It began with a scene by scene critique of one of my Care Bears scripts. Each exec had their ‘observations’ and pretty pointed queries: “Cheer Bear doesn’t get to go up against Dr. Professor Coldheart” and “Friend Bear doesn’t have enough time to show he’s a true friend” and “How come Bedtime Bear doesn’t have more dialog lines?” and “Why isn’t Birthday Bear part of the main plot” and…
I looked to Andy again. He smiled benignly. I think he was surprised when I smiled back. Another writer might have felt he’d thrown them under the bus. I knew he was letting me find my own path – which was exactly how I wanted it.
I turned to the fourteen Those Characters From Cleveland execs listening to
them first hurling punches at my scripts’ shortcomings. It got heated as they vied to put
forth their positions. Before long it wasn’t about my scripts. It was about their individual Care Bears.
Ten years before, I was enthralled as I listened to the Ali/Foreman Rumble in the Jungle match for the title of World Heavyweight Champion. Muhammad Ali’s brilliant strategy had been to lay back on the ropes for eight rounds while George Foreman mercilessly landed blistering blow after blow after blow. Foreman was one of the most powerful boxers in the world, with a punch like a sledgehammer.
That Ali could take that punishment for eight rounds is almost unimaginable -- almost unimaginable because after half an hour of hearing these executives rip my script apart because they felt their Care Bear wasn’t being featured enough… Well Foreman might not have been hammering me, but I think I got how Ali must have felt.