There is word out of Hollywood that an acclaimed sitcom writer has sold an idea for a TV sitcom to Twentieth Century Fox. The premise?
Imagine you were living right next door to Whitey Bulger, South Boston killer extraordinaire, and didn’t know it.
Writer Peter Mehlman, whose has worked for Seinfeld, among other TV hits, lives in Santa Monica, California, the same place the legendary Irish godfather laid down roots while he was hiding from authorities. Bulger lived in Santa Monica with his girlfriend as well as their dog, until they were busted earlier this year.
Mehlman has said Bulger will not be a character in the show but definitely inspired the idea.
“I can’t imagine how many times I walked past (Bulger),” Mehlman was recently quoted as saying. “And he has 19 murders under his belt.”
The Bulger comedy is one of several upcoming Irish-themed TV shows. BBC America is planning a show about an Irish immigrant cop in the Five Points during the
Famine era, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is playing addict/stripper twin sisters Siobhan and Bridget in the series Ringer, which debuts on the CW Network September 13.
It makes you wonder what other forms of Irish American dysfunction and misery can be exploited for comedy. What follows are some other TV ideas that folks in
Hollywood might want to consider.
The Irish Odd Couple: It’s the 1970s, and two lads from Belfast have just landed in New York in the hopes of leaving their troubled pasts behind. But what happens when the boys – one Protestant and the other Catholic – go looking for a place to live? They end up forced to share a one-room apartment in Hell’s Kitchen.
“It’s hell alright,” Liam, the Catholic fellow, says. “And I don’t mean all the
crime and drugs.”
Billy, the Protestant, counters, “It cold be worse.”
“How?” asks Liam.
“We could get another Paddy Papist in here.”
Don’t miss the episode when the boys get confused by all the explosions on the Fourth of July, as well as the heart-wrenching season finale when Billy and Liam finally become pals, since both agree that gays should not march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
The West Wing’s Awake: In this political comedy the Republic of Ireland needs a new president, and when voters look around and see what Irish-born folks have done to the country, they pass a law outlawing Irish-born folks from the position for 20 years. (No Irish need apply, indeed.)
Hungry for new leadership, the Irish turn to a member of the diaspora – a celebrity who once played a president on television, and whose mother was born in Ireland.
But what seems like a new dawn turns into a culture-clash nightmare.
“Where’s the corned beef?” the new president proclaims during his inaugural address.
Things only get worse when the new president makes an appearance at a football match -- wearing a New England Patriots shirt and Notre Dame cap.
But things soon turn around for the new president when a Chinese bank forecloses on the presidential residence in Phoenix Park – showing the Irish people that this man of wealth and celebrity can sympathize with their problems.
The season cliffhanger has the new Irish president formulating a group of 21st century Fenians and pondering an invasion of China.
“This is finally our chance to learn from the mistakes of Canada,” the president intones solemnly.
Holy Crap!: It’s bad enough a priest tried to put the moves on Kevin when he was growing up in the big city. He’s finally put the past behind him and moved to a new parish in the suburbs.
So he doesn’t think much of it when the parish is about to get a new pastor.
“Probably some dude from India,” he quips.
Not quite. It’s the pervy priest from his past! It seems he’s simply been transferred from the big city to the burbs while the big wigs at the archdiocese sort out decades of abuse charges against the man who’s been called Father Feelgood.
“I’m not going into the confessional with that guy!” Kevin declares at one point.
The wacky next door neighbor (who is not a gangster on the run) adds, “Boy, he really wanted you to have a Good Friday, didn’t he.”
It’s Always Sunny in Butte, Montana: Pat, a rugged coal miner, wants his beloved daughter Rosie to be a respectable nurse or a schoolteacher. But take one guess what she wants to be?
Hint, hint: She wants a lantern and a giant pick for her 18th birthday.
Is it any wonder why the Irish are so popular on TV?
(Contact “Sidewalks” at [email protected] or facebook.com/tomdeignan)