Accidentally/On Porpoise and my Other Sitcom FailuresBy James Irwin
January 04, 2011
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Poor Nena. How I can relate to her.
Irwin, this is all hilarious – and all of it (ALL of it) is so much better than some of the shit on American television.
You’re a crack up.
Also, isn’t Van Dyke nearly 137 years old? There’d be no way to guarantee longevity of that series.
If we have to replace Dick Van Dyke with a CGI Dick Van Dyke that looks a-lot-but-not-exactly like Dick Van Dyke we’ll be alright.
I only found out about his claim to have been rescued by a porpoise tonight. The man rocks.
TV here isn’t much better.
But we have Countdown.
Ha! And Nena! should be a real show. I’d watch it. All the time.
Irwin, I’m still laughing at *Margaret, Thatcher*! HAHAHAHAHA!
You are so politically spot-on about her, and the concept is brilliant. You could even factor in Ronald Reagan as a noblewoman’s chauffeur who’s got a “thing” for Mizz Margaret, spending his off-hours watching her thatch roofs (rooves?) from Portsmouth to Newcastle (often driving her to her workplaces, thus saving her the cost of petrol).
“Wayne and Wax”—excellent.
Oh, and “abrasive” Wax? Hoot!
Love this about Butch Gaye: “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.’ “
I wanted to get Reagan in somehow, especially as he has acting experience, but the budget wouldn’t allow for big name American guest stars.
I genuinely came up with Going Straight as a sketch years ago. The rest I came up with yesterday, but that one is an especially childish pun.
A Reagan act-alike would be a perfect foil for a Margaret, Thatcher act-alike, Irwin. He’d be fumbling around, smiling and ineffectual, whilst she directs his driving from the backseat, her thatching equipment hanging out the boot (there has to be a boot in a posh car!).
I’m a sucker for childish puns—-especially the scatalogical and salacious. Doubtless, according to your stories, I’d feel right at home in S Korea. 😉
Sound logic. I’ve already approached Eileen Atkins’ monkey to play Bonzo…
“I’ve already approached Eileen Atkins’ monkey to play Bonzo…”
If the German poop star’s first attempt ever gets canceled she’d be a show in for another vehicle – Nena the Warrior Princess.
Unlikely, I think.
99 Red Balloons takes a pretty anti-war stance.
I can’t see Nena agreeing to play a warrior.
That’s why it’s funny. She’s the anti-war warrior. It’s kind of like Leno doing comedy.
Oh. take *that* Leno!
It’s funny because I get the reference.
I think I’m going to start a letter campaign to the BBC, demanding that Margaret, Thatcher go into immediate production. Quick! Someone get me Steven Moffat’s number!
I wish I had Steven Moffat’s number. Or just knew him… The man is a genius.
Doctor Who is way, way better now that he’s in charge. It’s a shame Tennant didn’t stick around for one more series because all his best episodes were the ones Moffat wrote. But then I love the fact that end of the last series essentially undid all the slightly-too-weepy, and slightly restrictive mythology Russel T. Davies created whilst setting up far more interesting over-arching stories.
As I enter tangent territory… the whole appeal of The Doctor, in my point of view, was that he’s a very English, eccentric hero. Under RTD he was veering towards being a more American kind of saving-the-world-at-the-last-minute hero. Almost too much action, and not quite enough fun. With Moffat and Smith the character is much more alien, but thus a more recognizably English eccentric for it. It’s a lot more fun now, whilst still being quite dark and exciting and interesting.
Have you seen what Moffat did with Sherlock? That was brilliant as well. The chap who plays Sherlock was at one point first choice for The Doctor, and is at least in the upcoming series.
I’m baffled at the popularity of Margaret, Thatcher although I’m now thoroughly tempted to write a pilot episode…
I haven’t actually watched Doctor Who since Moffat’s become show runner (though I do have Series 5 on DVD). I’ve Tennant’s final two-part special to get through, but I’m kind of procrastinating because I don’t want to see his run as The Doctor end. And because I need to finish up Torchwood: Children of Earth. And because I’m trying to get through Being Human before the U.S. adaptation hits the airwaves.
Yes, I saw Sherlock. Loved it, can’t wait for Series 2. And it was interesting seeing Martin Freeman play the sort-of straight man. And Benedict Cumberbach (that’s a mouthful regardless of your local dialect) was such a sleaze bag in Atonement, that it’s fun to see him as someone so eccentric as Sherlock Holmes.
I do like the range and variety of Moffat’s projects so far. From Coupling to Doctor Who to Sherlock…good, good stuff.
I don’t want to ruin in, but the two-part end of Tennant’s reign is pretty disappointing. Bernard Cribbins is excellent though. He’s probably not the treasure he is over here, but he is just fantastic. So is Tennant. It’s not even that the story is disappointing it just teases you by implying it’s going to be much more exciting than it is.
But Tennant will almost certainly play the Doctor again. 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the show and they always do multiple-Doctor stories on those occasions. Tennant was always a genuine fan, and loved playing the role and there’s no way he’d say no to it. Also Moffat is a proper fan so he’ll certainly want to uphold that tradition.
You know Martin Freeman basically gave up a Hollywood career to do series 2? I’m not surprised given a.) the show is amazing and b.) he hates being recognized or anything related to being famous. Cumberbatch was advised to change his name, but I like that he kept it. I remember reading an interview with him where he claimed his name ‘sounded like a wet fart.’
The thing I love most about Moffat is his boundless enthusiasm. Everytime you see him on TV talking about any of his projects he seems at least twice as excited as his fans are. It’s like he can’t believe he’s allowed to keep writing television shows.
By the way, Neil Gaiman has written an episode for the next series of Doctor Who.
And Matt Smith is fantastic. As I mentioned. There were so many ‘fans’ who were basically just Tennant fans who hated him before his first episode just for not being Tennant. But he basically owns the role within the first few minutes of series 5.
I have to say, overall, that I’ve been disappointed with the post Series 4 Tennant specials. They’re…OK. It’s kind of obvious the show is gearing up to move on the the Next Thing. Which is fine with me. I’m looking forward to finally watching my S5 DVDs.
I want to hear someone with a very pronounced Scotts burr say Benedict Cumberbatch’s name. I think that would be damned hysterical.
Pretty much every special since the first revived Christmas special have been pretty poor. Tennant’s debut in that first one was quite good. But then it references HHGTTG and Thatcher’s sinking of the Belgrano and has Tennant asleep for ages to delay his introduction, which was a nice touch.
Planet of the Dead was probably the worst though.
“A vague subplot involving Oscar’s on/off romance with the Norwegian ambassador’s daughter, and lots of jokes about ‘being on the throne.'”
That was the first of many hearty laughs with this one.
But I’m with the others that “Nena!” is comedy gold. Hahahahahahaha. So awesome.
You funny guy, JDI.
I don’t know why but Nun the Wiser is my favorite.
Nun the Wiser is probably the most contrived.
Also, who doesn’t love slap bass?
Nun The Wiser was my pick, too. But only if it’s followed by an all-new special episode of “Raise The Wimple.”
“Nena” gets my vote.
For some reason it was the ‘german toy shop she inherited’ that struck me as ludicrously funny!!
These are lovely and funny, Jim! I laughed all the way through… 🙂
I hate that one, because I had the funniest idea ever whilst I was writing it into WordPress and then forgot about it by the time I’d finished the sentence.
Very annoying, but I do like the idea of Nena running a toy shop.
It’s totally absurd. I hope she has her keyboardist as a shop helper.
Damn, man, that was fucking hilarious. I’d watch any of those shows.
I think I said earlier, but if I get a chance I’m going to try and turn a few of these into sketches.
i more than love and heartily chortled at every idea but “nun the wiser” is pretty close to my heart. i love me some slap bass.
and the final episode of “accidentally/on porpoise” sounds like the premise of one of my favorite childhood movies: “the incredible mr. limpet”. don knotts could EASILY fall into a dick van dyke role. 🙂
I was pleased with that, although I’ve written about 2 minutes of a b-movie action film called ‘Nympho Nuns With Miniguns’ is probably a more exciting nun-based entertainment concept.
Dick Van Dyke is irreplacable to the show. It’s not that there aren’t better actors, it’s the porpoise. He’s a big fan of Mary Poppins, and will only work with Van Dyke. He’s open to working with Tom Selleck again, but only if Selleck publicly apologizes for that joke he made about the inadequacy of Lloyd George’s government.
man… that porpoise is a divo.
next thing you know he’ll be asking for his handlers to have only iridescent fish in his dressing room, a separate room for his wigs, plates of bacon and demand that fabian be HIS assistant. i’d pay to see that battle… porpoise v. dust.
Friggin’ hilarious, Irwin. Nice way to bring in twenty eleven. All the best to you, my friend.
Loved your latest video by the way. Don’t think I mentioned. Got sent loads of original music by friends over Christmas. It’s a real privilege to have so many creative, talented friends.
The names alone are hilarious! You sir, have a calling in sitcommery.
It was Margaret, Thatcher that put me over the edge. Well done!
I think I said earlier, if I can find a way to do it I want to make a 10 minute episode of Margaret, Thatcher over summer. I love really bad TV shows.
Have you ever seen Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace?
That’s a masterfully done piece of deliberately bad TV. It was made in 2005 or something, but the whole thing is presented as previously lost archive material from the 1980s. It’s sort of a parody of 1980s TV shows, but much funnier than that.
I love deliberately bad shows.
Bad habits. Heh. Please tell me there is not a show already called this… It’s ripe, James D.
Not that I’m aware of.
Although I suspect there is probably at least one pornographic film called Bad Habits. There has to be one called Nast Habits.
I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t.
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