Gormsby show 7 periods too long
I have to have a publishable version of it by midday Monday latest, so any comments are welcome.
If threatening children with anal rape and raving about "half-castes" and "gooks" is your average white middle-aged Wellingtonian man's vision of the future of New Zealand comedy then why has New Zealand On Air given them only a mere $1.1 million for their ground-breaking seven part "comedy" series?
To assign a comedy budget to the boys club to make Danny Mulheron's anti-PC wet dream "Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby" we must conclude it is at least in the realm of ideas one level of underworld above Melody Rules meets Te Tutu. But barely.
If only a different, slightly more criticial, Executive was at that meeting it might have gone something like this:
Could you give me that plot synopsis one more time, Danny, I'm not quite following you? I was up with you to the point where you said you had a grouchy fuckwit of a teacher at high school and you did a play about it and now it should be a seven part comedy show. I know you like this guy's taste for tirades and homophobic, mysogynistic rantings but who on Earth is this going to appeal to?
What was that, Tom Scott? Your audience is "down town sniffing glue, vomiting into gutters and ripping off cars," - is that what you said to the Herald? As in anyone who would watch this half hour prolapse of the art of television must be brain damaged to appreciate it? Glue-sniffing? What a very, (how should I put this charitably) 1980s outlook. You remember the '80s? It was when you were last culturally relevant. When you were at your peak of your talents. As opposed to now, 20 years later, when you think that the audience is going to warm to, that is to say you are expecting us to sympathise and associate with, a complete fuckwit?
Rather than any other character, you think we should be feeling for good old Mister Gormsby, played by the affable David McPhail? He isn't a loveable Basil Fawlty. Newsflash, Tom, Danny, Dave (Armstrong), the news is McPhail plays Muldoon so well (and his solo play was excellent) because he's a cunt. You see the problem is if liking Gormsby is crucial to whether people will watch it, and only cunts can relate to being a cunt, I'm not going to like the show at all am I? Because I'm not a cunt. There are not enough cunts in the country to make it viable. We will have a serious cunt shortage immediately. How many cunts have a peoplemeter in their house? Less, gentlemen, than you obviously think. Do you think that a play in the rarified stratosphere of the theatre is going to survive 10 seconds in the medium of television when your ultimate sight-gags are Gormsby marching Hohepa down a corridor as if he were in the army and Gormsby singing a union song outside the staff room. Oh, what killer material - where's the chequebook?
You know I laugh my tits off at Eating Media Lunch because it's funny. Serial Killers I smirked, Face Lift actually had it's moments last time around. EML gets quarter of a mil, and you want 1.1 million New Zealand dollars for a nostalga trip, fucking Chico and the man/Archie Bunker/Alf Garnett tutoring wayward Arnold and Willis troubled youth types in a Welcome back Mr Cotter Decile 2 school meets The Office type fucking abortion of a programme and it's all strung together with the most purile, almost infantile level of Tamihereisms and "cheeky" racist jibes. The only thing remotely funny about the show is you expect me to fund it. It's bad enough to be confused with part of National's election campaign. Is this what this is - double billing with the National party?
What was that you said in the Sunday Star-Times, because it bares repeating, David: "I'm also aware television is a large, slow-moving and ultimately dull-witted target. It's a bit like a rhinosaurus. It believes it is very nimble on its feet but, if it ever gets up a bit of speed, it can easily fall over because the brain is really quite small" Are you accusing me of having a small brain, David? Or is it that you have a small brain? Or is it Dave or Tom or maybe the ungrateful audiences that never understand your genius? Or the critics, who, of course, don't know anything about television? Are they the ones with small brains? It hasn't occured to you that your rhino was shot decades ago and it's tusk lopped off and now used as a plunger handle in Ian Fraser's personal toilet and it's feet used as ashtrays at the Museum of Broadcasting? Is the message not getting through?
Why do you think it will be on at 9:35pm on a Friday that you know is a graveyard slot? If we could bump this car wreck to 4am SKY Channel 153 between Christian light-rock radio No. 3 and Contemporary Czech Jazz radio and not be in breach of our contract we would. The whole idea is that we don't want anyone to watch this sort of "Charter"-type crap to start with so it doesn't damage our brand. You can't take a dump on a plate and expect us to serve it as a mains. You are the reasons people have concluded our entire comic output is shite. If A K Grant was here I would say the same thing to him too. Don't you guys need him for quorum?
TVNZ's publicity material describes it as an "unrepentant politically incorrect, roller-coaster romp about an extraordinarily eccentric secondary-school teacher." Where do I start? "A repellent, polemical and dated, embarrasing sleepwalk about a cunt who happens to be a teacher." Have I missed anything? No. Good.
The fact that with a traffic cop moustache McPhail looks like the Minister in charge of anti-bullying, the caning corporal, David Benson-Pope is sheer luck. At least Benson-Pope's psychotic facial tics are visually interesting. Gormsby has no laugh track, no ironic or comic music, no visual comedy, no jokes, no timing and no amusing dialogue or amusing predicaments and you say it is a comedy. What I'm seeing is the shit version of something - but it isn't comedy. It's drama isn't it? This thing fails on so many levels that even it's chosen genré is wrong.
It's as if you saw the sharp end of Bro Town as setting a new benchmark in our minds that you could use as a handy excuse to let forth your political bile and create a new free-fire zone of racial epithets and gratuitous pruriency. The problem is that you are what we call in the business, white. Your timing is totally out of sync, you can't pull it off. This is the same sort of niggling hang-ups and obsessions of a frustrated older, white middle class that were displayed in Spin doctors and Serial killers and we cringed. The rest of us have accepted Maoris, Pacific Islanders and Asians are human beings. I know that you have small brains, but if you can't learn new tricks your shows, each and every one of them, are going to be scheduled where the harm will be minimised.
Now get out of my office.