Bryan Caplan  

Freakonomics: The T.V. Series

Do Voters' Biases Bias Policy?... Is Jeffrey Friedman Ignorant?...

Jane Galt doesn't think you could have a good t.v. show about journalists at the Economist:

But even if you rely heavily on political or human-interest plotlines, there is no way to make a whole show about journalists work on television. That's because the most dramatic moment is singularly undramatic. Consider your typical law drama, which has a dramatic resolution in the courtroom, with people shouting at each other. Compare that to the culmination of any journalist's work.

I'm typing!

Now I'm typing really fast!

And if journalists who work at the Economist aren't fun, a show about a bunch of actual economists would have to be worse, right?

I beg to differ - a show about economists could be a scream. The key: Forget drama. Think comedy. Think Seinfeld - another show about freaks:

KRAMER: ...And you're the manager of the circus.

JERRY: A circus?

KRAMER: Come on, this is a great idea. Look at the characters. You've got all these freaks on the show. A woman with a moustache? I mean, who wouldn't tune in to see a women with a moustache? You've [sic] for the tallest man in the world; a guy who's just a head.

JERRY: I don't think so.

KRAMER: Look Jerry, the show isn't about the circus, it's about watching freaks.

JERRY: I don't think the network will go for it.

KRAMER: Why not?

JERRY: Look, I'm not pitching a show about freaks.

KRAMER: Oh come on Jerry, you're wrong. People they want to watch freaks. This is a "can't miss."

Hey, I think I've even got the kernel of a pilot right here.

All right, maybe that's going too far...

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (5 to date)
pah writes:

Was actually reading this article in Vanity Fair today. Seems the Simpsons hired a mathematician, so anything is possible.

Dan writes:
Compare that to the culmination of any journalist's work.

I'm typing!

Now I'm typing really fast!

Wasn't that the ending of All the President's Men?

Troy Camplin writes:

I'd settle for just having artusts -- writers especially -- actually know something about economics.

I try, but there's only so much a single person can do -- especially with as little as I've had published to date.

R.J. Lehmann writes:

Ummm....Mary Tyler Moore seemed to pull off a show about journalists that was, you know, moderately successful, no? And then it spawned a second show about journalists by the name of Lou Grant.

Mr. Econotarian writes:

Yeah, but MTM was a comedy.

Maybe a comedy about economists!

Economist 1: "So I was using a Bayesian likelihood approach to estimate a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model for the US economy..."

Economist 2 [interrupting]: "Good thing you didn't use Bayesian Vector Autoregression models in out-of-sample prediction!"

[Audience laughts]

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