Friday, July 16, 2010

“Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.” – Homer Simpson

When my husband and I were dating, I was pleasantly surprised upon walking into his apartment for the first time. It was almost clean. He owned expensive cookware, and there wasn’t a single pack of ramen noodles in his pantry. There were no traces of other women or ex-girlfriends still in the picture. Then I noticed that something was missing. Horrified, I turned to him and asked, “Where’s your television?” He shrugged and replied, “I don’t have one. Watching television is a waste of time.” Our relationship almost ended right then and there. But I’m happy to report that I eventually wore him down, and just last night, he grudgingly watched another brilliant episode of Toddlers & Tiaras.

Television has always been my drug of choice. Although I do indulge in the occasional reality show (only those of the highest quality), I prefer scripted shows – the kind with interesting characters, intelligent plot lines, and witty dialogue. A few months into my soul-searching, it occurred to me that I should become a television writer! Here I’d been searching for my true passion, and the television was right in front of my face the whole time!

In order to become a successful television writer, all I had to do was write a stellar spec script of a current show. I chose 30 Rock because it was hysterical, like me. First, I had to study the show and familiarize myself with the structure, the characters, and the plot lines. I watched all twenty-six of the previously aired episodes back-to-back. Then I watched them again, except this time I took notes. My husband suggested that this was not a productive use of my time, but I assured him that it would all be worth it when I won my first Emmy.

Eventually, I came up with a clever new plot line and began to write the script. But before I could finish, a new episode of 30 Rock aired that was essentially a funnier version of my idea. Blerg!

A month after that, I ran into Tracy Morgan in Whole Foods. He appeared to be lost. Since his character on 30 Rock is based on his real life, I knew everything about him, including his struggle with diabetes. It would’ve been the perfect opportunity to direct him toward the aisle with the low-glycemic-index foods while simultaneously pitching him the genius spec script that I happened to be carrying around in my purse. But sadly, I didn’t have a spec script in my purse (or at home, for that matter). And so, I will probably never be a television writer.

On the bright side, 30 Rock is still a great show. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

Tracy (Admonishing a bird): "Stop eating people’s old French fries, pigeon! Have some self respect! Don’t you know you can fly?"

Liz: Is that like a corporate retreat? I used to have to perform at those all the time back when Jenna and I were in that improv troupe.
Host: The audience suggestion is “Sling Blade and Oprah on a date.”
Liz: [as Sling Blade] I sure do like dem French fried potaters!
Jenna: No you don’t, Oprah!

Jack: Lemon, I’m impressed. You're beginning to think like a businessman.
Liz: A businesswoman.
Jack: I don’t think that’s a word.

Kenneth: "Nooo, allergies are real. If I have a strawberry, my throat shuts up faster than a girl in math class."

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