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Peak (Fake) TV, Round 2

Our readers take a spin at our salary cap TV game

Ringer illustration
Ringer illustration

On Thursday, we had a ton of fun putting together our favorite fake TV shows. And our readers came correct, too. These are a few of our favorite submissions:

Uh-oh, Kevin!’

Jason Damiano: Kevin James, playing himself, makes a historically inaccurate joke while doing stand-up and has to pay the price by traveling through time in what turns out to be a hilarious nightmare. James ends up in a world where Sherlock Holmes (Tim Allen) and Watson (Abigail Spencer) are investigating an early 1700s castle that has been overtaken by joke-making ghosts and vampires. You’ll never believe the shenanigans this crew gets into!

Actors:

  • Kevin James ($20) as himself
  • Tim Allen ($25) as Sherlock Holmes
  • Abigail Spencer ($7.50) as Watson

Time period:

  • 1700s ($65)

Miscellany:

  • Ghosts ($45)
  • Vampires ($35)
  • Castle ($35)
  • Sherlock Holmes IP ($0 + automatically disqualified)
  • Stand-up comedy cold open ($3)
  • Star plays themselves ($14)

Total: $249.50

Putts

David Fisher: In this sitcom, James Marsden is a former party-boy professional golfer who was thrown off the PGA Tour for numerous drug violations and now works at the Kissimmee, Florida, Putt-Putt Fun Center. Marsden and several other employees get up to all manner of shenanigans dealing with the pain-in-the-ass kids that come through every day to get their minigolf on.

Actors:

  • James Marsden ($17.50) as the former pro golfer layabout
  • Dan Castellaneta ($31.50) as the Putt-Putt course manager
  • Shannon Woodward ($17.50) as the children’s party organizer who is going back to school for early childhood education
  • Rodrigo Santoro ($17.50) as the hot putting instructor that entertains all the moms while the kids are playing
  • Bryshere Y. Gray ($2) as the cool college kid part-time worker
  • Geena Davis ($10) as the always-drunk neighbor to the course who just hangs around all day

Time period:

  • Present day ($5)

Setting:

  • Other North American city ($25)

Miscellany:

  • IP miscellany (Putt-Putt Fun Center) ($50)
  • Professional sports league licensing: Professional Putters Association ($30)
  • Title with pun in it ($7)

Total: $213.00

Fish and Chip

Kris O'Brien: A dark comedy centered on half-man, half-fish Frankie Fishman (voiced by Dan Castellaneta), a fish out of water as the only fish working as a loan shark in Fall River, Massachusetts. His friend and roommate, Chip Lyman (Michael Sheen), was just fired from yet another mundane accounting job and is looking for a career change. Their enigmatic, oddball neighbor, Joao Wayne Medeiros (Rodrigo Santoro), suggests joining forces, opening a new club. This draws the ire of local Portuguese mob boss Long John Silva (Kyle Chandler), proprietor of the pirate-themed strip club Scissor Me Timbers. As our heroes fumble through their new ventures, Fishman must also dodge the Local 509 Loan Shark Union, hell-bent on making sushi out of the competition.

Actors:

  • Dan Castellaneta ($31.50)
  • Michael Sheen ($10)
  • Rodrigo Santoro ($17.50)
  • Kyle Chandler ($10)

Time period:

  • Present day ($5)

Setting:

  • Other North American city ($25)
  • Bar or restaurant ($50)

Special effects:

  • Fictional animals ($50)

Miscellany:

  • Pun in title ($7)
  • Mob protection ($25)
  • “Gritty” $12

Total: $243

The Process

Colin Ringwood: The Philadelphia 76ers are bad. Really bad. They are the lovable loser of any sports movie/show. But in this reality, they stick with Sam Hinkie (Kevin Spacey) and his mystery process. Soon, the league will realize that the Process is not some vague made-up coach speak. The Process is a highly scientific cloning process. By making five exact clones of Joel Embiid (Trai Byers x5) and hiring short-tempered coach Daniel Jones (Dwayne Johnson), the 76ers will try to take the world by storm. The soundtrack will be done entirely by Philadelphia natives, the Roots. Will you trust the Process?

Actors:

  • Kevin Spacey ($50)
  • Dwayne Johnson ($40)
  • Trai Byers x5 ($10)

Time period:

  • Present day ($5)

Setting:

  • Other North American city — Philly ($25)

Miscellany:

  • Pro sports league licensing ($30)
  • Soundtrack by the Roots ($35)

Total: $195

Up Chuck

Joe Bianco: A live-action remake of Pixar’s Up ($70), starring Charles Barkley ($150) as the elderly man and Matt LeBlanc ($20) as his plucky sidekick. The uplifting, heart-jerking story is greatly enhanced by LeBlanc’s poise and Barkley occasionally breaking character because he is “tired of all this.”

Actors:

  • Charles Barkley ($150)
  • Matt LeBlanc ($20)

Time period:

  • Present day ($5)

Setting:

  • Empty room ($10)

Miscellany:

  • Pixar’s Up IP ($70)
  • Flying ($25)
  • Pun in title ($7)

Total: $287 (over budget, but it will only be shown in classrooms with substitute teachers, so it might qualify for some education and/or tax discounts.)

Lighthouse

Madeleine Link: It’s the ’90s. Dwayne Johnson (a lighthouse operator) and Kiefer Sutherland (a grizzly fisherman) are in love, wear a lot of cable-knit sweaters and live in a small town on the coast of Washington. Tracee Ellis Ross is a no-nonsense police chief who reluctantly investigates their claims of horrific underwater creatures and mysteriously mutated fish. Vaguely menacing (yet troubled by a deep sadness) government agent Caitriona Balfe shows up, warning the police chief not to investigate further. It turns out she’s Kiefer Sutherland’s estranged sister, who is also attempting to mend her relationship with her brother, which fractured following their parents’ disapproval of his love for Dwayne and her refusal to support him. Eventually, Caitriona will turn and the cast will fight together against a complex government conspiracy.

Actors:

  • Dwayne Johnson ($40)
  • Kiefer Sutherland ($30)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross ($8)
  • Caitriona Balfe ($10)

Time period:

  • The 1990s ($15)

Setting:

  • The sea (above water) ($75)
  • North American noncity location ($35)

Special Effects:

  • Other monsters ($25)

Miscellany:

  • “Gritty” ($12)

Total: $250

Dogged

Andrew Jennings: Twenty-two highly paid TV actors come together in an empty warehouse to train five of the worst-behaving dogs the world has ever seen.

Actors:

  • Kristen Bell ($12.50)
  • America Ferrera ($12.50)
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh ($12.50)
  • Amy Landecker ($10)
  • Jay Duplass ($10)
  • Gaby Hoffmann ($10)
  • Judith Light ($10)
  • Anthony Anderson ($10)
  • Andre Braugher ($10)
  • Geena Davis ($10)
  • Kyle Chandler ($10)
  • Sam Heughan ($10)
  • Caitriona Balfe ($10)
  • Michael Sheen ($10)
  • Lizzy Caplan ($10)
  • Jeff Garlin ($9)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross ($8)
  • Abigail Spencer ($7.50)
  • Gina Rodriguez ($6)
  • Bryshere Y. Gray ($2)
  • Jussie Smollett ($2)
  • Trai Byers ($2)

Setting:

  • Empty room ($10)

Special Effects:

  • Nonfictional domestic animals ($30)

Total: $234

During West Wing

Brent Lambert-Zaffino: Aaron Sorkin’s fictionalized behind-the-scenes account of the TV show that played after The West Wing during the show’s heyday. The star (Aaron Paul), the director (Geena Davis), and the executive producer (Andre Braugher) watch and argue about the merits of each episode of The West Wing in long-winded diatribes while battling the stresses of producing live show-reaction television. Each episode is capped by an Aaron Paul monologue that encapsulates everything the characters have learned, perfectly articulates the greatness of The West Wing, and delivers political hindsight on the late 1990s.

Actors:

  • Geena Davis ( $10)
  • Aaron Paul ($22.50)
  • Andre Braugher ($10)

Setting:

  • New York City ( $65)

Time period:

  • 1990s ($15)

Miscellany:

  • Written by Aaron Sorkin ($60)
  • West Wing IP ($50)

Total: $232.50