Those who know me, know that I do a lot of writing – all right, this blog isn’t testimony to that fact, but bear with me. I’ve watched a lot of ‘drama’ on TV – particularly the US films and series where they only have 8 plot variations and these are dressed up ad nauseum to make things look different. So, here is my plan to write the perfect script for US TV.
Once upon a time … well, actually, it wasn’t just once, it was time and time again because, apparently, people never learn, but we are here to highlight a specific set of circumstances, so, once upon this particular time, there was a man, or maybe it was a woman … who didn’t know where he (or she) was going. They drifted aimlessly until luck, or fate, or the script, brought them into a tiny, little, one horse town in the middle of nowhere. In fairness, they had lots of horses and it wasn’t the middle of nowhere, that place is nearly 100 miles to the west … but none of this is of any relevance so just go with the clichés …
This man, we’ll decide on him being a man because playing ‘guess the sex’ will cause far too many wrinkles, walked into the only cafe on main street. There were other cafes on some of the side streets but that doesn’t suit the narrative so it was the only cafe.
As he walked up to the counter he saw a stunningly attractive woman (cue angelic music that tells us that this the ‘the one’) who asked him what he’d like.
“Howdy, stranger, what would you like?” she asked.
At this point, he makes some observation on the state of something that has nothing to do with anything. Let’s say, for sake of argument, he doesn’t like the wallpaper.
“I don’t think much of your wallpaper,” he says as he sips the coffee he hadn’t asked for.
Enter a really good-looking, elderly gentleman with white hair and a walking stick …
“Hello, petal,” he says. “How do you like the wallpaper now it’s finished?”
“It’s great, dad,” she says.
The man now nearly chokes on his coffee, that he hadn’t asked for.
So there’s our opening. The two main protagonists have been thrown together; we’ve played the angelic music to tell you they are going to fall in love; and we’ve had one insult the other to make sure it won’t be plain sailing.
So now we need to contrive a situation where they have to work together and then we’ll see them fighting each other at every step.
Something has to change now or we get stuck in a loop – so we introduce the nasty baddy in the black hat. He’s going to (pick the one you like best) –
- Buy them out and close them down
- Open up a bigger enterprise in competition with theirs
- Reroute the river so their water supply dries up
- Buy out their main supplier and put the prices up
And, of course, either the bank is about to foreclose, or the time will run out to complete whatever it is they need to complete.
While all this is going on, our two protagonists are getting to know each other and getting closer. Things are going well until Mr Nasty throws a spanner in the works and upsets all their plans. But, he’s reckoned without the postman who’s just found a lost letter behind a filing cabinet that proves whatever it is we need to prove so the good guys win. Mr Nasty throws his hat down in disgust and jumps into his car, driving off in a cloud of dust with the whole town cheering as he goes. And they all live happily-ever-after-this short-few-words-from-our-sponsor.
So there we have it. Change the town or the café or the people or the period and you could build a whole series.
No, don’t thank me.