I got to thinking since my last post about Miichan’s birthday. I like to fantasize while driving, so I composed a proposal/pitch to the FOX Network for my Minami Minegishi sitcom idea.
America loves a good “fish-out-of-water” story!
Miichan will play a Japanese college student who comes to America to study English at a major American University.
The show will be tentatively called “Learning Engrish” — or maybe something like “Please Speak Engrish!”. The network execs would probably want it to take place in California, but I think that there would be a bigger cultural contrast if the series took place in the American Midwest. (St. “Rouis” or somewhere like that). Besides, California already has a substantial Asian/Japanese population, so that would not be enough contrast.
Miichan’s TV character will also be called “Miichan”. It is a great name, that sounds great when it will be yelled by the characters … MIIIIIIII – CHAN!!!! Her last name will be different, and it has to be something that would sound funny to the American ear – something like “Fukyumama” could be the basis of a running joke.
She will be an exchange student living with her Japanese-America aunt who is married to a (white, maybe Jewish) American. I’m thinking someone like Billy Crystal as the uncle-in-law.
Every week, Miichan will innocently get into some type of trouble, due to a language or otherwise cultural misunderstanding. This is where I will have to do some creative writing, but bear with me. Also, Miichan is a little troublemaker, and she has a sarcastic wit. It would be great if Miichan could make fun of goofy aspects of American culture. She would innocently point out how ILLOGICAL much of American culture is. She could deconstruct various American “sacred cows” and tell us exactly how our Emperor is not wearing any clothes. (Ex. Why are US game shows so boring?)
Hilarious differences between traditional Japanese foods vs American cuisine could be jokes: “What are you eating Miichan?” “Octopus tentacles … want some … I like how the little suction cups hold a little bit of the mollusk juice when you bite into them.” Between the show’s segments and commercials there can be a real “Engrish” sign or image the audience can laugh at. Examples can be seen at this Engrish website linked here. It must be kept in mind that such images are not making fun or East Asian language speakers, it is just that these things are often unintentionally hilarious.
In fact, one of the goals of the show would be to DISPEL MYTHS AND ASIAN STEREOTYPES!
The audience could also learn a little more about anime-manga-Idol culture from Japan as well, as Miichan would share her interests with her friends. She might even have some fan service possiblities with her new American gal pals. Again, completely innocent. There has not been an American show that features Japanese okatu culture yet, despite the growing popularity (Are you listening Hollywood? I thought not. Originality is in short supply on American TV).
It would be great if the old Japanese grandmother character would have a catch-phrase running joke line. For example, whenever anything odd or bad would happen, the camera could zoom into the grandmother and she would mutter: “Damn Roosevelt…”. The joke being that anything bad have originated with the American president who ordered Japanese American citizens into internment camps.
Also, one of Miichan’s American wacky friends would clearly be a lesbian. Everyone knows it. Her family, the audience, the postman, etc. Everyone EXCEPT Miichan of course, who allows herself to get caught in racy situations with the American dyke. Her friend could give her backrubs, and just at the moment we think something will happen, Miichan is distracted in some hilarious way. (Again, the writers will have to make the jokes.)
About FAN SERVICE: I know it might be a little derivative, but I think the uncle (Billy Crystal) could often catch a glimpse of the scantily-clad Minegishi-san. Remember how in the old “King of the Hill” episodes, Hank Hill would walk in on Luanne in an undressed-sexy pose, and she would say “Hi Uncle Hank” much to Hanks consternation?
I’m thinking that in one episode, Miichan needs cash, and agrees to be a “nude model” at the University Art classroom. Uncle Bill could find out about it,rush to the art department, only to see Miichan already on the pedestal. “Hi Uncle Billy-san”. Then the uncle would look at the drawings made by the the (male) students, and they would all be just stick figures and the like. They were just drawing her so they could look at her naked – get it?
Of course there would have to be a wacky neighbor. Remember this is American television.
I’m thinking that each episode would end with Billy Crystal and Miichan sitting on a bench at a park or a mall. They would be making fun of people as they walk by. A lot of this would be ad-libbed.
So what do you think? Would it be a good show? Please comment and help me flesh out this pilot!
PS: Comedy is hard. Failing that, maybe Miichan would be good in one of those crime CSI detective snoop shows!
I love Miichan! HORRYWOOD HERE WE COME!!!