When it comes to writing, I have a simple philosophy:
start weird & keep going
My favorite TV shows are ones that tickle your brain in a funny, sideways way. Most of these shows also have anti-heroes, psychology and/or philosophy, and obscure puns.
This is my inspiration, and I recommend every one of these shows if your taste is similar to mine:
Arrested Development (the earlier seasons are best)
EXT. THE BANANA STAND – DAY
RON (V.O.): At that moment Michael’s son had a visit from a cousin whom he hadn’t seen in years.
MAEBY: Um, yeah, I bought a frozen banana and when I bit into it, I found this.
She holds up the missing foot from Lucille’s fox stole.
GEORGE-MICHAEL: It looks like a foot.
MAEBY: It tasted like a foot. Which I didn’t really mind, but I’m pretty sure I said “no nuts.”
A Series of Unfortunate Events
KLAUS: From the expedition Journal of Doctor Montgomery Montgomery, April 24th: “The Incredibly Deadly Viper wouldn’t hurt a fly. I know this because I tried to feed it flies this morning.”
COUNT OLAF: That doesn’t change anything. There is still plenty of deadly types of snakes in that room that could of done it. The Mamba du Mal bites as it strangles, The Irascible Python is homicidally grumpy, The Virginian Wolfsnake can bludgeon you to death with a typewriter.
EXT. WOODS – DAY
Violet and Klaus walk towards Lucky Smells Lumbermill. Violet carries Sunny.
VIOLET: (relieved) We’re almost out of the woods.
Lemony Snicket hikes onscreen.
LEMONY SNICKET: “Out of the woods” is an expression referring to the fact that woods are dangerous place to be. In Hansel and Gretel, two siblings enter the woods and are menaced by an elderly cannibal. In Little Red Riding Hood, a wolf enters the woods and is menaced by a rude little girl. And in Walden, a poet enters the woods and is menaced by revelations that we should abandon civilization and live by a pond.
INT. TELEVISION SET – DAY
Charlie Rose sits opposite Bojack Horseman.
CHARLIE ROSE: In 1987, the situation comedy Horsin’ Around premiered on ABC.
A visual is shown, of BoJack sharing a giant bowl of ice cream with a happy family; and another picture he is eating it all himself and the rest of the family looks sad.
CHARLIE ROSE: The show, in which a young, bachelor horses forced to reevaluate his priorities when he agrees to raise three human children, was initially dismissed by critics as broad, saccharine, and…not good. But the family comedy struck a chord with America and went on to air for nine seasons. The star of Horsin’ Around, BoJack Horseman, is our guest tonight. Welcome, BoJack.
Phineas & Ferb
Despite being a kid’s show, it had quite a few moments of brilliance, including playing with obscure jokes adults would be much more likely to enjoy than children.
INT. TRAIN/DINING CAR – DAY
Perry cuts a hole in the top of the train, and drops right into the seat opposite Doofenschmirtz in the dining car.
DOOFENSCHMIRTZ: Ah, Perry the platypus, what an unexpected surp– (Perry stands to attack him) Oh, wait wait wait! You’re trapped–by societal convention! Look, we’re in a fine dining environment. Everyone knows not to throw scene in a fancy restaurant.
Rick & Morty
RICK: Man, what a shitty neutrino bomb. It’s a miracle I ever actually destroy anything.
MORTY: Oh, I dunno… you’ve managed to destroy just about everything today– the villains, the heroes, the lines between them, my childhood…
Rocky & Bullwinkle:
INT. APARTMENT/BATHROOM – DAY
NARRATOR: Our scene changes rather abruptly to the interior of an apartment house in the suburbs of Frostbite Falls, where…
A man is in a bathtub, taking a shower. He is wearing a blue shower and holding a back scrubber.
MAN: (sings) Nelly was a lady, last night she died, toll the bell…
Bullwinkle pops out of the shower, and join in the song. The man spots him.
MAN: Oh, for cry eye, it’s a monster!
BULLWINKLE: No, I’m more of a second tenor.