Sure, you may know Danny Masterson from the popular FOX show That 70’s Show and recognize him for his trademark “fro” of curls.
Recently I had lunch with one of my buddies who was good friends with DM and we all ended up hooking up one night at a bar where we got to talking. DM had sort of been frustrated lately because most of the rest of his co-stars had been finding success in other media ventures. You know, Ashton Kutcher had found success with Punk’d and a variety of movies, Topher Grace in In Good Company and even Wilmer V. in a variety of TV shows and local appearance stuff. But DM — well, the guy was getting screwed.
He was telling this to my friend and I when he mentioned that he was looking to hook up with a writer (of which he was NOT) to develop a new TV show like Kutcher had done with Punk’d and which could, hopefully, push him into a new level of Producer and Actor in the industry. He wanted to do a reality type show and knowing that I had already produced a variety of them, asked me if I had any ideas. Well, by the end of a very drunk night we had come up with this concept (which is, by the way, already registered with the Writers Guild of America, West):
House Arrest!: In the vein of Punk’d, “House Arrest” is a reality TV game show in which contestants must break into the house of someone they know very well (parents, grandparents, aunt/uncle, best friends or acquaintances) in the middle of the night while wearing ski-masks and both steal as much as they can possibly carry while also trying to scare the crap out of said acquaintances by gagging them and tieing them up for the “police to rescue.” It always ends in the same way — tied up innocent bystanders and a tallying of items that said contestants were able to steal. The catch? Contestants don’t know that the producers have put guard dogs, alarm triggers and trap doors throughout the house!!
It was an idea that DM and I thought was timely — we’ve seen reality game shows that challenge people to deal with strangers, but never has a reality show asked contestants to emotionally scar their friends and family. DM says, “It’s like Punk’d, but with balls.”
Yeah, I kinda like that quote.
Anyway, DM and I were working on the proposal and treatment the other day at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in Studio City — we have this great ski-mask that we wrap around the storyboards and what not… But we’re sitting in the corner and we’ve both just gotten our coffees and such but for some reason none of us thought to get napkins. DM turns to me and asks if I’ll go grab some napkins.
“No problem, DM,” I say. “Be right back with those napkins.”
And so I get up, which I didn’t have to do, and go to the front napkin and straw kiosk where I grab a bunch of napkins and tool on back to the corner table where DM and I are holding court. Of course, as soon as I get back there, I realize that I never got any non-dairy creamer for my coffee.
I say, “Hey, DM — would you mind grabbing me some no-do creamer?”
DM says, “Dude, I don’t need any no-do.”
I look at the guy and I’m like, “Right. But I do. And I just got you a bunch of napkins…”
“Which I really didn’t necessarily need to function in the real world…” he shoots back.
I look at DM, and I’m sort of stunned — and you would be too. I mean, I got up, got the guy napkins and now he’s throwing me ‘tude about getting some no-do for my drink. Whether or not he was needing some no-do for his or not, we were partners… We were working on a great new idea for a TV show together, and here we sat in some kind of head-to-head contest of wills. It was sort of a bunch of bull if you ask me.
“DM, c’mon,” I said. “Get me some no-do.”
“That’s an official no on the no-do,” the a-hole says.
So I grab DM’s napkins, of which he’s about to grab to wipe dribble-spray off the corner of his mouth and I tell him, “No no-do, no nappy-ko.”
“I’m not getting you no no-do,” he says. “I’m not doing it.”
At this point, I’m not quite getting it. People are supposed to do favors for each other because the other person did them a favor in the first place, not because you want to or don’t want to do any favors in the first or last place. I tried to explain that to DM, who has got to be the most stubborn person I’ve ever met.
“You know,” DM says… “I don’t think this is going to work out.”
“What’s not going to work out,” I ask him.
“This.” he says. “This whole, partnership, show, ski-mask thing.”
“You’re kidding me.” I shoot back. “You’re going to throw away House Arrest all because I asked you to get me no-do from the straw kiosk?”
“I will neither confirm or deny that statement,” he says, and then grabs everything and starts to walk out the door. With his coffee. With the ski-mask. And with the napkins.
“I’ve got all those documents on my laptop!!” I yell to him as he’s walking out the door — to which he responds by flipping me off.
It was, to say the least, not how I expected any of this to break out. But, you know, here’s the thing — in Hollywood you always try to find new people to work with and develop great projects with, and you just can’t forsee which guys are going to be cool, and which guys are going to refuse fetching you no-do after you get them napkins.
It’s the reality of Hollywood, I guess.