Pave Everything

Genre: Screenplay, Black Comedy

Setting: Toronto, New York, or a North American urban centre


Logline

A suicidal creative director and a bankrupt general manager, under mounting pressure from both clients and the Russian mob, work at cross-purposes as they fight to save their ad agency and themselves from ruin.


Setup

Brad Goode wants to do good. Brad Goode wants his daughter back. Brad Goode wants to check out. He used to be a bright star in the ad world, but it all came undone when he hit a girl, DUI. Now his wife’s gone, his daughter won’t see him and his career’s in free fall. Vestiges of his former glory remain. The Brad Goode name still draws big clients with coin to drop. But he just wants to atone, be transfigured, do something good for a change, not push more shit no one needs. So he’s pitching Compassion as ‘the next big thing’ to every prospect that walks through the door. And if anyone can sell it Brad Goode can, and he so needs to, but his boss doesn’t help.

His boss Iggy Noble saved Brad’s life, sort of. He was there when Brad hit the girl. But he fixed it, so now Iggy owns Brad, who’s forced to work at Betty’s, the conman’s sorry farce of an agency. The Goode name brings them in and Noble fucks them over. Big ugly clients with big ugly problems and big beautiful budgets. Yet the shop can never get ahead. Jerry Roma (aka Yuri Romanov) makes sure of it. He’s the actor-turned-mobster lurking in the shadows. Jerry owns Iggy’s ass and expects payment on time. It’s a sordid mess, no way out but feet first. Virtue in this shitshow is absurd and Brad knows it. Ain’t a compassionate idea on the planet these guys won’t twist for a buck. Brad tries to raise the bar and fails and tries again. You know you’ve hit rock bottom when futility feels like redemption to you.

The clients’ communication problems lead to absurd pressure situations and vile ad campaigns. Each episode ends with the agency in a more precarious state than before. The end credits roll to a poorly attended post-mortem, reviewing that episode’s disastrous project. And the characters learn a new wrong lesson every time… The final episode of season one is a holiday special and a cliffhanger. Brad’s launched a misplaced ad campaign around the theme of joy. His big chance to do good, at last. It’s a total flop and he’s disgraced at the annual Christmas celebration, where he finds comfort in the seductive arms of Jerry’s teenage daughter Zoë. Bad idea.

Pave Everything lampoons advertising, power interests (the elite clients) and their arranged imprint on public opinion. The tone is rude, raw, unrestrained. Issues generated by pharma, religion, oil, banking, arms and other institutions are focused through a sharp satirical lens. The biting comedy is outrageous, socially relevant and provocative. And the show expands its orbit into the real world. Betty’s, the agency, has a physical storefront people can visit. The characters join social media sites, where they interact with the public, prompting the audience/network to participate in and influence the show, as well as  ‘dress the wounds’—help the very causes that the satire targets.


Illustration: Andrew Zbihlyj