Friends “With Benefits”

Real life can be boring….really boring.  That’s where television swoops in with its more interesting version of existence.  With television, we are free from ugly people, needing patience with life’s difficulties, and good friends don’t have to knock or call first.   I’m going to try that with my neighbor later today – don’t worry, I’ll have a joke ready.

Since television’s purpose is entertainment, it’s difficult to quibble when the script is all roses and ignores reality’s thorns.  We accept a little “play” in the rules of real life but only to an extent.  Eventually the plot becomes hard to accept and we write off the show.  This is the why a lot of folks won’t even bother with sci-fi, fantasy, and MSNBC.

I’m ashamed to admit that Mrs. Teply and I have multiple seasons of the late 90s standard “Friends.”  You remember…single folks who enjoy coffee, wacky situations, and complete sexual freedom.  The show where a courtship works a bit like this…
 Step 1 – Introduce yourself
 Step 2 – Sex
 Step 3 – Comically fatal flaw or “I love you.”
 Step 4 – Shack up or go back to Step 1

Only on two occasions do we reach the rarefied Step 5 which is marriage.  Hey, it’s a television show…most folks know better than to buy what they’re selling.  Sexual jokes are easy to write.  It’s even easier to ignore the negative and dangerous aspects of this brand of courtship.  I sometimes wonder if the writers and actors ever feel any responsibility for the message (albeit a sitcom) that they are sending.

Anyway, about six months ago I decided to watch each episode and record how many sexual partners each character has during the show’s ten year run.  I tallied obvious sexual partners along with exact references to previous partners.  For instance, Rachel off-handedly asks when she’d ever given herself to a man on the first date (as she’d just done).  Monica rolls her eyes, offers a sideways grin, and lists three names – score four for Rachel.

Here are the totals…

 * Monica – 10 partners.  Her total was hurt by a couple of long term relationships.  In this game , that’s not how you win.  Curses!

 *Chandler (Mr. Can’t-Get-A-Date) – 8 partners.  He complained about his inability to find women but still managed 8 all of which were out of his league.  He married to Monica for the last few years of the show.

 *Ross – 10 partners. He was married three times…that’s not how you bag the most women! 

 *Rachel – 15 partners.  Miss Unattainable really wasn’t.

 *Phoebe – 17 partners.  We also learned that she likes it a little kinky…good to know.

 *Joey – Honestly, I lost count but the unofficial mark is 28.  You knew this guy was going to walk away with it.  We’ll have to wait until the ten year reunion show to find out how many STDs he picked up.

The Reality of Programming

Hello!  If you’re reading this, let me be the first to congratulate you…you’re literate!  Now that you can read it’s time to find a job that pays well and that is in serious need of individuals with your skill set.  How about TV Executive?!

TV Executives play an important role in today’s fast paced, sedimentary society.  You may believe that with the advent of the Internet, video games, DVDs, and near explosion of specialty channels that the influence of today’s average TV Executive is nearly zero and you’d be right!  But if you can keep even one small child from going outside it’s all worth it. 

Of course, there are challenges.  With advertising budgets becoming increasingly splintered, innovative spending becomes a must.  Assisting the budding TV Executive is the primary role of this tutorial and to that end we have compiled a list of “Touchable” spending and “Untouchable” spending.

· Actor’s Salaries
· Writer’s Salaries
· Program Development
· Your Floozy Secretary
· Studio Fees

· Executive Compensation
· Executive Bonuses
· Executive Clothing Allowances
· Executive Grooming

Due to less available monies, TV programming has necessarily devolved into the pinnacle of sensationalistic programming…the Reality Show!

All Reality Shows are taped in an alternate dimension known to laypeople as Purgatory (pronounced prrrrr-gat-ore-E).  This dimension is a place where social norms and the common rules for behavior do not exist.  Remember, the worse your cast behaves the better! 

You may wonder how a program that ignores the dictates of functioning civilization can be called a “Reality Show.”  It’s called a Reality Show because “Embarrassing Public Displays” and “Cheap and Ugly Programming” didn’t test well.

Not all Reality Shows have succeeded.  To assist you in gauging the probable success of a planned Reality Show, we have constructed a Success Quotient.  This value indicates, using proven data, whether or not a Reality Show will be a hit.  The higher the total value the better likelihood the Emmy’s will ignore you but actual views will not.
1- Categories of Reality Show contestants –
· Points per normal human being (0 pts.)
· Points per crazy human being (2 pts.)
· Points per floozy woman (3 pts.)
· Points per F list celebrity (4 pts.)
· Points per celebrity spawn (4.5 pts.)
· Points per crazy celebrity spawn (6 pts.)
· Points per chimp with Turret’s Syndrome (9 pts.)

2- Levels of Competition –
· Winner gets network stock (0 pts.)
· Winner gets a new pony (20 pts)
· Winner gets 15 seconds of fame (40 pts.)
· Winner gets 3 tabloid covers (60 pts.)

3-   Extras –
· Allow each contestant / entry the opportunity to vent (10 pts.)
· Video “Secret plans” and “Alliances” for broadcast (15 pts.)
· Charismatic host with bad hair or a bad attitude (20 pts.)
· No Ugly people (10 pts.)
· Each episode qualifies as “SHOCKING” or “MEMORABLE”  (Note: Requirements for memorable or shocking do not exist.) (15 pts.)

Success Quotient Scale –  0 to 10 pts. = Cancelled

    11 to 15 pts. = Ratings Basement

    16 to Infinity = Runaway Hit

So there you go!  There are only other two things to keep in mind.  One, please make sure your cast is very diverse because that’s just the way we do things now a days.  Also, NO IDEA IS TOO STUPID TO MAKE A SHOW!

Crafting Your Own Comedy (Part II)

Hello! We now continue with our dissection of the programming known commonly as the Sitcom. Before reading this information please take a moment to review our introduction, “Crafting Your Own Comedy.”

Like vitamins to the human body, there are several important “motivators” that help keep any sitcom alive and ratings healthy. Let’s take an in-depth look at several of the common ones.

The cast must be a collection that involves a mix of the following personality types. You may pick and choose; however, like a bowl of jellybeans, you will attract more people the greater your variety. We’ve personified each type to augment your understanding.

Ted the Moron– He gets stupid ideas and states them with confidence. He doesn’t seem to notice when the other characters look at each other and do a “What the…” double take right in front of him. He misunderstands common expressions and puns. Unlike stupid people in real life, he’s always loveable and his debilitating stupidity only endears him to the others.

Frank the Frustrated Hero– This guy is usually the main character. His good nature is infectious but he is a bit naïve. Any big plans he has that would change the dynamic show MUST fall through at the last moment. If it doesn’t, you must promote the show as “A Very Special Episode.”

Jim the Ladies Man – Romance is equal part tragedy and comedy. The comedy is mined from the fact that people do INSANE things when they think they are in love. Your characters should embarrass themselves with stunts that have every good psychiatrist shaking their heads.

Also remember (and this is important), SEX on TV is as causal as buying groceries. I know it seems deviant to convey this ridiculous idea but that’s the way we work in Hollywood.

Janet the Compulsive – This could also be Janet the Eccentric or Janet the Arrogant. This character has one extreme aspect of her personality that is constantly being yanked at by the show’s circumstances or other characters. Put her in a tizzy and keep her there.

The rest of your sitcom is simply setting and a congealed, misshapen mound of bad puns, put-downs, misunderstandings, and a bit of slapstick. Yes, that’s it!! We remind you again that being a TV executive requires precious little creative or innovative thinking. You can do it then hire your imbecile cousin as a junior executive.

Here’s a quick primer on common sitcom settings…


The Workplace Sitcom

– Everyone has a break and fills the break room at the SAME time.

– A practical joke must be in play at all times.

– The boss is cranky and out of touch. Why? HE JUST IS! NOW GET BACK TO READING!

– No one is ever out sick or has to wear uniforms.

– All customers are very quiet so we can hear the workers.


The Family Sitcom

– Most good family sitcoms are designated in a pleasant suburban home. Don’t mess with this. It gives everyone a nice feeling.

– The clueless dolt MUST be the father. DO NOT anger your audience by allowing the wife (female) to do anything habitually stupid. They are to be the “behind the scenes” masters of every situation allowing the male to only think he’s in charge.

– All families must have friends of another race. We don’t care just pick one. (Chubby Asian kids are usually comedy gold.)

– Sitcom families wear robes in the morning just like a full 2% of the American public.

– Don’t do something silly like having friends and family knock before coming in.

– The house must stay mysteriously clean with no housecleaning.


In summary, to create a Sitcom (Sit for Commercials) you will need one industrial strength laugh track, a cast of lop-sided characters, a plethora of put-downs and a whitewashed setting. A prime time slot is only a pitch away!

Crafting Your Own Comedy

Hello again!  We continue our handy guide to running your own television network.  As any consistent viewer can tell you, television’s Creativity Index is at an all time low.  Viewers are slowly being leached away by more interactive modes of entertainment such as the Internet and video games.  Add to that the near suicidal deluge of channels which fragment the pool of possible views and it’s amazing more than five people at a time are watching.  And yet network executives at all six hundred channels continue to pull in six or even seven figure incomes!

Join them!  Remember, “Creativity is NOT a Requirement!”

Today’s topic is, “Crafting your own Comedy.”  No network schedule is complete without at least two evenings filled with a Sit Down for Commercials program or “SITCOM” for short.  These are usually half hour comedies with odd people interacting and causing the laugh track to accidentally activate.

Speaking of that, the first thing any would be TV executive needs is a solid reliable laugh track.  Please, don’t expect your audience to figure out what’s funny on their own…prompt them and prompt them repeatedly!  Just be sure to take turn the safety switch to the “Drunken Buffoon” position to get the best results from the worst writing.

The second step to a successful sitcom is the casting of latently attractive females for all major roles and blatantly attractive females for all secondary ones.  Mothers and coworkers should be attractive in a home grown, “yea, I might have had a chance with her” way which allows the audience to believe this could be a real mom or coworker.  Of course, every other woman is stunning because that’s the other 94% of the world.  This ties in completely with a television basic…NO UGLY WOMEN ON TV!  (Men can be ugly.)

Another cardinal rule…white males should take the comic brunt of any sitcom.  History has shown that white males don’t mind being ridiculed.  Other races and genders can be made fun of as long as they are “covered.”  That means there’s an even dumber white male or if the dolt is a black male there are plenty of competent black males around.

The following is a demographic risk analysis. (100% law suit filed before the pilot is taped / 0% They deserve it.)

WHITE MALES No risk, these guys are idiots. (4%)
GAY WHITE MALES Everyone in Hollywood is scared to offend these guys. They might beat you up. (87%)
BLACK MALES No risk as long as it’s in a mostly black sitcom. (51%)
BLACK FEMALES You mean the wise, don’t-mess-with-me, soft-on-the-inside women of society? Don’t deviate from this mold or they wheeeeel knock you out! (72%)
WHITE FEMALES These folks can be portrayed as a bit goofy but you do need a white male who’s a bit goofier. (34%)
ALL OTHERS As long as you cast them in a favorable light at the end… (15%)

We continue to Craft our Comedy in further chapters…

Constructing the Drama (2)

We are examining the plot catalysts for the common drama.  The acronym to remember is C FAIMM PHADE (see fame fade).  We now continue our practical examples with the first M in FAIMM.

M stands for Mischief- The door to the darkened office opens casting a beam of light to the far wall.  A man sits behind the desk hands folded in front of his mouth.  Czarina slips in and activates the light. (Cue the Scene)

 Czarina:  (Seems startled to see Geoff.)  “What are you doing here?”

 Geoff:  “It’s my office and the writers haven’t given me a dysfunctional home life yet.”  (Pauses and adjusts his tie.)  “What are you doing here?”

 Czarina:  “Well, I came to conduct some insider trading using your computer.”

 Geoff:  (Stands) “But Czarina, I have a password on my computer.  How have you been able to get access?”

 Czarina:  “Well Geoff, I just typed in your birthday.  Please, don’t tell my FBI agent husband, Gregg.”

 Geoff:  “Only if you can keep my secret.  My real name is Jeff.  J-E-F-F.”

 Czarina:  (Drops jaw in shock.) 

 End Scene.

M (2) stands for Mystery- Sebastian’s slumped form drapes his desk.  There is a trickle of fake blood coming from the corner of one mouth.  All the other actors are circling “the body” which is obviously still breathing. (Cue the Scene)

 Natalie:  “Who could have shot Sebastian?”

 Dartainian:  “Well, (begins pointing at actors around the room) Bart owns a weapon that could be used for murder, Delilah is his jilted, dark mistress, Renaldo has hated Sebastian from birth, and Julian is the vengeful wife.  (Takes a deep breath and keeps pointing.)  Sebastian stole Tiberian’s life savings.  Basil is angry over a business deal gone horribly wrong.  And the pizza boy received no tip.” 

 Dartainian: “Ok!  Who’s contract is nearly up with the network?”

 No one raises their hands.

 Dartainian:  (Hands upraised in exasperation.)   Ok, fine!  It’s a dream sequence!  (All shrug and begin talking amongst themselves.  Dartainian wipes the fake blood from Sebastian’s mouth.)  “Ok, hold still.  We’re about to make the screen go all wavy for a minute then you wake up and rub your head ok?”

 End Scene.

P stands for Power Struggle- In the opulent boardroom of a powerful company; Benjamin and Franklin sit across form each other wearing perfectly tailored suits.  There is a stern look on both faces.  (Cue the scene.)

Benjamin:  “You cannot stop me from taking a controlling interest in Wacko Novelty Company and switching our paddleball production from China to Mexico thus increasing our sales to the important Hispanic community.”

Franklin:  (Lip curls in disgust.)  You make me sick with your run on sentences and mad dash for mastery of the world of novelty toys!  Well, I won’t let you!  Our Chinese facility also produces chopsticks and I must have genuine chopsticks!”

Benjamin:  Ha!  It’s too late for that!  I’ve been secretly taking the erasers off the office pencils and slipping them into your take out!  Ha, ha, ha!”

Franklin:  (Dumbfounded look on face.)

End Scene.

H stands for Health Handicap–  A patient is lying in a hospital bed with a woman leaning over his immobile form.  (Cue scene.)

Dew:  (clasps hands to her chest)  “Oh Royal, how will I be able to continue our feud with the Throneberrys without your manipulative harmonic voice?  I know the doctor said you will be ok otherwise but you’re an actor!  (Closes eyes)  Why does voice cancer have to be so cruel!?”

Director:  (Steps in from side of picture.)  “CUT!”  (Motions to actress)  “Barbara, look, we need to see a little more angst from you.  You look like a mannequin.”

Dew:  “I’m sorry Jack!  I just received my vitamin infused, partially organic Botox shot.”

End Scene.

A stand for Abuse (Personal)- A girl is crying with her knees pulled up to her chest.  It’s dark in her room and there are tattered stuffed animals everywhere.  She straightens suddenly with the sound of heavy footsteps coming up the stairs.  Fright marks her face.  A large man enters the room.

Brutus: “I heard Mr. Fat Paw knocked over your milk during supper tonight.”  (Cracks knuckles)  “I’m here to punish.”

Alex-Alexia:  (Grabs several of the larger animals)  “No, daddy please don’t!”

Brutus:  (reaches over and grabs Alex-Alexia’s arm, pulls it open, and takes the large bear.)  “Maybe someday you’ll listen!”  (Begins punching bear in chest.  Squeak sound.)

Alex-Alexia:  (Throws a stuffed rabbit at her father.)  “No, daddy!  Please stop!”  (Rabbit bounces off Brutus’s face.  He stops punching bear.)

Brutus:  “Owww!  Darn it Alex-Alexia, one of those rabbit’s ears poked my eye and now my contacts out!  Help me find it.”  (Both begin searching for it.  Mr. Fat Paw silently kicks it under the dresser.)

End Scene.

D stands for Depression or Depressing Circumstances-  Father opens the door with slumped shoulders and a depressed look on his face.  He walks into the living room where his son is hooked up to a MP3 player and the latest handheld video game.  The daughter is watching the latest movie on an eight-foot wide plasma screen TV with a state-of-the-art sound system.  The wife is dressed in exotic French fashion.

Father:  “Folks I’ve got bad news.  I’ve lost my job as a TV executive and because I have no other marketable skills we’re now poor.”

(Daughter and son fail to hear.)  Wife: (drips a bit of spaghetti sauce on dress.  Giggles)  “Oops, I guess I’ll need to catch a flight to Paris tomorrow.  What can you do when you need new clothes?”

Father:  “No honey, I don’t think you heard me.  I said I lost my job.  We don’t have any money any more.”

Wife:  (Slightly puzzled look on her face.) “Well, as a family we will come together to overcome these tough times thus growing more mature.  Hmmm, they didn’t take your credit cards did they?”

Father:  (Perking up.)  “Wait!  No they didn’t!  We’ve overcome!”

Daughter and Son:  “Keep it down!”

End Scene. 

E stands for Excess of Money, Power, or Ego-   The view opens to a courtroom.  Many attractive people are jammed into the seats.  Peanut and soda venders walk up and down the isle quietly peddling their food.  A lawyer stands before the jury and the judge. 

Rathbert:  “Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve all come here today to see how eloquently I manage to defend justice from those who would lift her skirt.”  (winks to one of the jury) 

Rothchild:  (Other lawyer stands and pounds his table.)  “I object!  No one is more important here than I am!  And if anyone is going to grope justice then it’ll be me!”

Judge Eugene:  “Porceed…uh, both of you.”

Rothchild:  “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we don’t have superheroes in real life and they really aren’t popular during prime time so I’m here to defend any and all with the ten legal terms they taught me at the world famous Gary Coleman School for the Performing Arts.”

Rathbert:  “E Pluribus Unum!  I invoke Tempus Fugit!”

Rothchild:  “Superheroes also work for free, which makes them inferior because everyone knows you get what you pay for.”

Rathbert:  (Leans over to the aid and whispers loud enough for everyone to hear.)  “Sanders, go get my Latin dictionary and a book of cool sounding presidents.”

Sanders:  “You mean precedents?”
Rathbert:  (Stands) “Your honor I propose a mistrial.  My lunch reservations at La Porta will expire in about a half hour.  The statute of limitations directly states that you can’t do that.”  (Rathbert’s client looks aghast.  She’s about to say something when the judge speaks.) 

Judge Eugene:  “Sustained.  I’ll strike down the law as unconstitutional and then we’ll make it to lunch.”  (Smashes gavel.)  “Nice work gentlemen.”

End Scene.

Remember, that’s C FAMME PHADE or “See Fame Fade.”  It’s the key to your successful drama!

Note: will be in the incubator for the next two days.  A new Buffalo Rind will appear on Saturday and a fresh Dodo Egg on Monday.

(Also note: comments are closed to to receiving an extraordinary amount of spam.)

Constructing the Drama (1)

Hello! This handy guide can usher any unemployed couch potato to the lofty ranks of the Senior Network Program Executive Coordinator.  All you need is a suit, the ability to recycle old ideas, and a willingness to move to New York or California.  Remember, CREATIVITY IS NOT A REQUIREMENT.

Consider this, executives commonly pass on show concepts that wind up as smash hits on other networks.  Nearly every network passed on the phenomenon that became “Yiddish Idol” until Fox picked it up.  Could you have missed the next television sensation by letting it waltz right under you nose?  We say, “Yes!”

What about all the terrible shows that these same executives try to pass on an unsuspecting public each season?  With such a high percentage of sitcoms, dramas, and reality shows failing, we are confident that you can also give the green light to the next big flop.  We say, “Yes!”

Chapter 1- The Art of the Drama
Section 3 – Plot Catalysts

Now that your concept has been created (Setting The Drama), you have selected your “Love Level” (Loving the Drama), and you have created a working mock-up (Loving the Drama – Lab) you’re finally ready to flesh in the show.  All you need to remember is the handy acronym; C FAIMM PHADE pronounced, “See fame fade.”  This will be on the test.

C stands for Conflict of Interest- Swen is standing alone on a balcony overlooking Los Angeles.  Behind him a cocktail party continues without him.  The French doors open and the beautiful Shade joins him.  (Cue the Scene)

 Shade –  “It’s a beautiful night.  I love these fresh ocean breezes.  Why don’t you come in and try a cigar?  Tobias has cracked out the Cubans.”

 Swen – (Turns with constipated look on his face.)  “Shade, (dramatic pause) I just bought two hundred shares of stock in the Sugar Rush Candy Company.  It was too good a deal to pass up.”

 Shade- (Look of disbelief)  “No, Swen, but you’re a dentist!”

 End Scene.

F stands for Family Trouble- A normal nuclear family sits around a dinning room table enjoying meatloaf.  Dad is tanned, Mom has obviously had plastic surgery, the young woman is wearing a designer blouse, and junior has perfectly tussled hair. (Cue the Scene)

 Mom:  (to girl)  “Porcelain, what’s wrong?  You haven’t touched your meatloaf.”

 Porcelain:  “It’s my date to the prom, Brick.  He’s getting a limo and renting a tux and taking me to a private party after the dance.  He’s also hinting he wants more than just a kiss after the evening is done.”

 Mom:  (confused)  “What?  That doesn’t sound like Brick, maybe I should call his mother?”

 Porcelain:  (Stands up in a huff then yells.)  “You just don’t understand me!”  (Stomps off)

  End Scene.
A stands for Abuse or Abusive- Two woman and a haggard looking man are sitting at a small table outside a café. (Cue the Scene) 

Herculina:  (sips a cup of coffee)  “Denzel, I’m concerned.  You just don’t seem yourself.”

Denzel:  (Groggy and disheveled)  “I don’t need your help!

Dew:  “You don’t get out like you used to.”

Denzel:  (stands up, jumps over the short iron fence that separates the café’s tables from the busy street.)  “I said there’s nothing wrong!  Leave me alone!”  (Runs into traffic and is struck by a bus.)

Dew:  (sips from her coffee)  “Let’s plan an intervention next week.  It’ll help boost ratings.”

End Scene.

Note: To add a genuine feel to your addiction scenes, ask your actors what recreational drugs they are currently enjoying then film them without make up.

I stands for Identity Issues- Iliad and Odyssey (yes, twins) are standing in a busy hallway between classes. 

Note:  Real school halls are filled with loud mobs.  The actresses are able to have a conversation because all the other students (extras) are racing by mouthing the word “watermelon” over and over again.  Low-level crowd noise is pumped in during postproduction.  (Cue the Scene)

Iliad: (Her hair is in a bun.  She’s wearing too much make up.  Her polka-dotted skirt has ruffles and her t-shirt says, “I brake for yodeling.”  She has very thick, ugly glasses.)  “I’m just not pretty.  No one will ever ask me to the prom.  I’m not like you.”

Odyssey:  (Stands next to her sister in the latest fashion with guys checking her out as they walk by.)  “But we’re twin sisters you moron!  We can look exactly the same and I have guys hanging all over me!”

Iliad:  (hangs her head.)  “Yea, but that’s you.  You’re popular and all the guys think you’re hot.  That’s just not me.”

Odyssey:  (Eyes widen.)  “But we’re identical twins!!”

End Scene.

(Part Two tomorrow.)

Loving the Drama – LAB

Chapter One – The Art of the Drama
Part Two – Installing Love – LAB

In the previous lesson, we explored the ten types of love you find in the typical television drama.  We understand how confusing it can be for the aspiring television executive to properly incorporate these into a successful drama.  Even the professionals have no idea!

Remember our motto, CREATIVITY IS NOT A REQUIREMENT!  An orangutan with a nasty rash can run a television network and you can too!

To add a heightened Love Level to your drama, simply plug the names below into the blanks as you see fit.  You may reuse each character as often as you like.  However, the more love situations you place a single character into the less realistic your drama becomes.  (Note:  Believability has not been scientifically proven to be a factor in viewer’s satisfaction.)

Dartainian (rugged, handsome, with consistently even stubble, has a dark secret)

Julian (wears a plunging evening gown wherever she goes, likes younger men, has “accidentally” killed four worn out characters by hitting them with her car.)

Raul (foreign ascent, excess hair gel, prominent nose, frightened of wax)

Delilah (mother of three by separate men, bikini model, was raised by traveling clowns)

Bo (cute + naive, compulsively clean shaven, wears only solid colors, knows karate) 

Evangeline (hair in a bun, hates men, ugly duckling syndrome, invites her rivals to dinner parties)

Yurik (Hot tempered and ambitious, abuses alcohol, about to inherit his father’s plunger factory)

Thomasville (characters all call him by this full name which adds sophistication but confuses viewers)

Ursula (vindictive, scheming, and sexy, wears only black, has a secret dungeon in her basement)

Walker (good looks are debatable but all the women want him because of his charisma, this confuses male viewers, claims to worship Zeus and the other gods of Olympus)

Plug these names randomly into the following blank to create the “engine” for your show.

Script Bible for a Brand New Drama! 

____________(male) and ____________(male) are the two love interests for a severely conflicted ____________(female). Confusion breaks lose when ____________(male) catches ____________(female), his girlfriend, kissing ____________(male).   Meanwhile ____________(female) is in love with ____________(male) who doesn’t realize that she loves him.  He is too busy chasing ____________(female) and being jealous of ____________(male) who seems to have her attention.  Randomly insert scenes where ____________(male) and ____________(female) look longingly at each other despite the fact that ____________(female) is still married to ____________(male). A catfight ensues when ____________(female) catches ____________(male), her boyfriend, kissing ____________(female).   Then include coincidental scenes where ____________(male) and ____________(male) seem to be having a little too much fun doing traditional male things while their relationships with ____________(female) and ____________(female) aren’t going so well.  At the same time, ____________(female) is beating ____________(male) at home whenever he comes home late or spends too much time talking with ____________(female).  Unbeknownst to everyone else ____________(female) has plans to take over the world by stealing ____________(male)’s brain and putting it into a giant robot, which she built with parts, she earned by smiling smartly at ____________(male).  The plan breaks down when ____________(male) catches ____________(female), his girlfriend, kissing ____________(male).

After you have completed the form, place it in an envelope and mail it to the network headquarters of your choice.  Congratulations on your new career!

Loving the Drama

Hello!  Welcome to the next chapter our deeply instructional Guide to Becoming a Television Executive.  With all the know-how you’ll receive in these pages, you’ll be able to make decisions on how millions of human beings will squander what little family time they have (Hey, at least they’re not fighting right?).  You’ll be looked to and admired for warping the perception of reality for an entire generation!  Let’s get started right away!

Chapter One – The Art of the Drama
Part Two – Installing Love

Now that we’ve covered the basics for crafting your nauseating, prefab drama (see Setting Your Drama), you’re ready to add the zest that will bring your viewers back again and again.  What I’m referring to is love in its many varied and fascinating flavors!  This “Love Level” in your drama should be central to any plot arc.  Remember, love comes in so many forms that you can even use two or three at a time. 

Here is a good way to illustrate this point.  People like Love the same way they enjoy soft drinks.  You will satisfy most, but not everyone, with the rich, sugary sweet taste of regular cola.  Some want the will want the tart feel of citrus while another group will yearn for the bombastic, forbidden flare of root beer.  Make sure your drama has the feel of a leaky soda fountain.

Let’s examine the ten different “flavors” you can use to bolster your Love Level.

Healthy Love – This is rating poison!  We cannot stress this enough!  Do not incorporate a fulfilling, happy relationship between a man and a woman. 

Love Triangle – “Who will she choose, the spoiled, wealthy, young man with the manipulative parents or the passionate artist with rough friends and a substance abuse problem?”  This works every time just be sure your main character isn’t smart enough to date people without issues.

One Sided Love – One of the best-worn lines in drama history is some form of, “You never call!” or “I never get to see you!”  Your viewers will feel like sages as they calmly tell their TV screens to “Forget about him.”

Tragic Love – This love is a bit more complicated and not recommended if your drama is less than two years old.  This is the tragic result of some other form of love that didn’t end perfectly.  (And it shouldn’t.  Save all that for the series finale when everyone will find love or die in a plane crash.  Those are basically your two options.)

Biracial / Gay Love – This is the way to go if you intend on winning any awards.  Judges insist on things that challenge cultural norms.  We aren’t kidding.  The first three criteria on the judge’s forms are…1) Does it challenge cultural norms?  2) Does it tackle thorny social issues?  3) Does it take a proper stand on topics that Hollywood approves?  By the way…4) Is it well written?  5) Do normal viewers enjoy watching it?

Bi-Species Affair? An Emmy for sure!
Bi-Species Affair? An Emmy for sure!

Erotic Love – Are your ratings sagging a bit?  Have your lead actress get her face and chest lifted then show as much of it as possible.  Use half-second shots from these scenes in your promotions and you’ll be on at least an extra year.  Make it extra-marital and earn two seasons. 

Age Differential Love – This generally works best with the older woman – younger man dynamic.  (Otherwise, you create the “dirty old man” reaction with women or “that lucky jerk” reaction with the men.  Neither of these are too helpful.)  Make sure the female character feels beaten up and worn out.  Then have an attractive young man stare at her a bit too long and (Whamo!) you’ve created “He’s just in it for the quick hit / No, he really loves her” debate with everyone watching.
Unhealthy Love-
Like a serving of vegetables, you need to include at least one helping of this sobering type.  The circumstances may differ according to how your writers do it but if your audience isn’t shouting, “Leave HIM, HER, IT!”  Then you’re not doing it right.

Jealous Love – Stalker…lonely best friend…overfriendly coworker…Jealously is almost synonymous with drama!  If you don’t have at least three characters jealous of someone else, then your playing with fire.   

Impossible Love – POW!  Now this is ratings gold!  An entire segment of the movie industry, the romantic-comedy genre, has persisted by putting love-starved people in situations were their love can never be fulfilled.  Get viewers to start cheering for an outcome.  Once the audience has bought in, you’re set!  This is a must have for any drama!

Setting Your Drama

Hello!  Welcome to the exciting and creative field of Program Television Executive!  Being a Television Executive is a fun and rewarding way to boost your ego as well as your earnings potential!  With this informative manual you will be equipped to produce and properly schedule network television at any of the six hundred and fifty-two stations currently looking to overpay for this type of expertise.

Chapter One – The Art of the Drama
Part One – Theme or Setting

We will begin with the proper setting for a drama.  Like a good pair of undergarments, intelligent executives always wash, press, and re-wear the same themes. 

1) Lawyer shows-
Pluses: Actors wear lots of suits and carry briefcases filled with Styrofoam peanuts or Mad magazines.  Episodes can cover the same thrilling themes that most lawyers deal with: divorce, bankruptcy, and billing by the minute.

Pitfalls:  Actors must often give long monologues that will require intensifying background music to keep the audience awake.  Everyone must keep a straight face when actor screams, “I object!” and frightens the drowsy cameraman.

2) Police shows-
 Pluses:  Actors (both male and female) can grow stubble ergo appearing macho and commanding.  Wonderful lines like, “I’m going to feed you your teeth.” and, “I don’t need a warrant!” give viewers the outlet for their own righteous furry.

 Pitfalls: Guns are not real. 

3) Doctor shows-
 Pluses:  Lines like, “Your husband needs this surgery but there is only a twenty percent chance it will save his life!  However, there is a one hundred percent chance you will be charged fifteen thousand dollars.” can be shortened to the more tension inducing, “Your husband has a twenty percent chance of living.”

 Pitfalls:  Monitors being used by actors to watch football.  Actor cuts his finger on a prop scalpel then faints.  Cost of fake blood expected to double with additional medical drama shows.

4) Teen shows-
 Pluses:  Younger viewers are naive enough to believe their show is doing something new and they can’t miss an episode.  Can create a school without ugly people crowding the hallways.  Can create malls without ugly people crowding the stores.  Can create a world with no pimples.   

 Pitfalls:  Key actors age and are suddenly less believing when confronted with tragic news Jenna needs her tonsils taken out the night before the prom.  Actor gets drunk at a Hollywood party and shows up for beach scene with a tattoo and a sex tape on the Internet.  

5) Wealthy Family (oil money or baby oil money) shows-
 Pluses:  Characters have lots of money that allows scriptwriters to ignore clumsy issues like going to work.  Allows for “bratty” characters that viewers love to hate.  Fictional wealth helps ease the blatant plastic surgery many of the actresses have had performed.

  Pitfalls: Hard to hide the fact this is just a polished soap opera. 

Other lesser used themes include a rough school setting, the tug-of-war political relm, and the knotted existance of a computer programmer.