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Not Sure What To Call it

A show about a show

By James U. RizziPublished 10 months ago Updated 10 months ago 5 min read
Not Sure What To Call it
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

This coming-of-age comedy sees our adolescent main character Tyler Arbuck navigate a very eclectic delusion in which he believes, he is currently navigating his life in the form of a movie and or television series. This very meta coping mechanism was birthed when amidst the confines of tragedy Tyler found himself glued to the television, searching for refuge amongst characters, plot lines, and suspended disbelief. Appliy named “Not Sure What To Call It '' (for the very real issue of Tyler not knowing what to call the show that is his life) starts with Tyler integrating his misconception into his early years of high school. Even amongst growing concerns from his parents and brother, he persists that all cameras keep rolling. This truly heartwarming tale of overcoming adversity by wildly enhancing perspective, where the Christmas special, is really a Christmas special. And the scary episodes aren't just smoke and mirrors. Despite the oddity, Tyler begins to touch those around him by seeking a fitting end to each rising concern, just like a really good storyline should. Through laughs, tears, and real unmitigated humanity he convinces those closest that life really is like a movie, it's up to you to change the script. The fourth wall can't be broken because it never existed.


The show starts with a close-up shot of Tyler getting off the bus intently glued to his phone, dawning his favorite pair of silver headphones. The shot remains close as the bus huffs and pulls away not before a distant voice shouts, “Catch freak,” the shot remains fixed on Tyler as an explosion of milk careens off the side of his head. Covered in 2% he shakes the excess off.

Tyler begins to mutter to himself.

“Exterior: a long stretch of road, flanked by flourishing evergreens. Bird's eye view maybe?”

The camera flips.

“No, too early, maybe for the intro text?'' He continues to materialize the perfect opening in real-time.

“Close-up angle panning away from my feet until I become out of focus,”

The camera literally follows suit.

“And cue the heat waves.” the pavement begins to radiate.

“No, no, too much, this season is a comedy, not a western.”

The lines disappear.

“Perfect, now for some music that fits the tune of a contemporary, coming of age story, something hip, but also foreshadows the narrative can go any which way.”

Tyler scrolls through his phone tapping away at potential songs.

“Something like Lil Nas X would be good. I don't know, the rights to that would not fit in my budget, fine lo-fi beats. Now this would be a perfect time for that bird's eye view”

The camera pans upward looking at Tyler walking that same stretch of road.

“Time for the title screen will keep the placeholder for now until I have a better name.”

The font sprawls out beside him on the empty side of the road.

“Not that font” he says out loud,” and let's do white I like it because it's modern, or maybe yellow, white is too overused.”

The font changes and re-shapes as the top-down camera follows the milk-stained Tyler until he seems pleased

“There it is.”

The title remains in bold white font “Not Sure What To Call It '' as the volume of the music crescendos.

Interior: at the dinner table with the whole family, Tyler's mom, (Linda Arbuck) Tyler's very spent father, (Mark Arbuck) and Tyler's very supportive and loving younger brother, (Zack Arbuck)

Tyler tilts his head towards nothing and speaks into a camera that's not there.

Tyler: “perfect steamed broccoli, unseasoned mashed potatoes, and overcooked steak, no wonder Dad is so miserable.”

Linda: “You know I can hear you?”

Tyler smiles at the nonexistent camera

Zack: (very distantly) Bro why do you smell like milk?

Tyler's mom grows ever concerned the bullying has persisted and it is only getting worse. She so desperately wants her boy to fit in.

Tyler's father, defeated, just shakes his head.

Tyler: “No that doesn’t seem right, CUT,”

He goes back and delivers the same line about the bland dinner. Hoping his mom delivers a better line afterward. She plays along.

Linda: Well your father didn't marry me for the cooking.

Linda desperately tries to deliver a comedically obscene joke, but it falls flat.

This broke Tyler out of the stupor just enough to respond authentically.

Tyler: “Nice mom, gross,”

Linda's face reddens while Mark takes his into his palm

Zack: “Yeah for real Mom.”

In a small moment of clarity, Tyler senses his mother's concern and tries to reassure her

Tyler: Mom listen this is how it always goes, every good character needs a bit of adversity, just you wait, my redemption arc starts tomorrow when I present my get-to-know-me project. They'll come around you’ll see.

Before Linda can protest her uncertainty Tyler shouts, making her flinch.


Zack: (snickering) Nice.


Interior: Classroom

Tyler is up front next to a projector screen clicker in hand, cycling through photos of him and his family.

Tyler: Season two opens with the infamous family vaca to the Florida Keys.

Tyler was interrupted by a loudmouth in class.

Loudmouth: “You're not in a movie dipshit, you look like an asshole.”

Everything seems to pause for a moment, even the reprimanding teacher sounds muffled.

Tyler peers to his left and speaks into invisible camera B.

Tyler: “Perfect, starting off with a bang, no shock little dick Jimmy was gonna say something, he's forever compensating, can't blame the poor kid, he's got about as many inches as his IQ.”

The class chuckled as Jimmy turned a new shade of magenta.

Tyler forged on and clicked through photos of his fruitful and calamitous past, citing them as episodes and moments in his very own personal tv show.

Tyler: “This was a nice character-focused ep, here Dad got his promotion, he was so happy he bought a boat and then pontooned it immediately. Typical Mark Arbuck”

The camera passes by all the laughing students showcasing the most pleasant toothy grin, accented by the snap of light from the revolving slideshow.

Teacher: “Very nice Mr.Arbuck I enjoyed that”

This was followed by the applause of his classmates and one rouge whistle from the back.

Tyler spoke once more to the fictitious audience.

Tyler: “told you things were gonna turn around ma.”

Teacher: “Alright Tyler you can sit now your present….”

Before she could finish Tyler interrupts her

Tyler: “CUT.”

Mrs. French jumps, and the sounds of desk screech.

Tyler makes his way back to his seat as he internally concludes the final moments of his first episode of this new season.

Tyler: (INTERNALLY) Let's zoom out all the way starting from a close-up of me at my seat, and panning out slowly to the exterior of the school. And for a comical and mostly satirical touch let's add the words fin in eloquent font. And let's splurge on the music

‘Old town road’ plays as the words fin are sprawled out in front of the high school in bold cursive.


About the Creator

James U. Rizzi

I cant wait to see what I can create here.

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Comments (2)

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  • Mariann Carroll10 months ago

    Love the authenticity of the dialogue in this story 🙂

  • Oneg In The Arctic10 months ago

    Oh this is absolutely brilliant. Brilliantly written!

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