Before any show goes on the tube (or flat screen or whatever you're watching it on these days) it goes through a series of focus groups. This is where networks pay to find out what people outside the Hollywood bubble think of their show. On my recent trip I was one of these people. The show was the NBC pilot REX IS NOT YOUR LAWYER.
|Trust me. It's a really big sign.|
REX IS NOT YOUR LAWYER is a show about a hard-charging attorney who suffers from paralyzing panic attacks. His doctor tells him he better stop practicing before these attacks kill him. But rather than quit lawyering, Rex decides to use his legal skills to help those who choose to defend themselves. It's basically Cyrano de Bergerac as a lawyer. And frankly, it's as shitty as it sounds.
The show stars David Tennant as Rex, the aforementioned angst-filled barrister, Jeffrey Tambor as his psychiatrist, Jane Curtin as his mom and Jerry O'Connell as his soon-to-be ex friend. It's basically a cast filled with second-choice talent to complement the second-rate idea.
I slogged through the show depressing the Red Button probably with 10 times the frequency of the my activity on the Green Button. When the show got to the point of unwatchability, I took advantage of what I call the "nuclear option" -- that is hitting the Space Bar indicating when I would have changed the channel. For the record I think I waited about 12 minutes to do that.
At the end of the show, they asked even more market research questions about viewing habits, rating characters on a scale of 1-10, etc. But the fun part was the essay portion where I just got to tell them what exactly I liked or didn't like about the show. Following are my answers to those questions.
WHY DID YOU RATE THE PROGRAM AS POOR?
There are only two decent actors on the show -- Jeffrey Tambor and the ex-fiancee (I don't know her name). The main character is an odd combination of a young Martin Sheen and Jim Carrey and frankly it's just really distracting. His female assistant doesn't have a well-defined role. She' just sort of eye candy. And Mabel couldn't look more like Aretha Franklin if she tried. But the biggest problem goes beyond the casting, the basic premise is just kinda dopey. I don't have any attachment to Rex. I don't find myself rooting for him. And I don't really understand his motivations -- including why he remains friends with Jerry O'Connell (who begins dating Rex's ex-fiancee).
PLEASE TELL US WHY YOU CHOSE TO TURN OFF THE PROGRAM WHEN YOU DID.
As you can tell, I gave it a POOR rating. I was in no way influenced by the guy in front of me who also gave it a POOR.
The irony of the whole thing is I drove six hours (stupid traffic) to do what I wanted to do here -- help networks develop shows. To add insult to injury, I made more there for an hour's work than I do here. Time to move.