Before I start, full disclosure; Kevin Biegel, creator of Enlisted, is a very close friend of mine. But that’s not why I think you should give his show a chance. I have close friends who write on other shows and I wouldn’t bother telling you to watch them because I don’t watch them. And conversely, there are shows created and run by people I know first hand to be total pieces of dog shit, and not only do I watch those shows, but I excitedly recommend them to others, because the show is good.
And actually, the purpose of this post is not to tell you that you should watch Enlisted because I think it’s good, though I do. That doesn’t really matter. I bring up Enlisted to you, and believe it deserves you checking it out this Friday at 9:30 PM, because if you do like it, and others like it, the success of the show could help solve a major problem in television.
Do you ever wonder why most shows on television are about 25-35 year olds fucking while they try to figure out “who they are” or quirky families?
(Friends: the Michael Jordan of young people fucking each other while they try and figure out who they are.)
You probably do, and you might even say phrases like this “OMG, Hollywood has TOTALLY run out of ideas.” Now, I’d love to be able to say “Hey snarky fuck face, why don’t you get off your ass and write something then or at least let me point you to all the dicks so that you may eat them.” But I can’t say that, because if I were you, I’d probably think the same thing.
See, contrary to what you may think, writers have all kinds of ideas about all kinds of things that aren’t about young people fucking or families. But here’s why those things aren’t on TV: Think of a television network and writers as a middle-aged married couple that always fucks once a week on Sundays after church, with the lights off, in missionary position.
Now, if you asked these two “Hey, how’s your sex life” they’d probably say “What? Ha, oh dear. I’m blushing. Well, I’ll just say it’s healthy, how about that? Did I mention I made a quiche? It was really easy, actually.”
Now, how did this couple end up only fucking each other the exact same way for thirty years? At some point, they probably tried something different and it really didn’t work out. Maybe he spanked her and she didn’t like it. Maybe she stuck her finger in his asshole and he hated it. And because of a couple things they tried that didn’t work, they just went back to the same old thing that makes them fairly happy.
Writers would love to try and find new ways to pleasure a network, and to be honest, a network would love to be fucked in amazing ways its never been fucked before. The problem is, both parties get a little freaked out when they try something out that doesn’t work. So when development season comes, a writer might have a couple ideas they want to pitch, but if they’re choosing between sticking a finger in the network’s asshole or fucking them missionary, well, the writer has to make a living and so they may err on the side of sunday night fucking. And I don’t begrudge them one bit. It’s tough to make a living in this business. You may be thinking “NAH UH THIS IS STUPID HBO MAKES SHOWS THAT ARE COOL AND INTERESTING.” They do. HBO will let you shove anything in their asshole at least once if it seems fun. But the people doing that shoving are the biggest writers in the business. Terrance Winter and Martin Scorcese, Judd Apatow, David Benioff, etc… Guess what? They’re pretty well set for cash, folks. And I applaud them for trying something different. And I applaud HBO for being a place where that’s possible. But TV networks have much bigger demands on them and aren’t subscription based, so they have to answer to advertisers. So the only way a network will do something crazy in bed, is if someone is fearless enough to do it, and surprisingly, what they did feels REAL good. Then maybe they next time they want to fuck, they’ll be like “Oh man, I liked it so much when you grabbed my balls and yanked on them, what if you poured hot wax on my nipples while you called me piece of shit?”
Now, this may start to sound like me making an excuse for why network TV feels homogenized, as well as me making an excuse for having a show on the air that falls in to the “quirky family” category. It’s not. A), I’m incredibly proud of my show and think it’s pretty damn good, and b), I am as big a part of the problem as anyone.
Almost two years ago I sat in Kevin Biegel’s office and he pitched me his idea for Enlisted, and the first thing I thought was “They’ll never greenlight a comedy that takes place on a military base. I would have set it in an office.” That’s the kind of thinking that needs to end. So if you care about helping Network TV do something a little different, let Enlisted stick its’ finger in your asshole this Friday night.
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