Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, July 06, 2006

If You Were LDS on TV, How Would It Be?

by Julie Coulter Bellon

Well one thing I've learned from last week's blog is that you don't mess with literature abusers . . .er. . .enthusiasts . . .um . . . book lovers . . . gulp . . . book-a-holics. I was afraid I'd get beaten over the head with a book or something! You guys are brutal!

I did think of one thing on that list though, and I'd like to discuss it today. That is #7–Sometimes I re-write television dialogue. That reminded me of the fast-growing phenomenon of fanfic which is really hot in the summertime when most TV shows are on hiatus. For those of you who don't know what fanfic is, it's when fans of a television series write scenes or stories using the characters from the show. I actually found out about this when re-runs of one of my favorite television shows started, "Scarecrow and Mrs. King." I loved that show! It only ran for five years, though, and then Kate Jackson got cancer and it didn't continue. The show didn't really end with a satisfying ending, and that's when I found fanfic. Several people had written wonderful endings to the show and I really liked that. I often thought about writing a fanfic myself, but at that time, I wasn't a published author so I was concentrating on my novel.

Well, after last week, I started wondering what it would be like if we did a fanfic that transferred some of our favorite television shows growing up into an LDS show, especially one that was as stereotypical as some people seem to think all LDS fiction is. Here's what I came up with.

I'm going to date myself here, but what if the Love Boat were suddenly taken over by terrorists, a biological weapon released on board that exposed Julie the Cruise Director (I loved her!) and Captain Stubing. Then Gopher and Doc could work frantically to find an antidote to save everyone before they dock. Conveniently, two LDS couples are on board with superior sleuthing skills and many copies of the Book of Mormon, and by the end of the episode the crew is saved—both physically and spiritually.

Or what if Fonzie from Happy Days had to actually work to win the girl's affections, his snapping fingers put to rest while he romances her. She is a mysterious girl, reluctant to talk about herself, but seems very interested in Arnold's and loves it when Fonzie takes her there. Arnold is acting strangely when she's around, and confesses to Potsie that he's actually in the witness protection program so he can testify against powerful money launderers in the mob. He also met two LDS missionaries while he's been in hiding and has been baptized. The only other people who know about his past are his Mormon bishop and Ralph Malph because he was Arnold's partner in crime. They've had to move several times because Ralph can't keep his mouth shut and is paranoid about being followed. They finally put him in undercover as high school student so everyone would believe he's just a naive, insecure teenager and not pay any attention to his wild stories. However, it's almost time for them to testify at the trial and even Arnold is getting nervous. Unfortunately, Fonzie's new girlfriend is really the daughter of the mob boss they're going to testify against, and she's bent on revenge until she falls in love with Fonzie. Of course, the LDS bishop---who's also an FBI agent---saves Ralph's life during a shoot out at Arnold's and everyone is grateful when the mob boss is brought down and the Arnold's gang—-Potsie, Ralph, Fonzie and his new girlfriend---are investigating the church. (The Cunningham's always seemed Mormon to me, so I didn't count them.)

(The story I had about Mork and Mindy was so wild, I didn't dare print it here. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks. Just imagine an LDS fanfic of Mork taking his new religion back to Ork. I'm laughing just thinking about it.)

Even in today's popular television shows, like 24, CSI, Grey's Anatomy, Alias, or ER, how would they be different if a main character on there was a Mormon? And not a cheesy, stereotypical Mormon, but a real LDS person? The LDS people I've seen on reality television like Louis on Dancing With the Stars, and the two dancers on So You Think You Can Dance, or even the two Jensen girls on The Amazing Race (hey they were in my ward!), have all represented themselves well. The host of The Amazing Race came to Utah and told the Jensen girls' parents that he'd never seen anyone so friendly and polite to everyone around them.

So if I could write a fanfic, I would hope to write it without the stereotypes, and have it be more of a real representation of who we are as LDS people. It can be done and there is some LDS literature out there that is hitting that mark. But I must admit, it was fun thinking about how I could wrap up Happy Days, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Mork and Mindy, and the Love Boat with a happy LDS ending for everyone. What can I say? I'm a happy ending type of person and it IS a TV show. I am curious, though. What show would you re-write and how would it be different?


At 7/06/2006 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love it, hilarious. Here's what I want you to write for me... Give me a 24 fanfic where Jack joins the Church while undercover and now he has to come back to CTU and grapple with whether to torture "hostiles" anymore. You could use the whole Nephi slaying Laban thing. And of course he'd have to actually settle down and marry one of those women.

There’s Audrey for example… He "never stopped loving [her]... not for one minute." But, would she join the church? Hmmm... she'd probably do anything to get Jack back. Plus, she does seem to have more of a backbone lately.

Then again, I think Kate might be more likely to convert... she has more of that wholesome appeal, and I have a sneakin' suspicion that you, Julie, are a Kate fan. ;)

Of course, it just might be an LDS girl he meets undercover who introduces him to the gospel... then both Audrey and Kate would get the boot. But, please... please... whoever she is, let's have some chemistry this time. :) And no more disappearances or fake-deaths for Jack. His eternal companion needs some stability here.

At 7/06/2006 5:25 PM, Anonymous Tristi Pinkston said...

Speaking of the Jensen girls on Amazing Race -- they were awesome. And I really have a crush on Phil. But my husband knows it and I think he forgives me.

The tv series "Christy" is the one I want rewritten. In the first place, Kellie Martin needs to come back and finish it up -- the blonde they brought in at the end didn't do the job.

Here we go -- Christy's dying from malaria, just like the book. Nothing McNeil does can save her. Two elders hiking their way through the mountains run into Alice Henderson in Low Gap and she tells them she has to hurry back to the mission -- she's just learned that Christy is dying. They come back with her, administer to her, which shows McNeil the power of the Priesthood, and David realizes he's been wrong about religion all these years, esp. the part where he couldn't figure out what to say to Polly Teague about death. David leaves Cutter Gap to get in a semester at BYU before going on his mission, and McNeil and Christy get married in the temple.

At 7/06/2006 6:13 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Anonymous, I'm assuming you would think that I'm a Kate fan because I love wholesome people? Maybe whoever did a fanfic for Audrey and Jack should read Rachel Nunes' No Longer Strangers because the girl in that book is considering joining the church just to get someone she really loves. (I won't give it away.) As for fake deaths, maybe they should read Betsy Brannon Green's Double Cross. Now there's a good book that keeps you guessing!

Jack sounds like he really NEEDS the gospel, from your description, as well as a nice wholesome girl. And yes, I'm definitely for having chemistry with the main characters. Even in a book you can feel whether a couple has it or not. How would Jack meet an LDS girl? Hmmmm . . .there's the story I think.

At 7/06/2006 6:15 PM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Tristi, would I sound silly if I asked, "Who's Phil?"

At 7/07/2006 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, other people watch 24 too? Excellent!

So, if Jack joined the Church, would people refer to him as a "Jack Mormon?" :D

Anyway, I was running through various scenarios in my head after reading this blog, and came up with this idea for a 24 episode.

Jack is being pursued by hostiles and needs to hijack the next car that comes along. It's a Big Mormon Wagon, with Dad, Mom, and at least 8 kids. There's hardly room for Jack in there, but he squeezes in, holding the gun on the father, and makes him drive. Unlike most of his hostages, they are friendly and helpful. Of course they have food and water in their car / van / troop carrier, so they offer Jack some of both. They go along, but the hostiles catch up with them eventually, perhaps at a rest stop. I suppose even Jack would have to give in when eight kids start yelling in chorus "We have to go to the bathroom!" We could even see Jack head to the facilities himself! *gasp* Anyway, the hostiles take one of the kids hostage -- the oldest teenage daughter, the one who reminds him of his own daughter Kim. And of course Jack immediately gives himself up to keep her safe. The family is free, but they meet up again with Jack later. Perhaps the hostiles have beaten him, shot him, and left him for dead on the side of the road. The father and the oldest son give him a blessing, and he recovers miraculously ... or at least enough to go out and get the hostiles once and for all.

More details keep coming to me. I may have to sit down and actually write this fanfic.


At 7/07/2006 1:02 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

Melanie, the father could give Jack a Book of Mormon and invite him to the ward social where he could hide. The hostiles follow him there and ward members dump green jello on them, effectively rendering them useless until the stake president--who is also a freelance CIA agent---can take a time out from temple recommend interviews to come and apprehend the hostiles. Of course the new widower in the ward would just happen to "run" into Jack on his way out and catch his eye. They have so much in common---and well, it goes from there.

I laughed when I saw Jack Mormon. I didn't even think of that. Have you noticed that almost all spies/agents are named Jack? You have Jack Bauer and Jack Bristow to name a few. What is it about the name Jack?

At 7/07/2006 3:43 AM, Anonymous Tristi Pinkston said...

Phil Keogan is the host of the Amazing Race. The very nice looking host. Did I mention nice looking?

At 7/07/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger KB said...

Uhm, okay... Buffy the Vampire Slayer realizes that it is her mission to not only fight evil demons, but to spread the gospel.

Each innocent she rescues gets a complimentary copy of the Book of Mormon. And before staking the vamps, she tells them the plan of salvation. If they repent, she gives them a Pass Along card with the the local missionaries' contact info on it. If they don't, she dusts them and then shakes the dust from the soles of her shoes.

(Gee, I had to duck fast on that one. Those lightning bolts are coming too fast and furious.)

At 7/07/2006 11:12 AM, Blogger Julie Coulter Bellon said...

I think I'm on to something with the Jack name thing. We have Jack Bauer, Jack Bristow, Jack Ryan, Jack Travens, Jacques Clousseau, Jack Sparrow. Okay, Jack Sparrow wasn't an agent of any sort, but wouldn't that be a fun movie? Jack Sparrow Comes to Nauvoo. I can see it now! LOL

At 7/11/2006 5:00 PM, Blogger FHL said...

How about the much-too-short-lived Joan of Arcadia?

Boyd Monson walks into the bookstore where Joan works and asks if they have any LDS fiction. They strike up a conversation on the nature of God.

Boyd: We believe that God has a physical body.

Joan: Oh, I know He does. Or She does. It changes all the time.

Boyd: What? (Recovering.) Well, um, would you like Him to be a bigger part of your life?

Joan: Bigger than He already is? No thanks! One day He wants me to join the cheerleading team, next it's steal my boyfriend's artwork... I've had enough of Him!

Boyd: Well, perhaps you'd be interested in reading this book about His Son that takes place in the Americas?

Joan: I've never met His son, what's He like? (Mumbling) I bet He doesn't get along with His parents...

Boyd: Excellent! Let me take this opportunity...

At 7/12/2006 7:29 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

I bet you could do a whole series of books like this - rewritten TV shows with Mormon themes. :)

I don't think I've ever rewritten a show in my mind to make everyone Mormon. I have, however, desperately wished that some of my favorite shows would have a Mormon family.


Post a Comment

<< Home