Free Idea: the Joe the Plumber Sitcom

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Steve sent me this story yesterday about how the Tea Party and Joe The Plumber is in a quest to stop the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights groups from passing "radical" anti-puppy mill legislation.

OK, let's ignore the main part of the story, which is how ridiculous their cause is. This is like the people who questioned the radical liberal homo agenda of stopping bullying. I mean all these people can kiss my ass, on repeat, for infinity. But that's another story.

But the point of this is, I completely forgot about Joe the Plumber up until this point. I bet you did, too. He was one of those political news items that burns brightly and then fades, like hanging chads and earth tones and lockboxes. So timely, for a moment, and then it vanishes.

I think there's a really good premise for a TV show about Joe the Plumber or a Joe the Plumber type. He's a tragicomic figure if there ever was one. Picture it: you're out at a campaign stop, questioning a politician on his would-be tax-policies, when all of a sudden you're whisked into the spotlight and portrayed as an avatar and hero of the middle-class Americans. Your name (or, more poignantly, your middle name, and not even your last name) is on very important people's lips. Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer are interviewing you! You hold a press conference to inform people that it's none of their business who you vote for and they actually give a shit! You're being used in campaign commercials! Clearly, you are very important. Since you are very important, word goes around that you should run for the US House of Representatives. There's no stopping you now.

Until it's revealed that you're not really a plumber, and that you owe back taxes. The guy who you backed for President did not win. You decide to disown him. You write a book and make various political appearances but the public at large forgets about you. Katie and Diane don't want to talk about you. Saturday Night Live isn't mentioning you. Your name comes up occasionally and some people are interested in what you have to say, but it's not like the old days, when you could call a press conference to say you're not going to say anything and it makes news. Those were the good old days. They've moved on now to other Plumber-types.

But you don't want to go back to plumbing (or not plumbing). Plumbing sucks! Being famous and having people listen to what you have to say is much more fun and lucrative. So now you've got to come up with new ways to stay relevant and in the news. So someone says to you, "Say, you love puppies, right?" "Well, yeah." "Say, you hate it when 'big government' interferes in your life, right?" "Of course!" "OK so get in on this cause right here." "Okay." Then next thing you know, uh-oh: you're pro-puppy-mills. Which is kind of like being in favor of slaughterhouses that favor extra pain. Crap. What to do now: ride this cause out and maintain the buzz or distance yourself from it and fade into further obscurity?

I could see this being a really good show, the Joe the Plumber show, about the poignancy of Joe's trying to stay relevant while the earth just keeps spinning away from his time in the sun. On the one hand, the only way he can stay in the news is by attaching himself to increasingly ridiculous causes, like the pro-puppy-mill movement, but on the other hand, is this really how he wants to lead his life? I can also see B-story about his romantic life (maybe he wants to settle down, but these Tea Party groupies keep throwing themselves at him, and the ones who are hot are crazy and the ones who aren't crazy aren't very hot), and maybe the trials and tribulations of maintaining a perfectly shaved head.

I would watch this show. My elevator pitch is Eastbound and Down meets The West Wing. In the meantime, Joe, if I ever see you on the street, I'm going to have my dog bite you on the ass. Good day.