Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I’m a big fan of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late night batch of idiocy for the insomniac in all of us. Why go to bed after the Colbert Report when such eye-catching gems as Assy McGee; Aqua Teen Hunger Force; Frisky Dingo; Robot Chicken; Venture Brothers; Superjail; Lucy, Daughter of the Devil; and dozens of like-minded shows can prevent dysfunctional males from dialing Escorts-R-Us or walking into a local bar sober and volunteering to be pummeled with pool cues?

I’ve wanted to develop a show for Adult Swim since its inception in the fall of 2001. Had I gone soft though? Had swimming in the glorified pond of children’s programming for the last several decades withered my cretin-grinning George Bush frat boy, pants down to the ankles, vomit hurling, tongue-licking frozen street poles male credibility somewhat?

Look at my résumé of shows I've worked on: Doe-eyed creatures dripping goodness and light; comic book superheroes dripping goodness and light; little girls and smiling ghosts dripping goodness and light. I've produced more light than Con Ed and more goodness than Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.

Adult Swim executives would laugh their boney asses off at my very presence. What would I, a purveyor of soft talking, smiley-faced animals and loopy "let's now all drink our milk together" programs know from being adult. I would not be read. I would be forcefully thrown out of their offices by way of their plate glass windows; or sneered at as a pseudo-hip kind of guy. What children's programming executive could create anything of merit for that portion of the population legally allowed to pilot cars over cliffs? What would the concept need to be to prove I still had male jackass qualities?

As I’ve matured, I’ve become shorter and more crinkly. I now wear my polyester pants up around my goiter, just the same way I did in high school; my liver spots have grandchildren of their own. Had I matured to the point of no return?

A wag once described Adult Swim as proof positive that males 17+ will watch anything if they're drunk. While I’m a male and my fuzzy vision is now due more to cataracts than carafes filled with alcoholic beverages, my mind still wallows in tumescence jokes, flatulence gags, and the proud ability to act my age as long as it’s twelve. Women flock to men like this...not! In fact, I’m so beyond 17+ that I now need a baby strainer for my Seven and Seven.

Much like a raging yeast infection, my Adult Swim concept germinated from a hot spot I’d prefer not discussing in mixed company; but I must do so -- otherwise this post ends here. Several years ago, I was searching for former classmates to inveigle them to attend our high school reunion, and through the Internet re-established contact with L. Now living in New England, L had become a successful doctor, specializing in what my dad used to call “vomen problems.” You know like “Vhat’s the matter mit you? You have vomen problems?” I remember in high school that L, unlike other girls, gave me the time of day. Why it was Mountain Standard Time I don't know as Madison, Wisconsin is in the Central Time Zone.

I grew up in a household with an English mother who never spoke about anything other than the weather and how large a disappointment I was vis-à-vis the other kids in the neighborhood. The mere mention of the word “sex” to my dad had him asking me what cut of meat I wanted for dinner. He was a butcher, so he knew from brisket and flanken, but preferred taking me out to dairy farms for an afternoon to observe animals at work and play.

Cow With An Awesome Talent - Watch more Funny Videos

One of the farmers said that watching animals was the best education in learning about the birds and bees. I had no idea what pigs, goats, horses and cows had to do with the birds and the bees. I got pooped on and stung a lot trying to find out. I eventually learned everything I needed to know about sex from reading the Farmer’s Almanac, Mad Magazine, and going to see Japanese monster movies at the Capitol and Orpheum theatres. To this day, I can’t watch a Godzilla or Mothra movie without becoming flushed with embarrassment. But I digress.

I remember in second grade a teacher telling me her husband was an OBGYN, which was weird because I had always called her Mrs. Murphy. Several years later, I learned the name of that wacky free-swinging organ that consumes the thoughts of 50% of the world’s population who don’t have one. With that second word, I was almost halfway to learning the 20 plus letters in the English alphabet. It might not have been the best way to learn the ABC’s, but it beat all the picture books given to me in high school.

At about the same time I was re-connecting with L, I was informed by A, a young lady who makes her living as a cartoon voice actor in Toronto, that the Canadian Broadcaster, Teletoons, was searching for ideas to fill its Detour slot. Detour is Canada’s post 9 p.m. time period, where more adult-themed animation is broadcast. Apparently Teletoons was tired of buying retreads from American suppliers like Adult Swim and were seeking more original content for their audience.

I’ve known A for decades. She’s gorgeous, talented, and has a mouth on her like a stevedore. Whether her Teletoons source was actually a drunk peeing behind Massey Hall or some graffiti on the interior walls of the Brass Rail, I don’t know; but she asked me whether I had any perverse cartoon ideas not involving her and her Neapolitan mastiff. Not at the moment, I told her, but I promised I would get back to her.

Why was I asked to come up with a concept? I glanced downward and saw that I was still flying the flag of the United States of America. That alone would make this exercise futile, because, like any other Yankee without landed status, that formidable beast, Canadian Content Rules would come into play. It would not merely be an exercise in writing. What I came up with for Detour could work as well for Adult Swim.

Canada is a smart country. It protects its own against the American artistic juggernaut, whereas we only protect Caribbean tax havens. For a Canadian company to get full government tax credits on any production, whether television series or film, it must employ as much Canadian talent, both in front of and behind the camera, as is humanly possible. Only within the last decade or so have a number of States such as Louisiana, Wisconsin, and New Mexico, to name but three, wised up to give our production companies tax breaks as well.

Read up on these Canadian rules at your leisure, for the graphs are fascinating and the accounting verbiage grammatically exciting; and with an ending as favorable to Americans as Pearl White being tied to the tracks of the Burlington Northern with a sizzling stick of dynamite in her ear and no rescue in sight.

I decided to try and come up with a concept knowing that if anyone did like it, I would have to give up 100% of the rights and any creative control if it were to go any further. I might be thrown a cruller or two and given a coupon to a Second Cup location, but that would be about it.

A % of something is better than 100% of nothing goes the saying. At least someone in Canada would read the idea, which is more than I could hope for here at the time.

Adult Swim cartoons are full of gratuitous sexual innuendoes and I wanted in on them (no pun intended). L had told me a bunch of OBGYN stories which creeped me out, but no ideas were really forthcoming. When I need writer inspiration I sit cross-legged in front of the television with some Hiram Walker in one hand, Triple Sec in the other, and a case of Bols strapped around my ankles. I open up a pack of Gitanes Brunes. Sometimes I even turn the set on. This dog was in for a long evening of solitary drunken debauchery.

If it weren’t for Turner Classic Movies, I would have one less reason to pickle my liver or burn out my lungs. That channel has saved me creatively more often than sandbags and sweat save Grand Forks from the Red River. TCM was offering old style Film Noir night. If nothing else, I could drink along with the actors in the movies.

Gun Crazy, Nightmare Alley, Kiss Me Deadly, and Out of the Past. By the end of this little marathon of gem classics, I knew what my concept would be. But first I had to remember where I left my apartment. I stood up; I fell down; I swore I saw Hoagy Carmichael sitting at a piano with a full orchestra behind him.

I suddenly felt "noir". I threw my shot glass against the wall; I desaturated all the color from my cheeks; then in a clipped staccato fashion, I commenced my very own voice over flashback.

That evening began the birth canal process for NOIR OBGYN: FINGERS OF FURY. Perhaps I might have gone overboard in combining “Noir” with the world of the “OBGYN.” When this idea was finally submitted to the folks up in Toronto, they were so aghast, they bodily threw A out of the office. I’m not sure whether it had anything to do with the material or the fact that the male executives wanted to see her bounce slowly, methodically, and deliberately down the stairs.

NOIR OBGYN is a speculum-swinging doctor by day, a stripper by night, and a vigilante packing more heat than two dozen microwaves all the rest of the time. The town she strumpets around in, Turpitude, is several levels of inhabitability below that of Chernobyl and Bhopal. It's population is corrupt; the music is sultry; the streets are so dangerous, the only parts of speech allowed out after dark are subject, verb and predicate.

Have I gone a tad too suggestive? Perhaps. I re-reviewed all the episodes of Assy McGee again. At least my main character doesn't expel gas like a Ford Pinto every time she speaks.

As for NOIR OBGYN, the series idea itself will be posted here in its entirety within several days.


  1. I am a little concerned for that cute little puppy and his Heineken... brilliant as always Sidney... and my favorite (cleverly so) of all your story ideas.

  2. Good thing it ended good. That was a relief.