Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Just the usual, please

My sister has always wanted to walk into a restaurant and say “I’ll have the usual,” and for the wait staff to know exactly what she’s talking about.

I don’t think that dream has come true for her yet. I, also, have never had that experience, though I do think the folks down at the local CalTor are starting to recognize me from the far too frequent nacho runs that Roomie and I make. Embarrassing.

This makes me think of all the TV shows where the whole gang has one special hang out spot, outside their homes, that they like to patronize. On a production level, this makes sense. I would guess that fewer sets mean less resource loss, in terms of time and money. Why develop more locations in the city of Bayside, when most of the time the kids just wanted to go to The Max anyway? (Where else would Hot Sundae have performed?) And Sunnydale really didn’t need an alternate hangout place from the Bronze. After all, that place had everything. People of all ages could come to study, dance, do some general hanging out and regularly be taken hostage by the undead.

But more importantly, I think, is that the audience has more of a chance to be on the “inside” of the story when they are as familiar with the location as they are with the characters. Come on, don’t tell me that the few times the gang entered Central Perk and there were other people sitting on the center couch, you didn’t feel a little lost too. ‘Cause you know you did. And I totally wanted to join in yelling at Barney about pursuing Wendy, the waitress. Don’t ruin the bar, man.

Whether it be Luke’s Diner, McGinty’s, Beacon Street Pizza, or The @ Bar, a regularly used location grounds the audience further in the lives, both personal and professional, of fictional characters. And I, for one, always look forward to revisiting them.

Now, I just need to come up with a place like that in the real world for my friends. We have way too much variety in our outings. I’m thinking the best way of going about this is just to be all entrepreneurial and open my own place. At the very least, my sister will finally have someone to remember her regular order. (Pretty sure it has something to do with coffee and corn bread. Maybe pastina? Whatever. I'll write it down.)

Any suggestions as to the theme of my new endeavor? Right now, I’m leaning towards something along the lines of the 80’s café in Back to the Future: Part II, but I’m open to other thoughts.

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