Remember that I Love Lucy episode where she’s working in the chocolate factory with Ethyl….and just when they’re getting the hang of the assembly line, it starts speeding up like crazy and all hell breaks loose? That’s what my life has been like this year, but instead of chocolates, it’s been challenges.
It’s crazy how the things we laugh at in sitcoms are stressful situations that we’d never want in real life. Yet writers are always looking for the rub, the conflict. A good example is that movie “Meet the Fockers”. I felt like I needed to take a Xanax after watching that movie.
I’ve got some good plot ideas mined from my real live life in the past six months. Here’s my pitch:
The main characters are a typical sitcom family, nice couple in their forties, middle class everyday folks with three kids. The husband is a great stable guy, and the wife is this zany writer trying to finish an impossible book, but every time she tries to write, something happens to trip her up.
The season kicks off with their college-age son getting his Japanese girlfriend pregnant. Take “teen pregnancy” add “not an American Citizen” and “no health insurance” to the mix, then let’s say the parents have to throw a wedding together in twenty days, while their daughter is going through a terrible break-up, their four-year-old regresses in his potty training, and top it off with their oldest son getting into a fender bender they have to pay for…hilarity ensues!
Let’s say the main character is estranged from her mother, you know, you gotta have those pesky bad-parent relationships, like in Everyone Loves Raymond. So her mother comes to the son’s wedding and it’s really awkward, because….awkward is funny!
Or how about this one, they rescue a cute little abandoned dog and suddenly, some loony guy pops up who claims to be the previous owner (but has no documentation to prove it- even funnier!), decides to sue them for over $25,000, and they have to pay thousands to defend themselves. Hilarious!
And then, speaking of dogs, cause everyone loves a cute dog in a sitcom, let’s say there’s a kooky neighbor with a violent streak, who has some really aggressive pitbulls with a zany penchant for attacking neighborhood dogs (think the “Bumpus Hounds” from A Christmas Story), and then…you could ramp it up a notch by making the neighbor start attacking too! Restraining orders are just plain hysterical, no matter how you look at it.
And then, right as they’re bringing the new baby home from the hospital and the Mother in Law comes from Japan to live with them for the month, the septic tank explodes, sending sewage everywhere, thousands of flies (ha ha ha ha!) and it costs thousands of dollars to rebuild it, oh– and the four year old gets the stomach flu right in the middle of all that…..ooooh my sides ache from laughing.
On second thought, sitcoms are too freekin’ stressful.
I say we rewrite this as a cheesy Lifetime movie where the bad guys get what they deserve in the end, and the couple lives happily ever after. I don’t care if its unrealistic. People love that shit.