Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Friday, August 06, 2004

Failure of the Day: Don’t Worry, I Already Know No One Thinks It’s Funny but Me

Ever since I was little, my dreams have often had titles and even, god help me, credits that roll at the beginning and end. This disturbs me, or it would if I didn’t also think it was kinda funny. I have dreamed such classics as “The Alligator Under the Sidewalk” and “The Haunted Omelet” (which was about a plate of spaghetti that was possessed by the devil). A few nights ago, I dreamed “The Sitcom at the End of the World.”

In the dream, a mom and a dad and their teenage daughter were walking past Milano’s on 9th Avenue (my favorite pizza place) right when the world ended, so they ran inside and hid in the restaurant’s basement with the Milano family. The two families survive somehow but everyone else on Earth is killed. (Before I go on, let me just say that I know only I would consider the apocalypse an appropriate “situation” for a situation comedy. I know. I just can’t help it.)

I discovered yesterday that the Bravo network is at this moment having a contest for new sitcom ideas. I am not going to enter it (because FantasyLand was like 3 exits back and I’m not turning around), but it got me thinking about what “The Sitcom at the End of the World” would actually be like. I’m pretty sure I would pitch it as (apologies to Jeff, as usual) “It’s like Gilligan’s Island meets The Diary of Anne Frank!”

I think the running gag in the show would have to be that all the adults would be constantly leaving the room to go have sex. It also occurred to me that the Milano family would have a teenage son. Plenty of WB Network-style teen romance potential with the other family’s daughter. But when the adults find out about the kids’ budding romance, they sit them down and tell them to hurry up and get on with it already because (and here’s the show’s catch phrase) “The Earth’s not gonna re-populate itself!”

Probably there will be other survivors discovered at some point and I haven’t worked out whether or not they can actually leave the basement to go get “supplies” or what have you. I guess they would have to though, unless there’s a secret tunnel to the Jamba Juice down the block so nobody would get scurvy in the third season. It turns out writing a TV pilot is hard. But I think the real lesson here is that we can all breathe a sigh of relief that I have no influence on TV programming whatsoever.


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