Posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009 by Russ Fischer
How does this show not exist yet? Oh, sure, there are workplace comedies. But America’s big-box and discount chain stores, of which Wal-mart is the rarely-disputed and ready to be deposed king, haven’t played home to a sitcom that targets what it’s like to actually work for one of the stores day in and day out. Actor Paul Rust (Semi-Pro, I Love You Beth Cooper, and glimpsed in Inglourious Basterds) worked for Wal-mart after college, and now he’s sold NBC on a half-hour sitcom based on the experience.
The show, which Variety says is as yet untitled, won’t take place at an actual Wal-mart, which is unfortunate. Allowing that to happen might show that the company has a sense of humor. Instead it will be set in a ‘fictional big-box’ store, and hopefully at the end of one of the show’s seasons we’ll get to see it burn. “This is the beginning of a long-running career in which I base things on industries that could cripple me legally,” says Rust.
Rust says he worked at Wal-mart in LeMars, Iowa, and found that some of his co-workers at the time were oddly familiar, like his former high school principal. There’s a lot of comedy ready to be mined from seeing both the working conditions and clash of personalities at a store like that, but also in seeing how economic shifts push people to do things they wouldn’t expect. It’s the sitcom Roget & Me! (Or, if really well cast and written it could be the workplace companion to Roseanne.)
The only catch here is that there’s already a high bar set for comedy set at Wal-Mart. If this show isn’t at least as funny as People of Wal-Mart, it will be a total failure. At least Rust doesn’t have to develop a show bible; all he’s got to do is point his production and costume designers to that site and it’s ready to go.