“This place should be a sitcom!”
Every single week, one of my colleagues will make that declaration. They’re absolutely right, of course. Here’s why..
A SUCCESSFUL SITCOM REQUIRES…
- A setting ripe with comic possibilities: a location filled with an ever-changing cast of extras.
- Colorful characters people can identify with: a lovable drunk, slutty female, an accident prone geek, etc.
- Wacky neighbors that pop in unannounced and provide a few minutes of comedy.
- A cast that wrestles with the same problems as the audience – economic strife, sexual frustration, etc.
- Writing that doesn’t seem tired and repetitive, but rather fresh, yet somehow familiar to the cheese-eating audience.
- Every once in a while, there has to be an “aww” moment that touches people’s hearts and keeps them coming back. Even Two and a Half Men had those moments every so often.
So let’s look at my life, shall we?
- I have an father-in-law and brother-in-law living next door. Hey, that Raymond guy milked that idea for years!
- I’m constantly being teased (and physically assaulted) by my wife and daughter. Even the dogs are treated better at times!
- At the end of the day, when the dust settles, my family loves each other – for some reason.
Now let’s examine my work setting…
- My little slice of Hotel Heaven opens its doors to a revolving cast of nut jobs from all walks of life and ethnic origin. People who use Grandma’s wheelchair for a luggage cart so they can save enough money to give their kids Red Bull for breakfast were put on this planet to be written about, right?
- I spend my days sitting in a dingy, dirty back room that holds two elevators and four doors. At any given moment another crazy employee, delivery person or even a guest will wander through like a crazy neighbor and provide some comic relief.
- Some of the craziest “Guy Talk” you’ve ever heard is uttered in that back room. Of course, most of it is only fit for HBO!
- Every episode would contain encounters with a wide-assortment of cheap, crazy guests and their dysfunctional clans. Familiar, yet simultaneously fresh.
THE HOOK: (Observing an overweight, sweaty supervisor dragging his carcass through the lobby) Jeez, he looks like he spent the last six months in a prisoner of war camp!
ONE OF THE HOOK’S COLLEAGUES: What, you mean one with an all-you-can-eat buffet?
A female guest realizes she is at the wrong hotel after her bags have been loaded on a cart. In the meantime, I come out of our back room with a gentleman’s bags. He takes his luggage and starts to walk away. She mistakes the male guest for a bellman and ask him to bring her bags up.
FEMALE GUEST: I’m sorry, I thought you worked here!
MALE GUEST: I almost held my hand out for a tip!
THE HOOK: You would have been waiting for a long time, sir!
MG: People don’t tip?
THE HOOK: You didn’t, sir!
How about one more? I’m walking through a department store with my daughter – she was about nine at the time – and I spot this guy with a crazy look in his eyes racing right for us. As he gets closer, he slows down and starts to look embarrassed.
CRAZY GUY: I’m sorry, man! I thought that was a real baby!
I had been carrying one of Sarah’s dolls upside down by the leg and this moron was convinced I was dangling my child as I walked through a mall! My response was short but to the point.
THE HOOK: Do I look like an eccentric pop star, sir?
When you look closely at the history of television comedies you see there have been some successful shows built around a weak premise. I think my little odyssey is worthy of a time slot among the crowded TV landscape.
What do you think, gentle readers? Is “You’ve Been Hooked!” worthy of your valuable time?