LOS ANGELES, CA.-
Popular nighttime programming block Adult Swim has shut down yet another promising program before it hit the pilot stage. The program, Pretzels 2016 was attached to well known producers who’ve had numerous hits with the station in the past.
The network’s summer programming block is in serious jeopardy as a result. “We’re in a bind,” reported Cartoon Network head of programming Jeff Wayblebibble at Comic Con. Summer is key for the cable networks because the big networks don’t air many new shows between May and September.
This is a shame. It looked like a fun time. The proposed show runner only goes by the enigmatic handle Scratch Corwood and he’s hard to get in touch with. Writers Without Money was granted a rare interview over Skype and got to ask about the genesis of the idea that never was. His voice sounds like a shoe stepping on gravel.
WWM: Thanks for talking with us. We know you’re a busy man.
SC: My pleasure. I’m a big fan of Writers Without Money.
WWM: Plugs already! *laughs*
SC: *laughs*…So what was it you wanted to talk about?
WWM: We were hoping to get some information for our readers about what happened to your project Pretzels 2016.
SC: Well, it just got thrown in production hell again.
WWM: We heard. So let’s start at the beginning. What inspired you to make a…wait, let me find the promotional materials we were sent…this is right off the press kit: “A political drama exploring truth, justice, and what it’s like to be eaten by a bear.”
SC: It was one of those things sitting in the back of my head for a while, you know. I was on a camping trip with a friend, and he tells me he got a better job and it paid more money (than his old job). He had big plans for the future. And chief among these was his intention to buy a large wild black bear and teach it to watch bad television and live on nothing but Doritos, Hot Pockets, and cheap beer. He’d dress it up in the XXXL “#1 Grandpa” t-shirts that Wal-Mart always has on clearance. The bear’s name was to be Pretzels.
WWM: Did he ever go through with this?
SC: His girlfriend is on board. Now all they need to do is find a reputable dealer of wild black bears. *laughs*. It’ll happen.
The same week he told me this, I’d had an idea for how to fix the national electoral system. I wrote this summary of it on a napkin.
WWM: Do you still have the napkin?
SC: Yeah, lemme find it. (He digs around what sounds like a messy apartment. I hear several pots clanging and things falling down.) Ok, I found it. Want me to just read it to you directly?
SC: Ok, it says: “Put all the candidates-both parties-into a big beach bungalow like they do on Celebrity Big Brother. Have them all give speeches once a week on what they’d like to do with the country. America votes by phone once a week to kick one of them out of the house. Last one left is leader of the free world. All actual political decisions are made by direct ballot measure.”
WWM: When did these ideas cohere into what the show was going to be?
SC: Well, I had a dream the next night, the details of which I cannot remember outside that Pretzels was involved. And I had an idea for a show. Do my election idea, except feed the losers to Pretzels. Have a different sponsor every week feed Pretzels when Pretzels isn’t eating the losing candidates. So like…when Olive Garden was doing its unlimited bread sticks thing, like feed Pretzels actual unlimited bread sticks and put an Olive Garden logo in the corner while he does it. And like..a different sponsor every week. And put a giant flat screen TV in the bungalow that plays…it just plays this video of Pretzels in this dirty t-shirt devouring bread sticks.
WWM: And the candidates know that if the viewers vote them off, they’ll be fed to Pretzels?
SC: Oh yeah. That’s why it’s hilarious. One second. (Corwood runs away from the computer for a second. I hear a small crackling noise.) So the candidates are all watching this giant TV, sweating it out. And Pretzels is all chill, just wolfing down bread sticks or whatever, watching Maury. And it says “Today’s Pretzel chow is courtesy of the Olive Garden.” And we were gonna have these segments…they’d be like-
WWM: I’m sorry, what’s that noise in the background?
SC: Just a small kitchen fire, I get them all the time. One sec. (Corwood runs off again, I hear in the background: “Bad! No! Get away from that.”) Are you a cat person?
WWM: Not particularly.
SC: Good, they’re awful, the bane of my existence. Never get one. Anyway, where were we…
WWM: The show.
SC: Right, so the show would have these five minute segments every week where it cuts away from the drama in the house and we see these little clips like they play as filler about athletes during the Olympics and it’s Pretzels walking around on a beach with this really Howard Cosell kinda narration. GET OFF OF THAT! STUPID CAT! Sorry, anyway so it’d be this soft-lit stuff of Pretzels walking alone on a beach and the narrator would say stuff like: “Pretzels spent his college years immersed in the classics. By 19 he had read through the complete works of Anthony Trollope. But his true love was always show business.”
WWM: What was that loud clanging noise?
SC: That was the cat again, I think it just knocked the pan off the stove top. The one that was…something’s on fire. Oh shit.
WWM: Do you want to continue the interview some other time?
SC: No, no, just…can I put you on hold for a second GET OFF THAT YOU STUPID CAT! AND NOW YOU’RE ON FIRE? THAT’S WHAT YOU GET!!!…
At this point the phone conversation abruptly cut out. Corwood reached me on Skype an hour later.
SC: Can you hear me?
SC: I was just on the phone with the fire department, they’re here now. But my wi-fi is still working, so what were the rest of your questions?
WWM: Is your house alright?
SC: I’ve got insurance. I’ll be alright. I thought we were gonna talk TV.
WWM: Yes, yes…well I was just about to ask you about your show that’s currently airing on FX, You’re Almost the Worst.
SC: Right, I lucked out on that one. I pitched it to FX as a cost-saving bit of extra original programming.
WWM: It’s a novel trick, I’m surprised the other networks haven’t picked it up yet.
SC: Yeah, I’m as surprised as you are. When I walked in their office and said “Well, just take that show you have, You’re the Worst, and while the characters are like…arguing about cocaine and parties and white people shit, take out the background digitally and replace it with a giant photo of Adolph Hitler,” well…I thought they were gonna kick me out of their office. But to their credit, they put it on the air. And I was right, it saved them a lot of money. And the Twitter reception has been fantastic.
WWM: What kinds of things do fans Tweet at you?
SC: I get a lot of Tweet mentions when the show’s airing, mostly like “@scratch Compared to Hitler, these hipsters is almost the worst. #yourealmosttheworst”.
WWM: It must be gratifying.
SC: Yeah, it’s good to know you’ve accomplished something. Paid for my house. Well, what was my house.
WWM: What changes can fans expect to see in season 2 of You’re Almost the Worst?
SC: Changes? No changes…just the same old show but with pictures of Hitler. Can I call you back? The EMT guys are coming over with a buncha charred shit in a pile, I think they want me to identify the cat…
At this point, Corwood’s connection went bad and we were unable to ask the rest of the questions by print time this morning. Corwood’s hit show You’re Almost the Worst begins its new season Monday.
I know, some of the best looking shows never make it to the pilot stage.