If the just-canceled Viva Laughlin—-a show that featured singin’, dancin’, and murder investigatin’ at a Nevada casino—-can survive for two episodes on a major network, there’s probably at least one or two sellable concepts in Greg Houston’s new self-published book of fake TV-show ideas, Monkey Genius and His Bikini Assassin Squad. (Many of the proposed shows in the book feature bikinis. But then, so do a lot of TV shows.) Houston, a Baltimore illustrator whose pen-and-ink drawings have graced City Paper features on the grimness of
the D.C. Jailthe D.C. Superior Court and the general assholitude that suffuses Adams Morgan on a Saturday night, assembled 350 elevator pitches, which isn’t quite as impressive a figure as it sounds. Most of the concepts are sub-Manimal: consider Frumpy Jones: Octogenarian Security Guard, Mike Starkey: Heterosexual Ice Dancer, and The Smother Brothers. (“Two identical twin brothers smother their victims!”) A handful of them wouldn’t qualify for cable access (Blueprints of America’s Greatest Dairies). Plenty, like Dog Logic, are just rude. (“The camera follows six very ugly people as they live their very unattractive lives.”)
But there are a few winners buried amid Houston’s heavily exclamatory prose. I’d tune in to Cliché Island (“Tammy and Roscoe desperately want to be together but their families won’t allow it! So they hightail it to the city where they meet a prostitute with a heart of gold!”). And I’m enough of a fan of Get a Life to be completely seduced by the idea of Bernie Brewer: Alcoholic Mascot:
The Milwaukee baseball team doesn’t score as many home runs as they used to and that’s got Bernie Brewer on edge! You see, every time they knock one out, Bernie slides down a chute and into a giant mug of beer! REAL BEER! The fans think it’s cute, but didn’t anybody think this through? Now Bernie is a hopeless drunk who’s jonesin’ for the next round-tripper!… Tune into the game within the game where nobody wins—but the viewer!