The Writing On The Wall

Episode Report Card
Miss Alli: B- | Grade It Now!
Wall of confusion

Harlem. At Net Worth, there are already large red letters that read, "Gran Turismo 4" at the top of a wall that's painted pavement-gray on top. NotCarolyn comes by and congratulates them on their progress. Tara smiles and nods. When NotCarolyn asks about the theme, Tara explains that it's "old versus new," and the old buildings represent the mean streets of New York, and then things will kind of turn into brownstones in honor of "the revitalization of New York." NotCarolyn says that's a great idea for the neighborhood, but asks how this jells with what Sony is looking for from the ad. We are led to believe that Craig is over by the wall shaking his head at this point, as if he is thinking, "What indeed?" Tara's answer is that the ad shouldn't be something that will offend the neighborhood, and I think we all get that, but she clearly isn't thinking about what will make people buy videogames. It also sounds like she's sort of saying that the streets in the game -- the "mean streets" -- represent bad old Harlem, and I'm not sure Sony would really like that, like, at all. I don't think they'd like marketing the game as "Revisit crappy old Harlem, before it got better, with Gran Turismo 4!"

I really think that part of what went wrong for Tara with this task was that she had a very hard time looking at Harlem as a hard target for a marketing campaign. She feels, for good or for ill, whether you want to put a positive or negative gloss on it, protective of the neighborhood, and you can't really protect people and market them an ultimately unnecessary product at the same time. Advertising is exploitive, like, inherently. I just don't think Tara could bring herself to look at this task purely in terms of what would make the people who saw the ad shell out the cash for Gran Turismo 4. Like I said, for good or for ill, I think she felt protective, and she couldn't look around the neighborhood and think, "How do I get these people to part with money?" Which perhaps speaks well of her, but made it hard for her to do well in the task. Craig interviews with some frustration that this was all kind of dopey, to him, because the game doesn't even have "mean streets." It has regular old New York streets. That's quite a bitchface he's got going at the end of that segment. Craig characterizes Tara as possessed of a "selfish perspective" that doesn't consider the real interests of the client or even the customer. "You'll miss out on a lot," he says. And again, I don't think her perspective is selfish, although there's certainly an argument to be made that it's moderately patronizing. At least she means well, which is more than can be said for a lot of past weirdos, not to name any names, like "Tiny Stacy" or "Maria the Twitchmonster."

The sun sets. Painting continues. At Net Worth, Tara tells Ernie to run his instructions through Craig, and says she'll have the rest of the team bug Craig, not Ernie, with questions, so that Ernie can concentrate. Audrey and Craig proceed to have a spat while she's painting some windows, in which Craig puts on his Bill Cosby voice (I believe that's what he's doing; it's not that good) and "jokingly" lectures her about how she's not doing what she's supposed to be doing and so forth. Audrey interviews that she's accustomed to taking care of herself, and that even if Craig has four kids, that doesn't mean he can talk to her as if she's one of them. Ooh, and...point to Audrey, I think. "He's not going to talk down to me," she says. The two of them have a little more of a bicker session, and Craig then has a talk with Tara about how he doesn't want to deal with children (see? Audrey was right about the attitude) and how he'll just sit people down and make them watch if they don't cooperate. Tara then has a powwow with Audrey in which Audrey explains that she understands that Craig is in charge, but when Ernie tells her specifically how to do something, she feels like she should listen. Tara tries to make this conflict go away by telling Audrey that she knows Craig can be abrasive, but she'd like Audrey to try to "work with him." Not very much in the way of advice or management, there. You kind of have to say more than, "Uh, noted" if you want to make people get along better. Audrey says that's fine and goes back to work. Tara gives an interview about how Audrey has lots of conflict with different people, and Tara believes this is "telling" about the fact that it's actually Audrey behind all the problems. Or else it means her team is being a little dickish to her, which certainly isn't outside the realm of possibility.

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