Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Tuesday I post a new column.
Why do writers and studios hate each other so much?
In the mid-1950s, the studios promised writers that if they gave up stable jobs at newspapers and ad agencies for unstable jobs writing TV and movies, beautiful women would be more attracted to them. At first, the studios seemed to hold up their end of the bargain. Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller and there was great rejoicing. However, Monroe divorced Miller in 1961, sparking great outrage amongst the writers.
The feud was made eternal in 1962, when a group of writers from The Beverly Hillbillies – a popular show at the time – murdered Monroe in her Brentwood home. The studios were so angered by this retaliation that they cut residuals of home video sales from 2.5% to 0.3%. DVDs and VHS tapes had not actually been invented yet, but the writers were still pissed. Today, writers only receive residuals for Laserdisc sales.
What are residuals?
Laserdiscs are giant gold records with movies on them. Hilarious, right? Well you wouldn’t believe what people were paying for . . .
No, no! What are residuals?
Oh. Residuals are compensation given to writers for their past work. The amount awarded each year is decided by an annual studios vs. writers soapbox derby race. Aaron Sorkin always cheats, but never wins.
Why did the two sides stop negotiating? Shouldn’t they at least try?
Professional negotiators aren’t trained to negotiate. They’re trained to hold their ground until the people who hired them get angry and threaten to fire them. Then concessions are made. Unfortunately, not enough time has passed for either side to get angry enough at their negotiators to force them to do their jobs.
That’s fucking stupid.
Yes. Yes, it is.
Can I still watch American Gladiators?
Fuck you, traitor! Haha, just kidding! The Nielsen ratings system can’t tell what you’re watching through your cable box, so unless they’ve contacted you to keep a diary of your viewing habits, it doesn’t matter what the hell you watch. Seriously, the viewing habits of all 301 million Americans are determined by a sample size of a few thousand families.
So . . . is this why most TV programming sucks?
Yes! It is a logical scapegoat.
Then why do movies suck?
Because you retards won’t go see anything that isn’t a sequel, so that’s all we give you. If you go to a restaurant and order poop, you better not complain when they actually serve it to you.
If I grow a “strike beard”, will that help the writers?
If I grow a “strike moustache”, will that help the writers?
If I have AIDS, and I have sex with someone else who has AIDS, will we both develop superpowers?
So what do the writers want?
They want larger home video residuals and a fair share of new media.
What is “new media”?
Porn. You know how your car runs on fuel? Writers are the same way, except their fuel is pornography. When the 1988 writers strike ended, they made the concession not to watch porn during work hours anymore. Now they want their fair share of new media (pornography!) back. The lack of natural fuel (porn!) for writers is why the quality of TV has gone downhill over the years.
I thought you said Nielsen’s ratings system is the reason TV went downhill.
Nielsen’s ratings system also gauges the nation’s need for pornography.
You’re not making sense.
A lot of things don’t make sense. Welcome to Hollywood.
Will you answer at least one question without being sarcastic or lying?
Didn’t the writers also ask for jurisdiction in animation and reality programming?
I don’t know. Who gives a shit? It’s animation. They’re all from Korea.
Seth McFarlane is from Korea?
Yes! Born and raised.
How much does the average Hollywood writer make?
$12 per hour at Starbucks, or $300 per week from unemployment checks.
How much does Seth McFarlane make?
Millions of dollars.
See? I told you!
Are you a member of the Writer’s Guild?
Then why do you support them?
I’m kissing their asses.
Will that help you get into the Guild?
Not in the least.
Jay Leno is a Writers Guild member. Why did he cross picket lines to put his show back on the air?
Jay Leno is kind of an asshole.
Can I be a member of the Writers Guild?
Sure! Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
PO Box 6969
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Attn: Perry Penispool