“WE’VE ALREADY PAID FOR THE SCRIPTS, SO WHAT THE HELL,” SAYS EXEC
With all live-action shows being shuttered by the major networks and stockpiles of scripts already purchased for the truncated season, rumors are spreading that the networks plan on continuing the season with cartoon versions of the shows. As absurd as anything heard in a pandemic task force briefing, Weekly World News was determined to find out if there was any truth in the rumor.
We turned to the Grand Dame of Hollywood gossip, Zasu JeJune, who greeted us wearing a silk facemask with a delightful spring pattern on it. “I know it sounds crazy,” said Zasu, “but…what isn’t crazy these days?”
She informed us that the networks, for the first time in broadcast history, are working together to keep their shows’ brands alive. “It all started,” she recalled, “with one of the heads of programming being self-quarantined with his somewhat dim son and four grandchildren, ages two through eight. The exec is one of the few people in the industry who has not only saved all his old VHS tapes but has six VHS players in the house. His grandkids were driving him nuts so he pulled out a stash of cartoon videos.
“After a while, he heard hilarious laughter. He came in and saw his grandkids and his dim son in hysterics while watching old cartoons from the 1920s and 1930s. So, he began watching them watching the cartoons. Most of the cartoons were in the public domain. Anyone could use them. So, he decided to.”
Weekly World News was skeptical. “We’re skeptical,” we announced.
At that point, a well-dressed man wearing an “Elephant Man” burlap head mask emerged from the kitchen. “This is all off the record,” he stressed, “although I wouldn’t mind word of this spreading.”
“MY NETWORK FELT, WE’VE ALREADY BOUGHT THE SCRIPTS, SO WHAT THE HELL.”
He then fell over a chair, cursing his mask. “All of the networks have a ton of scripts, bought and paid for, and here were all these visuals out there for free. I thought to myself, with editing and voice-overs, we could keep our brands alive. The problem was: these cartoons are available to everyone, so I conference-called the other two programmers and we divided the cartoons in a three-way split.”
Another well-dressed man, wearing a paper bag over his head, shambled into the room, nailing his knee on a coffee table. “My network felt, we’ve already bought the scripts, so what the hell.”
A third well-dressed man, wearing goggles and a surgical mask strode in. “We figured: this is going to be the coolest thing ever or the biggest disaster since ‘My Mother, the Car’ and ‘Joanie Loves Chachi.’”
Zasu turned and added: “All the networks called all the stars involved and asked if they’d do the voice-overs or allow their faces to be superimposed on the cartoon versions.”
THE LAWYERS AREN’T CARTOONS
Said the burlap-encased exec, “The amount of lawyers threatening to sue us was amazing. So, we decided to hire local voice-over actors. We have folks from ‘Beavis and Butthead,’ ‘Screaming Sore Dick’ and ‘Downton Abbey.’ We also have outtakes from already filmed episodes that we can insert. I mean, who’s not going to want to see Tom Selleck react to a dancing, giant spider? Betty Boop subbing for Edie Falco as ‘Tommy.’ Or Betty’s Grampy solving mysteries when that light bulb goes off above his head on ‘Criminal Minds?’ This approach could be a game-changer.”
“That’s what’s going to make or break these shows, inserting the actors into the animation. All of the cartoons have characters sort of gyrating up and down to the jazzy background scores, so we’ll play with the live action shots to make them gyrate, as well,” added the paper bag man.
The goggle guy guffawed. “I mean, can you imagine the cast of ‘Chicago Fire’ bippin’ around with Cab Calloway and his band busting jazz riffs behind them? Mind officially blown!”
“I JUST SAW AN EPISODE OF ‘LAW AND ORDER: SVU’ AND I LAUGHED MY ASS OFF.”
To help them make the entire process run smoothly, the three major networks have hired 3,242 film school students to edit and re-purpose the shows. Said the burlap man, “I just saw an episode of ‘Law & Order: SVU’ and I laughed my ass off. You know how the show has that classic ‘Law & Order’ ‘ka-chung’ sound? Try watching it with ‘boing, boing’ and ‘ahoooooga.’ Takes it to a whole new level.”
Weekly World News then asked: “What about Fox and the CW?”
All the men burst into laughter. Zasu explained, “Honestly? They’ve launched so many failed shows over the years that they could just re-run them as if they were new. Nobody would even notice.”
Said the burlap man. “And, if this works, and it takes a year to find a cure for this virus? It’s only the beginning. Do you know how many movies are in the public domain? Can you imagine Ice T and Mariska Hargitay battling ‘The Brain That Wouldn’t Die?’ or John Goodman in ‘Santa Claus Conquers the Martians?’”
The three masked TV executives embraced. “This could lead to a new standard in broadcasting!” paper bag man wept.
Zasu JeJune excused herself. “Now, we’re all going to watch the daily pandemic briefing. Care to stay?”
Weekly World News excused itself. It had reached its insanity limit for the day.