A MEETING OF THE METRO PAPER EDITORIAL STAFF
[We open on the Metro paper's staff room. Actually, it looks more like a dorm room than office space, but it's nearly functional. If we were in a trashed room in a decrepit Allston triple-decker, we'd be looking in on The Dig staff instead. The floor and tables are littered with empty cans of product placement. A large water cooler with a Pets dot com sock puppet on top sits in the corner. Someone has made a word bubble sign over the sock puppet that reads "I'M THE HAPPY KING!" The newspaper editor sits in the center of as long a table as can fit in a dorm, with his three underlings scattered around him, DaVinci-style.]
OPTIMUS PRIME: I'm glad to see so many of you here before noon today. I'm sorry I had to schedule a team meeting so early, but we've got some pressing issues to address. I've been working on a project with Megatron, Starscream and Jazz--
SNAKE-EYES (interrupting): Actually, sir, we're not Transformers anymore.
OPTIMUS PRIME: I'm sorry, what was that?
THE BARONESS: First of the month, sir. We no longer have Transformer code names.
DESTRO: We're GI Joes now.
OPTIMUS PRIME: Oh, yes. Forgot about the changeover. Let me just check my memos -- ah, there. I'm, uh, Duke, right?
DUKE: Well, I've been working on a project with, uh, Cobra Commander, Flint and Shipwreck over in Marketing, and we've discovered an alarming trend. As you well know, folks have often called us "the most useless paper in Boston..."
THE BARONESS: As well they should.
DESTRO: Wouldn't have it any other way.
SNAKE-EYES: It's what we strive for.
DUKE: Right, right, and I'm very proud of all your efforts. But it seems that we've been slipping in recent times. I don't want to alarm anyone, but it appears we may be veering back towards usefulness.
DESTRO: That can't be! We've been working so hard to cut and paste incomplete articles off the AP feed.
THE BARONESS: And we completely revamped the man-on-the-street section to include full body shots of those we interview.
DESTRO: We're wasting more vertical space than ever.
DUKE: I know. But our usefulness score went up 0.5% in the past quarter. We can't ignore the cold hard facts. We've got to stay useless.
SNAKE-EYES: We're trying our best, sir, but I will admit that we've run into some stiff competition recently.
THE BARONESS (sighing): The Sidekick.
DESTRO: Goddamn Sidekick.
DUKE: Yes, yes, I know, damn the Sidekick, thank you all for bringing it up again. But what the Globe does should not impact our own levels of uselessness. If The Globe wants to play the useless game, fine, we'll meet it head-on. But we gotta make sure we're on top of our game. And to do that, we've got to come up with even more ways to be useless. Brainstorming time, gang. Let's start throwing the ideas around.
SNAKE-EYES: Why not run an Awesomeness Index under the masthead? Every day, we'll let people know just how awesome it's going to be.
DUKE: What will we use to calculate the day's awesomeness?
SNAKE-EYES: We'll just pull some numbers out of a hat or something, I don't know.
DUKE: Hmm. I like the arbitrary value angle, but folks might start actually looking forward to it.
THE BARONESS: Well, there's always Animal Watch, where I describe what animals I saw the day before. Yesterday it was two dogs, a baby squirrel, and a whole bunch of birds. I couldn't count how many there were because they were all in a tree.
DUKE: No, sorry. Too bloggy.
DESTRO: Guess that means you won't like my idea, sir.
DUKE: What idea's that?
DESTRO: Well, I figured, we could take a popular website like, uh, YouTube or something, and write about the best videos we've seen.
SNAKE-EYES: Sergeant Slaughter would be perfect for that, he spends all day on YouTube already.
DUKE: You're right, I don't like it. It's just as bloggy, and still too goddamn useful.
DESTRO: Well, consider that most people read us while on the subway. They usually don't have Internet access down there. Showing them web addresses when they have no way of accessing them seems pretty useless to me.
DUKE: But they can keep the paper until they get home, and then type in the address that way. That means they'll actually take the paper with them when they leave the T, and that's no good. We're gunning for 95% trashcan saturation, you know that.
DESTRO: So we'll, uh, just forego publishing the web addresses entirely.
THE BARONESS: Oooh.
DUKE: You mean we describe a video we saw on YouTube with absolutely no pointers whatsoever to the video?
DUKE: It's so useless, it just might work! Give yourself a gold star, Destro. You've outdone yourself today.
DESTRO: Thank you, Chief. Just doing my job.
DUKE: I'll get Tomax and Xamot to do the layout, and we'll just let Sergeant Slaughter rip a few bong hits and browse around YouTube for the rest of the day. First segment runs on Monday, folks. Problem solved.
THE BARONESS: Great!
SNAKE-EYES: Does this mean the meeting's adjourned?
DUKE: Yes, it does. Just remember, people, Boston's a two-newspaper town, and we aim to keep it that way.
DESTRO: Let's get back to some real business.
[All four of the staffers turn back to the Gamecube behind them, each grabbing a controller. DUKE unpauses the game and all four of them continue to play Super Smash Bros for at least a few more hours, until it's time for Robot Chicken.]