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Television from the Bin: The Song Tremains the Same

My friend Tad lives in Los Angeles working as a stunt co-ordinator for Antiques Roadshow, and every so often he goes through the garbage at studios around town. Sometimes he hits it big, other times he comes up with little more than a blank prescription pad covered in feces.

"Are you serious, Tad? Every page was covered with shit? Are you sure the pad didn't just fall into some shit that was already in the trash can?"

"Dude, it's the strangest thing I ever seen. It's like someone deliberately smeared shit on each and every slip of the pad. And not haphazard either, man, I mean they got the corners and the..."

"Yeah that's cool Tad..."

"No but really, like, it was massaged into the pages."

"No, really, I got it."

"Aw you shoulda been there, I totally threw up on it."

So that's how our conversations go most of the time. But this past week Tad found something just slightly more valuable than an excrement-laden pad of paper covered in vomit: a discarded synopsis for a never-aired television show.

The show was called The Song Tremains the Same; I had never heard of it, and no one I knew had either. I can only assume the outline was written, maybe in conjunction with a script, but it was never put to film and certainly never made it to air.

Being that Tad found the synopsis in the same general area as the befouled prescription pad, I've supplied a transcription of the barely readable copy Tad faxed me the other night.

The Song Tremains the Same

Theme: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, performed by Aerosmith


James Caan.............Burleywine "Big T" Tremain, Jr.
Sissy Spacek...........Bolinda Tremain
Meshach Taylor.........Darius Tremain
Jimmy Fallon...........Burleywine "BT" Tremain, III
Avril Lavigne..........Serena "Conky" Conklin

Supporting Cast:

Michael Ironside.......Sen. Randy Conklin
Cindy Crawford.........Sen. Polly Leaumont
Dennis Farina..........Sen. Brooks Hahn
Heidi Klum.............Sen. Nora Sammartino
Powers Boothe..........Rep. Dougs-Edward "Riptide" Ripley
Andy Griffith..........Judge Burleywine "Burley" Tremain, Sr. (Ret.)

Special Guest Stars:

Hector Elizondo........President Don "Papa" Tornado
Jean-Claude VanDamme...Pieter Verpermeke, the Belgian Ambassador
Dolph Lundgren.........Ghost of Sherlock Holmes

Episode 0 - Time Marches Hahn (Pilot)

It's election day and Burleywine "Big T" Tremain, Jr. has just won a narrow victory which sends him to the United States Senate. He and his family must now pick up and move to Washington, leaving old friends (and enemies-???) behind in St.Louis.

This first big segment in Washington should be shot like it's Big T's first day of school. For instance, on his way out of the house he almost forgets his bag lunch before his wife runs out to stuff it in his bookbag. Also, she straightens his tie and pins on a big sign that says "D-Illinois" in bright blue letters so everyone will know who he is.

Then when he first walks into the Capitol everyone should be standing in line like they're trying to register for classes, but they're actually in line to support upcoming bills. Big T will be all confused but eventually Nora Sammartino, co-chair of the Shared Seating Committee, will let him cut in her line to vote on a limited defense spending package.

After that, Nora introduces him to all the major players in Congress: Randy Conklin, head of the Armed Services Committee; Polly Leaumont, head of some other committee; Brooks Hahn, tough-talking no-nonsense chair of the Human Resources Committee; and Dougs-Edward "Riptide" Ripley, speaker of the House and former grand national champion surfer.

Also, he should be really nervous at lunchtime and not know where to sit. Eventually, Riptide invites him over and tells him how "gnarly" it is that he's a Senator.

This should lead into a big speech about the duty he has to his constituents, and to all Americans. Then he picks up his ever-present surfboard and announces his plans to surf the Reflecting Pool.

"Wish I could legislate being cool, but that'd be a serious conflict of interests!"

After Riptide leaves, Big T begins eating his meal in silence when suddenly the ghost of Sherlock Holmes fades in beside him.

"Holmes! I thought I left you in St.Louis!"

"I'm always with you, T."

"I'm nervous Holmes, I think maybe I'm not cut out for this Senator thing."

"T! You're just as smart and talented as anyone in this cafeteria; except for me of course."

"Oh Holmes!"

Cut to Nora standing over T, smirking with one eyebrow raised. T tries to explain that he sometimes hallucinates fictional characters, but Nora will have none of it.

"You can't fool me, Tremain, you were practicing your first big speech; I knew you were something special the moment I saw you!"

"No, really Nora, I have a condition; it's not pleasant at all. It nearly derailed my whole election campaign."

"Tell that to Hahn, he's looking for you. Got big things planned."

We learn that Senator Hahn is looking to gather support for an important civil rights bill that's due to go to a vote in the next week. It's opposed by a group led by Senator Conklin, who is a huge racist.

The first time we see Conklin he's alone in his office, talking to someone on the phone. He's apparently talking about supporters of the civil rights bill, but following each of their names by a racial slur or epithet. We find out he's talking to his daughter, Serena.

The scene cuts to her in bed, hanging up the phone. A voice asks, "Who was that?" and up pops BT, Big T's son! Go to commercial.

The episode ends in a dim backroom where Tremain Sr. and President Tornado are talking about Big T and Senator Conklin. They sit across from each other at an old, round wooden table, lit only by a single hanging bulb; enveloped by wisps of cigar smoke, each has a glass of whiskey nearby. Tremain's is nearly empty, while Tornado's is mostly full.

"You can't let this Conklin fella get too strong, Tornado. I seen it too many times. I know how it'll turn out."

"You know I can't interfere with the process, Burley. I can only speak my peace and then sign or veto whatever comes outta that place."

"Then you let me handle the interference."

"Why can't you let this go? You're an old man, let your son do the fighting from now on. I hear he's-"


Fade out.

Deleted Scenes for the DVD: massive kickboxing battle between Sherlock Holmes and the Belgian ambassador.

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Copyright © 2005-2013 Graham Cranfield