Thursday, November 01, 2007

Try Turning This Down, Baby!

I have been trying unsuccessfully for too long now to come up with an idea for a television show. I have thought of ‘Guess The Grilled Portion Of Meat,’ ‘How Bad Does This Stink,’ ‘Sitcom Travel’ and stuff like that, but I think I might finally be on to a winner. OK, close your eyes and picture this. Wait, don’t close your eyes, you wouldn’t be able to read my idea. Ok, read my idea THEN close your eyes. Yeah, that’s better.

Picture a group of writers in a TV writer’s room (I know, I’m using pretty sophisticated show business lingo, try to keep up) just off of a main stage. The main stage shows a group of folks. The folks are standing in a restaurant. Is the suspense killing you? I’m trying to draw it out, can you tell? Hey, did you hear the one about the…? Ok, I’m sorry. I’ve drawn it out enough. The restaurant is your run of the mill choke and puke serving lots of things that are fried, cheesed, salted and meated. However, there is a difference here. It is a reality show about a restaurant. BUT…the reality is scripted because in my sitcom, a network test panel determined that reality shows were not ‘real’ enough so the network is now writing the reality scenes for the reality show about a real restaurant that isn’t real at all. The only thing is, the public thinks it is reality TV and that the restaurant is real. Is it making sense? I hope so because I got lost about three sentences ago…

I’ll call it ‘Made To Order,’ but the name of the show set inside the television show I am proposing is called ‘Beyond The Kitchen.’ The writing staff on the show trying to write the reality show is made up of former chefs, a past reality show contestant, a former writer for Law and Order and a lawyer, hired by the network. None of them get along and the lawyer is a pipsqueakish guy who is always worried about the network’s liability. The former reality show contestant is always trying to get battles and challenges into the restaurant show that could get people injured or that are way to over the top, like sharks in swimming pools and ‘see who can go without squirming the longest when hot coffee is poured in their lap.’ The former law and order writer makes everything overly dramatic and still thinks he’s writing lines that will be delivered by someone like Fred Thompson. Lastly, the former chefs write only about how great their recipes are and how well received they are by the reality (fake) customers.

The make believe reality show that my show is about becomes a huge hit and the writers, actors and network have to continually find new ways to convince the viewing public that ‘Beyond The Kitchen’ is truly a reality show. A food critic turned TV critic (played by someone like another of my heroes, Christopher Walken) is convinced that the show is made up and is constantly on the prowl to prove his theory (picture the old neighbor from Bewitched). The former Law and Order Writer devises a plot to kill the TV critic and then has to be shadowed by someone from the network at all times to ensure that he doesn’t actually kill off the TV critic Law and Order style.

As part of the fake show, the public is invited to vote on something that they want the fake reality kitchen staff to experience each week. The voting options are things like a kitchen grease fire, spoiled potatoes, bad milk, irate customers, etc. What the public doesn’t know is that the writers of the fake show always ignore the voting since it’s ‘just for show’ and go with the scenario they want. At some point in the first season of the fake show, ‘Beyond the Kitchen’ is nominated for an Emmy. The network lawyer/script writer experiences horrible nightmares about the morals of possibly winning and accepting an Emmy for a show that is deceiving the public. In his dream, his conscience finally reminds him that he is a lawyer (no offense, I’m just catering to America’s TV viewing stereotypes) and he finally has a pleasant dream. In that dream, the show wins the Emmy and he, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the late Johnny Cochran all dance in a field of wildflowers with the Emmy while Louis Armstrong’s ‘What A Wonderful World’ plays in the background.

And that is my latest idea for a television show: a TV show about the behind the scenes happenings of a fake reality TV show. I realize it might seem risky sharing my ideas so publicly because they could be stolen or adapted without me getting credit. However, I’m hoping the genius of my plan is that my show idea is so complicated that it can’t be retold correctly. And if for some unforeseen reason it can be, well, I’m screwed…

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happened to "Stockings in Arizona : The Movie" and my upcoming reality show "Artistic or Autistic?"....

Michael C said...

Anonymous: Your comment made me stop reading a NASCAR.com article to respond. I am waiting for funding on the movie and Artistic/Autistic is your idea...but I'd be willing to steal it. We can discuss at work. I promise I won't make Female Coworker my agent.

brandy said...

Can I be a writer for the show? Or at least, can I get a dressing room with a star on the door and in the star my name is there in swirly writing? That's what I really want. The most.

brandy said...

And somebody might be getting an email tomorrow. Hooray for you!

Michael C said...

Bran: Most definitely you can be a writer and yes, you get the swirly star too. I'll even have the facilities people change the star out every week so it is always clean and shiny.

And hooray for me indeed.

Odat said...

I see you put an awful lot of work into this. I think it's a go...and maybe someone will pick it up since the writers are going on strike...Good Luck, (you nut).
Peace

captain corky said...

"BUT…the reality is scripted because in my sitcom, a network test panel determined that reality shows were not ‘real’ enough so the network is now writing the reality scenes for the reality show about a real restaurant that isn’t real at all"

LOL! Great stuff as usual Michael.

AndreAnna said...

I would totally watch that. While drinking.

AndreAnna said...

That was not to infer that one would have to be drunk in order to enoy your show, but instead that your show would be even better with a side of beer. Kind of like a fine cheese and wine.

Michael C said...

Odat: Oh yeah, the strike might play right into our hands...

Capt.: Thanks!!! You are welcome to write a few episodes, if you'd like.

AA: Thanks for clearing that up. I was starting to wonder there for a minute. And by wonder I mean panic.

Tink said...

You know, it would probaby work. I'll sit back with Andrea and drink while we discuss men and watch your show to see if it can give us any enlightenment. If not I am sure the beer will.

Ralph said...

‘How Bad Does This Stink’ has the pungently aromatic aura that creeps up on you. Kind of like those guys in Wisconsin that are making a happy meal of Limburger cheese and raw onion sandwiches. That is the ultimate 'reality' food show.

Who really wants a fake reality show? I mean, would you ever want to see real reality? The stuff that fiction writers try to invent, but never really succeed at?

meleah rebeccah said...

SOLD! SOLD! SOLD!!

I completely SOLD on the idea.

Now that is a TV show.


Now, please just write a pilot episode and SUBMIT that bad boy world wide....

(PS.....can you somehow cast Alec and Tina in that? This way I get to meet my favorite people on the planet, and if Alec works for you, my chances of marrying him are much better!)

Patti said...

So much thought went into this, Michael. Impressive.
When you mentioned Fred Thompson it gave me an idea. How about the contestants are all lookalikes of our favorite presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle? Hillary, Barack, John, Rudy, John, Mike, and all the rest.
And starring Fred, since he has the acting experience.

Franki said...

I got really confused for a bit, but then you mentioned Christopher Walken and I was back. I'm in.

kat said...

It's very involved, this idea. But I would probably watch it. Anything combining television, cheese, and people being humilated is awesome enough for me to give it a chance.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Why not do a television show on a blogger? who had twins? who lives in Southern California?

I'd watch.

Oh, that's right I don't have a television.

Sorry.

CS said...

I, um - wow, you really put some energy into this one! Could work, though -