Who Wants to Survive a WeddingTo: Jason Snell, Editor of TeeVee
From: Edmund T. Spearling, Publisher & Chairman, TeeVee Enterprises LLC
Re: Your Dropping the Ball
The other day I was sifting through my mail when I came across a letter -- one of the thousands I receive, read and respond to each week as chairman and CEO of the twelfth most-profitable TV commentary and content site -- from reader LucidTrip@webtv.net. This letter, succinct as it is powerful, spells out the major problem I, and the rest of the TeeVee executive board, have with your performance of late.
Indeed, LucidTrip@webtv.net has said a mouthful. You are all idiots. Michaels, Knauss, that ridiculous Polack who writes from time to time -- idiots all.
But you, Snell -- you are the grand idiot to whom all the other idiots must bow down and pay homage.
Harsh? Perhaps. But I've never liked you. I've made no secret of that. Maybe it's that high-pitched laugh of yours that brings meetings to a grinding halt. Maybe it's your horrible haircut. Maybe it's the way you mispronounce words like "statistics" and "nuclear." For the last goddamned time, it's nuke-le-ar, not nuke-you-lur, you rube.
I've been able to overlook these faults because of TeeVee's phenomenal profitability. Your decision not to pay the writers anything? Brilliant. The bold move of picking a dot-org domain instead of the more highly-visible dot-com real estate? Fiendishly clever.
Maybe these successes went to your head, Snell. Because lately, you've been ignoring all my sage advice and counsel -- as if no idea is a good idea unless it's generated in that strangely-coiffed little noggin of yours.
I wanted to invest in NBC Internet; you shot that idea down. I said, "Keep an eye on David Spade's uproarious cartoon, Sammy. It's sure to be the hit of the summer." You just rolled your eyes and mocked me behind my back to your underlings.
And I wanted TeeVee to be all over this reality programming thing like stink on an ape. A fad, you said. It'll never last, you said.
Well, let's take a look at this reality TV fad, Mr. Soothsayer. Survivor is a runaway monster hit, with every man, woman and child in this country advancing some crackpot theory about who the surviving contestant will be. (My money is on devious fatboy Richard!) Big Brother has generated tremendous press for CBS -- most of it negative, but you know what they say about publicity. Even Making the Band has captured our nation's imagination by staking out territory once thought taboo by network television -- a rock band staffed entirely by adorable little boys!
So I have to ask, Mr. Snell: Where's our reality show tie-in?
Have you invited any of the Survivor contestants to join your staff? Have you tried to land an interview with that enchanting stripper who raised temperatures in the Big Brother house? Have you even bothered to set up a Web cam in the TeeVee offices so that our own Web site can tap into the voyeuristic ethos that has America in its clutches?
No, no, and no. Because you are remarkably dim.
Oh, I know you've tried. Last spring, Collier and Wrenn tried to auction themselves to any woman who would have them. Not surprisingly, few would. You got a grand total of zero entries, Snell -- an embarrassing figure I attribute as much to your marketing savvy as the general unattractiveness of Collier and Wrenn.
Thank God we fired Collier.
Well, Snell, we're going to try this again. We're going to have ourselves a wedding, a real wedding, a Vidiot wedding. And this time, I'm handling the planning, so nothing will go awry.
We've got that woman on staff, right? Lisa Schmeiser? Well, tell her to go pick out a wedding gown: she's getting hitched.
And the lucky groom is... one of the Vidiots.
We'll put up an online poll. Online polls are great traffic generators. And we'll have our readers pick which Vidiot -- Michaels, Wrenn, Knauss, Boychuk, Rywalt, even you -- Lisa will be forced to spend the rest of her life with in wedded bliss. We can even add a celebrity to the mix, if you want.
I understand Dennis Boutsikaris is available.
We'll go all-out with this one, no half-measures here. We'll do the wedding in Las Vegas, Nevada -- home of quickie, no-questions-asked marriages and virtual lawlessness. We'll rent out a nice facility -- I hear the Circus Circus is nice. And we'll spare no expense on food and beverages -- $9.95 prime rib buffet for everybody!
Now, I can already hear the objections rattling around in your pea-brain, Snell. We can't do that! you're probably whining. It's immoral! It's indecent! It's quite possibly illegal! Well, running rum in from Canada during the 1920s was a little on the shady side. But that's how the Kennedys amassed their fortune. And you don't hear anyone speaking ill of the Kennedys now, do you?
I mean, apart from Ted.
Let me try and address your concerns one by one.
What if Lisa doesn't want to get married?
A good, solid question. Let me answer that with a question of my own: What if Lisa likes getting a paycheck? What if Lisa would like to stay employed? What if Lisa buttons her lip and does what she's told?
I think that will put everything into perspective.
Some of the Vidiots are already married. Shouldn't they be excluded from this stunt?
By all means, no. That's where some of the best drama will come into play.
Pretend for a second you're Mrs. Knauss. Imagine how you'd feel seeing your husband of five years forced into a marriage of convenience with another woman. Can you imagine the shame, the anger, the bloodlust for horrible revenge? So can I... and our TeeVee cameras will be there to capture every last Springer-esque outrage. Why, if Rywalt gets picked, there's a chance his wife will become so enraged, she'll smash a chair over anyone she can get her mitts on -- she's from Philadelphia, you know.
But isn't that bigamy?
I'll say. And you know what bigamy is? A surefire ratings bonanza. Just ask the Mormons.
I'll explain this once more so that it sinks through that thick, mop-hair-lined skull of yours. Marrying off Lisa Moonie-style could be the best thing to ever happen to TeeVee. Do you think any other Web site would try a stunt like this? TVTattle wouldn't. TV Barn wouldn't. Hell, at Salon, they've long since resigned themselves to dying alone and unloved. We can raise the bar by setting a new low!
Besides, if this doesn't work, I'm locking all of you in a camera-equipped house. And sealing off the air vents.
(See the poll results.)
Additional contributions to this article by: Philip Michaels.
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