By Kate Conger
By Brian Rinker
By Rachel Swan
By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
When we first heard of a TV series called South Park, we laughed. We wept. And we cringed. Because the only South Park we'd heard of was an oval-shaped enclave of grass, trees, and '80s-vintage playground equipment between Second and Third streets in SOMA.
That's right: We actually thought, for one brief -- and in retrospect, stupid -- moment that Multimedia Gulch had hit the big time. Or at least the prime time.
But while we laughed at Cartman's obscene antics, we couldn't shake our first thought. Maybe the time had come. After all, the mainstream media had long since stopped calling the Web the "Information Superhighway."
So we took action. We started doing our homework. We watched M*A*S*H, The Simpsons, and -- for tips on depicting San Francisco on the small screen -- Dharma and Greg. We took long lunches at Caffe Centro. In the end, we cooked up a plan: a pitch, a treatment, even a pilot.
January 7, 1998
Dear Mr. Wright:
Your network, despite all its successes, has missed one important -- and potentially humorous -- element of the Zeitgeist: the World Wide Web. So I'm writing today to pitch you a sitcom about a segment of society I think your viewers might find interesting, and most importantly, funny: those crazy folks working on the Internet.
Now, I know you're probably wary. You're thinking, "The Internet? A bunch of dorks with pocket protectors hunched over machines all day? What's so funny about that?" Well, let me tell you:
In brief, Geeks! (South Park is already taken, and let's face it, Townsend Place just isn't funny) would be about six zany twentysomethings struggling to survive in a hard, but hilarious -- and hip -- world.
Let's meet Bryce (the cute one, a Chris O'Donnell-type), Mitch (the slob), Neal (the nerd), Taylor (the funny one), Karen (the shy one), and Sky (the really cute one -- could I suggest, if possible, casting Cameron Diaz?). Of course, most real S.F. geeks live in dingy crash pads in the Mission District. But your viewers don't want to see that. So let's put the boys in a downtown loft and the girls in a fashionable Haight Street Victorian.
As for work, Bryce is in PR at an ultracool game company. Neal writes code for a software firm named Muchomedia, where he gets Mitch (an old college buddy from Berkeley) a job in the mail room. Taylor is a temp making $6 an hour at CWEB, and Sky is the Webmaster for an online fashion store called Ready to Ware. Karen, the shy enigma, is an unpaid intern working 50 hours a week at Connected magazine. Karen and Sky also co-write their own zine.
In the pilot's opening scene, Taylor regales his co-workers with a series of Bill Gates jokes, most of them involving some variation on the punch line, "Why don't you just reboot?" The laugh track goes wild, but Taylor's boss cuts the yuks short by telling everyone their project has been canceled. Taylor responds, "Damn it! Third time this month!" Cut to the intro. (At this time, might I suggest a peppy theme song by S.F.'s own Third Eye Blind?)
Upon our return, we find Neal and Mitch at work, where Mitch -- a former frat boy and Neal's nemesis in university until Neal helped him pass physics -- is distracting Neal from his latest important project, a program that will let users convert their computers into karaoke machines. Mitch jokingly calls it "Rumbaware." Neal doesn't laugh. The audience, however, does.
Bryce, meanwhile, has overslept and arrives at work frazzled and 15 minutes late. His boss, a redheaded vixen (and the object of each of the boys' silent, drooling stares) berates him: "Can't you even be here by noon?" Bryce, a wounded expression on his handsome face, replies, "But Ms. Jenkins, I've been up all night consulting." "Consulting with whom?" Ms. Jenkins says. More laughter ensues.
At the same time, Sky and Karen have called in sick and are spending the day drinking smoothies in Golden Gate Park. Karen tells Sky that she's developed yet another futile crush on a co-worker. Sky reminds her that Karen's last crush, a 35-year-old programmer from Palo Alto, flaked out and moved to Wyoming to become a ranch hand. "This one's different," Karen replies. "He's responsible. He's been working as a bike messenger for five years."
As you can see, the comic fodder is endless.