Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Reporting live from Hurricane Irma

Sunday, September 10th, 11 a.m. EDT:

INT. TV NEWS STUDIO – DAY

An ANCHOR is on the air. Behind him a scary graphic of Hurricane Irma.

ANCHOR: Let’s go down to Orville Numnutz, who is live on the scene in Tampa. What’s going out there?

CUT TO:

EXT. BEACH SIDE – DAY

Hundred mile winds are blowing, rain is coming down in sheets, angry waves crash onto the shore. ORVILLE, clutching microphone, is in rain gear. You can maybe see his nose. It’s all he can do to remain standing. He will continue to wobble throughout his report. First comes the obligatory minute where he just stands there as the satellite catches up. Finally:

ORVILLE: What do you think is going on down here? There’s a goddamn hurricane about to hit. If I don’t get to higher ground I’ll be swept out to sea along with my cameraman. Those would be two deaths that qualified for the Darwin Awards.

As you can see, the beach area here is deserted. Is anyone surprised? What real “news” can I give you? This is not the day to bring your family to the beach? Plenty of free parking? You can still get a tan during cloud cover?

I guess I could suggest people evacuate the area, but who’s stupid enough to still be out here except us reporters? By the way, you don’t see Lester Holt out here? You don’t see Wolf Blitzer. You don’t see… whoever’s doing CBS these days? When there’s a royal wedding you can bet they’re right on the scene? But actual disaster coverage? Not a chance. Is Charlie Rose anchoring now? I don’t know. I never watch CBS. And ABC is who, Ryan Seacrest? Yeah, let’s see Ryan Seacrest out here. Fortunately, there’s no AMERICAN IDOL auditions today so you don’t see 20,000 idiots standing in line, getting crushed by these winds.

Am I rambling? Well, it’s hard to think straight when you’re standing in a hurricane and you have nothing of substance to report. If our camera could point over there you see palm trees straining against these powerful winds. That’s what happens in situations like these. Are any of you surprised? Am I risking my life to show you something you already know? Yep, those trees are really swaying. Not a good day to climb one of those trees. That’s breaking news.

So what else can I tell you? The Marriott is completely booked. I could perhaps give info on where shelters are operating, but power is out here. So there goes any useful information. Instead, I can tell you that since we went on the air no open houses are planned for this area.

If, by chance, you’re in the Tampa area and you have a generator and are seeing this, my suggestion is to stay indoors. Takes lots of videos of rain so you can post them later.

As for everyone else, instead of just sitting on your fat ass watching this, go online and donate food and goods to the poor people in shelters.  You're not going to miss anything.  It's going to be pretty much this for the next 24 hours.

Okay, if you just tuned in -- it’s raining here. Really hard. I gave up dental school to do this. And you’re sitting in your nice warm homes. You’re hoping I lose my balance and blow over, don’t you? That way I could go viral and people will be making ass-fun of me for weeks. Ha ha. Here’s the more likely scenario: I’ll be out here for two days with no power and no heat, and then in a month when there are budget cuts, since I’m one of the new guys, I’ll get downsized. "Thank you for your service. Could you please return the rain gear"

At least with a fire you can show the status. You can say it’s just over this ridge, or look at this home in danger, or here are some heroic shots of firefighters. But with this, it’s rain and wind. After me they’re going to go to one of my colleagues in Miami and it’ll look just like this. What can he add? Don’t go to the Marlins game? No one goes to Marlin games anyway.

How much time have I got left? Really? Still? Okay, well to recap, here’s what we know: There’s a fucking hurricane! It hasn’t been confirmed but I’m reasonably certain. Reporting live for no good reason, this is Orville Numnutz. Stay with us for updates like a lawn chair will fly across the screen. I gotta get a new agent. Back to you or the next ambitious young Millennial who’s somewhere else about to tell you the same shit I just told you.

BLACKOUT.

19 comments :

Matt said...

Very funny.

Rock Golf said...

To give credit to CNN, Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper were out there half-drowning during the worst of Irma.

Mr. Hollywood said...

Total insanity. It's all about ratings baby! Put a camera outside and it captures the ferocity of the storm. Why endanger a reporter's life?? Good work all of you news director's out there! You captured it perfectly Ken!

WOKcreativeWritings said...

Waiting for that lawn chair to smack him upside the head and take him out -or a sailboat...

Pete Grossman said...

Finally! Somebody puts this kind of reporting in perspective. Thank you, Ken.

Anonymous said...

Of course if hurricane coverage bothers you there is a solution. Turn off the damn television.

blinky said...

This situation is ripe for some animation of the guy being blown into the ocean.

blinky said...

Here is a Friday query.
On Disjointed there was a scene where Dabby, the short, fat, ugly stoner comes on to a tall, voluptuous blond who is going out with a guy on the show. The situation is crude and funny because it seems so absurd that the blond would be interested.
In a later scene Dabby is on the phone talking to someone at her place and in the background the blond is getting morning after coffee. They never mention or talk to her.
What is this visual only call back called? I seem to remember this set up on Two and a Half Men. Is it a Chuck Lorre thing or a common thing?

VP81955 said...

Somewhere, Stan Chambers is grateful hurricanes never plagued Los Angeles.

Shar said...

As a near-life-long Floridian from Miami (family moved to Florida in 1951) who is currently living in North Central Florida, I salute you, Ken. Says exactly what needs to be said with belly-laughs all around as to the insane stupidity of putting broadcast reporters out into the fury of a hurricane. I read this as David Hyde Pierce reporting as Orville Numnutz! Thanks for the laughs; we needed it!

Buttermilk Sky said...

Are you kidding? These people love it! Jim "Catastrophe" Cantore never looks so happy as when he's being blown sideways in front of a palm tree. I was a little surprised that MSNBC sent Chris Hayes down to Florida -- he's really an indoors guy. But the storm-chasers are already hoping Jose will make landfall someplace so they can get into their slickers and show us how deep the water is. Miguel Almaguer seemed downright giddy to be covering something besides wildfires in the West.

You're probably right about the camera operators and sound people. Don't they have a union?

John Nixon said...

I think I heard the term 'hunkered down' a coupla hundred times. One guy was wearing a helmet and that was a good idea in that wind. I've gotta say that I love this stuff. Real, actual, honest-to-goodness reality TV! While I was going back and forth from The Weather Channel to CNN to Fox News to see who had the best and strongest wind and if anything had struck the helmet guy yet I kept thinking what a great time we live in for television watching. For the most part they somehow kept the microphone sound pretty clean with little wind noise. They managed to beam the signal up to a satellite without the transmitting dish flying away. And how about the strength of those palm trees to be able to stand up to that wind?! I have a zillion channels with movies, sports, wars, plane crashes and other various shows of all kinds, both old and new on my cable but nothing kept my interest like eavesdropping on the hurricane. This was the one and only program that had me 'hunkered down' in front of the screen. In about the mid 90s there was a NASA channel where you could spy on the astronauts and watch what was going on at any given time in space. I miss that channel. I want it back.

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

"Oh the humanity!" But seriously Ken, good stuff. ;-)

Reminds me: Anyone else remember the Latina on-scene reporter on MARRIED WITH CHILDREN, whose name would always get longer and more ridiculous/hard to pronounce every time she appeared?

Pete Grossman said...

Can you imagine the reporting when we'll earthquakes can be predicted?

Anonymous said...

@John Nixon
Check out "Key Largo" sometime.
It's got a hurricane, Edward G, Lionel Barrymore, Bogie, and Tonto- not to mention Lauren Bacall.

Kosmo13 said...

Anytime I hear anyone use the expression 'hunkered down,' I immediately think: "It's the Henry Blake cliche festival!"

ADmin said...

So true.

MikeKPa. said...

You wrote what everybody was thinking, but with a lot of great sight gags. Any day I get to cackle out loud, is a good one. Thanks.

Hank Gillette said...

I know they are stupid, but I kind of enjoy the shots of the reporters in the hurricanes. I would guess that most of them are not in nearly as much danger as it might appear. One network reporter revealed that he was just outside of a parking garage, and his cameraman was actually in their van under cover in the parking garage.

I have to say I really appreciated seeing the live reporting from Naples while it was inside the eye of Irma. I’ve long read about the eerie calm inside a hurricane’s eye, and while I don’t expect to ever experience it, seeing it live on television was the next best thing.