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Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

TV Pitch: The Siam Society

In Television on April 25, 2005 at 4:20 am

This is a hip, Thai cooking show featuring recipes, call-in, travel and history remotes, guests (non-cooking, Asian-American), DJs and bands (again, Asian-American or Asian), recorded in the swanky bar of Mekala’s Restaurant.

Thai cuisine is the fourth most popular in America. It is also a “young” cuisine in the sense that people 40 and younger have grown up with it as a fact of food life. Asian culture is also very hip — from anime and Miyazake (“Spirited Away”) to Chow Yun Fat and Jet Li to Yao Ming. But it is very under-represented.

I think The Siam Society would serve a very under-served group of listeners and distinguish itself by being bold, hip and smart.

A companion publication could be launched with the TV show: a consumer magazine devoted to Thai food. It could have travel pieces, articles on restaurants, recipes, beverage coverage and cooking tips. It could be paired up with a trade publication covering the industry for Thai restaurateurs. If you did all three you would establish a brand presence: The Siam Society (TV show), Mekala: The Magazine for Thai Gourmets and Thai Food (trade magazine).

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Global Wig-Out Productions © 2005

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TV Pitch: Hell Hole

In Television on April 25, 2005 at 4:18 am

Let’s replace the fulsome eructations of E!’s “Celebrity Homes” and MTV’s “Cribs” with something closer to real life. Our Host, a person without a slavish devotion to either Architectural Digest or Vibe and with just a wee smidgen of common sense, takes the place of the bobble-head doll or the transparent pseudo-chum in front of the camera. He visits the homes of the rich and famous and shows them to you with a critical eye.When yet another beautiful young thing shows you the icebox full of champagne or empty but for wheatgrass juice then turns to the camera and mewls, “I’m just so busy working,” Our Host will let you know she really means is, “I own a four million dollar home but I don’t know how to live in it so I’m trying to present a failing as a virtue.”

When there are decorating obscenities, they are called out. When the Celebrity tries to spin, our Host spins back. When a house is bereft of even a single book or chock to the ceilings with movie posters, Our Host makes mention. When another in the long list of house-visit-show clichés are unleashed, our Host stomps them down.

An optional variant on this idea is to have our Host, instead of visiting the rich and famous with a sharp eye, visit the misguided, anonymous and peculiar, using the same kind of unctuous and worshipful eye featured by most home shows.

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Global Wig-Out Productions © 2005

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TV PITCH: Dressing For Dinner

In Television on April 25, 2005 at 4:14 am

Thank goodness for blogging. What would I do with shit like this otherwise?

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Dressing For Dinner is a travel show that will take the viewer to exotic locations, both far-flung and close to home. What makes it unique is the fact that the Host, traveling with his manservant, Brooks, concludes each episode by ‘dressing for dinner.’

No matter where the host is — the Burmese jungle, the trackless expanse of the Navajo Nation, a caravanserai in Turkmenistan — he will, aided by his trusty manservant, don a dinner jacket, pressed slacks, polished shoes, cufflinks and shirt-studs and, after his manservant sets up a linen-covered card-table with silver-service and a framed picture of Noel Coward, will eat a meal that represents the culinary identity of the region he has visited.

Noel will be the presiding genius of the show. At a dicey border crossing in Guatemala, the host might ask “What would Noel do in this situation?’ In the headman’s house in a Sarawak village they might muse, “Would Noel approve of the menu for dinner?”

Although food figures in the show, and is not incidental, it is not a food show per se. It is a travel show with a concern for the people, culture, history and cuisine as well as a sense of humor about the culture clashes Western travelers always engage in but rarely acknowledge, at least not in themselves. Others are always the ugly Americans, the ugly Europeans. Others are tourists. We are always the humble, the hip. We connect in the most heart-felt, authentic way with the natives. We walk lightly on the earth. We are travelers.

The program pretends to a witty, distanced sophistication that will humorously clash with the preceding half-hour’s wide-eyed and often difficult and dirty travel, or, in the case of visits to places like Hedonism resort in Jamaica or the clubs of Ibiza, with the decidedly undignified nature of the destinations.

Picture for instance, a sailing trip on an Omani dhow from Muscat to Zanzibar. Imagine the difficulty the manservant will have setting up the card table with its once-white linen, once shining silver, its portrait of Noel Coward and the host will have donning his now-damp and wrinkled dinner jacket and attempting to sit down for a dinner of mussels, port and cigars only to find the dinner consisting of crusted-over rice and a mysterious jerky. Out of his native context, his vaunted (and largely contrived) cultural habits will appear comical and point up the inherent ridiculousness of our notions of ‘elegance’ and ‘sophistication.’ In certain cases, though, these self-same cultural habits might prove a bulwark against the vicissitudes of fortune on the road.

This show will appeal to the same higher-income, well educated viewer that enjoys many travel shows. But its tongue-in-cheek attitude will draw in viewers who enjoy more creative travel programs, like the BBC’s “Globe Trekker” and the Food Channel’s “A Cook’s Tour.” It will also draw in viewers of comedy, who watch Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and who watched HBO’s “Fishing with John.”

The first episode will be Iraq.

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Global Wig-Out Productions © 2005

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