arrested-development-2

Within thirty-six hours of the release of the long-awaited fourth season of Arrested Development, reviews—not just of the first episode, but of the entire season—started appearing online. Reviewers watched the full eight-hour season in one or two sleep-deprived binges, then spent the remaining twenty-eight hours spewing out essay-like things, some in excess of 3,000 words, purporting to offer an authoritative viewpoint on the show. One gets the sense that many of these writers would proudly refer to their essay-like things as thinkpieces, which is internet shorthand for unfocused, poorly edited conglomerations of words designed to project the appearance of depth without actually providing any.

Hey guys,

So, I’ve been brainstorming. Rolling around some ideas for a possible – gawd, this sounds, I don’t know, pretentious? – television script to develop. I’ve been trying to figure out which one (ones?) to more fully flesh out. It’s a little hard to be objective about my own work, especially when the subjects are all quite diverse, and I could really use some outside input. I was hoping if you had a few minutes you could give this a read and then offer some feedback. Let me know if something’s not clear, or you think needs expanding, or tightening. Otherwise, I’m pretty confident one or more of these could be keepers. Following are a few super short synopses. I await your responses!

Me!

DIER, Brett2Please explain what just happened.

I banged my knee on the computer desk, and I’m now in pain. But I’ve recovered nicely by the time I finished this sentence. Nope…still hurts.

 

What is your earliest memory?

Earliest memory would be me dressing up in my mothers nylons and pretending I’m Batman. I WISH I was making this up.

 

If you weren’t an actor, what other profession would you choose?

If I wasn’t an actor I’d be a professional break-dancer who also dabbled in graffiti. Legal graffiti of course…

Okay, full disclosure:  I’m not exactly a gamer.  In my house, you’ll find the likes of Skyrim, Call of Duty, and The Sims along with more than one brand of video console, but none of these are mine.  When I was eleven, you see, my mother sat me down in the doctor’s office as my right hand cramped into a seemingly permanent knot, convinced I was experiencing some kind of debilitating vitamin deficiency.  Nope.  It was Atari joystick carpal tunnel.  That was a thing.  And now you understand.  I’ve been on the wagon since 1987, but I’m willing to bail for Meriwether:  An American Epic, a role-playing game-in-development created by Sortasoft LLC designer Joshua DeBonis and writer (and, full disclosure, my friend) Carlos Hernandez.  The two met roughly five years ago via the Board Game Designers Forum in New York City where Hernandez learned of DeBonis’ fascination with the Lewis and Clark expedition and DeBonis learned of Hernandez’s gift for narrative.  Thus the Meriwether wheels were set in motion.  As Meriwether gathers funds from its Kickstarter campaign as well as interest from the likes of The Atlantic Monthly, I asked DeBonis and Hernandez to sit down for a conversation that covered everything from game design to the craft of writing to Borges to Roger Ebert to my eminent retreat from the real world sometime around November of 2013 when Meriwether officially drops.

In her 2005 book, Female Chauvinist Pigs, Ariel Levy argues that women have been duped into embracing “raunch” culture, wherein women and girls objectify themselves and other women in crude, sophomoric ways. Levy argues that “raunch” culture pretends to be about women liberating themselves, but is really about keeping women in their place as objects for the male gaze.

In recent years we’ve seen a similar trend, where women have been encouraged to buy into “asshole” culture. While some may argue that we have always tolerated certain types of male bad behavior, it seems there has been a cultural shift in recent years where we actually applaud watching male characters behave like jerks.

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Minnie Driver:

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Olivia Wilde:

This week, Girls’ writer/director/actress Lena Dunham went on NPR’s Fresh Air to address criticisms that the show is a particularly whitewashed view of entitled twenty-something women emotionally adrift in New York City.  Even before the show aired on HBO, Girls had garnered a tremendous amount of buzz as a series helmed, for a change, by a woman.  Just a few episodes in, the buzz erupted in debate on Girls’ representations of gender, class, and race as well as its worthiness of being the focus of so much debate to begin with.

 

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Zach Braff:

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Denis Leary:

A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of film and television.

Kat Dennings:

I mark you archetypes:
Clean-cut fame slut
And earnest, humming wakeboard boy,
All American, what puritan joy!
And please and thankee
No hanky-panky
Do praise the Lord
No Betty Ford
‘Cause I’ve seen the seventies
And heaven, please!
It’s getting dark
And Noah’s Ark
Has got to be coming round
‘Cause that roaring sound
In the western sky
Is the fire next time,

I am looking through lists of links on the Internet. It is Sunday night, but it is almost Monday morning. It is 11:30 p.m. The new Boardwalk Empire episode ended at 10 p.m., which means it should now be available to watch for free on a video streaming website.

Please explain what just happened.

It just leapt through the roof. I swear it did. It was frozen in a block of ice for thousands of years, supposedly dead…then one drill into the block to get a tissue sample and…boom! The thing sprang back to life and escaped. What are we going to do now?

 

What is your earliest memory?

5:20am. We have a toddler with sleep issues.

When It Reigns It Pours

Prince Oscar is a nervous eighteen year old bedwetter with a rare bladder control problem brought on by generations of inbreeding within the Royal Family. His affliction is only exacerbated when both his parents die, and he ascends the throne and becomes King.

A madcap, heartfelt emotional sitcom about the trials and tribulations of monarchic duty, losing loved ones, and the all too real perils of incontinence.

A vague subplot involving Oscar’s on/off romance with the Norwegian ambassador’s daughter, and lots of jokes about ‘being on the throne.’


Wax and Wayne

Abrasive US comedian Ruby Wax and NHL legend Wayne Gretsky star in a contrived and fantastical sitcom inspired by The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Heroes, and William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience.

After a booking mix up, Wayne Gretsky ends up as a guest on Ruby’s dire BB3 talk show. A freak electrical storm then gives both Wax and Wayne superpowers. They now, intermittently and uncontrollably, change in size and shape.

Conflict arises from their obligation to use their powers to help society whilst still struggling to come to terms with the unlikely turn of events themselves. Also they have to live together for some reason that’s never really explained and boy do they not get along!

Humour is derived from the lead characters’ unconcealed hatred for each other, and also from the hilariously and unlikely lengths they go to in order to disguise their sudden transformations and explain their random disappearances.

In a twist final episode Victoria Principal wakes up to find it was all a dream.


Nena!

German pop sensation Nena plays a fictional version of herself living in an apocalyptic wasteland. Episodes focus on the day-to-day running of the Berlin toy shop she inherited after the tragedy, although also deal with the wider issues of attempting to rebuild civilization, and the difficulties in finding a man in a world where 99% of the male population has been vaporized.


Count Me Out

Count Dracula finds himself sharing a house with four goofy college kids who are always trying to peer pressure him into doing dangerous and occasionally illegal activities at a Midwestern university.

Every wacky scheme is met by Dracula’s catchphrase, ‘you can count me out!’ His excuses range from moral objections to his crippling sunlight allergy.

The remainder of each episode focuses on the Count lamenting his lack of adventurousness, considers theories of man’s true purpose, and ponders the existential quandary that is immortality.

In a twist final episode Dracula renounces Satan in order to enter a church and marry the bookish, mousy librarian played by Pamela Anderson.


Margaret, Thatcher

A historical sitcom about the day-to-day running of a roofing firm in medieval Basingstoke.

Humour is largely derived from satirizing Thatcher’s government by placing her political actions in a historical context that somehow also relates to thatch roofing.

In a twist final episode Margaret Thatcher resigns before she completely fucks everything up for everyone for the next thirty-plus years.


Going Straight

Butch Gaye is a notorious and flamboyant bank robber recently released from prison after a five year sentence for robbing a bank. Each week the authorities set Butch up on a date, hoping that he’ll fall for a girl, get married, and become a law abiding family man.

Each episode climaxes with Butch being arrested in various shops for stealing lip gloss, designer jeans, or male erotica. Every week we see Butch being cuffed whilst he protests his innocence and insists he’ll ‘never go straight.’

Humour would largely be innuendo/catchphrase based.

In a twist final episode it is revealed that Butch Gaye is actually wanted Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess.


Nun the Wiser

Nunnery set sitcom depicting a group of recently arrived young nuns trying to get away with bad habits and mischievous deeds without attracting the attention of the wise, elderly nun, Sister Sledge. 

The comedy will be derived from the farcical situations that the girls get themselves into. Each episode will have a moral theme, with the episode interspersed with Sister Sledge reciting relevant Bible passages in a similar way to Jerry’s stand up bits in episodes of Seinfeld.

Humour mostly accompanied by slap bass.


Accidentally/On Porpoise

Dick Van Dyke plays a fictional version of himself as a stereotypical Italian-American mob boss in 1930s New York.

Each episode begins with someone coming to Don Van Dyke with a particular problem, which Van Dyke then vows to resolve. However, Dick Van Dyke proves incredibly inept at heading a crime syndicate. Every week his harebrained schemes result in much slapstick and countless pratfalls which contrive to resolve the established problem entirely by accident.

Every episode concludes with the grateful beneficiary of Van Dyke’s buffoonery asking Don Van Dyke what he did. Each week Van Dyke recounts various fantastical acts of heroism carried out whilst riding on the back of his trusty porpoise sidekick, Hamish McFitzlebrook.

In a twist final episode Dick Van Dyke commits suicide in order to live with Hamish in his fantasy world for all eternity.