When I saw the opening "frame" of Crackle.com’s Script Cops  I thought, “I wonder how long until these guys get wrist-slapped for appropriating the Cops logo.” Then I thought, “What the hell is this?”
I suppose the title could have have tipped me off:  Script Cops takes place in an alternate universe in which bad script-writing is a criminal offense.  Written and directed by Scott Rice – who just so happens to teach screenwriting at the University of Texas – and shot in the same style as the venerable reality show, Cops – in which po-po cruise their regular beats for potential “bad boys" – Script Cops is a series of one-minute, “on-location” shake-downs, capturing offensive screenwriters by both force and hand-held cameras.  The result is a Reno 911 for the Writers Guild of America.


FYI, this embed is from AOL Video because Crackle doesn’t allow embeds.
 

 

Episode 1 invokes the trailer trash trope when the patrol scopes out a domestic disturbance at a double-wide. The offender is a sci-fi hack who has wasted a good chunk of his life toiling over a lousy script about the ill-fated planet Galdon, while his wife has pleaded with him to let it go. When the wayward writer refuses to “drop the script,” he is tackled to ground at gunpoint. The show goes black, and the end-title “write well” sits quietly on the screen for all to ponder. 

###It’s funny. It’s cute. It’s ironic. (And not because the show itself is written poorly; it’s actually really well-done.) And it’s also a one-joke premise – not that I mind one-joke shows.

Remember, this is the same reviewer who liked Retarded Policeman, and also one of the six people who tuned in regularly to ABC’s short-lived Cavemen. Script Cops feels a lot like a clever and wacky advertising campaign – some sort of PSA sponsored by the WGA. I don’t know if I buy it as a series, per se. A commercial, yes.  

Still, each episode is a charming little spoof, combining examples of bad writing with common occurrences in law enforcement. You can imagine the bull session in which SC’s creators came up with ideas for their episodes, like, “What if we rescue a laptop from a tree?” or “How about if we charge a student filmmaker with a cliché misdemeanor?” 

The possibilities might be endless, but how many of these episodes do you need to watch before you say, “Alright – I get it. Next!”  But then again, I liked them all and that’s the way I feel about the original Cops, too.

Perhaps the funniest thing about Script Cops is the idea that police officers – of all people – would care about bad writing. Not to criticize the nation’s finest, but the notion of a bad-writer round-up, or a sting at an Ed Wood meeting is about as absurd as it gets. Script Cops is a film snob fantasy, in which a police state controls writing quality, where penning the poorly-received Freddy Got Fingered is grounds for incarceration.

Come to think of it, I could suggest a few web show writers they might want to arrest…
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