Thursday, April 06, 2006

Oceans Levine

Seems like the latest trend in television at the moment is Oceans 11 type caper series. HEIST and THIEF both premiered the same week. A couple of years ago my writing partner David and I wrote a pilot for Fox called ODDS about an all-night diner just off the Vegas strip that catered exclusively to the locals. One of our running bits was that they were always cooking up schemes to knock off the Bellagio themselves. Here’s an example. And no, the pilot didn’t get made, and yes, it should have.

********

INT. DINER

AT THE COUNTER, TARA (THE BRITTNEY SPEARS IMPERSONATOR), DAVE (THE BLACKJACK DEALER WHO ALSO MARRIES COUPLES) AND JEFF (THE BAD COMIC) ARE IN MID-CONVERSATION.

JEFF
Y’know, I was on stage tonight and it hit me how we could knock over the Bellagio. We break into the surveillance system, then send subliminal messages to the guards. We hypnotize them. And here’s the genius of it – the GUARDS then take out the money. We wait at the side entrance in a Brinks truck and then off we go.

DAVE
So you need an electronics expert to break into the system, a Brinks truck and a hypnotist?

JEFF
There’s one at the Stardust who’s great. He can get people down to their underwear.

DAVE
What about when they’re not drunk?

JEFF
Oooh, problem.

TARA
Come on, you gotta get real. Here’s what we do: We get an impersonator to pose as a rich Arab Sheik. He lands in a helicopter on the roof of the hotel. They put him up in the Presidential suite. We have somebody go through the ventilation system with sleeping gas, knock everybody out. Then we bring the money up and hide it in the room. While everybody’s running around town looking for it, we just check out, carry it into the helicopter and away we go.

DAVE
Where we gonna get a helicopter?

TARA
Maybe we can just talk a pilot into doing us a favor.

DAVE
Or…you hypnotize him.

ROSIE (THE AFRO BORN AGAIN WAITRESS-BOXER WANNA BE) HAS OVERHEARD.

ROSIE
Every night I listen to these nitwit schemes. As if getting all that money would actually make you happy.

TARA
You’ve taken a few blows to the head, haven’t you, Rosie?

ROSIE
I’m just saying, there are more meaningful ways of finding satisfaction and happiness in this world.

DAVE
Let me guess. Jesus?

ROSIE
Yes, “minister”. Jesus.

DAVE
(indignant) Hey, don’t use that tone. I’m licensed.

ROSIE
You need to believe in something that’s bigger and more powerful than you that will show you the path to the true meaning of life.

DAV
You say “Jesus”. I say “The Bellagio”.

9 comments:

Konrad West said...

Hilarious.

"Or you hypnotize him" is my new "at band camp" conversational heckling line.

Paul Duca said...

Perhaps if these shows take off (and don't forget LAS VEGAS on NBC), you can pitch it again--when a trend in drama breaks out, aren't the networks more willing to consider comedic treatments of it?

morningham said...

Never got made my ass, I got one of Sonys New High def video cameras and that scene is getting made.

(Please reserve comment on the cast until I've had a chance to rehearse them a little bit, I found half of em at the waffle house) and don't come all looking to sue and stuff cause your way too cool for that.

Anonymous said...

Very solid!

- Allen

poor man said...

Yeah, but whatever happened to that rock and roll hour long drama trend that "Cop Rock" was supposed to start?

Tom Quigley said...

Careful, Ken -- some studio exec might ask you to write a sequel to SHOWGIRLS....

Christopher said...

As a writer still fighting for my first credit, I don’t know what’s scarier – how a concept that damn good and a scene that friggin’ funny didn’t get greenlit, or that the current crop of “comedies” on TV did.

Bellagio help us...

By the way, what’re the chances of reading a little more of that pilot on your blog?

emily blake said...

That definitely has the more flippant dialogue, as a heist show must to be any good. You should check out Hustle on A&E. It's better than all those other shows because the characters are always flirting with the audience, as con artists should.

Toby said...

'Heist' has now been pulled from the schedule, and 'Thief' reportedly isn't too healthy, so I doubt the groundswell will be there to ever get this pilot produced.

However, the sample was great and I also hope we'll be seeing more of it here. (As well as see the "home movie" version!)

I place no faith in those suit-wearing dim bulbs who make the decisions on what pilots become series.

I'll bet there would be at least one out there who would listen to your pitch and all he'd see was another attempt to do a "Union Square" sitcom.

Morley Safer had it right: Network executives should be nibbled to death by ducks.