Chuck vs 24

May 5, 2010

I’m a big fan of Monday night spy shows: Chuck and 24.

I was discussing the repetitive nature of 24 the other day with a friend of mine, and then later revealing to my parents (Chuck fans) how Chuck will probably get canceled after this season. And then I had an epiphany for how to save both shows.

First off, we have Chuck. Everyone loves the characters, but rapid change has had to happen to Chuck because they are on borrowed time. We loved him, Casey, Sarah and the relationship with his real-life friends/family. But because the show is on such a short run, they’ve had to change the Chuck character over three seasons. He goes from “why is this happened to me?” to “Ok, I’m starting to get this” to “Now I’m going to a whole other level” and a lot of the audience can be uncomfortable with the Season Three Chuck character.

Then we have 24. Jack Bauer is like Jason Vorhees at this point: He’s awesome. We want to see him be awesome. But it’s really difficult to do eight times over without becoming a mockery because there’s no way to do eight seasons without repeating the same old tired plots (informant gets killed before he divulge information! Mole is tipping off the terrorists! The mastermind is really someone much more evil/powerful!)

If I was in charge of a TV network, I would buy both properties and do a season of 24 featuring Casey, Sarah and (the season 2) Chuck.

Casey is the Bauer character. Bad ass spy who’s a noble patriot and ruthlessly efficient.

Sarah is the Renee character on this season of 24: substitute “love” for “emotional basketcase” and you’ve got a hero who’s good at her job, but not the complete pure awesome spy that Bauer/Casey is.

Chuck (season two) is like Chloe when she’s running point on a tactical mission: Provide intel, but not really a bad ass. She moves all the plots along, and is uniquely qualified to help the pure spy.

In Chuck, we never see the analysts work, it’s all provided by Beckman.

In 24, we never see any kind of real-world items. It’s all ignored for 24 straight hours of action.

Chuck, in season 1 & 2, gave equal concern/attention to the missions of his personal life (relationship with sister, job at the Buy More) something they’ve completely abandoned in season three. Which is something 24 sorely lacks.

And the mission aspect of 24 is something Chuck has kind of glossed over as they focus on the relationships/changes of the main characters in season three.

Combining the two shows, you’d get the benefit of letting Chuck be Chuck (likewise Walker and Casey) without constant changes to the essence of the character, and so fans could just enjoy the character. And you’d also get the ability of filling 24 hours without resorting to the same old mole/lead chase/escalating villains formula 24 uses, because you’d have Buy More/Sister missions in between the action.

The secret/hard part would be to find the balance between the light Chuck tone, and the serious drama of 24. Which I think could be done. The idea is to use the lightness to poke fun at some of the things we see in 24 that could be comedic fodder, but leave it to the audience to find the humor. Enter Morgan.

Have Morgan be on a mission to pick up a package and deliver it to CTU. Only have the package be food, so they can actually eat something.

Have someone escorted out of the building in the first episode because they had ties to a terrorist organization, before they can be a mole, and then have a mole-free season.

Have someone enter the restroom before a commercial break, and exit upon return from break.

But treat the missions as ridiculously serious, well choreographed, dramatic events.

That could totally work.


KevFu Auditions For Big Brother 12. Call Back Not Expected

April 1, 2010

They had an open casting call for Big Brother 12 today, on the other side of Austin. Big Brother is the only reality show (save for the first season of Amazing Race when Swain won) that I’ve watched, and that was because Amy lured me in with the promises of a home cooked meal while I was still in Dayton. After watching it there, I basically kept watching future seasons in New Orleans as an excuse to text Amy and Vera more often than I otherwise would.

So, what better way to for them to keep tabs on me than go on the show?  Since I’m unemployed, I sit around all day doing nothing, I might as well try to do that with a $500,000 cash prize at the end.

When I had the idea, which was Wednesday, I printed off the 13-page questionnaire and answered some questions. I’ll spare you all 70 questions, and give you some highlights:

(13) Have you ever appeared in any television programs or films or movies or commercials or advertisements of any kind?

I was Elf #2 in an ad (voice only) while interning at a radio station.

(18) Are there any nude or other revealing or compromising images of you that are available publicly either through the Internet, video or otherwise? If so, please describe and explain.

No, but if they’d be helpful for the show’s publicity, just ask.

(26) If you drink, how often do you get drunk? How do you act when you get drunk?

Every once in a while. Like me, only louder.

(33) What is your favorite TV show(s)?

The fine programming on CBS and Endermol Productions.

(49) When was the last time (if any) you hit, punched, kicked, or threw something in anger? Please provide details.

March 12, 2010. When Dayton lost the A-10 quarterfinal game against Xavier, blowing their NCAA chances, I threw my wallet against the door in frustration and kicked the garbage can.

(52) If you could hold any political office, what would it be and why?

“Ruler of all I survey” so I could make everything better.

(53) What is the accomplishment you are most proud of?

#1 – At a basketball game, I was coordinating timeouts for TV and had to hold up play for four minutes. Members of the crowd of 13,409 began chanting “asshole” at me.

#2 – A guy in front of me tried to time a light, rolling towards the intersection. He had to stop and immediately the light turned green. I immediately gave him the “It’s Green! Go!” honk. It was awesome.

(60) What would you do if “Big Brother” made you famous?

Marry someone better looking that I could otherwise pull on my own.

(62) What types of people would you NOT choose to live with you in the house?

People who snore or have tourettes.

(64) What do you think would be the most difficult part of living in the “Big Brother” house?

Figuring out a way to record all the sporting events I’d have to miss. That would take dozens of DVRs.

The line for Big Brother 12 Auditions in Austin

Thursday was the casting call, so I drove over and found the place. When I got in line (which was about 25 people deep), a woman in front of me was holding a stack of papers.

Her: “Are you here to audition for Big Brother?”

Me: “Yes.”

Her: “Go to the table up front, check in and get an application”

I checked in, but had the app in my back pocket. When I returned, she said “Did you get an application?”

Me: “Yes.”

She looked me up and down because I was holding a cup of coffee and no app. She said “No, you need to fill out an application.”

I pulled it out of my pocket.

Me: “So, are you running the show? What’s going on here?”

Her: “No, I’m just in line.”

I began to realize that my level of attractiveness is a detriment to my chances of beating out someone like Summer

A few minutes later, a girl came up behind me in line, I said “You need to go to the table up front, check in, and get an application.” She returned, sans app. I asked if she had one, she pulled it out of her purse, and she asked if I was auditioning or working the line.

So the girl in front of me (who’s name I can’t remember, but she  was endowed like Christina Hendricks, so we’ll call her Christina) and the girl behind me, Summer, a dentist who aspires to open her own dental office, all got to talking.

After updating my Twitter (“Line is entertaining. Disappointed I won’t be in a house with them”), I realized I would need pictures for this recap. So I took a very unflattering picture of Christina, who called me out for taking her picture. She didn’t like the pic, so I deleted it. I took a picture of Summer, and realized “She’s cute. I might have to get my molar checked out.” (Don’t worry my legions of female fans, she has a boyfriend so no  Showmance potential).

We discussed what we put our applications, Catch Phrase, the ridiculous wind wreaking havoc on their hair (Advantage: Bald Guy.) and other fun topics. Then we began to discuss the casting and strategies for getting on the show.

Christina was of the belief that the show has in mind certain types they are looking for, so it doesn’t matter what you put on your application trying to fool them. If they want a gay cowboy from Austin, it doesn’t matter how the rest of us do in auditions.

At this point, the guy in the plaid shirt in front of us entered the conversation, lisping “I could be a cowboy!” He added that his partner told him he should really “play up the gay,” but he doesn’t act very gay (his words, not mine).

That's a loud shirt, I looked like I slept in my clothes

I surveyed the line and realized, “If they’re looking for a straight male from Austin, I might have this in the bag.” Take a look at those people. They were all wearing loud shirts and looking like three-dollar bills.

I explained that I felt I had no shot, because I looked like I had slept in my clothes (jeans, Tulane ‘Thriv’ T-Shirt), and was surrounded by people trying to impress, some good looking people – some of whom had large breasts.

Christina reminded me that the breasts would only help if they were looking for a sweet girl with large breasts, if they’re looking for a funny guy who’s entertaining to talk to, I could get the gig. Someone added “and if they’re looking for a black guy, we’re all out of luck!”

I said “I could be a militant black guy!” and proceeded to do my impression of Hooper X from Chasing Amy.

As the line moved and people who’d already gone walked past the line to leave, we asked what was going on. Basically, you stand in front of the camera and they say “ok, go.” And you have two minutes to say whatever you like that you think will impress them.

We all commented that we have no idea what we were going to say. But instead of thinking of something, we continued talking, because that was a lot more fun.

The conversation turned to the questionnaire’s inquiries about drinking and how there’s a total lack of context. People who drink socially would sound like alcoholics. I busted out my “alcoholic quiz sounds like everyone has a problem. Try replacing drink/drinking with shower/showering” schtick, which killed as always. But Christina shared her story of being in a relationship with an real alcoholic, which probably helps her chances. I should have made up something about a dead mother.

It was Christina’s turn to go on camera, and Summer called out “Hey, you’ve got leaf on your skirt.” Christina picked it off, and said “Thanks! That would have been embarrassing!”

I yelled “Don’t worry, they’re only going to show you from here up” and held my hand inches below my throat.

She shouted back “It better be from HERE up” and held her hand under her rack.

When Christina was called, we realized she was the 50th person to audition… and amazingly, in an hour and ten minutes, NO ONE had joined the line behind us. When Alberto (he was actually in between myself and Christina, but spent only about 10 minutes in line because he was sitting off to the side filling out his questionnaire) was doing his stand-up, a 54th person entered the line and Summer took her turn as the Big Brother Casting Specialist.

Finally, I got to the front of the line, and I chatted with the camera guy, asking if he needed a white balance (once a media relations director, always a media relations director) and if they had any input on the casting or if they were just delivering the stand-ups. They were just delivering the stand-ups. I held up a white board with my name and number (#52), pretending I was posing for a mug shot. And then they rolled.

I introduced myself, said why I think I’d be a good personality for the show, cracked some horrible joke(s), and ended it in about 55 seconds. A very poor performance on my part. Oh well, it was more fun chatting in line.

As I tweeted again (“Well that sucked. They should have recorded me in line. My performance there was much better.”), I realized I should have had Summer roll video on my camera phone of my stand-up, so I could post it here.  Great ideas always come too late. Instead, here’s a picture of Summer’s stand-up, so you could see the situation we were up against.

They should send these tapes to TV stations looking for news reporters to do fluff pieces

Then we all wished each other good luck and told each other we’d root for them if they got on the show. I got Summer’s number so I can get my molar worked on once I have dental insurance again.

But more importantly, it was an entertaining way to spend four hours of my life (I spent about two hours driving with the traffic on the way home). Christina and Summer were both cool, and I had a lot of fun meeting people my age for the first time in a month.

I’ll be interested to see whom Big Brother selects from Austin. Because unless they want a militant black guy like me, my money’s on Summer or the gay guy in plaid.


Twenty Four for 24

January 18, 2010

So I was watching ESPN’s series 30 for 30 after I was watching the season premier of 24. And I got the idea for the title. So here’s 24 thoughts from the season premier of 24.

1. I spent the entire two hours hating the new bad guy just because of how he looks. He just looks annoying. Then I realized he’s Percy from The Green Mile. And I feel justified in hating him.

2. The new head of CTU? Bubba Blue from Forest Gump.  Somehow, I actually think he’s going to live this season.

3. Baby Terri is a really ugly baby.

4. Ok, there’s items in which 24 needs to use to do something they have to do each season to keep the plot moving without resorting to the same old tired things they’ve done before. But The last one is new and ridiculous reasons to drag Jack back in. Like the NY CTU is going to let Jack just run an op with no official status. “Hey, be a vigilante! It okay! Take some guns!”  If they just said “Jack, you’ve saved the world like 18 times the last 15 years. You’re the best, we need you.” After all, he just brought to their attention a plot to kill a president at the U.N.

5. How about Bubba just listens to the guy who brought them a very real credible threat. And we know it’s a credible threat since the bad guys killed two CTU agents.

6. Chloe not being the best? See, there’s a good wrinkle.

7. What’s the big deal with CTU taking down the reporter. Never trust any member of the media, period.

8. Already rooting for Freddie Prinze, Jr. to die.

9. Ok, I realize Freddie is playing a CTU agent, and isn’t Freddie Prinze, Jr., but he could do so much better than the ugly chick he’s working with at CTU, Dana Walsh.

10. Highly doubt a sitting president gets divorced while in office. I’d think their lawyers would use the obvious leverage of “we’ll give you everything you want in the divorce if we don’t actually do the divorce while we’re living in the White House.”

11. Also highly doubt Kim Bauer tells her dad to go risk his life. I think by now, her mindset would be more “How many times are you going to cheat death? Get on the freaking plane.”

12. I also love how Kim Bauer did the first three seasons before leaving the show to advance her career. And now she keeps coming back because she has nothing better to do. Well, besides hockey players.

13. Why is Dana so worried about that dude calling destroying her new life? What could she possibly have in her past that would come back to haunt her? She was arrested? Murdered a person? Was a drug addict? Jack’s done all of the above and he’s the greatest CTU agent in history. Unless she was in a terrorist cell (which I don’t think they have in trailer parks) I think she’ll be fine.

14. The NY CTU? Wow, what a waste of money. Do we really need an interrogation room door that opens electronically from above? Hinges are really cheap and really efficient.

15. And yet, Jack somehow knows his way around it quite easily, despite having never met the boss or anyone who works there but Chloe.

16. They also have easily accessible parking for people, like Kim. Kim shouldn’t have any idea where CTU is, since she doesn’t work for them, nor has she ever. Nor has Jack. Yet they know how to get to their underground bunker.

17. Speaking of, I think the most unrealistic part of 24 season eight after two episodes wouldn’t be that Victor Aruz found his old contact Jack Bauer about five years and a fake deaths after working for him as a contact in CTU LA, but that he got a parking space right out front.

18. A game show host in India is also the President of Kamistan.

19. And while we’re all thinking its his brother or wife who’s the inside person trying to kill him, it’s probably the younger chick.

20. I figured that Jack’s visit with a Muslim Imam at the end of last season brought him peace, they could get away with using a real country this time, instead of “Kamistan” and say “hey, the hero is a Muslim who FIGHTS terror.”

21. I don’t expect to hear about the three guys who got murdered in the first episode ever again. Why would anyone notice some random people got shot in New York City.

22. But when they show the news on TV, they need to mention the two cops gunned down in an alley by machine guns and the ROCKET LAUNCHER EXPLOSION that occurred on West 21st and Ninth Ave.

23. Two hours and two deaths? One by accident? I mean, axe to the chest was pretty cool, but the other guy just fell. Then again, that’s something kinda real. He should have shrugged like “alright, quicker than I thought.”

24. They changed the clock that goes to and from commercials. The colon between hour and minutes and minutes and seconds used to be spaced in the middle of the numbers. But now the dots are way lower.

Yes. I’m a loser.