Pen used to write brilliant movie pitches.

"Reality" Shows, Where the Bar is Already Set Very Low Indeed

Movie Pitches

Since pitching these, very similar (an Amish "reality" show) and nearly identical (half the rest of them) festivals of tackiness have been spewed from Hollywood's lucrative "unscripted" department.

FLENSING WITH THE STARS ["reality" / competition]

FLENSING WITH THE STARS has teams composed of fame-seeking contestants and moderately famous celebrities like the Osmond Family competing to remove the blubber from freshly caught whales, while working under pressures of time and the horrific weather conditions in the Bering Sea.

FLENSING WITH THE STARS will have a sense of tension beyond all the other flashy night-time game shows because of the risk that some contestants (and possibly even some of the celebrities) are in fact anti-whaling activists hoping to disrupt operations on board the floating studio, a veteran North Pacific whaling ship.

Also consider overseas syndication or, better yet, the filming of various national versions of FLENSING WITH THE STARS. This show would be huge in Japan!


"The compulsion, the lust to be on TV: it may be the governing instinct of our times. We're into a new world. We're at the decadence."
— Hunter S Thompson, interview by P.J. O'Rourke in Rolling Stone, November 28 1996

"I believe that the major operating ethic in American society right now, the most universal want and need, is to be on TV."
— Hunter S Thompson, interview in Atlantic Unbound, August 26 1997

Flensing, or whale-fishing, a woodcut.

THE PITCH [cinema verité]


SETTING: Our nation's capital during a record snowfall, in one of that city's many saloons, taverns, and taprooms, late evening.

THE PROTRAGONIST enters and takes a seat at the bar.

THE OTHERS are seated at a series of adjacent stools, arguing loudly over just which local museum it is where you can touch a rock sample from the Moon: the Museum of Natural History or the Museum of American History. This continues for a few tedious minutes.

THE PROTRAGONIST helpfully explains that it is neither of those, but the National Air and Space Museum with the touchable Moon rock.

THE OTHERS make introductions, saying that they are from out of town, there for a convention of film makers.

THE PROTRAGONIST asks: "Oh really, what sort of films?"

THE OTHERS say: "Documentary films."

THE PROTRAGONIST asks: "Oh, really? What SORT of documentaries?"

THE OTHERS explain that, well, pretty much whatever pays the bills.

THE PROTRAGONIST gently probes as to where they fall on the documentary continuum between the erudition of the BBC and the fame-whore nonsense defining "reality" television.

THE OTHERS admit that while their company had some involvement in "Deadliest Catch", that is their high-water point and they are pretty much mired in a fame-whore swamp you might see on late-night syndication on non-network terrestrial broadcast.

THE PROTRAGONIST asks: "Oh, really?" He then launches into an impassioned one-on-one pitch of FLENSING WITH THE STARS, explaining how it is clearly "The Deadliest Catch" meeting "Dancing With The Stars" under a thin film of Herman Melville.

THE OTHERS express their confusion, not knowing the word "flensing".

THE PROTRAGONIST explains that it's just like in Melville's "Moby Dick", the separation and cleaning of blubber.

THE OTHERS say that they don't know how Herman Melville is, and between interjections from THE PROTRAGONIST, indicate that they have no awareness of MOBY-DICK, OR THE GREAT WHALE.

THE PROTRAGONIST mutters "What a mob of Philistines",

THE OTHERS ask "Huh? Who?",

THE PROTRAGONIST says "Oh, never mind, just an arcane Biblical reference", and immediately segues into a pitch of THE JENNY MCCARTHY HEARINGS.

THE OTHERS indicate that while they know who Jenny McCarthy is, they have no clue whatsoever as to her erstwhile uncle Senator Joseph McCarthy might be.

THE PROTRAGONIST again mutters something, less clearly heard and more insulting, and pitches CHEECH AND CHUNG, cavalierly ignoring the boundary between so-called "reality" (FLENSING WITH THE STARS) and documentary (THE JENNY MCCARTHY STORY) on the one hand and news magazines (CHEECH AND CHUNG) on the other.

THE OTHERS further indicate their disinterest in anything beyond the breeding patterns of those who would aspire to meth lab operation.

THE PROTRAGONIST resolves that he needs to determine the bars in which Ridley Scott and James Cameron hang out when in town, and leaves.


This is just like how "Smoke On The Water" is a true story.

SERVING SHATNER ["reality" / game show]

The contestants must be servents for William Shatner and cater to his every whim. Those who best toady and boot-lick go on to the next round, as the Great Toupeed One's demands become ever more outlandish.

If William Shatner is unavailable, some other celebrity who doesn't take themself at all seriously must be found. Dom DeLuise would suffice. David Hasselhoff shows promise.

Still from the movie 'Serving Shatner'

LAWN ORDER ["reality" / home improvement]

When the experts of LAWN ORDER show up at the home of each week's winner, the major appliances are starting to disappear beneath the sea of weeds. But by the time they leave, the lawn has been transformed into a glittering masterpiece. Each week sees the creation of a distinctive speciality: the putting green, the topiary garden, the camouflaging of the backyard cannibis plot behind a fast-growing bamboo curtain, or the creation of the World's Largest Bonsai Tree.

POPE MY RIDE ["reality" / vehicular modification]

A twist on the extremely popular vehicular modification reality shows that one threatened to take over some satellite/cable channels, POPE MY RIDE invites mechanics to transform diverse vehicles with a single goal in mind: produce a papal parade vehicle based on lowly and improbable starting points.

See bulletproof Lexan (tm) shields added to VW bugs, aging limousines, Harley-Davidson sidecars, and a U.S.-Army-surplus Humvee that survived an Iraqi roadside bombing.

AMERICAN BUGGY ["reality" / vehicular modification]

Still from the movie 'American Buggy'

Riding on the coattails of "American Chopper", AMERICAN BUGGY follows the weekly travails of an Amish buggy-modification shop as it creates wild custom buggies for its clientele.

Follow patriarch Jebediah and his sons Zachariah (the capable one, obviously following in his father's footsteps) and Jeremiah (the chubby and inept one) as, every week, they create a crazy new buggy imagined by their latest client!

Imagine a buggy:
— In a slightly lighter shade of blackish-grey!
— With an extra kerosene lantern!
— With a slightly narrower side window!

AMERICAN TRAILER ["reality" / home modification]

Watch the gruff patriarch Frank, his competent son Earl, and the pudgy and inept son Floyd, as they customize mobile homes.

Can they really build an double-wide out of two single-wides, using just sabre saws, two-by-fours, a roll of aluminum flashing and a whole lot of caulk? Watch AMERICAN TRAILER and find out!

WHO WILL BE THE MAN CALLED HORSE ["reality" / game show]

In this sure to be immensely popular "reality" competition, average Americans compete to be accepted by a Native American tribe as one of their own. The increasingly exciting elimination weeks feature, among other tough competitions, the Vision Quest, the Sweat Lodge, and in the climactic week (scheduled, of course, for Sweeps Month), the Pectoral Suspension.

SHAMAN ON YOU ["reality" / variety / adventure]

On the exciting new talk/reality adventure show SHAMAN ON YOU, each week sees a pair of hosts drawn from a rotating pool — a traditional shaman from some indigenous group from around the world, teamed with an ethnobotanist, biochemist, or otherwise pharmaceutically trained scientist. We are introduced to a new chemical with which they are both familiar. First in erudite scientific terms, next in picturesque ethnological terms, and then we watch what happens as they and that week's celebrity guests partake of the drug.

Oprah on peyote, Dennis Hopper licking cane toads, the possibilities are endless for SHAMAN ON YOU.

Actually, a version of that has been on the air in the Netherlands according to a September, 2005 BBC report:
"Live drug taking plan on Dutch TV
A presenter on a new chat show in the Netherlands is planning to take drugs such as heroin live on air, aiming to tackle issues facing young people. The show, due to go out next month, is called Spuiten & Slikken, translated as "shoot up and swallow".

THE ZZ TOP REALITY HOUSE ["reality" / life improvement]

Each week finds our bearded Texan heros helping an unsuspecting underdog in need. Episodes include:

SOLOMON'S COURT ["reality" / legal / syndicated drivel]

Still from the movie 'Solomon's Court'

SOLOMON'S COURT is an innovative addition to the afternoon lineup of bogus "court" shows, in which its judge administers truly Solomonic justice.

That's right, every single decision involves the item in question being cut in half!

"Bring the item before me, and have it cut in twain!" is this show's intriguing catch phrase.

Watch as refugees from the domain of Jerry Springer have their double-wide trailers, their fruit juicers, their "sleep number" inflatable mattresses, and even (most shockingly!) their blue-tick hounds sentenced to being cut into two pieces! Gasp in shock as the rightful owner blurts out that the other party should get the item, intact! Nod your head knowingly as the Solomonic judge Solomon decrees that this is the rightful owner after all!

Tagline, of course:
Bring the item before me, and have it cut in twain!

AMERICAN IDOLATOR ["reality" / game show]

The winning team on AMERICAN IDOLATOR is the team most willing to discard their deepest held beliefs.

Watch as Team Hillel and Team al-Aqsa slug it out in the bacon-eating contest!

Sure, anyone can cast a statue of a golden calf (with the help of the crew from AMERICAN METALLURGIST, making a guest appearance from another top-rated show created by the Cromwell entertainment powerhouse), but which team will perform the most lascivious dance around the resulting statue?

And who will be the last player standing in the 3-way drinking contest between Team LDS, Team Baptist, and Team Jihad?

Tune in to AMERICAN IDOLATOR to find out!

PARTY LIKE A SHEEN ["reality" / game show]

The premise: Martin, Charlie, this weeks' contestant, and a bottle of tequila. Last person standing wins.

THE NEXT MORTON SALT GIRL ["reality" / game show]

Twelve women desperate for attention compete to be the next yellow-umbrella-carrying blue-raincoat-wearing Morton Salt Girl.

When it rains, it pours!

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