I can’t believe how long I spent on assembling “A Mickey Marvel Operation”. 41 of the best (and a few worst) mashups collected from all over the web. And it was all worth it when I got to the last one… Tigger…
from the "MediaSavant" Dept.
The dead skunk in the middle of the road near Wendell Ranch has not yet been cleaned up… and it is still NOT stinking to high heaven. But it did remind me of a bit of long-forgotten mental free association.
Jud Strunk in the middle of the road.
Jud Strunk in the middle of the road.
Jud Strunk in the middle of the road.
Stinkin’ to high heaven.
Now, who, you may ask, is Jud Strunk? He was a briefly-almost-popular singer/comic in the 1970s, just a few years before the Dead Skunk song came out, and he did NOT stink to high heaven either. He just was spectacularly unspectacular.
After settling in Farmington, Maine in the ’60s, he wrote and sang mostly-humorous country-folk songs, but his biggest close-to-a-hit was atypical of his style (as so often happens), a diabetes-inducingly-sweetly-sentimental song called “A Daisy A Day” (linked webpage automatically plays Jud Strunk’s original recording – you have been warned).
Based partly on the success of that song (which, in a cassette taken aboard Apollo 17, was the first pop recording played on the moon), he was inexplicably recruited as a regular on “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In”, possibly as a response to the success of the Country Clone of Laugh-In, “Hee Haw”. (What do you prefer? Watching bad jokes told by Hillbilly stereotypes or Hippie stereotypes?) If he was supposed to replace Henry Gibson’s deadpan innocence, the producers got it wrong, and he was especially out of place as an unexcitable “Sports Reporter” on the Laugh-In News segment, previously done by Alan Seus in his most flamingly gay personna. As is often the case with new cast members added for the final season, some people blamed him for the demise of Laugh-In (which had already lost half of its most popular performers and had added 6 other regulars that season).
Still, he persevered, and his second most popular recording was the unsubtly double-entendre “The Biggest Parakeets in Town”, which was popular on the Dr. Demento Radio Show, and when I did my college radio station’s “Sunday Night Demento Clone” show (every college station had one in those days) I enjoyed playing “Dead Skunk” and Jud Strunk back to back.
He quit show business soon after (after hearing my segue? I hope not!) and returned to Maine to restore antique airplanes. But in 1981, at the age of only 45, he suffered a heart attack while flying one of his planes and crashed. A bad way to die for Jud, even worse for his passenger. And I really hope the plane didn’t crash in the middle of a road. That would stink to high heaven.
The work of a writer of funny is sometimes a grim business. Particularly when what you’re supposed to be making fun of is so ridiculous that it defies any attempts to be funnier than it. Of course, we saw that many times during the George W. Bush administration (making me wonder if some of his totally-over-the-top malaprops were an intentional distraction). I think that’s why Keith Olbermann, who IMO is most watchable when he is being snarky or silly turned SO DAMN SERIOUS. It wasn’t really that what the Bushies did was so heinous – giving themselves the power to go totally sadistic on anybody’s ass and then only using it on a few Afghan goatherds and one guy who was an even more sadistic @$$#¤¦£ than Cheney – they could’ve done much worse (and part of me is still baffled why they didn’t). But when you can’t top the comical stupidity of the CEO President (that self-description of Bush’s is so much more appropriate today), all you can do is look into the camera and arch an eyebrow or shrug. Letterman and Jon Stewart could do that. Olbermann can’t.
But what I really want to blog about is a less world-shattering piece of ridiculousness – the movie “Crank: High Voltage”. Tom Brazelton’s webcomic “Theater Hopper” describes it best (and what more can you do BUT describe it?).
(Click to see the full comic with more setup to the punchline)
The makers of that movie (note to self: don’t call it a ‘film’; it gives it way too much legitimacy) had a thankless job: to make a sequel to something that was notable only for its outrageous premise, frantic pace and extreme violence and avoid hearing “the sequel pales in comparison to the original” for the rest of their lives. Well, they succeeded (also setting new standards for “what you can get away with from the MPAA on an R rating”).
Another webcomicker, “Hijinks Ensue’s” Joel Watson explained the difficulty in dealing with such subject matter in specific terms:
Making fun of “Crank 2” is like making fun of a movie where a guy has his heart removed (for some reason) and replaced with a robot heart that runs on a laptop battery which must constantly be recharged through a series of escalating violent and sexual exploits.
But he did come up with one way of getting funny with the “Crank” franchise:
WHO WANTS TO PLAY “CRANK MAD LIBS”?
In “Crank 3,” [group/ethnicity/organization] steal Jason Statham’s [body part/penis] and replace with with a [noun] that has to be [verb]ed every hour or it [someting bad]’s all over the place.
BTW, I believe in supporting webcomickers, but I currently cannot afford (or find space in my closet) for new funny t-shirts, so may I recommend this new one from “Theater Hopper”
or this unspoiled movie parody from “Hijinks Ensue”
via the one-stop funny shirt shop at TopatoCo (Jeff Rowland is a better businessman than webcomicker but not so hot at naming his company). I receive no renumeration for the linkage (and if Rowland reads this, I never will).
BTW. Crank 3 MadLibs?
Girl Scouts of America, Spleen, Box of Thin Mints, eaten, stands at the supermarket entrance begging.
AARP, prostate, water balloon, refilled, makes the kids get off his lawn.
a medical group with several dozen doctors, appendix, another appendix, replaced, prescribes Viagra.
MPAA, brain, exact copy but with DRM, pay royalties, accuses the makers of “Crank: High Voltage” of plagiarism.
Hello, and April Fool! Yes, I used the format of an April Fool’s Day joke to give myself a 3-week hiatus from the Blog (you kinda hat do be there) and used that time to reexamine what I want to do blog-wise, prepare a couple spin-off blogs that will begin spinning in the next few weeks, work on my avoidance of a number of real life problems that I will continue to not address here, and get Twitter out of my system. Sorry, but when Oprah walks in the door, I exit through the window (it’s one of my Rules of Defenestration).
But before I return to a less popular form of normal, I must pay tribute to the people who have tried to add quality to the tweetage by way of comedy-themed hashtagging. One of the most recent was #badscifi, first suggested by Twitter/Blog/Podcast semi-star Ken Plume who primed the pump with a few examples including: “The Land That Time Mislaid”, “Planet of The Menial Task-Bots”, “The Man With A Slightly Larger Than Average Brain”, “Night Of The Muskrat” and “The Fresno Syndrome”.
With the stage set, other Twitterers chimed in with titles for bad scifi books/movies/tv shows, mostly playing off the titles of good (or at least popular) scifi.
@PeterPaega showed a solid talent for understatement with “Star Scuffles”, “Two Feet Under The Sea”, “Bladeskipper”, “ET the French for AND”, “Magistrate Dread”, “The Opaque Man”, “The Rosemary and Thyme Machine”, “Resident Evel Knievel”, “The X-Factor Men”, “Goatbusters”, “Voyage to the Bottom of the Bath”, “Geriatric Park” and “Cloverleaf”.
@ScottyMo42 did “It Came From Beneath the Sock Drawer” and quit while he was ahead, returning hours later with “TRON XP”.
@golux13 provided “Journey To The Center Of The Town”, “Star Arguments”, “The Laundromat My Destination”, “The Diplomatic Negotiation of the Worlds”, “A Boy And His Pet Rock”, “Braceletworld” and “The Androgynous Strain”.
@KenKopin contributed a widely mixed bag of bad, including “Invasion of the Large CO2 Breathing Stationary Plants”, “Krypton – Myth, or Dwarf Planet?” (which I still haven’t yet parsed), “Attack of the Underpickled Cabbage” (obviously written by a sour German), “Mars Needs Toxic Waste” (a utopian scenario), “Planet of the Cows”, “Nerf Runner” (one of the best XRunner variations), “The Penultimate Warrior”, “Jetpacks-A-Go-Go”, “Ender’s Summer Romance” (what a Card!), “Aliens Are People, Too”, “Tron: 2D”, “Star Police Actions” (extra points for the ’60s/Vietnam reference), “Matrix: BSOD”, “Extreme Makeover: Death Star” and the inevitable “Metropolis 2: Electric Boogaloo”.
@oliverhood offered “The Big Insect”, “Dystopian Future Man”, “Majority Report” and “Blade Sharpener” (maybe the best of the BladeXer variations).
@Mangowe submitted for your approval “2001 A Space Oddie” (I hope referring to Bill), “Almost Silent Running (but with annoying whirring sound)”, “The McFly”, “Alien versus the Proclaimers”, “Total Retail”, “Starship Bloopers”, “Flash Gordon Brown”, “Masters of the Unipart”, “Ma’s attacks”, “The Umpire strikes back”, “Pitch Cilla Black”, “Star Trek Enterprise scheme”, “The 6 Million Dollar Manilow”, “Bi-curious Centenniel Man”, “Donnie Osmond-Darko”, “Return from Which Mountain?”, “Rollerbade”, “Westwoodworld”, “Journey to the Garden Centre” and its sequel “Back to the Fuchsia”, “Titan A&E”, “The day of the Griffs” and “The Incredible Stinking Man” (so obvious, surprised it didn’t come up often).
@JoeCovenant did “I Was a Teenage Toddler”, “Star Disagreements”, “The Man Who Lived On Earth”, “2001: A Few Years Ago” (well, sure, NOW it is) and “Alice’s Adventures in Sunderland”.
@Rogue_Leader led us into “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Leicester Forest East Services Southbound”, “Minorrible Report”, “20,000 Leagues Under The Brie”, “A Clockwork Lemon” and “The Wrath Of Ken”.
@floraisadora put up the very eponymous “Attack of the 60ft. Floral Arrangement” as well as “The Day the Earth Caught A Mild Case of Pink Eye”.
The very appropriately-named @frak frakked us up with “The Phantom Tennis”, “Soylent Paisley”, “Journey To The Centre Of The Doughnut”, “Flash Gorgonzola” and “Invasion of The Body Conscious”.
@RockNStroll rocked out and strolled through with “Planet of the Crepes”, “Doctor When” (dangit if that isn’t a better title for the show that exists now), “Jefferson Starship Troopers” (inevitable, but eponysterical), “Robomop”, “Battlestar Scholastica”, “The Iomega Man” and “I Am Legend of Bagger Vance”.
@martinwake gave us “Noisy Running”, “Those!”, “Village of the Damp”, “Children of the Quorn” and “Janet of the Apes”.
@twinschick1 was food-centric with “The Lime Machine”, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Mixers?” and “Flour for Algernon”.
@carlmw contributed “Predator: The Wonder Years”, “War of the Wombles”, “Ghostbutlers” and “Lets Party (like its Space 1999)”.
@ncguk had quite a collection, including “It Came From Norfolk”, “Godzilla Vs The Kittens”, “War Of The Worms”, “Heckboy”, “Alien Vs Pret A Manger”, “The Empire Strikes”, “V For Vienetta”, “Invasion Of The Body Lotions”, “20,000 Leaves Under The Sea”, “Cedric The Barbarian”, “Joss Whedon’s Senility” and “Buffy The Accordian Player”.
@ESTUPIDOSAV smartly contributed “The Island of Attorney Moreau”, “Five Minutes to Earth”, “The Cat that Walked Through Doors”, “Crisis on Infinite Hearths”, “The Mommyknockers”, “Man from Atlanta”, “Jimmy Neutron Smart Ass”, “SHAMWOW! The New Adventures of Captain Marvel”, “Stargate Atlanta” (if you’ve ever been to the Atlanta airport, you’d know) and “A Connecticut Yankee in Traffic Court”.
@exlibris11235 liberated a few: “2001 Flushes: A Toilet Bowl Odyssey”, “Ender’s Sudoku”, “William Gibson and Danielle Steel Present: New Romancer” (bad scifi and so much more), “The 5-Axis CNC Milling Machine of Heaven” and “Foundation’s Cracks”.
@Widgett rang in with “Ringworm”, “The Time Machinima”, “The Minnesotan Chronicles”. “Snow Thud”, “The Contact Lens in God’s Eye”, “The Man in the High Winnebago”, “Wheatfield Earth” (and he asks “does it count if my title could be better than the original?”), “To Your Dehydrated Bodies Go” and “I Am Legume”.
@MickBordet did “Laughterhouse 5”, “The Cat’s Cradle in the Hat”, “The Realtor Dysfunction”, “Terminator: Salve Lotion” (that’s an AARRGGHH!) and “The Grey Hole”.
@unrealfred jumped in late with several good/bads: “The Forever GWAR”, “Rendezvous with Ramen Noodles”, “A Testicle for Leibowitz”, “The Silent Running of the Lambs”, “”The Man in the High White Castle”, “The Six Million Dollar Man of La Mancha”, “The Belt-Sander of Heaven”, “Oakland Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “The Moon Is a Harsh Elvira Mistress of the Dark”, “Enema Mine”, “The Rerun of the Jedi” and “The Day the Earth Stood Me Up”.
@UMadman went mad with “Night of the Cramps”, “My Stepmother is an Illigal Alien”, “Honey I Shrunk Our 401k”, “The Island of Dr. 90210”, “Men in Blackface”, “eXstendZ” and “Zardozn’t”.
@Ceri_O: “Dr Whatever!”, “Men in Pink”, “Children of the Popcorn” and “The Butterfingers Effect”.
@krud: “The Day The Earth Fidgeted” and “The Terminal Manwich”.
@perrymisley: “Conflict Resolution Among the Stars” and “Star Trek II – The Wrath of Kong”.
@gasheadsteve: “Attack of the Sloths”, “Invasion of the Saucy Men” and “Stair Trek: The Voyage Upstairs” (which was several steps above other Star/Stair puns).
@yislash: “I Have No Mouth and I Must Sing!”, “Misplaced in Space”
@Scottums: “The Day The Earth Stood In Line”, “Nightfall and it can’t get up” and “The Time Machinist starring Christian Bale”,
@GersonK: “Lost and Foundation”, “The Plant of the Apes” and “The Lathe of New Haven”.
@JoshWay: “The Day the Earth Was Unseasonably Cool”, “The Abdominal Strain” and “City on the Edge of Milwaukee”.
@semiknockedout: “The Hitchhiker’s guide to setting the VCR” and “I AM LEGENDary at Guitar Hero”.
@gtrogue: “I Am Rarely Spoken Of” and “Sluggish Gordon”.
@dylanw: “The Day The Earth Went Jogging”, “There Will Come Soft Hailstorms” and “The Time Traveller’s Periodontist”.
@hillkath: “Silent Jogging”, “Shallow Impact”, “Metrosexualopolis”, “Buck Rogers in the 12th Century” and “ET: The Extra Testicle”.
A few people came up with a single Big Bad:
“Partial Recall” (@ScotRadcliffe), “Attack of the Totally Normal Tomatoes” (@ggkthx), , “THX 1137: The Prequel” (@The_No_Show), “ET – The Extra Toilet-roll” (@pitofdarkness), “Close Encounters of the Turd Kind” (somebody had to do it and that somebody was @SomersetBob), “Bradbury’s The Martin Chronicles” (@RichterCa), “Flowers for Allergens” (@lectio), “Bill and Ted’s Bus Journey” (@sebpatrick), “Do Androgynes Dream of Elastic Slips?” (@swombat), “Sling-Blade Runner” (Billy Bob Replicant? That sounds too good) (@calittle), “Dunne” (@siatabiri), “The Man Who Fell 2 Feet” (@PaulCULLIFORD), “Star Wars: The Empire Debates the Flat Tax” (I thought that WAS one of the prequels) (@firkon)
Meanwhile, Ken Plume continued to contribute “Day Of The Truffauts”, “I Have A Mouth, And Am Quite Capable Of Screaming If I Must” (I thought that might be better as #badhorror), “This Island Guam”, “X: The Man With The 20/20 Eyes”, “Soylent Puce” (funniest of the many Soylent colors), “The Hitchhikers Guide to Peterborough”, “Neuromincer”, “The Marzipan Chronicles”, “The Moon Is A Total B****”,
Multiple minds thought alike with “I Robert”, “”Planet of the Grapes”, “Logan’s Stroll” and “Attack of the 5-to-6 Foot Woman”.
@onion2k was one of the very few to go beyond titles to a twitter-sized sci-fi story: “It’s incredible. Woven from the alien cloth we found on the crashed UFO. The wearer is invincible. We call it the Super Mankini!”
I joined in late to throw in “Fahrenheit 5: the Icehouse Worker”, “Ray Bradbury’s The Self-Published Man”, “Star Just Browsing”, “Back to the Pluperfect”, “Attack of the 50 Foot Wombat”, (taking intentionally bad scifi and making it worse) “Attack of the Killer Broccoli”, “The Day The Earth Took a Nap” and “The Truckdriver’s Guide to the Universe”.
I just hope all these Twitterers appreciate that I credited and linked to them, because I just flew in from Twitter, and @#$% are my typing fingers tired. (By the way, this post had the content of 236 Tweets… remind me to never do that again).
Time again for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, which I usually end up doing a post on MetaFilter about, but based on what went from the Longlist to the Shortlist this year, I don’t think I can honestly call it the Best of the Web.
Here are the finalists which I have put in order from my favorite to “they consider this ODD?”
Curbside Consultation of the Colon: 49 Clinical Questions by Brooks D Cash (SLACK Incorporated)
Baboon Metaphysics by Dorothy L Cheney and Robert M Seyfarth (University of Chicago Press)
The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-Milligram Containers of Fromage Frais by Professor Philip M Parker (Icon Group International)
The Large Sieve and its Applications by Emmanuel Kowalski (Cambridge University Press)
Techniques for Corrosion Monitoring by Lietai Yang (Woodhead)
Strip & Knit with Style by Mark Hordyszynski (C&T)
Let’s face it, the alliteration pushes “Curbside Consultation of the Colon” over the top but “Baboon Metaphysics” is close behind (I have to wonder if Dorothy the co-author is related to a certain other famous Cheney) But here are several titles from the previously released “Long List” that deserve more to be on the “Short List” than the other four (I mean, haven’t we ALL stripped and knitted at least once?):
God or a Bench: Sculpture As a Problematic Art During the Ancien Regime by Anne Betty Weinshenker (Peter Lang Publishing Group)
All Dogs Have ADHD by Kathy Hoopman (Jessica Kingsley)
Christian Texts for Aztecs
by Jaime Lara (University of Notre Dame Press)
Insects Are Just Like You and Me Except Some of Them Have Wings by Kuzhali Manickavel (Blaft)
Malformed Frogs by Michael J Lannoo (University of California Press)
The Emotional Life of Contemporary Public Memorials by Erika Doss (Amsterdam University Press)
The Industrial Vagina by Sheila Jeffreys (Routledge)
I think they had a quota of one for American University press, or else the Aztecs and the Frogs would’ve been shoo-ins. And maybe “All Dogs Have ADHD” was little too true to be odd. And maybe they were afraid of following up last year’s dubious winner, “If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs” with “The Industrial Vagina”. Still, odd is in the eye of the beholder.
And yes, those are all Amazon Affiliate links, but instead of paying $9,995.00 for “God or a Bench” (yes, that’s the price), for half that ($4,997.50), I will personally go wherever you are, read you any other book on the list AND build you a bench. If you can find a better deal… don’t bother me.
When I feel bad about my lot in life, I like see how much worse it’d be if I were in Serious Show Biz by reading Nicky Finke’s “Deadline Hollywood Daily” – or “Dateline Hollywood Deadly”. Anyway Ms. Ratfinke (as many powerful people in Hollyweird call her) got the info on an insiders’ popularity list (because all those award shows and top 10 lists and box-office and ratings aren’t enough to prove to some folks their worthiness). It’s a listing of the favorite not-yet-produced movie scripts picked by a not-too-select group of over 250 film executives (that’s from 6½ major studios and a couple dozen production companies that produce anything – there’s a part of the business world where a few dozen lay-offs wouldn’t hurt). And, either out of a massive sense of irony or a total ignorance of Hollywood history, the studio exec who assembled the list (or, more likely, made an assistant do it) calls it “The Black List” (while Ring Lardner Jr. and Dalton Trumbo spin in their graves).
When this site posted A Brief History of Defunct Electronics Chains in the Form of Old TV Ads, I was intrigued, and after reading it, somewhat entertained, but more than a little unsatisfied because of what it missed.
Here in Southern California, there was an outbreak of Stereo stores in the ’70s vying for the young, hip and hopefully-stoned-enough-to-buy-anything consumer. And they were primarily using radio to reach their potential
victimscustomers. University Stereo kept the psychedelic ’60s alive well past their expiration date, with spaced-out effects thrown together by a DJ who called himself Shadoe Stevens. Cal Stereo had the motormouth Tom Campbell putting 90 seconds of ad copy in a 60 second spot. And Pacific Stereo took the high road with commercials that could’ve been for any retail operation.
In 1977, I was straight out of college radio and working at KGIL In The Valley (Suburban L.A.) as Assistant/PhoneMonkey/ThirdSidekick to the forgotten radio legend Sweet Dick Whittington (and yes, for the thousandth time, we DID call him Sweet Dick in the ’60s and ’70s, except me, emphasizing my role as Underling by calling him “Mister Sweetdick”). I’d had fun writing a parody of Tom Campbell’s manic commercials as “Tom Krell for Krell Stereo” but never got it to sound right (or come under a minute) at the college radio studio. At KGIL, I was answering the phones in Production Booth #2, which was equipped with a big reel-to-reel tape recorder with a homebrew variable speed gizmo. I tried doing Tom Krell at a higher speed and it was funny. In future listenings, I realized I had the voice all wrong, but KGIL was demographically aiming for the Over 30s and would never have gotten any business from Cal Stereo, so Sweet Dick said “let’s run this bit anyway… can you do a few more?” He used them to solve a problem semi-unique to him. He was very popular among advertisers who wanted him to do live ad-lib spots (probably because he always went well over the time paid for, but the commercials were often as funny as anything else he did.
But sometimes he was given so many live commercials to do, he had to do two back-to-back, and he found doing the segues painful. So he’d occasionally slip a fake commercial from Tom Krell for Krell Stereo between the real commercials. I felt honored. Another DJ at the station who did serious voiceover work on the side (including, if I remember correctly, as one of several voices for Pacific Stereo) played my Krell commercials for some influencial people, but I didn’t get my big break. Probably because I got the voice all wrong. I was never comfortable with my ‘radio voice’ until years after I left the radio biz. But I digress. Big time.
Shadoe Stevens broke up with University Stereo (which went under a frighteningly short time later) and started doing radio ads for Federated Electronics, aka the Federated Group. Rather than going psychedelic, he sold them on a Tom Campbell/Cal Stereo parody himself (and HE had the voice for it… you do know he replaced Casey Kasem on American Top 40 and is now the announcer for Craig Ferguson’s Late Late Show, don’t you?). He called himself Fred Rated. From there he evolved into higher levels of general wackiness. Meanwhile, Pacific Stereo had begun advertising on television, just as uninterestingly as it did on radio. After a failed campaign with a production company with TV experience, Federated let Shadoe bring Fred Rated to the boob tube. The rest is L.A. television history (although some still insist it was all an acid flashback).
But wait… there’s more…
And then there was the radio pitch man for Waterbed Warehouse who invented the word “humongous” to describe the big building the store was in. But I digress. All night long.
While Sony’s Blu-Ray high definition video disc standard format yaddayadda has won the battle of the HD discs over HDDVDVDDH or whatever, it seems to be underperforming as The Next Big Thing You Have To Buy New Copies Of All Your Old Movies On. In fact, to hear some people, Blu-Ray is doomed because up-sampling DVD players can apparently make them ol’ fashion’ diskers look almost as good on a 147-inch screen. Who knew?
But IMO, Blu-Ray was doomed from the start (and I say that very reluctantly having been a die-hard supporter of Betamax, a previous Sony competitor in the Video Format Deathmatch). Why? Because it was promoted as a High Definition format, yet its name was one letter separated from…
The final Opus comic strip appeared online a couple hours ago, but the final reveal of the beloved penguin’s ‘final paradise’ had to wait for the Humane Society to update its website. (An interesting strategy for Berkeley Breathed, who started the eponymous Sunday Funnie as absolutely-paper-only… I’m sure Opus fans who acquired newsstand “Saturday Preview” editions of their Sunday papers are especially pissed) Well, the waiting is finally over because here he is…
After all his references to Peanuts and a recent appearance at the Charles Schulz Museum, I had publicly guessed he’d end up “sharing a doghouse with Snoopy”, but did so too late to enter the contest.
…thus bringing semi-closure to one of my personal obsessions. In tribute, I am currently attired only in a towel, like Steve Dallas in the last three strips. And I wrote the title to this post hours before seeing the final panel. Spooky.
Another blogger was trying to come up with inspirations for spin-offs to keep the “Law and Order” franchise alive. Now, whether or not you consider that a worthy endeavor, he was doing it wrong, going mostly with geographic-location-based concepts (Scranton, Hooterville, Battle Creek, Pleasantville), and while the next L&O will be set in London and titled “Law and Order: UK”, it’s really “CSI” that has cornered the market on locales.
What the L&O needs is ideas like one I proposed some time ago, about a crime team stationed in a Ford Explorer: “Law & Order: SUV”. Sadly, they mangled the idea (or at least the order of the initials) and I asked to have my name taken off the project.
Considering how important Jerry Orbach was to the original series, what they need now is “Law & Order: The Broadway Musical”. Just keep Steven Bochco away from it, he already screwed up the idea with “Cop Rock”. Unfortunately, half of Broadway is now owned by Disney, which also owns ABC, not NBC.
With so much blood flowing from Wall Street, “Law and Order: CNBC” should be a natural. Or even better, “Law & Order: NASDAQ” with the weekly “who killed the high tech startup?” They’ll never run out of stories. But considering what NBC needs most to save the network: “Law & Order: Cosby” (but again, keep the producers of “The Cosby Mysteries” far far away).
Based on the “broken windows” crime prevention policies in NYC today, there should be “Law & Order: Extremely Petty Crimes Unit”. Which, come to think of it, might double as “Law & Order: Seinfeld”, the crime procedural about nothing.
If they insist on continuing to emphasize ‘stories ripped from the headlines’, then they need two spin-offs: “Law & Order: NY Times” & “Law & Order: NY Post” (each targeting a different demographic, obviously).
If that hasn’t alienated everybody, there is one more L&O variation they could do without leaving New York: “Law & Order: WTC”, the serialized story of investigators who are STILL trying to figure out what the f*** happened on 9/11. Transfer Detective Munch to that show and it’ll run forever.