In a super-fancy television network office, a network EXEC in an expensive suit sits behind a large oak desk. He leans back in his chair and checks his iPhone. He chuckles at something on its screen. Another man, development VP, sit on a modern leather couch nearby. He, too, is on his iPhone and he also chuckles.
EXEC: Did you read that tweet from Bynes?
EXEC: She's such a wreck... Let's see if we can get her on a show, like a buddy chick thing. Is Kirstie Alley still alive?
The intercom BUZZES and is followed by LADY'S VOICE.
LADY'S VOICE (on intercom): Your eleven o'clock is here.
The two men stand as AVERAGE DAD enters. The both shake his hand firmly.
EXEC: Thanks for coming in. We loved your script.
AVERAGE DAD: Wow. I'm glad to hear that.
EXEC: I think the show will be perfect for our Sunday lineup. We just want to discuss a few adjustments.
VP: Let's start with the lead character. He seems so... so...
AVERAGE DAD: He's not any more competent than any other parent.
VP: We think he should be out of his element. You know, inept.
AVERAGE DAD: Why?
EXEC: It's funny.
AVERAGE DAD: In 1981, maybe.
VP: A dad staying home to raise the kids is comedy gold. I mean, imagine the hysterics of him trying to change a diaper.
AVERAGE DAD: Changing a diaper is not that complicated.
EXEC: Well, the first time I tried to change my boy Timmy, I had a hell of a time. It took three of our live-in nannies to show me how. It was awful. I never did it again.
VP: Your son's name is Tommy.
EXEC: It is?
AVERAGE DAD: I don't see how changing --
VP: Perhaps we're not explaining the whole fish-out-of-water thing well. Think of it like, uh, like Bosom Buddies. Those guys were fish-out-of-water and that show was a laugh riot.
AVERAGE DAD: If you just compared my script about a stay-at-home dad to a show about two cross-dressing ne'er-do-wells, I think I've found the source of our disconnect.
VP: No one will watch a show about a competent stay-at-home dad.
AVERAGE DAD: How do you know?
VP: Because no one has.
AVERAGE DAD: Since you both seem rooted in a decades-old stereotype, let me put it to you this way. You liked The Cosby Show, right?
VP: Loved it.
EXEC: Brilliant. One of the best shows ever.
AVERAGE DAD: Cliff Huxtable was a pretty amazing dad.
EXEC: I wish my dad was more like him.
AVERAGE DAD: Cliff was also a work-at-home dad.
EXEC: But, he was a doctor or something.
AVERAGE DAD: His office was in his home.
EXEC (into intercom): Get me copies of every episode of The Cosby Show. And send my dad another box of dog poo.
AVERAGE DAD: Look, guys, Mr. Mom was funny, but that guy doesn't exist anymore. He barely existed then. It's not about moms or dads now, it's about parents. What my script offers is the experience of a new parent struggling to get through the daily challenges of caring for a baby. And he happens to be a guy. But, being a guy doesn't automatically make him an idiot.
EXEC: My dad never loved me.
VP: Let it go, man!
EXEC: Well, you've given us a lot to think about. And we should probably end this here. We have another development meeting for a new show.
AVERAGE DAD: Mind if I ask what it's about?
VP: I shouldn't say anything, but we're very excited about it. It's about homicide detectives who solve crimes.
AVERAGE DAD: How original.
VP: I know, right?... It'll be... so great...
Both the Exec and the VP start weeping. Average Dad quietly leaves.
Follow David Vienna on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thedaddycomplex