Life on the Other Side of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll
A month ago, I interviewed for a job as a talent executive for a TV show that’s launching in July. I’m not deluding myself when I say it went well; the executive producer followed up with an enthusiastic email, crowning me a “slam dunk.” Diane wrote that she’d
“talk to my references” and we’d take it from there. I was psyched: my references are stellar.
For two weeks, I carried my phone in my hand, fearing that if I buried it in it’s usual location at the bottom of my bag, I’d miss The Call. I checked my email 173 times an hour and badgered my stellar references for updates. I binged on magical thinking, e.g., if the subway door opened in front of me I’d get the job, and, when two weeks of silence turned into three, I optimistically emailed Diane. “It’s me, the slam dunk!” I wrote, all lighthearted n’ shit. “Any word?”
There wasn’t any. I didn’t find out until yesterday that the job had been offered to someone else. I was disappointed, but not all that surprised — I’ve been around long enough to know that in Hollywood, phrases like “slam dunk” should always be followed by a wink.
It took me a full 28 minutes to recover. When I thought about it, I figured out that I’d been seduced by the radical idea of gainful employment. I realized that working in television is best left to people who either a) watch it or b)are good at it.
Being good at television calls for an ability to be politically correct and/or undiscerningly gung-ho. While most everyone secretly wishes that almost everyone else will fail, outward appearances require unequivocal you-go-girl support.
I’m pathologically incapable of that.
(Last week, one of my TV friends proudly suggested on Facebook that we all tune in to see a special she’d been working on, a show which apparently had something to do with Perez Hilton interviewing Katy Perry. I was unable to restrain myself. Rather than doing the right thing — effortlessly hitting the thumbs-up icon — I truthfully posted “I’d rather stick forks in my eyes.”)
It’s not that I didn’t love working in television — my gig at E! was a full-time blast. It wasn’t until the last few months that I worked there that I found it necessary to get stoned before development meetings, keeping myself entertained by suggesting titles like The True Hollywood Story: Husker Du and E! Investigates: Plushies. (I wanted to believe that my co-workers were equally high, but, sadly, they were not: they came up with Leave It To Lamas and Bridalplasty while totally straight. That said, I suspect that the staff at TLC were indulging heavily when they conceived Obese and Expecting.)
Now that I’m an upstanding drug-free citizen, I’m not sure how I’d get through the long-ass days that working in television demands, and, even if I could, I doubt I could work up anything like cordiality or fervor. What it comes down to is this: other than a compulsive need to watch The Wire, I’d do fine without TV, and I’m idealistic enough to believe that what I do for work should somehow reflect who I am.
Then again, I may just be looking for a reason not to be crushed by my recent Adventure in Rejection. If it meant I could once again afford indoor electricity, I’d probably be happy to watchKourtney and Kim Take Manhattan. I might even make it through a Dance Moms marathon. Sober.
For now, though, I’m over the idea of getting a gig in television. Unless someone develops a reality show based on Infinite Jest, or The Wire goes back into production, I’m pretty sure I’m done with TV. I don’t want to be overly emphatic, but it’s a slam dunk.