Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: In the Place Where There is No Darkness, There is Our Sitcom.

Sunday Night, 7.1.2007, circa 11:30 p.m.:
Me: "I need to think of an idea for my Sunday Top Ten."
Carly: "Oh, you mean your Thursday Top Eight? Your Tuesday Top Six?"

This's a dispatch from Carly & Riese's Gay Sitcom Write-a-Thon 2K7, which's been, thus far, Extremely Successful. [Aside from a brief break on Saturday night to drink and another on Sunday night to watch the Big Gay Cruise Movie with Haviland, Heather, Lainy, Jen, Craig, Janet, Layla, etc., which was actually worth it for it warmed our hearts down to their very embers. Carly's not going on the cruise, but she was a sport.]

In order to conceptualize, develop and actually write an entire sitcom in about five days, I've had to commit my mind almost entirely to this task. Therefore, I'm unable to think of anything for the Sunday Top Ten that's not at least tangentially related to our sitcom. I could do "Top 10 Reasons We're The Awesomest Sitcom-Creators Of All Time," but I don't want anyone to feel intimidated, especially you, Ilene Chaiken. Because we're going to eat your breast cancer for breakfast, and wash it down with a long tall glass of ovulation, smear it in a warm bath of BETTY--and we're gonna do all that with all our clothes ON.

Also Ilene, if you were about to pick up the phone to call and hire me, don't let the above paragraph change your mind. I'd like to remind you that there's a thin line between love and hate, and that it helps to have writers on your team who don't just sit around and validate your retarded ideas all day. You've hired plenty of amazing writers, e.g., A.M. Homes and Angela Robinson, who probs also questioned some of your "choices," so why not hire me? I'm not even amazing, so you could boss me around if you want to. I like being bossed around sometimes. Except today, when I've dispatched a great deal of the research duties on this particular Top 10 to my unpaid intern. She just sent me an email that included bullet points! Go Carlytron!

But the First Rule of Best Lesbianish Sitcom Ever Club is "NO Opinions Allowed: Except from Marie and Carly." So I can't say what it is about, really, because we can't handle opinions right now. But the first thing we did was make a list of all the things that we were not going to have in our teevee show.


10. No Death
See: Dana Fairbanks Obvs on The L Word, Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vic and the Random Gay-Bashed Boy on Queer as Folk, Doug on Workout, Sandy on ER, most lesbians in Law and Order/CSI/etc [after murdering someone clearly]. Also Jen died on Dawson's Creek and she wasn't gay but she was a total fag hag and when she had her final convo with Jack [gay!] ... Krista and I were crying like, a lot. Although we also cried all the way through Closer, and in the final musical performance at the school scene in Uptown Girls. And during our third, fourth and fifth viewings of that musical section I just mentioned from Uptown Girls.

We've got a notes sheet where we write down all of our tangential glimmers of brilliance. At the top, it reads: ALL OUR CHARACTERS HAVE BEEN GRANTED ETERNAL LIFE. Like Gilgamesh!

9. Specifically, no Breast Cancer

See: Dana Fairbanks, obvs.
This rule's 'cause of Dana Fairbanks. Moreso, it's because of Ilene Chaiken, who lives in a deluded fantasy world of her own creation in which the only way to "tell the story" of breast cancer [She "needed" to tell this story, p.s., like maybe it came to her in a dream or something? Who knows whatevs, she's clearly completely out of her mind.] was to kill Dana. She's probably already stewing up how to sacrifice Alice to Al Queda or something. [Note to google spies: I know I've just used Al Queda and lesbian and AIDS in the same blog entry, but I swear I'm way too busy to be a terrorist. I'm writing a sitcom, obvs! That's like, the opposite of terrorism, because it lulls the people into robotic complacency. Especially a gay sitcom, because the gays are particularly pissed for obvious reasons.]

8. No Pregnancy, Babies, or discussions of Fertility and/or Ovaries.

See: Carol & Susan on Friends, Mel & Lindsay in Queer as Folk, Bette & Tina in The L Word, Keith & David on Six Feet Under

Why? Because if I wanted to talk about my ovaries or about babies, I would have a baby. If I wanted to talk about building healthy and stable partnerships in order to best enrich the upbringing of another human person, I'd stop being a baby. But Angelica in The L Word: adorable ... though the lesbian-with-a-baby storyline is really lame, especially when partnered with a lesbian-bed-death storyline. What came first, though, the chicken or the egg? You know?

7. No Ridiculous Bisexual Females
[Vacillating between women and men, partying like there's no tomorrow, killing people, being manipulative/insane, constantly tempted to return to heterosexuality for All the Wrong Reasons, just experimenting with a friend but really likes cock, etc.]

See: Jenny, Alice, Dylan and Tina in The L Word, Marissa on The O.C., Sarah on America's Next Top Model, Genesis, Bree, and Ruthie on The Real World, Paige on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Julia on Dirt, whatever's happening with that Aidan-Spashley love triangle on South of Nowhere, etc.

Where do I begin on this topic? Really, where? Do I begin with The Real World, L.A Law, Ally McBeal ... movies like Personal Best and Wild Things? Though homosexuals and queers of all variations've been notoriously underrepresented on television for centuries, the Sweeps Lesbian -- TV terminology for that girl who goes gay for ratings, then returns to the men America's wanted her to fuck all this time -- remains a popular staple. I've got this really revolutionary idea: what if bisexual women were just women who were sometimes attracted to women, and sometimes to men? Wouldn't that be weird?

6. No Coming Out Stories

See: Jack on Dawson's Creek, Justin on Queer as Folk, Spencer on South of Nowhere, Dana & Jenny & Phyllis on The L Word, Ellen on Ellen, Marco on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Jessie on Once and Again, David on Six Feet Under, etc.

There's nothing wrong with coming out stories, they've just been done. And done. Much like real life, in which people come out, I guess. I don't really know because I've never "come out" to anyone. Why? Because I'm one of those annoying bisexuals mentioned in "7" who take the easy way out, and just write blogs about their primarily lesbian lifestyles and figure if anyone really wants to know, they can just read it. Or you can put it on your myspace profile or whathaveyou. For example on how well this works, see below:
"Mom also gave me an update about your life, but I found that my friend Nick gave me a way better update a week or two ago. Which is you know, funny, how a complete stranger yet loyal reader gets the dirt weeks before our Mom. Anyway I played along, Oh wow, she's in a relationship? With a girl? Wahhhht!"

-My brother Lewis, email to me, 4.11.2007

Like when Lewis came to visit in November and I was seeing/special-friending Steph and we all went out together and she consequently spent the night, it did occur to me I'd never "come out" to him but I was like, whatever, he reads my blog. Anyhow: I know what it's all about, coming out. My Mom came out to me once! So did a girl from high school when we were both on the elliptical trainers at the Upper West Side New York Sports Club. A girl from middle school, on her behalf and also another one of our best friends. And so on.

5. No AIDS
See: Pedro in The Real World: San Francisco. Ben, Vic and Hunter in Queer as Folk, Doug on Workout.

The thing about AIDS is: it's really depressing. If you've ever befriended a forty or fifty-something gay male in NYC, you've likely heard a variation on this story: "I use to have a lover. He had AIDS. We had an apartment in the meatpacking district before it was trendy. Then my lover died of AIDS. I used to have all these friends. They died of AIDS. Now I live alone. I don't have AIDS but I have a rent-controlled apartment. Also, everyone I know is dead. From AIDS." That is heavy shit and this is a sitcom. We want people to laugh. I mean, everyone loves a good tearjerker. If you are one of those people, go rent Philadelphia. Actually, if you wanna cry like A LOT? Rent It's My Party.

4. No Ridiculous Fashions

See: Everyone on The L Word, Samantha on Sex and the City [I'm including her moreso for her fagginess, and I mean that in the best possible way, than for her brief flirtation with lesbianism].

I just don't understand why you'd dress your characters in ugly clothes when you could dress them in cute clothes. I mean, you have a choice, and you choose incorrectly. Why?

3. No meditation, or references to drum circles, serious relationships to yoga, chakras, sun gods/goddesses
See: We don't know if this's been anywhere but The L Word. But in real life, lesbians dig this shit.

Um, it's just boring. Also, people who aren't into it (like, clearly, us), are really skeptical and semi-caustic about their disbelief. Probs I'm just jealous that you have like, a goddess to bless your chakra and unify your holy spirit or whatevs, and I'm just like "What's up. My mind is racing right now and it won't stop. Try to quiet the waves of my overactive brain. I need a drink." Mostly, we're bothered that Bette's entire meditation-hoo-ha storyline was not only completely out of character ["Of course. it's a technique of self-help people like him. You spout enough pre-packaged wisdom, there's bound to be something for everybody. you know, i find something for me in the Vogue horoscope, too, that doesn't mean it's not bullshit." -Bette, to Kit, Re: TOE, Season Two] and boring, but was crafted specifically to hide Jennifer Beals' pregnancy and for no other reason. Isn't that dumb? Couldn't they just give her weird outfits like they did to SJP? Oh wait--they did.

2. No Terrible Theme Songs, Specifically no BETTY.
See: "The Way That We Live," The L Word, "Spunk," Queer As Folk, "Things Just Keep Getting Better," Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

I mean seriously. I may have mentioned this before, but I believe the following things could create a better theme song than 'The Way That We Live": the sound of iced tea being stirred, an angry kitten, your mom, my ass, Milli Vanilli, a 6th grade recorder student group, a beached whale, a non-beached whale, the sound of Shane banging her head against the wall, the sound of people fucking, the sound of people crying, Rock-a-Pella, that guy who sang Ricky Martin on The American Idol Show, me.

1. Sex and Partial Nudity Whenever Possible
See: Nothin', Til Now.
Why? Because sex is hot. And also, kinda funny. Like, much much funnier than dying or chakras. People're naked and rolling around sticking their fingers and tongues in each other. That's really funny. And what's amazing about it is that we humans've managed to transform it into something that sucks genuine out of ridiculous and then wears it like happiness ... which's why it's fun to have on the teevee. Every now and then, e.g., when appropriate. Like don't cut away just when things get good. Pump up some Shiny Toy Guns and get it on. Or if you're just chillin' in your room, what's with all the clothing? Fashion show? Because we're not gonna have violence, you know? Just love. Because that's the L Word, weirdos. Like, for your friends, mostly [because I get by with a little help from my friends], but for your family too and for life itself, and then for the stories we tell about it. The End.

Ha. Obvs it's late and my brain has dissolved completely and is no longer responsible for it's contents.


Bourbon said...

Sounds like a soft porn/sitcom hybrid. I'm in, already addicted, for real.

DH said...

I'm all for #2.

I like the L Word, but only in theory, because I've never watched an episode. I tried to, once, but I turned it off as soon as I heard that horrible theme song. I never gave it another chance after that.

Then, my friends kept going on about how great it was. How I just HAD to watch it. It was all they talked about. Succumbing to peer-pressure; I googled, found Auto-straddle, and just read your recaps instead. It gave me enough info to be able to keep up with all the conversations.

So in the end, it worked out well. I got to enjoy the show without ever hearing Betty again. And I found this blog. And here I am. I'm sure this new project will be awesome.

Anonymous said...

This is perfect. My tivo is already set up to record anything thematically classified as comedic pornography which, based on the limited insight we’ve been provided on your project, should surely suffice. Not since the unveiling of the Frosty Float have I been so insatiably excited about a single piece of commercial genius. If you could further guarantee that the composer(s) of your not-terrible theme song would, under no circumstances, be subcontracted as writers OR actors, then you could potentially have your first official viewer.

And to clarify, that first viewer would be my assistant who screens all television programming deemed “high potential” and reports back to me, and who I love potentially more than life itself. And possibly more than tivo......just kidding, I love tivo way more.

Anonymous said...

honestly, crystal, auto-straddle IS all you need to keep up with your friends...and you can use riese's jokes and they'll assume you're REALLY into the show, when in fact, you're just REALLY into auto-straddling.

i'm excited, kiddo. keep going! can't wait to read it this weekend on the deck, bikini-clad, large sunglasses, tres nicole richie. :)

p.s. word ver: ileukn (kinda like ilene chaiken? coincidence?)

Anonymous said...

I love this blog entry. Cause I love lesbians. And TV!

And guess what? Cruise time in 4 DAYS! Wee!

I think the luggage-checkers on the Norwegian Dawn should keep count of how many dildos/strap-ons they find in all the lesbian luggage... Do lezzie lesbians HAVE luggage? Or do they carry everything in their fanny packs/pockets of their cargo pants? Hmm...

goneundercover said...

the rules are terrific! i would watch tv if these were standard

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an ace TV programme, do you know what you are going to call it yet?

I'm so glad you said 'no pregnancies', babies seem to ruin all TV programs. Apart from the baby in Party of Five (Owen was it?). Cos he went through a stage of only eating white food, and watching Claudia trying to feed him was hilarious!

Also, the massive Paige nipple was a good indicator to my boss that I wasn't doing any work! Not only that, but he must think I'm "that" desperate that I look at porn at work. Oh dear!

Will you recap your own tv episodes? Because I can imagine that would also be pretty funny.

Lainyrae, you have opened my eyes to a whole new world of possible lezzie cargo pocket packing. Try and say that quickly!

riese said...

razia: Awesome. I'm already addicted to our ideas. And to the idea of a network actually letting us air a shitload of lesbian sex. Really though it'll all be in the DVD extras.

Crystal: We like it a lot better in theory too. And I love that you've used AS to keep up with TLW in conversation.

m: That line about the Frosty Float is amazing. We're quoting you on all promotional materials. Also, I love the idea of an assistant who functions like the tasters did for Kings, like back in the old school, to protect the Kings from poison.

Haviland: I'm gonna trademark 'auto-straddle,' as a sexual move and then sell it on the internet. You in? Can't wait for that whole bikini/deck/tanning/looking totally mag-worthy thing. Since we worship our own images and everything. It's tiring, really.

lainyrae: Yeah, Hav and I joked about that last year. For whatever reason. Aw, like Alice and Dana in the airport baggage claim thing.

steph: It's gonna be even better than Dr. Phil.

riese said...

Laura: Yeah, I wondered like, will this website become NSFW? Then I realized that would've happened a long time ago, like when I did L Word recaps.

I feel like Owen was kinda funny looking, no?

Clearly we'll recap our own episodes. We're actually doing it right now. As we speak. As I should be writing it.

AK said...

Absolutely, agree with all the don'ts. And would especially love to see an honest bisexual. In fact I think there should be lots of them. No tokenism here. I'm glad you didn't say no politics. You could have some really off the wall politics.Every character could have some kind of political subtext which would express itself in different fashions and transportation modes and sexual proclivities. And you didn't say no musical numbers either or rule out surreal dream sequences, despite our beloved Jennie Schecter. Nor did you rule out psychological drama and personal dilemmas or quandries. So I think you have a fine pallete here for your porn sitcom. Go ahead make it all fit on a cruise ship.

frank said...

a sitcom with lesbian sex? count me in. also, cast me as the guy who gets to have two of the girls at once as a birthday present.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I so needed that laugh! Thank you!
Weren't the first couple of seasons of QAF kinda soft porn? I remember a lot of opening and closing scenes...
Anyway I'm in of course, just make sure it's available on dvd as soon as possible!
Surely you will meet someone on the cruise that has some useful contacts eg Sichel sisters, Jamie Babbit.. or just money and is in need of some cool friends and a fabulous investment idea...

The Brooklyn Boy said...

This list was amazing. I almost choked from laughing at No. 2 (Theme songs). Agreed on No. 1.

Your blog amuses me greatly. Also, I love that you watch the-N. Beyond the Break might be the biggest guilty pleasure of my life.

... if it weren't for Instant Star.

Anonymous said...

i'm on board. i hold tight to my veiwing convistions too...haven't even turned my back on the l word-even though it includes your top ten.

so it's pretty much garunteed that i'll be a veiwer for life. spin-offs and all.even if you decided to do a direct rip off of the l word in the form of a pantomime i'd be tuned in.

case in point: i bought a season of lois & clark the new adventures of superman the other day that i'd never seen because it was my favourite show in 1995.

also: i went back to carlytron's intern application. I wouldn't be adverse to some babysitters club reflection...

Anonymous said...

convistions = convictions

ANI said...

I think Six Feet Under could also count under #3, as I believe Ruth Fisher's sister was sometime bi. I might be wrong, but And Six Feet Under transgressed in many of these Top 10 anyway.

I would watch this as long as it was an HBO/SHO sitcom, you know? None of that network bullshit. But then again, #1 is only allowed on cable...

Mercury said...

Haha, I love you/your lists/the way you make fun of this show/etc/etc. definitely LOLed all the way through this one. obvs I completely agree on all of your list items. YOU should write The L Word. Well. you're writing something that's totes going to be better, I'm sure. So yeah. I'm done now.

MoonKiller said...

I also cried all the way through Closer. The Blowers Daughter at the beginning just set me off on one.

I read number one to my friend James.

James says: I hate it when they do that, it's like clothes start to come off and just as I get my hand in my pants it's onto some random conversation about whether or not to get organic milk in a fucking supermarket.

That must be said in a camp pissed off tone.

Re: Remember Rhibo comment - thank you. = ]. I do tend to write my best blog entries semi drunk in the middle of the night.

riese said...

First off: it's awesome to read these comments out loud as we write. It's like, fuel for our little lesbionic fires.

ak: Absolutely x 1,0000. It doesn't seem like it'd be that hard to do, yet I find myself congratulating relatively accurate portrayals like Alex on "The O.C," and even that ended in her rounding her thugs up to go confront Marissa who might be cheating on her with Ryan. Now that I think about it, why do I applaud that? Oh yeah, because their breakup convo didn't involve anything relating to gender. It was just like about them as people. Still, that's pretty f'in pathetic. I feel pathetic, writing this. We'll clearly be sans Jenny-esque dream sequences, and hopefully will integrate politics in a way that's accurate and relevant, rather than forced and dogmatic. I'm hoping it'll be fit for your eyes as well as for a ship ... ooo ... we should have an episode on an rfamily cruise!

lozo: Lozo, Lozo, Lozo.

abby: Yeah, QAF did have a lot of sex. Brian and Justin ... hot. I mean, I clearly hearted Brian Kinney a lot, though being his girlfriend would be hell. I just wanted to be his boyfriend. Obviously I'll be networking the hell out of that ship. Luckily there'll be a lot of drinking on board.

brooklyn boy: I haven't seen that Instant Star or Beyond the Break, actually ... but I heart The N. I actually haven't watched much teevee at all over the past four months or so, but I used to watch The N specifically for it's pre-teen shows that had lesbian storylines. Yeah, really, if there are lesbians in something I'll usually watch it. Unless it also involves outer space or superpowers or supernatural hoo-ha, then I'm not as interested. Oh, re-runs of Dawson's Creek. Glad to provide the laughs, obvs.

kate: even if you decided to do a direct rip off of the l word in the form of a pantomime i'd be tuned in. Amazing. What if we really did that? I really wouldn't put it past us. Lois & Clark was my favorite show too, my Mom and I watched it every Sunday night. I remember I used her crush on Dean Cain as evidence in my mind against the theory that she was possibly a lesbian (before she came out). That clearly was not good evidence. He wore tights. As per carly's intern application ... re: BSC ... also wouldn't put it past us.

ani: Yeah, Six Feet Under could've been in a lot of them, ... but I never wanted to seem like I was taking them to task for what they did with the storyline? Honestly I think that was the best show ever written. Seriously. Alan Ball=genius. I didn't think people could do such amazing things on the teevee anymore. but he did it, and that's fantastic.

Two bisexual storylines from SFU I can think of: 1. Claire and the "art school bi" thing when she tried to date her friend played by that girl from American Beauty, 2. Keith and the starlet he was guarding on tour, kinda? ... and yeah, I think you're right about Ruth's sister but I can't remember.

And yeah, totes we need a SHO/HBO thing ... we're making a few versions.

mercury: I love you/your LOLing/etc. We are going to write a show that you'll want to see so bad that you'll want to watch it on the teevee instead of on DVD. That's going to be the ultimate goal of this show. Not like I want to draw you (or anyone) to the teevee, but just to this show. Then turn it off right away. I'm sure that won't be tough, as most things on the teevee are mind-numbingly excruciatingly terrible/damaging.

moonkiller: Blower's Daughter broke my heart every time ... and man, did I/do I listen to that song. LIke it's the only song ever. I used to listen to it in cabs driving away from wherever I'd just done something dramatic, and feel like sigh oh, so it is. Natalie Portman in the last scene walking through the crowd ... I was like ... that's ME. SO much of her character just encompassed so much about me. I read what your friend James said out loud to Carly. And totes agreed.

And whatever you did with that post, it worked.

Everyone read this post: Remember Rhibo because it's really good.

Annie said...

good news about no Jenny-esque dream sequences but there of course needs to be at least one char who has capitalized "Moments" regularly.

i hope you and your cruise-ing friends (you are so tan you are so tan you are so TAN) are gazing intently at a way-into-it cello (bass?) player RIGHT NOW.

Anonymous said...

I think Ilene Chaiken should consider an L Word musical episode, in a Buffy stylee.

Would you consider writing a musical episode for your sitcom?

Maybe you could get Leisha Hailey to make a guest appearance. Ooh, maybe you could get Claire Danes to make a guest appearance too.

Who knows where these ideas come from Reise, they just appear!

Have a Happy Gay Thursday.

Guls said...

Totally in for this show!!!

Riese, i didn't know where to put this question and i dunno if you visit the forum still. I'm in NY now and was wondering where would be a nice lesbian/gay bar if you know any? I am not sure if I'll be able to go there but anyways just for back-up plans.


riese said...

guls: about to go to bed, cruisin tomorrow but go to Nation tomorrow night (saturday), that's a good gay night, fo' reals. Good music. Or the fictional bar in our sitcom which plays greaaayyyt music.

carlytron said...

yeah i heard that fictional bar has a really awesome DJ. do you know anything about her? i heard she killed a guy once ...