Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Major Dad 'Mop-Up'"

There was this guy named Bernie Slade. Bernard Slade. Also a Canadian. Bernard Slade’s primary claim to fame – or at least his most prestigious claim to fame – is that he wrote a successful play, which later became a movie, called, Same Time, Next Year. My interest was in Slade’s television work, where he created two popular series, The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family.

I always admired – make that envied – Bernie Slade. To me, Bernie Slade had the greatest job in television.

Bernie Slade created TV series. That was his whole job. He created the series, but – and herein lies the envy part – he was not required to work on them. He would do the pilot, and if it got picked up as a series, someone else was brought in to run the show. Bernie would then go back to work creating other series. (At least, this how it appeared from the credits: I’d see, Created By: Bernard Slade, but no writing or producing credits on the series.)

I ravenously coveted that job.

I never got it. (The job may actually have disappeared.) When a series I created got picked up, the network required me to run the show myself. This was unfortunate, all around. I had some aptitude for making up series ideas. I was considerably less effective at running shows.

In a way, it makes sense. You’re the chef who created the delectable menu for the opening of your restaurant, and the next day, you’re gone, and another guy is preparing the food. They’re following the recipes, but it’s not the original chef. When the networks buy a show, they require the original chef to stick around. Whether they’re good at sticking around or not.

You created the series, you ran the show. That’s how it worked. It wasn’t all bad. They paid you really well.

So I ran Major Dad, along with the aforementioned “Executive Producer”-coveting Rick, and a crusty but good-hearted codger named John Stephens. John had been the Executive Producer (along with Rick) on Gerald McRaney’s previous series, Simon and Simon, transitioning to Major Dad after Simon and Simon completed its run. John handled the show from a production standpoint, hiring the crew, scheduling, etc. He did pretty well, for someone who had no sitcom experience whatsoever.

(Point of Personal Privilege: John would tease McRaney by calling him "Sergeant Markoff", after an unlikable character from the Gary Cooper version of the movie, Beau Geste. I got a kick out of that.)

Take note. This is significant. In all my years working in television, Major Dad was the only series I ever worked on full-time for an entire season. You read that right. In my entire career in half-hour comedy, I worked on a full season of episodes only once. I don’t know how people do it. (And do it year after year.) It darn near broke me in half.

You read a script on Wednesday. You film it the following Tuesday. The next morning, you read another script, and do the whole process over again. You produce three, sometimes, four episodes in succession. Then you have a week’s break from production, called a hiatus, but it’s not a vacation.

You’re preparing new scripts. You’re editing episodes that were already shot. You’re casting roles for episodes down the line. You’re approving set designs. You’re mixing sound for the episode about to be aired. You’re polishing the script ready for the upcoming reading. You’re giving the staff writers notes on the drafts of scripts to be produced later. And you’re writing a script yourself.

And while you’re doing this, you’re putting out fires – dealing with the actors, plus the studio and network executives, who are totally indifferent to what you’re trying to accomplish (and the murderous time schedule you’re working under) and pressuring you to do things differently (invariably in a way the audience has seen before several million times.)

At first, Major Dad ran relatively smoothly. The actors were cooperative, the audiences were enjoying the show. (Just as a side note, my capable stepdaughter, Rachel, was given the assignment of naming the Major Dad children. I wasn’t being generous. She was way better at picking appropriate children’s names than I’d have been.)

The work was exhausting but it somehow got done. We were moving ahead.

Then, without warning, while we’re filming our seventh script, McRaney announces that he hates the eighth script, and he refuses to do it. Unsettling but fine. We send him the ninth script, which will now become the eighth script, and we’ll write new ninth script.

McRaney hates that one too.

Now, we’re in trouble. Why? Because we don’t have any more scripts.

Major Dad shuts down production for two weeks. Replacement scripts (based on replacement ideas we haven’t come up with yet) need to be written. Stomach churning and sleep disturbances ensue.

I meet with McRaney and his manager to discuss the problems McRaney’s having with the scripts. At some point in the discussion, McRaney’s manager, coincidentally a former Marine, says, “Now, putting on my ‘comedy hat’….”

I, internally, hit the roof, and bang my head against it a few hundred times. I’m not a Marine. I don’t claim, and never have claimed, to have a “Marine hat.” McRaney’s manager had never been involved in a comedy. Where the heck did he get a “comedy hat”!?

It appeared that McRaney simply wanted to be consulted on the scripts. Which was my fault. I had deliberately kept him out of the loop. The reason I had kept McRaney out of the loop was because he was generally irrational in his objections to the scripts. So my keeping him out of the loop was, arguably, his fault.

Nah. It was still my fault, for being incapable of handling the irrationality. Which when you think about it, made it the studio and network’s fault. I never wanted to run a show in the first place.

I wanted to be Bernie Slade!!!

Okay, I need to calm down. I’ll finish this tomorrow.


diane said...

I am completely in awe of your ability to put so much of yourself on the page (or blog). I always feel as if you are standing in the room speaking to me. My writing always sounds stilted to me. Even when I am trying to write as if I were talking to a friend. It just never comes out that way. I hope you are getting enjoyment out of writing this blog because I know that reading it is one of the high points of my day.

Anonymous said...

I continue to empathize with you plights.

Anonymous said...


Sparky said...

I love these stories...thanks for sharing them.

Anonymous said...

Earl, I enjoy your writings, but I wish you wouldn't put Gerald McRaney down without him here to defend himself. To me that is just gossip.

wow gold said...

If you wow gold were in wow gold any doubt buy wow gold that the buy wow gold God Wars cheap wow gold Dungeon was cheap wow gold challenge enough wow power leveling for you, wow power leveling look no further power leveling than the giant power leveling demon, K’ril wow gold Tsutsaroth. Once buy wow gold thought of as cheap wow gold nothing more world of warcraft gold confirm his existence.

belrion said...

buy wow gold

buy wow gold

buy wow account

buy wow gold

Anonymous said...

I like play online game, I also buy ragnarok online zeny and ro zeny, the ragnarok zeny is very cheap, and use the iro zeny can buy many things, I like cheap zeny, thanks, it is very good.

I like play online game, I also buy rupees and rappelz rupees, the rappelz gold is very cheap, and use the rappelz money can buy many things, I like cheap rappelz rupees, thanks, it is very good.

xxmy said...

Weekends to people ig2tmean that they can have a two-day wowgold4europe good rest. For example, people [url=]gameusd[/url]can go out to enjoy themselves or get meinwowgold together with relatives and friends to talk with each storeingame other or watch interesting video tapes with the speebie whole family.
Everyone spends agamegold weekends in his ownmmofly way. Within two days, some people can relax themselves by listening to music, reading novels, or watching ogeworld films. Others perhaps are more active by playing basketball, wimming or mmorpgvip dancing. Different people have different gamesavor relaxations.
I often spend weekends withoggsale my family or my friends. Sometimes my parents take me on a visit to their old friends. Sometimesgamersell I go to the library to study or borrow some books to mmovirtex gain much knowledge. I also go to see various exhibition to broaden rpg trader my vision. An excursion to seashore or mountain resorts is my favorite way of spending weekends. Weekends are always enjoyable for me.

wowgoldme said...

buy wow gold,buy wow gold,cheap wow wow gold,cheap wow gold,power wow power leveling,Buy wow of warcrft gold.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


donghua said...

I like your blog, it's very good!
By the way, do you like spyder down jackets, I think they are very fashionable and chic, especially the spyder ski jackets, I love them so much. In my spare time, I also like playing tennis rackets, it can keep healthy, what do you like to do?
kids north face jackets
polo vest
polo jacket
abercrombie fitch mens shirts
polo jackets for men
polo jackets for women
burberry shirts for men
polo hoodies for women
columbia jackets women
polo sweatshirts for women
north face jackets on sale
polo shirts for women
polo shirts wholesale
spyder jackets
ralph lauren polo shirt
polo pants for men
abercrombie fitch shirt
wholesale abercrombie fitch shirts
polo vests
polo jackets
polo hoodies for men
burberry shirts for women
burberry shirts on sale
polo shirts for men
north face jackets cheap
north face jackets for women
north face jackets for men
polo sweatshirts for men
columbia jackets for men
columbia jackets discount
spyder jackets for men
discount spyder jackets
cheap spyder jackets
spyder jacket
spyder jackets for women
tennis racquets
cheap tennis rackets
discount tennis rackets
tennis rackets on sale
prince tennis racquets
head tennis racquets
wilson tennis racquets
babolat tennis racquets

lady said...

I like the side of the article, and very like your blog, to write well and hope to continue their efforts, we can see more of your articles. ed hardy clothes. After reading this article has strong feelings, the future will be ed hardy womens longsleeve.ed hardy longsleeve
ed hardy hoodies
ed hardy jeans
ed hardy
ed hardy clothing
ed hardy t-shirts
cheap ed hardy clothing
ed hardy shirts
wholesale ed hardy clothing
ed hardy outerwear
ed hardy mens outerwear
ed hardy womens outerwear
ed hardy clothes
ed hardy boots
ed hardy outerwear
ed hardy hoodies
ed hardy Jeans
ed hardy hoodies
ed hardy jackets
ed hardy womens jackets
ed hardy mens jackets
ed hardy bags
ed hardy trousers
ed hardy shoes
ed hardy longsleeve
ed hardy mens longsleeve
ed hardy womens longsleeve
ed hardy jackets
ed hardy suits
ed hardy clothing
ed hardy shoes
ed hardy jeans
ed hardy boots
ed hardy mens sweater
ed hardy womens cotton
ed hardy womens boots
ed hardy
ed hardy womens clothing

KM said...


KM said...


KM said...


KM said...


KM said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

o‰ï‚¢ŒF–{o‰ï‚¢‹ž“so‰ï‚¢ŽOdo‰ï‚¢‹{éo‰ï‚¢‹{èo‰ï‚¢’·–ìo‰ï‚¢’·èo‰ï‚¢“ޗǏo‰ï‚¢VŠƒo‰ï‚¢‘啪o‰ï‚¢‰ªŽRo‰ï‚¢‰«“êo‰ï‚¢‘åão‰ï‚¢²‰êo‰ï‚¢é‹Êo‰ï‚¢Ž ‰êo‰ï‚¢“‡ªo‰ï‚¢Ã‰ªo‰ï‚¢“Ȗ؏o‰ï‚¢“¿“‡

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

•Ÿˆäo‰ï‚¢ˆ¤’mo‰ï‚¢Šò•Œo‰ï‚¢Ã‰ªo‰ï‚¢ŽOdo‰ï‚¢•ºŒÉo‰ï‚¢‘åão‰ï‚¢˜a‰ÌŽRo‰ï‚¢Ž ‰êo‰ï‚¢‹ž“so‰ï‚¢“ޗǏo‰ï‚¢ŽRŒûo‰ï‚¢’¹Žæo‰ï‚¢“‡ªo‰ï‚¢‰ªŽRo‰ï‚¢L“‡o‰ï‚¢“¿“‡o‰ï‚¢ìo‰ï‚¢ˆ¤•Qo‰ï‚¢‚’mo‰ï‚¢

Anonymous said...

o‰ï‚¢ŒF–{o‰ï‚¢‹ž“so‰ï‚¢ŽOdo‰ï‚¢‹{éo‰ï‚¢‹{èo‰ï‚¢’·–ìo‰ï‚¢’·èo‰ï‚¢“ޗǏo‰ï‚¢VŠƒo‰ï‚¢‘啪o‰ï‚¢‰ªŽRo‰ï‚¢‰«“êo‰ï‚¢‘åão‰ï‚¢²‰êo‰ï‚¢é‹Êo‰ï‚¢Ž ‰êo‰ï‚¢“‡ªo‰ï‚¢Ã‰ªo‰ï‚¢“Ȗ؏o‰ï‚¢“¿“‡

Anonymous said...

•Ÿˆäo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFˆ¤’mo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFŠò•Œo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFÃ‰ªo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFŽOdo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF•ºŒÉo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF‘åão‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF˜a‰ÌŽRo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFŽ ‰êo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF‹ž“so‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF“ޗǏo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFŽRŒûo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF’¹Žæo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF“‡ªo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF‰ªŽRo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFL“‡o‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF“¿“‡o‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFìo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒFˆ¤•Qo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF‚’mo‰ï‚¢ƒJƒtƒF

Anonymous said...

•ŸˆäƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰ˆ¤’mƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰Šò•ŒƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰Ã‰ªƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰ŽOdƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰•ºŒÉƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰‘åãƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰˜a‰ÌŽRƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰Ž ‰êƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰‹ž“sƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰“ޗǃeƒŒƒNƒ‰ŽRŒûƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰’¹ŽæƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰“‡ªƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰‰ªŽRƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰L“‡ƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰“¿“‡ƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰ìƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰ˆ¤•QƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰‚’mƒeƒŒƒNƒ‰

Anonymous said...

•ŸˆäƒZƒtƒŒˆ¤’mƒZƒtƒŒŠò•ŒƒZƒtƒŒÃ‰ªƒZƒtƒŒŽOdƒZƒtƒŒ•ºŒÉƒZƒtƒŒ‘åãƒZƒtƒŒ˜a‰ÌŽRƒZƒtƒŒŽ ‰êƒZƒtƒŒ‹ž“sƒZƒtƒŒ“ޗǃZƒtƒŒŽRŒûƒZƒtƒŒ’¹ŽæƒZƒtƒŒ“‡ªƒZƒtƒŒ‰ªŽRƒZƒtƒŒL“‡ƒZƒtƒŒ“¿“‡ƒZƒtƒŒìƒZƒtƒŒˆ¤•QƒZƒtƒŒ‚’mƒZƒtƒŒ

Anonymous said...

•Ÿˆä•s—ψ¤’m•s—ÏŠò•Œ•s—ϐɪ•s—ÏŽOd•s—Ï•ºŒÉ•s—Ï‘åã•s—Ϙa‰ÌŽR•s—ÏŽ ‰ê•s—Ï‹ž“s•s—Ï“Þ—Ç•s—ÏŽRŒû•s—Ï’¹Žæ•s—Ï“‡ª•s—ωªŽR•s—ύL“‡•s—Ï“¿“‡•s—ύì•s—ψ¤•Q•s—ύ‚’m•s—Ï

Anonymous said...

—D—Ǐo‰ï‚¢ƒTƒCƒgƒAƒ_ƒ‹ƒg“ŽB‘fln—ƒGƒƒAƒjƒAV——Doˆ§‚¢o‡‚¢ŒnƒTƒCƒg‚Å‚ ‚¢deai•s—Ï•s—Ï‚µ‚Ä‚Ý‚Ü‚¹‚ñ‚©•s—σp[ƒgƒi[•s—ψ¤l2ƒVƒ‡ƒbƒgƒ`ƒƒƒbƒgo‰ï‚¢•s—ϐlÈƒNƒŒƒWƒbƒgƒJ[ƒh

liu said...

When I surf the net, I come across your blog, and after I read your articles, I love your blog deeply.
Are you a fashion chaser? And do you like polo shirts, which are very chic, especially the polo t shirts, I love them very much. I also like playing tennis rackets, it can keep healthy, what do you like to do?
We are so honour to say that we are the outlet of
polo t shirts women
polo t shirts on sale
polo t shirts for women
polo shirts on sale
these products are warmly welcomed by our customers. And what's more we also sell
polo shirts men
men's polo shirt
men polo shirt
mens polo shirts
mens polo shirt
and the high-quality
cheap polo shirts
discount polo shirts
men's polo shirts
women's polo shirts
Our store are also famous for
cheap tennis racket
discount tennis racket
and the main product is
prince tennis racquet
head tennis rackets
wilson tennis racket
babolat tennis racquet
In this case, if you have time, you can buy many excellent things in our store, and we can assure you that we will not let you down.

anamika said...

Awesome work! The data given was very helpful. I really hope that you maintain the great work accomplished.
Locksmiths in Glendale CA
locksmith Plantation FL
Locksmith Saratoga CA
Locksmith Newark CA
Locksmith Newark CA
Newark locksmith
Newark locksmith
locksmith plano texas
locksmiths fort worth
locksmith plano texas
locksmith plano texas
locksmith miami fl
locksmith plano texas
locksmiths fort worth
miami fl locksmith
pembroke pines fl locksmith
pembroke pines fl locksmith
plano locksmith
locksmith plano texas
locksmith aventura
locksmiths fort worth
plano locksmith
plano locksmith
pembroke pines fl locksmith
pembroke pines fl locksmith

nikeairmaxshoe said...

Be fast to browse the newest styles and lots of affordable outfits and Nike oxygen Max and women's merchandise is not an daily affair, for that reason that in the stress of modern day time girls ordinarily do not possess a complete great offer time and vitality to go buying by means of countless many style malls, and look at special fees will make you exhausted, so which you can acquire a satisfactory goods, call up for to devote lots of time, the show up of on collection buying significantly minimizing the inconvenience of this, now you not just can every one of the sudden go to to lots of goods Nike Air Max Shoes .

luck said...

uggs clearance The UGG Erin boots will also be very cute. The UGG kids classic in black and chestnut may also be an excellent buy to smarten increase your kids outfits.The spring summer bunch of cheap uggs outlet is amongst the finest industry regarding style, Uggs Outlet grip, quality and comfort. Investing in a set of two UGG gives you style for the season let alone the envious glances from a single and. After all, it becomes an UGG you're wearing ugg boots clearance.

Anonymous said...

It's remarkable to see your nice runescape gold introduction, and I'm going to bookmark rs gold this and come back to it. Keep writing! I really love your blog and benefit of your buy runescape gold easy decriptions.