Many people are asking about the reasons for this week’s Hollywood writers strike. An examination of scripts written before it erupted indicates the issues were already on many minds…

Gore and Ordure

VOICEOVER: In the Hollywood entertainment system there are two unequally important groups: the writers, without whom nothing would exist and the performers and producers who RIP THEM OFF AND GET RICH AND FAMOUS FOR DOING PRACTICALLY BUGGER ALL…

These are their stories.

TITLE CARD: 2059th AND 1st, FEBRUARY 29TH

A TRANSVESTITE’S BODY LIES ON THE PAVEMENT. ED AND BRISCOE ARE ON SCENE

DAVE PERFUNCTORY: Working girl street name Rita N TV [“Written TV”, OK, first and last clue]. Been on these streets for about sixty years they say.

ED: Hey man look at these marks-

PERFUNCTORY: Yeah. Cuts. She’s been getting them for a long time

BRISCOE: Any idea who’d want her dead?

PERFUNCTORY: Who wouldn’t? She cost a fortune to maintain, she weren’t nearly as popular as she used to be, but no-one could really imagine the place without her

BRISCOE: How did you know her?

PERFUNCTORY: When she lost her ability to stand on her own two feet she got into kinky stuff. I used to supply her with mouth restraints.

BRISCOE: Yeah well, just remember pal – I make the lame gags round here.

TITLE TWO: GENERIC NON-ACTIONABLE NAME PRODUCTIONS, 33rd and P, December 37th

PRODUCER (STUFFING MONEY INTO HUGE BAG): Yeah I knew Rita. Nice… whatever. I could get maybe ten, twenty million an hour from that… whatever

ED: You talk like a two bit pimp rather than a TV producer

PRODUCER: Yeah I’m trying to improve my social standing. Listen it’s not me you want to talk to – I been helping Rita out for years even when no-one much wanted her. All they wanted was reality

BRISCOE: From TV?

EXEC: This is America. Where else are they going to get it? Talk to the audience.

ED: Where do they live?

PRODUCER: Christ knows. Excuse me I gotta go in order to end this expository scene.

TITLE THREE: THE AUDIENCE RESIDENCE, SUBURBAN HEIGHTS, JUNETEENTH

A PLEASANT MIDDLE CLASS HOME. MRS AUDIENCE IS SERVING COFFEE.

MRS AUDIENCE: A scene-setting line, Detective Briscoe? With biscuits?

BRISCOE: Sorry my partner’s just about to interrup-

ED: Hey Lenny. Look at these tapes – Sopranos, Six Feet Under etc DVDs. These were all Rita’s!

BRISCOE: You sick pervert. You robbed her and killed her.

ED: And feel the TV. It’s cold.

BRISCOE: That’s treason Audience.

MR AUDIENCE: No! We can explain. All they played was crap. We wanted more so we watched DVDs. We knew she’d lose from it. But it wasn’t our fault. Why don’t you talk to the TV Network executives!

BRISCOE: The question is the answer.

TITLE FOUR: CHANNEL 5A, DEATHSTAR, 68,304 (Mayan calendar).

EXECUTIVE (STUFFING BAGS OF MONEY INTO BIGGER BAGS): Alright so I killed a few writers. Is that a crime? It is? Who knew? Listen these guys were always whining – they earnt millions. Now they strike! Fantastic! Cue Bachelor Survivor Partner Swap VII.

BRISCOE: Some of them yeah. Most were on an average middle-class wage when you factor in non-working periods. They were desperate. You coulda struck a deal and still made a fortune. That would have been fair.

EXECUTIVE: Fair, hmmmm. Remind me to look that up when I learn to read. Don’t you get it. They faked their own deaths!

BRISCOE: Surely they’re not that narcissistically unbalanced.

EXEC: Excuse me – have you see Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip?

TITLE FIVE: 12,907 CAR INSURANCE ADS

TITLE SIX: OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY

JACK MCCOY: Well that wraps that up

BRISCOE: What happened?

JACK: I don’t know. Channel Ten cut half the scenes. But anyway writers, you’re free to go. You can do whatever you choose. One day you might win and get everything you want.

WRITERS (COUNTING LOOSE CHANGE OUT OF SOCK): Yeah… that’d be just our luck. (EXIT)

THEME MUSIC SWELLS

BRISCOE: Imagine TV drama without writers

JACK: Yeah I wonder what that would be like?

VOICEOVER: Stay tuned for Sea Patrol!

Peter Fray

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