International: America's Next Top War Plan
This AP headline struck me:
Bush Quickens Search For New War Plan
Here's how I'll bet he'll do it. The show would be called “America’s Next Top War Plan.” Obviously, this would be based on one of the most popular reality TV programs, Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model”, in which lovely young things compete for the chance to become a super-model. (Bush, naturally, would fill the “Tyra Banks” role on my show.) But there's a twist, natch: instead of competing for modelling or recording contracts or that shit, the contestants on Bush's show would be competing to see who gets to decide America's Next Top War Plan. It's a sure thing, TV-wise!
Allow me to pitch an episode to you. We join the show a few weeks into the season. A few of the contestants have already been eliminated (Brittany, an aspiring porn star from the San Fernando Valley who did well in the “wet T-shirt” challenge but totally blew the “pacifying Shi’ites” event; Rasheed, who was eliminated when the judges discovered he was a Muslim, and Donald, a real asshole from Washington, D.C. whose “Stay The Course” strategy in Iraq turned out to be a bloody three-year dead end.)
The remaining contestants are still rooming together “in the house”, an oversize penthouse suite in Georgetown. The contestants are, in no particular order:
Jeff, a male model from Michigan. His proposed war plan is: “Make a deal with Iran and Syria, introduce a truly international peace-keeping force into the region, and then stabilize Iraq by building gyms and promoting body-toning fitness for its young people.”
Marvin, a nerdy policy wonk with a post-graduate degree in International Relations from Harvard. His war plan is: “Create independent federalized states based on ethnic and religious affiliations within the existing boundaries of Iraq, placing oil revenues and reserves in an international trust to be administered by an independent UN–sponsored governance commission.”
Dale, a guy from Georgia who runs a hardware store, lives with his mom and relies on conservative talk radio for all his political information. His war plan is: “Unleash hell.”
Heather, an undergraduate from the University of Iowa who was featured in Playboy’s “Girls of the Big Ten” photo spread. Her war plan is: “Build swimming pools and sponsor a national day of partying with the theme—“Hey, It’s the Middle East, It’s Sunny Out--Let’s Just Take A Moment and Chill.”
Condi, a former national security adviser and present US Secretary of State, who is on the show because she feels people don’t take her seriously enough and it would enhance her credibility. Her war plan is: “Continue to do whatever the President says, when he says it.”
(We see the roommates waking up in the morning, doing their morning ablutions, yawning, combing their hair.)
(Cut to Jeff knocking on the bathroom door, towel wrapped around his waist, clearly annoyed.)
Jeff: What the hell is Condi doing in there? It’s been a half an hour already…
(Close up of Heather. Subtitle: ‘featured in Playboy’s Girls of the Big Ten’)
Heather: There’s a lot less tension around here now that Rummie’s been eliminated. He was really gross. He was always going around bitching about Abu Ghraib and how he never got a fair deal from the media. And he used to leave his stinky old boxer shorts on the bedroom floor all the time. I mean, he was just gross, you know what I mean?
(Cut to Marvin, frying some eggs.)
(Cut to close up of Karl. Subtitle: ‘learned about politics from listening to talk radio’)
Karl: Marvin’s a real ding-a-ling, you know what I mean? I really hate his liberal ass. (mimicking) “Well, when I was at the Kennedy School of Government, blah, blah, blah”—who gives a (bleep), Marvin? Get over yourself and get a real job.
(Cut to Jeff, making a protein shake in the kitchen)
Jeff’s voice: “I think at this point everybody’s who's left is just trying to get through the day as best they can. Everybody here’s got a different vision for the Middle East and national security, but at the end of the day, only one of us can win the competition and we all know that. But what really bugs me is the way that some of these guys eat.”
(Cut to Karl alternately smoking a cigarette and chewing a Pop-Tart.)
(Condi comes into the kitchen, a towel still wrapped around her head, waving a little card.)
Condi: (calls out) Bush-a-gram, people!
(The other contestants join them in the kitchen as Condi reads it:)
Condi: “Howdy, y’all. Hope you’re feeling peppy, policy people. Big challenge tonight; one more of you will be eliminated at the judging afterwards, and only one of the others will finally pitch…America’s Next Top War Plan.”
(Jump cut from face to face of contestants—various reactions; confidence, enthusiasm, hope, anxiety.)
Marvin: I’m really nervous at this point. I’ve already been a finalist in the Elimination Room twice. I did okay with the questions on petrodollars and promises made to the Kurds during the first Gulf War, but I really blew that one about the stone Ben Affleck chose for Jennifer Lopez’ engagement ring.
(The contestants enter the Elimination Room and line up on platform before the judges, who are already seated before them. The judges are:)
Former Secretary of State and international diplomat Henry Kissinger.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
American Idol entertainment maven Simon Cowell.
Sixties fashion icon Twiggy.
Bush: “Good evening, finalists. Tonight we’ve got a really tough one for you. As you know by now, poise and presentation is everything when it comes to geopolitics and international diplomacy. So your poise and presentation is going to be put to the acid test, here and now. When that wall behind you opens up, each one of you is going to be faced with a mob of one thousand angry Sunni Arabs who want to know why, three years after I declared that major combat operations were over, basic utilities are still unavailable in most of Baghdad outside the Green Zone. Your job: calm them down--(uncovers something on the table before him)—while walking down the runway with this bowl of fruit balanced on your head.
(Close up of the bowl of fruit, synthesizer music sting. Close ups of each contestant’s reaction: confidence, anxiety, hope, etc.)