I hear there’s another writers’ strike about to hit Hollywoke. Once upon a time this was a big deal. When the entertainment business actually entertained. When people of different ideologies could share movies and television shows that tilted left but still had crossover appeal. When you could enjoy a late-night comedy talk show like Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and Conan O’Brien and laugh, even when they made fun of your side, because they were comic purists, who lampooned the other side as well.
I still remember a classic Carson skit mocking Joe Biden’s first ill-fated run for president in 1987. The then semi-articulate yet empty-suit senator was accused of plagiarizing speeches by genuinely eloquent politicians, like UK Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and RFK. Carson joked, “And Biden said not to worry. He reassured his staff, he said, ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’”
A vast portion of young people today — which includes many TV-film writers — wouldn’t get the gag. They weren’t taught actual American history, such as FDR’s 1933 speech uplifting citizens during the Great Depression, when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” But they might believe the country began in 1619, with the arrival of the first slave ship. Because Critical Race Theory bunk like Nikole Hannah-Jones’ The 1619 Project is being taught in schools.
The idea of a TV host ribbing a Democrat — regardless of how big a joke he (the President) or she (the Vice President) may be — would also be unfathomable to today’s youth. They’ve never seen such a thing, only lame “clapter”-inducing shots at conservatives. But one thing’s for sure, any late-night comedy monologue devoid of WGA-level (Writers Guild of America) writing will be just as painfully unfunny as the professional variety. To paraphrase song lyrics from the 1959 Best Picture Oscar winner, Gigi — humor, ah yes — I remember it well.
I haven’t watched a modern scripted TV show in years. Now, I hate to be the kind of haughty smug critic that used to knock shows I liked, but I’m also a fiction writer. And the amount of mindless left-wing rot that emanates from today’s screen fare is detrimental to my craft. Nonetheless, for the purpose of good journalism, I took a look at the selection of current series that could be affected by the writers’ strike. I used only the original big three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) that existed back in the day as a guide.
Sunday night prime time starts with The Equalizer (CBS), which I thought had been canceled for absurdity. That’s the show where Queen Latifah — as a former somehow secret agent — strikes fear in the hearts of New York City criminals with her fighting prowess. The real life Latifah wouldn’t survive a Manhattan subway ride. That reboot of a superior ’80s series starring a superior actor (Edward Woodward), is followed on NBC by another reboot of an ’80s classic, Magnum P.I., which made a star out of Tom Selleck. In this version, Magnum’s friend-boss Higgins (memorably played by John Hillerman in the original) is another fantastical male butt-kicking woman. Watching reruns of either of the old programs would be more rewarding.
On Monday night, CBS offers two unwatchably woke sitcoms (The Neighborhood, Bob Hearts Abishola), then two versions of NCIS -—NCIS and NCIS: Hawaii. They probably need professional writers just to tell them apart.
Tuesday, ABC jumps into the fray with the cop show, The Rookie. Since the series appears to be wrapping up its fifth season, shouldn’t it be called “The Veteran” by now? Age might also explain how they can still get away with a straight white male lead in 2023. Season one of the subsequent spinoff, The Rookie: Feds, solves both those problems by featuring a black female lead — male butt-kicking level unknown.
NBC has Night Court — wait, Night Court? Yes, it’s a reboot of the mediocre ’80s sitcom that was barely saved each week by John Larroquette, here reprising his role. Man, those striking writers are really coming up with some innovative stuff. Anyway, the show might be okay, thanks to Larroquette. The same can’t be said for the subsequent, Lopez vs. Lopez, which has my Latino-sense tingling without my having seen it.
The same night, CBS unveils a triple threat — FBI, FBI: International, and FBI: Most Wanted. Unless they depict their characters collaborating with Big Tech to cancel conservatives, raiding the home of an ex-President and opposition party frontrunner, gun swarming a pro-life advocate, or inciting a Capitol Hill riot, authenticity doesn’t seem to be the priority.
Wednesday night, NBC presents Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, and Chicago P.D. I’ll wait for the far more realistic spinoff, “Chicago Mass Exodus,” after electing a radical socialist criminal-coddling Democratic mayor.
There’s no improvement in the rest of the week. But maybe help is on the way. I recently submitted a TV pilot script to the best non-woke major producer in show business. Okay, so he’s the only non-woke major producer in the Biz, but he’s still exemplary. The premise is for a conservative The West Wing-type show. Yet unlike The West Wing, and every other Hollywoke progressive fantasy, I don’t vilify those on the opposite ideological side. They do that themselves through their agenda and policies. And if the pilot script goes to series, another haughty smug critic can knock it. I’m preemptively giving it five stars.