Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

In the midst of all the JERSEY SHORE hoopla, I had what I thought might be a million dollar idea.

How about a reality show about gypsies? If the public is so inexplicably enamored with that MTV
mook-fest, wait until they get a load of pillars of society.Someone beat me to the punch yet again. Sunday, May 29, TLC is debuting a special, probably a pilot for a potential series entitled MY BIG FAT GYPSY WEDDING.

First of all, kudos to TLC for originality in naming this potential freak show. Nia Vardalos is probably rolling over in her grave. Second, karma will bite TLC in the ass for ever getting involved with this lot. Don't believe me? Stay tuned. Third, will Kate Gosselin guest-star so that she can burn off her TLC contract?


That all said, I still think this is a marketable, if unremarkable, idea, though mine involved a gypsy-or Romany, if you prefer-family transplanted smack dab in the middle of White Bread Suburbia, USA. The Beverly Hillbillies meets Maria Ouspenskaya.


But...I didn't do it. As the idiom goes, ideas are a dime a dozen. it's what you do with these ideas that counts and, of course, if you do anything at all.


Still, it's not the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. In my book RED ASPHALT, my main character, Calvin, spends the better part of a decade working on sci-fi/fantasy novel when one night, he sees nearly the same damn thing as a cheaply made for TV movie. This devastates him to no end, causing him to not only abandon said project but to destroy it once for all in a mistrial of fire in his backyard.

Now read this excerpt from RED ASPHALT which occurs moments before Calvin's meltdown.


I had no interest, passing or otherwise, in anything on the small screen as I clicked through each and every channel on my cable system, which, at last count, offered 85 different options. It spanned the whole gamut from local crap to basic crap to premium crap or even pay-per-view crap. I may have been totally lethargic but there really was nothing on my television that night. I don’t care how many TV channels you have, whether it is 10 with an antenna, 100 from the cable or 500 if you have a satellite dish. When there’s nothing on, there’s nothing on. However, given the current state of television as a whole, even something
is nothing anyway.

The one oasis I discovered in this cathode desert had been Droid, the all science fiction network that occasionally broadcast some content worthy of my attention. I used to enjoy their anthology series entitled The Gray Area, kind of a Twilight Zone rip-off that dramatized urban legends, which had just aired not minutes before I switched on the set.

The same night I caught the promo of GYPSY SHORE or whatever that TLC dreck is called, I turned to the SyFy (formerly known as Sci-Fi for those who are not hooked on phonics) Channel and what do I see: URBAN LEGENDS, a new show that features dramatizations of...well, you get the idea.

Holy Mary, Mother of Oh My God.

Granted, this show-or this concept-has been tried before on another channel with little or no success. A dramatization of an urban legend is about as original as a reality show about gypsies. This coincidence is just too cosmically and comically close for comfort.

At least I know I'm on the "right" track, if you want to call it that. I've had concepts and story ideas that ended up as movies, TV shows and even books before I got a chance to write word one. What keeps me going is that at least I feel that I'm still in the game. It's one of the things that keeps me going instead chucking it all in the fireplace because somebody got there first.

Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something. It's just not my destiny to make any hay over crapage like the gypsy show or even the easy way out with urban legend dramas. Maybe I should just strive to be better. What's wrong with that? No problem there. My level of success may vary but at least I should always remember to set the bar above sea level. Do I have a higher calling? Not sure. If so, I wish they'd speak up because at my age, my hearing isn't what it used to be.
Could be with my Hungarian roots that it could be all just a gypsy curse.
Or is it a blessing?
All I really know for sure is that I don't have the sign of the pentagram.
Yet.
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