Lately, you’ve been greenlighting shows and acquiring features like nobody’s business (or rather: like only your business). You’re spending billions on original content, catering to niches some of us didn’t know existed. At any given moment, any casual scroll through the list of Netflix Originals is guaranteed to turn up something we’ve never heard of before - and it’s literally our job to know about this stuff. In fact, we’re not even certain you’ve heard of everything on your site.
That’s why we at Birth.Movies.Death. would like to proudly present our own submission to the Netflix Original Content library - an idea which has been in development on our Slack channel for some time: reality courtroom show Clown Court.
Clown Court will be an exciting addition to Netflix’s original reality television slate, crossing over with both the true-crime niche and the slapstick comedy niche, granting it a broad, four-quadrant appeal. Given the current divisive status of the United States government and Supreme Court, it’s also a topical, hot-button show that will bring all of America together under the universal belief that their leaders are, to quote one of our focus-group members, “a bunch of fucking clowns.”
Each episode will proceed according to the following format:
At the opening of each episode, the plaintiff and defendant are brought into the Clown Courtroom, and the Clown Plaintiff bids the court to rise. They stand in silence as the Clown Judge rides a tiny, squeaking tricycle down the aisle towards the bench. The Clown Judge then calls the Clown Court to order, via a plastic honking gavel, and the opening titles play out to a rousing live rendition of “Entrance of the Gladiators,” played by a phalanx of clown kazooists.
The case commences. Importantly, the lawsuits being argued in Clown Court are real cases, involving real people - the only people in the entire Clown Courtroom lacking any kind of clown accoutrements. To best hit the desired tone, the plaintiffs and defendants selected should be as desperate, angry, and petty as possible. We're talking arguments over $300 car repair bills here. Clown Lawyers will be on hand at each participant’s desk, wearing wigs and makeup on top of immaculately-tailored suits, but they are solely there to mimic and mock their “clients” in comic, exaggerated fashion. Legally speaking, the participants represent themselves, and after offering opening statements, they will be questioned by the Clown Judge.
The Clown Judge is to remain deadly serious during questioning, while speaking in a note-perfect Ed Wynn impersonation. Should the plaintiff or defendant elicit a reaction from the Clown Judge, it is performed through exaggerated, primary-colour emotions, as is the custom in clowning. Any irritation toward this on the part of the plaintiff or defendant is to be treated as applause, and the performance is to be heightened accordingly. This cycle spirals upwards until the next question is asked, at which point it repeats until a verdict is reached.
The Clown Gallery’s role is to remain quiet and respectful whenever the Clown Judge speaks, but to interrupt the plaintiff and defendant as frequently as possible when they’re giving their arguments, so as to further inflame tempers. The angrier the two non-clowns become, the more frivolous the background chatter, and vice-versa. The gallery is a primary player in the legal proceedings, as any member may offer up their own argument in support of either participant, or failing that, a humorous aside at the participants’ expense.
A Clown Bailiff remains on hand to ensure that the parties involved in the case respect the questions and rulings of the Clown Judge. Upon issuing the verdict, the Clown Judge orders the Clown Bailiff to hand a cream pie to the case’s winner, who presses or throws it into the loser’s face. This is conducted in respectful silence. The Clown Lawyers will palm buzzers and shake hands with their “clients." Finally, the loser is ushered into a tiny clown car, to be taken to Clown Prison (which itself could function as a spin-off, dependent on streaming numbers). The car fills up over the course of multiple episodes, and leaves once a season.
At this point, it’s up for negotiation whether we enrol circus professionals in law school, or legal professionals in clown school. There’s also room for guest clown appearances in each episode - Pennywise, or Violent J or Shaggy 2 Dope from the Insane Clown Posse, or perhaps Ronald McDonald, for potential promotional collaboration. Additionally, though the series’ cases will all fall under civil law, any potential movie adaptation would concern something bigger, like murder or treason. As with all clowning routines, the trajectory is ever upward, towards a spectacular finale.
We hope that you’ll take our pitch into consideration. We’ve been developing it for some years now, and Scott’s tweet about it was retweeted 40 times, which is a lot. Somewhere in your ever-growing audience, there are at least a handful of people whose lives would be changed forever by Clown Court, and we trust you to make the right decision and call us.
After all, you’ve greenlit pretty much everything else to come across your desk.