Writers’ strike means harsh reality TV

By Sujay Kumar

Writing a solid opening sentence is painfully horrible.

Wait, let me try again. Writing a solid opening sentence is horribly painful. I’m sure one of those works.

I keep dragging my pencil across the page, hoping that something memorable may slip out. I want to make you laugh out loud; I want to rock your world. And in the end, I want to make you question the very way that you think.

Instead, all I get is poop. I would give anything to hire a Hollywood writer to help me out.

AWKWARD.

If you haven’t heard by now, the Writers Guild of America is on strike. On Sunday, for the first time in 20 years, the writers failed to negotiate a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

The talks were aimed at gaining writers a whopping 2.5 percent of profits from shows appearing on the Internet. The producers believe that because the technology is new and profits are little, the writers will have to be content with what they are making now.

And so we have a strike. The last strike lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry an estimated $500 million.

While these numbers probably mean nothing to you, the writers’ strike should strike pure fear in your hearts in the form of one word, seven letters, and hours of mindless television: REALITY.

The reality is that television comedy may die.

The first casualties will be the shows that air episodes taped the same day. Funnymen Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien and any other late night talk show hosts will have plenty of free time now that their popular time slots will immediately be filled with reruns. No longer will we invite into our homes these mildly creepy middle-aged comedians who for years have made us laugh before we go to bed.

Quick, flip to Comedy Central to see if new episodes of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are on. Bummer. The only thing that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be reporting is how the writers’ strike is supplying them with blank scripts. Gone are the days of “This Week in God” and “The Word.” Instead, the only truthfulness here is that there’s nothing for us to watch.

Soon after, the soap operas will run out of scripts. I guess a strike isn’t always bad.

When February shows its ugly head, primetime television will run out of fresh scripts and begin to tank. Popular shows like NBC’s “30 Rock,” which everyone seems to know about yet no one seems to watch, and “The Office” will be cut short in the middle of the season. Never again will we be able to laugh at the awkward pauses and glances of the co-workers of Dunder Mifflin. Soon, we’ll forget the names of Dwight and that one secretary. You see, it’s already beginning to fade. How can we go on without hearing the way Steve Carell created a movement with the phrase “That’s what she said?”

No more writers. No more laugh tracks and witty banter. No more comedy.

Instead, we’re forced to turn to something that doesn’t use union writers: reality television.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some quality reality shows such as “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” and “America’s Next … scratch that last one. But they aren’t really funny.

Instead, we’re left with a show like “I Love New York.” In this VH1 “celebreality” show, bachelors such as Tailor-Made, Mr. Wise and Midget Mac try to win the heart slash get in the pants of a washed-up reality diva, New York. Sure the show has plenty of laughs, but we’re usually laughing at how stupid everyone on it is.

So think long and hard about the strike, because for the sake of television comedy (and unless you want to get your jollies from Midget Mac), you better hope that the writers and producers put this matter to bed.

That’s what she said.