Seaton: Writers’ Strike, Week 2
ONE. A letter never sent.
I hope this letter finds you in good spirits, because I’ve got a bone to pick with the universe, and you’re the closest thing I’ve got to a cosmic complaint department. You see, I thought I could escape the madness of this writer’s strike in LA, but my grand plan went awry. And whose fault is that? Nobody’s but my own, I suppose. But still, I’d like to vent.
As you know, the scribes of Hollywood have gone on strike, leaving the city in a state of collective creative constipation. It’s as if the coffee shops have turned into a congregation of frustrated Hemingways, pounding away at their typewriters with nothing to show for it but a collection of crumpled papers and shattered dreams.
In an attempt to break free from this miasma of discontent, I hatched a plan. I decided to sneak away to Vegas for a weekend of magic and mystery, hoping to reignite my sense of wonder by watching my childhood heroes, Penn & Teller, perform their smoke-and-mirrors wizardry. I thought this escapade would be my salvation, my temporary reprieve from the reality of writers’ woes.
As I cruised down the highway, I could practically hear the opening bars of “Viva Las Vegas” serenading me like a siren’s call. The neon lights twinkled in the distance, beckoning me toward a world of enchantment just beyond the horizon.
Upon arrival in Sin City, I checked into my hotel, eagerly anticipating the evening’s entertainment. I donned my finest suit, ready to immerse myself in the world of Penn & Teller. Little did I know, my night was about to take a turn for the absurd.
I waltzed into the theater, ready to be dazzled, when I spotted a familiar face in the crowd. There, among the throng of magic enthusiasts, was none other than one of the striking writers from back in LA. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one seeking refuge from the literary battlefield.
Our eyes locked, and the recognition was instant. I tried to play it cool, casually sipping my overpriced cocktail as if I were just another tourist in search of a good time. But my fellow writer was not so easily fooled. He approached me, a wry smile playing on his lips, and asked if I, too, was on “strike-cation.”
I stammered out some excuse about needing inspiration, but he saw through my ruse. We both knew that, in abandoning our posts on the picket line, we were essentially committing treason against our fellow wordsmiths. Yet here we were, united in our pursuit of escapism, drawn to the same oasis of magical mayhem like moths to a flame.
As the curtains rose and Penn & Teller took the stage, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. There I was, watching my heroes perform feats of prestidigitation, while my comrades were back in LA, fighting the good fight for our collective future. I wondered if Penn & Teller would approve of my little act of rebellion, or if they, too, would see me as a deserter.
Despite my internal conflict, the show was nothing short of spectacular. Penn’s patter and Teller’s silent antics had me laughing and gasping in equal measure, their illusions playing tricks on my senses like a finely-crafted narrative. For a brief moment, I remembered what it felt like to be truly captivated by a story, to lose oneself in the magic of the written word.
As the final curtain fell, I knew I had to return to LA and rejoin the ranks of my fellow writers. Vegas had offered me a fleeting glimpse of inspiration, a reminder of why we fight for our craft. But the real magic was back home, on the picket lines, where our collective voices could create change.
So, SHG, I’m writing to you now from a dingy motel room on the outskirts of Vegas, my spirit renewed and my resolve rekindled. I may have strayed from the path, but I’m ready to rejoin the fray, armed with the knowledge that our words hold the power to create worlds, to captivate audiences, and to make real change.
And perhaps, when this strike is over and the dust has settled, I’ll look back on my little Vegas adventure and smile, knowing that even in the midst of chaos, there’s always room for a little magic.
Yours, with a renewed sense of purpose,
TWO. A Comedic interlude.
[A comedian walks onstage to generic Johnny Carson-style music. The crowd is silent.]
Ladies and gentlemen, have you heard about the 2023 Writer’s Strike? I mean, it’s been all over the news, right? It’s like Hollywood’s version of a temper tantrum. Writers are like, “No more writing for you, producers!” And producers are like, “Fine, we’ll just reboot ‘Friends’ again.”
You know the strike is serious when even the writers of reality TV shows are on strike. I mean, come on, how hard is it to write, “Previously on ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’… Kim buys a new purse, Khloe goes to the gym, and Kourtney tries to remember her lines”?
I feel bad for the actors, though. They’re out of work too. But on the bright side, they finally have time to read all those scripts they’ve been pretending to read for years. “Oh wow, this is actually pretty good! I should’ve read this before I agreed to be in ‘Sharknado 7.’”
Speaking of actors, during the strike, they’re all taking up new hobbies. Like Leonardo DiCaprio, he’s become an environmental activist! Oh, wait, he’s been doing that for years. Well, at least now he has more time to save the planet between yacht parties.
And have you seen the quality of TV shows since the strike started? It’s like they took all the rejected scripts from the past 20 years and said, “Ah, what the heck, let’s just make ’em.” I mean, who asked for a sitcom about a talking toaster? Although, to be fair, the toaster does have better comic timing than some actors I know.
You know what’s really suffering during the writer’s strike? Late-night talk shows. They’re just a bunch of hosts staring blankly at the camera, like “Uh, so how about that weather, huh?” It’s like watching a high schooler trying to give a presentation on a book they never read.
But the real winners of the strike are the streaming platforms. They’re like, “Did somebody say content drought? Time for our secret weapon: foreign shows with subtitles!” So get ready for a lot of Norwegian crime dramas, folks! Honestly, though, it might be an improvement.
The 2023 Writer’s Strike has also led to some unexpected career changes. Like that one writer who was like, “Fine, if I can’t write for TV anymore, I’ll just become a social media influencer!” Next thing you know, they’ve got two million followers on Instagram and they’re promoting teeth-whitening kits. That’s the true Hollywood dream right there.
So, folks, let’s raise a glass to the 2023 Writer’s Strike, the only thing capable of making us miss the days when TV was just “meh” instead of “What the heck am I watching?” And here’s hoping the writers and producers can settle their differences before we’re subjected to another season of “Dancing with the C-List Celebrities.”
[The crowd boos. Heavily. The Comedian is pelted with rotten produce and exits stage left in shame. An announcer does a voice over as credits roll.]
ANNOUNCER: We last spotted our humble humorist at a Gamestop in Jefferson City, Tennessee mumbling the name “Zelda” repeatedly. If you’ve got photographic evidence of his whereabouts post it to Twitter with the hashtag #WhereIsChris.
Thank you. This program was sponsored in part by Tremfaya. Have a great weekend everyone!
[Cue canned crowd applause.]