Series Created by Matthew W. Davis, M.F.A.
SELL WELL! is a 30-minute sitcom in the tradition and tone of Workplace Comedies such as Scrubs and 30 Rock. In this series, we follow the daily antics of the “creative” team who produces infomercials for obtuse gadgets and clients.
A bored Billionaire and his eccentric daughter hire a former Child Star to be the new Host for their oddly successful infomercial company, assisted by their marginally adequate staff, and an irritating stage-mother.
Each episode of SELL WELL! finds self-conscious Ralph Bacon, reluctantly Hosting Infomercials using his flagging notoriety as former Child Star, “Ralphie the Fat Sidekick from those pirate movies with the goat.” In truth, Billionaire, Maxwell De Beers, has secretly hired Ralph to be mentor and life coach for his odd daughter, Olivia De Beers, who needs to be discouraged from making fantastically terrible films. Meanwhile, Ralph’s British Ex-Pat stage mother, Eunice, employs her barbed tongue to pierce all but the most bullet-proofed egos. The Copywriter, Hermes, flirts with the idea of being “interesting” by attempting antics that, in retrospect, are either misguided or deadly. The Hippie Cowboy Editor, Randy Funke, imparts his own brand of strangely sage advice to all who seek it, while the Receptionist Du Jour finds a perfectly acceptable reason to quit this madhouse, only to be replaced by another Receptionist the following episode.
Great salesmen can sell hotdogs to Vegans. These guys are those hotdogs.
The infomercial gadget they sell each episode has a flaw or novelty that metaphorically becomes the thematic arc for the characters:
EX: In “Tuscany Spa Dress,” the oversized choir-robe-styled dress is a metaphor for hiding what is truly inside. Ralph, the former child star has experienced no movement in his career in years, and is resting on his laurels. This episode inspires him to open up and emerge as a reinvigorated artist.
EX: In “Muggie,” the name of the product is at odds with its function – It’s a beer coozy “mug” designed to keep drinks cold, but is called a “Muggie.” This episode explores each character’s identification with his/her name: Ralph hates being called “Ralphie,” because that was the “fat kid” from the movies – not the adult Ralph he is today. Hermes, the effete and nerdy writer, wants to be known as “Air-Mez,” (the French pronunciation of his name), because it sounds, “heroic.” To Eunice, “Air-Mez” sounds like deodorizer. And Du Jour, the receptionist whom everyone expects to quit yesterday, just wants to be known by her real name, “Felicity” – not “Du Jour,” or worse still, “Joy.”
We will manufacture and sell the episode’s parody products on our website: www.sellwell.info/tainment
Items such as:
For-Later-Saver: A convenient way to transport your leftover pizza.
The Re-Gum System: A GREEN idea – this is a gum reclamation service that is basically like NetFlix. You chew your gum, and send it back in the provided envelope. That gum is recycled, cleaned, and sent back with new flavor for your enjoyment. No more wasting good gum.
Whoami Hat – A trucker’s hat with a Dry Erase board attached to the front, used to play a game, where the wearer tries to guess “who” they are (the name is on the hat), by asking a series of “yes” or “no” questions. There is a much better version of this game in app form, called “Heads Up,” that is a bit more like charades.
Pry-a-Pistol – for Gun-Lovers who drink beer. This novelty item is a bottle opener shaped like a pistol. It waits patiently on any countertop, standing up at attention, looking like an erection. It’s a big hit at frat houses. Inspired by the inventor’s own horror story, the product comes with a PSA warning label about the real dangers of viagra and its possible side-effect, called priapism.
Crap Strap – A body harness that wraps around a tree, allowing the consumer to comfortably lean back away from the trunk – supporting proper squatting posture while “making like a bear in the woods.” It comes with a toilet paper holder, a decorative trowel, and a pouch to keep reading materials handy.
Man Maker – A manly apron bedecked with pockets for all types of tools, that allows the man hands-free mobility as he ventures around his workplace or garage. Adjusts to fit all body types, and rests comfortably over the belly.
RALPH BACON – a beloved former child star that always played the “Fat Sidekick.” Young Ralphie, America’s favorite “Little Big Guy,” was known for stuffing his face, while uttering the catchphrase, “What?!? I’m thinking!!” As an adult, Ralph’s abundant, yet fragile, ego drives him to be the center of attention at the cost of being an inattentive know-it-all with a whiff of desperation.
EUNICE WATSON – Ralph’s stage mum is an overbearing Brit who inserts herself into Ralph’s life like a rectal thermometer. She left her wanker husband, crossed the pond, and foisted young Ralphie on Hollywood by over-feeding him with coaching and cheesecake. You can’t create a “Fat Sidekick” without pounds of love.
MAXWELL DE BEERS – Billionaire who made his fortune being born. He solves all life’s problems with money. He wishes to heck that he could be proud of his only daughter, Olivia, but at this point, he’s just thankful she isn’t on a reality show.
OLIVIA DE BEERS – a trust-funded Millennial with more “family money” than common sense, serves as Ralph’s under-qualified Intern. Her Daddy might put up another 10 Million to fund her strangely earnest second feature film, SNOW IS COLD, on the condition that she learn a thing or two about movie-making from Ralph. Fat chance. Though it is her first language, Olivia does not quite comprehend English.
HERMES MOORE – a stylish Peter Pan, is the company’s adequate staff writer who may, or may not, still be living with his mother. He carries himself as an eccentric artist, though he has never written more than a few non-sequential chapters to his Great American Novel. He commits himself to episodic self-improvement routines that involve such diverse skill-sets as skydiving, conversational Klingon, and fruit tree grafting.
JERGENS is a late 40’s, pompous, entrepreneurial shark that is convinced he will live to be 120 by using his cryochamber nightly. This truly magnificent son-of-a-bitch is Ralph’s nemesis, and unintended mentor.
DU JOUR – the receptionist Du Jour quits before the staffers are obliged to remember her/his name, and is an opportunity to introduce a fun CAMEO every episode. In “Muggie,” Du Jour is a sarcastic, pretty Tomboy-rocker with a serious case of wanderlust who mysteriously chooses to be a virgin. It is not a mystery why she shuns Hermes “the effete,” whom she can easily beat at arm-wrestling.
RANDY FUNKE is a Cowboy Hippie with oblique worldly wisdom, who serves as the de facto Grandfather and Therapist for the staffers. Though he is clearly in an “open marriage” with his wife of 30 years, he is sought after for his insight on relationships, and his inhuman knowledge of the “smarter sex.”
KEONI the BODYGUARD – a former Green Beret, this taut action figure has little sense of humor nor need for it. He will tell anyone the brutal truth.
OTIS the DRIVER – Otis is a fan of the ladies. His “game” is due largely to the fact that is always smartly dressed in his tuxedo. Thankfully there is a divider window between the Driver and the back – otherwise, Otis will talk your ear off. He is about half the size as Keoni, with twice the size mouth. If given the opportunity, Otis will tell you that he was named after the elevator where he was born.
SYCOPHANT PRODUCTION ASSISTANT – This recent film-school graduate knows just enough about film production to break everything on set. If you value your time, don’t ever discuss “crossing the line” in the presence of this individual.
COOKIE – the Craft Services Guru, and self-admiring vegan. Cookie will substitute meat-free items for the real deal, and relishes the fact that few notice or care.
SIDEKICK RALPHIE – the pre-teen version of Ralph, and America’s favorite “Little Big Guy,” has the uncanny ability to find food in the most unlikely places, while uttering the catchphrase, “What?!? I’m thinking!!” He is seen mostly in movie clips, and in the occasional flash-back designed to evoke either joy or misery for our Adult Ralph, whose childhood was an emotional pendulum due largely to the she-beast who raised him.
HANDSOME LEAD BOY – is tragically good-looking and self-assured, and will never suffer a day in his life. Therefore, we all love AND hate him for this curse.
GUSHING FAN – there emerges an overenthusiastic fan, episodically, to illustrate the absurdity of stardom, and its complicated effect on Ralph.
SEASON ONE – EPISODE SYNOPSIS
TUSCANY SPA DRESS – a Billionaire hires an out-of-work, former child star to be the host for his infomercial company, with the undisclosed purpose of training the Billionaire’s eccentric daughter how to “make movies.” We are introduced to all the major players in this episode, and go on the journey of our lead not wanting to admit he is a washed up has-been. He takes his career by the horns, and commits fully to be the face-man for the Sell Well Infotainment Group.
WHOAMI HAT – a trucker hat adorned with a dry-erase board, and used to play the parlor game where people hold a famous person’s name card to their forehead and try to guess “who they are” by asking others in the group “yes” or “no” questions. They realize that there is a much better version of this as an iPhone app. The episode explores everyone’s inner desires, and secrets, and how reality is never as good as the dream.
WOOF PACK – Olivia absent-mindedly leaves her precious latte on the roof of her Bugatti, which inspires Hermes to invent a Dog Crate for the car roof because he once drove off with “Sir Fido” on the roof of his car. The episode explores the need to be mindful and present in the face of constant distraction – by both technology and sexual tension.
UNNAMED ENERGY DRINK – Ralph loses the product name to his nemesis at the 11th hour, so they shoot the infomercial with a greenscreen-colored can. Meanwhile, Herme’s sister is having a contest to name her just-born child. The episode explores procrastination and the negative effects brought on by impulsive behavior. On the website (www.sellwell.info/tainment), we will actually sell Red Bull in greenscreen-colored cans with only the ingredients and legal stuff listed on the outside. The episode explores our need to fill the vacuum of silence with nonsense and legalese.
YOUTHINEX – The “youth serum” that works because it causes an allergic reaction to tighten the skin on the face. Its secret ingredient is bullshit. They hire an under-aged actress, but legally state she is just out of college (her high-school AP class is done for the semester). This misrepresentation tricks the consumer into buying the product out of self-hatred. The episode explores our preoccupation with the youth culture, and ageism.
MUGGIE – Because he was a former child star, Ralph is invited to be the Presenter for this year’s Infomercial Awards ceremony, but he wants to distance himself from that notoriety. Meanwhile, Hermes, the metrosexual writer, is completely infatuated with their Tomboy receptionist Felicity, who regards him as an effete man-child. He pretends to be brave and “interesting” to win her favor. This episode explores how people’s names affect how they perceive themselves and each other. We leave this episode with a possible relationship blossoming between DuJour and Hermes, and hope that she will stay at Sell Well long enough for everyone to commit to learn her name.
SEASON TWO – EPISODE SYNOPSIS
SHAWLT – Olivia treats Du Jour (Felicity) to a French-Kissing sabbatical where they discover the Shawl-sewn-like-a-Quilt. They compel Ralph to sell the “Shawlt,” with the intention to give one away for every “Shawlt” sold. Each give-away goes to an Eastern European Grandmother – those same bitter women employed to make the darn things. Meanwhile, Randy works out a deal with Ralph that allows him to edit female-empowering Adult-Themed Videos during the lulls between infomercials. This arrangement can truly be considered, “Tit for Tat.” The episode explores reciprocity, and its unintended consequences.
The rest of Season 2 is open to explore a relationship between Hermes and DuJour, where she decides that Sell Well is a good place to work, and actually “earns her name” by staying on. Ralph, high on the win at the Doctor Awards, now has a greater nemesis in Jergens. Olivia will embark on her new movie directorial effort, and hires Ralph to be her lead man.
Story, Products, and Series created by Matthew W. Davis, M.F.A.
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ABOUT THE WRITER
Matthew W. Davis, M.F.A.
Fade in: Growing up in a small mountain town, Davis was a familiar fixture at the local theater along with his operatic and spritely mother. After unintentionally crying on-stage while wearing an ill-fitting Mock-Turtle outfit, 8-year-old Davis decided that he was better suited behind-the-scenes, and began making unremarkable short films about cavemen and goats.
Cut to: American Film Institute, where Davis met the love of his life and the intrepid mother of his three exuberant boys – who at the time of this writing have not yet maimed each other.
Insert: Davis works primarily as a Cinematographer and Director for Film, TV, Reality Shows, and the Muppets. His 48 feature film credits range from Art Director, to Director of Photography, and demonstrates either a lack of focus, or a dogged approach to filmmaking.