I could kick myself. I pride myself on having a knack for timing and clever ideas. Yet, I’ve just missed out on a golden opportunity to pitch a winning concept for a TV show. It’s too late. The train has left the station. The boat has sailed. Pick your cliché. Whatever. I blew it. To think I call myself a writer. And a balabusta to boot. Yes, to think I could have been a contender, but now I’m just a TV viewer.
What, for Heaven’s sake, am I ranting and raving about?
I’ll tell you: Fox TV just debuted a series called “The Cleaning Lady.” Set in Las Vegas, it’s got Cambodians, casinos, criminals, and a kid with a life-threatening immunodeficiency disorder. It’s all a jumble. It’s all wildly implausible, but that’s not the point. It’s the title that gets my goat.
I coulda, shoulda, pitched a show about a cleaning lady — a balabusta — a Las Vegas balabusta, whose secret power is cleaning. And unlike Fox’s Cleaning Lady, my show would have been believable, because 1. I’m from Las Vegas. 2. I’m Jewish and, 3. Like many Jewish ladies, I am a balabusta — a super housewife, mother, and you guessed, non-stop cleaning machine.
Now, in terms of my credentials, I’m not bragging. It’s genetic. My grandmother and mother were balabustas par excellence. And it’s not just in the genes, but also the Q-tips and the toothpicks, they handed me to clean corners and crevices in furniture and the kitchen and bathrooms as part of my chores — which started early.
As for my balabusta TV show, here are possible plot lines: A young newly married calls in distress. She’s got a big party to prepare for, but her oven’s a mess. Put me on the job. No cleaning task is too grimy. Encrusted brisket gravy? No problem.
The in-laws are coming, but the bathroom tile is black with mold? Who you gonna to call? The Balabusta, that’s who!
Coffee with milk and sugar stains on your hubby’s favorite shirt? And he’s got a Zoom job interview for a cushy new position!! Disaster and divorce loom? Don’t despair? Call The Balabusta. Stain be gone!
Marriage be saved!
Think of me (and my show) as a 21st century version of Gertrude Berg of TV’s “Mrs. Goldberg,” updated with a smartphone, facial fillers, and a touch of snark.
And think of the Vegas mobster, excuse me, alleged mobsters plot lines. Think of their special hard-to-clean-up bloody request? No job too tough for Super Balabusta. Skill plus discretion is her calling card.
After all, what balabusta hasn’t had her share of bloody-nosed stained tee shirts to clean? Granted gunshot stains on the carpet are obviously “a bit” more labor-intensive, but what balabusta cannot rise to the occasional challenge? And really, what’s the difference between patching a moth-eaten sweater hole and a bullet hole in a jacket? A hole is a hole is a hole. Am I right?
I’m confident the balabusta-based cleaning program is a show with legs. I mean if Jethro Gibbs of “NCIS” could build a boat in his basement for 19 seasons, attracting viewers with avid devotion, surely those same viewers would be held in thrall by a woman scrubbing kitchen floors, and dispensing folksy household wisdom to perps and people from all walks of life?
And while I don’t know what direction the Fox TV show will take, with no disrespect to the Cambodian cleaning lady plot line, I know only a balabusta can come through with chicken noodle matzah ball soup, brisket, and a kugel to bring tears to your eyes and then, make your kitchen appliances shine like the top of the Chrysler Building on blustery cold winter day.
So, what do you say, Mr. Bigshot Hollywood Producers, what do you say? In these germaphobe pandemic times, can’t audiences handle two cleaning lady programs? How about we do lunch? Or should I have my people call your people? I am, as they say, available.
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