Dimensions of Compatibility

Here’s a story idea for a half-hour comedy, which focuses on a relationship between a married couple, something along the lines of “Mad About You.”

In the opening sequence the couple are sitting in the living room, drinking coffee, perhaps looking through the paper. Better yet, the husband is reading the paper and the wife is checking Facebook. In doing so, she comes across a comment from one of her friends who has been dating a guy she met through an online dating service that helps people connect through “dimensions of compatibility.” This incident leads them into a conversation about the nature of compatibility, which eventually leads them to registering themselves on one of those online sites to see if they would end up on each others compatibility radar. Of course, the conflict and the humor of the story is that they don’t.

The rest of the episode is spent with them processing their supposed incompatibility, the nature of love, and specifically their connection with one another. They finally come to a place where they realize that though much can be said about what contributes to a good relationship, and much can be said about the nature of love, there is always some part that transcends identification, and whatever that is, they have it in spades.

Does anyone see the potential humor in this? Can you think of specific exchanges this couple might have either as they discover their supposed incompatibility, or as they try to make sense of their relationship?

9 Responses to “Dimensions of Compatibility”

  1. Roger Green  

    Funny. Or painfully and brutally unfunny. Depends on the writers and actors.

  2. K.L.B.  

    (sardonically) Hollywood…

    Either you’re too close, or too far away.

    That about settles it!

    (Are you writing about you and Paula? I suspect you may be!)

    Humor? Nope.

    Conflict? Oh, hell yeah!

    Now lemme’ tell yuh… if’n ya’ put a Suthun’ tweest to hit’, yew got’sa hit!

    Sally Anne: LeRoy, did yew get dat turtle lak ah tol’ yuh tew!! Yew KNOW we ain’ got no meat f’ supuh!

    LeRoy: Ah thot you’se wuz thankin’ we wuz gwine’ta haff some collards’n corn bred f’supah, not no toitle soop!

    And suppose a pilot was shot. What might you call the series? It might make a better short story than series.

    I’ll just stick to Breaking Bad and Royal Pains – though I have come to appreciate – in a most unusual way – House.

  3. Anthony Velez  

    Kevin –


    The last part a about Sally Anne & Leroy is a bit confusing to me regarding its connection to my basic thesis. However, I do appreciate your ability to translate a southern accent into written dialogue.

    As far as humor is concerned, perhaps I should have been more explicit that this couple has been married for awhile, and up to the point that they put their names on this match making site, they never questioned their compatibility. So, the fact that they allowed some computer program with its algorithm for compatibility throw them into a tizzy is where the humor arises. At this point, however, I have to agree with Roger, insofar as whether it is actually humorous will depend on the writers and actors to bring the audience to the threshold of silliness/absurdity without actually crossing the line into tragedy.

    Of course, I do have a dark sense of humor, and maybe my assessment is thereby skewed.

    Oh, and this scenario is not indicative of mine and Paula’s relationship, particularly since Paula would never jump on a match making site, and she is way to level headed to be thrown into a tizzy about such things.

  4. Melissa  

    Totally sounds like a scene from a modern day Mad About You episode to me. : ) (And I thought Mad About You was funny! Well… most of the time.)

  5. K.L.B.  

    Yup… understood you the 1st time.

    Verdict: Not funny.

    Oh… the two characters Sally Anne & LeRoy represent the conflicted couple. Re-read their exchange for a sample of conflict.

    Remember “The Honeymooners,” “The Flintstones,” “Green Acres,” (I’ve been to Pixley, have you? And while I’ve driven by Bakersfield, I’ve never walked their streets. I should change that sometime.) “The King of Queens,” “I Love Lucy,” “Married With Children,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Roseanne,” “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family,” or others?

    All those shows have featured husband and wife conflicts.

    Or maybe it’s a “You got your chocolate in my peanut butter.” – “No, you got your peanut butter on my chocolate.” type routine.

    They love each other, they just don’t know why, and they are discovering the source of their love… is THAT it?

    I think your assessment of comedy noir is, perhaps, spot-on: “Of course, I do have a dark sense of humor, and maybe my assessment is thereby skewed.”

    Now here’s a dark one… a Jewish man marries a Muslim woman and they raise Christian children!

    It’d be called Mo Mo Mo! – (a play on words, ‘cuz they’re all mono-theistic! hah!). Best part? It’d be filmed in Mono County! And in the first episode, they all contract mononucleosis at a motorcycle race! So, it’d be Mo Mo Mo Mono Mono Moto…

    In episode two, Moebius and Moeisha – the husband and wife, respectively – have an argument over food. He wants lobster thermador, while she refuses to use the kosher pots to cook it. And since it’s Sabbath (Saturday) she won’t cook anyway! She mentions a chicken from their mini-farm might be suitable if he caught and prepared it, and unwittingly suggests he “choke” the chicken – a strictly forbidden practice in Islam (eating animals that have been strangled) – which upsets him, and they both later compromise by eating Big Macs at McDonalds. Moebius innocently mentions Moeisha’s suggestion he “choke the chicken” to his co-workers at the factory, and they mistakenly think the couple is “sexually liberated.”

    The hilarity ensues in episode two of Mo Mo Mo, entitled “No Mo Mo!”

    In episode three, Moeisha asks Moebius to mow the grass. Since California’s 4th record-drought year has the couple concerned over whether to water the lawn to prevent fire or conserve water by not watering, when Moebius is aked to mow the lawn, he’s confused by Moeisha’s suggestion.

    He goes and spends $3000 for a new ZTR riding mower with hydraulic deck lift, and when the mower arrives, Moeisha thinks Moebius hired a crew. He tells her he bought a mower, and she becomes enraged because he spent so much money without talking it over with her.

    Conflict and resolution are the key words in episode three, entitled, “Mow Mo Mo!”

  6. Anthony Velez  

    Uh, Waiter, I will have what Kevin is having.

    We disagree about the nature of humor here, but even though, I have to give you kudos for your productive imagination and creativity.

  7. K.L.B.  

    Why, thank you kind suh!

    I think a working title for the show would be “3 Mo.”

    Humor… it’s where you find it, eh?

    I recently watched a DVD starring Bill Murray, formerly of Saturday Night Live during it’s heyday with Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi. Presently, of course, SNL stinks/blows chunks/sucks/bites, etc. It’s simply horrid and quite un-funny. NBC could do better by selling that time slot to “advertorials” or “infomercials,” to Ron Popeil or memorials for Billy Mays, Michael Jackson, Farrah Faucett, Karl Maulden, Ed McMahon, et al.

    “Broken Flowers” (perhaps more appropriately entitled “Dead Flowers”) was a 2005 production that I checked out from our local library, and co-starred Sharon Stone, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton, et al.

    On the cover were the following “accolades”:
    • “Bill Murray in one of his best performances.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
    • “A Miracle! Very, Very Funny! One of the best films of the year.” – Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
    • “Funny, tender and generous.” – A. O. Scott, The New York Times

    Glancing at those and the brief description, I recollected the funnyman whose work made me howl with laughter, and given those “accolades” thought this film would induce paroxysms of hilarity.

    How dreadfully wrong could one be?!

    That film was about as dead as Abraham Lincoln!

    Quite honestly, it was the most dreadfully horrid, most un-funny, poorly produced, excuses of flim… er, film making I have ever been tortured to watch.

    So.. what’s the deal?

    Some “experts” in big-city, world renown newspapers who were paid to exhale their hot air about a fourth-rate film, called this “humor.” It was about as funny as the assassination attempt upon late, former president Ronald Reagan, or the Charles Manson masterminded multiple murders of Sharon Tate & Leno LaBianca parties.

    Murray was cast – appropriately enough – as a late-middle aged- preternaturally depressive and perennial bachelor, dumped again by his girlfriend, and who received a mysteriously anonymous letter asserting an alleged and supposed son whom is on a “road trip” to find his anonymous father, which may or may not be Murray.

    Encouraged by his pot-smoking next-door-neighbor fancying himself a detective, he secures itinerary and logistics for Murray who flies and drives thousands of miles to visit four former lovers, all with their own quirky and strange lives. Retuning home empty-handed and black-eyed, he notices a street-smart young adult man whom he saw at the airport, and presupposes to be his son. Befriending him with lunch, he proclaims “Look, I know you think I’m your father…” whereupon the man runs away, and the movie ends.

    Funny, eh?

    Avoid it all costs!

    It could have been funny, it just wasn’t.

    Sure… what’s funny to some won’t be to others. Yet I acknowledge that humor, to be funny, must include reality. Slapstick – the old, slipping on a banana peel and falling into a man hole – still works, as do the Three Stooges’ routines, the Marx Brothers and more modern fare such as Third Rock from the Sun, Seinfeld and others.

    Slipping into dark irony, however, is rarely funny.

    And that, my good friend, is but one reason why I don’t think that exploring why a couple that is “compatible” – as evidenced by their long-term commitment to their relationship, despite their differences – is funny.

    Sure, along the way of any relationship there are laughs, guffaws, and appropriate shenanigans, but there are also tears, jeers, exasperations, frustrations, anger and more.

    And on the whole, should a comedy have more than 51% humor? What about 60%? Shouldn’t a comedy be at least 75% funny? Shouldn’t there be at least ONE laughable moment?

    But if there were but one laugh in the production, would anyone consider it a comedy?

  8. Simon  

    I love the idea of this being some TV or stage funny, Given your lyrical moment in the last post maybe you should try your hand at writing the script for this? 🙂

    My friend Anne in Boston found and married her man via the site eHarmony.

    Have you got 18 mins to spare? Then follow this link…


  9. Elba Davis  

    It sounds like you’re creating issues your self by trying to resolve this challenge as an alternative of taking a look at why their is a problem in the first place.