I was listening to that incredibly talented entertainer Ricky “Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me” Roberts this morning and got to hear one of Bobbo “Its Common Sense Because I Say So” Basso’s Tom Paine takeoffs which inspires the following vignette:
INT STUDIO CHIEF’S OFFICE—DAY
THE SCENE: A standard Studio Mogul’s lair, self-aggrandizing celeb photos on the wall, lots of chrome and gleam and an acre-size executive desk. The MOGUL, sits feet up behind the desk, requisite stogy clenched in teeth. The WRITER stands before the desk, schoolboy at attention, making his pitch.
WRITER: I’m tellin’s ya, man, this story has it all. It’s Mister Smith Goes to Washington meets Braveheart, Meet John Doe meets Pulp Fiction….
MOGUL: (intrigued) Tell me more….
WRITER: Okay – Act One: the handsome charismatic prince sweeps the country off its feet, wowing them with his repertoire of multi-syllabic sweet nothings…
MOGUL: Who you thinking’? Pitt? Clooney?
WRITER: No, no, here’s the twist. The guy’s black .
MOGUL: Oh, Freeman.
WRITER: No, younger and hipper. More a Don Cheadle or a Denzel. So anyway, Act One he wins the country and sweeps into the White House
MOGUL: Black guy president? So what, the world ends? World always ends when a black guy’s president.
WRITER: No, no, that’s too cliche. I mean America as we know it almost ends. But the American people come to their senses and save it. So in Act Two the country turns on him like a woman scorned!
MOGUL: Classic! Boy meets girl, loses girl. So what brings him down? Sex Scandal? Corruption? Corrupt sex scandal—I really like those? Bloody controversial war?
WRITER: No, bigger ‘n that. The dude pushes through—are you ready for this—a healthcare reform.
MOGUL: In America? Get real. Adolescent wizards and vampires are more believable.
WRITER: I didn’t say comprehensive reform. Naw, just a little reform. You know, kinda a watered down Massachusetts thing that that guy with the really good hair did before he ran for president. Nothing as radical as that Nixon dude or Truman talked about, for godsakes. I’m not talkin’ fantasy here. So, anyway, it gets it past and then all these mobs take to the streets screaming about how he’s a dictator bringin’ godless communism to America.
MOGUL: Serves the commie bastard right. So in Act III he sees the error of his ways, begs America for forgiveness, repeals his ill fated reform and wins the girl—I mean the people—back!
WRITER: No, no. Too obvious. The twist is in Act III the people, now driven absolutely insane by this guy giving healthcare to millions of people rebel. They take to the streets and storm the capitol. When they’re done a new Republican congress populated by really good looking white people with really nice teeth (thanks to the dental plan their corporate employers provided them as top rank executives) takes over. They impeach the young, brash prince—and his trusty old F-bombing sidekick and make their handsome white Speaker with really good hair the new Prez. Then the guy gets rid of the healthcare reform (and Medicare, social security, welfare, all environmental laws, meat inspection and the like). As the people rejoice in the streets (of course, a lot of them are living there by then) the music comes up – something really patriotic and uplifting…
MOGUL: How about Dixie? That’s a catchy tune!
WRITER: Love it! So the music comes up and we fade to black. Whadda ya think?
MOGUL: Love it, man, love it. One thing—you think maybe you can tweak it so the healthcare reform turns out to have unleashed a virus or something that turns normal, rational people into invective-spitting deranged anti-government zombies? Or even better, Libertarian Vampires ready to feed on the body politic? You know, Advise and Consent meets 27 Days Later.
WRITER: Don’t see why not.
MOGUL: Outstanding. Only one problem though…
WRITER: What’s that boss?
MOGUL: We make fiction at this studio, not documentaries. Whadda think we are—the History Channel?