Monday, January 25, 2010

Research and Arrested Development

I know you're all asking yourselves, "when are we going to get some more 'Smack' talk?" Well, the answer is "right now" for those of you reading this "right now."


Blogometrics: I have created something pretty funny - just a concept now - but it has potential. It's called the McCarty Celebrity Test (or Meter), and here's how it works:

Actually, a little back story first. A friend (Curtis) and I were discussing movies this past weekend, and I made a reference to Gran Torino, with Clint Eastwood. I was surprised he had not seen the film, but quickly pointed out that I had not seen many, many famous movies - as I'm not really a "movie person." We discussed how certain films elicit a strong response in this regard - an example of which is the Godfather, which I have never seen. We agreed that I would elicit many, many "YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THE GODFATHER??"s from any range of people to whom I disclosed this.

We tried to come up with other movies that would elicit such a response, and Curtis mentioned Star Trek movies. I disagreed (though we noted this brought an interested element of demographics to the table) by stating "I would need to be at a Star Trek convention in order to ever hear the exclamatory phrase 'YOU'VE NEVER SEEN 'WRATH OF KHAN??', yet there are countless rooms in America right now, full of people I've never met, into which I could walk, wearing nothing but a gorilla mask and a diaper and calmly say "I've never seen 'The Godfather' - and for every 'who the hell are you?', there'd be two "YOU'VE NEVER SEEN 'THE GODFATHER'??s.'"

And so it was born - The McCarty Celebrity Test. This can be used not only on movies, but to gauge celebrity as well. Want to see if the Jonas Brothers are truly famous? (In a controlled environment, of course - but with an unsuspecting target) Walk up to a bank teller, pull down a ski mask and hand the teller a note that says "This is a robbery. I have no idea who the Jonas Brothers are." If the teller replies "YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF THE JONAS BROTHERS??" they pass the test.

This could be used a thousand ways.


Smack: So you need to do something that would ordinarily get a response on its own, but then throw in the fact that you don’t know who some celebrity-in-question is, and see which the test subject is more concerned with?
What if you went to your PCP and then said “Doc, I think I have swine flu. I have no idea what swine flu is.”

B: Hmm. The physician example is a good one, but I'm thinking that there needs to be the element of surprise - almost like a hidden camera show / game show.

You could have contestants in a studio, wagering on the reaction of unsuspecting people who will be confronted by A) a surprise visitor/unexpected situation, and B) the proclamation of "I have no idea what/who, etc "X" is/are. The contestant would be asked to wager based on both the subject (who "X" is), and the targets. For instance, if Brittany Spears was the subject, the contestant would be more likely to wager positively if the target group was a Division 3 college cheerleading squad, hanging out in their quad's kitchen (and about to be interrupted by some one dressed as Bozo the Clown saying "I have no idea who Brittany Spears is). Conversely, the contestant would most likely wager in the negative if the subject was Paul Newman, and the target was the same. I don't think too many cheerleaders are going to challenge a psycho clown on that one.

Get it?

S: Like an Arab man standing up mid-flight and screaming “Everybody listen up! Who the heck is Brett Favre?”

B: Perfect. Totally perfect.

Is a game show the best use of this concept?

S: What if one contestant chooses the entity with which the actor will be unfamiliar and the other contestant gets to make the wager? That way contestant #1 will have to wisely choose an entity that could go either way. If he chooses Britney Spears when the subjects will be cheerleaders, the wager becomes too obvious.

B: Okay - I see where you're going. The thing that I don't want to get lost in all of this is that we're talking about moments of extreme surprise. Picture yourself dressing in a prom dress and a Luke Skywalker Halloween mask, and bursting into your neighbor's apartment to proclaim "I have never seen Apocalypse Now." We're not talking about any 'obvious' wagers. That's what makes this such a true test of celebrity - that through all the surprise, adrenaline and panic, the target still cannot believe you've never heard of/seen/etc "X."

I don't want to turn this into a case of "Jackass" with contestants, a la "Steve-O is going to put something in his mouth. If it's alive, will it A,B or C, and if it's on fire, will he swallow it? Your wagers, please!"

The two main elements here are the level of celebrity of the subject, and surprise.

S: I’m with you.

Break into a Kindergarten classroom with a Scream mask on and growl, “Dora the Explorer has a brother!?”

B: Exactly.

Why has no one thought of this before?

S: Do you think this inventor thought the same thing?

B: No, that inventor was too busy thinking, "Dude, where's my car?"

S: I’m just thinking: why not a full body bubble if you’re going to go that route? In every picture the person’s body is still getting soaked. Or a full bike bubble. Impact resistant.

B: That's called a car.

S: No, you’re not getting it. This would keep you totally dry. AND it keeps you warm.

B: And would be more dangerous to operate while impaired than an F-14 Tomcat. I get it.

I'm going to sit on the McCarty Celebrity Test a while, see if anything else occurs to me. Like how to keep it dry...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quick Hit

Sorry for another long absence, readers. To hold you over until this site gets back up and running at full steam, here's a very (very) quick check-in with our friend Randy about the NFL playoffs, and the bitterness inside this New England Sports fan.

Randy: Who do you want in the AFC title game? J - E - T -S, Jets, Jets, Jets!

Blogometrics: I agree. It's funny when your two least favorite teams match up in a title game.

I'm going with the Jets, because I don't mind Rex Ryan - at least he brings personality to the team - and I can't think of any instance within the realm of reality where I would be rooting for Peyton Manning. Even if he was fighting to save mankind, I'd still get a kick out of that little tantrum he throws when, ahem, his team lets him down.

This is really an awful scenario for the New England fan, though. We're so cynical that we've hate Brett "America's Hero" Favre since long before the national backlash set in, we can't be compelled to follow a "feel good" New Orleans team, because those things just don't fly around here - and the Jets and the Colts are 1 and 1A in the rival department. Even watching the Chargers lose last week - which I love to do every January - was less of a thrill when accompanied by "The Mark Sanchez Experience" - which consists of watching Sanchez play about 5% better than JaMarcus Russell, but acting like he's just won an intergalactic power lottery every time he throws a touchdown pass, then give a post game press conference that reminds me that I'll eventually need to find a baby-sitter for my 6 month old.

The New England fan, especially the jerks like me, are looking down the barrel of any one of four pretty grim "Sports Center breakfasts" the day after the Super Bowl. We're either going to get A) "Favre's Super Send off...or is it?" - and repeatedly watch Mr. Gunslinger engage in the phoniest celebration since Kobe Bryant jumped around the Staples Center court like a high school drama actor re-enacting a Black Eyed Peas concert; followed by Favre's teary, blubbering, teary, Vicodin induced, teary, maybe, teary, I don't know, teary post game presser; B) the moment of conception for Rick Reilly's next awful book - "Redemption", where he chronicles how a ravaged city circled the wagons around a QB no one wanted - gasp! - a QB with his own tumultuous past - double gasp!! - and now, miraculously, the bayou levees could hold back a flood of molten lava being spewed by an army of Godzillas, because, well, those New Orlean-ites have been through so much. Compelling, sure, but I don't think New Orleans fans will feel any better than we NE fans felt in 2002 - our local team won the Super Bowl for the first time. Whenever the sports media tries to convey the "this is more than sports" angle, they lose me - kind of like when an audience applauds a motivational speaker's tale of overcoming alcoholism, it's like "Congratulations, I guess. I mean, I'm not wasted, either - yay me." C) The aforementioned Sanchez Experience, and the knowledge that the "Over Exposed Mediocre QB" phenomenon that we most recently witnessed with Eli Manning, will be unleashed upon America like a drunken Rex Ryan being released into a Wendy's kitchen, or D) The sudden mathematical awakening of the Midwestern United States, wherein the more complex theory of the decade actually ending this coming December 31st will be resurrected...along with the traditional Midwestern math approach of '2 is more than 3' - and we'll get to hear about how the Colts are truly the team of the decade. All while watching clips of Peyton Manning grasping the Lombardi trophy like his alternate universe self grasping an 8 pound trout in the Southwestern Tennessee Regional B.A.S.S. Masters amateur tournament. All while just having sat through the latest Peyton Manning commercial, where he dresses up like an astronaut to tell you that if your Sony Bravia won't get reception on the moon, the Space Station gift shop takes Mastercard. He's a hoot.

In any event, any one of the subsequent Sports Illustrated "special subscription offers" should get me drinking again, so at least I'll be able to hit the motivational speaking circuit in a couple of years.