Your Chance to Write a Sitcom

I have to admit I’m a bit tired of predictable plots In TV dramas and sitcoms. Certainly we can do better. If I give you some characters and a location, can you come up with an episode?

Location:

A lovely bay on one of the Great Lakes, where vacationers can go out on a small sailboat for a two-hour morning, afternoon, or sunset cruise. The boat holds six plus its captain and his teenage son, who helps out.

Characters:

Captain

The teenage son

The sailboat

The current group (from one to six people) who have signed up for the sunset cruise.

Conflicts

The weather isn’t all that great; a storm may or may not come in.

The captain and his son are in the middle of a fight about the father’s latest girlfriend

The group includes people with certain disagreements about religion

6 responses to “Your Chance to Write a Sitcom

  1. Sandra Degrow (Sandrella)

    My version of a sitcom is more ironic than hilarious but here it is:
    Springtime in Turkey Point, Ontario, along the North Shore of Lake Erie sets the scene for this episode. The waves ripple slowly toward the shore, driven there by a moderate breeze. The temperature is 12°C or approximately 53°F. The sky is full of broad, dense clouds in varying hues of white, grey and blue. The local radio station predicted a forty percent chance of storm activity.
    Captain Dillon and his son, Shaun, sixteen, were at great odds over Dillon’s latest girlfriend Roxanne. Dillon is forty-two and Roxanne is twenty-one. Dillon is a widower and Roxanne babysat for Shaun five years before. Dillon wants to ask Roxanne to marry him and Shaun won’t have any of it. No one could top Shaun’s mom, Donna. She spent as much time as she could with Shaun when not working at her yarn shop.
    On this particular Saturday, a group of six sailing enthusiasts hired Dillon and his son Shaun to take them out for a sunset cruise on Babe Rainbow, Dillon’s favourite boat. Wind was starting to shift towards the pier, but Dillon hadn’t received any warnings about setting out on the lake.
    Among the six passengers was an atheist, a Catholic and a Muslim. The atheist was feeling particularly smarmy today. The other three passengers were three women. Dillon did a head count and confirmed their identity and set out into the breeze. A mile from shore, he put up the sail.
    Fifteen minutes later, black clouds rolled in and the wind picked up. Dillon put on his security lighting and urged everyone to go below. The waves grew and it began to thunder followed by a heavy rain. The boat tossed in the waves, as Dillon tried to turn back to shore.
    The three women, Brenda, Dana and Adele, moved to the back of the stateroom and glared at Dillon with their arms folded. Brenda formed duck lips and raised one eyebrow sky high.
    “Captain Dillon”, said Brenda, “Would Donna have let you set out in such weather?”
    “How do you know my sainted wife?” growled Dillon.
    “Don’t you remember me, honey?” goaded Brenda. “Donna and I were best friends in College. I had blonde hair then.”
    Dillon narrowed his eyes at Brenda, while picturing this deep auburn haired beauty as a blonde. Suddenly he remembered Brenda and got worried. He dated Brenda; but he called her “Babs” then.
    “Babs Fillmore?” he queried Brenda.
    Dillon gulped. The radio sounded in Dillon’s control panel. It was Roxanne. She told Dillon that a harbour police boat was on its way to rescue the party.
    The atheist, the Catholic priest and the Muslim cleric ascended the ladder to the deck to see the storm, against Dillon’s wishes. The atheist declared he would be alright because he lived for the now. He figured he was a generally good human being, so he could survive.
    The priest and the cleric smiled at each other and said, “Why do you need to be good? You don’t believe in an after-life.”
    He stammered, “I-I-I just want to get along with people so my time now is easier.” “Why do you two care?” The atheist fell overboard.
    The priest through him a ring attached to a rope after sounding the man overboard alarm. Everyone on the boat hauled the atheist in. The Muslim cleric handed him a mug of hot tea and put a blanket around his shoulders. Dillon put out a distress call and shot flares, so that the craft would be spotted.
    The cleric knelt in front of the atheist and said, “God is merciful”, and the catholic priest agreed.
    The priest said, “Son, if you don’t believe in God, why do you want to be good? Think about it.”
    The atheist argued with both the two holy men because he thought they were different. Sure there were differences, but not in the very basic tenet of loving one another and doing to one another what you would hope others would do for you. The atheist ran out of arguments.
    Brenda looked at Dillon and said, “Who was that on the radio just now?”
    “That was my girlfriend, Roxanne,” said Dillon.
    “Roxanne?” asked Brenda. “How old is she?”
    “She’s twenty-one,” said Dillon.
    Shaun piped up with, “Roxanne was my babysitter five years ago when she was in high school.”
    Brenda asked Dillon to show her a picture. Dillon argued at first and relented in the end.
    Brenda gasped and said, “That’s our daughter, Dillon.”
    Brenda pulled out a picture of her and Dillon when she was pregnant with Roxanne. Brenda explained that her parents sent her away to a school for unwed mothers. After earning her diploma, she and Roxanne moved away with her parents. Brenda met Donna in College, but had given Roxanne to her Aunt and Uncle to be fostered.
    Roxanne grew up and met Dillon at a bar.
    Just then the sunset cruise party was rescued.
    Paternity tests the following week proved Brenda’s story. As for the atheist, he went to a Catholic Mass the next day.

    • Sandra, this is a delightful tale of Sailing, Sailing. Paternity tests, A cleric, and a Captain who could manage to sail a boat through a storm while being confronted with his past. I would certainly watch this show each and every week.

    • An exciting sitcom! Like Peanut said, I would turn in every week! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I beg your indulgence. Once again I am posting a TRUE STORY that sort of fits Ann’s excellent prompt. I have given it the title

    THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

    For the first 20 years of my life, I held the opinion that my family was normal…annoying…but normal. It wasn’t until I got out in the world and shared stories about my childhood that I discovered that we could classify as, at the very least, unconventional.

    My parents both had regular 9 to 5 jobs during the week. But on weekends, they would travel with their Dance Band from Moose Lodges to Elk’s Lodges to various Country Club dances throughout Northern Indiana. I honestly believed that every kid had parents who got dressed in evening gowns and tuxedos each Friday night and went out to sing and dance with the masses.

    I thought lots of families lived with 4 dogs, 5 cats, 3 horses and 1 house goat that lounged on the sofa while watching Jeopardy. I ask you, what is unconventional about that?

    Our home was the place that all the neighborhood kids wanted to come and play due to the fact that we continuously sought out new and different ways for keeping life entertaining and a bit mischievous. Not only did my parents encourage us, they were often times the main instigators.

    One such time of mischievous entertainment occurred in the summer of 1976, our Nation’s Bicentennial. We kept a sailboat on Lake Wawasee at the Southeast Bay Marina, and there was an announcement posted in the lady’s room of the marina announcing the Annual Wawasee Flotilla celebrating the 4th of July. When we discovered that anybody could decorate a boat and join in the floating parade, there was no question that we would enter.

    Now I need to familiarize you with a nautical term. The toilet on a boat or ship is referred to as “The Head.” This is important for you to know because that was the theme of our parade entry. We had recently re-modeled a bathroom in our 100 year old home and had not managed to haul the aged toilet to it’s final resting place. So we decided it could serve quite well as the throne upon which The Queen of our float would perch. Our entry was titled, “A Head Of Our Time” and I was thrilled to have been chosen the family Queen.

    The antique toilet was placed on the bow (a/k/a the pointy end) of our sailboat. It was lashed securely to the deck with all manner of clamps and bungee cords. We then proceeded to hang brightly colored patriotic pennants and flags from the top of the mast to the water line of the boat.

    As luck would have it, several months before even learning about the Floatilla, I had attended a fundraiser for The Concord High School Band where I purchased 3 old band uniforms, complete with spats and hats with fancy plumage. I also bought 2 of their very old and very dingy orchestra gowns which were made out of heavy, satin-like curtain material. They looked and smelled tortured, but I couldn’t pass them up…especially at the bargain price of 2 for a dollar.

    The day of the Flotilla, our crew of 8 donned our parade garb, gathered at the boat and received our sailing orders. My 4year-old nephew wore a CHS band coat and was given a rusty old trumpet to toot during the festivities. My sister, brother, their spouses and my parents all wore other parts of the uniforms.

    I looked positively regal in my off-off-white, sculpted satin gown with a crown made out of toilet paper rolls as I took my seat on the throne. I had filled the bowl of the toilet with water balloons and an old fashioned seltzer bottle.

    We left the pier and joined 100 other decorated boats as we navigated the 29 miles of shoreline of Lake Wawasee. You have not lived until you’ve worn a heavy, floor-length gown while sitting on an antique toilet for 5 hours in the July sun. I had ring-around-the-butt for 2 weeks following that adventure.

    A fine adventure it was. We did not realize that the Flotilla Committee presented awards for the best entries. “A Head Of Our Time” won 1st place that year. We didn’t enter for the prizes, but the trophy was given a place of honor in our boat. We entered because it was something new and different which had great potential for fun and mischief.

    During this time of Hyper Politics and Presidential Campaigns, it is refreshing to remember that our Founding Fathers intended for us all to Pursue our Happiness..
    With that in mind, I offer the following piece of advice;

    Never pass up the chance to join a parade, and if you can’t find a parade, Start One !

  3. I’m not sure how to write a script (sounds like an interesting on-line class, Ann) but here is what I came up with:

    On the eve of my wedding day, my five bridesmaids and I set sail for a sunset cruise from the tiny, scenic port of Sodus Bay. Located on New York’s shoreline of Lake Ontario, Sodus Bay is the perfect destination for my perfect wedding, I think, as I adjust the spaghetti strap on my dress and step aboard.

    Gitty with excitement, my girls follow me as they, too, step upon The Sodus Bell, a two-masted sixty foot schooner, and take a look around. Before us, we see a very large man with a wide, pulpy face and a stern expression arguing with a young boy. The man’s large head is very gray; as are his whiskers which he wears only around his face like a frame. His clothing is of rich stuff, yet old and frayed. One of his swollen legs has a pillow under it, and is wrapped in bandages. As we approach, the stern-countenanced man manages to stand on his good leg and introduces himself as Captain Elijah Cologne, the ship’s master. “Good evening, ladies, and welcome aboard,” he roars before turning his attention back to the young boy standing beside him. “Don’t just stand there, dumb ass, show these fine ladies to their seats!”

    “Go ef yourself, el Capitán Fatso!! I’m not your Singapore slut. I’m your son, so stop barking orders at me!”

    “I put you on this earth, Raul, and I will take you out so watch your goddam mouth! And say you are sorry to Qui Lee, for calling her a Singapore slut, you know she is from Vietnam.”

    “I won’t, you fat fart….I told you not to bring her,” Raul says as spits over the rail into the sea and leads us to the bow of the ship.

    My head, along with my bridesmaids’, turn in unison towards a small Asian woman sitting on the deck floor pealing potatoes while Phyllis, my Reborn Christian sister-in-law, covers her ears and begins quoting scripture as young Raul leads the way. “I told you this was a bad idea,” Phyllis begins as Patty, my best friend and maid of honor, glares back at her.

    “Shut up, Phyllis, and keep the religion to yourself, will you please?” Patty says as she straightens my tiara and takes a seat next to Joy, my younger sister.

    “It’s only that I believe that on the eve of your wedding day you should spend your time praying to God that your marriage will be an honest one, honoring only Him….not sailing the Great Lake with the likes of Captain Cologne and his ungrateful son.”

    “Yes, Phyllis, we know, you told us before,” we all say with a roll our eyes.
    As we take our seats, I notice that young Joy has seemed to take an interest in Raul, as witnessed by her blank stare and agape mouth as she watches him walk back towards Captain Cologne and Qui Lee. But I ignore her, today is my day, I’m not babysitting here.

    The deck at the bow is a spacious affair, suited with lounge chairs, a wet bar and a hot tub. “Can I go into the hot tube?” Joy asks.

    “And what were you planning to wear? We didn’t bring bathing suits, Joy, and you know this,” I snap as I help myself to a glass of champagne.
    “Well it’s just us, I could strip down to my bra and panties,” Joy says as she begins to undress.

    Phyllis begins to pray for Joy’s soul while Karen, another bridesmaid, decides that Joy has the right idea and lifts her dress above her head and kicks off her sandals. Before I know what’s happening, Patty has joined them leaving me alone with Phyllis and Rachel. “Should we go in too, Rachel?” I ask.

    “I will if you will,” Rachel says so I down the rest of my champagne and strip off my gown and jump in. Rachel soon follows as Phyllis watches on.

    “Come on in, Phyllis, the water is fine,” I say as the rest of the girls laugh and really begin to enjoy the day.

    As we are relaxing in the hot tub, Raul returns with a platter of cheese and crackers and sliced fresh fruit. We ask him to refill our champagne glasses which he does with an eager smile and a plop of strawberry in each of our glasses. “It tastes better with the strawberry,” he says to Joy who leans over the hot tub and gives him a wink.

    “Jesus, Joy, what are you trying to do?” I scold. “Mom will have your head on a platter!”

    “Well Mom’s not here, Maribeth! I’ll do what I please.”

    “Go ahead, it’s your life!” I bark as I watch Joy climb out of the hot tub and grab a towel from a tiny cupboard. As she wipes herself dry, Raul asks if she would like to see the rest of the ship.

    “I would love to,” she says as she slips her dress back on over her head and sticks her tongue out at me. And then she is gone.

    After an hour passes, the rest of us decide we’d better get out of the hot tub and go find Joy who has yet to reappear. Phyllis has fallen asleep with her bible across her chest and the wind has picked up and dark clouds dot the horizon.

    Once we are all dressed, we walk below deck in search of Joy. Imagine our surprise when we find her standing beside Raul, with Qui Lee at her side and Captain Cologne reading from his own bible as he stands before them. “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” Cologne says and Qui Lee hugs Joy and my heart jumps out of my throat.

    “NOOOOO!!” I cry as I stomp my feet and shake my fists into the air. “This is my wedding weekend!”

    And then the newly anointed Mrs. Raul Cologne turns around to face me as the thunder cracks above us, the ship rocks from side to side and Phyllis bursts into the room and asks, “What did I miss?”

  4. Sandra Degrow (Sandrella)

    Hi everyone, thank-you for your comments. I wasn’t sure where this would go. Sorry for my tardy replies. You all have wonderful ideas. I would definitely watch these sitcoms.

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