The Bruno Kreisky Lookalike
A Sitcom in 10 episodes
The Kreisky look-alike theme song
Here a man who needs no introduction
His face so known and needs no reproduction
The only one to bring the country together
In rain or sun, in fact in every weather
So when the country is in crisis
And we need to pay high prices
We call Kreisky, yes we do
He’s here to save me and you
Kreisky solves the crisis
Kreisky, he’s so priceless
Crisis solved by Kreisky
Yes, yes, yes, precisely
In 2002 Jacques Derrida gave an interview to a South African TV, as part of a trip he made to that country. At one point the interviewer asks Derrida what he thinks about the Sitcom Seinfeld and its use of deconstruction humor. Derrida, who quite clearly had no idea what or who is Seinfeld, answered that if people think deconstruction is a sitcom, they should stop watching sitcoms and go read a book.
Some of us still read books, but more of us, a lot more, watch Sitcoms and made for TV dramas. The characters that occupy these Sitcoms become, with time, part of our extended and imaginary friends. Like our virtual friends, we become attached to them. We follow them week after week. They stay with us longer than the ones we meet in books, films or theatre.
In any sitcom, we meet the same set of core characters in the same situation, episode after episode. This predictability is at the heart of the traditional sitcom: at the start of an average episode everything is normal, a problem crops up, the characters work to solve it, and by the end of the show the problem is resolved; everything is back to the way it was.
Sitcoms, whether traditionally executed or cutting-edge experiments, are typically about people trapped by their own character failings and thwarted by those around them. For whatever reason, that’s the stock material that we seem to find funny.
The style of skewering this sitcom archetype, with its strange blend of the pitiable and contemptible, may have changed as television drama draws away from its origins as filmed theatre, but the basic spirit stayed the same.
The Poet Philip Larkin described all plots as “a beginning, a muddle, and an end,” which is as good a description as any.
Each episode begins with the protagonist stating a goal or problem that must be solved, and which we understand will be solved by the end of the episode. If the problem is solved too quickly, then the episode won’t stretch out to 22 minutes, so the first attempt at reaching the goal or solving the problem must fail (“the muddle”), requiring a new approach, before the episode ends and the protagonist either does, or does not, achieve what he/she set out to do.
Since sitcoms are only 22 (30 with commercials) minutes long, it is essential that the plot line be fairly tight and resolvable. Successful plots will typically fall within a family or workplace setting or some combination of the two. Within this setting, there are A and B storylines. An A storyline is the main plot of the sitcom. In most cases, the A story runs throughout the show and does not resolve until the final scene. The B storyline is secondary. Depending on how many characters are in the cast, there can be other peripheral stories: C, D, and so on. Throw in a hook or plot twist and you have a show.
Each episode has some built-in scenes that are the bread and the butter of its plot line.
The Teaser or cold open (Minutes 1-3)
A short, introductory sketch that often runs before the credits. It’s little more than a set-up, delivery, and reaction: a single joke. It introduces the protagonist and shows some aspect of their personality (for viewers new to the show), and ideally, it introduces viewers to the main obstacle to be overcome in the episode. But as often as not, it is simply a quick joke to get the ball rolling.
The Trouble (Minutes 3-8)
We meet the protagonists and see that they’re just where we left them last episode, but a new problem or goal has come to their attention, which forms the main plot (Story A) of the episode. A plan must be made as to how the goal is to be achieved, or the problem overcome. Around the 6th minute, we might be introduced to a subplot (Story B). Subplots must be even briefer than the main plots and feature one of the minor or secondary characters. It’s great if the subplot can somehow link to the ultimate conclusion of the main plot, but this is not necessary. Think of each subplot as the main plot in miniature, likewise with a beginning, a muddle, and the end.
The Muddle (Minutes 8-13)
The plan drawn up a few minutes ago to tackle the main plot is put into action, but it can’t work or the episode would be over already. There must be another obstacle, a spanner in the works that require an alternative plan or some amusing delay to the success of the initial strategy. As the Wise Sloth writes, the characters must “confront these obstacles according to their own personal style.” With subplots in play, minutes 8-9 establish where we left off with Story A. Minutes 9-12 provide the middle muddle of Story B (the secondary character overcomes a minor obstacle toward their goal), and then minutes 12-13 return to Story A, and see the main plan diverted.
The Triumph/Failure (Minutes 13-18)
By this time, the protagonist is getting desperate and the stakes are high—he/she already tried once and failed. He/She turns to the last resort, put it into play, and it works…or
it doesn’t. Remember that failure is frequent and fine in the world of sitcoms, unlike feature films and dramas. Failure is humorous rather than frustrating because again we don’t want our characters to change. Minutes 13-15 re-establish the action of Story A but pause before the payoff of whether or not the backup plan will work. Minutes 15-17 conclude Story B: the secondary character either does, or does not, accomplish what he/she set out to do, and this may, or may not affect the outcome of Story A. Minutes 17-18 show whether the protagonists succeeds or fails in Story A.
The Kicker or Tag (Minutes 19-21)
Like the teaser intro segment before the credits, there is usually an “Exit” (sometimes while the credits are rolling), which shows the protagonist in the aftermath of that episode’s action. We find it comforting to see that nothing has really changed, and life has reset, back to where it started and primed for the next episode. It might end with a nice punchline at the end that brings back a joke from earlier in the episode.
The performance of The Kreisky Look-Alike will spread over 3 installments. All together we will create 10 episodes, each episode lasting approx 22 minutes.
Part 1 November 2018, Pilot plus episodes 2-3
Part 2 April 2019, A short sum up of the story for audience members who didn’t see part 1, plus episodes 4-6
Part 3 January 2020, A short sum up of the story for audience members who didn’t see part 1 or 2, plus episodes 7-10.
The basic story
The advertisement agency Critical Mass got a new product to promote. A cleaning liquid tentatively titled GLITZ. The agency decides to use a famous spokesperson to promote the cleaning liquid. After a long market research, the agency finds out that the most trusted and admired Austrian personality is the legendary Austrian chancellor Bruno Kreisky.
The agency then conducts a search for a Kreisky Lookalike to serve as their Glitz spokesperson. The casting team almost give up on finding a Kreisky Lookalike, when one of the team’s member discover by accident, in a U1 station, an insurance broker named Hermann Swoboda and immediately ask him if he will be willing to do the job.
The Bruno Kreisky Lookalike follows the story of Hermann Swoboda in the world of advertisement and product placement. His ascending to a status of a celebrity, his wife reaction to his new job and the new offers he gets.