Last night I let my guard down for a single instant and, before I knew what was happening, all hell had broken loose.
The wife had gotten hold of the remote…
Before I could leap upon her and wrest it forcibly from her grasp she had hit the button for the soap channel, and all that I could do was collapse back horrified into my seat and reach out a feeble hand for the single-malt.
First came Glee.
Then came Desperate Housewives.
And then Ugly Betty.
There were probably a few more after that, but the single-malt had made it difficult to concentrate on the TV by then, so I crept off to bed with a final burp (defiant to the end) and my tail between my legs.
But, with the benefit of hindsight, I must admit that it was an educational evening from a writer’s point of view. I’m convinced that those few hours of concentrated saccharin taught me the formula for creating smash-hit soaps, so this morning, with my eyeballs feeling as if they’d been removed and rolled in breadcrumbs, I jotted down a few failsafe pointers, which I am happy to share with any potential scriptwriters who may be out there.
Formula for a Successful Soap Opera:
Pointer #1: All schools must have one bitch teacher.
Pointer #2: School principals must be ineffectual clowns.
Pointer #3: Only nerds must be allowed to sing well.
Pointer #4: Males with a talent for sport must not have an IQ exceeding 50.
Pointer #5: White girls must wear skirts. Minorities must wear jeans.
Pointer #6: Plump black girls must have bad attitudes.
Pointer #7: Men must not suspect women of ulterior motives, even when skullduggery is as clear as the noses on their faces.
Pointer #8: Thou shalt break every one of the Ten Commandments in each episode (especially the ones about coveting another man’s wife and loving thy neighbor.)
Pointer #9: Blonds must wear cheerleader outfits 24/7.
Pointer #10: 50% of households must have one member who is not pregnant but pretends to be.
Pointer #11: 50% of households must have one member who is pregnant but pretends not to be.
Pointer #12: The comic relief character must walk like Eminem.
Pointer #13: American Hispanics must be more Hispanic than Hispanic Hispanics.
Pointer #14: All female characters under the age of 18 must say “Ewyuuu” at least three times per episode.
Pointer #15: There must be at least one girly teenage boy.
Pointer #16: The toughest-looking male character must be the gentlest and kindest character.
Pointer #17: All fashion and accessories worn must be beyond the financial reach of Bill Gates.
Pointer #18: There must be one character who dresses, walks and talks like a gang leader.
Pointer #19: Women must always get what they want.
Pointer #20: Old people must be miserable and must not be allowed to smile under any circumstances.
Pointer #21: Younger brothers must be really annoying wusses who think they are stand-up comedians.
Pointer #22: Men must be portrayed as a guileless sub-species.
And there you have it. Anyone who is able to come up with a script that includes all of the above elements is guaranteed to be courted by all of the major channels; offering, as is their wont, anything unto half of their kingdoms. And no, I won’t be asking for a cut. This is a public service blog maintained in the spirit of philanthropy.
Although a mention in the credits would be nice…