Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reality TV - for Writers?

Singers. Dancers. Chefs. Fat guys. Funny guys. Guys who play the harmonica while juggling tangerines. Everybody's got their own reality show.

Everybody except writers. And I say it's high time we correct this situation. 

The standard format for a talent competition should work nicely. Contestants stand up and blah blah. Three judges make snarky comments. And the masses vote, paring down the contestants until we get to this season's Literary Legend.

Let's preview the pilot show, now airing live. . . .

[Cue theme music. Thunderous applause as affable host enters, wearing a tweed jacket and puffing on a pipe. You can tell by looking that his name is Allistair. Or Digory.]

Allistair.   Or Digory.

Host: Good evening, America. THIS. . .is Literary Legend.  Let's welcome our judges. . . .Jim-Bob Boomer, author of several viral tweets about his brother-in-law's moustache; Perky Petula, author of Financial Advice for Writers: Marry Money; and Cool Dog Cool, author of more than a dozen software user agreements in English, French, and Portuguese.
At last! A show for writers like me!

And here's our first contestant, performing a Shakespearean sonnet. Our design consultant has dressed her in jeans and a grubby tee shirt with a mustard stain. She reeks of literary. Also of mustard.

Contestant #1:

When you, my love, are gone, the stars dissolve--
the sky unravels slowly at the seams. . . .

[Fans in the front rows sway their arms as she continues.]

Host: Okay Judges, what think ye?

Judge #1: "Pitchy."

Judge #2: "I think it's the wrong poem for this point in the competition. And did I hear an anacrusis in that closing couplet?"

Host: Ana-who-sis?

Judge #3: I'm not a big fan of the genre, but Girl, you nailed those slant rhymes. And when you got to the enjambment, I saw God.

Contestant #2
Host: And now, Contestant #2, sporting a sou'wester and performing free verse.

Contestant #2: Hey, it's not free. I expect to get paid. 

Host: Just read already.

Contestant #2: 

Pain. Death. Destruction. All that misery just ooz-
ing like hot fudge from a sundae 
left out in the 
rain rain rain rain. . . . 

[Contestant #2 runs across the stage, slapping hands with audience members on the front row.]

Host: Okay, Judges?

Judge #1: "That was dope. He's in it to win it."

Judge #2: "Loved the leitmotif and the pathetic fallacy.Your synecdoche and metonymy are to die for."

Contestant #2: Aw, shucks.

Judge #3: "Wow, I'm suddenly hungry for ice cream."

Host: Thank you, Judges. And now, Contestant #3, dressed in retro mobster attire, performing creative nonfiction on the always scintillating subject of capitalism.

Contestant #3
Contestant #3: Money. You got it--I want it. In fact, I hope you vote for me and make me rich and famous. Especially rich. I don't write so great, but I have an agent. [Pulls out machine gun.]  And a marketing plan. Vote for me. NOW.

Host (hiding behind a pillar): That's a prop, right? Let's ask our judges what they think. . .

Judge #1: Pitchy.

[In a spray of gunfire, Contestant #3 annihilates Judge #1.]

Host: Note to self: not a prop.

Judge #2: "Best performance ever. Really. . . .Really, really.

Judge #3: Huh? Sorry, dozed off. Did I miss anything?

[Contestant #3 shoots Judge #3.]

Host: Okay, America, it's up to you--and our one remaining judge. Who is your Literary Legend? Vote for your favorite by phone or on Facebook or publish your vote in an obscure literary journal. And remember that however you vote, I still get paid.

[Contestant #3 shoots affable host. A free for all ensues.]

Contestant #3: Goodnight Allistair. Or Digory. Goodnight, America. And don't forget to vote for me. NOW.

A free for all ensues.

[Cue theme and fade.]

Okay, so admittedly, there are a few wrinkles to iron out--um, metaphorically speaking--but you've got to admit, it's got a certain appeal for both the literati and the prison-without-parole demographic.

And now, please excuse me. I want to ask Contestant #3 if he will accompany me to the contract negotiations for my next book.  

Your Top Six Guy Writers for Season One

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This had me in stitches- both times I read through it!