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...

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