Since a lot of favorite network dramas have gone on break, and we are currently being subjected to dreck like "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" or endless Golden Girls reruns, I figured now was a good time to step in and suggest a few alternatives...
These are two of my Mr. Teacher columns from education.com. The first ran on January 8, 2008 and can be found here, and the second ran on May 27, 2008 and can be found here.
If you're like me, you are really upset about the writers’ strike that has had such a huge effect on movies and TV shows. Some of my favorite series -- "Heroes", "Lost", "Battlestar Galactica" -- have been delayed or suspended, while the very existence of others is up in the air.
Well now you don't need to worry any longer! Since I am not officially a member of the Writers Guild of America (or any Guild, for that matter), I am not forbidden to introduce new ideas into general public awareness.
So I have taken it upon myself to develop a few new concepts for movies and TV. These pitches -- all teacher-related, of course -- might just be coming to a video store near you, if the strike doesn't end soon.
"Try Hard" -- John McWayne was a 3rd-grade master reading teacher, the best at his inner-city public school. Until he ran into the class with no motivation. Led by an apathetic ESL student named Hans, this class didn't know the definition of the word, "effort." Witness McWayne win over and inspire the kids so they pass the evil standardized test.
*this movie would invariably spawn a sequel about the kids who did NOT pass -- "Try Hard 2: Try Harder".
"7" -- Special Agent Jack Tower of the CPU (Counter Plagiarism Unit) faces the longest school day of his life when a plot to mass distribute Senior term papers is uncovered. Meanwhile, Principal Palmer has his hands full dealing with a group of kids determined to kidnap the school mascot. Shot in real-time, each episode follows Jack and his crack team as they unearth clues, interrogate students, and enjoy a 30-minute cafeteria lunch. Don't miss the pulse pounding excitement!
"The Text-Files" -- Agents Sculder and Mulley, of the NTAA (National Textbook Adoption Agency) investigate mysterious occurrences involving misspellings and disappearing answer keys in Teacher Editions. Standing in their way is the sinister consortium, headed by the devious Pencil-Chewing Man. When it comes to history books, Sculder and Mulley are out to prove -- "the Truth is in there!"
"The Bourne Congruency" -- Amnesiac super-spy/assassin Jason Bourne is back again, this time as a high school geometry teacher! The pieces of his shattered life have finally begun to fall back into place, and to Bourne's surprise, those pieces are all the same size and same shape.
"The Straight A-Team" -- 10 hours ago, a crack academic team was sent to detention for a violation they didn't commit. These students promptly escaped from the minimum-security detention hall to the high school underground. Today, still wanted by the vice principal, they survive as mathletes of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the Straight A-Team.
If these don't get green light for whatever reason, I've got tons more: "Fast Times Tables at Ridgemont High", "Charlie's Angles", "The Addition Facts of Life", "Everybody Loves Rounding", and so on and so on.
Writers Guild of America -- let this serve as motivation to you to get back into place quickly!!
Ladies and gentlemen, our long national nightmare is over! OK, so the Hollywood writers’ strike ended months ago, and most of our favorite shows returned with shortened schedules. Strangely though, nobody from any of the major studios has contacted me about my column back in January, where I suggested a few teacher-related ideas for new shows and movies. (No one except the CW that is, and they hardly count.)
However, that column seemed to be pretty popular with you, the lovely, sophisticated readers of education.com, and so a sequel was greenlit. Call it Mr. Teacher’s Showbiz Pitches 2: Electric Boogaloo.
Here are a few new conceptual ideas for movies and television programming, all education-related, of course.
E-Raser – This cartoon about a Pink Pearl eraser striving to be at the top of his game is shot in Japanimation style. Join E-Raser and friends (and the shadowy ERaser-X) as they thwart the bad guys. Go, E-Raser, go! (Check out the opening sequence on YouTube!)
The Last Fraction Hero – Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the big screen, playing Denominator, a killer cyborg with a penchant for leaving his targets with only half of their vital organs intact. He's already eliminated 15 out of 16 of the ultra-secret Fraction Commission members. Can Shawn Jonner the Third save humanity, or will Denominator break the world into pieces?
Tattlestar Galactica – Mr. Adama is the teacher in charge of this rag-tag group of first graders in space. As cries of, "He's skipping!" "She called me stupid!" and, "They're playing in the bathroom!" erupt all around him, Mr. Adama stays cool as a viper and resists the urge to shoot any of his students out of an airlock.
Indiana Jones and the Almighty Amazon Altar of Alliteration – With good ol’ Indy getting older and older, he's spending less time out on adventures and more time back in the classroom! This time, he regales his class with the tale of outwitting and outspeaking a wild, wicked witch doctor in a terrific, tongue-tied throwdown! Snakes... why did it have to be sinister, sneaky, scaly snakes?
Perimeters of the Caribbean – Captain Jack Spiral knows that X marks the spot, but he's convinced that a more special treasure lies on the edges of his sea. With his unruly crew aboard the cursed Black Square, Captain Jack traverses the length and width of the open waters. Yo ho ho and a boundary sum!
OK, I'll just wait here by my phone to be called this time. Since most shows are airing their season finales, we'll need something new for the long summer months!
In the meantime, I'll continue working on my new game show -- Are You More Exhausted Than a Third Grade Teacher?