TV Show Pitches: Black History Month Edition

A few years ago, I wrote about a science fictionTV show pitch about Space Pirates, and sure enough, I actually got a show very similar to my description in The Expanse.  Since then, I’ve had several show idea’s that have bubbled around the old noggin.  I’ve not yet started to write them down (until now), but I’ve pitched them to various friends and acquaintances with; shall we say; mixed results.  I don’t care though.  I did get The Expanse on the air.

And also, it is Black History Month, and I’ve been meaning to jot something down about that ever since the last Black History Month. However the idea I’ve been mulling over is real history, so I don’t want to go with that until I’ve double checked my real history.  In the meantime, here’s something that is both Black related and History related, although maybe more history adjacent than actual history.  So here are two TV show pitches that should appeal to The Woke (which seems to be a requirement these days to get on the air):

 

Working Title:  Blacklander (this title needs work)

Genre:  Fantasy, Romance

Hot Take:  Outlander meets Roots

Premise:  I wrote a review for the show Outlander a few years ago.  The premise of that show is that a World War II nurse ends up going back to the 16th century via magical Druid stones.  She meets a dashing Scottish rogue, falls in love, yada yada yada.  My idea is for 21st century Medical resident at a Virginia hospital, while leaving work after a late shift has her car hit by magical lightening (there is a lack of magical Druid stones in Virginia), goes off a bridge into a river, and when she swims to the surface finds herself in pre-Civil war Virginia, where she is promptly arrested by a slave patrol hunting a female runaway slave.

The medical resident, we’ll call her “Claire” for now, is taken back to the plantation that the runaway slave was from.  The overseer recognizes that this isn’t the same person who ran away, but pretends that she is, otherwise the slave patrol will just sell her and the plantation will be out a slave.

Crying hysterical Claire, who thinks she’s going crazy, turns out to be worse than useless at actual slave work, but when one of the slave kids drown at the river, she uses CPR to resuscitate him.  This divides the slaves.  Half think she’s a witch, and half thinks she’s a great healer.  This firestorm winds up at the Master’s house, where the master is angry at the overseer’s deception, and intrigued by the medical possibilities.  The mistress of the plantation is ill with an undiagnosed disease which Claire easily diagnoses putting her at odds with her real doctor.  They argue over medical matters during which the doctor, although disagreeing with her diagnosis, is astonished by her apparent medical knowledge.  He offers the Master of the plantation a deal to take her on as assistant (these kind of transactions with skilled slaves were common at the time), ostensibly to train her to provide medical treatment to the slaves, but really to pick her brain about her medical knowledge.

So an unlikely friendship is formed.

Naturally a proper romance requires multiple suitors for the lady fair.  Chicks dig options.  So we have:

The doctor, with the dead wife.

The noble slave who’s back is scarred by multiple whippings (just like in Outlander).

The landowner’s son, who is the wily evil option.

Set in the 1850’s just before John Brown’s raid and the Civil War, Claire has the foreknowledge to change history.  In Outlander, that Claire found a deterministic universe, in which nothing she did made a difference.  In Blacklander, our Claire will find out she can change things.

Twist:  The runaway slave that the slave patrol was hunting winds up in the 21st Century

Twist:  By the end of season one, Claire’s car is found in the river, confusing the locals.

 

And know for some lighter fare…

Working Title:  Toby’s Heroes

Genre:  Comedy, Steampunk?  Whatever Wild, Wild West was?

Hot Take:  Hogan’s Heroes meet…also Roots

Premise:  A few years ago I wrote about TV producer Kenya Barris (the creator of Black-ish) pitching a new diverse woke version of Bewitched. Although that show is still in development hell the idea of rubbishing through sitcom history and redoing the shows with a mostly black cast seems scrapping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to originality, but with enough diversity, you don’t need originality or creativity, diversity is our one and only value.

So if it’s that easy then let me pull Hogan’s Heroes out from sitcom history, set it during the Civil War, and have the “prisoners” actually be slaves on a plantation who are secretly helping the Union Army during the war, either by running sabotage missions, or helping run freed slaves and Northern spies and sympathizers through their underground railroad.  And why shouldn’t they have an underground tunnel system under the plantation?  Let’s see, a bumbling, vainglorious plantation owner, his wife, who is secretly having an affair with “Toby,” an overseer who “see’s nothing,” and occasional visiting Confederate troops, all seem to add up to woke hilarity.  Yes I know those two don’t usually go together, but that’s’ why I’m suggesting Hogan’s Heroes as the template rather than some of the more bland family sitcoms.

OK there are two good TV show pitches.  As usual, I only very humbly ask for producer credits and a percentage of the gross.  Let the racial healing begin!

 

Never Trumpers Being Good Allies to The New York Times

A recent story that was covered heavily by the conservative media but not covered by the regular media at all was the leaked transcripts from a New York Times employee town hall in which the executive editor of the Times, Dean Baquet, laid out how the Times set the narrative for news coverage in the country by orienting their news room to go full Russian Collusion.  It was great fun for a while…

“We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.”

Winning two Pulitzers for fake news is nothing I would brag about, but then, I don’t work at the Times.

“But then came the Mueller report, with special counsel Robert Mueller failing to establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to fix the 2016 election. “The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened,” Baquet continued. “Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?””

So when your narrative collapses, what to do?

Now, Baquet continued, “I think that we’ve got to change.” The Times must “write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions.”

The headline controversy, it appears, was a preview of a new 2019-2020 New York Times. If Baquet follows through, the paper will spend the next two years, which just happens to be the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, building the Trump-is-a-racist narrative. (Baquet added, almost as an afterthought, that the Times will “continu[e] to cover his policies.”)

That the Times is, rather than reporting news, setting up narratives, is no surprise to most people on the right.  I didn’t bother to write anything about it because, hey, it’s business as usual.  What isn’t business as usual is that this time the Never Trumpers are helping out.  Last week there were two Never Trump articles published that were pushed by MSNBC.

The first, It’s time to create a conservative ecosystem that doesn’t welcome racists by Tim Carney.

“Conservatives ought to make it a priority to fight for the fundamental dignity and equality of racial minorities who have been denied that dignity and equality. It will require overcoming decades of injustice, and so won’t happen quickly. We won’t disabuse the Left of their self-satisfied smears and conceits, but that’s not the point. Conservatives will be able to take solace in the fact that we’re fighting the good fight and pissing off the racists.”

Although “pissing off racists” is all well and good, even Carney admits, “we won’t disabuse the Left of their self-satisfied smears and conceits.”  So you can fight the good fight, join with the left to call conservatives racist, and then…what?  Get called racist yourself for your troubles?

Of course it’s not often that MSNBC devotes a segment to a Washington Examiner article, but Morning Joe did just that.  If you have the time, you should watch it.

A day later, the most never Trumpie writer imaginable, David French, published his contribution, My Fellow Republicans Must Stand Against the Alt-Right Virus Infecting America.  At this point, decrying the “alt right” is one of about four or five articles that French writes on rotation at National Review. However this time French got to play at the grown up table, since the piece ran in Time.

And once again, Morning Joe dedicated a whole segment to David French’s hysteria against a segment of the population that is an internet only phenomenon, and is so tiny it doesn’t show up in polling.  Again, I recommend a watch, if only to catch French’s hysteria.

Not only are Carney and French helping The New York Times waste another two years of coverage on their 1619 Project rather than actually reporting news, it’s all going to turned against Republicans, which of course is Carney and French’s goal too.  Any party that would reject Evan McMullin as a serious candidate must be burned to the ground, and what better way to do it in 21st Century America than with the torch of racism?

 

Get Out Of My Country: POC Edition

Back in the days of my youth, there used to be a fairly popular saying among the Archie Bunker class, “America, Love it or Leave it!”  It was generally directed against anti-war types, hippies, and meatheads of various sorts, including recent immigrants who decided to make it a personal mission to bitch about every aspect of their new home.  Clearly there is no actual place to exile native born American citizens, although I’ve long suggested a plan to offer to buy out their American residency and send them on their way.  Even at a price of a couple of hundred thousand dollars per miscreant, it would be money well spent to reduce the general annoyance level of the country.

These fond remembrances came back to me after President Trump’s recent tweet to “The Squad,” The Democratic House’s Scooby gang of meatheads, Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib.

I had written about Ilhan Omar before since I regard her as the most dangerous one of the quartet.  Pressley, I hadn’t even known was part of this little Legion of Doom until Trump started tweeting about the Squad.  AOC on the other hand, is, on balance a net plus for the GOP.  Her goofy statements provide lots of clicks on right leaning websites and her ability to push the entire Democratic Party to the left, tweet by tweet, helps make the entire party look like crazy town.  Of course, that’s a double edged sword.  I seem to recall someone else who rode their twitter account all the way to the White House…

Since there is a media consensus that Trump’s tweets are racist, there is no point in trying to contradict that.  They decide, you shut up and take it.  Of course, to me, the issue wasn’t about race at all, merely the ignorance of telling native born American citizens to go back to their country.  If he had just directed it Omar, it would have been an accurate tweet.  And frankly, I wish Omar would go back to her country.

To the left/Democrats/mainstream media however, any insult directed to a “person of color” is racist simply based on the color of the person the insult is directed to, not the actual content of the insult.  A racial insult can now be race free!

Ah, progress…

By that ridiculous standard, that makes Trump’s tweet against Pressley and Omar “racist” since after all, they’re Black.  But with Tlaib and Ocasio-Cortez, it’s a bit more complicated.  Rashida Tlaib is Palestinian, which according to the US Census makes her White. Ocasio-Cortez is Puerto Rican, and claims mixed ancestry, but who’s to know?  It’s unlikely she’ll be as dumb as Elizabeth Warren and submit to a DNA test.  Just going by the eyeball test though, if her last name were Italian, French, or Greek we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.  There is no paper bag test applied to people claiming to be “people of color.”  If it were, you would need to be at least this brown to ride this ride:

Person of Color Test

Person of Color Test

Instead, we have this term, People of Color, who’s purpose seems to be to separate everyone in the world from a couple of hundred million White people.  In fact, quite a few Caucasians seem to qualify as people of color not by virtue of race or skin tone, but by some sort of amorphous layer of oppression. You can even be a European from Spain or Portugal, where you are considered white, but once in the US, you would magically become, “a person of color.”

In popularizing that term, someone, somewhere, thought it would be useful to have a term that separated the rest of humanity from a certain type of white people.  There are human beings (the People of Color) and then there are some strange oppressive Orc like subspecies; white people.  The term and its use have no cultural or phenotypical purpose; the purpose is political; to demonize a small segment of the human race as the Kulaks of planet Earth.

It might be useful to start fighting back on this term, since it’s been allowed to grow like kudzu for years, and is becoming more and more important in separating “them” from “us.”  Who is “them” and who is “us” is becoming more and more important in multicultural America .

The Reparations Gambit

I have been waiting for this ball to drop for a long time.  I thought maybe that 2014 would be the year that the Democrats would pull the electoral ripcord on the reparations issue, but they seemed to drop the ball on it and suffered in the elections accordingly.  Then in 2016 I thought Hillary would pull reparations out of her purse (it was right beside the hot sauce) and close the enthusiasm gap among black voters.  But she was so confident that she couldn’t lose that she decided it could stay in her purse.  Like Trump was really going to beat her?  After all, once you pull the reparations card, it’s out for good.  You can’t change your mind and stick in back in your oversized purse.

But now the issue is out, and it looks like 2020 will be the first Presidential election year (and forever more) that reparations become a real political issue. According to The New York Times, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Julián Castro have all come out in support of some type of reparations.  They are rather vague on the details and price tag, but eh, it’s still early, and besides, those sorts of details are not very important or at least no more important than details and price tag for a “Green Deal.”

By the time we get to the nomination, some form of reparations will be part of the candidate’s agenda and part of the Democratic Party platform.  And it can join the other trillion dollar promises, like Medicare for all, Green Dreams, Universal Basic Income (UBI), Universal Daycare, Free College, and the hundreds of other spending fantasies.  However unlike the other high dollar promises, reparations promise to be eternally racially divisive.

Just what this country needs.

To be fair, slavery reparations do have the tug of moral authority to them.  In a perfect world, I would support them myself. A great evil was done and there should be some sort of compensation for it. However it’s 150 years later. There is no one alive that was a slave, and the practicalities of coming up with a fair and just system to compensate their descendants seem pretty daunting.  I’ve thought long and hard on this subject myself and have yet to figure out a way, or have read of any such plan, that would be workable and just.

Never has the devil been more in the details of a policy than in reparations.  If Abraham Lincoln’s Freedman’s Bureau had been allowed to continue its work, and the newly freed slaves had gotten their 40 acres and a mule, this issue would have been one and done.  But now, who do you compensate?  If, for example, you have theoretical reparations of a $50,000 credit, to be applied to either college or home down payment (the two gateways to the middle class), do you give it to the man, his, son, or his son (assuming all living)?  Should it be given to the oldest living relative in a family, or the youngest?  Or do you just give it to every descendant of slaves from now on?

Of course, that means Barrack Obama, Colin Powell, or Kamala Harris would be entitled to zero reparations since none of them are descendants of American slaves. What about Malia Obama, the President’s daughter?  Would she get half of reparations? And how would you determine eligibility?  There are probably a lot of African Americans who would have a great deal of difficulty laying their hands on all of the documentation necessary to prove ancestry from the slaves freed in 1865.  So would you just go by skin color? Self Identification? DNA?  Imagine, Rachel Dolezal being eligible for reparations. Or imagine the millions of white people with sub-Saharan ancestry thanks to DNA testing, who want their piece of the reparations pie.  If the one drop rule is good for the goose…

But in a way, the very difficulty in figuring out the right policy is a feature, not a bug.  It’s more useful as an issue than an actual policy. And with the added benefit of being racially divisive, it’s the perfect issue for Democrats to run on in 2020.

And every election thereafter.

 

Jussie Smollett’s New Martyrdom

I’ve had a fascination with hate hoaxes, ever since I followed, and was fooled by, the OG of racial hate hoaxes, Tawana Brawley. The key element of believability (at least in those innocent times) was who would actually do that to themselves?  She has to be telling the truth.  I mean, who writes racial slurs on their bodies and covers themselves in feces?  After a long, publicity laden story, it turned out that Tawana Brawley did.  As memory serves, I was genuinely shocked at that revelation. But the Tom Wolfe novel come to life that describes the entire sordid tale is still a well-known story and is still the template for numerous racial hoaxes over the years.

However once the cherry is busted on the idea that people will do damn near anything to claim the mantle of righteous victim, these stories become a predictable source of entertainment.  In fact a few years ago I wrote a post summarizing some of the best (IMHO) hate hoaxes for the year.  Two from the list come to mind as hoaxers that were really willing to go the distance to pull this off:

Charlie Rodgers (Charlie is a girl), an ex-college basketball star who made the false claim that she was raped by attackers who carved anti-gay slurs into her.  Under the slightest bit of police investigation, the story fell apart and wonder of wonders; she actually got jail time for it.  But I direct you to the dedication she showed to her craft:  she actually carved anti-gay slogans into her own skin.  That’s dedication to the cause.  I’m not into giving awards or rating these hoaxes, but if there was a Tawana Brawley award for willing to go the distance to pull off a hoax, I believe Ms. Rodgers would make the short list for that.

But why, you may ask, not the winner?  Could there be another candidate with similar dedication?  You’re darn right!  May I present, Morgan Triplet.  She was determined to have the best presentation at the University of California-Santa Cruz Conference on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues by announcing she was a victim of rape, a real one.  As reported:

“Prosecutors said Friday that Triplett allegedly placed two ads on Craigslist, one requesting someone to shoot her in the shoulder with a small caliber gun in exchange for sex. The second ad was a request for someone to punch, kick and bruise her in exchange for sex. In the ads, placed in the Santa Cruz County region of Craigslist, Triplett also stated that she would not file charges.”

That’s definitely being a good sport about the whole thing.”

 

And then we come to Jussie Smollett…

The story sounded fishy from the start Two MAGA guys, who watch Empire and actually know who Jussie Smollett is, hang around Chicago at 2 AM during the polar vortex on the off chance that Smollett would leave his apartment in the middle of the night to get a Subway sandwich.  Then when finding him, they…punch him a few times (I’ve never been clear on that), place a clothesline (the “noose”) around his neck, and then leave?  As highly improbable as that story sounded, I guess it was still barely possible.

Except for that “noose.”

For future observers of the racial hate hoax scene, if there is a noose involved, the story is fake.  Lynching and nooses are an overwhelming part of being woke in America.  There is a noose around every corner, and every gun shop or Trump rally is stocked with nooses, ready to go.  In real life, the bulk of the 3,500 or so African Americans who were actually lynched were done by the 1960’s.  But as a symbol, the Noose is just as vibrant as it was a century ago.  In fact, Smollett even hosted a documentary about lynching.  It’s clear he has noose on the mind.

As of this writing, Smollett is still proclaiming his innocence, or perhaps with a bit more clarity, his victim-hood.  Whether his evolving legal situation eventually requires him to publicly fess up or not, my guess is that won’t matter to the many people who still believe him, and any future confessions won’t matter.  Tawana Brawley still has her believers after all.  But even more so now than in Brawley’s time, this is an age in which narrative is more important than truth. At a certain level of wokeness hate hoaxes are not just OK but necessary in order to reveal a greater “truth.”  Or as Dan Rather might have put it, fake but accurate.

 

The Trump Doctrine

At times I feel like the only person in the country not emotionally invested in the likely death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, killed, apparently, in quite the gruesome manner in the Saudi Arabian embassy in Instanbul, Turkey.  OK I get it, terrible story, but why exactly does this require a diplomatic response from the United States?  The US government doesn’t get involved in every foreign Coca-Cola employee in the third world who gets dragged away by a death squad.  And the death of a dissident to a despotic regime isn’t exactly breaking news.  It’s fair to say that this happens every day somewhere in the world, without the accompanying MSM hysterics.

The answer of course, is that he was employed as a journalist at The Washington Post, and in an age in which the West has abandoned religion, a new priestly caste has emerged, the MSM journalist.  That’s why the MSM has turned a minor story into a US foreign policy crisis.  This has already occupied the breaking news and top story for a week, and the new rule is if Eugene Robinson and the table at the MSNBC set are outraged, then everyone has to be.

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a sympathizer of the Muslim Brotherhood and someone who was a friend of Osama Bin Ladin, who mourned his death.  You really need to make a much stronger case to me on why his death shouldn’t be cheered, rather than causing spasms of outrage.  If there is a reason for outrage in this story, its how such a person got a green card in the first place?  Let’s investigate that.

Trump’s initial instincts on this seem to have been correct, dismissing it as not that big a deal, before the media blew it up into THE STORY of the week.  No doubt the view that this is THE STORY reflected the view of many of Trump’s advisors.  After all, doesn’t everyone seem to accept the judgement of the Post and other news outlets as to what is news, and what is major news?  It is interesting though that Trump’s default position is quite different from what the current White House line is…

Over at the Lion of the Blogosphere a few months ago, Lion did a post describing the “Trump Doctrine.

“If there is a Trump doctrine, it is that we have to accept foreign countries the way they are, and not turn them into copies of Western democracies. Russia has never had a democratic government like the United States, but the Trump doctrine is that we can still be friends instead of trying to sabotage their government for not being exactly like America or Germany.”

As a working definition, it’s not a bad one.  And why shouldn’t he define it?  It’s not as if Presidential “doctrines” are released as a White Paper or press release.  They are discovered by observing the administration in action.  Most famously the “Bush Doctrine” was ham-handedly used by Charlie Gibson in a rather famous gotcha interview with Sarah Palin in which she described the Bush Doctrine, just not the way Charlie Gibson wanted.  However the actual author (or discoverer) of the Bush Doctrine, the late Charles Krauthammer, defended Palin’s take.

But I had been thinking of this for a while.  Back in 2014, I had started, but never finished, a draft of a post called, “Realpolitik,” to describe what I thought should be the style and direction of US foreign policy.  Inspired, of all people, by neo-con former Wall Street Journal columnist and current New York Times official Never-Trumper Bret Stephens, in a column he wrote for the WSJ called, Relearning Republican Foreign Policy.  With the line, “A policeman is not a priest,” Stephens made the case for a muscular foreign policy without the moralizing and messaging of either George Bush’s freedom agenda or Obama’s “reputation of a faithless friend and feckless foe.”  This line, though, is the killer:

“Someday, maybe, a Republican will be in the White House again. If that’s to happen, Americans will need some reassurance that the GOP knows how to steer a straight course between the temptations of Barack Obama’s strategic timidity and George W. Bush’s idealistic excess.“

In probably the greatest Monkey’s Paw wish of all time, Stephen’s got exactly what he asked for in this 2014 op-ed with the election of President Donald Trump.

Stephens must be exhausted from all of his spinning around and changing positions, since in this week’s NYT post, Khashoggi’s Killing Isn’t a Blunder. It’s a Crime, Stephens is back to his neo-con roots, ready to lead a new moralistic crusade against the Saudi’s.

It’s actually fair to say that a more moralistic foreign policy has a time and place.  It was integral to Reagan’s policy initiatives in fighting the Cold War, but Reagan didn’t shy away with allying with some less than savory folk in order to oppose what he saw as the graeter evil: the Soviet Union.  But we are in a different time and place, and our foreign policy challenges are totally different than the bi-polar cold war steady state which occupied US foreign policy for decades.

In the current era it seems clear to me that not every struggle around the world is our struggle, and not every fight all over the world is our fight.  We have limited resources, not just of military might or money, but time and attention.  Time wasted on this Khashoggi matter is time not spent on other foreign policy issues like trade, or domestic ones, like immigration.  And no outcome in running down every Saudi royal guard is likely to benefit US foreign policy in the slightest.

Trump’s instincts, the “Trump Doctrine,” are Realpolitik; a foreign policy based on US national interests and practical benefits rather than ideology or faux outrage.  If the GOP picks this up as a foreign policy template, that’s yet another Trump “win.”

Rebooting Old TV with Diversity in Mind

In an age when Hollywood has been totally mined out of original ideas for television, but the number of platforms have expanded with room for more and more television, comes the TV answer for zero ideas but lots of airtime to fill: The reboot. But it’s not enough to simply reboot old television shows, they need to be rebooted through a social justice warrior lens to give show concepts like this:

Just before he recently departed ABC Studios to embark on a rich overall deal at Netflix, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris sold one last high-profile project to ABC: Bewitched, a single camera, interracial blended family comedy based on the popular 1960s sitcom of the same name.

In Bewitched, written by Barris and Taylor, Samantha, a hardworking black single mom who happens to be a witch, marries Darren, a white mortal who happens to be a bit of a slacker. They struggle to navigate their differences as she discovers that even when a black girl is literally magic, she’s still not as powerful as a decently tall white man with a full head of hair in America.

This description of the show sounds hilarious for all the wrong reasons.  One would almost think it’s a parody of a socially aware TV reboot but no, it’s serious.  Am I intrigued by the description?  Darn right!  I would definitely sit down and watch a show in which an immortal magician is still under the thumb of Trump’s America.  The possibilities are endless!  I’m sure we can expect to see Samantha pulled over by white cops and she turns them into actual pigs, and she teaches the slacker Darren about hard work by transforming him into a black slave in the 1850’s. Nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz will be the White Nationalist neighbor across the street, spying on the interracial couple. Uncle Arthur? Played by RuPaul of course!

Just a few weeks prior there was the announcement that Joss Whedon was rebooting Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only this time with a Black Buffy. So everything old can be new again if you diversify it up a smidge.  Never mind that they already had a Black Slayer in the original run of the show…diversity.

I’m not opposed to reboots, reimagining’s, or however you want to describe them, with diversity, but let’s don’t pretend that diversity is actually a new idea. It’s really about saying,” I don’t have any new ideas, and I want approval from twitter.”

I will seriously watch this if it gets through development hell and actually airs somewhere.  Not because I think it will be quality entertainment, but because I expect it will be an entertaining hot mess.