Thank You, Ashton Kutcher

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News item: Ashton Kutcher is producing a reality series set in field offices of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Your likely first response: A groan. The man who gave the world "Punk'd" is likely to take pot shots at one of the easiest of comedy targets.

Except that this show is unlikely to look like you might think, if it's anything close to honest. If anything, Kutcher might be doing California a great service.

For two reasons:

  1. The DMV in California is different. And different is good. Famous for bureaucracy and long waits, the DMV has been transformed in the last decade into one of the state's most efficient arms. Technology and planning have been part of the change. You can make an appointment now and escape long lines and waits.
  2. A show set at the California DMV is a show about people coming to California.

    People go to the DMV when they need a new driver license. Some of those are renewals. Some of those are kids. But a number of people will be going to the DMV because they've just moved to California from some other state or some other country. This show might tell us about such people's hopes and dreams.

    That's a wonderful thing, and a counterpoint to today's negative California narrative, which is all about the people and businesses who are leaving the state. This show might inspire even more people to come.
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