Doing my part to kill a tired formula

I, like you, am sure that you are sick of the following situation. An American sitcom husband brings home a steering wheel and says to his wife “Let’s play ‘the chauffeur and the lady tycoon’ tonight!” Or an American sitcom wife comes home and finds her husband sad for some reason and says “Cheer up. Tonight lets play ‘the milkmaid and the randy woodsman’!” Tracy Jordan on 30 Rock says he rents out a wheelchair and his wife pretends to be his case worker.

It’s that most hoary of faux-edgy sitcom joke-oids, the role-play joke. This must surely be the last refuge of the desperate comedy writer. Jane Espenson from Jane in Progress frequently talks about clams (not so fresh jokes that get used again and again in place of actual writing) and Jeff down in Boonville has written about snowclones (which this is). Jane discusses ways to make old jokes come alive again (like, for example, the Simpsons repeating the famous rake gag to the point where it goes from tiresome to giddily overdone). Snowclones are designed to be familiar but new every time. They are, typically, not too new. So here, as a public service to those brave screen writers who’ve been on strike for a long long time, here are some suggestions for role play games that a Jim Belushi, a Kevin James-type, or perhaps, in their weaker moments, one of the desperate housewives might suggest:

  • The astronaut and the diaper changer
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the hitchhiker
  • The cable repairman and the cable stripper
  • James Lipton and the guy from the Braun beard trimmer commercial
  • The valet parker and the designated driver
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the mustache rider
  • The Sumo wrestler and the Walmart greeter
  • The cinematographer and the invisible woman
  • Gilda Radner and Gene Wilder
  • The single mom and the deadbeat dad
  • The junkie and the monkey
  • Ira Glass and the stripper
  • The confused white slaver and the mulatto
  • The no-nonsense polygrapher and the giggly teenage girl
  • The racial stereotype and the much more offensive racial stereotype
  • The businessman and the ‘no funny business’ woman
  • The British aristocrat and the Middle Eastern oil magnate’s son
  • Santa Claus and disgraced reporter Jayson Blair
  • The WASP and the Bohunk
  • The ent milkmaid and the wicker man
  • John and Kate minus Eight plus Margaritas
  • Margaret Thatcher and Willy Wonka
  • Two people with their eyes closed in the dark
  • Tony Curtis in Spartacus and Tony Curtis in Some Like It Hot
  • The family man and the homeless man
  • The construction worker and the catcall-loving exhibitionist
  • The health care professional and the health care amateur
  • The stylish whore and the guy with the 15% employee discount to the GAP
  • The novice ghost and the expert ghost
  • Stretch Armstrong and the Venus of Willendorf
  • The ladyboy and Ponyboy
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~ by Joshing on December 19, 2007.

2 Responses to “Doing my part to kill a tired formula”

  1. OK, I tried. I don’t get it. Here’s where I start to lose it (second sentence!):

    An American sitcom husband brings home a steering wheel and says to his wife “Let’s play ‘the chauffeur and the lady tycoon’ tonight!”

    Is that for real, some sort of euphemism or completely made up.

  2. Yeah, it’s a real thing. I realized it when I was watching The King of Queens. They often use this formula to imply some sort of active sex life between corpulent Doug and belligerent Kerri. This is a real thing, as a cursory search of google immediately turned up this

    “Costume lingerie is perfect for those who love to role play and act out those sexy and intimate fantasies. Have you always wanted to dress up as a sexy French maid and seduce your boss or be a hot nurse that takes really good care of her patient? Well now you can. These costumes are not just for strippers and porn stars; they are for everyday women who want to indulge themselves and their partners in some erotic role playing.

    With sexy costume lingerie you can become anything and anyone from Little Bo Peep to a sexy witch or vampire. You can become a belly dancer, police officer, fire fighter, fairy princess, country girl, butterfly or whatever you desire. Let your imagination run wild and create a wonderful fantasy for you are your mate to act out complete with appropriate lingerie. You can become the sweet little farm girl seduced by the farm hand or even the traveling sales man that comes to the farm. You can be a sexy belly dancer or harem girl dancing for her sheik. You can be the police officer that takes advantage of a bad boy who got into some trouble. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. If you can fantasize about it chances are there is a costume available for it. Many themes have both his and hers costumes available.”

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