Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Dumbest Friday Questions I've received

Sometimes I get bizarre questions so I thought today I’d try to answer some of them.  Names have been withheld to protect the embarrassed. These were actual questions submitted.  NOTE:  I post these in the spirit of fun, not to be mean-spirited (which is why I'm not identifying anyone).  I love your questions and answer them every week.  But I do get some goofy ones and people are always asking me to share some of those.  My answers are tongue-in-cheek.   So please, just have fun with this.  

Question one:

I've noticed that when a character is writing something he (or she) is usually left handed. I don't know why I notice this or why it bothers me. My question is, is this my imagination?

No, you’re correct. Research has shown that audiences prefer left handed penmanship. So if the actor is right handed they just flip the film. Congratulations on being the first viewer to ever spot this phenomenon.

Question two:

Have there been porn parodies of any of the shows you've worked and, if so, have you seen them?

Yes, but I haven’t seen them. I prefer pornographic parodies of procedurals. My favorites are BONE and CS&M.

Question three:

I was at a casino recently and saw a "Cheers" slot machine. You getting anything from that?

I’m getting as much as I’m making on the porn CHEERS.

Question four:

As a baseball announcer maybe you can answer this – is there an inning where not a lot happens and you can go to the bathroom or concession stands without missing too much?

Any inning the Philadelphia Phillies bat.

Question five:

When is the best time to pitch a show? Time of year, time of day, day of the week?

Summer. 11:13 AM. Second Tuesday of the month.

Question six:

Do you like killing characters?

What writer doesn’t?

Question seven:

It seems alot of people that have recurring roles on series have been popping up as guest stars on other series (Peter/Neil from White Collar on Body of Proof/The New Normal as an example). I never really noticed that much before, is there any reason why it seems to be happening now?

Yes.  Actors like to eat.

Question eight:

Ken, I recently read an article in Entertainment Weekly about the drop in sex scenes in mainstream Hollywood movies. I'm curious as to your thoughts on this trend.

Until I get royalties on the porn version of CHEERS, I’m against it.

Question nine:

An Anyday Question for you:
Have you ever written into a script someone breaking an object during a scene? A glass window, chair, or whatever?

Yes, but unlike killing actors, I get no real satisfaction out of it.

Question ten (this is a FRASIER question… I assume):

Did Eddie have actors that he preferred working with?

Kelsey Grammer because they both went to Julliard. Eddie, however, graduated.

What’s your question? Please leave it in the comments file. Woof.


DyHrdMET said...

I've asked a few Friday Questions over the years that have been answered, and several others that were ignored. I think I asked one or two that became their own posts. But I'm also slightly offended that I did NOT contribute a question to this post.

Ross Hansen said...


Do you have any favorite books about TV writing?

Peter said...

Surely a porn parody of Cheers would be called Leers and one of Frasier would be called Framed-her.

Thank you, I'm here all week, try the lobster.

Michael said...

Pat Hughes, the Chicago Cubs radio voice, does wonderful CD tributes to baseball broadcasters and he has one on Bob Prince, the voice of the Pirates, who one night was alone in the booth and, during play, went off the air for a few minutes to get a flu shot, then came back on and talked about it. Prince could do that because Pirates fans knew to expect the unexpected with him. But somehow I can't envision The Vin disappearing and then coming back and saying, "Sorry to miss the double play, but I had to go get some of the strictly fresh, eastern corn-fed pork from Farmer John."

By the way, Bob Costas dotes on the story of Bill White leaving the Yankees booth and asking Phil Rizzuto to keep score for him. He came back and found a 6-3, a 4-3, and a WW. He asked The Scooter what that was and Rizzuto replied, "Wasn't watching."

Kosmo13 said...

>>Surely a porn parody of Cheers would be called Leers

Based on the photo provided, I'd expect "Rears."

VincentS said...

Thanks for answering a left-handed question on National Left-hander's Day. Coincidence?

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

Ken, here's my dumb question of the millenia:

Do you know all the words to the Cheers theme song, and could you sing it for us?

Liggie said...

There is a XXX parody of "The Big Bang Theory", but it's just called that with something like "An Adult Parody" after that. I guess the words "big bang" relate so well to porn, they didn't see the need for more wordplay.

I do wonder if it came out before or after Bernadette and Amy became show regulars. If it was when it was just Penny, you would have one tired actress dealing with four guys. (I don't think the porn Sheldon would also be asexual.)

Anonymous said...

>> >> Surely a porn parody of Cheers would be called Leers

>> Based on the photo provided, I'd expect "Rears."

"Cheers: Bottoms Up!"

Anonymous said...

I can't help thinking about that old woman in the wheelchair from the first episode of Cheers, the character who was intended to be a recurring character but instead had all of her lines cut from the final version of the episode.

The thing I keep thinking about is: how did she get down the stairs? There's no other way into Cheers, just the main stairs or the stairs from Melville's. And presumably, with the personality she was to be given, she isn't likely to have friends who would help her up and down the stairs.

Zack Bennett said...

Friday Question for you (and hopefully it's legit):

I noticed on the last season of "The Office" that the lead cast members (Wilson, Krazinski, Fischer, and Helms) are also listed as Producers on each episode. When this typically happens, do the actors actually do any "producing", is it a power play, or is it just a vanity thing?

unkystan said...

Actually I'm kinda proud that my "left-hand" question from a few years back made it to Number One! In retrospect, it does seem like a dumb question, but at the time I was serious. To quote Stan Laurel: "Remember how dumb I used to be? We'll, I'm better now!"

Andy Rose said...

Re: the question about Mrs. Littlefield on Cheers... there's an elevator on the fourth wall that you never see, of course!

I'm kidding, but it reminds me of the situation on Breaking Bad relating to their underground meth superlab. All of the characters entered through a hidden staircase underneath an industrial washer, through a secret hallway, across a catwalk, and then down more stairs. Except it's hard to figure out how they got any equipment down there, including their regular shipments of massive barrels of chemicals. So suddenly in one episode, a service elevator appears around the corner from the main room. No explanation was ever given for how it was accessed secretly from ground level, or why the characters wouldn't just use it instead of all those stairs.

Mike Barer said...

I was surprised not to see any of my question here.

Daniel said...

I actually think the "When is the best time to pitch a show? Time of year, time of day, day of the week?" question was a good one. I think the writer (not me) was probably asking along the lines of your previous posts about which day is the best day to shoot a sitcom: Tuesday or Friday? S/he was probably wondering if there were similar otherwise-invisible obstacles that making pitching more difficult and, if so, if it's to your advantage to try to schedule your pitch at a more opportune time if possible.

My two cents.

David P said...


For the slot machine question, perhaps I didn't give enough detail. Different winning combinations would have the machine trigger a clip from Cheers - a "Norm" joke, an insult from Carla... and so the machine was (potentially) re-using material you wrote.

So do your standard contracts provide for any residuals when your stuff gets reused like that? Or is it a typical Hollywood story, where you've signed away all the secondary rights for a handful of magic beans?

Clarence Odbody said...

@peter I think that would have been "Frasier? I hardly knew her!"

Definitely not leaving my name for this one said...

Re: the titles of porn parodies.

What has happened is that the producers of these movies have come to a realization of a basic fact about trademarks in regards to titles. Owning a trademark does not give one actual ownership of the words in the trademarked name. The intended purpose of a trademark is to prevent (the phrase that lawyers like to use) confusion in the marketplace. Thus, you cannot use someone else's trademark in a way that will likely lead a consumer into thinking your product is the same as the other's--but you may be able to get away with it is the products are self-evidently different. Thus, for example, there is a magazine about body-building entitled "Iron Man" that has been publishing for eighty years now, but Marvel Comics was able to get away with using the name for one of its comics, because no one was likely to confuse the two publications.

At first porn producers felt that they needed to create a parodic title to go along with their parodic movies. Eventually they realized that they could satisfy their legal requirements, and at the same time make their intentions perfectly clear, by simply putting "This Ain't" at the start of the original title, or "An XXX Parody" at the end. They are not violating trademarks because no one can plausibly claim that he mistook "This Ain't 'The Diary of Anne Frank'!" or "The Diary of Anne Frank: An XXX Parody!!!" for the real thing. This may not be as much fun as the old way, but it serves the porn producers's purpose better.