Title: MADE FOR TV
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Word Count: 50,239
Johnnie Walker is out of rehab, decent shampoo, and options. Now, armed with only her best friend's support and curative '80s music, she's fighting to mend her reputation in the television industry and stay sober while navigating Los Angeles with her hapless business partners. Nagging doubts, contemptuous Hollywood executives, and a debilitating obsession are fraught with emotional peril that could derail her resurrection.
Made for TV offers a glimpse into the comical, chaotic lives of three wannabe TV writers who dream up ridiculous (and occasionally brilliant) new shows. The story follows recovering alcoholic Johnnie and her colleagues, Sanjay and Kyle, as they struggle to build Made for TV, a fledgling idea firm in West Hollywood. Jerome, the team's ominous office assistant, and Johnnie's friend Meg, an associate at a TV production company, aid their efforts. When the trio is finished cultivating their bigger-than-life ideas, they venture out to pitch the screen "gems" to a less-than-enthusiastic entertainment world that's peppered with cynicism and celebrities. Their endeavors are often complicated by awkward encounters with powerful industry players and well-known actors.
Made for TV also delves into the muddled psyche of prickly Johnnie. What fuels her angst? How did she end up in L.A.? And why does she seem emotionally trapped in the 1980s, listening exclusively to music from that era and compulsively watching the 1989 film Say Anything? The answers reveal a tale of lost love that might be reclaimed—if the stars in Hollywood align.
Similar Carl Hiaasen's Strip Tease, the farcical Made for TV is a fun read with strong mainstream appeal. The story would be of interest to television aficionados, celebrity-watchers, '80s music fans, and an entire generation of women who fell in love with John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything.
Johnnie glanced in the rearview mirror and sighed as her battered convertible idled in the parking lot. Large, red zits were claiming real estate on her face that wasn't already occupied by fine lines, and her hair was staging a mutiny against the lousy, generic shampoo that smelled like strawberries and cream. She pushed her indignant, brown mane into a large clip and added Make a dermatology appointment with Dr. Zaks and Order a case of obscenely expensive shampoo to her mental list of things to do if she ever had money again.
After applying a few quick dabs of weapons-grade concealer, she silently acknowledged that, at this cash-strapped point in her life, nothing more could be done to salvage her appearance; it was yet another by-product of her idiotic choices, another piper paid. She shoved a pair of sunglasses onto her face, raised her chin to summon whatever determination she could, and set off toward the freeway.
Another sun-kissed morning on the 10. Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" blared from the car radio as Johnnie navigated the congested California interstate. The song, played at full volume, penetrated her crusty outer layers and connected with a stronger, more vibrant version of herself—the Johnnie she was before—that still dwelled beneath. It lifted Johnnie out of her emotional smog and gave her the motivation she needed to tackle the day's numerous challenges: Made for TV, Sanjay, Kyle, Cat Circus, Dixon-Cooper, sobriety. She'd brought it all on herself.