Did your Aunt Gladys write the last episode of Black Box? Come on, you can tell me. "She's fifty and lives in a trailer with four corgis" you say. "She no longer drives her school bus route because of a bunion on her driving foot, which she bathes of an evening in oatmeal and Epsom salts. So how would she be writing for ABC's cutting edge medical drama Black Box??"
To which I say, I just saw "Jerusalem" and I'm pretty sure your Aunt Gladys wrote it.
Let me amend that: "Jerusalem" was the episode your Aunt Gladys wrote after she and her corgis moved to a college dorm and lived one year as a frosh, taking a psychobiology class and staying up real late talking about Death and God and Drugs with her RA while ankle deep in an oatmeal bath. "Jerusalem" perfectly expressed her edgy new perspective after a year at Chico State. (Go Wildcats!)
For instance, On Faith: There is a God and She is awesome! But a cronut is true enlightenment and tequila is a spiritual experience, according to your Aunt Gladys. She has been reading all the Buzzfeed articles on cronuts, clearly. She deftly wove all these sentiments into a scene where the Cube's doctors sat around debating theology over some tangerines at lunch.
On Drugs: Medical-grade hallucinogenic drugs are a great way to convince a man not to fear death. If you take them on your deathbed with a nice playlist going, you will walk through a vision of heaven all green and blue like a WindowsXP screensaver and see people you loved who are currently dead. Aunt Gladys encourages you to experiment with a shroom trip, provided it takes place in a controlled, legally sanctioned environment hours before you face down a painful death.
On Women and the Workplace: Career women, watch out! You may become so involved in your radiology labwork that you literally refuse to leave the office, ever. You may actually build a recessed bed into a storage cabinet, surrounded with LED lights and fake wallpaper and framed artwork, so you never have to leave. Even when a charming plumber asks you to just step out for a date, you will be so panicked by this foray into intimacy that you will cringe inside your office building weeping.
On Appropriate Work Attire: As a doctor who is going to be up on your feet most of the day, Aunt Gladys sees you in pairing stiletto knee-high patent-leather boots with your lab coat.
I've got to give it up to your Aunt Gladys. Much like the day she killed two wine coolers then appeared in the rec room with Saran Wrap wound over her extra-support sports bra lip-syncing to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" for thirty seconds before turning beet red and falling off a desk chair, she really pushed her irreverent, edgy side to the surface. Most writers would never dream of settling the question of the afterlife and the validity of Faith in the Lord in one episode, let alone the same episode the main character trips out so hard on psilocybin she goes into a church and a stained glass window gives her a thumbs up.
Here are my notes for Aunt Gladys, should she get the opportunity to write another episode of Black Box in the future:
- If you're doing what's cool you're actually behind the curve, especially when it comes to faddish baked goods.
- Having your character say "God is in the brain" and point to a glowing pink brain area ignores the fact that love, memory, facial recognition, all these and everything is in the brain. Perception is in the brain according to A+ #1 Pimp Emmanuel Kant.
- If you are searching around for cinnamon to stir in some cocoa, and you find a small dime bag of powder in your doctor girlfriend's bag, and you are a legit chef, you'd probably at least taste a little before plopping it in both steamy hot mugs and stirring it in.
- Seeing an elderly man about to play with his grandchild get a sudden, violent nosebleed is disturbing when done right, and hilarious when done wrong.
- Seeing an elderly man chirp "Hi mommy" as he is welcomed to a 40's-era breakfast table by his young mother is hilarious, period.
- We have all had a hard enough day without seeing an elderly actor pretend to die in real time, Aunt Gladys.
- Next time just be yourself, Aunt Gladys. You don't have to impress us with how urbane you've become with your Star Wars references and second-hand drug stories from your year in the dorms. Just chill out. Just chill out, Aunt Gladys.