Sometimes Junk Food is Good Enough

This weekend, I spent a bit of time trying to slow my brain down a bit because I was feeling mentally tired.  On Saturday, in particular, I spent a fair bit of time working in the Casual Marketer business and Sunday was the first issue of my new “The Week That Was” update style email.

I needed some mental downtime after all that.

My brain was hungry for a bit of relaxation.

I could have picked up my phone, stuck my AirPods in and started listening to a book on Audible.  This would be like feeling a bit peckish, sitting around in your track pants and thinking that you should go to a three Michelin star restaurant for a quick bite.

No, that’s not how it works.

My brain needed junk food, not fine dining.

I told Google Home to turn on the TV and fire up “The Good Place” on Netflix.

Sweet, witty sitcoms.

If you’re not familiar with “The Good Place”, it stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson and it’s about these four people who die and end up in the afterlife at “the good place”.  Ted Danson’s character is Michael and he’s like the “coordinator” and overseer of the good place which is really just a community of a set number of people, each with their “perfect” soul mate.

The cast of characters is awesome and the fact that the show didn’t get nominated for an Emmy as the Outstanding Comedy in 2017 ahead of terrible shows like Modern Family and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a blight on the voters.

I’m not kidding, the show is really that good – the 2017 Emmy winner was Veep, which I also like, but “The Good Place” is actually better.  If it were a Netflix Original or on HBO rather than on NBC, it would have had several nominations and probably would have won.

While I think it’s great, clever and witty TV, it’s junk food television in the same way that Veep is junk food TV.  It doesn’t try to be too clever and there aren’t any inside jokes that exclude people, it’s just funny in an unpretentious way.

And that’s what I really like about it, it is what it is.

There are no ambitions for a “good place universe” with all of these crazy plot holes to try and add more depth, the actors are playing characters in a ridiculous situation and they aren’t trying to overact and win Golden Globes.

The whole thing is just fun.

I can mindlessly sit on the couch, watch a few half-hour episodes and come out feeling mentally lighter than when I went in.

There’s an interesting business lesson for us all here and it’s something that I subconsciously apply to these emails all the time.

One mistake that so many people make is that they try and make everything they do “the best thing ever” and imbue it with all kinds of weighty gravitas.  And that might work for creating three or four pieces of content, but eventually, the weight of having to achieve that level of quality all the time becomes a monstrous burden and people just quit.

What I tend to do is mix what I think are valuable lessons, with pithy stories and interesting (at least I think so) anecdotes.  I write over 1000 words a day – it’s impossible to create “epic” content like that every day.

There’s a burger place here in Sydney called “Burger Project” and they have a particular burger called “Bacon Project”.  It is spectacular, I’m literally salivating as I write this.

It is fast food done well – the beef is grass fed, free range from Tasmania and the fries have this amazing Chipotle Chilli Salt.  The chain was created by Australian celebrity chef, Neil Perry, so the whole idea is high quality produce in a format that average punters will enjoy.

That’s what I aim for with my emails and that’s what the creators of “The Good Place” have managed to achieve.

There’s still room for going to a fine dining restaurant every so often – the whole experience is special.  But when I feel like something quick and tasty, then I’d rather just grab a Bacon Project, fill my belly and tickle my taste buds.

That doesn’t mean that you have to abandon high quality.

Neil Perry still runs the two-hatted Rockpool restaurant in Sydney for fine dining customer.

If you watch “The Good Place” doesn’t mean you can’t watch “Black Mirror”.

In fact, I’m going to be engaging in creating some very high-quality content for the Casual Marketer site – these will be very in-depth pieces that will probably take weeks to create and get perfect.  I might do one every four to six weeks.

Those pieces of content are going to be the things that earn me my Emmy or my Michelin Stars, but in the background, every day, I’m going to be turning out Bacon Project and “The Good Place” type content for people to enjoy.

Leave a Comment