I Think You Should Leave is one of the best TV shows of 2019 and “Focus Group,” an instant classic about one man’s desire for firmly-attached steering wheels placed in small and “stinky” cars, is one of its very best sketches. Ruben Rabasa, the Cuban actor responsible for bringing this vision to life, was sadly featured in only one episode of the show, but, thanks to the release of a deleted scene supplied to Vulture, we’ve been graced with another chance to bask in his forceful, mother-in-law-hating presence.
The clip extends the “Laser Spine Specialists” sketch to show a bit more of Conner O’Malley’s sleazy record producer at his work. As Robinson continues trying to lay down a hit single in the booth, Rabasa and his musical partner arrive to confront O’Malley about him failing to book them a gig. He promises them two years working on a cruise ship and the pair, including Rabasa with slick-backed hair and sunglasses, are then asked how their new song “Mall Baby” is coming along. Thankfully, they indulge O’Malley’s character with a few lovely verses.
The scene was provided to Vulture as part of a “live oral history” that saw the show’s Tim Robinson, Zach Kanin (who, we should mention, plays “Paul,” the target of Rabasa’s mockery in “Focus Group”), and Akiva Schaffer about their careers, making the show, and working with Rabasa. Schaffer says they “were so in love with what [Rabasa] had done on” the original sketch that they wanted to get him back for the ultimately cut scene.
Their discussion also touches on what Rabasa first thought when he began preparing for the part of the focus group (“When I read that, I said, What the hell is this?’ Then I say, ‘I don’t know how I can do this. This is terrible.’”) and how he eventually ended up “enjoying every minute” of shooting the sketch. For the creators’ part, Kanin said they “were blown away” by Rabasa and Schaffer recalled being called up to hear “’I think we just discovered a star.’”
Read the entire interview transcript for more details, take a walk around the neighborhood humming “Mall Baby” to yourself, or just put on “Focus Group” again a few dozen more times while waiting for I Think You Should Leave’s second season.
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