The Classical
The Concept The Premise
Casey and I frequently bounce around ideas for concepts for TV series and movies.  One such discussion centered around an idea that comedy can arise when there is a clash between subcultures, in particular the lowbrow and the highbrow.

We talked about what might happen if the Cheers character Carla (Rhea Perlman) inherited a classical radio station populated with Frasier-type announcers (including the character Gil Chesterton, played by Edward Hibbert, who could appear as either a guest announcer or a fresh character).

Other potential actors include Simon Jones (Arthur Dent in HitchHiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Sgt Eric "Erica" Young-Love in Privates On Parade), Dennis Quilley (Acting Captain Terri Dennis in Privates On Parade), 


The differences from Frasier's setting are:

(a) the radio station is not part of National Public Radio but is a (failing) commercial station;

(b) the station is located in the heart of blue collar country as a result of the original owner's desire to bring culture to the masses (whether they want it or not); the location is as yet undetermined but could be somewhere like Detroit, Chicago, or Philly;

(c) a stipulation in the will of the original owner insists that the station (called "The Classical" - which is itself a source of contention among the players, who bitch about the fact that it's an adjective used as a noun) must play classical music only and cannot play rock or any other genre;

(d) the original owner is a recent convert to classical music so they are not themselves a genuine afficionado (or they would never have thought of imposing the genre on an unwilling and uninterested audience - a genuine businessman would have looked to the bottom line and played whatever genre brought in revenue);

(e) Carla takes on the station even though the challenge is considerable, for two reasons: (1) she can, as station owner, consider that she has one-upped Frasier and (2) having visited the station initially and realizing that she cannot sell it as a going concern, decides that she wants to deflate what she sees as a community of smug prigs;

(f) even though the roles are reversed - in Cheers she was a minion but didn't let her lowly position stop her from doing battle with the owners - she still feels herself to be looked down upon by the staff, and so there is plenty of opportunity for smart mouthed banter from her and repressed rebellion from her more cultured subordinates;

(g) one of the threads might be a continuing series of attempts by Carla to circumvent the stipulation about only playing classical music; perhaps she hires someone to play modern versions of the classics (for example, Rondo Veneziano), which would cause ructions;

The published premise contains a little more detail along with a few more threads.

I don't know that I can write such a show (it needs a very high calibre of writer) but I certainly think the concept would fly.
The premise is available on WriteSafe and here.

Last updated: June 18, 2002

Peter Brooks

© PC Consulting 2002