Shows age so fast don’t they? The characters on NBC’s mega-hit “Friends” are perfect examples. They have all gotten old and tiresome. Who really cares who knocked up Rachel, or who she’s ‘really’ in love with – she’s still bedding Brad.
Fortunately for you, the everyday TV watcher and “Friends”-a-holic, NBC has recognized this problem. Some time after NBC President Jeff Zucker finished my last novel, one of his personal assistants called me on the phone. They wanted me to draft some character sketches for a new show with the pilot airing in the fall. The price was right, and I obliged – courteously, of course.
NBC wanted something “hip,” “fresh” and most importantly, something culturally relevant. I, a man of extreme cultural relevance, was not concerned with their request.
“It must appeal to all the demographics, Luke,” they said.
I shrugged and said, “I’ll do what I can.”
Then they offered more money.
I started writing.
It must be pre-packaged, over-simplified crap; that is the only way this would work. I’m so perfect for the job that my toes tingle.
First, I’d need all the major races on the show; in order for the show to have the mass-market appeal that NBC so desperately seeks I’d need racial diversity. Otherwise the WB or BET would blow my show out of the water on Thursday nights.
Darrell will be my black man. He’ll have light brown skin, so the white-folk watching the show in Arkansas won’t be completely turned-off by his character. Darrell is funny. Extremely funny. Funny in the way where you aren’t sure if you are laughing at him, or with him. He needs to be ‘”ghetto” — but in a way that bubbles camp. He’s hard, but with a soft spot for blonde women.
My blonde woman will be ironic. Irony isn’t dead yet, despite Seinfeld’s long-since syndicated status. She will be beautiful and smart, she will say smart things – the most insightful the world has ever heard. She will be Winston Churchill with long legs and fake boobs. She will be beyond brilliant, she will be so intelligent that I will have to write all of her lines for her personally, because to come from anyone else would be insincere. Yes, I must write all of her lines personally. She will draw many, many male viewers.
She is not ironic. I changed my mind.
Nathan is my neo-hippie communist. Communists are an underrepresented minority on television right now, and Nathan will work perfectly in the mix. He will live in a flat above a coffee shop down the street from the apartment complex where everyone else lives. His separation from everyone else will be a metaphor, but only the smart people will pick up on it. My blonde woman would pick up on it. Nathan will have a beard, as all hippies and/or communists have beards. My show will be the only show with a hippie/communist. It will be magnificent. We will appeal to all demographics.
There will be an African-French woman. Yes, African-French. She’ll be a love interest for Darrell, not because she is black, but because she speaks with a French accent. In addition to liking blondes, Darrell cannot resist a French accent.
I will have a slow-witted white guy. He’s a poet. His verse is so dense, it is so rich, it is so, so awful. But women will fall before him, falling on their knees begging for his affection. But there is a twist, because my show needs one. My slow-witted white guy, Jeremiah is homosexual. And only the viewer knows it. It can be the viewers little secret, so that they can laugh at the other characters lack of knowledge about Jeremiah’s secret. They will find out because Jeremiah’s character will have soliloquies. In his soliloquies, he will always pine about Mariah Carey and her failing wardrobe.
That will be the giveaway. Mariah Carey.
Jeremiah’s roommate Gordon is a man’s man. He watches football, is Jewish and has loads of promiscuous sex. He is Jewish for no other reason, than I need a Jewish character.
The unnamed blonde girl will live in an apartment with a brunette and the Afro-French woman. The brunette is a devout Christian named Sadie and clings to the conservative white-picket fence of politics. Obviously, she will be the love interest of Jeremiah. It will be hilarious.
Gordon will infinitely pursue Sadie (