“The Bonobos Next Door”

Thursday, July 31, 2003


So I’ve decided to open up with this new television sit-com idea of mine. With all my time currently taken up with work and music and AMODA and whatnot, I probably won’t have a chance to do anything with it for a while.

If I turn on Fox next Fall and see advertisements for something like this, expect a slew of long phone calls from my lawyer Mario Octavio Spaghettio III.


The idea is called “The Bonobos Next Door.”

The set-up: A top-secret government research lab has been performing experiments on the brains of bonobo chimps. They find that they can project into the brains of the animals full mental images of people. A bonobo could have a researcher’s brain projected into his, and after this be mentally indistinguishable from the researcher.

Stay with me, here.

So the government lab is projecting into bonobo brains images of the minds of all sorts of people, and has begun to experiment with projecting whole families into the brains of whole families of bonobo chimps.

Sounds great. But some animal rights activists break into the place one night, open all of hte cages, and bonobos scatter across the land.

Fast forward one year.

Now we’re in a modern suburban neighborhood. SUVs line the curvy, shaded streets. Large houses sit back good distances from the streets. Affluence. Doctors and lawyers. That sort of neighborhood.

Our sit-com takes place in the houses of two families — neighboring families.

The head of one household is a prominent lawyer. His wife sits on the PTA. Jimmy plays as star forward on the high school soccer team. Jill is president of her sophomore class. Their a successful family, but good people. Kind.

The other family are bonobos chimps.

But they don’t know it.

The father thinks himself a prominent doctor, currently on leave from his work. His wife also sits on the PTA — and the kids both attend school.

You see, they were released with the brains of one of the researchers and his family projected into theirs!


So here’s the comedy: The human neighbors — and, in fact, the whole community — are so white-bread nice about everything, that the last thing they will ever do is mention to the bonobos that they’re, well, monkeys. How politically incorrect. As mature, liberal, thinking Americans they can accept diversity.

But the bonobos are still just chimps!

Can you see all of the wacky situations coming from this? See the bonobos still have bonobo traits left over from before the experiments. They throw poop when pissed, for example. Imagine the show where they first invite the human neighbors over for dinner. Mr. and Mrs. Bonobo get into it over the fact that the chicken has been overcooked — and start throwing poo! Comedy goldmine.

But this show would have a heart, too. It’s all about accepting others who might look or smell different as your own. About seeing the good hearts inside any primate, no matter how hairy.

So there you go.

“The Bonobos Next Door.”