This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.
I have a friend who's an excellent chef. The other parents at her kid's school know that she's a great cook, and so at some point, during that awkward, stilted small-talk parents engage in when they're talking to their kids' friends, one parent asked her 10 year-old son, "So! What's your favorite thing that your mom cooks?"
To which he answered, pineapple rice. So a day or two later, during pick-up time, this woman approached my friend and said in a jovial way, "I hear you make excellent pineapple rice!"
Which was baffling, of course, because she doesn't make pineapple rice, or, really, know what it is. It's rice in a pineapple, I think, but that still doesn't explain why it popped into her son's head.
But if you work in the entertainment industry, and you're used to dealing with focus groups, you're used to crafting a product that's going to have to answer a lot of irritating and irrelevant questions that a focus group leader puts to his slack-jawed group. At some point, they're going to talk about whether they felt the main character was too mean, or too nice, or someone they like, whether they intend to view the show often, somewhat often, occasionally, or not at all. Whether as a married 35 to 50 year-old female they enjoyed the program a little, a lot, very much so, or not at all. Whether as a single male 18 to 35 they found the program interesting, very interesting, mildly interesting, or not at all interesting. Whether as a TV viewer they generally enjoy programs that are silly comma funny; topical comma controversial; family friendly comma religiously themed; or dramatic comma introspective. Whether they think the main character was justified or not justified in telling his wife the lie about the anniversary gift. Whether they think the teen-aged daughter was unfairly grounded. Whether they think the young couple having the dinner party should have told the bachelor best friend of the husband that the alternatively-dressed furious woman to his left was supposed to be his date for the evening. Whether... well, you get the picture. A lot of questions. To which the answer most normal people give, is...
Just, pineapple rice. You want an answer to a question and I don't want to think about it too much, so, if I say pineapple rice will you leave me alone?
Would you like to watch a show about a guy who is dating his sister's best friend? Pineapple rice. Did you like the main character? Pineapple rice. Do you think you'll watch this show again? Pineapple rice. Was the young mom character likable? Pineapple rice. As a married male 25 to 50 did you enjoy the interactions between the young characters in the bar? Pineapple. Freaking. Rice.
If you ask a question, unfortunately, you get an answer. And if you take that answer seriously, you end up with a lot of pineapple rice on the menu. And with a TV show called Rodney on your fall schedule.
Well, that's it for this week. Next week, we'll pitch House.
From KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.