Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fox Picks up Pilot for Fall Season

Breaking news, people. Fox has picked up a riveting new pilot for the fall TV season. It is being described as a "hilarious romp" and "truly unbelievable." Fox has plans to put the new show, tentatively titled My Way or the Highway, on after American Idol to give it the best shot at winning the ratings war. The show is shot single camera and follows a professional sports executive on his madcap adventures through the playoffs. This man, named "Stu Jackdaughter" must discipline athletes and serve as the lackey to a tyrannical, micro-managing boss. And if that isn't enough, he has to deal with all of the eye-rolling drama of the typical sitcom family! Not since Everybody Loves Raymond have we seen a character deal with such hilarity! "Stu" has been described in early reviews as a "bit wishy-washy" and a "failed general manager," but on the other hand, critics marvel at his "use of legal jargon" and "strong narration." Could this be the next great TV character? Stay tuned.

The best news of all is that nobody has to wait until September to get a taste of the new show. A few pages of the pilot script have been leaked on the Internet:

INT. LEAGUE OFFICES - MANHATTAN - AFTERNOON

The league commissioner, DANIEL STRICT, sits at his desk, rolling his eyes and looking pedantic. He chuckles and makes scolding, clucking sound with his tongue. There is no one in the room.

A door opens and STU JACKDAUGHTER enters the office, cowering and shaking.

STU (V.O.)
Walking into Strict's office, I could feel my legs about to give way underneath me. He was already rolling his eyes and talking down to me before I even entered the room - like he was practicing. Maybe he just never goes out of character.

STU
Daniel? You wanted to see me?

Strict slams down his hand on the table.

DANIEL
What have I told you, lackey? You can call me Daniel in public, when audio recording devices are around, so as to present an illusion of congeniality. But in the privacy of these offices, you will call me Lord Basketball. Or, if you must, Mr. Strict.
(waving to a dunce's chair)
Now sit down.

Stu scurries over to the chair and sits down, putting on a dunce's cap.

DANIEL
Well, you've done it again, Dunce. You're supposed to be on top of this stuff and now there is a controversy. Why do we even pay you? Now we have this controversy and are headed for another boring Finals. You realize that, don't you?
(sighing)
Well, I don't know what we can possibly do. If it weren't for these ridiculous rules, we might be able to keep Stoudemire and Diaw on the court.

STU (V.O.)
My first thought is, these are your rules, windbag! What are you talking about? However, my second thought is that if I don't agree with Strict, I will be out of a job. And then what will I do? Obviously, I can't run a team. I still have nightmares about being with the Grizzlies. Oh boy.

STU
(to Strict)
Yes, sir. Terrible rule, Lord Basketball. Curse that rule!

Strict shakes his head sadly.

DANIEL
Yes, it is such a shame. But our hands are tied. We must always follow the letter of the law, no matter what. I think someone great once said.

STU (V.O.)
I'm pretty sure it was Hitler who said that. But maybe not.

Strict slams the table again. Then once more, for good measure.

DANIEL
Damn these rules! I wish we could blame Mark Cuban in some way.

Stu chuckles nervously.

DANIEL
Well, lackey, I shall need your official recommendation, so that I might agree or disagree with it. Understand that I won't listen to you. But if I agree with you, then you will have the opportunity to brag that I followed your recommendation. That could be a real career boost for you. People might respect you.

STU (V.O.)
Bastard.

STU
Lord Basketball, my recommendation is that we suspend these players. They broke the law as it is written. They must pay.

STU (V.O.)
Even though I'm still trying to figure out what they did that was so wrong. Or if I could have acted any differently in the same situation. Or if my annoying-yet-sometimes-wise neighbor put any more trash in my recycling bin this morning.

DANIEL
Good, good. Any problems we might encounter?

STU
Well, no one will like the ruling. Especially not the fans.

Strict breaks out into a sinister cackle.

DANIEL
Lackey, you are funny. Since when do I care about fans?
(looking suddenly concerned)
Wait, are these fans you speak of in China or Europe? Are they corporate sponsors?

Stu scowls in confusion.

STU
I don't think so.

DANIEL
Then what is there to worry about?

STU
Good point, Lord Basketball. But there are other concerns.

DANIEL
Go on. But make it short and agreeable with my decision.

STU (V.O.)
Man, I hate this guy. I wonder if Dan Patrick hates him as much as I do. Maybe we'll find out tomorrow.

STU
Well, it might not be a very fair decision. I mean, it was a San Antonio player that initiated everything and neither of these Suns players actually made contact with any Spurs players. They didn't really do anything. It is going to be hard to justify a suspension.

DANIEL
Nonsense. Just use some legal jargon. Say things like "bright line" and "strict liability." People who watch basketball are stupid, just like Amare Stoudemire. They will believe what you tell them. Be confident and condescending and talk in circles and eventually they will believe you.

STU
But there are some tricky things here. It might be hard to call it a bright line rule because of, you know, that other situation.

Strict leans forward in his massive chair, anger glinting in his eyes.

DANIEL
What other situation?

STU (V.O.)
Duncan and Bowen getting off the bench earlier in the game. Steve Kerr pointed it out in his column and the story is picking up steam.

DANIEL
Steve Kerr is a part-owner of the Suns and played college basketball in Arizona. Of course he would say something like that. It is just like him.

STU
Umm. Kerr also won a title with the Spurs, played for Popovich, and was a teammates of many of these players, including Duncan. He is pretty respected and might have a point.

DANIEL
Great. Thanks to tough guy Joey Crawford, I have to be very careful with Tim Duncan. No, no, I can't suspend him. Just make a semantic point why this is different.

STU
I guess I could say that Duncan and Bowen were still in the vicinity of the bench. Either that or that there was no altercation play when Elson and Jones were tangled up.

DANIEL
There you go.

STU
But that might make us look very bad. After all, there was no more of an altercation happening at the moment when Stoudemire and Diaw left the bench either. The situation was pretty similar, Lord Basketball. And the vicinity thing might look bad. If we say that five feet is still in the vicinity but 20 feet is not, aren't we getting away from it being a bright line rule?

DANIEL
Just use the legal jargon, lackey. It will confuse the unwashed masses.

STU (V.O.)
Okay. So he's not the least bit concerned that our bright line rule is only being applied to one case and not the other. Nor is he worried that this supposed bright line rule hinges entirely on out definitions of "vicinity" and "altercation." Oh man, I am going to look so stupid. People are going to hate me. And not just Grizzlies fans with long memories. Oh boy.

DANIEL
Problem?

STU (V.O.)
I need this job. I need this job. I need this job. I need this job ...

Stu grimaces and sits upright.

STU
There is no problem, Lord Basketball. I was just thinking of a comical moment at home with my zany family members, some overcooked meatloaf, and a few pop culture references.
(his face hardening with resolve)
No, no, you are right. We have been subjected to this rigid rule and now must adhere to it to the letter of the law, no matter the inequity it causes or the perverse incentives it creates. I will trick the media, players, and fans alike by using legal jargon, at your suggestion. It won't be easy, but I will do it. I will fall on the sword.

DANIEL
Good, then you won't be fired. Now go suspend these thugs.

Stu lets out a breath and scurries from the office.

Strict leans back in his chair and shakes his head.

DANIEL
It's really too bad we are stuck with this rule ...

(END)

3 comments:

Keller said...

High comedy. Thanks for the shout out on the newest post.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious, I have to say.

jk-1 said...

You forgot the part about claiming there is a bright-line rule using definitions of words that are subject to intepretation because they're not defined.