Ooh, we’ll help you think about it, companies! This week: Come up with an idea for promoting some commercial product or service (a) in space, (b) in a prison, (c) at a kindergarten, (d) by a football team or (e) in the White House. While the astronauts won’t be using the products or endorsing them as such, we know it won’t take 5 billion years for that to happen; go ahead and assume that the people there can use the product, sing a jingle, whatever.
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1407 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, Nov. 2 (why, you think you’ll have something else on your mind that day?); results will appear Nov. 22 in print, Nov. 19 online.
Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy — or possibly its replacement (TBA). Second place receives the best promotional stuffed mascot we’ve offered since Fleet’s Eneman: It’s Petey P. Cup, a cuddly toy urine-sample beaker complete with little splashy-looking yellow sides, representing cuddly HealthPartners insurance. Donated by 48-time Loser Marleen May.
The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. See this week’s, published late afternoon Thursday, Oct. 22, at wapo.st/conv1407.
ReviSitcoms: Updated TV plots from Week 1403
In Week 1403 we asked you to describe an episode of a past or current TV show updated for our current age. Many Losers suggested plots for “The Invaders” or other ET shows in which the aliens take one look and hurry back into the mother ship.
Marcus Welby, M.D.: “I wish I could save your husband, Mrs. Johnson, but — oops, no more Obamacare.” (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)
The Beverly Hillbillies: The California wildfires threaten the Clampett mansion. Elly May flees to the cement pond, where she’s rescued by 600 firemen. (Allen Breon, Clarksville, Md.)
and the tongue-sticking-out face mask:
Tonight on MacGyver, the world hangs in the balance trying to find a way to protect itself from covid-19. But Angus faces his most daunting challenge yet: He has only a square of cloth and two elastic bands. (Sue Lin Chong, Baltimore)
And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
All in the Family: After a change of heart, the bigoted guy from Queens lets his meathead son-in-law be in charge of everything. (Brendan Beary, Great Mills, Md.)
Dreck to TV: Honorable mentions
Candid Camera: The president thinks he’s on the phone with Vladimir Putin, but it’s really Sacha Baron Cohen. “Smile!” (Jeffrey Schamis, Washington, a First Offender)
Friends: Furloughed during the pandemic, the gang moves into an even more luxurious apartment and has more disposable income. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)
The Brady Bunch misses out on first place in the neighborhood talent show with their imitation of a Zoom call because Alice doesn’t realize she is on mute. (Mike Phillips, Chevy Chase, Md.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Our undead-battling heroine meets her match when Stephen Miller moves to town. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
Since so many countries have banned U.S. travelers, this season’s Amazing Race will be filmed entirely on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. (Lee Graham, Rockville, Md.)
Timmy falls down a well, and Lassie decides that he’s safer down there. (Pamela Love, Columbia, Md.)
In a reunion of The Apprentice, the contestants fail to develop a covid-19 vaccine before the 2020 election. Inexplicably, Trump fires Obama, who wasn’t even on the show. (Frank Mann, Washington)
The Cosby Show: Forty women accuse Dr. Huxtable of abuse. Police arrive at his house and shoot Theo. (Ben Aronin, Washington)
Parks and Recreation: Leslie and her staff come up with a zany new scheme to raise $100 a week to supplement unemployment checks for half the town. (Matthew Blair, Washington, a First Offender)
Star Trek: Kirk, faced with losing his captaincy, agrees to a debate. Spock listens to him bluster and mutters, “That is not logical” 219 times. (Duncan Stevens)
House Hunters: An agent tries to find a house for a D.C. couple being evicted in January, when they’re more than $400 million in debt. (Rob Cohen, Potomac, Md.)
Sesame Street: Elmo teaches kids how to avoid deep state Satan-worshipers. Brought to you by Q. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
Sesame Street: The Count teaches children the numbers: “199,998 . . . 199,999 . . . 200,000!” (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)
The Flintstones: Dino comes down with covid-19 after Fred screams “Wilma!” at the top of his lungs. This leads to a most unfortunate ending for the world’s dinosaur population. (Larry Gomberg, Lake Frederick, Va., a First Offender)
Fawlty Towers: Innkeeper Basil Fawlty locks horns with a loudmouthed American guest in a MAGA hat. Just as Fawlty orders him to leave, the U.K. institutes a mandatory 14-day quarantine for U.S. visitors. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
Seinfeld: Responding to the pandemic, the four buddies reprise “The Contest” to determine who can go the longest without touching their faces. (Andrew Rosenberg, New York, a First Offender; Bruce Carlson, Alexandria, Va.)
Downton Abbey: Lord and Lady Grantham struggle with the challenges created by social distancing — especially dressing themselves. (Jonathan Jensen)
On the reboot of Dragnet, Sgt. Friday’s opening says: “This is the city, Los Angeles, California. I work here. I carry a badge. And full riot gear. And several cans of tear gas. And a rifle that shoots rubber bullets. And a fire hose. And a body camera that works, sometimes.” (Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)
The Dick Van Dyke Show: Alan Brady blames Laura when the straps of the mask she sewed for him dislodge his toupee on national television. (Robert Schechter, Dix Hills, N.Y.)
Bill Nye the Science Guy: This show has been canceled as unpatriotic by executive order. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)
All in the Family: Archie loses his job, comes down with covid-19, and still votes for Trump. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Under mask-wearing and social distancing requirements, The Bachelor offers roses to women based on the compatibility of their reading tastes and moral philosophies. (Wendy Shang, Falls Church, Va.)
The Andy Griffith Show: Under political pressure to defund the sheriff’s office, Mayberry authorities make Barney Fife turn over the bullet that he has to keep in his shirt pocket. (Mike Gips)
Mary Tyler Moore: When WJM-TV is acquired by Fox, Mary is issued a “Make America Great Again” hat that she gaily tosses into Lake Minnetonka. (Frank Mann)
Wonder Woman: Diana starts a lucrative side hustle renting out her Lasso of Truth to the White House press corps. (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)
Beverly Hills 90210: Brandon and Kelly, tired of California wildfires, decide to relocate. Next season: “Wichita 67210.” (Duncan Stevens)
The Twilight Zone: Imagine, if you will, a world where you’re giving a big work presentation and you don’t have to imagine everyone is in their underwear, because they actually are . . . (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)
Welcome Back, Kotter: Class gets off to a rocky start when Horshack incessantly clicks “Raise Hand” and types “OH! OH!” in the chat box. (Eric Nelkin, Silver Spring, Md.)
Still running — deadline Monday night, Oct. 26: our contest for acrostic poems about the news. See wapo.st/invite1406.
DON’T MISS AN INVITE! Sign up here to receive a once-a-week email from the Empress as soon as The Style Invitational and Style Conversational go online every Thursday, complete with links to the columns.