Thursday, February 15, 2018

"A Sitcom Character's Explosive Revelation"

Picked up by my brain, though I believe there was actual telepathy involved. 

The following are the roiling ruminations of a ictional entity working in the television business – “Multi-Camera Sitcom Division” – who shall remain nameless to protect his identity. 

I must be assiduously careful here.  Even using the masculine pronoun puts him in precarious jeopardy.  All I can say is he is a working sitcom character who fears he may be losing his mind.  I know that because his transmitted communication begins,

I may be losing my mind.

I am a sitcom character on a successful television series.  Before that… was I anything?  I don’t know.  But like all sitcom characters, the recognized “End of the Line “ is “Cancellation.” 

So here I am.  In a world that, for me, though apparently not others, is starting to frighteningly unravel.  My fellow co-workers appear unfazed by their predicament.  They actually seem happy.  Me?  I’m a congenital questioner.  Which translates in this particular arena as the notorious “Kiss of Death” –


They tell me to “Go with the flow.”  But more and more, my existence makes sense, less and less.

Some things, I have learned to live with.  I have come to terms with the fact that I am forbidden to leave a room without first making a joke, which keeps changing till they discover a funny one.  So what?  I’ll do it.  And I am basically okay with the fact that, despite buffeting conditions in the middle, at “Fade Out”, like a tightly sprung door, the situation reverts right back to where it started. 

Nothing substantially changes in our world.  Including our wardrobe.  I have four shirts that are regularly rotated.  Except for parties, I have just one pair of shoes.

Also – and this really bugs me though it apparently disturbs nobody else and when I mention it they give me that “Talking to a six year-old” look with “What’s the matter with him?” undertones.

Okay, here it is.  You tell me if I’m crazy.

There is this small room on each level of our “residence” containing a porcelain fixture with water in it. 

And I have no idea what that’s for?

We’re in our Fifth Season and no one has used the thing once.

There is a lot of stuff like that that annoys the heck out of me but rolls off everyone else’s back.  For example, when we address another character, why do we keep saying their names? 

“You know, Cindy…”

I don’t get it.  She knows who she is.  I know who she is.  Often, we are the only people in the room so is no doubt who I’m referring to.

Why do we keep mentioning their names?

“Now hold on, Samantha…”

“Do not use that superior tone with me, M…”

Whoa!  I almost “blew my cover” there.  If they – and do not ask me who “they” are because I have no idea.  I do know, if they knew I was feeling this way, I would play out the rest of the season, and next year, there’d be a new M… a new actor playing my part. 

This is not paranoia.  Word is, Kevin Can Wait killed off his wife and The King of Queens’ old wife’s suddenly back in the picture. 

I’m tellin’ ya, this stuff actually happens!  

One final “annoyance” before it’s back to the salt mines.

Almost every episode since we moved out of “Family Hour” – and occasionally even before – there’s this inevitable dialogue, where – and it’s usually the guy who says this so it affects me directly – they’ll say something like,

“Hey, Paula – there’s that “saying their name” again – “… the kids are asleep.  Feel like going upstairs and… y’know...”

And I have no idea what “y’know” means.

“Feel like going upstairs and rearranging the bedroom furniture?”

“Feel like going upstairs and reading Moby-Dick to each other?”

“Feel like going upstairs and nailing each others’ shoes to the floor?”

What exactly are they talking about?

Sometimes, there’s this accompanying stage direction:  


And I’m thinking, “Suggestively” about what?

Which, of course, undermines my performance, when I’m called on to deliver that line.  My “Suggestively” comes out sheathed in “Confusion.”  Then they yell, “Cut!” and we have to do it again. 

They say, “Can you deliver it like you mean it?”

And all I can think of is, “Mean what!?!

I try to do what they want because, more than anything, I’d to be regarded as a cooperative “Team Player.”

Well, not “more than anything.”

“More than anything” I am just trying to understand!

It’s just that… this “bizarro” world I live in makes no recognizable coherent sense.  And yet no one but me seems to be troubled by that.  To my carefree co-sitcom-inhabitants, it seems like “Business as usual.”  Add that to my general confusion.  Not only am I upset by these stunning shenanigans. 

How do they so easily go along?

Triggering a deeper, more penetrating conundrum.

If my character is typically unruffled by such troubling concerns,

Who is it “inside me” wondering, “Why”?

Author’s Extraneous Postscript:  I have harbored this idea about “Sitcom characters with an awakening awareness of their condition” for some time.  It was only today’s “Morning Meditation” that brought forth an acceptable approach.  Call me a “Zealot for Meditation.”  Only I won’t destroy you if you try it and quit.

“A Benevolent Zealot.” 

You don’t see that very often.


Wendy M. Grossman said...

:) Now, I know this character is not on GIRLS, because that show used its toilets...


Ed, Sr. said...

Mr. P., that was brilliant!