STAS THE new TV season began, ABC scored a surprising victory in the Saturday morning cartoon ghetto.. Its "Pac-man, Little Rascals, Richie Rich Show" defeated the seemingly undefeatable "Smurfs" on NBC. But joy at ABC was shortlived. Recently the Smurfs overtook Pac-Man and resumed their place at the top of the ratings.
Wouldn't it be fun to be at a meeting of ABC executives at which this earth-shaking crisis was discussed?
"Gentlemen, gentlemen, will you please come to order? Now we're all agreed we have a serious, serious problem here, but if any of us want to get to the Four Seasons in time for the happy hour, we're going to have to come up with some solutions, Smurf-wise. T.T., weren't you about to make a suggestion?"
"Well yes, F.P., I was. I was just thinking, if we were to move 'The Mork and Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, Fonz Hour' back, and then move 'The Scooby and Scrappy Doo Puppy Hour' up, we could topload the tentpoles and hammock the whozeewhats."
"Never mind all that dumb industry jargon. You couldn't touch the Smurfs with a ten-foot tentpole and you know it. Now Fiorucci, haven't your boys in research been able to come up with something on those Smurf demographics?"
"Well yes, F.P., we've been working night and day on this one. We impacted on the algorithms and sequentially prioritized the exponential inferences. Then we matrixed the user bits and interfaced with the uplink."
"And what, pray tell, did all that get you?"
"Eyestrain, boss. Boy, those video display terminals really tax the old peepers!"
"Now look, I want some action. Those rotten little Smurfs are gobbling up all the 4- to-10-year-olds our advertisers crave. We could lose the Munchy Munch account, not to mention Yummy Yums, Choc-o-Chunks, Honey Bunnys, Cholester-Alls and Kissie Pops! And you know what that means. If we don't get these kids hooked on sugary junk, how the heck are we gonna sell their parents anticavity toothpaste in prime time?"
The chief's face was getting redder, his toes were wiggling in their Gucci cocoons, and his Countess Mara tie was bobbing about on his enormous martini-belly.
"All right, all right, I've got to calm down. Now what can we do to put some teeth in Pac-Man?"
"Well, F.P., why don't we bring back Dr. Shrinker, Jabberjaw and the Grape Ape? We can call it 'The Pac-Man, Dr. Shrinker, Jabberjaw, Grape Ape SuperShow.' We wired some 6-year-olds to a computer and tested their sweat glands, and they responded favorably when -- "
"No, no, no! I never did like that Dr. Shrinker. He reminded me of my wife's lawyer. I want something new, something fresh, something innovational, like those 14 rip-offs of 'E.T.' I asked you guys to come up with."
"Chief, I've got an idea. How about a high-quality live-action children's series presented as a public service with no commercial interruptions?"
"A whaaaaaaat????? You're fired. Get out. Now, Smedley, enough talk about defense. Gimme a little offense. What have you got on those mangy Smurfs that would besmirch them in the eyes of the American public? What could we use against the little buggers?"
"Well chief, they're blue, you know. Maybe we could say they're commies."
"Commies are RED, you idiot. No, no, that won't do. How about their morals?"
"We may have them there, chief. It seems that in the entire Smurf village, there's only one female Smurf, a promiscuous blonde dish named Smurfette."
"I thought you said they were blue."
"All right, a blue dish, then. A blue-plate special. I think we could plant an item about her with one of those gullible TV critics."
"Great! We get the critics and the Smurfs in one fell swoop! I hate those critics anyway. Always picking on ABC. Always saying our shows are cheap and trashy. Always siding with those busybody pressure groups who are trying to clean up TV. They make me sick! Now, anybody got any suggestions on how we can sneak more sex and violence into 'The Scrappy and Scooby Doo Puppy Hour'?"
"But chief, isn't that bestiality?"
"I don't care what it is! I want those Smurfs blown off the map! Try cross-plugging. Get Scrappy Doo to visit Richie Rich. He can save him from a vampire or a werewolf or some sort of ghoul. Then get Petey the Puppy to team up with The Wonder Twins on the 'Superfriends' show. Have him captured by a homicidal maniac and tossed into a meat grinder."
"But chief -- what about those prosocial values we always claim to include in our shows?"
"Oh yeah. Well, throw in some crap about looking both ways before you cross the street. That oughta hold 'em. Now Pooferman, there's one other little thought that crosses my mind."
"What's that, chief?"
"Find out where the Smurfs hang out. Get Geraldo Rivera to follow them around with a camera crew. We'll fake up an investigative report for the '20/20' show -- 'Smurfs Caught in Gay Bar Raid,' something like that. And if worse comes to worse, there's always the Boys Downtown."
"Chief, you don't mean -- "
"Yes, Timoopaluss -- I mean Smurficide. That oughta put a crimp in their overnights! Heh heh heh. Heh heh heh heh HEHHHH!!! Now, last one to the Four Seasons is president of NBC. . . ."