“Remember, remember the fifth of November….”

Last week’s November 5 may not have involved a foiled gunpowder plot or that crazy British guy from “V for Vendetta,” but I’d argue that an even greater disaster took place. The catastrophe that broke out last Monday threatens the very existence of couch potatoes everywhere. I’m talking of course about the Writers Guild Strike. On that fateful November day, hundreds of writers lined up outside major television studios such as Fox, Disney and Warner Brothers, demanding higher residuals paid for online shows and DVD sales. The horde of protestors began to thin out this week, but the shock waves from this disaster are still being felt in living rooms around the world.

The late-night shows took the first hit – with Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Bill Maher, John Stewart, Stephen Colbert and “Saturday Night Live” falling victim to reruns. However, the worst is yet to come. Shows such as “The Office,”Heroes,”Scrubs,”Grey’s Anatomy,”Desperate Housewives,”Lost,”CSI,”Family Guy” and multiple other homework-interrupters, as of now, do not have enough episodes to complete their seasons. Only a handful of shows will, as of now, continue unabated, including “Days of Our Lives,”The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The View” – the three shows I could have afforded to lose.

What can be done? The way I see it, there are only three possible solutions to this catastrophe. First, the studio executives could bring in scabs. I for one would be happy to step in for the writers. I have some good ideas about how to bring a final closure to “Lost” and how to write myself into “The Office.”

Second, maybe the Writers Guild could expand the protest. We students, for example, could show our solidarity with the writers by refusing to write any essays or research papers.

Third, the network executives could give the writers what they want. Let’s face it: Writers are the real talent in Hollywood. Actors may get the big bucks and the fancy cars and the stalkers, but writers are the ones who put words into actors’ otherwise incoherent mouths. The Los Angeles Times reported that the median salary of male T.V. writers in 2005 was 94.4 thousand dollars. Compare that with the 6.3 million dollars that Zach Braff of “Scrubs” brings home each year.

The writers’ strike is just one more example of our distorted societal values. We praise the actor who reads the teleprompter yet ignore the person who writes on it. We praise the good looks yet ignore the brains. We praise Jack Nicholson for delivering the line “You can’t handle the truth!” yet ignore the writer who composed those memorable words. You will never hear someone say, “You’re the guy who wrote that episode of `Walker Texas Ranger.’ Could I get your autograph?” Writers receive the smallest fraction of spotlight yet are arguably the hardest workers in the business.

Imagine the difficulty of cranking out 22-30 unique episodes per season, in a world where the “CSI” teams have found every kind of dead person imaginable, the combined staffs of “E.R.,”Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scrubs” have performed every operation in the book and “The Simpsons,”Family Guy” and “South Park” have told every joke known to man. For bringing us season after season of fear, laughter and even tears (don’t judge me – “Full House” can be emotional at times), T.V. writers deserve their 15 minutes of fame, or, at least, a fair share of the pie.

I guess there is one more way to resolve the writers’ strike – we could take a break from T.V. for a while. We could take all those hours that we spend in front of the screen and devote our new free time to real issues such as finding solutions to the Iraq War or global warming. Maybe we could go so far as to pick up the newspaper instead of the remote once in a while.

Sorry, got to go. A “Colbert Show” re-run is on in five minutes.

Andrew Dubbins is a freshman in the College.

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