“Producing our government access channel gives us another way to engage the community. People can know what’s going on in Walnut Creek just by turning on their television,” City Manager Gary Pokorny told the January/February issue of In the Nutshell.
So, the new WCTV, as the channel is called, will also feature coverage of local arts classes and programs and special events, from a Civic Arts Education class, to a segment on the Holiday Tree lighting, to peeks at what’s going on behind the scenes at the Lesher Center. Oh, and very useful: it will broadcast local weather and traffic news and “How To” features on such tasks as taking out a building permit to property pruning trees.
But, hmm, why should the city stop with tips on getting building permits? Why not take a cue from successful network and cable shows and devise the kind of entertaining fare that could put Walnut Creek on the national cultural radar! Come on! We have some creative, talented people in town! Hey, let's put on a show! Here are some of my thoughts on potential shows. If you have any of your own…
--Walnut Creek Idol? Yeah, I know some other local groups and towns around here have already jumped on this bandwagon and produced their own Idol-inspired programs. But, from what I’ve heard of those events, they are all—shall we say?—a bit sugar-coated. What we would absolutely need is a judge with some Simon Cowell snark. Any ideas on local personalities who could fit this requirement?
--Glee Walnut Creek: This should be easy. No doubt, there’s lots of musical theater talent among the students at Northgate and Las Lomas high schools. And just to expand the talent pool, we could let some of those song-and-dance kids from Acalanes in, as well as De La Salle and Carondelet. We could also do some episodes where our Glee kids get to work in local productions at the Lesher Center, and directors, actors ,and designers from Center Repertory Company, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, and Diablo Theatre Company could make guest appearances.
--Okay, we need a cop procedural. CSI: Walnut Creek seems a bit too obvious. But maybe I’m missing something.
--We in Walnut Creek could do medical drama really well. After all, we are hospital central for this part of Contra Costa. Why don’t we revive the concept of the SF-based show Trauma (whose future with NBC is questionable) and set it at, yes, John Muir Medical Center? Gunshot victims from Richmond. Binge-drinking teens. One of our “residentially challenged” citizens gone off his meds. (Or a Soccer Mom gone off her meds?) Ice skating mishaps.
A swine flu outbreak puts Walnut Creek in quarantine! Yes, this is all dark stuff. But ultimately what would really drive interest in the show would be the outside-the-ER soap operatic escapades of a hot young staff of residents and nurses, and the ego-driven machinations of hospital administrators and the fictional chief of emergency services.
--Parks and Recreation Walnut Creek: Our version of the NBC show starring Amy Poehler. This is a no brainer.
--Gone to Pot: That’s my working title for what could be an Office-like, documentary-style comedy set not in the cubicle-land of a Shadeslands office park company, but among the staff at the C3 Collective medical marijuana dispensary. There is the potential for some Harold and Kumar-esque stoner comedy, as well as C3 staff’s funny run-ins with straight-laced representatives from the city, the Chamber of Commerce and the police department. More comic relief could come from zingers lobbed by a straight-talking Rossmoor granny who is one of C3’s regular customers.
--Perhaps most importantly, if we’re looking for Emmys to rain down on Walnut Creek, we need to create a quality, scripted drama a la HBO, Showtime, AMC, and FX. Don’t know if Walnut Creek has the socio-economic, demographic profile to seriously consider our own version of The Sopranos or The Wire.
But we could possibly do a Breaking Bad. There might be an underpaid chemistry teacher at one of our local high schools who needs to do some “cooking” to earn some extra cash.
Better yet: Why don’t we update the Mad Men concept to Walnut Creek 2010.
We could provide the gender equity missing from Mad Men's Sterling Cooper, and call our show Mad Women. And, we won’t set our show in an advertising agency trying to hawk products to give 1960s consumers the illusion that they are purchasing their piece of the American dream.
We will set our Mad Women in a real estate agency, and our protagonist will be Sally Draper all growed up (the effed-up daughter of Mad Men’s Don Draper), and she’s having her own existential crisis as she tries to sell prospective suburban home buyers on the delusion that to enjoy their own piece of the American dream they really need a two-story foyer, a master suite with fireplace, imported granite kitchen countertops and a separate prep sink. Of course, her clients can't really afford these things, because they already have massive credit card debt and hubby’s company is in downsizing mode.
--Finally, don't you think our local TV station needs its own Glenn Beck? Some charismatic demagogue, spouting nutsy, wildly contrived paranoid conspiracy theories, and giving voice to the discontented and alienated amongst us?