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with Morton Fester-Norton, 7/14/00

Dc: This is DCR, a news program that's reality free. It's time for media notes with our entertainment critic Morton Fester-Norton. Morton?

Morton: I just wanna give you one word of advice. Reality. Get into reality. That's the future of television. Reality.

Dc: Reality?

Morton: Not Real reality. A "half" reality, a "shaped" reality, with made-up problems and phony competitions, edited to produce interest, and tension and cliffhangers.

Dc: So it's NOT real.

Morton: Oh, no. It IS real.

Dc: But the competitions are phony. The pressure is … manufactured.

Morton: Just like life! And to prove it, the newest "reality" show is all about the empty contest to put on the best reality show. A show in a show about a show.

Dc: Whoah. You're starting to make my head hurt.

Morton: It's called "Inner Tube." You're INSIDE the inner process of decision making inside TV! Fifty cameras record every move made, every deal cut, every word said by four teams of network executives who are in their offices for six months straight!

Dc: They're locked in?

Morton: NO! They're afraid to leave … until one by one … they get fired by the Unseen Hand. Great, huh?

Dc: Do you have a clip?

Morton: Do I have a clip! Watch!

(sfx: tv ambiance)
(sfx: group murmuring)

Hannah: (host) It's midnight, and the Tiffany Network Tribe is meeting to cement their future course. Although Donna has confided that she doesn't trust Bill, Maggie and Chuck have used their votes to make Bill the meeting's chair. Is it respect? Or are they setting him up to fail?

Bill: Ok … we've agreed then that we'll clear the schedule and run nothing but "reality" shows. Every night, a different group under the microscope.

Maggie: Hey, could we PUT some people under an actual microscope? What would that be like? Would we have to chain them in, or glue them or something?

Donna: I really, really hate reality shows.

Chuck: Donna, Donna! This is not about what YOU want!

Maggie: It's about THEM. Out THERE. We have to give them what they want, or someone else will!

Bill: And they want to watch other people being cheap and obnoxious.

Donna: But WHY?

Maggie: To feel better! It's always to make them feel better!

Chuck: I've got it! A show called "Carpool"! They stay together in the car for a week. Every day a different person gets to drive … and every other night they take a vote to abandon somebody at the motel!

Maggie: No, no, no! That lottery thing … it's old.

Bill: Maggie's right. The audience wants to decide who goes.

Donna: Here's an idea. Let's get the best writers we can find …
and they could dream up funny situations. Or dramatic ones.
And then actors will act them out.

Maggie: Oh, we can get dramatic situations with REAL people. We don't need writers and actors!

Donna: But you have more control with writers and actors.

Chuck: Hah!

Maggie: Obviously you've never worked with any.

Bill: Hey, hey, hey! Put twenty people in a cage at the zoo!

Maggie: At the zoo! I love that!

Bill: We'll get them working on doing tricks, like forming a pyramid and jumping through a hoop.

Maggie: A Flaming hoop!

Bill: Three times a day we put food in a trough, and they fight for it!

Chuck: That's dramatic!

Maggie: And funny!

Bill: See? Whaddya need writers for?

Chuck: You don't! Because people want reality!

Maggie: And what could be more real than 20 people in a cage at the zoo?

Donna: If it's a zoo concept you want, how about something like those National Geographic Specials? I loved those.


Especially the ones with Jacque Cousteau.

Bill: (contempt) How did we ever wind up with you?

Maggie: Are the other teams are getting dragged down like this?

(sfx: group hubub down)

Morton: See? It's got conflict, drama, strategy … all without actors. Producers are finding out that as long as the scenario calls for whining, conniving, pathetic idiots … you can get them for free!

Dc: But Morton … it's depressing.

Morton: Did you watch it?

Dc: Sure!

Morton: Then happy days are here again! TV has a future!

Dc: Morton Fester-Norton is our media and entertainment critic.

Morton: But I'm not that critical!

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