From the makers of The Voice. You don't need senses to sense true talent.
By Patrick Cassels
INT. A MOODY, REDDISH REALITY SHOW STAGE A few archetypal images (hopefuls singing their hearts out, contestants crying, etc.) flash as an ANNOUNCER woos us: ANNOUNCER (V.O.) Tonight, immediately following Broken Badge, stay tuned for NBC's groundbreaking new music competition: The Vibe. The celebrity JUDGES deliver TALKING HEAD testimonials: LISA LOEB Most singing reality shows, they're only about the image. But The Vibe is different! BOBBY BRACKINS On The Vibe, auditions are 100% pure. ANNOUNCER (V.O,) Join judges Lisa Loeb, Bobby Brackins and DJ Mike Catherwood in total sensory deprivation as they search for America's next great singer. CUT TO the auditions. The judges sit in SENSORY DEPRIVATION TANKS: odd-looking open tubs filled with milky water. They wear blinders, plastic earmuffs and swimsuits under black lights. From her bizarre homeostasis, LOEB smiles: LISA LOEB Woo! I have a good feeling about this girl! I'm feeling, like, I think she's a middle-aged black woman. Maybe older, but yeah. REVEAL the contestant on stage is actually a skinny British boy (TOM PHILIP). Beneath his TV smile, he's confused. TOM Right, no, my name's Tom Philip. I'm from Bristol. LISA LOEB I've got no idea what's going on but you're gonna be a STAR sister! TOM I haven't sung yet. An unsure Tom shuffles off as we jump to more TALKING HEADS: CATHERWOOD We're not influenced by phony things like age or clothes. Or the sound and tone of their singing... BRACKINS ...or the temperature of the room, what time of day or night it is... LOEB ...or any sensation there's another human around whatsoever!!! ON STAGE. A pretty FEMALE CONTESTANT finishes a ballad with big, throaty notes. She smiles and pants. The studio audience goes nuts, then finally dies down. Beat. LOEB (IN TANK) You can start whenever you want. The Female Contestant drops her head. CATHERWOOD (V.O.) It's just us, the singer, and the imaginary people that materialize in our heads after sitting in an utter black void for 4 hours. BRACKINS (IN TANK) Eleven years old and you came all the way from Canada by yourself to sing tonight? That's crazy! REVEAL two middle-aged HISPANIC GRIPS on stage, taking down lights. They turn around. HISPANIC GRIP 1 Um, we're wrapped guys. LOEB (IN TANK) I did not expect skills like this from a married white guy with dreadlocks from Louisiana! HISPANIC GRIP 2 (to Grip 1, re: tanks) These things freak me out. CATHERWOOD (IN TANK) (hallucinating?) I think I see my father! BRACKINS (TALKING HEAD) The only thing that matters on The Vibe is the music! (beat) Or, you know, the music we sense as we spend our days in inky nothingness. ANNOUNCER (V.O.) This week, country sensation Chuck Wicks joins the crew as guest judge! An ALT COUNTRY CONTESTANT takes his Stetson off. ALT CONTESTANT (CHOKING UP) Mr. Wicks, you've just been a true inspiration to me. CUT TO guest CHUCK WICKS strapped into one of the tubs. Unlike the seasoned judges, this is super weird to him. CHUCK WICKS I'm sorry. I just, I cannot see or hear anything. At all. I'm very confused. Hello? CHUCK WICKS (TALKING HEAD) (failed politeness) It was the most horrifying experience of my life. ANNOUNCER (V.O.) And stay tuned next week for Round 2, when our isolated judges start experiencing Vision Quests. Catherwood, in his tank, waves his arms around mystically. CATHERWOOD I thought I owned the car, but the car owns me! You are wise, Spirit Wolf. I return you to the wave of colors from whence you came. CUT TO WIDE. The studio is completely empty. The two grips enter, wearing jackets and carrying lunch pails. GRIP 1 HOLY F*CK WERE THEY HERE ALL WEEKEND? ANNOUNCER (V.O.) It's The Vibe, followed by an It's-New-to-You Chuck, only on NBC. END.