Will Meinen | The Tattler
WASHINGTON, D.C. — There has been growing concern in the halls of the U.S. Congress and Senate that Iran is on the verge of producing a nuclear weapon. The U.S. has initiated sanctions against the oil-rich nation, convincing allies Japan and South Korea to look elsewhere for imports of crude.
Television executives at CBS, NBC, and Paramount have raised a separate set of concerns at a recent Congressional hearing. Steve Burke, CEO of NBC Universal appeared in front of the House Committee on Homeland Security to unveil evidence showing that the government of Iran is secretly producing its own situational comedies.
“Situational comedies are one of our most valuable cultural and commercial exports,” Burke testified. “The foreign market comprises 30 percent of our syndication revenue. If Iran starts creating their own content, our shareholders could take a big hit. It is in our national interests to stop the country of Iran from producing American-inspired situational comedies.”
According to NBC foreign operatives, the state run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) is six months from finishing a lineup of programming to fill the much valued 6:00 to 10:00 PM Thursday time slots.
“If they finish production and develop audiences in the 18 to 45 demographic it’s game over,” said an anonymous CBS television producer working undercover in Tehran. “There is no stopping them at that point. They will quickly infiltrate the living rooms of Shia households in Iraq and Lebanon.”
Two of the shows nearing completion are obviously inspired by American comedies.
“Everybody Has Affection for Habib, God Willing” is clearly modeled after “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Habib, his wife, and six children live across the street from his parents, and are always dropping by unannounced. The mother-in-law character belittles her daughter-in-law’s cooking and housekeeping. Habib proves to be insensitive to his wife’s needs but is regularly forgiven for his insensitivity, God willing.
“Male and Female Friend Groups Intermingling under Strictly Controlled Conditions” is a spinoff of the much more succinctly titled “Friends.” In the Iranian version, a group of male and female friends live across the hall from one another in an apartment complex, but never spend time together unless in public or at a family gathering. For the pilot, the “Joey” character, called Behrouz, plays an out of work actor who shames his family with his career choice until he lands a role as a newscaster on IRIB 4. He goes on a shopping spree to celebrate his success only to ask Allah for forgiveness for his Western influenced consumerist excess. He lives with Chandler (ed. no name change).
The Republican candidates for President have jumped on the news of Iran’s entertainment ambitions as a way to strengthen their foreign policy credentials. Rick Santorum took a predictably hard line on the issue.
“The hollywood free market, as much as I disagree with pretty much everything it stands for, entertains millions of our citizens every night with copyright protected programming. We can not let the Iran government subsidize the violation of our intellectual property rights, nor risk them indoctrinating the region with radical ideology like that found in the “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” For that reason I vow that if elected President, I will strategically bomb Iran’s underground television studios thereby pushing back their production schedule potentially by years. Iran, you are the biggest loser! Santorum out.”
“I don’t know, Velma,” said Fred skeptically. “Why would someone haunt a fortified concrete mansion in the affluent suburbs of Abbottabad?” The gang huddled around a table drinking tea and munching on nan.
“Gee, gang,” whined Shaggy, “I don’t know about this. When I mentioned the ghost to the shop keeper, he like, went white as a sheet. I mean, Zoinks!”
“Don’t worry Shaggy,” reassured Daphne. “It’s probably just a global terrorist trying to hide in plain sight from the U.S. government and its allies, as well as the Pakistani secret service (wink).”
“Reah, Shaggy. It rill be rokay,” agreed Scooby.
“Velma, pay the bill. We should get to the mansion and investigate,” directed Fred.
The gang piled into a rented Daihatsu van. They eventually identified the terrorist’s compound by its high walls, razor wire, and obtuse geometry. As the gang stumbled out of the vehicle, effervescent hookah smoke trailed behind them.
“Where is Shaggy?” inquired Fred. The kids craned their necks to look.
“He was just here,” said Daphne.
“I’m, like, right behind you,” interjected the red-eyed slacker.
Scooby sprung high into the air.
“Like, sorry Scoob. I was just finishing the bowl in the van. That hookah hits great. Aren’t you guys, like, hot or anything?” Shaggy asked the gang — a fair question considering that Thelma was wearing a turtleneck sweater, Fred, a cashmere sweater with an ascot, and Daphne, tights and a silk scarf.
Fred knocked on the large gate separating the courtyard from the main house which resembled an abandoned prison guard tower.
“Well,” shrugged Shaggy, “looks like nobody is home. We should probably just go back to the hotel and watch comedies on the BBC. They never let a series go on too long.”
“Reah,” agreed the talking dog, “re should row.”
“Look, Fred,” observed the precocious soon to be 4o-year-old virgin Velma, “the gate is unlocked. We can just go in!”
“Nice catch, Velma,” replied the obviously gay Fred. “Let’s go snoop around.”
“I was afraid of that,” shuddered the totally ripped Shaggy.
“Me rhoo,” echoed Scooby, as the two embraced.
“It will be okay, Scooby,” reassured the precious harlot Daphne who gives head but won’t go all the way.
Fred and Velma led the tiptoeing group into the court yard where armed guards were napping against an interior wall. Garbage smoldered in the far corner. It appeared that they would make it to the main building of the fortress without incident when Scooby stepped on a Koran that had fallen from the hands of a sleeping extremist.
“The prophet has been disrespected!” shouted a voice inside the compound.
The guards awoke; the awkward detectives fled inside. A tall, lanky man rushed towards the interlopers.
He held his arms above his head yelling, “Aarrghghghghgh, Awwwwwwwffffff, Arrrissghghgahhhghg.”
Scooby and Shaggy took a hard left at the room with a Soloflex and hid in two adjacent sarcophagi. The lanky monstrous figure with a full beard and robe ran past. The dog and stoner opened their coffin lids simultaneously, looked at one another, and began to flee. Suddenly they ran headlong into the pursuing guards!
“Whoop, whoop, whoop!” went their legs as they changed direction, rounded a corner and sped past three women watching Susan Lucci on All My Children.
“I see why it took her so long to win an Emmy,” said one of the women, the rest nodding in agreement.
“In there Scoobs,” said Shaggy.
They jumped into two large woven baskets full of basmati. The guards, chastised by the wives for making a ruckus, peered around and ran off. Meanwhile, Fred was going through closets trying on head scarves, no one really cared what Velma was up to, and Daphne was exchanging numbers with a young terrorist guard.
“Like, they’re gone, Scooby,” said Shaggy after they popped their heads out from the baskets. “Where is the rest of the gang,” he asked rhetorically.
“Here we are,” replied Fred now reunited with the rest.
At that moment the Ghost of Abbottabad came limping towards them.
“I’m too old to be chasing white people and talking dogs all over this huge house. What are you doing here? Get out.”
“Let’s see who you really are,” challenged Fred as he grabbed the ghost’s beard and face to remove his mask.
“What are you doing you idiot!” screamed the ghost. “This is a real beard. What are you a moron. I’m Osama Bin Laden. Have the Americans sent you? If so…. why? You’re a bunch of rotten kids from what I can tell. And the girl in the orange turtleneck is so unattractive—”
Suddenly the sounds of a helicopter could be heard outside the compound, followed by shouting and gunfire. A Navy Seal team poured into the compound: “Clear! Clear!” The ghost had nowhere to hide; it never occurred to him that you could go unnoticed in a basket of rice.
“Rook,” barked Scooby, “rit’s Scrappy!”
Sure enough, Scrappy-doo was a member of Seal Team 6, and it was he, the nephew of Scooby and one of the most annoying of cartoon characters, who put a bullet between the eyes of the world’s most notorious criminal.
Another mystery solved.
What an adorable assassin!