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Rom Coms and Red Lobster

by Matt Welton,  05-Apr-2016 05:00:00

--'USA Presents Its Alternative to Netflix & Chill: Rom-Coms and Red Lobster', Yahoo! TV News, March 4, 2016

"No doubt inspired by Beyoncé’s declaration in “
Formation” that should her lover’s sexual prowess please her, “I take his a– to Red Lobster,” USA and Red Lobster are teaming up to provide their answer to Netflix & chill: rom-coms and Red Lobster.

This Saturday, USA will air a marathon of rom-coms including The Back-Up Plan, He’s Just Not That Into You, Bridesmaids, and Couples Retreat.

…And, if it’s good, you can hit up Red Lobster. Throughout the marathon, USA is encouraging couples to tweet photos of their favorite date night — keep it clean, folks — using the hashtag #RLDateNightSweepstakes. You could win free movie tickets through Fandango and a free dinner at Red Lobster."

I usually have a great time working on USA Network's promotions but this was not the case on Saturday, March 5th with the Red Lobster Date Night marathon,  #RLdatenightsweepstakes. 

Dont get me wrong, the night was fun; USA proposed an evening of “Rom-coms and Red Lobster” as alternative to “Netflix and Chill”.

The promos were a huge success; we had many, many entries, and the promo-production ran smoothly. 

The audience seemed to enjoy the idea too:

The “not fun” part was that I was quite lonely by the end of the evening. A bit angry. And felt like consuming lobster.  Let me rewind.

At the beginning of the marathon I was happy and care free; I like working with USA, I did not have any weekend plans, and I got to work from my couch watching movies - how cool is that?

Yes, the Story-VR production was "remote", meaning the USA social editor and I were both working from home, on our respective couches. (Well, I was on my couch.  She could have been at a desk or in a chair. I did not ask her). 

redlobsterdatenight.pngUSA's social editor is familiar with Story-VR, after running the Pedigree/WCK promos, and I was not needed for any of the UGC selection, preview-video rendering, or delivery of the approved promo to the network. I was on a conference-line to provide support in case of any unexpected live-tv events, but there were no unexpected live-tv events.

My USA editorial partner was kind and, trying to make me feel needed, asked if I wanted to review photo submissions and make suggestions for winners. I opened Story and looked at all the happy couples, and the photos were great!  So many couples enjoying time together. So proud to let everyone know they were with someone special, on date-night.  So nice that these people had found happiness together. 

So, what I did not realize, was that I was in a perfect storm of loneliness; I am/was a single man, alone on a Saturday night, watching rom-coms, feeling un-needed, and looking at endless photos of other people on happy dates. I was an emotional tinderbox.  Alone in the universe with a giant telescope pointed at Red Lobster.

So, I was still happy for J-Lo after she got her twins AND Alex O’Loughlin at the end of The Backup Plan

My mood turned somewhere in He’s Just Not That In To You.  Around the time Jennifer Anniston learned from Justin Long  (the cool but unthreatening hipster from the old I'm a Mac/Im a PC commercials) how to interpret the subtle signs people use to avoid someone -- I was realizing nobody had called to see if I had plans Saturday night.

redlobster.pngI was rooting hard for Kirsten Whig in Bridesmaids when she went on her epic rant -- feeling like the odd-person-out who wants badly to be on the inside! 

And by the time Couples Retreat came on, I was actively rooting against Vince Vaughn, John Favreau, Jason Bateman, Kirsten Davis, Kristen Bell and Jean Reno fixing their relationships. 

Well, the last promo aired around 10:45 PM.  The nice people at USA did not mention my lonely anger and professionally said goodnight, and signed off the conference call.  Couples Retreat ended.   I was really, really alone. 

Thankfully a friend called and asked if I wanted to meet up for a drink.  I was instantly back on the inside!  Ah, why was I even worried?  

I never did make it to Red Lobster or eat any lobster.  It’s probably smart to keep lobster reserved for the happy times anyway. 


Matt Welton is's Executive Producer.
Based in NYC, he works with clients internationally to develop, produce and execute excellent Social TV campaigns using’s platform STORY VR.  

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