The TV Guide Channel is rather interesting. I would be lying to you if I said that, previous to this show, I watched it for any amount of time longer than it took to determine upon which channel a rerun of The Fifth Element or Temple of Doom was playing. However, now that I have delved into it more deeply, it’s like tapping into a vast, collective unconscious. You see, during tonight’s show, this channel’s Ludovico treatment of show/commercials/constant TV listings at the bottom of the screen grabbed me by my neural synapses and led me to many interesting places:
- Who is Zorianna Kit, and does a bobblehead of her exist?
- Hmm. I think these contestants like to ARGUE a LOT.
- Wait, would the producers of this show survive their own judging panel?
- Hey, look, Murder, She Wrote is showing tonight on the Hallmark Channel . . . I don’t think they care enough to program the very best.
- Oh, evidently, if women do not take enough Midol, they utterly destroy entire libraries.
This all happened within the space of about five minutes. I’m not sure what effect this prolonged exposure to the Mother Brain will have upon me, but H.P. Lovecraft once wrote, "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents . . . some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality . . . that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
And on that note, welcome back to America’s Next Producer.
A Reality Show about Producers Making Reality Shows to Sell to Producers?
Last week, our contestants were split into teams of two, and we learned that there are some rather tremendous egos in the bunch. It’s unsurprising that many hope this challenge will be a solo act; however, Ananda is quick to cut down their hopes and dreams like yesterday’s film reels. She has three dossiers, each containing the address of a “celebrity.” It is the producers’ job to make a short pitching a new “reality show”—I guess these are all the rage with the kids these days—starring said “celebrity.” So, we’ll basically be having three reality shows within another reality show. Very “meta,” this.
They will have six hours to shoot, six to edit (with a real editor this time), and will be judged upon creativity, marketability, and storytelling. In addition to creating a decent short, they will also have to give a verbal pitch! Let’s hope it’s not a curveball! (I disgust myself.)
Since Daniel was last week’s winner, he is auto-matically made auto-crat of one group. Now, I just realized that the winner did not actually receive a prize or anything, and perhaps you picked up on this, too, but he now receives the sheer delight of picking his two opponents, the other team leaders. He picks Sharon, whom you just might remember as the VETERAN, and Lindsay, whom you might remember as the VETERAN’s apprentice. After a very brief pick ‘em, the teams become:
Daniel, Zo, and Evie (Previous partners together? That’s safe!)
Sharon, Jessica, and Gwen (Previous rivals together? That’s wacky!)
Lindsay, Schliz, and Adam, who frowns like the little Zoloft blob for getting picked last, just like in dodgeball. Maybe, as a comedy writer, he should start dipping into the wellspring of those good old childhood traumas. Catharsis and commercial success? Baby, you got a golden egg there!
Team Daniel, or Face/Off
“It’s like fire and ice, basically. So I find my role . . . is to be kind of in the middle of that. Kind of like lukewarm water.” – Derek Smalls, Spinal Tap
Daniel has never done reality TV, but he watches it like you wouldn’t believe, so he’s incredibly excited about the project. His fanboy palpitations only swell when he learns that their “celebrity” is none other than Michelle Stafford from The Young and the Restless! Already, I think this assignment would have been 2000% more awesome if it had been the witch from Passions, or possibly Stefano from Days of Our Lives, but . . . oh, dear, I’m dating myself, aren’t I? But, alas! Daniel’s teammates are almost immediately at each others' throats. Farewell, happy fields, where joy forever dwells! Evie considers Zo a mean ol’ bully, and Zo feels that he and his ideas are far superior to everyone else. I guess that all checks out.
They enter Michelle’s house, begin talking with her about potential ideas and learn that it’s her dog’s birthday, and Daniel thinks they’ve landed on a goldmine. However, Zo has his own ideas, and immediately begins pitching them, metaphorically trouncing over Evie’s wee, sensitive toes. I have to say that Zo’s ideas, regardless of difficulty, sound a lot less “reality TV” than the basic idea of the celebrity dog birthday party. Fights ensue, Michelle leaves the room, and Daniel does his best to keep things civil, making the executive decision to stick with the plan of the dog party. Zo bitterly complains that his teammates are snobs. During filming, Evie complains about Zo’s camera-work, especially his, shall we say, fondness of close-ups. More fighting ensues in the editing room, Evie flees from the room to turn on the waterworks, and poor Daniel looks like he’s going to have an apoplexy.
Team Lindsay, or The Com-Pleat Guide to Rehash
The address in Lindsay’s dossier seems to take her to the sleazy side of town, and they begin wondering what celebrity could possibly be living here. My guess is “Vincent Gallo,” and I am just a bit wrong, as their celebrity is none other than Santino from Project Runway! Lindsay is thrilled, as she’s a huge fan and Style Network alumna. So what’s he up to these days? Well . . . you know . . . this.
Santino takes them into his studio, and Lindsay’s team seems to unanimously decide on the theme of their short, “A young designer starting his own label and taking on the world, etc.,” and they seem to work together smoothly. However, Adam becomes concerned when Santino starts on a long-winded monologue about the hundreds of different fabric pleats he has, describing each one in enthralling detail. Once again, he complains a bit about having no time to write, and, once they hit the editing room, gets neurotic about that process, insisting that dozens of cuts be made. Despite his teammates' concern about his obvious insertion of “I” into “TEAIM,” Adam remains concerned that their short does not show enough of Santino’s personality.
Team Sharon, or The Biological Doomsday Clock
Despite threatening her with physical violence on our last episode, Sharon says that she “felt in her spirit” that Gwen would be a good choice for her team. Will it come back to haunt her? Maybe she just felt that Gwen would respond better to a little mentoring than fisticuffs. At any rate, Sharon quickly settles in comfortably to her new role as LEADER, and they soon receive a call from their celebrity . . . why, it’s Lorenzo Lamas from the action-drama Renegade! Anyone? No? Me neither. Evidently, even after all those years of doing John Woo ripoff action sequences, you can still be vulnerable to the slings and arrows of everyday life, for Lorenzo has thrown out his back while attempting to pick up a piece of laundry. I can totally see him leaning over in bullet-time to pick up that sleeveless leather jacket, and, with a mighty crunch. . . .
Indeed, ol’ Lorenzo will be spending much of his day like this, which leaves Sharon’s team in a predicament: They can either join another team or take two hours to regroup and come up with a new reality show concept, and they opt for the latter. Sharon claims to know “some people” and begins to make calls, but to little avail, for, as Gwen points out, what celebrity is going to have nothing to do all day on a Saturday? Then, she and Jessica have a stroke of genius. Sharon, professional producer, veteran, and leader, will now become their CELEBRITY. The premise of the show? Her search to find a husband and bear a child . . . before it’s too late! Very, very “meta,” this.
Everyone thinks it’s brilliant, and they race off to Sharon’s house to begin filming. Gwen is happy to get Sharon out of the “telling people what to do” role, Sharon is happy to show off her fireplace and alleged 36-DDs, and Jessica is probably just happy when she gets three seconds of airtime.
Good Will Hunting – Goodwill = Good Hunting
For tonight’s screening, Ananda and judges David Hill and Matt Roush are joined by Chris Moore, producer of the films Good Will Hunting and American Pie, and executive producer of Project Greenlight. Zo says that Chris is a bad motha—shut yo’ mouth!—hey, I’m just talking about Chris Moore, so I naturally had to do a little research on him, myself. The most interesting thing I found in his resume is an upcoming horror movie he directed, Last Resort, which I really hope will be about a masked serial killer who prowls Cabo San Lucas, doing in vacationers with quips such as, “DOOM SERVICE!” But, then, I also thought that Stephen King really missed the mark by not naming his latest book “Hell Phone,” so there you go.
Lindsay’s team is the first to show their short, which is preceded by a rather engaging pitch from Lindsay. It turns out to be quite straightforward, with Santino walking around, waving at the camera, being all wacky with bolts of fabric, and promising that we’ll learn all about him . . . without really letting anything on, specifically. David appears to be falling asleep, and that seems like a good idea to me. Good night.
The judges praise Lindsay’s group’s pitch reel for being mechanically good, but they were looking for the hook . . . “We’re not going to root for clothes,” says Matt. Overall, there was no hint of drama to be found, and it seems that Adam’s worst fears have come true. Schliz tries to make everyone feel better by proclaiming that their team is “a great team,” but David counters that “they’ll be the judge of that.”
Next up is Sharon’s team, who begins the pitch by addressing the other women in the room, uniting them through their collective ownership of uteri and eggs. All the dudes get all uncomfortable, and David probably starts thinking about football revenue as hard as he can. “And for a woman over the age of 35,” continues Gwen, “They say that you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting married.” Jessica concludes that their show will follow the struggle of a successful, 46-year-old, career-driven woman’s mission to beat her biological clock. It’s a pretty gripping pitch, and I like how all of them spoke a little—it gave the appearance of a united team front.
As for the short itself? Real ‘orrorshow. There’s Sharon, talking about her 46-year-old eggiweggs (no, not the ones in the fridge, hyuck-hyuck) and screaming as she’s attacked by Dali’s clock. We learn that Sharon wouldn’t consider artificial insemination, which I think is a good move, as I just had a David Cronenberg movie marathon and know that she could easily end up giving birth to a Scanner, a giant larva, or, worst of all, a stop-motion butterfly baby. The judges seem very impressed on all fronts, but Chris, especially, thinks it’s a huge stretch that Sharon herself is a “celebrity.” He firmly believes that a producer’s role is strictly behind the scenes. Are you listening, Mel Brooks?
Finally, Daniel prepares to pitch his team’s short, which he describes as looking at the life of a soap opera villain off the set and finding that she’s the polar opposite of her character. Unfortunately, he seems to bury himself with that statement, as Michelle says “Sometimes, I’m kind of a bitch” about 2.6 seconds into the short. There are some nice shots that make the day at the doggy spa and trying on Daytime Emmy dresses look almost artistic, but I can’t stop laughing at Zo’s hilariously overdramatic narrations, where he says things like “DIVA DAZE” a la James Earl Jones.
The judges are confused about the focus and point-of-view that the short is trying to portray, and when they ask Zo for his thoughts, he complains about how his ideas were shot down and how much he hated this concept, but he bravely soldiered on. Yep, right down to his “execution-style” camera work. Evie complains right back about his attitude, and Zo says that she’s a “mean human being.” Oh, and Daniel was no bed of roses, either. SO THERE.
After a brief deliberation and, surprisingly, no bloodshed, it’s time for the results. The judges decide that this one comes down to a question of leadership, so everyone who's not Daniel, Sharon, or Lindsay is automatically safe.
The winning reel is considered “creative” and “absolutely marketable,” and the winner is . . . Sharon! Well, it just goes to show that a bowl of eggs can be useful even when Easter is long over.
Daniel’s project was well-executed, but lacked a clear vision and storyline. Lindsay gave a good verbal pitch, but the reel didn’t back it up. Thus, the judges determine that it’s a wrap for . . . Lindsay. Well, it just goes to show that a bowl of eggs is more useful than Rasputin’s stunt double.
So, dear friends, we find ourselves one week closer to finding out the identity of America’s Next Producer, who will be locked away in the shadows forever if Chris Moore has anything to say about it. But many questions remain unanswered . . . where will Sharon’s victory lead her next? Will Daniel survive the vengeance of Zo? Will the judges’ facial expressions continue to be 30% more smarmy than previously considered humanly possible? And what about those football players that were on last week’s “next week” segment? I’m afraid we’ll have to wait, and I have to leave you at once! I just saw on the marquee that there’s totally a rerun of The Jackyl on Channel 38.