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Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.

 

He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021 16:00

Where Film and Auto Body Shops Collide

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In 2007, a production company created a sitcom, "American Body Shop," but after one short season of nine episodes, it was not renewed. In 2007, a production company created a sitcom, "American Body Shop," but after one short season of nine episodes, it was not renewed. IMDb

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A few years back, a British company produced a comedy series about life in an auto body shop that dealt with all of the crazy and wacky things that can happen in this industry.

The characters they created were classic. First, there was the boisterous semi-retired owner who was well-known for randomly dropping in to yell and throw things. Then, there was the manager who spends all of his time hiding from the owner while taking it out on the shop’s employees.

 

The techs are an interesting group, all in their 40s and all working on flat rate, so it’s a dog-eat-dog environment. The painters are all spraying solvent and constantly lobbying for waterborne, and everyone there calls the front office “Drama Central.”

 

Imagine "Taxi" meets "Cheers" with a lot of soap opera thrown in. Any of this sound familiar?

 

It might just work, but getting any TV series greenlit in today’s Hollywood can be difficult, though many of the newer streaming channels---Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Peacock, etc.---are constantly searching for new ideas and hungry for fresh content. Maybe a sitcom about the collision repair industry could be done in an animated series, like "Family Guy" or "The Simpsons"?

In 2007, a production company created a series, "American Body Shop," for a one-season run of nine episodes. The storyline featured Desert Body & Custom, an auto body shop in Phoenix, AZ, described on IMDb as “the professional home for a bunch of twisted (and bent and sometimes, smashed) characters, including Sam, the owner; Rob, a technician whose solutions are usually much more complicated than any problem; Johnny, a displaced (and very kinky) Brooklynite; Tim, who has a penchant for inappropriate pranks; Luis, a Peruvian immigrant who feigns a lack of English to mask a mysterious personality; and Denise, the harried receptionist who can barely tolerate her coworkers.”

 

In one of the first episodes, the shop’s owner, Sam, decides to sell the business and pursue his dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. In another one, the shop fails an EPA inspection and is threatened with a potential shutdown.

 

Eventually, poor ratings shut this series down, even though it had some excellent acting, notably from Nick Offerman, who went on to fame starring in "Parks & Recreation." The creator, Sam Greene, broke all the rules by...


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