The Reader's Eye on Television

My first script

"Hello, a lot of folks with diabetes are having a tough time eating right. Well, now there's -- goddamnit!" Wilford Brimley is interrupted by a series of loud bangs. "It's bad enough I gotta shill for this candy bar that tastes like wombat crap. You want me to talk over that fella dropping his ass and kicking it around?"

"Okay. Okay, it's just a mistake. We'll get that taken care of." The director trails off and turns to address the crew. "Joe? Joe? Let's stop moving lights around and stuff back there..." His hands float around in small circles. "I need it quiet."

"You're damn right, you need it quiet," Wilford barks. "It's just unprofessional. I'm trying to work here, and this guy's banging around like, well, I don't know what."

"All right," the director shouts, trying to regain control. "Mr. Brimley shoots Glucosure Health Bar spot, take three, and...action."

"Hello," Wilford says in a remarkably tranquil voice. "A lot of folks with diabetes -- oh, sonofabitch!"

"Cut. Sorry. The boom fell into the shot here," the director tells everyone. "From the top. Brimley, Glucosure, four, and..."

"I can't take it anymore, I need a break," Brimley bristles. "It's so hot in here. These lights, they make me sweat," he says as he undoes the buttons from his shirt. "I feel faint," he mutters before crashing down from the chair. His voice rises, "NO! NO!" from out of camera shot. "I can't! Not here!" his voice reaches a painful, suffocating pitch. "I don't want to change!" he screams in agony from the floor. He floats slowly up into the picture with his back to the camera, his rotund mass supported by wobbly noodles in blue slacks. The sound of his ripping shirt and the smell of fishy brine fills the small studio space.

"My God!" a key grip screams out. "Wilford Brimley is a were-walrus!"

"Everybody run!"

"NoooOOOO!" Brimley bellows. "Why? It's not even high tide!" but his directionless question is cut short by the immediate growth of pearly tusks originating in his distended snout and tapering to fine points just below his navel. "Blaugh, blaugh. HORK! HORK!" He holds his hands in front of his whiskery face and watches the bones restructure themselves into fins. His skin bloats and stretches into diamond-textured leather.

The mighty and noble were-walrus whirls around atop his spindly human legs and starts chasing cameramen and catering ladies, impaling his tusks on directors' chairs and equipment trunks.

The film glitches momentarily and cuts to black.

A woman's voice rises over the dark screen, "Next Week's USA movie of the week, written by Graphic Content Studios, directed by Kip Reese, starring Tim Macilvane as Wilford Brimley as The Were-walrus."


Thursday, January 13 Oprah Winfrey

ABC 10, 4:00 p.m.

Oprah Winfrey could be a were-orca in my film. A small subplot could revolve around how she hasn't aged or has, in fact, regressed in years. Unfortunately, the term were-orca and were-killerwhale are clumsy; werewhale -- however catchy -- would be rude, considering her weight struggles.


SPEED 56, 7:00 p.m.

The cat is so far out of the bag at this point the title Autorotica doesn't bat even the stodgiest of eyelashes. I think we'll come full circle eventually. Having been browbeaten with suggestive marketing our whole lives we'll begin to refer to sexual encounters with subtle marketing phrases. Replacing, "I banged this hot chick last weekend," with "Last week I landed the GM account." Billboards will become referential to their own products, "Drive a GM." Wink, nod.

Highway to Heaven

TVLAND 59, 9:00 p.m.

Ooof. Is this still on? My mom used to watch this saccharin sweet piece of tchotchkes entertainment. I remember Landon going on the Tonight show when he was terminally ill, and he talked about pissing his bed until he was in his late teens. I thought, Well, that's a helluva way to go out.

CMT Most Shocking: Ways to Make a Buck

CMT 61, 9:00 p.m.

The title is intriguing, but you never know what makes CMT people drop their jaws in surprise. Being raised by porky strippers and professional fly-fishermen could make librarianship and mathematics professor qualify as shocking vocations. In the country-music circle, finishing high school might even be a bit of an eye-opener.


FOX 6, 11:30 p.m.

I've been invited to a friend's Passover seder in Brooklyn next April. If Jerry Seinfeld and Howard Stern have taught me nothing else, I at least know that Jewish people are hilarious and I better bring my "A" game. I'm working on ending my sentences in a higher tone, and I'm practicing the phrase, "Who doesn't like knishes?" I'll blend right in.

Friday, January 14 Queer Eye for the Straight Girl

BRAVO 42, 7:00 p.m.

Okay, I'll bite. What could gay guys possibly teach a woman about attracting straight men? All that culture and dance crap will go straight out the window, and be replaced with, "Get him drunk and take your top off." At that point it doesn't matter what color her kitchen tile is or how many cats are living in her Corolla. That's "go time."

Wheel of Fortune

NBC 7, 7:00 p.m.

Have you seen this lately? Vanna doesn't even turn the boxes around anymore. She stands off to the side in a shimmery dress and walks casually in front of the board when the letters are revealed digitally. For the love of all that's holy, how do I get a job like that? And don't for a second think that I won't stuff my five-foot, seven-inch, 280-pound tattooed frame into a strappy evening gown and parade around in front of an electroluminescent board for the kind of do-re-mi she's pulling. Like the old adage goes, "A million bucks buys a lot of toothpaste."

Saturday, January 15 The Lawrence Welk Show

PBS 11, 6:00 p.m.

The next time I hear somebody bitching about how PBS is going down the toilet and they couldn't raise money, I'm going to throw this in his or her face like a hot cup of coffee. Who on God's green earth could possibly sit through this? I've tried, just for kitsch value alone, and I'll tell you: it's impossible. This is a portrait of a hushed America beaten into sleep by a drunken uncle and presented in a way that even during its popularity wasn't an accurate portrayal. I'd gouge my eyes out with an errant soda can pop top before I sat through this.

Ebert & Roeper

NBC 7, 6:30 p.m.

I guess I better pay attention to other critics and see how they work. Truthfully, to this point I've just duct-taped this thing together every week and run it up the flag pole. I couldn't tell you what the hell an "oeuvre" is, and my use of "genre" is dubious at best. These guys are the best in the biz, so I'll study them closely. The phrase "Anything an aging stroke victim can do, I can do better" will be my motto.

Monday, January 17 MASH (1970)

FX, 11:00 a.m.

Watch the original movie and remember why they made a TV series out of it. It's damn good, is why. At work Tuesday you can whistle the tune to Suicide Is Painless, and by noon see how many people have picked it up. Unless you're a surgeon; then that's just creepy.

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