A television series based in the Triad might be the kick our cities need. (Courtesy Photo)

by Daniel Wirtheim

There are the college grads working in sandwich shops, making mediocre art for coffee shops, both hating and loving their lives in an unpretentious and subtly hip Southern city. There’s the new development money that brushes against the old tobacco money leaving the poorer citizens and immigrants wondering what words they can use to describe a city that doesn’t recognize their hunger. It’s the contrast between cultural and economic groups in the Triad that would make an interesting television series.

Not unlike “Portlandia” is to Portland, Ore., a television show based in the Triad could boost our recognition as a compelling place to live in small-city America. We have characters that people can identify with and ridiculous government agencies to throw shade at. It’s a place that most people across the nation can identify with, and a way to get people talking about the Triad.

Let’s say we set our television show in a fictionalized city that combines elements of Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem. We would have a city that goes to extremes in terms of development, the arts and hunger — a sort of built-in satire. It also means that we would have one of the most racially inclusive television shows today. We have the more realistic, gritty version of what “Portlandia” has to offer, and that might be our selling point.

There are a lot of self-deprecating jokes to make about our cities, and that’s a good thing. Cutting yourself down is popular in contemporary comedy — just take a look at Louis CK’s career. We have a large amount of Northern emigrants that are ready to tear into Southern culture and put a new stamp on the region. This could be a series that helps a modern audience understand the New South.

But in the end the show would illustrate how the Triad is a great place to live, how the people somehow mostly get along fine and a testament to how we’re pushing innovation with new research centers and business developments.

It would be a simple series, really. A simple, heartfelt and often hilarious series and it would be ours. As the critics might say, “There’s nothing quite like it.”

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