Right, But What If His Last Name Is Also A Common Noun?
Folks, I think we have a real opportunity here to bolster audience recognition.
We’re testing well in our key demographic of 79-96, but we are having some retention issues. Let’s look at these response cards! First I want to be clear: they are loving the show. But on the other side of it, there’s a breakdown when it comes to branding. Here’s a sample from the Phoenix group:
“I like the man he nice and he say a good thing.”
She’s right, isn’t she? Amazing characterization we’ve got, and the dialogue is fantastic. Credit to the new crew down from Harvard on that.
But which man?
Borowitz, the unconventional gardener, who can’t hold a conversation with a human, but speaks through bamboo and hedges with an unmatched eloquence?
Canseco, the butler whose prickly temperament masks his unparalleled desire to please?
Friedmann, the cook who doesn’t chop onions by the book, but possesses a photographic memory of every ingredient present in the kitchen?
Can we blame her?
Thankfully, we were able to clarify with this particular audience member. She was talking about the golden hearted dog trainer who insists on using the mansion’s lawn as a toilet, so as to remove any false separation between him and his beloved hounds.
Can anyone here tell me the name of this character?
The character’s name, as it reads in the pilot, is Alan.
What’s his name, again? Heck if I know!
Names! So difficult to remember!
The other day, I met this gentlemen, and while I remember that he was of the Dominican persuasion, and I do recall him being extra friendly to me at the beach, lending a hand with my difficult-to-sunscreen areas, I cannot, for the life of me, remember his name!
It might have been Carlos or Juan or Julio, but the next time I see him, I am going to have to play it cool when he calls, and just go “Que lo que, guapo!” and hope he somehow works his own name into the conversation or has a penchant for speaking in third person.
Like, who remembers the name of that big vampire guy from the movie? Or the doctor who invented the Frankenstein?
But what happens when I say the word house?
You think of a gruff but brilliant doctor, and you think about the gruff but brilliant doctor television show. And there’s an added bonus: every time you come home from work and look upon your lovely abode, you are going to be thinking gruff but brilliant doctor.
You live, twenty-four-seven, in an advertisement for the gruff but brilliant doctor television show.
Common nouns, people.
You already have them in your head. And no one is actually named Mr. House or Mr. Castle or Mr. Kingdom in real life, that would be ludicrous.
But it works on TV.
Slowly but surely, television executives will have matched an idiosyncratic and brilliant professional to every common noun in the dictionary. We need to get on board.
And so, I propose a bit of a tweak to our naming system, one that capitalizes on the advertising that is already being done for us: the English language.
Research tells us that four of the most common nouns in our language are time, person, year, and way.
And so I propose that our four leads be named Mr. Time, Mr. Person, Mr. Year, and Mr. Way.
The show, and I think this has a real ring to it, will be called Time Person Year Way.
Think of how many times a day our audience will encounter those nouns–I mean names!