18:56 February 17, 2013

"Will this shit fuck you up?" -- another $1e6 idea from your braintrust

Proposal: Probably not suited for network television, "Will this shit fuck you up?" is a show of hijinx and self-directed satire where our hosts, Mick and Mike, answer the title question every week regarding common household substances.

The pilot starts out with a brief discussion that drugs are just chemicals and that our household and common environs contain "literally dozens of chemicals" that can potentially get you "high". They affect the attitude that they have no real skill or idea of what they're doing as hosts. Or is that part of the illusion? the audience is left to wonder. Through continuous watching, the subtlety realization comes to the discerning viewer that the "joke" is meant to cover up the sad truth that while they are play acting this farce, Mick and Mike live horrible lives and their drug addiction conscripts them to this show where they essentially mimic and belie the immense suffering of street junkies to a target audience of middle-class caucasian 18-24 y/o whose brush with the tabboo of drugs has given rise to the myth of the burn-out as a modern-day Oriental (sic) ascetic.

Mick and Mike moved to their "lab", as they call it, but that really looks like a really trashed room from the day-rate hotel of some band of junkies. Strewn about one can make out a bunch of lighters, IV needles, bits of foil, glass pipes of various varieties, unguessable clumps of white powder, burnt spoons, black char, crumpled up pieces of paper, plastic baggies, containers of bleach, acetone, methanol, etc, stained clothes, and just about any other artifact of druggie lifestyle. But there is a microscope (never used) and a continuously lit Bunsen burner in a markedly delineated clearing on the otherwise cluttered coffee, and a "Lab Book" (title written in permanant marker with poor lettering), which Mick and Mike consult from time to time, looking confused but then speaking with great authority thereafter. Season two, if it pitches, will add a face-down body of possibly a mid-40s 1980's-era Metallica fan, replete with denim jacket of decades of accrued patch work and long greasy hair. The body will never be addressed or acknowledged in any way.

Every entrance to the lab features Mick and Mike donning lab coats and giving what feels a mandated speech regarding safety, including shot-in-the-dark stories usually having no bearing on lab safety. From the pilot:

Mick: "Safety is ... important!"

Mike: "Yeah, no joke."

Mick: "This is like totally fucking serious man."

Mike: "Totally."

Mick: "If you, like, fuck up, man? They are going to be dragging your body from a burning house."

Mike: "And that is why we always put on our safety goggles."

Mick: "Always put that shit on!"

Mike: "Those safety goggles can save your life man. For realz."

Mick: "And like the lives of your family. And, um, friends."

Mike: "Yeah, save your friends lives man."

Mick: "And your cat or dog or shit."

Mike: "Your parrot or something."

Mick: "Or a hamster. Or...ferret."

Mike [laughing]: "Ferret man?! Are you fucking-"

Mick: "We're getting distracted again. But that's because this is so important man. You can't fucking forget."

Mike: "Like maybe tell 'em what could happen."

Mick: "What could happen?"

Mike: "If they forgot."

Mick: "Oh yeah, right. Like if you forget to put on your safety goggles..."

[silence]

Mike: "Like...there was this guy I know. And he was walking home in the projects. And he thought he saw some meth, right? But he was tweaking so he was like super-paranoid. So he didn't want to carry it so he bent down, picked it up and ate it. But guess what? It wasn't meth. It was broken glass."

Mick: "Woah!"

Mike: "He was dead like instantly."

Mick: "That shit will fucking do that to you."

Mike: "Yeah. You don't mess with that shit."

Mick: "Did he have his safety goggles on at the time?"

Mike: "Why no he didn't Mick."

Mick: "That's right. And that is why it is so important that you always wear your safety goggles when working with chemicals. Or you could end up like Mike's friend."

Mike: "He wasn't my friend, man. He was a total dick."

Mick: "You don't fuck with chemistry."

Mike: "I was glad when he died. I thought it was funny."

Mick: "I would rather face down like a whole biker gang with like knives and shit than fuck with chemistry. Okay? So take safety precautions."

Mike: "For realz man."

Following the lengthy announcement, the hosts' safety goggles remain strapped about their head at their hairline.

The lab is really the heart of the show. Each week, one or more common substances are considered for "Will this shit fuck you up?", in which the host tries to imbibe the substance by a particular mean -- smoking, injection, insufflation, oral ingestion -- and then review if the susbstance candidate did indeed get them high. The chief entertainment appeal of the show is that while donning a video persona of a junkie, the actual junkie nature of Mick and Mike when coming to the details of preparation and consumption of chemicals really comes through. The pilot's substance: plastic. Mick and Mike freebase (the method of the week) plastic to see if it will "fuck them up".

After the explanations and preparations are done, but before they have freebased very much plastic, Mick and Mike introduce a regular feature of the show: "From the streets". In this segment, a guest is introduced who generally stays for the rest of the show unless Mick and Mike piss them off too much or they wander away due to innebriation or withdrawal. Their history, which reads like testimony from an NA meeting, is presented as resume qualifications for being on the show. There is generally tension between the guest and Mike and especially Mick due to the resentment of being forced into the public eye for generally a life of regrets including the unmarketable skills of how to survive as a junkie; this is paralleled in subtext by Mick and Mike's own roles, but they being paid employees and in a different though more insidous and direct economic trap, and so to garner their social status, Mick especially feels empowered by making the guests feel awful about their own lives. While it is occasionally implied by guest or host that there is some sort of compensation given to the guests for their appearance on the show, it is never addressed outright or named, which considering setting, can only be interpreted as the exchange of controlled substance of some mediocre amount but sufficient to hook the guest.

The pilot's guest is Tyrone Black, a heroin junkie from downtown detroit. The initial conversation centers on what all substances they've done, Mick and Mike pointing out, often wrongly, what type of drug it is and factoids (which may also be flawed) about the drugs. Mick tells Tyrone about the show while he listens skeptically. Then Mick asks if he think plastic will fuck them up:

Tyrone: "Shit...I don't know. Why would ya wan a be doin that?"

Mick: "What if its like heroin but better?"

Tyrone: "Its fuckin plastic! You put that shit in yo lungs and they gonna get all fucked up. Yo be lucky you don't have a heart attack."

Mick: "So you don't think it'll get you fucked up?"

Tyrone: "I think you a damn fool. I think it will fuck you up, jus' not in the way you be wantin'."

Mick: "A skeptic!"

Mike: "I mean...it might fuck you up."

Mick: "Yeah, you were betting 'for'. I was undecided. I mean, what about the cough syrup? That fucked you up."

Mike: "That -seriously- fucked me up."

Mick: "You couldn't remember what you were wearing."

Mike: "Yeah, and that doesn't even make sense."

Tyrone: "You's a bunch of assclowns. Can I go now?"

Mick: "So you like mainline shit. How about you mainline some plastic so we can compare to freebasing?"

Mike: "Yeah, that's like science and shit."

Tyrone: "I ain't puttin' no plastic in my veins. I got enough problems."

Mick: "Come on, man! We're not fucking with you or anything. I got a spoon right here...I'm heatin it up for you. And what's this? A clean needle?"

Tyrone: "Fuck this shit. I'm leavin'. If I see either you bitches on the street...you gettin' stabbed."

[Tyrone storms off]

Mike: "And if I see you on the street I'm gonna stay clear of the puddle of urine where you pissed yourself. 'Cuz you're a junkie."

The guest plays the otherwise unfulfilled role of a tether between the escapist fantasy/nightmare platform and reality. The guest may point out directly things that Mick and Mike are under contractual obligation not to talk about, such as the stupidity of herein freebasing plastic. As a bridge between social contexts, it casts a light on the interaction of guests (junkies and other drug users) and hosts (junkies who have betrayed their social order, though in some non-obvious manner, for more junk, which in a very large part is junkie social order).

The second half of the pilot returns to Mick and Mike freebasing plastic and experimenting with/refining techniques for doing so. It is this portion of the show that really captivates the audience due to the high energy and the line between play-act and reality (and 'play-act casted as reality' v reality, etc) becomes blurred, as their junkie selves shine inevitably through any polish affected, intentionally or otherwise, for production. This feature creates an intensity where the audience is mesmerized by the experience presented from drug culture as Mick and Mike try vaporizing the plastic, shredding to tiny pieces and smoking through a glass pipe, dissolving in acetone, etc., all with trade talk which our polls indicates has hypnotic-type retention on viewers of all age groups.

The pilot ends in a manner where the show often ends on a "successful" experiment. Mike, having constructed a pipe whereby the plastic can be made to smoke in a manner slightly less dirty than outright burning it, is, apropos the title, "fucked up". Mick proceeds to join him, cheering him on. Mike passes out while Mick quickly trends toward incoherence. Since research indicates that characters acted innebriated has high appeal in what people wish to see more of in shows, even past the incoherent stage we expect high retention and also a suitable, if bleak and unpunctuated, wrap-down for such episodes. We do not anticipate audiences to characterize this as bleak comparative to existing media; nor is it less punctuated. While it is generally a faux pas to end a question-centered show without a verbose answer, we expect that while the hosts never repose the question and address it, their exchanges as exemplified by: Mike: I am high right now; Mick: I am so fucking high right now!, repeated several times in variants, will be explicit enough to provide closure the answer to the audience.

Often during the show, Mick and Mike (typically Mick) will answer unpresented voices off-set and more rarely address off camera. It will be clear from context (for a discerning viewer) that these voices belong to those to whom Mick and Mike are contractually obligated to. This provides an additional "character", which for a show with guest is merely three characters (although we do expect to have group guests as pertinent) is a boon. It is evident from the one side presented of these interactions that (quotes herein from Mick) that those off-camera think of Mick and Mike as "fuck-ups" and that Mick and Mike think of them as "assholes". This will also boost the sense of isolation upon which both the appeal and art ride for this project: the vast majority of the audience will be led to believe that they are laughing at the idiocy of these two people/characters irregards of finding them enteraining and possibly identifying with them, whereas in fact they are in fact on the same side of the bars as Mick and Mike, just in a different part of the enclosure. Viewers may pick up on some level the control executed here, but will dismiss it as presentation.

The show exists on multiple levels. On the level that will reach audiences, "Will this shit fuck you up?" is Entertainment, and another in a long line of "in your face" brashness giving credence that yes, Entertainment can still become more base and be amusing. While the subject matter and the speech and lewd language are too "adult" for a portion of the e.g. American population, it should fare well where adult is no longer considered novel, combining the appeal of reality shows with an market traditionally considered far afield: the drug alterno-culture and its afficiadoes which is becoming rapidly mainstream with marketability. On a high level, the show is illustrative of control and sadness, a profound self-inflicted satire made hideous by its execution.