Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

Please Pay Me To Write The Following

Don't hang up that phone, Kevin Bacon! I've got ideas!

Dear FOX,

I watched your show The Following and thought it was pretty good, but then I like oppressively dark things and stories about serial killers (don’t tell my therapist or my gun salesman haha jk). Kevin Bacon is pretty good. I can tell that he’s like a protagonist from a cable drama because he drinks vodka out of a water bottle. So edgy! I can’t believe that’s on network television whoa!

Remember that show you guys made about dinosaurs? Why didn’t any of them drink vodka from water bottles? Probably would’ve been a hit.

Like dinosaurs, here’s something about The Following that strains credulity: a writer being good at serial killing. That’s crazy, guys! James Purefoy from Rome (that show stunk, it should’ve been on FOX!) is too handsome to be a writer.  Also, when I said he was handsome? He’s just TV handsome, don’t make a big deal out of it. Most writers aren’t even radio handsome. They’re book handsome which is a thing that doesn’t exist. So you can understand my confusion.

I read somewhere that people who read a lot of fiction are less likely to commit violent crimes because the reading increases their empathy. And this serial killer is a literature professor? I don’t buy it. I guess his book was supposed to be really bad – Kevin Bacon said it only scored a 2.3 on Goodreads. That makes a little more sense. I suppose it’d be easier for a bad writer to start a cult of aspiring serial killers over the internet, sort of like how E.L. James convinced all those middle-aged ladies to torture their husbands.

Do you think James Purefoy’s book in your show The Following is better or worse than the book Bradley Cooper writes in Limitless? Just curious.

Purefoy is really into Edgar Allen Poe, which seems kind of played out at this point, don’t you think? And there are some big speeches about how the serial killer, like Poe, is searching for beauty in death. I’m no Poe scholar, but I don’t really think that was one of his big themes. I don’t think Poe thought the most beautiful thing in the world was a dead lady with her eyes stabbed out. Maybe I’m wrong in my interpretation. Did you know Poe wasn’t really a drug addict? Just learned that on Wikipedia. Better cancel your opium episode.

So I guess the structure of The Following going forward is that every week Kevin Bacon will have to track down one of Purefoy’s baby serial killers (not serial baby killers, fyi, although maybe?) which will let you guys do a very network-style killer-of-the-week thing, but all of them linked by some overarching narrative that is mainly Purefoy taunting the detectives from prison. I’m sure there are twists in there too, right? Anyone could be a serial killer! This is America, after all. Even our liberal literature professors and gay people will do murders.

(Except there were great pains taken in the pilot to say that the gay neighbors who turn out to be Purefoy cultists were just pretending to be gay, although we see no visual evidence of that, the cops just jump to that conclusion. For some reason. Even though these guys would’ve been pretending for like three years. Did someone at the network decide against gay serial killers at the last minute? Too edgy?)

Anyway, let me get to my point. I think you guys should fire Kevin Williamson and pay me to write this show. Clearly, I know what you’re going for (as evidenced above). I don’t have anything against Williamson – Scream is awesome, Dawson’s Creek is hilarious – but after he gets you through the first season, what then? Just how big can this serial killer’s army be? I know crime shows like CSI get away with murders every week, but not MASS MURDERERS.

What you’re gonna want to do is go metafictional. That’s a literary term you might’ve heard on the internet when kids are like ‘oh that’s so meta.’ I bet James Purefoy’s character knows what I’m talking about. So the second season of The Following takes place in our world – the “real” world – where the show The Following has just been canceled (REALISM) and Kevin Bacon is looking for work.

But hold on. Someone just murdered a small town preacher and sent his severed foot to Kevin Bacon! In seemingly unrelated news, a second body is found in a state of decomposition consistent with being devoured by worms!  And finally, the lawyer of some big shot military general that’s about to go on trial is killed when someone throws a grenade into his apartment!

Inspired by the show The Following, someone is committing Kevin Bacon themed murders… DUN DUN DUN.

So then some sexy FBI agent has to protect Kevin Bacon, but Bacon also proves to be helpful in the investigation because he’s scrappy and has seen like 85% of his own movies. They have a romantic encounter while escaping from an invisible killer on an out-of-control white water raft. Later, when Kevin Bacon goes missing, the FBI Chief yells SOMEONE BRING HOME THE BACON!

Oh and btw? The killer? It’s someone close to Kevin Bacon. But not that close. It’s like Kevin Bacon has a close friend, and then there’s a friend of that friend, and that second friend has a brother, who used to be married to this lady, who is friends with the serial killer. And that’s how you write a mystery, idiots.

Okay thanks for your time, please send me some money.


Jeff Hart

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