Monday, March 01, 2004

Hungover Theme Park Executive Realizes He Greenlit Monster-Themed Dark Ride

"Oh god, I feel like death."

That's how Paramount Parks Vice President for Ride Development Joe Odenkirk started the day in his West Hollywood hotel room after attending what he described as "one hell of a [post-Oscars] party" hosted by Vanity Fair. And his day didn't get any better as the calls started rolling in on his cell phone.

First up was Bob Berney, head of indie film studio Newmarket Films, enthusiastically talking about how he and Odenkirk needed to "do lunch" to go over the "concept drawings" that Berney said they'd drawn up the night before. Odenkirk muttered vaguely, "Uh...yeah, we should do that."

Then actress Charlize Theron's agent called saying he was looking forward to the $2 million payment Odenkirk had signed a contract for in order to allow for the usage of Theron's image. Odenkirk, still confused, again murmured some form of assent as he reached for his Aleve.

And then, as he started his third cup of coffee with a still-pounding headache, Odenkirk realized it: He had approved a $20-million dark ride based on the Newmarket Films production Monster, featuring Theron as a Florida prostitute/serial killer. Worse, he had promised -- in writing -- that it would replace the Scooby Doo-themed dark rides at every Paramount amusement park.

Though details were unclear in his mind, Odenkirk did remember that the planned ride would include explicit violence and sexual content, along with Sally Corp.'s patented technology permitting riders to join Theron's character in shooting trucker johns, at least half of whom were expected to appear fully nude.

"Holy shit, what was I thinking?" Odenkirk said to himself as he swallowed a handful of Ex-Lax. "It must have been after that third cranberry Cosmopolitan, or maybe it was when we were into the mojitas."

At press time, Odenkirk was trying to decide between claiming that he had been hypnotized when he agreed to the ride and bullheadedly insisting that it was actually a good idea. It was believed to be Odenkirk's worst drunken ride approval since his signing of a contract for retheming Paramount King's Island's train ride based on Schindler's List.