Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Writing for (Reality) Television 101

February 17, 2013

“Your story is only ever as strong as it’s antagonist”

                                                     – Old Jungle Saying

It’s been simultaneously fascinating and disheartening to see ‘My Kitchen Rules’ once again become an Australian TV ratings behemoth over the past few weeks, based primarily on some of the oldest character stereotypes in the book.

Every ‘reality’ show needs a villain (of course). Enter the ‘Spice Girls’, Jessie & Biswa from New South Wales…


Who, in a matter of weeks, used their unparalleled charm and sophistication to become seemingly the most hated duo in the country (sorry Tony & Julia). They tick every single ‘HAAAAAAATE-watch’ box for a Channel 7 audience. Lets count ’em off:

  • Gen Y? Tick.
  • Female? Tick.
  • Horribly entitled? Tick.
  • Dumb as a post? Tick.
  • And most importantly, an ethnicity just ‘brown’ enough to offend white Australia? Indian and Bangladeshi MEGA TICK!


You wouldn’t have guessed, but the judges and their fellow contestants voted these clowns off of a cooking show for the piddling offense of being unable to cook. Terrible, I know. Goodbye Spice Girls! Goodbye guaranteed ratings draw!

What are we to do now, MKR???

If your answer was  to introduce a new group of muckraking, gatecrashing contestants for no real reason other than to create conflict less than a month into the show, then you win… uhh… well… not much.

They haven’t even come up with something as clever as the SPICE GIRLS this time for fucks sake!!! ‘Gatecrashers’?!?!

* smacks head *

And yes, our most notable team of Gatecrashers are…


  • Gen Y? Tick.
  • Female? Tick.
  • Horribly entitled? Tick.
  • Dumb as a post? Tick.
  • And most importantly, an ethnicity just ‘Asian’ enough to offend white Australia? SUPER MEGA HAPPY TICK!

From the network that brought you ‘Border Patrol’… ladies and gentlemen, ‘MY KITCHEN RULES’!!!!!!!!!!

It’s made me pause more than once in the writers room of the TV show I work on to wonder why the hell we’re bothering to try to create boring shit like ‘well-rounded antagonists’,  ‘in depth backstories’, or ‘character arcs’. All that work, when really all we need to do is make our villain each and every week a spoiled stupid Gen-Y ditz with a complete lack of self-awareness.

The Hannibal Lector era of villainy is over, people. Long live Jessie & Biswa, the new breed of supervillain, soon to be enshrined in the Richard Hatch Hall of Infamy.

Take the tour.

It’s frigging horrible, sure, but it’ll only take 15 minutes.



Uncle Stevie drops some knowledge

December 13, 2012

I realise this is probably of little interest to most of you, but I dig it…

Stephen King speaking to a Masters Class at UMass Lowell this week.

A chance to hear the greatest living American novelist expound on Lovecraft, ’50 Shades of Grey’ and being asked “Where do you get your ideas from?” for 35 frigging years.



Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder

August 30, 2012

And so… the prodigal son returns.

What?! Even your friendly neighbourhood monkey needs a holiday every now and again.

However, I’ve been forced back out into the open by a heady combination of boredom, shame, and a friend (who will remain nameless) asking me “Do you still write that… monkey pushing… thing?”

Turns out that really is all the encouragement I need.

How sad.


God bless you, Stephen King

May 2, 2012

One of my literary idols, Stephen King, wrote an article this week for the website The Daily Beast simply entitled ‘Tax Me, For F@%&’s Sake!’

I’d encourage anyone interested in the ongoing 1% / 99% debate in the States to have a read.

But for those of who can’t be bothered to click your mouse once, the crux of Sir Stevie’s argument (that the excessively wealthy can well afford to pay much, much more tax) can pretty much be encapsulated by this one particular purple piece of prose:

“The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar”.

 You can agree with the guy’s politics… or you can disagree with the guy’s politics… but one thing remains as steady as the beam – man can that guy still turn a phrase!

And that beam reference? Just the clumsiest of segues into me saying that thanks to another recent hospital stay, I managed to burn through Mr. King’s latest instalment in The Dark Tower series, ‘The Wind Through The Keyhole’ in roughly 2 days.

Suffice to say it’s a fast, entertaining-as-hell read. It employs an interesting ‘story within a story’ narrative device, a framework that at its core binds it to the Dark Tower series as a whole, at least for me. Over thousands of pages, The Dark Tower (to me, at least) became as much about the nature of stories, and their importance in our lives, as it did plot or character. There’s a meta-level of spiritual awareness, storytelling skill and artistry about the books that manages to both baffle and captivate me… more than it might otherwise, because although I’ve known a handful of other King diehards, I’m yet to meet someone who has actually read the entire series!

So, faithful readers, if any of you out there have read, or are interested in reading The Dark Tower at all, hit me with a comment or two. We can discuss the Turtle, or how all things serve the beam. You can tell me about that dream you had once about a Billy Bumbler, and I’ll tell thee a tale, sai, of a mono named Blaine.


And you wondered why no one wanted to talk to you about these books, Monkey…

Until next time, if anyone needs me I’ll be in the nerdiest Stephen King chatroom I can find, probably using the handle ‘R@ndallFlaggBEARer79’, wishing CancerAIDS (or even worse, Anti-Ka) upon any commenter that dares to disagree with me.

Cos this is the internets. And that’s how we rolls,


And now for something completely different…

March 8, 2012

Alternative Title: Self-Indulgence and Introspection

Sounds kind of like a late 90’s, alt-rock album title, doesn’t it?

I was struck rather forcibly last week by one of those periodic moments of self-awareness, not long after I posted my last blog entry. I’d spent most of the week slogging to meet an honest-to-goodness writing deadline (I harbour dreams of writing about more than Lady Gaga and photoshopped Velociraptor images… who knew?), a deadline I managed to meet on Friday afternoon. Still invigorated, and chock-full of writerly endorphins, I promised myself that it was time for the latest post right here on Button Pushing Monkey.

So… what was happening in the world of pop culture that pissed me off?

Just like that – a totally instinctual response. Not what was I excited about. Not what was I looking forward to. Nope. Instead my brain totally bypassed a few synapses along the way to “What’s shitty that you can write about, Monkey?”

If my Facebook news is to be believed, this guy is EVERYTHING that's shitty

And now, a personal ‘revelation’…

** watches 90% of his readers click on to a LOLCATZ site **

It should come as no surprise to anyone that knows me, or to the 6 of you left reading, that I’m by and large a glass half empty glass mostly empty who took my fucking glass?!? kinda guy. I spend way too much time going straight to my mental default setting (clickclickclick… selecting ‘Intensely Cynical Neuroticism’), without putting up too much of a fight.

Pfft... lightweight...

And to be honest, it’ s not like I’d be hard up for material at the moment. Yes, I could quite easily sit here and write about the Kony 2012 movement

Or about the news that a Hulk Hogan sex tape has reportedly leaked to Vivid Entertainment

Or about Kirk Cameron’s latest foot-in-mouth incident regarding comments on homosexuality, comments that lets just say have made another ‘Growing Pains’ reunion a little bit less likely…

Or about the ongoing ‘Yumi-gate’ saga encircling TV show ‘The Circle’, and the way George Negus’ on-air brain fart seems to have been completely brushed aside, so as to more easily create a hate campaign about Yumi Stynes… 

But most likely it'd probably just be this image, and 1000 words about 'Hulking up'...

And you know what? It’d be easy. Nothing anyone would ever confuse with especially well-written, or well thought out prose. Just a series of little digs about famous people, doing ridiculous shit, in a 24-hour news cycle world. And that’s fine.

Yeah, I could do that.


Or I could set the bar a little higher than usual for myself. Try something different. Perhaps instead of stewing in my cyber-corner of the world, forever slinging hate at the shit that I cant stand, I could take the approach of writing about the shit that I love instead? For a while, at least.

Because yes, I really AM the last guy in the room to accept that it takes way more guts to put yourself out there and tell people about the things you enjoy, as opposed to the ‘crap’ you don’t.

That’s not to say that BPM will be forever turning it’s back on pointing out stupefyingly weird news articles, or the incessantly dumb thing another celebrity done did.

What I will be doing, is a brief series of posts, entitled ‘SHIT THAT I LOVE’. I’ll be touching on a movie, TV show, musician, book and a ‘mystery box’ category, that I’ve enjoyed recently. Without being too effusive, I’ll try and drop a little science on the stuff that I’m into right now, and then invite YOU, the reader, to agree/disagree/show complete ambivalence/call me a TTL RETARD N ALL CAPS!!!  

Let my best attempts at positive thinking, passion and emotional honesty begin!



Sigh… maybe I should’ve just stuck to dick jokes about the Hulkster…

Coming Soon: Shit That I Love Movie Edition – ‘The Monster Squad’


Because everyone needs some inspiration from time to time

April 7, 2011

If you haven’t seen or read THIS article yet by writer and artist Austin Kleon, I urge you to do so:

How to steal like an Artist (and 9 other things nobody told me)

Great stuff.