Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Penal Reform

Ed Driscoll's recent post about Hollywood's dearth of good ideas got me thinking, and I believe I’ve had a brilliant idea to save television, perpetuate the cult of celebrity, and totally reform the penal process all at the same time. I call it the Narcissus Memorial Celebrity Prison and TV Complex.

What I envision is this: a maximum-security complex full of the latest high-tech recording devices to incarcerate celebrity felons. We can mix both the dastardly (Phil Spector) with the demented (OJ Simpson) and the dumb (Paris Hilton).

Every week producers will put together a highlight show, called “Celebrity Prison Break”, and throughout the series voters will regularly be able to vote for “Parole” for those celebrity inmates who are eligible. All proceeds from the show will be used to fund our nation’s prisons.

A special internet version will also be available to watch “live updates” of the day’s action, not unlike Big Brother.

Why will people tune in? The real question is, how could they not?

Can you imagine the high comedy of OJ Simpson sharing a cell with Pacman Jones, both of them lamenting how the NFL has discriminated against them?

What about the weekly prison AA meeting, where Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton both try to out-vamp each other to the camera in order to get paroled early? It’ll be the most panty-less rehab program you’ve ever seen!

Imagine Arlen Specter trying to fabricate a shiv so he can get revenge against some perceived slight by a female inmate, only to discover that she can kick his ass?

What about the rapper posse (Li’l Wayne, Sug Knight, Snoop Dog, et al) roaming the prison and pushing everybody else around because they’re the only ones with “street cred”?

And guest-starring as our official Prison Lawyer: disgraced former DA Mike Nifong!

It’s reality TV at its best: unscripted, desperate people struggling for both freedom and a return to fame. It’d be like watching Kathy Griffin mud-wrestle Rosie O’Donnell for 10 minutes of air time, only with more attractive women who aren’t nearly as insane.

You could even have special celebrity wardens! Who wouldn’t like to see R. Lee Ermey berating David Faustino (Married with Children) and Jason Wahler (Laguna Beach) until they both were reduced to blubbering morons? What about a special counseling session by Dr. Phil?

And imagine the rock groups that could do prison reunions, where one or two members come visit the rest serving drug, weapon, or tax evasion charges.

This show would have it all: Survivor meets Oz meets Prison Break meets Real Life meets Big Brother.