Roth as reality TV

Inspired by Picador’s “Win a trip to Cancun for Spring Break 2006 at” campaign (because it’s “a hell of a lot easier to sell an authentic student experience in Cancun than convincingly write about it”), Ross Fulton travels from Edinburgh to London to pitch some book-based reality TV shows.

A transcript of the pitch (to 20th Century Fox) inspired by Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America follows.

Me: Ok, so, picture this: we create an alternate version of America, and…

Producer: Like West Wing?

Me: No, not exactly. See, we want to stick some families in there. More like those 1900 House and Frontier House shows that Channel 4 did. More of an historical kind of thing.

Producer: Ah. Ok, I might like where this is going. So what about this alternate America?

Me: An extreme right-wing administration’s got into power, and is persecuting racial minorities, religious minorities, indoctrinating the kids, that type of thing. A real rich ‘What if…’ scenario. We were thinking, ‘What if Charles Lindbergh beat Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940?’ Not that particular election, necessarily. Whatever works.

Producer: Wait, is this meant to be some kind of… allegory, or something? ‘Cos this is really beginning to reek of America-hating…

Me: Well, there might be a couple of slight parallels with the, eh, current administration, but…



Somewhat related:


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.