When the television show Rebecca Jones: Private Investigator hit the airwaves in 2014, it quickly joined the ‘Critics Love It, So Why Aren’t More People Watching It?’ club. The heroine was smart, self-assured, and fiercely independent. Those who did watch the show looked up to Rebecca and wanted to be more like her. They wanted their daughters to grow up and be like her as well. The problem was, there weren’t enough of those people around to justify the studio keeping it in production. So it was announced that the second season would be its last.
You can bet the show’s few loyal fans were unhappy when they heard the news, none more so than Carrie Aldershot. She loved Rebecca Jones enough to start a fan club in her honour. Carrie was the President of the club, of course, and as President she felt it was her duty to write a letter to Alan Wabinski, the head of Remote Control Entertainment, the network studio that produced the show, and urge him to reconsider. She vowed to boycott the network’s other shows and its advertisers unless he kept Rebecca Jones: Private Investigator on the air. She wasn’t the only one threatening to pull out either. She had collected two hundred thousand signatures in her online petition who all promised to do the same thing. She even went so far as to fly out to Hollywood in hopes of delivering the petition in person.
“Lady,” the guard at the studio gate said. “You can’t just waltz up here and expect me to let you in. You need security clearance, and there’s no way on earth anyone’s going to give it to you. But I’ll tell you what – give me the letter and I’ll make sure it gets to Mr. Wabinski.”
Carrie did as the guard instructed and then left, sure that Alan Wabinski would never see her letter. Two weeks later, though, a letter arrived in her mailbox and stamped on the top left corner of the envelope was the logo for Remote Control Entertainment. Carrie raced inside her house and tore open the envelope, excited to read Alan Wabinski’s response. Had he decided to relent? Would he attempt to let her down with flowery corporate lingo? There was only one way to find out.
Dear Ms. Aldershot:
I wish to express my condolences over the loss of your grandparents. Considering that their deaths occurred in 1959, there’s a good chance you never met them, but I’m sure your parents told you all about them and how all four of them simultaneously died from broken hearts the day they heard that ‘The Phil Silvers Show’ was being cancelled.
It must have been a great struggle for your mother and father to carry on without their parents. Were they the eldest in the family and, therefore, responsible for looking after their younger siblings? Or were they all farmed out to extended family members, or worse yet: to an orphanage?
I’m also sure that it felt like deja vu for them when their own favourite show went off the air in 1983. ‘M.A.S.H.’ was a classic, wasn’t it? Did your parents cry when they heard that Lieutentant Colonel Henry Blake’s helicopter had crashed? How upset were they over Hawkeye’s breakdown? Maybe they never told you. Maybe they, too died of a broken heart before they had the chance.
I hope you don’t die from a broken heart on May 23, 2016. That’s the date I’ve selected for the final episode. That’s right, I don’t care how many signatures you get, I’m pulling the plug on that baby. It costs millions and millions and millions of dollars to make that show, but it only brings in a million in advertising dollars each week. Business is business, my dear. And television is television. You’ll find another show to watch. People always do.
Unless you are a strong and independent woman, like that Rebecca Jones you admire. That is who you fantasize about becoming, isn’t it? Who you want your daughters to be emulate? Here’s something to think about: how many successful people do you know waste time obsessing over a fictional television character? If you want to be strong and independent, then do something. Oversee a community based program, show your daughters how to stand on their own financially, run a company. Just do something that’s actually worth having a mental breakdown over.
Anyway, I’ll be thinking about you on May 23rd. Please don’t let me see your name in the obituary section on the 24th. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s just a television show.
Needless to say, Carrie was livid after reading Alan’s snarky response. Who did he think he was making fun of her? Why, he was nothing but a successful business person who had reached the pinnacle of his career! Someone who thought that although it may be sad when a television show goes off the air, it’s not the end of the world.
Wait, Carrie then wondered, was there maybe a point buried beneath all that sarcasm? Shit.
On May 23rd, Carrie watched Rebecca Jones: Private Investigator for the final time. The next day, she went to her local community college and asked how to enrol in their business program. She was going to run her own company one day…her own entertainment company. Watch out Alan.