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This TV writer is bringing your fake sitcom ideas to life on Twitter, and it’s hilarious

Got an idea for a sitcom—or at least the idea for a title? Quarantined TV writer Jenny Jaffe will write the opening scene to a random episode if you tweet at her.

This TV writer is bringing your fake sitcom ideas to life on Twitter, and it’s hilarious
[Photo: August de Richelieu/Pexels]

Peak TV is currently, as Ross and Rachel might have put it, on a break.

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With all the major players quarantined, most productions are taking an indefinite hiatus. For the next few months, networks will continue slowly burn off everything they have in the can, but very few new shows are coming anytime soon.

It’s a different story on Jenny Jaffe’s Twitter account, however, where for the past few days, the TV writer has been bringing new shows to life on an almost hourly basis.

It all started, like most sitcoms, with a high-concept premise. Jaffe tweeted about a dream she had, involving a TV show called Baby Chef, which is exactly what it sounds like.

As the tweet racked up more likes, the writer fleshed out the world of Baby Chef with more details, clarifying that this was not a talking baby, per se, but one that dispensed its sage infant wisdom through the medium of cakes. After a while, she decided to write a cold open—the punchy, pre-credits scene at the top of most TV shows—for her literal dream project.

It was partly out of the comedy writer tendency to chase a bit as far as it will go, but it was also an effort to shake up an ever-encroaching case of quarantine-brain. In any case, it was the most fun she’d had writing during quarantine, aside from a short funny video she created with friends over Zoom.

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“I’ve been having a really hard time sitting down and writing since the pandemic started,” Jaffe says over email. “I think it’s just anxiety compounded with this sort of pervasive feeling of hopelessness. But this was quick, easy, low stakes, and really fun.”

It was also something Jaffe had previous experience doing. Prior to writing actual episodes of shows like Rugrats and Big Hero 6, she once wrote a series for The Observer called Dreamcaps, in which she recapped episodes of television that did not exist.

Building on her therapist’s suggestion to break through her writing malaise by churning out “a few low-stakes pages every day,” Jaffe enlisted the help of Twitter to provide fake TV show titles for inspiration. Maybe she could make online acquaintances feel a little better during a weird time while cheering herself up as well.

Twitter did not disappoint.

The replies to Jaffe’s tweet quickly numbered in the hundreds, and she had her work cut out for her.

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In just a few short days, the writer has already produced pages for nearly 30 as-yet nonexistent shows with titles like Sandwich Pirates, Humid in Pensacola, and My Dog Is a Secret Agent.

Some of them are dramas. Some are sitcoms. Some are entirely pun-based projects, such as Hat’s Entertainment, Police Navidad, and Laguna Teach.

In each case, Jaffe determines the genre from the show’s title—inferring, for instance, that Tomorrow’s Lunch is a sci-fi romp about time-traveling high school students—and lets her imagination run wild.

“Not that I don’t love creating real shows, too,” Jaffe says, “but there’s a remove I get to feel when I know the show doesn’t ultimately need to exist. I can just entertain myself with writing instead of second-guessing it. Plus it feels like a way of playing with TV itself as a concept.”

At the moment, Jaffe plans to write cold opens for all of the title suggestions in the replies to her original tweet, at least until she becomes too busy to continue.

If you have a great title for a sitcom you’d like to see, send it her way before she gets overloaded. In the meantime, here are some of our favorites from what she’s come up with so far.

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