City Paper is not for tourists
Last Friday the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies pointed to a story in Variety that says a sitcom about an alt-weekly is in the early production stages. The show, says the report, will be “set in the office of a dishy alternative weekly publication and blog.”
Awesome! Or not. Truth is, the offices of alternative weeklies, dishy or no, are fairly dull places. I’ve worked in three of them, and nearly every internal conversation is some variation of this exchange:
Staffer One: Copy’s got problems.
Staffer Two: Fuck.
But I suspect I know how this new show, tentatively titled “The Weekly,” is gonna go—-I’ve seen plenty of portrayals of journalists on TV after all. (That microscopic rating for Oliver Platt‘s Deadline? That was me.) Don’t think what follows is funny? Fine; the show is being produced by a co-creator of The King of Queens, so I’m just being spot-on.
[Opening credits and music. Death Cab for Cutie, maybe. Or Coldplay. Whatever’s cheaper.]
Staffer One: [sitting at computer with a Juno poster]: Holy crap! There’s an article on [gossip site affiliated with network running the show] that says [underperforming artist on record label affiliated with network] might be staying with his girlfriend at a downtown hotel!
Staffer Two: Didn’t he just break up with [something that rhymes with “Amy Winehouse”]?
Editor: Sure did! This is big! Becky, get right on it for our blog, the Edge! This is a big, big story!
Staffer Three: And it’s gotta be fast! The daily paper is gonna have somebody on this for sure! We’ve gotta compete because it’s a tough time for newspapers like ours—-last year our revenues dropped by [depressingly sizable percentage]!
Staffer Three: Boss, Becky’s story is in.
Staffer Three: It’s got problems.
Editor [at bar with colleagues]: Well, I’m glad we got that big story! We even got a mention on [nightly news broadcast operated by the network]! But no more sleeping with sources, Becky! That’s almost a firing offense!
Becky: Sorry, boss! But I was just doing what I saw women journalists do on TV shows!
Staffer: Here come our microbrews!
All together [clinking glasses]: To alternative weeklies!
[Closing credits and music. Foo Fighters, or something.]