Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pick Me! Part Tres

TO: MTV producers
FR: Esteemed Adviser
RE: Season 2, "The Paper"
Note: A real letter sent to MTV in response to a casting call; edited, natch, to protect the innocent.

Do you want Angst? Do you want Drama? Do you want Drama Queens, both male and female? Do you want student journalistas who blow off steam in the most unpredictable of ways? Then you want the staff of [insert name of Student Newspaper here], the 50-student newspaper staff at OHHS!

Meet J—his 800-gazillion-word vocabulary is only equaled by his ability to play with his food. Meet S—the high school basketball star and scholastic whiz-kid, who nevertheless always makes time for races in the hall (who knew one could set a “pick” with the aid of a rolling wooden desk chair and a lacrosse stick?) and is the total Zen Master of self-deprecating—and incredibly loud—banter. Meet B, the goofball sophomore who’s in love with every single junior girl on the staff—a real puppy dog, who will win your, and your viewers’, hearts, if he doesn’t gross you out first.

From keeping up with incredibly stressful two-week deadlines (we don’t know a single high school newspaper staff that can accomplish this feat—The Circuit staff, which you’re featuring this season, only manages to get a paper out once a month), to relieving the resulting nervous tension with competitions to see how many kiddos they can cram on the Tasteful Second-hand Couch in the newspaper office, our staff has all—and more—of the elements you need to create a dynamic and popular MTV reality show.

From the Characters—Among them K, the unyielding perfectionist and softball center-fielder who will verbally eviscerate anyone who disrespects her, and who has been known to “peg” her chief nemesis with clementines when he irritates her (and who also has the softest of hearts and a nose for news), and M, the sweet dingbat who made her presence known last year as a newbie by stalking the Journalism Suite in Full Field Hockey Regalia (in fact, one of last year’s editors referred to M as “Girl With Stick,” long after he had learned her given name); to the Plot—mix one part Teenage Uncertainty with one part innate goofiness, with 100 parts of the irascibility and tenaciousness that comes from being self-appointed Tellers of the Truth; to the Conflict—when the Esteemed Adviser picks the new staff next week, if she pairs J with K, will the two totally consume each other in a battle to the last pica, or will they end up holding hands and skipping off into the sunset (with J being a much better skipper than K) in a show of periodical partiality; to the Dialogue, which ranges from inane teenage-speak (Seriously? Like, I mean, really—Seriously?) to covering some Serious Stuff (one of our ’05 grads died in the Virginia Tech Massacre last year, and our school recently struggled through the one-year commemoration of the tragedy), our journalistas are Genuine Superstars—at least they will be next year, when MTV turns them into VIPs.

We landed this gig in 1994 as the Newspaper and Yearbook staff adviser at OHHS. That means we’ve shepherded roughly 1,500 teenagers through our Journalism Program over the last 14 years. We've seen it all—from interrupting both Make Out and AP History Study Sessions in our darkroom, to sending a Cherub to the ER after she accidentally doused herself with Dektol, to rousing debates over the best way to stick Gummi Bears to the ceiling in the Journalism Suite.

Since you obviously are looking for What Makes Teenagers Tick, what else can we tell you? That we have 2,216 students at OHHS, give or take a handful, in grades 9-12, and 200 teachers, more or less; that our school was built in 1966, and is in dire need of renovation—in fact, the main hallway that bisects the building is sinking a few inches every year, and, on any given day, only ¾ of the toilets in our student bathrooms work; that our staff is probably the most opinionated group of teens you’ll ever meet, and they have been known to get downright physical as presidential elections approach and political conversations increase (making next fall a great time to tape real-life drama at our school); that they are distracted at the drop of a hat, "minimizing" all of their electronic games and prom-dress searches on the computer screen as soon as we set foot in the newspaper office, so that we won’t think that they’re not doing their work; that, because a couple of them have high SAT scores and all that entails, their favorite computer challenge is not Sims or Halo, but Wikispeedia, a Game of Wit and Daring, involving a scavenger hunt on, of course,; that we have two Intrepid Journalistas—17-year-old-girls—who randomly decided to start lisping one day, and now do it so often that they Just Can’t Stop, and that next year we’ll have Bob the Australian on the staff—the 10th-grader just moved here, and he has swept almost every single girl in the Journalism Suite off her proverbial feet, primarily because of the way he talks. As you know, teens are a pretty intriguing species. Our kiddos—seriously—are the most intriguing!

As Big Time Television Producers, you want to know what’s in it for you, right? Our staff has the Drama, the Wit, the Gumption, the Humor, the Randomness, to downright capture your target audience. Plus, next year’s seniors are known for something else at Our Humble High School. They’re probably the only group of kids in the nation to weather a Genuine Journalism Riot their freshman year. But we digress. Pick us, and we’ll give you the whole scoop.

Thanks for giving us the chance to sing the praises of a spunky bunch o’ kids.

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