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Archives: Mar 2012

Things I learned from shooting my own TV pilot

My friends and I recently shot our own 30-minute TV pilot. For those not well-versed in Hollywood lingo, a “pilot” is a trial episode of a new show. Each year, networks like Fox, NBC and CBS meet with well-known writers who pitch them show ideas. A handful of pilots for new shows are approved, and if any of the finished pilots seem like moneymakers, the network signs them on for a full or partial season of episodes.

I can’t get meetings with TV networks. I’m not a well-known writer. My friends and I don’t even have agents or managers. We have the same amount of clout in show business as old men who mail angry letters to studios over reruns of “NYPD Blue” that they find offensive. In fact, we have less clout than those old men, because elderly people are a huge source of revenue for networks. They’re the only people left on Earth who don’t use DVRs to fast-forward through commercials.

Columnist Paul Ryan sent to the minors

DULUTH, MN — The Reader Weekly optioned columnist Paul Ryan to Class AAA Superior this week, where he will write for Weekly Todd, an eight page photocopied “zine” occasionally left at whorehouses by Todd Winkle, an elderly pervert suffering from dementia. Content for this minor league newspaper mainly consists of amateurish drawings of an easily flustered talking vagina that the Wisconsin Newspaper Association once called “the Cathy Guisewite of hand-drawn erotica.”

Ryan has written for the Reader Weekly since 2002, when publisher Bob Boone discovered him and naively assumed Ryan would someday write insightful content instead of dick jokes. Ryan is widely considered “over the hill” and has suffered several notable injuries over the past few seasons. Last year he had Tommy John surgery to repair his writing arm, and his work hasn’t quite been the same since.

McDonald’s is the saddest place in the world

I’m so depressed. I wasn’t before I walked into McDonald’s, but the mere act of entering this place has given me the desire to hang myself. Everything’s so bleak here. It’s like an interior decorator specifically arranged everything – and everyone – to convey the ultimate feeling of sadness.

“Let’s see. I’ll put a mentally challenged woman with one tooth staring into space with a haunting melancholy over there, then a morbidly obese guy sipping from the same cup of coffee for six hours in this booth. He’ll be wearing sweatpants and a wife beater, and the seat of his booth will have a groove in it shaped exactly like his ass. Finally, I’ll take a homeless guy who’s missing an eyeball, give him a giant shopping cart full of garbage, and have him jerk off in a corner booth while mumbling the name of the youngest daughter from the TV show “Family Ties”. No one will ask him to leave because $6 per hour just isn’t worth the risk of getting a money shot from a homeless cyclops. Ta-da! It’s my greatest work yet! I’ll call it, Capitalism’s Lowest Option.”

Eating in a McDonald’s feels no different to me than eating in the waiting room of a car repair shop. The floor tiles are chosen because they’re easy to hose down, and are the closest neutral color to both vomit and hobo poop. It’s understandable, because every hour at every McDonald’s in the world, the following things happen: 1) a drug addict pukes up a cheeseburger, 2) a homeless person pulls down his pants almost enough to dump on the floor without soiling himself, and 3) a sex offender ejaculates on the window that looks out into the children’s play area. All three of these things happen simultaneously at 33,000 McDonald’s locations worldwide every hour, as reliably as the clockwork of Big Ben, and the hose takes care of it all! Five seconds, tops. Whoosh!

This is how dementia begins

The sitar music. The goddamn sitar music. I can’t take it anymore! It’s driving me insane. Day or night, no matter the time, the sitar music continues playing. Softly, gently, elegantly eating my brains from the inside. It’s torture. Each chord is like another little bead of water dripping on my forehead.

An elderly Middle-Eastern woman recently moved into the apartment building across from mine. This being Los Angeles, our windows are roughly eight feet apart. The sitar music never ends. It’s always playing in her apartment, even when she’s not there. My TV drowns it out, but I spend most of my day writing and I need quiet for that. I’m not good at concentrating. No TV, no music, no distractions of any kind or my mind will wander. For instance, right now it’s wandering toward murdering this old woman.