Thursday, August 18, 2011

Between Iraq and a hard case

According to Sharon Waxman of The Wrap: "Twentieth Century Fox has made a deal with writer-producer Peter Mehlman for a new comedy pilot about a young couple who get a new neighbor: notorious mobster Whitey Bulger. In an exclusive interview with TheWrap Wednesday, Mehlman shared his amazement that the 81-year-old Bulger lived the leasurely life of a fugitive in Santa Monica for 15 years... In the pilot pitch, a couple, like Mehlman, remain unaware that their next-door neighbor is a murderer. (The character is based on Bulger, but is not him.)"

The funny thing is, a few years ago, not long after the US invasion of Iraq, I had a Broadcast and Film Writing student at University of Houston turn in a treatment for a proposed sitcom. The premise: In post-war Iraq, Kentucky Fried Chicken sends a rep to Baghdad to open the company's first franchise fast-food restaurant there. Among the rep's eclectic group of employees: Saddam Hussein, barely disguised, more or less hiding out in plain sight under an alias as the KFC restaurant's autocratic (and very demanding) assistant manager. (A running gag: Saddam really, really admires Col. Sanders' white suit.) It was actually quite funny -- the KFC rep, of course, was an earnest young go-getter who was completely clueless about Iraqi culture and customs, and had no idea whatsoever who was working for him -- but I warned the student that it might be a tough sell because some people would find it tasteless.

Maybe I was wrong.

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