Munchman’s Latest TV Musings

Munchman’s TV Musings #3

  1. OMG, kids, Yer Friendly Neighborhood Munchman actually saw a TV show I lurve. A series that reflects the reality of my munched-up life and, methinks, the lives of other members of my reviled Millennial generation. I’m talking about the absolutely best series ever to appear on The CW (yeah, that isn’t saying much but still…), My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I won’t say much about it other than it’s a genuinely witty musical comedy (?!) and every damn thing I saw while bingeing Season 1 was true to all the feelings that I and my various recent Significant Others – AKA crazy ex-girlfriends) have felt. Watch this one!
  2. Continuing on an unaccustomed positive note, el Munchero also has spent some time watching the first couple of episodes of YouTube’s new series, Chance, starring Dr. Gregory House – excuse moi, I mean Hugh Laurie – as a doctor who gets way too involved in the problems of one of his non-patients. (Watch the opening ep and you’ll know what I mean.) It’s slow but filled with pseudo-noir goodness. That steamy old Kathleen Turner film Body Heat with a psychiatric twist. It’s a story we’ve all seen before, but it’s done impeccably. Gotta love a world where every single damn character is insane and most of them don’t know it.
  3. Moving on to the more normal Muncharoni disdain, CBS has canceled the worst show created by major showrunners in years, BrainDead. God, what a disappointing piece of Big Eye Network foolery. With any luck this will be the last we see of the highly overrated team of Robert and Michelle King. Don’t start commenting on how I put the man’s name first, ‘kay? That’s how the outdated, untalented brains behind one of the worst successes in TV AKA The Good Wife bill themselves. Buy-bye, Michelle and Bobby, please let the swinging door whack ya in your asses on the way out.
  4. Have I communicated my feelings of dismay over Charlie Kaufman’s film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind being turned into a TV series? Well, I’m munching the news into teeny weeny pieces right now. The creative team in charge consists of all kinds of people who are in tight with production company Universal Cable Productions, and Charlie himself isn’t one of them. Yeppers, Charlie Kaufman, the brilliant wacko scriptor behind not only ESOTSM but also Adaptation (executive produced by our Beloved Leader LB’s brilliant son Jeb Brody), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, and Adaptations, among others, has absolutely no say about this series. For that matter, he has never had a say about any series because TV execs are terrified of the dood. As they should be cuz Charlie knows things, ya hear what Munchie’s muttering?
  5. Munchabello here was going to write another angry paragraph about how totally patronizing and contemptible the recent announcement by Netflix that it’s authorized a new series by Mexican filmmaker Manolo Caro was, but shit’s happening at the Bangkok studio where my amazingly cool and wonderful and in every way perfect (if you have my mentality, that of a brilliant 12 year old kid) web series The Fantastic Friends is being made, so tootles for now, y’all. (And don’t forget to watch FF so you can see where I’m coming from and totally discount anything I say about…well, anything, I suppose.)

That’s it for this week. I’ve got a terrible, tasteless, but amazingly popular web series to get back to work on, but I promise – I’ll seeya next time with more TV joy!

Larry Brody’s Poetry: Kid Hollywood Produces

by Larry Brody

kidhollywoodcovercoyotecaptureNOTE FROM LB: 

I’m back in Hollywood here, livin’ the life and playin’ the game! Oh joy! Oh Rapture! Oh…shit? This could be the most important thing any aspiring showbiz type will read. But if you’re a real aspirant, you’ll ignore it – like me:

Kid Hollywood Produces

Kid Hollywood sits at a desk wider than

Cleopatra’s barge. The sign on his door says,

“Producer,” and he makes more money each

Week than his father made in a year. He looks

Around at his paneled walls, and he sighs, “It

Is good.”

Kid Hollywood is all of twenty-nine, and his first

Casting session is about to begin. The director

Sits at Kid Hollywood’s side. “I want somebody

Who isn’t just acting the part,” the director explains.

“I want him to be the part.” A psycho killer? Kid

Hollywood doesn’t know if he wants to meet the

Right actor, after all.

But he tries. They come in, and go out, come

In and leave some more, and no one is a psycho

Killer, because everyone is scared.

In Kid Hollywood’s new office, fear is a character

All by itself. Every actor brings in a new aspect,

And leaves it to grow. There’s the silent terror,

And the shaky panic,

And the rage.

There’s the arrogant denial,

And the meek acquiescence,

And the rage.

The tremulous lip,

The quavering voice,

The rage.

The “How do you want it?”

“Is this okay?”

“Anything in particular I ought to know?”

The rage.

The fear takes tangible form. Kid Hollywood

Hears it first, a whisper of uncertain hate.

Then he smells it, the sweat of fallen self-respect.

Then he sees it, the psycho killer, exactly as

Written, but not played. Finally, Kid Hollywood

Has to stop. He needs time to give the fear

In the corner a break, a chance to dissipate,

To dissolve, and leave the new office born-again


“Let’s go over to the Blue Room, have something

To eat,” says the director, and Kid Hollywood rises.

“Let’s,” he says.



Let’s away! Away! Before it’s too late!

The voice in the Kid’s mind is shrill.

You’re not yet thirty! Let’s find another place!




Kid Hollywood and the director eat in the Blue Room,

Charge the meal to the show. They return to the

Office, and the actors, and the readings,

And in the corner the Kid’s new roommate

Not only hangs on, but continues to grow.

It grows for the rest of the season,

Coming not just from the actors,

But from everyone who walks in the door.

Even Kid Hollywood no longer is immune,

His too the sound, the smell, and the sight.

Still, his desk is longer

Than Marc Antony’s trireme,

And the paneling is dark and burnished,

Real wood not veneer.

And all the job requires

Is that the Kid share his space with the fear.

Larry Brody is the head dood at TVWriter™. Although the book whose cover you see above is for sale on Kindle, he is posting at least one poem a week here at TVWriter™ because, “As the Navajo Dog herself once pointed out to me, ‘Art has to be free. If you create it for money, you compromise your artistic vision by trying to please those who are paying. If you don’t accept money, you can be yourself. Like your art, you too are free.’” Actually, she said it much shorter.

Diana Vacc sees “Designated Survivor”


by Diana Vaccarelli

                   *Be warned – this review may contain spoilers!*

This TV season has a familiar face back on the screen in Designated Survivor – Kiefer Sutherland, also, perhaps better. known as  24′s Jack Bauer

This time around Sutherland is the protagonist of the tale of a low-ranking cabinet member becoming President of the United States after a horrific terrorist attack wipes out most of our government. After which – of course! President Sutherland has to save the day.

The only questions I had as I tuned in were, “Will he be saving our butts Jack Bauer style?” And, “OMG! What if he doesn’t? What will this show do?”


  • The premise is deliciously terrifying.  What would happen if the U.S. government’s most experienced leaders were in fact wiped out? Who would take the reins? And considering this election season, when so many variations of this scenario have seemed close to hand, the concept brings reality to the show, at least for me.
  • Showrunner Amy Harris and her writers bring in topics that are being discussed in our news outlets right now. For example, a scene regarding innocent Muslims being attacked by overzealous police.
  • The cast of supporting characters is brilliant. Natascha McElhone as Sutherland’s wife brings a calm to a drastic situation.  Adan Canto and Italia Ricci as feuding Chiefs of Staff have incredible chemistry. You can see the groundwork for a future romantic relationship building, and I’m looking forward to watching it play out.


  • Welp, here’s the thing. In some ways Sutherland does play his President like Jack Bauer. And in some ways he doesn’t. In Designated Survivor he is more timid and less intense. Which is a real shame because it just doesn’t work. It’s like watching the same old character after he’s been gelded. The performance is, in a word, lackluster. Please excuse the expression but this show would be much more interesting if our hero went either one way – quiet, smart – or the other – buttkicking – balls out.


I love so much of what Designated Survivor is giving us yet feel simultaneously so disappointed that I don’t think I can make a recommendation. Watch it and then tell me in the comments: Is this show a yes or a no?

Peggy Bechko’s World: Writers, are You Fearing Success?


by Peggy Bechko

Fearing success?

Of course you’d say no!


It’s a plague for writers – that little voice inside that maybe tells you you just aren’t good enough.

That when you are put under the microscope and really examined they’ll find you and your work greatly lacking. Or maybe you’ve gotten a lot of rejections already. Or maybe your friends and/or family think you’re crazy for pursuing the writing life.

However you got there, there’s that nagging fear of actually finding success and being closely examined because of it. So, what do you do?

You dive in and end up sabotaging yourself. Maybe you miss appointments or deadlines. Maybe you flake out altogether and draw down the wrath of the one who could well be poised to propel you forward.

And there’s that dark fear that IF you are successful, they’ll EXPECT things from you! BIG things!

And after all that you conjure up all kinds of reasons as to why you failed and why you’re going to fail again. So, in a dark vortex you end up being afraid of the next failure and of the possibility of success. It gets so bad you’re afraid to even try.

I suspect almost every writer, and artist for that matter, knows the paralyzing fear that goes along with the deep-seated fear of being a ‘loser’.

I mean what if you really, really try and don’t succeed? Better not to try – or to set up pitfalls for yourself that make reaching that success nearly impossible, then saying, “well, I knew it would happen.”

Just look at the screenwriting industry. They accept what, maybe 2% of scripts offered up? And a good percentage of THAT  is from already established writers. Seriously. It’s the industry’s fault, right?

Um, no. Here’s a quote I love: “If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

Do you really want to end up being your own worst enemy, your own worst stumbling block when it comes to getting past the gatekeepers to get that script produced or that novel sold?

I didn’t think so.

My advice? Disassociate from failure. Think of it more like “I didn’t succeed this time, but I learned a lot.”

Let go of your inhibitions. Consider yourself one of your own fictional characters and think of all the roadblocks you throw up for them. What would you do to help this protagonist (you) reach the success everybody is rooting for you to achieve?

If they can do it, so can you…because this protagonist is you. Be aware of the internal conflict, the blasts from the past that might be inhibiting the success you’re looking for. Use your awareness as a time for self-analysis.

And change.

Change is hard for most people. But if you can get your characters to evolve and change then I have no doubt you can do it for yourself. Remember, you’re not the only human being to feel that way. Every one of us is afraid at times and reluctant to make ourselves vulnerable.

I’m no professional in the psych department but here’s a way of looking at it you the storyteller:

“I can.

“I will.

“End of story. ”

Be fearless. Go out there and grab that success you’re longing for.

You will have earned it.

Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. blog. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.

2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT Closes in 8 Days!

Your last chance to enter the 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT is just 8 days away, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time Tuesday, November 1st.

Don’t miss your shot at over $20,000 worth of prizes and bonuses, including free feedback & LB’s Storytelling Patterns e-booklet. For all the info, CLICK HERE

TVWriter™ Don’t-Miss Posts of the Week – Oct. 24, 2016

In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

“Rick And Morty” Season 3 Looks to be Better Than Ever

Peggy Bechko’s World: Time to Broaden Your Horizons!

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

SUBLIME PRIMETIME 2016 – Writing Advice From Emmy-Nominated Writers

Larry Brody’s Poetry: “I Can Mention No Names”

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline






Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved. And while you’re at it do yourself a favor and ENTER THE PEOPLE’S PILOT. Because we really want you to get your careers soaring!





It’s been quite a summer. Busy, busy, busy with new projects at a time in my life when I fully expected to be winding down. And all that personal “life” stuff. Holy crap!

Houseguests! Freak rain storms! Adventures in China and Thailand! Interweb service interruptions! Yikes!

Now that Fall is here, I’m not seeing any let-up. With the closing date of this year’s PEOPLE’S PILOT less than two weeks away, the contest is taking up more and more of my time, a situation that will continue for another couple of months of reading and judging and critiquing and arguing and…well, you get the idea.

Then there’s the politics thing. A Presidential election campaign with a tone straight out of a Philip K. Dick short story, a Douglas Adams novel, or what now strikes me as the most prophetic film I’ve ever seen: Idiocracy.

But stress and anxiety are basic parts of life, right? Why else would God have given us Xanax? And why rest now when there will be so much more time – absolutely guaranteed – to do nothing later on?

So I’ll be pushing myself for awhile, doing my best to clear current obligations in order to take on future ones.

My main obligation, be it past, present, or future is to continue to poke and prod and push everyone who comes to TVWriter™ to work your butts off to make your writing dreams come true.

In other words, don’t just sit there – write, dammit! Create!

The world needs your artistry and idealism now more than ever. Don’t ever give up on the magical effect of your words.




The 2016 PEOPLE’S PILOT opened for entries March 1st and will be open until the very last minute of November 1, 2016.

In other words, it’s closing pretty damn soon. In less than two weeks!

If you’ve been coming to TVWriter™ for any longish amount of time, you almost certainly know that the PEOPLE’S PILOT is one of the web’s premier TV writing competitions. But must in case you’re a newbie, or haven’t been keeping track of the changes, here’s a brief synopsis:

This year we’ve updated the PP to match recent changes in the entertainment scene and make the contest not just a “television writing” thing, but one for shows intended for any and all electronic entertainment media.

Whether the series you are creating is intended for broadcast TV, cable and satellite, TV, home entertainment/video game consoles, Big Media interweb outlets like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, or indie web channels and venues like YouTube, Vimeo, Funny or Die, or the show’s own website, it’s eligible for the new PEOPLE’S PILOT.

Similarly, we’re open for entries regardless of what length you envision the episodes being or how many episodes you foresee it having.

Genres also are entirely open. Whether you’ve written a drama, comedy, action, dramedy, anthology script for adults, for young adults, for children, or, what the hell, for opossums, the PEOPLE’S PILOT wants to see it. Is your pilot intended for live action? Great. And just as great if you see what you’ve written as being animated, or starring puppets, or little balls of clay, whateves. Are you hoping for your series to last forever? Envisioning it as a mini or limited series? It’s all good to us. We welcome everything you can think of.

Category-wise, we’ve expanded from two to three. These are:

1) Scripted Series 1/2 Hour or Less (no matter how much less)
2) Scripted Series Longer than 1/2 Hour (up to 1 Hour long)
3) Scripted Series Longer than 1 Hour

In other words, scripts for shows about anything. intended to be broadcast anywhere, and with a playing time from, oh, a few seconds to several hours long are cordially invited!

Especially welcome in the “Scripted Series Longer than 1 Hour category are series deliberately designed to be binge-watched. (Can any other contest say the same?)

UPDATE! Especially welcome in all categories are screenplays that present characters and situations that would make terrific ongoing shows. Yes, we know that pretty much applies to any well-written screenplay, but, hey, that’s the point.

Other changes include:


TVWriter™ is now offering over $20,000 in prizes and entry bonuses, including:


We’ve had free Feedback for awhile now and are constantly hearing how valuable it’s been. We think the Feedback alone is worth more than the price of admission and believe you’ll agree!


All entrants will receive a PDF file of Larry Brody’s Storytelling Patterns in Genre Films booklet. Available nowhere else, Storytelling Patterns is a guide to outlining your scripts by using timeless story patterns and scenes that have proven time and time again to be invaluable to successful storytelling.


You’ve missed the Early Bird Special fee, but the regular entry fee is $50 for each submission, with a new Duo Discount that eases the pain by allowing you to pay for 2 entries at the same time for a total payment of only $85. As in past years, you don’t have to upload your submission immediately upon paying the fee. You can send it at any time until the contest closes.

The PEOPLE’S PILOT website is HERE

The full list of Prizes is HERE

The Enter Page is HERE

Email LB personally with any questions HERE

Winners, Finalists, and Semi-Finalists of TVWriter™’s past contests are or have most recently been on the staffs of WESTWORLD, LETHAL WEAPON, NARCOS, MOM, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO FIRE, PERSON OF INTEREST, THE WALKING DEAD, RIZZOLI AND ISLES, COLONY, GREY’S ANATOMY, ONCE UPON A TIME, SMALLVILLE, ROME, THE LEFTOVERS, and THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER, to name just a few. We’d love to see you join them!


LB’s schedule has been a real killer so far this season, with the result that for now all online classes are on hold. (Blame it on his involvement with Thai animation studio startup Southeast Asia Animation. But how could he say no when one of the initial investors was also one of his first students during sabbatical he took from writing-producing way back in the early 1990s?

LB assures us that as soon as things calm down he will be resuming both the Advanced Online Screen and TV Writing Workshop and his Master Class. But if you’re really Jonesing for his open, honest, and very professional tutelage, it couldn’t hurt to get in touch with him HERE

Meanwhile, if you’re curious, you can find out more about everything TVWriter University is currently offering HERE

That’s it till next time. Keep those stories spinning!

Team TVWriter™

Larry Brody – Head Dood
Gwen Brody – Head Muse
Munchman – Keeper of the Faith
Cara Winter, Herbie J Pilato, Peggy Bechko, Kelly Jo Brick – Contributing Editors
Diana Vaccarelli – Critic at Large
Kathryn Graham, Cassandra Hennessey – Contributing Writers
Various Volunteers – Mucho Appreciated Scapegoats