Ryan Ling Gets The Ultimate Revenge With “Guy Code”
On: November 4, 2013

Guy Code Photo shoot October 23, 2013

A pal who overstayed his welcome inspired TV producer Ryan Ling (right) to create the new MTV2 show “Guy Court.”

Three-and-a-half years ago, TV producer Ryan Ling was living in Little Italy when he offered to help a friend smarting from a recent breakup.

He let his buddy crash on his couch while the guy got back on his feet, got a job and found a place to live. But weeks turned into months, and the friend wasn’t budging.

“He would be on the couch all day long,” recalls Ling, 32, his face pursing into a cringe. “I would leave for work and come home, and he’d still be there. When I went to go clean, he would pick his nose and put boogers behind the couch. When my girlfriend was over, he would just hang out and not leave, not take the hint. It was too much.”

It’s a familiar New York tale — cramped spaces and unemployed friends overstaying their welcome.

The only difference? Ling turned his hassle into a successful MTV franchise, with a third series premiering this week.

Ling, then 29, had just been nominated for an Emmy for an mtvU (the college-centric MTV-owned network) documentary called “Quiet Campus,” about four deaf students at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. He called Paul Ricci, mtvU and MTV2’s senior vice president and head of development and production, whom he had worked with on that series, about the new idea his friend had inspired.

“My initial pitch for MTV2 was called ‘The Rules.’ I had proposed all these scenarios that violated guy code,” Ling says. “And a lot of it was based off the kid crashing on my couch. Like, he didn’t know how to dress very well. He wore white socks with dress shoes. Or any of his failed hookup stories.”

On “Guy Court,” people bring their friends to trial, “People’s Court”-style, over classic “guy code” violations.
Co-creator and executive producer Darin Byrne was the one who suggested calling the series “Guy Code,” after hearing the term on an episode of “Jersey Shore.”

Ling enlisted Andy Stuckey, with whom he’d worked on the MTV series “The Life Presents: Camp’d Out,” to help produce the show.

“The first couple of meetings we had were over a Guinness, playing bocce at [a Brooklyn Heights] bar near my house called Floyd’s,” says Stuckey. “We were just talking about what guy code was — drinking stories, manscaping, camping, road trips, just dude stuff. All of our favorite ideas from that night made it into the pilot.”

On “Guy Court,” people bring their friends to trial, “People’s Court”-style, over classic “guy code” violations.

“Guy Code” features comedians cracking jokes about what is in violation of the unspoken rules among males, with graphic drawings depicting the scenarios. For instance, in the pilot, they break down the do’s and don’ts of manscaping — the maintenance of a guy’s body hair — with helpful tidbits like “the shorter the grass, the taller the tree.”

The show was an instant smash for MTV2.

“During the premiere, Twitter and Facebook were going crazy,” Ling says. “That really was a good barometer for us.”

And the ratings spoke volumes — for three seasons, “Guy Code” was the best-rated original series on the network. (It was only recently dethroned by Nick Cannon’s “Wild ’N Out.”)

The network was so pleased with the series, they flipped the genders and spun it off into a show for MTV proper — “Girl Code.” The first season premiered in April, averaging 1.1 million viewers a week. Season 2 premiered last week.

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