Monday, August 27, 2012

"Guinea Pigs" on CBS is Going to be Super Great, I Can Just Tell


An open letter to Mad Men producer/writer Dahvi Waller

Dear Dahvi,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note of congratulations when I heard through the grapevine that CBS has signed you on to do a pilot episode of your new medical drama, Guinea Pigs (well actually, I heard it from the Hollywood Reporter; the grapevine doesn’t tell me squat). According to the news item,
The drama centers on group of trailblazing doctors who run clinical trials at a hospital in Philadelphia. The twist: The trials are risky, and the guinea pigs are human.
Probably just like this, but
with a bigger body count.
(Sidenote: that’s quite the twist there! For a minute, I thought this was going to be the first ever rodent-based prime time series!)

I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I’m sure you’re extremely busy with lots of critical casting decisions, like: will the Evil Big Pharma character be a blonde, beautiful-but-treacherous Ice Queen type in her early 30’s, or an expensively-suited, handsome-but-treacherous Gordon Gekko type in his early 60’s? (My advice: Don’t settle!  Use both! Viewers of all ages can love to hate the pharmaceutical industry!)

About that name, by the way: great choice! I’m really glad you didn’t overthink that one. A good writer should go with her gut and pick the first easy stereotype that pops into her head. (Because the head is never closer to the gut then when it’s jammed firmly up … but I don’t have to explain anatomy to you! You write a medical drama for television!)

I’m sure the couple-three million Americans who enroll in clinical trials each year will totally relate to your calling them guinea pigs. In our industry, we call them heroes, but that’s just corny, right? Real heroes on TV are people with magic powers, not people who contribute to the advancement of medicine.

Anyway, I’m just really excited because our industry is just so, well … boring! We’re so fixated on data collection regulations and safety monitoring and ethics committee reviews and yada yada yada – ugh! Did you know we waste 5 to 10 years on this stuff, painstakingly bringing drugs through multiple graduated phases of testing in order to produce a mountain of data (sometimes running over 100,000 pages long) for the FDA to review?

Dahvi Waller: bringing CSI
to clinical research
I’m sure you’ll be giving us the full CSI-meets-Constant-Gardener treatment, though, and it will all seem so incredibly easy that your viewers will wonder what the hell is taking us so long to make these great new medicines. (Good mid-season plot point: we have the cure for most diseases already, but they’ve been suppressed by a massive conspiracy of sleazy corporations, corrupt politicians, and inept bureaucrats!)

Anyway, best of luck to you! I can't wait to see how accurately and respectfully you treat the work of the research biologists and chemists, physician investigators, nurses, study coordinators, monitors, reviewers, auditors, and patient volunteers guinea pigs who are working hard to ensure the next generation of medicines are safe and effective.  What can go wrong? It's television!




1 comment:

Bell MO. said...

It's great that you describe this topic on your blog.
Sexy Escort girls