coaster.

Slow Torrie Bus – first of all, were busses around back in whig / torrie days? I doubt it. I hate to be the logic police, but someone’s gotta do it and the mounty’s are just too nice to say anything. No. No. No. you can’t mix realities, otherwise you’ll slide down a slippery slope to shows with multiple universes, shows that happen in “real time” yet conveniently no action happens to happen during commercials and people can make 30 minute car trips in less than 5 (with no traffic). We can’t let that happen, so we must put our foot down at our first opportunity. We cannot continue to appease writers who want to break basic rules of the universe! BOYCOTT!

Midnight Pun –  it is clear that the writer just gave up on this.

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