So NBC canceled a sitcom last week. That in and of itself isn’t unusual. After all, NBC is always canceling shows. What’s unique here is the speed with which this show was canceled. It was canceled before it even aired. Actually, it was canceled before a pilot episode was even filmed. Well, no, it was canceled even before a script for a pilot episode was written.
In fact, the show was canceled only two days after it was announced!
That’s a quick hook, all right. But it’s not the alacrity of the cancellation that caught my attention. Here is part of the show’s pitch:
“Mail Order Family, from Superstore writer-producer Jackie Clarke and executive producers Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad was to tell the story of a widower who orders a bride from the Philippines to raise his two young daughters.”
Hell, that sounds hilarious! But evidently, NBC bowed to negative feedback concerning the show’s premise. Here’s an example, from change.org:
“The mail order bride industry exploits and trafficks women who are economically disadvantaged and living in poverty. Filipino women make up one of the largest segments of mail-order brides in the world.”
But none of that is what got my attention. You see, I’m just a little tired of not seeing my profession represented in the media, and when I heard about this show, I thought “Finally! A show about direct marketing!”
As regular readers of this blog know, my income-generating day job (as opposed to this blog) is writing for the direct marketing industry. So I was looking forward (for the two days between the announcement and the cancellation of Mail Order Family) to seeing a show that depicted my kind on TV.
I mean, over the years, there have been TV shows about spies, politicians, lawyers, cops, doctors, cowboys, astronauts, witches, superheroes, vampire-slayers, oil barons, reporters, FBI agents, killers, mobsters, presidents, soldiers, hackers, Martians, teachers, scientists, athletes, bar owners, cab drivers, bus drivers, night club performers, and fairy tale characters (to name a few off the top of my head).
But there have been more people on TV possessed by various demons than there have who were involved in the direct marketing industry. I mean, the closest TV has ever come to a mail order character was Doug Heffernan, the UPS-like delivery guy on King of Queens and Cliff the mailman on Cheers.
Now, you could argue that there are entire channels devoted to mail order. But I’m talking about dramatic or comedic shows with episodes that are longer than it takes to sell the Compass Home Expandable Faux Ivy Privacy Fence with Lights ($59.96) on QVC. Why isn’t JJ Abrams producing an anthology series about the eerie connection between people who receive those oversized Publishers Clearing House checks*? Why doesn’t Aaron Sorkin do a show called A Letter from the President about the people who write fundraising packages for political candidates? Where is Shonda Rhimes’ soap opera about infomercials called Wait, There’s More? Or Chuck Lorre’s sitcom about romance in a direct marketing ad agency, Mail and Femail?
I’m tired of having my people underrepresented in the media.
In Other News About My Profession…
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have announced an ambitious project—to “invest in basic science research with the goal of curing disease.”
Which diseases, you ask? All of them.
While this is not likely to occur during my lifetime (unless one of the first diseases they cure is the one that would have killed me), a headline in Popular Science informs us that “We are closer to curing all diseases than we think.”
That may sound like good news, but let’s not forget about me. A lot of my work is writing fundraising letters for institutions researching various diseases. If they cure everything, where does that leave me?
I think Mark Zuckerberg should keep his nose (and the rest of his facebook) out of my business. If he and his wife have a few billion to spare, they should donate it toward Filipino women. That would be fine with me because I am very much against the exploitation of economically-disadvantaged women.
Also I do not currently have any mail order bride companies among my clients.
See you soon.
*I’m thinking it would run for seven seasons until the series finale reveals the connection between the people was that these were the only ones left on Earth who still subscribed to magazines,** and that the show never would explain why a friggin’ polar bear was riding around in the Publisher’s Clearing House van.***
**Even though no purchase is necessary.
***You have no idea what I’m talking about here if you didn’t watch Lost.