Long time ago, I lived in a world with no TV, there were only backyards, and ditches and woods and books, lots of books, and those books were filled with lots of backyards, and ditches and woods, and rivers and lakes and pirates and princesses and castles and “off with their heads” and stuff. Then one day, still long ago, but while I was away at college, my parents bought a TV. I knew about TVs, one of my grandmothers had one. Twice a year I would wake up and watch the Gospel Jubilee while getting ready for church at the little country church in Soso, Mississippi. My brother and I and assorted cousins would sleep on mats on the living room floor, so there was the TV right there to turn on. The Gospel Jubilee was an easy choice, because there were two channels on the antennae in rural Mississippi and the other channel was boring news stuff. Also, my neighbors had a TV so sometimes we would watch cartoons.
But the truth is, TV was always a bit like the onions and papers and sausage at the fair. You like them, but you only eat them once or twice a year. They were not a part of your life. The TV was the same. I knew about it. I even enjoyed it a bit. But my life was full of backyards and trees and ditches and woods and a limestone creek called County Hole, and books. And you already know what the books were full of.
Then, as I said, my parents got a TV, in lieu of their religion, I suppose. And I learned to watch Dallas and Family and Mash, and even tried SNL, but in spite of Belushi, it was more miss than hit. My dad loved watching football. I played football, in the backyard and on the school varsity team. I bowl and fish, too, but I really don’t care to watch other people do any of the above. I had to watch Hogan’s Heroes and The Rockford Files and Mayberry RFD, Dragnet, 1 Adam-12, The A-Team, Magnum P.I., Chips and The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. I tried Happy Days, in fact I think I watched a few seasons. Same with Laverne and Shirley, I couldn’t take I love Lucy, but I loved the old cartoons.
Eventually I married a woman who loved nature shows, and that was okay. Later I had a girl friend who liked the different TV versions of Star Track, I liked them. Then I remarried and my wife liked the X Files, and I watched that. Then it ended. We loved West Wing. That ended. I used to like Cops, but she hated that, so I stopped watching. (Actually, I have never learned how to turn the TV on since the knobs on the front and the “Clicker” went away.) We watched the Marlins most of one of their championship seasons, but eventually we decided they could win without us giving up two or three hours every night to watch. They did fine without us, so we haven’t watched since.
I drifted back into not watching TV. She watched TV, I played on my laptop, wrote poetry or essays or short stories. But a couple of years ago I started looking over the top of my laptop at Scandal, House of Cards, News Room, True Detective, Downton Abbey, and Suits.
When I was younger TV shows were on 26 weeks, and then they would run reruns or made for TV movies or introduce pilots or something for the other 26, then your show came on with a new season. Somewhere, somebody, and I am not sure who, (they ought to be shot) decided a season was 13 episodes, or 8 or 3 (Sherlock Homes), So you get into a show, and a week later it is the season finale and you wait a year and it runs about as long as the Thornbirds and its gone again.
As my wife is the keeper of the TV, and thus the TV shows, and as she watches House Wives and all manner of unacceptable TV, like fashion and cooking and survivor and stuff, I turn to her for the status of my shows, you know, the “TV worth watching” stuff. Invariably she tells me the shows are in Hiatus.
For a while I accepted this, but as shows would go away for so long they began to seem like old school chums who I almost remembered from 5th grade but wasn’t sure if I had the right name with the right face and who got paddled for what and did I get a whipping for it, too, I began to become suspicious. Where is Hiatus? Why do the shows ALL go there? What do they do in Hiatus. I checked. I couldn’t find Hiatus on a map. There is a Hiatus Rd in Broward County Florida, but I KNOW nobody goes there if they can avoid it. The traffic is atrocious. The only place worse is Ives Dairy Rd, and nobody ever said anybody ever went to Ives Dairy!!!
I suggested that maybe Hiatus was a secret compound in Maine. A Kennebunkport, a Hyannis port. Okay the Kennedys were in Martha’s Vineyard, but from here it all looks like Maine. I asked my dear wife, as I became more and more exasperated with this whole mess of TV and the missing shows. Tell me where it is, and why do they go there? She said Hiatus was a thing, not a place. I asked how a thing could not be in a place. She said it was a State of Bean. I am pretty sure I misunderstood. I told I knew all 50 states and was pretty sure there was no state called Bean, though there was a famous book a few years ago called the Beans of Maine. She seemed caught out and finally conceded that Hiatus was right near Hiatus Port in Maine and yes, they went there to get away and relax. I realize she may have just decided to tell me what I wanted to hear. If that was the case, she failed miserably, because what I wanted to hear was that all the shows had come back and all was forgiven.
I pointed out that I needed to rest and relax, but I didn’t get to take off 30 weeks a year. She said the TV stars were all rich and could afford to do it.
So I immediately leapt to a solution. I would write a TV show, set in the deep dark woods, starring a big bad wolf and wicked witch and three little pigs and a princess, and they would all work for minimum wage and not get ANY days off. She suggested weekends off, but as I pointed out, then what we watch on weekends. She also said there already was a show like this, called Once (except, of course, it was in Hiatus, what isn’t?), so I added Lucy, the Dog.
So starting next week, there will be a daily broadcast of a new show called Once a Pun a Time, in a Place Called Hiatus Port. The show will feature heart warming moments and terrifying sequences of the very ordinary lives of BB Wolf, W. Witch, Pig One, Pig Two, Pig Three (no relation), T Princess, and starring Lucy, the Dog, as herself. This show will be on 52 weeks per year, as most of the rest of us never get a day off anymore so why should they? And they can NEVER go to Hiatus to relax, because they are already there and they work full time!
Let me know what you think. Also, I am open for storyline suggestions, as I am gonna have to write a crap load of this stuff. Oh and I need help finding folks who will work 7 days a week for 8 buck an hour.