Updated: Sep 10, 2021
For about a year now, I’ve had an idea for a TV show I think would be pretty amusing. So if there are any TV producers out there that would like to give this a shot, hit me up.
For now I'm calling it "Happy Valley," but I think there's a better title out there somewhere. I view it as kind of a mash-up of two shows that I really like. The first one is Showtime's "Treme," which weaves its characters in and out of scenes of post-Katrina New Orleans as they try to put their lives back together; the other is an HBO show called "High Maintenance," which follows a bike messenger who sells pot to the colorful characters of New York City.
My idea is part autobiographical, part fictitious: A transplanted Bostonian moves to Western Mass. to get out of the city and start a new life. When finding a job becomes difficult, he takes up Ubering people around the Valley, and finds community in the fun and quirky people he meets. The town characters' own stories unfold as you meet them and see them interact with each other as they are woven in and around the Uber driver’s pickups and stops.
Below are some of the plot lines so far. (Hopefully, I’ll be adding to them as time goes on.) Most of these ideas are fictitious, though many are based on actual events or real people. The first plot line, about the ad campaign West Mass, is actually true!
HAPPY VALLEY (working title)
Opening scene: New to town, our lead character goes to Town Hall during business hours to pay his taxes and to get information about the town. He finds the door is unlocked, but nobody is there. He sits and waits, reading the latest town newsletter, and waits and waits until someone comes in a half hour later. The clerk is apologetic but says he had to walk his goats before work.
Plotlines (in no specific order)
In an attempt to draw business interest, the state tries to rebrand the laid-back Valley with a “buzzy,” frenetic and highly produced ad campaign featuring an upbeat soundtrack and name change to West Mass. It creates such a severe backlash from the laid-back public, it gets scrapped immediately.
It looks like smooth sailing at Town Meeting for a simple project to rebuild a crumbling pond dam until the town curmudgeon brings the proceedings to a standstill with a loud, drawn-out speech and then storms out, yelling “The whole town is going to blow up over this.”
The Uber driver picks up a young college woman at the local CVS and drives her 25 miles out of town to unsuspectingly deliver her to her job -- at a strip club.
A large protest march through town backs every liberal cause – all at once.
A local cop, using every investigative tool at his disposal, tracks down the out-of-town scofflaw who is dumping cat poop on side of road.
A cop is called to the scene where a giant pig has escaped from a local farm and is causing a traffic jam on the road.
A local agitator stands on corner holding up a vulgar sign to rile up the local liberals… while college students stand on other side of the street holding up signs deriding the agitator.
An old tobacco farmer tries his hand at a new cash crop – marijuana.
A college kid oversleeps and needs an Uber ride to the airport an hour away for his flight due to take off in an hour and a half. Most of the ride is spent maneuvering through multiple busy student crossings on campus, trying to pass a slow-moving farm tractor and “rush-hour” on the only bridge in town on his way to the highway, which is completely clear.
A long line forms at the local co-op/café shop, not for the latest local brew or a new kind of scone, but to report wildlife sightings on a piece of paper posted on wall. A squabble ensues as to whether one resident, who claims to have seen a near-extinct owl, is actually reporting the correct species.
A first-time visitor to town tries to navigate the “busy” town crosswalks -- some of which allow pedestrians the right of way and others that don’t.
In his first week in town, the newcomer gets pulled over by cop for accidentally making an obviously dangerous turn. After the driver desperately tries to explain how and why he made the turn, the cop writes no ticket nor gives a warning, telling the driver, “We do things different here. Have a nice night.”
An eccentric neighbor leads a mushroom-finding expedition through the backwoods of her property. The party tries the "wrong kind" of mushroom and gets lost.
A local grocery store chain has a cool store soundtrack where the music mysteriously gets louder every time a Grateful Dead song is played.
A celebrity DJ’s radiothon raises money for fencing to keep the giant pig from escaping from the local farm.
Stay tuned for more...