Monday, March 27, 2006

My best of my worst

I’ve been tagged by Kevin Arbouet of tenspeedbrownshoe.blogspot.com. These questions all revolve around “the worst”. And when you think of the worst you naturally think of me.

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1. WHAT'S THE WORST THING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN?

It’s hard to top (or bottom) AfterMASH. Take the three weakest characters of MASH, put them in the hilarious confines of a Veteran’s Hospital and you have a recipe for classic comedy. I thought at least I’d make a fortune in merchandising on those AfterMASH Action Figures.

2. WHAT'S THE WORST LINE YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN?

From an episode of MASH. A marine says “Radar, you and your rat are okay”. I defy any writer/blogger to come up with worse.

3. WHAT'S THE WORST ADVICE YOU'VE EVER GIVEN?

A writing teacher said take the money you would be paid for a script, divide it by the number of pages, and for each page ask yourself “is this page worth $200 (or $300 or whatever it was)?” Just writing this my tic came back.

4. WHAT'S THE ONE TIME YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD HAVE SPOKEN UP BUT YOU DIDN'T?

When Fox wanted us to cast a certain former ALLY McBEAL regular in a pilot of ours. As someone said afterwards, “he not only killed it. He then fucked its empty skull”.

5. WHAT'S THE WORST PITCH MEETING YOU'VE EVER HAD?

Very early in our career my partner’s friend was a secretary for a certain producer. She arranged a pitch meeting for us. When we got there he accused us of getting the meeting through “Nazi tactics”. It went downhill from there.

6. WHO'S THE ONE PERSON YOU'D NEVER WORK WITH AGAIN AND AREN'T AFRAID TO NAME?

Mary Tyler Moore. Wait, let me rephrase that: MARY TYLER MOORE!!!

7. WHAT'S THE WORST SCRIPT IDEA YOU'VE EVER HAD?

A romantic comedy about a woman having an affair with Saddam Hussein. I could never find the magic between them.

8. WHAT'S THE WORST THING ABOUT YOU BEING ON SET?

Going down for runthrough, hearing that the script has problems, and the cast looking at you like you killed their puppy.

9. WHAT'S YOUR WORST WORKING HABIT?

Writing a blog when I should be working on something that might actually pay me money.

10. WHAT'S THE WORST MISTAKE YOU'VE EVER MADE?

Created a show for Mary Tyler Moore. (in case you’re scoring -- failed comeback vehicle two of five). As the saying goes: We dragged a dead horse across the finish line to shoot it.

16 comments:

Whaledawg said...

If you can't sell Mary Tyler Moore then you might as well hang it up. She's everything that's right with the female species.

I especially liked her in That Girl.

Grubber said...

Very funny Ken, as normal. Is it a bad thing if I actually remember that line from MASH?
cheers
Dave

SkookumJoe said...

I dunno, didn't seem such a bad line coming from that character, at least I bought it...of course I was about 12 at the time. But I do remember my Dad declaring MASH the best thing ever written, which held a lot of clout for me.

His absolute fovorite scene was when Potter shoots the jeep as one does a lame horse.

Tom Quigley said...

Re: Created a show for Mary Tyler Moore. (in case you’re scoring -- failed comeback vehicle two of five).

Gee, I wonder who can sink a series with her smile?...

Tenspeed & Brownshoe said...

KEN:

Thanks for taking part in my little questionaire!

I'll see your Mary Tyler Moore and I'll raise you a Foxy Brown. Who would you rather be stuck in a room with?

Kevin Arbouet

Anonymous said...

I've done hundreds of celebrity interviews over the years and at the bottom of the barrel was the Mary Tyler Moore interview. he was as cold as ice, very close lipped, condescending...the late Ted Knight (a very nice, very funny man!) asked me if I had interviewed Mary and when I said yes, his comment was "that must have been a thrill."
Always thought she was that woman she played in ORDINARY PEOPLE...

Whaledawg said...

I think Mary Tyler Moore and Foxy Brown should do a show together. Like Foxy is the child Mary gave up for addoption after getting knocked up 30 years ago and she finds her after all these years.

You could grab the Lifetime and BET markets at the same time.

xiane said...

Maybe if it had been a Gary Burghoff (still playing Radar)/Mary Tyler Moore (still playing Mary Tyler Moore) vehicle where the two them come together to run an animal rehabilitation clinic but slowly, inevitably, fall in love. Also, they would solve murders using advanced forensic techiniques and dodgy math.

kristy said...

You're going to drop hints that Mary Tyler Moore is less than enchanting and then NOT elaborate? No fair. I need details!

Ken Levine said...

More Mary stories (Viet Nam flashbacks) in future posts.

Jaime J. Weinman said...

My favourite negative Mary Tyler Moore story is that when MTM Productions was doing "WKRP in Cincinnati" (never to be on DVD, alas), an interviewer asked her what she thought of the show. She replied:

"Let me put it this way. I wouldn't watch it."

A WKRP writer recalled: "We were crushed. Mommy didn't love us."

Tom Quigley said...

In keeping with the tone of how these comments are going (and to follow up on my previous post):

...Who can take a promising show, and make it turn into a compost pile?....

Anonymous said...

So Marty Tyler Moore is hard to work with. Just remember, very few people even know who you are. Mary Tyler Moore is loved by millions. She will always be Laura or Mare, and you will always be the squeaky voiced geek from KSEA.

Anonymous said...

Please - Mary's characters were loved by millions. Those millions don't know what the real Mary is like. And Ken isn't the only one who has said that she's less than a sweetheart in real life.

The sad thing is, I thought "Mary", the sitcom, had a lot of promise and could have been a decent follow up for her, the same way Bob Newhart had "Newhart" after "The Bob Newhart Show".

John said...

Rat on amphetamines, if I remember that episode of M*A*S*H right (and even if I don't, it plays about every two weeks on The Hallmark Channel). Anyway, it was still a better episode than most anything from the final four seasons of the show, when the whole cast appeared to be acting while on amphetamines.

Herbie J Pilato said...

I agree with that Anonymous said about MTM's "Mary" sitcom. It did indeed have potential - out of all her "comeback" attempts, it deserved more of a shot.