Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mid-week misc-takes

Thanks to those websites who linked to my Aaron Sorkin parody. For you new readers, what you’ll find here are humor pieces, inside industry stuff, anecdotes, advice to writers, goofy travelogues, award show reviews, script samples, and once every five years a political piece.

A couple more prime time game shows are premiering, cutting out even more slots for scripted shows. I think in the next WGA contract they should insist that writers be contestants so at least we can win our money for the year.

The NBA season begins. I think they should just give each team 100 points and let them play for five minutes. As it is now there are 82 exhibition games until the playoffs.

On whatever the OUTDOOR NETWORK is now called there is a great show where BBQ chefs compete for $75,000. You can almost feel the grease coming out of your TV screen. One of the events is having them cook unfamiliar dishes. These good ol’ boys are stymied. “Lobster? Wha’ the fuck is lobster?” Then you see them flip it around and around looking for the ass to shove a jalapeƱo pepper in.

Rumors abound that STUDIO 60 will soon be cancelled. Darn. And I was so looking forward to that full page ad in the trades: “For your consideration: Sarah Paulson, best actress in a comedy.”

PRISON BREAK: Michael sets up this elaborate system of clues that even the Navajos couldn’t decipher to rendezvous with Sarah and he expects her to be there? I might’ve just sent a text message. But then, if my brother were on death row and I knew the floor plan of the prison, instead of going to prison myself to spring him I might merely phone and say, “Okay, bro, there’s a passageway under the laundry room. That takes you to a vent near the chapel. Climb up that vent for fifty feet then turn right…” etc.

HEROES: Save the cheerleader, save the network.

Note to movie theaters: Okay, I surrender. You can play commercials. Just don’t show the CATCH A FIRE trailer ever again. I’ve seen it sixty-five times. Please. I’ll even sit through the “Movie Fone” ad.

No comedy writer should be without the SGT. BILKO box set. The episode where Bilko gets a monkey processed and sworn into the army is worth the price of the DVD’s alone.

Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! To the greatest show on earth! If there’s anyone who loves a circus more than kids, Twyla Tharp thinks it’s aged baby boomers. Her new Broadway show, THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’, the juke box musical of Bob Dylan hits (or, as my daughter Annie calls the genre – a “re-usical”) is inexplicably set under the big top. I guess the jugglers and the clowns will do their tricks for you. I despise circuses anyway (sad clowns are even worse than the CATCH A FIRE trailer) so I can’t imagine anything more horrible. To sit through this, truly, everybody must get stoned.

I love Elizabeth Mitchell. Even if she’s an “other”. To join the cast of LOST do you now have to take a breathalyzer test?

Fox is preparing a TSA action-drama, focusing on those brave men and women who make you put your computer in a separate bin.

I just saw ten minutes of MARIE ANTOINETTE (I ducked into another theater during a certain trailer) so it’s not really fair to comment. But what I saw looked like Romy & Michele with wigs.

Keith Urban checked himself into a substance abuse treatment center four months after marrying Nicole Kidman. Draw your own conclusions.

And finally…can you believe it’s November already??


Anonymous said...


ravaj said...

thank you for reminding me of one of the highlights of my childhood - a disintegrating paperback book on my father's shelf, yellow and crumbly pages - a collection of scripts from sgt bilko. reading and rereading them in london, i watched bbc2 religiously for many years until one day, at last, i saw my favourite episode: a monkey is inducted into the army! brilliant.

Dwacon said...

Looking at how shows of the 60's and 70's often crossed paths... I wonder if season 3 of Prison Break will have Jack Bauer chasing the escapees?

Anonymous said...

I have now watched the entire Bilko collection twice. The only thing that can keep me from watching it thrice would be a release of another collection, as I'll just bet there are a bunch more almost as good.
Part of what makes that monkey episode so great is the way the monkey's unprofessional wandering attention forces Silvers into hysterical ad-libs. Silvers at his best was THE best.
And how about the great Paul Ford's dual performance in the last episode? His lecherous fry cook was hysterical.
But now I need MORE! I need "Bilko, the Complete First Season"
I saw some of "Like a Rolling stone" from that Dylan musical on The Soup this week, and my jaw hit the basement, and I live on the second floor. Clowns bouncing on big balls while some guy who looked like Jason Ritter, only not so dynamic, crooned the song. HORRIBLE!!!

Phil Walton said...

I see William Shatner has a new game show called "show me the money". I think the contestants have to avoid monkeys flinging poo for 5 minutes in order to win a gift certificate to starbucks. hmmm... Should be good.

Anonymous said...

RE: the Bob Dylan "re-usical":

Craig Ferguson showed a clip of it on the Late, Late Show last week and came back with the comment "What the Fuck was THAT?" then added "I mean, there's only one way to say it: What the Fuck was THAT?" (Obviously they bleeped him, but you knew what he said.)

Boy, Broadway is really scraping it to get the Boomer Bucks these days. If the John Lennon musical was bad, this is going to be a traffic accident waiting to happen in the middle of Times Square. -- Poor Bob... I didn't expect he needed the money this badly. I hope that his legacy doesn't hinge on people hearing his music being played in accompaniment to flying trapeze artists and fire-eaters...

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

jugglers and the clowns when they did tricks for you?

I saw a whole performance of Times They Are A-Changin'
It was so awful, that I felt like Blowin' in the Wind.

The Minstrel Boy said...

i served under that monkey, quit calling the troops names! he was better than most 2nd louies.

Anonymous said...

You know you'll miss being able to mock Studio 60.

Speaking of that, my comedy troupe is performing a show where we take the God-awful skits of Studio 60, change them to mock the show, and then throw in our own mockumentary-style sketches in between. The script is still being adjusted, but I believe the show ends with a drunk Jordan McDeere screaming "Be my friend!" and then throwing up. Nov. 17, 8pm, The Westside Eclectic in Santa Monica.

Anonymous said...

The Bilko-monkey episode might be the single funniest sitcom episode in the history of television! And just watched the first season of the The Larrry Sanders Show on DVD ... magnificent comedy! Forget the dreck on today ... watch those classic DVD's!

Anonymous said...

I'm one of those who surfed in on the crest of Stadium 60 (we call the current show 60something). My brother found it amusing. I preferred the Grey's Anatomy parody spec script he'd just read me, but then, I was tired of the West Wing two years before it ended (at least).

I just wanted to say thanks for Almost Perfect, which I really loved, and Who decided to take a romantic comedy and get rid of the male lead?? I'm betting Les Moonves, who managed, a couple of seasons ago, to cancel two shots on me *in the same time slot* (Enterprise, Joan of Arcadia)

The year he cancelled AP, he also ditched Scott Bakula's latest (at the time) series. In November. While saying "we aren't cancelling any of our shows before the end of the year." Can you tell I'm still bitter?

Anyway, thanks for AP. I have it on various tapes, sorta mixed in with Mad About You (only had one decent VCR)


Anonymous said...

my favorite (aside from the scene where Chip Zien, directing, accidentally said "NOW") was Mike playing an extra. (I love writers more than actors (aside from Scott) and live on the Grey's Writers' blog)
Nice to see another writer blogging.

By Ken Levine said...


Thanks for the nice note on ALMOST PERFECT.

To answer yours and others -- NBC passed on our pilot. We had no bonus round built in.

Ben said...

Ken, in case I can't find the Bilko box set, should I just check out the Steve Martin remake instead?

(Kidding...kidding. Please don't ban me.)

Jesse Wendel said...

Having adored Lost in Translation and deeply respected everything about The Virgin Suicides, I looked forward last week to watching Marie Antoinette, directed by Academy Award winner (Best Writing, Original Screenplay) Sofia Coppola.

I think Marie Antoinette was a nicely done movie. In my view, Kirsten Dunst carries the movie well, having the on-screen mood of not knowing who she is, which fits well with a young princess unsure of herself, coming to power at eighteen.

It isn't the wonder-work of Lost in Translation, but I liked it quite well at first viewing. The cinematography is wonderful, as is to be expected from the wonderful Lance Acord. I'm unsurprised the French press took Sofia out for a walk - she makes human one of their own. How dare an American filmmaker?!

Penetrating, insightful work by Sofia - which will grow on me I suspect with each viewing - who knows more than a little about the issues of growing up in a royal household while trying to maintain some sense of a private identity, in a very very public space.

I'll happily watch anything she chooses to film. Recommended.

Anonymous said...

Good point on Prison Break!

I mean how much of a control-freak brother do you have to be not to just TELL your jailed sibling the friggin plan?

So evidently he's thinking... "I have this great plan to break out of jail, but I just know my brother will screw the pooch, spare that he is... oh well, guess I'll have to get arrested."

The cancelling of Studio 60 will prove there's only room for 5 behind-the-scenes-on-a-network-TV-Show Shows.

Solution? How about another cop show? Lawyer show? Wait! I know... A MEDICAL DRAMA!

ME said...

I said the same thing when Prison Break first came out and people said I was cynical (me, no!).

LMAO at the Keith Urban comment ... he had a nice quiet country star life til Life with Nicole.

PS Sgt Bilko now officially on the shopping list. Any other recommendations while I'm out?

Anonymous said...

Since you brought up Almost Perfect...

There's one line that was my favorite. When the beauty challenged actor (I can't remember his name - on the IMDB everybody but the leads are mentioned first - but he was married to Lisa Edelstein's' "Patty") worries about all the horrific sexual things that would happen to him if he went to prison, David Clennon casually says "No... you'll be okay". And he's more offended than relieved.

Anonymous said...

What I like most about Prison Break is riding a Harley across the US in 15 minutes with no helmet. Did that guy have AAA?