Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I, Carlius

I don't watch the Nickelodeon network, because I am not a kid, nor do I have kids.  And in general I have a hard time even keeping straight which shows have been on Nickelodeon, and which have been on the Disney channel (although, from what I can tell, child actors from Nickelodeon are less likely to develop serious drug problems than their peers from Disney).  

But unknown elements of the popular culture will sometimes float up into my view. An indeterminate amount of time ago, I saw a reference somewhere to the Nickelodeon show iCarly.  I was bored, and decided to research the show on Wikipedia.  I read about the premise (a comedy, that ran from 2007 to 2012, about teenagers who produce a popular webcast), and the characters, and the various seasons, and even the cross-over episode with the show Victorious, starring, among others, Ariana Grande, who sounds like something that one would order at Starbucks.

And then I had an even better idea for a cross-over episode—iCarly meets I, Claudius

I, Claudius (which I discussed earlier) is a classic BBC historical drama from the Seventies, dealing with ancient Rome and the ambitions, schemes, and outright madness of those who ruled it, or sought to. 

And when wholesome teen internet celebrities meet depraved, insane Roman emperors, you get fun for the whole family!  Well, maybe not for the whole family . . .  I, Claudius does contain material that is unsuitable for children.  Indeed, I, Claudius contains material that is unsuitable for adults.

Still, I can't help thinking that an iCarly and I, Claudius cross-over would be a landmark television event just as powerful and crazy as Emperor Caligula himself.  And maybe if we're lucky Patrick Stewart would reprise his role as Sejanus.  Of course, on the downside, there is the reasonable chance that some of the iCarly characters would end up decapitated and/or crucified.

The pitch meeting with a Nickelodeon executive would run something like this:

Me: Okay, I have a great idea.  All that you need to do is to put iCarly back into production, then make an extended cross-over episode utilizing the characters from the BBC show I, Claudius.

Nickelodeon Executive: Hey what what??

Me: It's a can't-miss concept.  Take one of your popular comedies, and combine it with a 1976 TV show based on a 1934 book about the early days of the Roman Empire.  It's what today's tweens are clamoring for.  

Nickelodeon Executive: I don't see that working out on a lot of different levels.

Me:  It would be ground-breaking television.  It would win all kinds of awards.  It would get raves from both twelve-year-olds and classical scholars. Of course, on the downside, there is the reasonable chance that some of the iCarly characters would end up decapitated and/or crucified.

Nickelodeon Executive: Did you just say "and/or" in casual conversation?

Me: Yes.

Nickelodeon Executive:  I just don't think that it would fit with our demographic.

Me: You've got to do it.  The kids will love it!  It'll be awesome!  It won't just be awesome.  It'll be . . . it'll be . . . supercalifragilistic!!

[long, awkward silence]

Me: What?

Nickelodeon Executive: That's Disney.

Me: Oh . . . um . . . sorry.

Nickelodeon Executive: Get out.

Friday, September 12, 2014

People Whom I Have Known Part IV: Gubernatorial Aspirations

("Gubernatorial" is a funny word.)

It is time to return to my series about people whom I encountered in my past who have gone on to some level of fame.  (See Part I, Part II, and Part III.)  Today's entry concerns Zephyr Teachout, a law professor who challenged Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary for the New York gubernatorial race.  She lost in her primary bid, but still collected an impressive 34% of the vote.  

Zephyr was in the class two years ahead of me when I was in college.  I didn't know her all that well, but I did frequently see her working at her job in the dining hall; most of my memories of her involve her serving "meatless baked ziti", which was the staff of life in the college's meal system at the time. 

And it is impossible to forget someone named "Zephyr Teachout".  I imagine, though, that there is no possibility of her remembering me.