Although television writers do hunker down and work together over the course of a given season, I suspect their physical proximity is the primary source of both the comedy and the vitriol you hear so much about. It is likewise the probable source of the drama and the vitriol among one hour writers, although even they tend to break off alone at the first marginally socially acceptable moment possible.
As for satire and vitriol, that would be film school. Here not only writers, but also directors, producers and yes even those happy pants little animators must converge to blow up or die trying. Picture four years' worth of The Hunger Games only with more Oreos and just about the same amount of quad squirrel to chase in circles.
You see, when your mother warned you Hollywood was a scary place full of mean people, she didn't mean another wicked witch ensconced in a studio tower demanding some poor bastard in a headset bring back your still beating heart. Nobody wants your heart, of all things; this being Hollywood, you can check that crazy thing at the door. Anyway, you're not getting anywhere near the type with the power to crush you, who actually tend to be pretty awesome once they figure out you've brought along something they want, such as the lunch delivery from Panera.
No, not even the huntsmen (agents) scanning the forest (daily trades) in search of fresh meat (any passing reference to themselves) are the folks out to get you. It's the dwarves, people! Our own kind, an entire tribe of us overtaking every Starbucks up and down Ventura Boulevard by daybreak, endlessly pecking at laptops which may or may not even be turned on. Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful, Dopey, Happy and the dreaded Sneezy—we're not a very original clan, all things considered.
Obviously, I am Doc, the one who knows everything and is all too pleased to share it with you right here and naturally everywhere else. I view this not only as an extension of both my prickly personality and longtime survivor status, but also my job as a part-time film school instructor. In fact, I routinely look parents in the eye and assure them everything is going to be alright, despite that being a bald-faced lie.
This is partly why, when my partner Fabulous and I were recently named one of five finalists in a filmmaking competition, I reached out to the other four with offers of Facebook friendship and congratulatory re-Tweets. Only one responded in kind, however, an obvious Happy who is also Young and Adorable. There's been nary a peep from Preoccupied or Self-Sufficient, though Cautiously Optimistic recently emerged, quietly following me on Instagram. Should we meet, I plan to present each with a Pez dispenser in his or her likeness, along with a passive-aggressive joke about Doc's happy pills.
Like I say, we screenwriters aren't exactly extroverts, but some of us are better than others at pretending these woods of Holly are ever so warm and welcoming. I, for one, will surrender neither my satire nor my vitriol, since I am hostessing this party, and we are all going to have fun if it kills us.
Pictured: Right, the late Adriana Caselotti, the voice of Snow White; Above, Marge Champion (now 93) the dancer used as her model. Although I have no proof, I can only assume they hated one another for life.