'Beat the Press' and other ideas for post-election TV


November 08, 1992|By ALICE STEINBACH

Perhaps one of the most appealing features of campaign promises is that they have a relatively brief shelf-life. Like rats on a sinking ship, political promises know when it's in their best interests to leave.

In other words: If it means going down with the ship, political promises are not generally known for their propensity to remain on board.

Of course, most of you already know this. It is, after all, common knowledge that political promises and sound bites fall more into the category of entertainment than literature or logic or information.

They are not meant to last beyond -- dare I say it? -- the singing of the Fat Lady.

Or one season of "Saturday Night Live."

Still, this particular campaign produced so many unforgettable put-downs and wacky exploitations of fact and fiction -- not to mention syntax -- that one is reluctant to let go of the best of them.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to submit several scripts based on the 1992 presidential campaign to important television moguls for possible sitcoms.

I should point out I am not doing this for the money -- I am doing it for the young people. Who, by the way, watch television for approximately eight hours a day.

Here, for your approval, are some of the sitcoms I have in the works:

* "Jake and the Ozone Man": In the pilot program, Ozone Man tracks down a group of environmental terrorists who elude capture by living in federally protected forests while disguised as spotted owls.

* "Those Nutty Pollsters": In a surprise bit of casting, comedian Jerry Lewis plays the role of George Gallup, a mild-mannered, accident-prone pollster who drinks a potion that causes him to transpose numbers -- with hilarious results on election day.

* "Bedtime for Bozos": Ronald Reagan reprises his role as a professor; this time he experiments with two fortysomething Democrats to see if heredity counts in politics.

* "Millie Knows Best": In this look at the difficulties of being a canine, stay-at-home mother in a feminist, dog-eat-dog world, Millie tries to juggle family and career. The pilot will feature Millie's attempt to deal with unwanted sexual advances from a Pomeranian down the street. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and if you're a female, you'll say to yourself: "I've been there."

* "Those Darn Talking Heads": This live, reality-based, musical comedy series follows the adventures of your favorite Sunday talking heads. See Sam Donaldson snatch George Will's glasses and refuse to return them! Watch as Jack Germond sits on Fred Barnes, crushing him into a square cube! And don't miss the Cokie Roberts Make-Over, done live on the show by Cher's personal hair-and-makeup-stylist.

* "Beat the Press": I have high hopes for this series based on the widespread public hostility felt toward members of the press. We're talking really big demographics here. A simple format, based on "The Wide World of Wrestling," would pit members of the audience against such pressies as Nina Totenberg, Peter Jennings, Ellen Goodman and Dan Rather.

Audience members would be provided with sharp sticks; pressies would be blindfolded and tied to stakes.

* "Night of the Living Spin Doctors": With nowhere to go -- now that the election is over -- these outcast political spin doctors start attacking innocent people, bombarding them with "spins" on every aspect of their private lives, from sex to home decorating. Confused and terrified by these mindless maniacs, a group of strangers who are trapped together in an isolated house try to fend off the attack of the crazed spin doctors.

* "Who Am I? Why Am I Here?": Based on "Name That Tune," this quiz show will reward those contestants who can identify little-known politicians through the use of unrelated phrases such as: "gridlock," "out of ammunition," "clean out the barn," etc., etc.

Of course, this is by no means a complete list. Also in the works are such titles as:

* "The Fat Lady Sings Cole Porter."

* "Car Talk: Under the Hood with Ross Perot."

* "Live with Regis and Barbara Bush."

By the way, did I mention that I'm doing all this for the young people?

For my children and your children and their children and your grandchildren and their grandchildren.

Did I mention that?

Well, I am.

It's just that simple.

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