There are a lot of television shows these days. Too many, some would say and have said. So many that there’s no way any one person could keep up with them all. So many that even I, a person paid to try, did not end up watching a number of shows that were nominated for Emmys this year. So many that, if you so desired, you could probably make up a totally wild fake television show right now and convince people it’s real.
And do you know what? We should do that, for two reasons. One, because being a rascal is fun, especially if you do it in a harmless way. Like if you do it to prank your annoying cousin or if you sneak into a fancy cocktail party under an alias while investigating a crime and need to kill time until you can get your primary suspect alone for a second. Two, because it has been about nine months since we did it and I have some truly bad ideas for television shows that I need to get off my chest. As we did the first time, the fake shows have been laid out from least to most difficult to sell to your potential mark. Good luck, folks.
Presenting the Peak TV Fake Show Challenge, Volume II.
Life Away From Sonic
Degree of difficulty: 3
What it is, allegedly: A web series that chronicles the lives of the Sonic guys in the hours of the day they don’t spend eating tater tots and such at the drive-in restaurant. What do they do for work, these characters? Why do they eat so many meals together? Do they have families or other friends or horrifying cholesterol problems? All these questions and more are answered in the show.
Bonus points if: You can convince someone that one of the Sonic guys played hardball in the negotiations and got replaced by a different actor for the web series.
THE MARK: Man, those Sonic commercials are always on.
YOU: I know. And now they have that show, too.
THE MARK: They have a show?
YOU: Oh yeah. You haven’t seen it? It’s this web series, it follows them through the rest of the day, like when they’re not at Sonic.
THE MARK: What.. what do they do?
YOU: Yeah… it’s weird. It gets really deep. Like, the taller guy, it turns out he’s the district attorney of that fictional town.
THE MARK: So why are they eating so many meals at Sonic?
YOU: Look, I’m not gonna give way the season three cliffhanger.
THE MARK: They’ve made three seasons?!
Degree of difficulty: 5
What it is, allegedly: A network procedural about a disgraced baseball pitcher who was banished from the league after killing three-time MVP Lance Fungo with a 102 mph fastball to the head and is now, you guessed it, using his connections and rocket arm to help the FBI bring down a criminal organization they believe is led by a crew of crooked umpires.
Bonus points if: You can convince people the baseball player’s name is Nick Beanball.
YOU: Okay, I gotta go. New episode of Beanball tonight.
THE MARK: Beanball?
YOU: Oh, dude, it’s my favorite show. Some pitcher killed another player with a fastball and they threw him out of the league so now he’s working with the FBI to catch drug smuggling umpires.
THE MARK: … What?
YOU: Last episode he caught a fleeing goon by hucking an apple at him. It’s nuts.
THE MARK: You’re not serious.
YOU: Says the guy who didn’t believe there was a show about a disgraced magician who works with the FBI.
THE MARK: Okay, fair.