One of my favorite episodes of The West Wing is a Thanksgiving episode called “Shibboleth” in which speechwriter Sam (Rob Lowe), bored with writing a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, decides the whole pilgrim thing would be better off as a new action-adventure TV series.
Sam: Over three and a half centuries ago, linked by faith and bound by a common desire for liberty, a small band of pilgrims sought out a place in the New World where they could worship according to their own beliefs… and solve crimes.
Sam: It’d be good. By day, they churn butter and worship according to their own beliefs, and by night they solve crimes.
This has become somewhat of a meme in my house, to Sailor Boy’s eternal consternation. I have a habit, when falling in love with a character, to attempt to recast the entire show/film/what-have-you into a show starring whatever (usually secondary) character I’ve fallen in love with as a plucky detective sort.
Perhaps it’s my longstanding obsession with Veronica Mars.*
So when I went with my friend to see New Moon, this was the conversation we had:
Me: I like that Jessica person.
Her: Yes, she was very funny.
Me: I think I would have liked it so much better if the movie was about her. Ooh, her and the Dakota Fanning Vampire. Solving crimes.**
And, last month as Sailor Boy and I glommed two seasons of Modern Family:
Me: My favorite family in this is Jay and Gloria and Manny.
Him: Yes, they’re definitely the most compelling.***
Me: I want more Gloria. I want a whole show about Gloria. Solving crimes.
And then, even more recently, while watching the first season of Treme:
Me: I love LaDonna.
Him: You certainly have a type, don’t you?
Me: I want a show with LaDonna and Gloria from Modern Family. Solving Crimes.
And then, last night, as we were re-watching the first season of Sons of Anarchy in anticipation of the third season’s imminent DVD release:
Me: Man I forgot how much I loved Gemma. She’s such a bad-ass.
Him: Oh, here it comes.
Me: I want a show where Gemma —
Him: and LaDonna and Gloria get together
Me: Yes! And solve crimes!
Him: (turns up the volume)
Poor Sailor Boy. No wonder on one of our recent evening walks with Rio and Q, which I often use to whine about my writing brainstorm, he asked me why I never write one of these unadulteratedly badass characters I’m always talking about.
A few days later, I got the idea for my newest WIP. On August 1st, I started it.
It’s about a confident, witty, powerful, decisive, bad-ass…
* Though it should be noted, I don’t generally watch the shows where they solve crimes. NCIS, L&O, Bones, Monk, Closer, Psych, etc. etc. Nope. I don’t watch any procedurals, even the medical ones like House. And I don’t read mysteries. I never read Nancy Drew, even. But I loved Veronica Mars. (And the X-Files, though I guess the whole point of that show was that they never really solved the crimes.)
** Actually, I recently read a book like that. And it was AWESOME. And its sale should be announced any old day now.
***It should also be noted that we love all the families on Modern Family. We feel especially bonded with Mitch and Cam, since Q is just about Lily’s age, and how well do we remember everything they’re going through. Also, though I’m not proud to say this, I act a lot like Claire. I’m neurotic and obsessed with Halloween. Well, the Hallowween part I’m very proud of.