We actually had two sessions of Follow by Ben Robbins going tonight, each “Putting on a Show” that reunites the stars of an old TV program. At the second table, our reunion was for a show from 25 years ago about high schoolers in space, Star School Holiday Special. Our cast consisted of Steve Dixon, the arrogant star who’d had a tumultuous but real career post-show; Arthur Collins, the youngest of the bunch who’d been humiliated by Steve during shooting into complete seclusion after the show; River Winding, the show’s conniver and troublemaker turned New Age hippie; and “Peter” Rabbit, who had spent many of the intervening years in and out of rehab and now was a 12-step spokesperson. The difficulties in putting together this reunion was our mutually acrimonious departure from the original show and interference from network executives.
First, we tried to cut 20 minutes from the show’s runtime to get it into the hour-long slot we’d been given. When Steve kept insisting that his musical number couldn’t be cut, his contract made it difficult to force his hand. Peter and Arthur hatched a plan with the old showrunner, Buddy Strom, for the footage of Steve to be sped up to super speed to meet the runtime requirements and (secretly) to embarrass him. However, when the production assistant Alex was caught speeding up the footage, Steve had her fired and we failed to shorten the runtime.
Next, we tried to promote the show at the Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast, but Steve was refusing to appear with the rest of the cast and had too contentious a history to go before critics alone. But River convinced Steve that coming down to the level of the float with the others as he sings his song would help the show and, hence, Steve’s career. This spurred debate among the group about whether they ought to forgive Steve his (many) past transgressions. In the end, Steve joined them on the show circuit, even appearing on Ellen’s show despite their past bad blood.
Finally, they must perform the show, which was complicated by the fact that the pre-recorded footage was lost, requiring them to perform it live. The gang decides to forgive Steve for the past if he’ll agree to help them in the present by joining him as equals for the space walk dance number in the shows finale, and the show goes off successfully. Will the crew get greenlit for a new season? Stranger things have happened.
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