Transcript of a pitch meeting.

Image credit: BBC TV

So there’s this limey show, right? About a detective. Some sort of book, like a million years ago, guy in a funny hat. Anyway, the Brits bring the guy up-to-date, get some actors, the show’s a big hit. Huge.

So we’re gonna do a US version. Without all the limey talk. Cause who understands half of what those people are saying anyway?

We need a hot lead. Not too old, not too young, so we can hit all the key demographics. Someone famous, but not locked into a single role. Maybe Brad, maybe Tom. Not George; he’s too associated with tequila nowadays. Although maybe we could make this Sherlock guy an alcoholic?

Anyway, we get the coat thing. Super important. Great coat! Kinda like Columbo but more snazzy, sharp, hip. Relatable.

For the sidekick we need light relief. This is gonna be a great double-act, like Stan an’ Ollie, Batman and Robin, Oscar ‘n Wild, whoever they were. I’ve got this great idea: the clumsy doctor! Like, he’s always tripping over things, breaking stuff. Hilarious, right? But — and here’s the really great part — he’s also an ex-Navy SEAL. So when he’s not stumbling around, cause maybe he’s the alcoholic, see if we can work in the tequila angle here, maybe get some placement, he’s got this shitload of weapons.

So just when things look bleak for ol’ Sherlock, in comes Doctor fuck-em-all blasting away with like a 50-cal or maybe a grenade launcher. That way we appeal to ex-military, millions of fat old white guys on the sofa, and maybe even some of the 40-plus female demographic too. You know, those big-boned chicks who like sitting on the sofa greasing up their pump-action Remington 870s.

That whole Brit bromance is-he-isn’t-he ain’t gonna play. Nope. We need straight heroes. So we get the Molly character, change her name, maybe Darlene Powerful or something contemporary like that, and she ‘n Sherlock have this thing for each other, it’s in every glance, but they’re both committed to their jobs so they never act on it. But, and here’s the really great smart play, every episode it looks like they just might maybe do something about all that sexual tension. So the audience is like, will they, won’t they? Great human interest angle, unrequited love and all that horseshit. Totally relatable.

Now here’s the problem: in the Brit version this Sherlock guy is smart. Like nearly a genius or whatever, only he doesn’t look like Einstein so personally I’m not getting it. Anyhow, that’s a real downer. We don’t want smart. Cause you know, our target demographics are all people who pretty much struggle to fasten their velcro shoelaces. Not the sharpest knives in the drawer, if you know what I mean. And how could they be, when all their lives they’ve been watching the endless shit we churn out for them to gawp at?

So we can’t have the guy in the coat solving crimes because he’s smarter than everybody else. That would totally suck. So here’s the angle: he’s got a cat. And the cat helps solve crimes. Like, each week about five minutes from the end, this Sherlock guy is like totally stumped. Hasn’t a clue. And then the cat drags in the crucial piece of evidence and lays it at his feet. At first, natch, Sher just stares at it and starts to chew out the cat for making a mess but then, tarara! He realizes it’s the missing clue and so he solves the case.

This will totally appeal to maybe three different demographics. Sure, dogs score higher for overall human interest but cats top the scale for cuteness factor. Plus, no one’s gonna notice if we have to replace the cat mid-shoot. They’re like totally disposable ’cause they got no personality. Kinda like scriptwriters.

The limey version is set in like London, which is a total downer and obviously not relatable. Sure, we could place the action in New York or Chicago or maybe even Seattle but, let’s face it, they all suck big time too. So we’re thinking Venice Beach. I mean, it’s been like a gazillion years since Baywatch and we know guys over forty are all drooling lard-asses super eager to watch a show where they can see slender sexy female extras walking around in the background wearing as little as we can get away with. But like for only a few seconds here ‘n there ’cause we don’t wanna blow it with our female demographics. Who all weigh like three hundred pounds ’cause they live on Tootsie Rolls, am I right?

OK, now let’s get to our token minorities. We get some Asian woman to play a police detective, she’s always bringing Sher cases she can’t solve. Maybe like she’s also got the hots for Sher so there’s this dynamic between her and the Darlene Powerful chick, kinda envy plus competition. And maybe we can hint, I mean like just a teeny-tiny hint, that maybe these two gals also kinda check each other out for more than just competitive reasons. But we gotta be real subtle about that ’cause if it’s too overt it will totally bomb with our Midwest and Bible Belt demographics. I mean, those guys are repressed up the wazoo. Baby Jesus don’t approve of girl-girl action. God knows why.

Oh, and Asian Detective chick has no home life. I mean, like zero. All she gets is a daily call from her mom asking if she’s met someone, time’s passing, those ovaries won’t stay young forever, is she practicing making dumplings so she can keep a man satisfied in the kitchen when she finally lands one, all that kinda stuff. You know, classic Tiger Mom screwing her daughter’s life big time. That way our key Midwest demographics won’t feel bad about the fact their own kids can’t read when they stumble out of High School and go work in Booger King to earn enough money to buy their own crystal meth for a change.

And yeah, we need a black guy. If we can do a black sexually ambivalent character we can score multiple demographics for the cost of one actor and especially if it’s a nobody we can just pay at rate. Can’t be an important character ’cause that would screw us in the South. Maybe the guy delivers pizza to Sher and the SEAL doctor, like a one-minute appearance on every show. Just enough to show we care, we’re sensitive, we’re inclusive, but not enough to pull in too many complaints. Maybe we can work in a joke about topping or something. And anyhow, if we know where the syndication goes we can maybe just edit out pizza guy before it goes out on Southern cable channels.

So that’s it. Wadda ya think? I tell ya, it’s got all the makings of another great American entertainment. The schmucks out in TV Land are gonna eat it up.

Trust me. The formula never fails.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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