Thursday, 13 May 2010

Hollywood Babble On & On #509: Flaw & Odor

In the network television system, the audience is frustrated by two very important groups. The network executives who green-light and cancel shows, and the TV producers who make those shows.

These are their stories....



CRIME SCENE TECHS are milling around taking pictures of the scene around a body that covered with a sheet.

SEASONED COP and his partner EAGER ROOKIE come out of their car.

SEASONED COP- What's the exposition Coroner guy?

CORONER GUY- A poor bastard got tossed out a high window, just a few months before his 21st birthday in the Fall.

SEASONED COP- Let's take a look.

Coroner Guy raises a corner of the sheet.

The Eager Rookie recoils in horror and projectile vomits all over a nearby policeman.

EAGER ROOKIE- Sorry Seasoned Cop. It just came as a bit of a shock. He's all so messed up.

SEASONED COP- It happens to all of us at some time.

EAGER ROOKIE- It's just that I know that guy, I mean, I knew him.

SEASONED COP- You knew the victim.

EAGER ROOKIE- His name's Law & Order. We go back a long way. I was there when he was born.

SEASONED COP- Back to Paul Sorvino?

EAGER ROOKIE- Back all the way to George Dzundza.

SEASONED COP- That is a long way.

EAGER ROOKIE- We were close. Especially during the Jill Hennessey years.

SEASONED COP- Did you keep in touch?The Eager Rookie shakes his head.

EAGER ROOKIE- We drifted apart. I loved the guy, but I just couldn't stand him anymore.

SEASONED COP- What happened?

EAGER ROOKIE- It wasn't like we hadn't already been through a lot. I forgave him the occasional lapse in logic, the use of the same dozen or so guest stars in every episode, but things changed.

SEASONED COP- What changed?

EAGER ROOKIE- He got all preachy, and predictable. If it looked like a character was someone executive producer Rene Balcer wouldn't vote for, then I knew that guy was either guilty of hypocrisy at best, murder at worst. Usually it was both.

SEASONED COP- Predictability can ruin a TV show.

EAGER ROOKIE- (Choking back a tear) The complicated legal arguments, the unpredictable plot twists, they were all gone. It was like the show
I had loved was gone and something else had taken its place. In the end, I just had to move on. I hadn't seen him in at least five years, maybe more.

The Seasoned Cop puts his hand on the Eager Rookie's shoulder.

SEASONED COP- We have to go up to the office, and see if this show jumped or was pushed.

The Eager Rookie reluctantly nods.

EAGER ROOKIE- I know, we have a job to do.



Enter Seasoned Cop and Eager Rookie. The room is a mess. Scripts are lying all over the place, torn apart and shredded to tiny pieces.

JEFF ZUCKER is handcuffed and sitting in a chair guarded by a CYNICAL IRISH STEREOTYPE COP.

SEASONED COP- Who's this?

CYNICAL IRISH STEREOTYPE COP - Oh faith and begorrah, I caught this piece of gob-shite trying to sneak out like a Protestant in Belfast without his gun. He was in this office when the show took the plunge.

JEFF ZUCKER- I didn't do it! I tried to save him! I really did!

SEASONED COP- Then spill the beans. Tell us what really happened?

JEFF ZUCKER- Things used to be so good. He was so reliable when it came to getting praise and audiences. Sure we had a rough start, but for a long time, it was all good.

The Eager Rookie grabs Zucker by the collar.

EAGER ROOKIE- Then why did you push him out the window?

Zucker bursts out crying.

ZUCKER- I swear I didn't push him! I just... nudged him a little.

SEASONED COP- How do you nudge someone out a window.

ZUCKER- He was already out on the ledge. Making long winded speeches about some silly political issue of the day and how those who disagreed with him were guilty of murder, all that sort of stuff. I tried to bring him in. I suggested some sexy camera work, maybe casting Jay Leno as the new D.A., but he wouldn't have any of it. I just had to do something. He went from being a reliable earner to a ratings black hole. It was either him or me.

SEASONED COP- Get him out of here.

EAGER ROOKIE- So what's next?

SEASONED COP- Probably some courtroom scenes, but first we've got to notify the next of kin.

EAGER ROOKIE- There's a sister named SVU, but she's a real drama queen. Overreacts to everything, and there's a brother named Criminal Intent, but he's in exile on the USA Network, and there's another sibling due, but not until the fall.

SEASONED COP- I guess this is where I make some sort of pithy comment in the style of Jerry Orbach as Lenny Briscoe.

EAGER ROOKIE- Let's not ruin the last good memory I have of the show.


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