Like all writers, I’ve had my share of rejection letters. I happened to run across this (fictional) rejection of a proposal for a TV sit-com based on Presidential politics and set early 21st century America.
“Dear Dr. Thomas,
Thank you for sending your intriguing outline for your proposed TV sit-com, “The Mango Mussolini.” While there are some clever lines, the entire concept is way too fantastical for modern audiences. We don’t have the time or frankly, the motivation, to point out all the times you’ve broken all bounds of credibility, but here are a few.
1. The idea that an American President would openly ask for help from the Russian government is completely unbelievable. None would be that stupid, but if they were, he or she would soon be impeached and out of office — no more episodes!
2. Why would the Republican Party choose one of the most failure-prone businessmen in US history as their leader? The Republicans are well known for supporting business. They might nominate a successful businessperson, but not one with a long string of failures. Yes, of course, it is ironic and, to an extent, funny. But at some point, it becomes too unbelievable for the audience. And, then, as though the joke was not unbelievable enough, you doubled down and had your main character also be sued for a fake university and a fake charity. Come on. Seriously.
3. Imagining the Mango Mussolini as a sexual predator and pervert despite (or perhaps because of his obesity and repulsiveness) seems like a cheap trick to get more obese old guys to tune in. That aspect, as well as the fear, hate, and lies that spew out of his mouth make it unsuitable for prime time network fare. “Grab them by the pu$$y”? No-one even talks that way. Even if we could overcome the other issues, we would have to rate this R.
4. We did find the notion of a pandemic intriguing, but why on earth would a President near the end of his first term lie about it when simply telling the truth, showing empathy, and putting experts in charge of the manufacture and distribution of PPE, masks, testing, and contact tracing would have guaranteed an easy win?
In summary, some nice contrivances, but no-one will believe characters could be so evil, inept, and without redeeming qualities. And, even if they were that evil, why wouldn’t they simply be deposed by their own party?
Keep trying. Try to make it more realistic.
Essays on America: The Stopping Rule
Essays on America: The Update Problem
Essays on America: Poker Chips
Essays on America: My Cousin Bobby
The Primacy Effect and the Destroyer’s Advantage
Too funny. Too sad.
The genre is actually reality TV, yes? Good read. Thank you.
Yes. That’s better than sit-com. Thanks.