I learned a few important lessons this week. First of all–I shouldn’t commit myself to something if I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. Two weeks ago–I promised a three installment piece on Armenian Television–my opinions–critiques–observations–etc. But with so much other exciting or bizarre news out there–such as PBS airing Armenian genocide denier propaganda and Turkey debuting one of the most anti-American movies in film history–the opening of the Winter Olympics in Italy or the Jackson Five proposing opening a hotel in Yerevan–Armenia–I really had to discipline myself to sitting down and completing these last two installmen’s. It wouldn’t have been the first time I left something unfinished–but these columns are not just a chicken club sandwich from Conrad’s. And so–with a heavy heart… I’m ignoring the urge to write anything about Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctions at the Zvartnots International Airport and commit myself to keeping my promise to you–my loyal readers.
The second important lesson I learned is that apparently people take my columns way too seriously. For those of you who missed my two previous articles–I basically used the opportunity to give my personal take on Armenian Television and where I saw shortcomings. Some of my readers (bless their little hearts) thought that I was singling out specific TV programs or stations such as Horizon TV. While the crowd wearing "We ‘heart’ Horizon" t-shirts and carrying pitchforks and torches makes their way up to my castle fortress atop the Verdugo Mountains–I feel compelled to reiterate that my column was not condemning any specific program or station. On the contrary–if I had been given more time–I would have probably praised stations like Horizon–which have been around since this little Skeptik was in diapers. Do they sometimes have lame shows? Absolutely. Do they sometimes have endless blocks of commercials? Sure. But they have something that the other stations don’t. Soul and integrity. There–I said it. So kudos to the staff at Horizon. They do the best job out of all the stations out there with a ridiculously small budget. Good job. Now please take those torches and go make some shish kebab with them instead or something.
Having just said that–this doesn’t let anyone off the hook. I’m finishing my final installment of this forsaken three part series–this is starting to rake my nerves like one of those horrible Patrick Swayze Civil War miniseries from the 80s. In this final piece I’m going to suggest what I think would make entertaining and interesting Armenian TV programming. These are just my ideas and aren’t going to be actual shows. If they do turn into actual programs and I don’t get credit or royalties–I’m going to sue the [varteeks] off of whoever steals these ideas!
My first idea for show would be an Armenian version of the popular reality show "The Bachelor." For those of you who don’t watch this program–it involves a successful young man who dates a bunch of ridiculously attractive women and then narrows it down to just one with whom he would like to share his newly found fame and fortune with. At the end of each episode there’s a rose ceremony where the man gives the women he wants to keep a rose or takes the rose away or something like that. The version I’m thinking of would also feature the popular theme of a man’seeking an ideal wife but with a twist. First of all–the guy would be at least 38 years old and a plastic surgeon/dentist/lawyer/accountant/or jeweler–no exceptions. The girls would be picked from the best that CSUN–Glendale College–and Valley College have to offer and would have to be at least 15-20 years younger than the man. Here’s where it would get interesting. The guy–true to form–would still be living at home. So his parents would be part of the whole courtship ritual. Picture Hovan and Takush taking a steamy dip in a Jacuzzi on the deck of his palatial estate in Burbank and right when he leans in to kiss her–Hovan’s mom walks out with a tray of peeled and cut fresh fruit pieces and a two cups of tea. The girls would have challenges to complete in order to remain in the running such as trying to drive through the Glendale Galleria parking lot in a Suburban SUV while not hitting any children or orange cones. Another challenge could involve the women being given only a 20 dollar bill and left on a street corner somewhere in the heart of Los Angeles and have to find their way home. High comedy would ensue. Someone should do this show and then pay me for the idea.
On a more serious note–but along the same idea of doing a reality piece–someone should do a show about Armenian schools. I’m not talking about a call-in show or a talking-heads show at which 70 year old men’sit there and comment about the state of Armenian schools. Granted–those men/women have probably dedicated their lives to educating Armenia’s youth–but they’re just not the face of the modern day Armenian school. We don’t want there to be disconnect between them and the 12 year old–or his 40-something year old parent who we’re trying to attract to the schools. I want a show in which the reporter goes to the school with a cameraperson and just features a day or a week in the life of a student or even a teacher. They could follow students from different grades–let the students talk about his/her experiences and maybe feature a different student every month. On different shows we could meet their parents–their peers–their teachers and so on. This would be great for really frank discussions and not the staged–pre- rehearsed discussion on whether schools should teach Eastern or Western Armenian. The idea is to draw people in who want to and can make a difference in the Armenian school system–and it’s also to draw more students to the system.
Another great show would be based on the MTV show Cribs. Cribs is a program where the audience is given tours of famous people’s homes. People like Shaq–or Kobe Bryant–or Snoop Doggy Dog will show off their mansions and cars. I enjoy the show because it’s such a disgusting display of wealth and opulence. In fact–it’s even more poignant when you switch channels between Cribs and CNN which is featuring the latest mudslide in the Philippines where an entire village was wiped out in mudslide. But hey–why care about other people’s suffering when you have a brand new Rolls Royce with a live tiger in the backseat that you drive only once a year parked in your twelve car garage? Now imagine an Armenian version of Cribs. We can feature the homes of famous Armenian wedding singers or just folks who are ridiculously successful. I’d love to see Geragos’s house or better yet watch some filthy rich jeweler’s black marble bathroom with a bathtub in it that makes my own full size bed look like a baby crib. Different guests each week can brag about how great a discount they were able to work for their Mercedes or BMW or Audi. They can show us the room where their derelict son hangs out and listens to ghetto rap on a 2000 dollar sound system while playing video games all day and wearing Sean John gear. This show has great potential and once all the episodes have been taped–I say we start sending the shows to Armenia. Let the folks living in Artsakh on the front lines of a war zone see how much we appreciate their sacrifice. The second season can be a role reversal. Folks in Stepanakert can show viewers the basemen’s they hid in while Azeri rockets turned their homes into Swiss cheese. Wouldn’t that be hilarious? (By the way–if you think I’m serious about the humor of this show–then go hit your head against the nearest wall before sending me an angry email!)
Finally–my last idea for now: another talk show style show but not a live call-in and not one just featuring know-nothing politicians or community leaders or the best salespeople in town. I want an Armenian version of Oprah (funny side note: my grandma calls Oprah "Opera"–she’s too cute) or Dr. Phil featuring personal stories–stories with a message–something that will make the viewer empathize with people who are different. I want to see stories that draw attention to certain community situations that need to be remedied. I want to see stories that make people more charitable. We can have folks tell stories that are more relatable to Armenian youth–adults–families. If our older Armenian grandmother saw a show which featured a 48 year old unmarried son living with his widowed mother–she might relate. Because–there’s no way in hell she’s ever going to relate to Dr. Phil’s featured characters like the mother whose son ran off with the teenage daughters best friend–or the 40 year old couple whose no longer in love because the corporation forced the man to move from Atlanta–Georgia to Seattle–Washington and now they have no friends and their sex life is suffering (Boo-hoo! Cry me a river!) The only reason my grandmother even will watch Oprah is because a) there’s nothing on Armenian TV at 4 in the afternoon and b) she keeps thinking that one day she’s going to break out into a soprano aria.
And lastly (Seriously–this is the last one. I could write 1500 more words on this but I have to stop myself)–let’s have some of our news anchors give editorials like Hal Fishman or Dan Rathers or Walter Cronkite. I want them to break down like Edward R. Murrow and light a cigarette–puff smoke into the camera and tell Armenian parents to punish their kids who get speeding tickets on Glenoaks Blvd.
I hope this three-part series helped shed some light on some serious issues as well as spurred some interesting discussions around the breakfast–lunch–or dinner table. You’re the best. I love your support and your kind words. Next week–I’ll tackle all the stuff I didn’t over the last few weeks. Stay classy Glendale!
Skeptik Sinikian is working on pilot episode for Armenian TV called "Erekuh Shadah" and is about a single guy working as a chef and living with a super attractive female florist and her friend–a ditzy nurse. If you would like to try out for the part of the florist or nurse–email Skeptik at [email protected] or visit his blog at www.Sinikian.blogspot.com.