Thursday, April 21, 2016

Shakespeare in the Writers' Room - Totally True History of Stuff You Should Totally Believe, for Reals!

This is an installment in the occasional series Totally True History Stuff You Should Totally Believe for Reals! It is researched, written, curated and maintained by Beth D. Carter and me. You should totally believe everything here because it's totally true, for reals.

For years the television industry has kept the lid on what I’m about to reveal. Careers may be at stake and reputations irrevocably damaged by what I am about to share but, in the end, the truth is always better than a lie. The mistruths behind the television show Cheer must be brought into the light.

Scholars and television executives alike will deny this. They will call me a whack-job and smear my name. As I’ve researched this I and my family have been threatened but I remain committed to the cause. I will make public supportive evidence in coming weeks. Today, I only intend to present a brief summary of what I’ve found.

In order to understand the import of these facts, you need to be able to conceive how it’s even possible. The first time one hears that William Shakespeare wrote the ‘80’s sitcom, Cheers, it may seem like pure fiction. But that most unlikely of facts is 100% true.

At the original Globe, costume and set design took a lot longer than in today’s theaters. The time between act one, scene two and act one, scene three could be as much as 20 minutes. Shakespeare could see that his audience would get restless and many would wander away. Most plays ended with half the audience they started with.

So, under the pen name Christopher Marlowe, he wrote silly little 15 minute vignettes about clownish oafs who were hanging out in a pub. His actors for these little pieces were stage hands in their street clothes, sitting at the bar, talking and joking in base language. The little side stage never changed and the costumes didn't matter so it filled the time perfectly with no real extra effort.

Problem was the pub scenes became more popular than the plays. The situation flipped. People were bored, wandering around, starting fights during the proper play. They were waiting for the pub scenes and didn’t care about Henry V, Much Ado, Hamlet...

This infuriated Shakespeare so he buried the vignettes and tried to start a whisper campaign about that hack, Christopher Marlowe.

In 1958, archeologists unearthed the manuscripts in a wooded area near Kensington known as the James Burrows. Once they were cleaned up and transcribed, it became clear that what was once thought to be just a rumor was, in fact, reality. The CHristopher Marlowe William shakespEARE, or CHEARE, plays were real.

The stories were brushed up for the sitcom to be more modern but the actual dialogue remained true. More than 85% of the words said on Cheers were originally penned by the Bard himself.

Parks and Recremation

A friend of mine asked me to write her obituary.

Camilla Parks's vast and varied contributions to the progress of humankind began several decades before her birth when she invented the photoscopic device that bears her namesake, the camera. She would later describe the pre-embryotic revelation that would lead to the creation of a tool that could transfer light images on to treated film thusly: “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could save the shit we see on paper?"
It was this simple observation that marked the beginning of the amazing career and, later, life of Parks. The noted inventor, woman of letters, world-class phrenologist and all around awesome dude would go on to delight and astonish all citizens of the world from great thinkers and political leaders to those dumb-fucks who just sit around eating dirt. What is up with those people?!
Born to Mr. and Mrs. Harriet S. Tubman on exactly the right day in the twentieth century, Reginald Archibald Peachpot would later change her name to Camilla Park after reading a really interesting book about Haley’s comet. She changed her name to Camilla Parks after the birth of her second child stating, “Wulp, I guess we’re plural, now.”
It was her heroics during the Battle of the Bulge that first landed Parks in the national spotlight. Her Sometimes You Gotta Contract campaign swept the nation and is widely considered responsible for TV shows such as Laugh In and 60 Minutes by most historians. Stephen Ambrose said, “It was a heady time for Parks. Her ability to balance work and family life was a true inspiration for the nation.” He added, “Is that what you needed?”
Once, after a phone call, Parks was overheard saying, “I really wish they’d stop calling me.”
Parks is survived by her loving family and that beef she put in the refrigerator to marinate yesterday morning. Her last thought was, “There’s no way they’re going to cook that steak right.”
She will be missed.