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Friday, September 21, 2007

Mouse - Top American Drama Previewed Exclusively on GFB

We're in a new area of TV creativity.

Not since the mid-80s when the formula "x" + "detective" gave us hundreds of shows on prime time has one format been so abused. It's cool to be a TV misanthrope. And where in the 80s the value of "X" was anything from "raddled crime writer" (Murder She Wrote), "part-time chef" (Pie in the Sky), "whacky old medium dear" (Moon & Son), "shifty foreigner with slug lying in wait to trap bogies" (Poirot), now "X" can be any profession you like as long as it's raised to the power of "dysfunctional people hater". So we've had "medic" (House), "lawyer" (Shark), "surgeon" (3lbs) and now, coming in the Fall on the WB, we have "PC World employee".

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you:

"Mouse" - pilot episode

(Man playing video clip. It works fine. Then he plays a second clip, and the PC crashes. "Not again..." he says in frustrated horror.)

Titles, with music by a band that wants to be Massive Attack, but their Mum wouldn't let them out to play.

Mouse hobbles into the office. "Okay, what have we got?"

Cameron: "Recently rebuilt Windows environment. Suddenly started cold crashing whenever Windows Media was being used. Patient noticed the symptoms first when playing Oblivion."

Foreman: "Oblivion's pretty graphics intensive. Could be the graphics card overheating, causing the cold crash."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Chase: "We discounted that. The machine was crashing first thing in the morning. It wouldn't have had time to get warm enough."

Foreman: "But it's June. The weather's got hotter. Perhaps that's just enough to tip it over the edge."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Cameron: "Forget the Oblivion stuff. It could just be coincidence."

Chase: (incredulous) "You've got the same kind of crashing, two different programs, and you reckon it's just coincidence?"

Foreman: (grudging admission) "Chase is right. It's gotta have something in common."

Cameron: "The game system doesn't use any of the Media Player codecs. Hardware's the only common factor. And if that was failing, we'd get other symptoms. Hot air out the back. Irregular crashes just in Windows sessions."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

A put-upon nurse bursts into the office. "Come quick!"

Cameron: (distressed) "What is it?"

Nurse: "The PC. It's crashing!"

Mouse: "Wrong!"

(Ad break)

(Fade back in. A PC is surrounded by text books)

Chase: "It doesn't make any sense. The temp is low here. It can't be the card failing."

Foreman: "Perhaps one of the fans has died."

Cameron: "We'd hear it."

Chase: "But not if the others were still going. It wouldn't be enough change of noise."

Cameron: "The only way to find out would be to do an exploratory."

Foreman: "Open it up while it's still powered up? You're crazy. One slip and you'd short out the whole power supply. You'd kill it. We can't go invasive."

Chase: "Perhaps we could do a case puncture. Right over the fan, insert a probe, see if the fan's still moving."

Mouse: (who has been juggling disinterestedly with a scalpel, and is now popping a Vicodin because he's secretly impaled himself in the leg) "Wrong!"

Cameron: "I'm telling you, it's not hardware."

Foreman: "Then what would you do?"

Cameron: "Order a full set of new Codecs. Perhaps one's got corrupted. That would explain the Media Player failures *and* the Oblivion crashes."

Chase: "But you can't be sure Oblivion even uses those Codecs."

Cameron: "Have you get any better ideas?"

Foreman: (ashamedly shaking his head) "No."

Cameron: "Then hit the web. Find a Codecs package. Transfuse them immediately."

Mouse: (waving at the yellow elephants as they float by) "Wrong!"

(ad break 2)

(The PC seems to be running)

Cameron: "See, it's worked. That's the third video clip I've been able to play. No crashes."

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Foreman: (leaning forward, puzzled) "But you're not using Media Player. You're using another video player package that came with Nero."

Cameron: "Oh my God. I didn't realise." (She closes the application, runs up Media Player. One clip works. A second...)

Chase: "Dammit! It's crashing again. Quick, get clear! I need a recovery disc and a cold reboot!"

Mouse: (Chasing under a desk for a dropped Vicodin, bangs his head on the underside, is laid out unconscious. Before which he says:) "Wrong!"

Cameron (backing away in distress) "I didn't realise, I didn't..."

(ad break 3)

(The PC has reloaded)

Chase: "Perhaps it's Media Player itself. Got corrupted. We should load the latest version, and patch it up to date."

Foreman: "A Player transplant? But if the Player isn't the problem, you'd just make it worse. And this is version 11. It's unproven, man, it's unproven!"

Chase: "You got any better ideas? We gotta risk it. Download the new one. Boot it up."

Mouse: (Hiding the fact that he's accidentally cut his legs off when playing with an electric saw) "Wrong!"

Cameron: "But it can't be the Media Player..."

(Music montage as everyone looks in concern as Media Player 11 is downloaded from the Microsoft site and installed. While no one is looking, Mouse furtively stitches his legs back on.)

(At the end of the music, the computer happily loads Media Player only for:)

Chase: "There, good as new... What the hell?"

Foreman: "It's playing the clip in the wrong ratio... It should be 16:9, and it's 4:3..."

Cameron: "What have you done? Change the settings back!"

Chase: "I have! It's not making any difference!"

(All three look in horror at each other)

Mouse: (Gleefully off his tits on Vicodin) "Wrong!"

(ad break 4)

Chase: "I've checked all the FAQs. There's nothing about this."

Cameron: "Patient is fine. It's all working, except for that the ratio's

Foreman: (aggressively black because the writers have suddenly realised he's African American) "You call that fine? Dude can't go through his life in 4:3. This is widescreen age, bitch, widescreen!"

Mouse: "Wrong!"

Cameron (turning at him) "Then what is it? You've spent the last 41 minutes just saying the same word over and over, and being paid $50,000 by the production company every time."

Mouse: "Well, it beats learning a script each week."

Cameron: (quivering lips) "I'm so disappointed in you. I expected humanity and all I get is a grouchy pill addict with a unexpected accent. You're like a medical Pete Docherty."

Foreman: "Yeah, spill it Mouse. What's wrong?"

Mouse: "It *is* hardware."

Cameron: "Told you."

Mouse: "And it *is* software."

Cameron, Chase, Foreman: "Whaaaaaa?"

(ad break 5)

(Back in on incredulous expressions)

Cameron, Chase, Foreman: "-aaaaaaaaaah?"

(ad break 6)

(Still back in on incredulous expressions)

Cameron, Chase, Foreman: "-aaaaaaaaaah?"

Mouse: "What none of you did was check what sort of graphics card it was. You were all too busy going on about fans and temperature. The card is an NVidia 6600LE. And if you'd checked up, you'd have noticed that this doesn't work with DirectX Video Acceleration in Media Player. The card is only to blame when the Media Player talks to it. And the software is only to blame
when it talks to the card."

Cameron: "The 4:3... Of course... That only happened when the default settings changed back to Hardware Acceleration..."

Foreman: "But the defaults didn't use DirectX, so it wasn't causing the crash, but the Hardware Acceleration was enough to mess the display ratios..."

Chase: "Brilliant! So the answer is to just switch off hardware acceleration!"

Mouse: (starts hobbling off) "Exactly."

Cameron: "But aren't you staying to check the result?"

Mouse: "No. I left my bike parked in Cuddy's cleavage, and I've only got 2 minutes left on the meter."

All of them do a self-conscious laugh then look into the distance in sudden mournful self-awareness. End credits.

"Mouse" this Fall from the WB - Doing more to promote the rep of the PC World techys than the Gary Glitter trial


Keyser Soze said...

Hey Lee!
My friend Polt has several posts I think you will enjoy, especially the series "guys without shirts"
I'm hoping he'll feature ME soon.

Here's Polt:

And me:

AKA The Artist Formerly Known as A N D Y T 1 3

Peace O Peeps

CyberPete said...

We'll have to keep an eye out for Mouse

prime time has never been this exciting