Trying to Make Sense of ‘The Flying Nun’

Nope, sorry, impossible. Nobody can make sense out of THE FLYING NUN. Not even its loyal viewers back in the day. (None of the Team TVWriter™ minions was even born then, so we’re not responsible for this show’s unbelievable popularity. Nopers. Not even a little:

Sorry, old-timers, but TV Past ain't always better than TV today

Sorry, old-timers, but TV Past ain’t always better than TV today

by Pilot Viruet

From 1967 to 1970, ABC aired a strange little sitcom called The Flying Nun. The very existence of this show, which I discovered in passing just a few years ago, doesn’t make much sense at first. The title reads like a throwaway joke from an episode of 30 Rock, which routinely took clever potshots at NBC (and television in general) by expertly creating fake, empty programs that revolved around a hilariously straightforward title. The Flying Nun would surely fit right in with the fictional shows Tank It or, more appropriately, God CopThe Flying Nun isn’t a punchline, though. It was a very real show, and even a somewhat successful one, that spent three seasons detailing the adventures of, well, a flying nun.

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To be clear, she can’t actually fly. The premise, which is based on the book The Fifteenth Pelican by Tere Ríos, is as simplistic as it is silly: Sister Bertrille (Sally Field) is able to “fly” when the wind is right, thanks to a combination of her low weight (under 90 lbs) and her cornette. There are no explicit supernatural or divine elements at work, just Bertrille’s small frame and high wind speeds. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Bertrille decides to become a nun and moves from New York City to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she lives with fellow nuns in a convent.

Throughout the series, Bertille converts people, solves mysteries, catches robbers, and helps orphans. Throughout the series, Bertille regularly flies around. Sometimes it’s necessary, like when she flies out to sea to help guide a lost fisherman to fish, but other times, she flies even when a simple ladder would suffice, like when she just needs to retrieve a kitten from a roof.

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Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 8/30/14

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are
by munchman

  • Matt Venne (BAG OF BONES) is writing the pilot for a TV version of the 1997 film THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE for NBC. (And you betcha I’ll munch on this. I couldn’t find anything to complain about when I saw the Keanu Reeves-Al Pacino film except the casting, and neither one of those guys is going to be in the series, right? Right? God, I hope so.)
  • Paul Webb (SELMA) is adapting No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin‘s Pulitzer Prize winning book about Franklin D. Roosevelt (he was a U.S. president back when presidents had, you know, status) into a mini-series for Fox TV. (And, nopers, I probably won’t watch this cuz…10 #$@! hours? And no hobbits or dragons in sight? Sorry, history buffs, but this ain’t for me.)
  • Peter Knight (BIG WOLF ON CAMPUS) is writing the comedy pilot THE SOUND OF THE SUMNERS for Fox. (The plan is for this to be a “musical family comedy,” which means that it’ll never make it to anybody’s schedule and even if it does – don’t set your DVR for more than 6 episodes. Would the munchman steer you wrong?)
  • Ashley Pharoah & Matthew Graham (LIFE ON MARS) are writing a new BBC America series called THE LIVING AND THE DEAD, about the conflict between ways of life in late 1880s England. (I’m thrilled about this because not only did Ashley and Matt create the sensational UK version of LIFE ON MARS – not the crap U.S. go-round – they’re the only writers in today’s report whose credits include something I’ve heard of or, for that matter, that sounds even vaguely real. BAG OF BONES? BIG WOLF ON CAMPUS? WTF?)

Write in and tell me what you’ve sold today. TVWriter™ can’t wait to brag to all your friends. (And, more importantly, enemies. Hehehe….)

TVWriter™ Top Posts for the Week Ending 8/29/14

Here they are, the most viewed TVWriter™ posts during the past week:

happysingerLooking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Peggy Bechko: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Writers & Readers

Peggy Bechko: So Finish It Already!

Working TV Writer? Submit Your Script for the 2014 Humanitas Award

What Happens When a Student Film Maker Turns Pro?

And our most viewed resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline


The Teleplay



Big thanks to everyone for making this such a great week, and don’t forget to read what you missed, re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

From TV Comedy Writer to Street Artist

Uh, wait. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

kaleurselfby Jennifer Swan

Like many Angelenos, Carlos Herrera spends a lot of time in his car. His iPhone email signature even taunts, “Sent while driving.” When we speak by phone one afternoon, he’s driving to an art supply store on Fairfax to pick up spray paint for his next project. But 27-year-old Herrera, who once described himself in an Instragram photo as “Zac Efron without the hair,” is not an artist. 

If you’ve spent any time driving the streets of Hollywood, Echo Park and Fairfax, you’ve no doubt seen his work. A comedy writer by trade (though he’s currently unemployed), Herrera recently took to the streets to make fun of the industry that’s constantly rejecting him. 

In one of his more self-deprecating pieces of graffiti, spray painted on a temporary construction wall outside a new clothing boutique on Beverly Blvd., Herrera wrote the purposefully-misspelled “Just Looking 4 a righting JOB.” Next to that, he put an x next to each of the words “SNL” and “Conan,” both TV shows for which he had been turned down for writing gigs. 

Lately, he’s found other ways to get his writing seen: short, witty phrases painted on discarded mattresses (“Rest Coast” reads one on a Hollywood Blvd. sidewalk; “I want celebrities to sleep on me” reads another outside Paramount Pictures) and scribbled across the ubiquitous white wooden fences that shroud construction sites all over the city. (“I miss Mad Men” is written on Beverly Boulevard.) 

“Imagine you have this wall on Beverly Boulevard to write anything you want, and a million people are going to drive by it like three hours later, what would you do?” he asks, in a rare moment of artistic reflection. “I want to make fun of people.” 

One of his graffiti pieces, for example, makes fun of an unnamed comedian whom he’s got beef with. “She’s really into yoga but she does a lot of drugs, and she tweeted or instagrammed her vision board one day,” he says, forgetting where he had first seen the inspirational collage. “So I wrote down ‘vision bored.’” 

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Admission: We here at TVWriter™ love this idea, and we really hope Herrera scores big.


Don’t you hate it when a co-worker constantly one-ups you? We’re actually feeling a bit better about the situation now that we’ve seen this little gem:

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from Buzzfeed

The Dangers of Creativity

What is it about our public school systems? They just can’t seem to understand what creative people are all about – especially creative students. LB has stories about how every time he wrote a short story for an English class in middle school and high school he had to defend himself against his teachers’ accusations of plagiarism because, they said, “It’s written too well.”

But that was then. Now, it’s worse:

OperationATeam-arrestHigh School Student Arrested for Writing About Shooting a Dinosaur
by The Times-Union

School is back in session and a creative writing assignment already has led to the suspension and arrest of an imaginative 16-year old South Carolina high school student.

Alex Stone’s teacher asked him and fellow classmates to write something about themselves and their current status — like something you might write on Facebook.

Stone wrote a fictional account in which he slew a dinosaur. He used the word “gun.” He also used the words “take care of business.”

“I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur,” he said he wrote. “And, then, in the next status I said I bought the gun to take care of the business,” he told Charleston TV station WCSC.

Stone’s teacher contacted administrators of Summerville High School, who suspended the student. School officials notified police of the incident Tuesday. Stone explained his writing about the extinct species was imaginative.

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