Sunday, December 9, 2012

Why Life in New Orleans is Like a Sitcom

I've always wanted my life to be like a sitcom. I can already hear some of you decrying sitcoms as the lowest form of televised entertainment, and I say to you: Shut up, hipster. Sitcoms are delightful little 22 minute packages of laughter, wrapped up nicely each week to make you feel better for watching it. Sometimes there are even moral lessons sprinkled in, but not always. Not everything has to be life changing, you know.

I've been saying for a while now that I think that the writers for "Happy Endings" actually just follow me around and then write up Penny's plot line for the week. (If you don't watch the show, I suggest you do. But maybe give it a few goes round-- just like life, not every episode is a-mah-zing, but in general: I love it.) Penny's hijinks have my friends (and myself) saying "Gee, this sounds an awful lot like LeeAnne," which has always brought me some joy that my life is at least a LITTLE bit like a sitcom, and I'm the comic relief.

But then I moved to New Orleans. 

In the few months I've been here, my life has become more and more like a sitcom with each passing day. Of course, I'm about to tell you why:

We're all familiar with the scenario: the main character has a conversation that the writers don't know how to wrap up, then thankfully the neighbor barges in and the laugh track starts rolling. Just watch an episode of "Seinfeld." Jerry is inevitably ranting about something and just when you're wondering how much longer he can go on, cue Kramer sliding in the door with some ridiculous comment or plan for them to carry out. Or in "Will & Grace." The banter gets less and less witty and then BOOM! Jack is running through the door!

In my life, I have my roommate/landlord: Bill. He is wonderful, but positively cuckoo bananas. In the otherwise stressful storyline of LeeAnne's first hurricane, Bill pops in and has me help him "purify and protect" the house. I can walk around burning sage and repeating mumbo jumbo with the best of them, so I did it. And it made me feel better, just realizing that ridiculousness was happening. Or I'm cooking dinner (not a particularly thrilling chore), when he pops in to explain to me that the feral cats in our backyard are more human than we are and that we can learn so much from them. Maybe he's got the onset of dementia, but it brings me a lot of joy.

In the sitcom formula, the show always centers on a group of friends, usually a trio, because then there's always the awkward sexual tension of two of the friends liking one another and the other being left out. Oooh, drama!

Well, I don't really have that. I serve as third wheel to my friend Nicole and her fiance, Michael, so it's not really a mystery to me as to which two in this trio has feelings for each other, but the similarity still stands. We are a group of friends who have adventures together. (Adventures you'll read about if you keep reading.)

What about sitcoms with larger casts, like "Friends" or "Happy Endings" or "How I Met Your Mother?" I can fill out those casts, too. Between our co-workers and the awkwardness that ensues, we're an entertaining bunch at any number.

Speaking of co-workers... They are often a source of hilarity in sitcoms. Obviously "The Office" (original British or spin-off American version) is the best example of this: work places are rife with situations you don't encounter in other parts of your life and also full of awkward people forced into interacting with one another.

I work in a campus activities office, so the number of bizarre work experiences I have are especially abundant. You've heard me talk about that before, so I won't go on (rather, you should read my other posts). But I will say this: Any job that involves working with magicians and inflatable fly guys as much as mine does = sitcom comedy gold.

Any sitcom worth its salt is chock full of shenanigans. Fortunately, so is my life. Going hipster isn't so much a storyline as an ongoing joke (I live around a bunch of hippies and I use Instagram), but that's still common to sitcoms.

I won't tell the whole story to the following shenanigans as that's the job for future posts, but here is a list of for-true adventures I've had since I moved here in August:

  • I got free front row tickets to a Brad Paisley concert just because I was sitting and eating and looking generally friendly. (We didn't go because we decided to buy tulle instead, but that's another story.)
  • We dressed up as giant loofahs and went out on the town. People loved us, and we're floating around in Facebook albums by people we don't know and probably won't see again. Also, a woman's necklace got stuck in my loofah and she took it off and decided just to leave it there. FREEBIES! (We gave it back.)
  • We crashed a party at Muriel's celebrating the best restaurants in New Orleans-- which, if you know anything about New Orleans, means these were hoity toity people we were hob nobbing with. We gorged ourselves on pate and lox and top shelf liquor, all the while fawning over John Besh and some lady who was in Treme and acting like we belonged. 
  • I pretended to be engaged to a friend of ours (who happens to be gay-- Penny and Max from "Happy Endings," anyone?) so that we could crash a rehearsal dinner tasting. It was delish.
All of this happened as the aforementioned comedic trio, of course.

You'll notice if you've ever watched a sitcom that they usually wrap up with all of the characters getting together in their usual spot to discuss the happenings of the episode and end the episode laughing so that we on the outside know that they're ALWAYS having fun, not just for 30 minutes a week. There are a million examples of this: "Friends" had the Central Perk, "Seinfeld" had the diner, "Cheers" had, well, Cheers, and "Saved by the Bell" had The Max.

I have happy hour. The location changes each week, but it serves the same purpose: my friends and I get together at the end of the week to discuss our happenings and leave laughing so we know we're fun people.

Sitcoms always have cameos, too! Watch "Glee" on any given week and you'll think to yourself, "Oh, [some actor/actress far too talented for network television] is on this week! Who knew s/he could sing?!"

Well, living in New Orleans, I also have cameos of famous actors. Personally, I've run into Justin Long and Noah Wyle. My friend Nicole saw Morgan Freeman at a restaurant once, and it's a well known fact that Leo DiCaprio jogs in Audubon Park at 5am on the daily.

I also have people who serve the cameos' role in my life; my friend Nicole says no one else does this, but I often have people I call "friend-for-a-day." I hang out with them for a day or so and then I never talk to them again. I met a girl on the bus who got me into a Trombone Shorty concert for free and we had a grand ol' time. I have no idea what her name is. After Isaac, when I was hot as all get out and escaped to the Quarter during the day, I hung out with the same people at an artists' co-op everyday, shooting the shit and painting and complaining about the heat. I haven't seen them since. It happens. They're my cameos!

But mostly when I think of cameos, I think of the sitcom king who I want dearly to cameo in the sitcom of my life: 

I love this man. And it's a cameo that could potentially happen as he lives here in New Orleans. Then my sitcom would be PERFECT. 

I might as well just plan on that happening and pitch my story to some network execs ASAP. I even have my promo worked out. Show's logo is a unique font so it's immediately recognizable. Main character highlighted front and center. Cheesy smile and awkward pose so people know it's a comedy. Generic photo of the show's locale to attract mainstream viewers. Primetime time slot so people know there's some adult content.

I'll update this with a network logo as soon as someone picks it up. I feel pretty good about this.