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Writing for TV

There’s a woman in my Writing for Television class who I can’t stand. She’s about 10 years older than the majority of us, and she just finished time in the military and is now going to Columbia College in Chicago’s beautiful South Loop. I’m not generally so fatalistic, but I get one person like this in at least one class every semester since I’ve started at Columbia, and I have reached the point where I believe that they are put on this planet for the sole purpose of ruining my life. They do a bang-up job, too.

But, man, I had the chance to make her eat shit and enjoy it. I love it when I get a chance to do that because, honestly, I’m kind of an asshole. And that’s kind of putting it mildly. Just ask women.

At any rate, this woman is rock stupid. But she’s the worst kind of rock stupid—she thinks she’s really smart. Not only that, but she thinks she’s really smart and she has a superiority complex because she’s older than all of us, so she’s wiser. Bullshit—she’s an idiot. Believe me.

For this class, we choose a sitcom currently in production and, over the course of a semester’s work, write an episode of the show. It’s pretty slow-paced in my opinion, but what can I do about that? (For the record, I chose to write for Scrubs, because we have to do a sitcom and it has to be in production, and Scrubs is my favorite of the few sitcoms I can tolerate. If I had to write for a sitcom, I’d rather write for NewsRadio, but it’s off the air, so I can’t. What I’d really like to do, though, is write an hour-long drama like The West Wing or Ed or Buffy—but it has to be a 30-minute sitcom. Goddammit.)

Anyway, this woman is writing for Frasier, and I, of course, noticed two problems with her choosing this show—(1) it’s a show with smart characters written by smarter people, and (2) she’s an idiot. But, hey, I’m not the professor. It is not my place to say, for example, “Hey, why don’t you write for—oh, I don’t know—Yes, Dear. It’s the worst show on television, and they employ that ‘shaved-ape’ writing style you possess.” I kinda wish it was, but it’s not. It almost makes me want to be a teacher of some kind, because I can just be mean. God, that’d be great.

But I digress…again. As part of our in-class dialogue exercise, we had to take two characters from our show and have them argue about what to have for dinner. When she read hers, she had Frasier rushing in and excitedly telling Marty about how he bumped into—no, seriously, this is what she said—“the composer of Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ opera.”

I, for one, can understand Frasier being excited about bumping into such an esteemed composer, considering he’s been dead for 210 years (211 on December 5th!). Also, I know Marty’s not exactly big on the classics, but one would figure that after being married to his wife and hanging out with Frasier and Niles, he’d at least know that ‘The Magic Flute’ is an opera. He’s not a total idiot.

I wanted to point these things out with my patented glibness, but I refrained. I actually like this class, and the professor, and the other students (except for her), and when I’m in that position, I don’t generally like for people to think I’m a big asshole. At least, not until they get to know me. So I kept my mouth shut, mentally saying to myself, “Gee, maybe it was just a mistake on her part. Maybe she will realize she meant ‘conductor’ or even ‘contralto,’ and she’ll fix it.” But no such luck—she re-read the passage, and said “composer” again, and at that point I was about ready to put her in her place.

But, again, I didn’t. Sometimes I’m too nice. Personally, I blame the attractive girl who took a shine to me but who is also married. I hit on her constantly, even after I found out she was married (hey, she’s young, it was probably a mistake to get married anyway…who am I to rule her out?), and to my surprise, she flirts back. This probably has something to do with the mutual knowledge that it won’t go anywhere, but it still makes me feel warm and fuzzy and aroused.

If I had it to do over again, the woman would be toast. Sure, she could kick my ass, but fuck—I’m smarter than her. She’ll come after me, but I won’t fight back—I’ll get a bunch of pillows and build a fort. That’ll learn her.

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