Thursday, January 20, 2005

Three guys walk into a room...

(I posted this earlier today on the news server at sff.net, but I'm preserving it here for posterity)

Three guys walk into a room. One is a television writer, and the other two are science fiction writers who have been hired to help him on a genre project...

TV Guy: Okay, our basic premise is a love-triangle. There's this sailor who's in love with a girl. He's not much of a looker, but he's honest, hard-working and good-hearted. His rival is a mean, violent brute of a guy three times our hero's size, and this is a violent society they live in, so they have to fight for her attentions.

SF Guy 1: So he doesn't have a chance.

TVG: (Smiles) So you'd think, but...

SFG2: Does he have a laser pistol? Some kind of rail gun? Maybe a sentient sea-bottom mining robot as a sidekick who...

TVG: No, no, no, we don't have any of that high tech stuff in this show.

SFG1: I thought this was a genre project?

TVG: Well, it is, but...

SFG2: ...because the thing about visible light lasers is, they aren't actually great weapons because the energy doesn't penetrate and can be reflected. There are some ablative armor systems that...

TVG: No lasers!

SFG2: Sorry. What about the robot?

TVG: No robots. None. Just listen a minute. The little sailor is always able to beat the other guy in a fist-fight because...

SFG1: Is this a martial arts thing? Because I failed gym in high-school and...

TVG: (Sighs) No, there are no martial arts. Just old-fashioned, bare knuckled fighting.

SFG2: That makes no sense then. Because he's just a little guy, and this other guy is much larger. (Smiles.) Wait! The sailor grew up on a heavy gravity planet, right? Well let me tell you why that doesn't work either...

TVG: Both of you, just shut up and listen for a minute!

(Silence)

TVG: (Smiles) Okay then! Here's the twist. The little guy always wins because -- wait for it -- he gets super strength from eating canned spinach.(The Science Fiction guys stare in stunned silence for a while.)

SFG2: That just doesn't work. It's just -- spinach right? Spinach is good for you and all, but super strength?

TVG: We've got this great scene where he lifts a battleship and...

SFG2: No, no, no, that just doesn't work. There just isn't enough food energy in a whole field of spinach.

SFG1: Well with sufficient mechanical advantage and some very complex rigging...

SFG2: The friction in such a system alone would render it unworkable.

SFG1: Show me the math on that! Look, I've got five bucks here. Let's run up a computer simulation and...

TVG: Please, please! There are no levers. No rigging. He has super strength. It'll be a great scene. Very visual and exciting. And remember, this is really about the love triangle, so it's also kind of (grins) Freudian, if you get my drift.(SF Guys stare at him for a moment)

SFG2: He'd have to be converting the mass of that spinach directly into energy somehow.

SFG1: Does it have to be spinach? What if there were an alien plant...

SFG2: One that somehow naturally concentrates fissionable uranium...

SFG1: So he has a fission reactor in his stomach?

SFG2: Maybe just radiothermal, in which case instead of uranium you'd want...

TVG: It's spinach! Just plain old spinach! The kind you get in a can, in the store!

SFG1: Frozen retains more of its nutrients.

TVG: (Sighs) He is not going to carry a brick of frozen spinach in his shirt.

SFG2: Spinach gives him super strength?

TVG: Just go with that premise for a while, okay?

SFG2: Regular old spinach?

TVG: That's right. Just take that as a given.

SFG1: Okay, that's allowed. You're allowed one.

SFG2: So why doesn't the big guy get his own can of spinach?

SFG1: This isn't some alternate world where spinach is a rare commodity is it? He's right. The big guy could just get a can of spinach and beat the snot out of the little guy.

SFG2: Logically, he's bigger, he'd be even stronger, right? I mean, is this proportional to muscle mass or...?

TVG: It only works for our hero! Okay? Just him.

SFG1: So he's some kind of mutant then, with natural super-strength, but the spinach is a catalyst...

TVG: He's not a mutant!

SFG2: Okay, he's in the Navy. What if he volunteered for some kind of secret nanotechnology program...

TVG: Look, he's just a guy. It's just spinach. It only works on him. It's a simple love triangle, a classic rivalry...

SFG2: That's just stupid. Look, you've established a premise here, and the rules say you have to...

(Later that day)

A man and two women walk into a room.

TVG: Okay, our basic premise is a love triangle...

Romance Writer 1: Oh! That's great. I can see why they brought us here, Jill!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for this, Steven ...

    Romance Writer 2: (Smiting herself upon the forehead) No! It'll never work.

    TVG: Why not?

    Romance Writer 1: Yes, Sarah, why not? I mean, why won't it work?

    Romance Writer 2(sighing heavily): Because it breaks one of THE foremost cardinal rules, that's why! Someone will invariably wind up with spinach between their teeth and that ALWAYS ruins the mood!

    Romance Writer 1: You're right, of course.

    TVG: I'll fix that! The Sailor has NO TEETH!

    Romance Writers 1 & 2: Stare at the TVG in disbelief.

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