I tried my best not to laugh out loud as I exited the park. Things could not have gone better.
My smile faded as I nearly walked right into Ted Stevens, the ABC exec who had greenlighted my original project.
I had pitched a few brainless sitcom ideas several months ago and to my surprise, a small bidding war had erupted for one called “Let’s Eat Dog Poo.” I ended up signing with ABC, who had given me $50,000 for my first draft, hoping to get something up by mid-season.
Well, instead of getting busy writing and furthering my career as a Hollywood bigshot, I decided to spend the money on 400,000 Hot Wheels cars. I honestly have no clue why I thought this would be a good idea or what I planned to do with them, but I remember that it just seemed too good of a deal to pass up at the time.
I quickly found myself out of money, disheartened and feeling little motivation to write. Not to mention the constant complaints I was getting from my neighbors about the 72 large wooden crates I had stacked up in my front yard.
Ted’s constant calls, inquiring about my progress, were getting annoying. I eventually got sick of lying to him and stopped answering my phone. To cheer myself up, I hatched this whole Fast Passholes scheme, thinking that nobody would ever connect the dots.
Basically, he was the last person I wanted to run into, especially right now, during what should have been my moment of triumph.
“Hey Eric, where ya been?”, he asked, as surprised to see me as I was him.
“Oh you know…” I trailed off.
“Not really. You don’t return my calls. I’m guessing the pilot isn’t going well? You missed your deadline.”
“Yeah, about that. I just… kinda… you know?” I couldn’t even look him in the eye.
“Look, Eric, we’re still really excited about Dog Pooh, it’s not too late. I can cover for you, we’ll think of something.” I guess he wasn’t such a douchebag, after all.
“Well, I’ve got some rough drafts, nothing final, though.” I wanted to give him something, even if it had no way of ever getting on the air. “Actually, I have this other idea. It’s a reality show.” I looked over my shoulder to see if any security-types were on my tail.
Ted looked past me, catching on.
“Hmm, this “idea” wouldn’t have anything to do with the disturbance in the park they just called me about, would it?”
He grabbed my arm and led me over to a quiet corner near the entrance, away from the crowds. He told me to come clean and I relayed the whole story to him.
To my surprise, he laughed his ass off the whole time.
“You’re not mad?” I asked.
“Nah, fuck it. Screw them if they can’t take a joke! C’mon, let’s get some lunch!”
He treated me to a pretty nice meal at Club 33 and we talked about my ideas for future Passholes episodes. He told me that I really screwed up and made a lot of enemies at the studio, but he was going to smooth things over for me.
I thanked him for being so generous and he shrugged it off, telling me that he had been an intern for Don Simpson during the 80’s, so he was used to the eccentricities of us “creative types”.
We shook on a deal right there and he suggested producing might be better suited to someone like me. Someone who is too lazy to follow through on anything. I should stick with being the idea man and let someone else hash out the details.
Whatever, as long as it kept those fat ABC/Disney checks coming.
If you work in a bank or something, you probably don’t know that often times there is a pretty drastic transformation process that goes on from the time a show is conceived to when it hits the airwaves and Fast Passholes was no exception.
Prank shows were out. Quiz shows were in. The cost of shooting inside Disneyland turned out to be prohibitive and we moved to a sound stage. I was never a serious contender for the role of the host, so it didn’t bother me that much when they brought in some old coot from a morning talk show.
They basically changed everything around, leaving little from the original idea intact. They even removed my name from the credits, but I could care less. I was getting paid. Big bucks. Who the hell wants to be a millionaire when you can be a 17 millionaire?
So that’s how I made my dough. You have probably thought, “How does Eric support his extravagant lifestyle? He doesn’t even have a job!”
You’re damn right I don’t.
I’ve kept this secret from everyone only because I don’t want you jerks begging me for money and asking to stay at my house when you’re in town, but I don’t have to worry about that anymore.
The dispute I was involved in over syndication royalties got resolved and now I have enough money to hire an army of bodyguards to make sure I never have to set my eyes on the likes of you rabble.
In the end, that’s all that really matters.