Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fourth Wall FALLS!

Scene One: The conference room of the newly-built Simpson/Lynch Studios complex in Pleasantview, Alabama.

It's approximately 9 a.m. Seated at the opposing heads of the conference table are the Skipster and the Foxster. Luke Tian sits on one side of the table, near the Foxster's right. Across from Luke, near the Foxster's left, sits Gretchen Von Grüber, the Skipster's former fiancée. Near the opposite end of the table's side sits Vickie Wickie, near the Skipster's left. Tara King, the Foxster's former girlfriend, sits directly across from Vickie, near the Skipster's right. At Tara's feet is Orson, the Foxster's cat.

Foxster: Before we officially begin today's meeting, I'd like everyone to welcome Gretchen back to our little group. (All save Gretchen applaud politely, Foxster, Tara, and Luke somewhat vigorously, Vickie less so, Skipster even less so.) She'll be taking the title of Executive Assistant, handling travel arrangements for SnL personnel, guest accommodations, and similar duties, which will free up our Director of Operations (The Foxster indicates Vickie with a wave of his hand.) to concentrate on some of the more business-related needs of our new studio.

Gretchen (softly): Thank you to all of you. I... I am certainly happy to have come back.

Tara: Well, as you may or may not know, Gretchen, there isn't much--

Suddenly, Tara is interrupted by an Unseen Voice.

Unseen Voice: CUT!!!

The Director of Pleasantview rushes angrily onto the conference room set, looking all around him.

Director: "Cut?" Who the hell yelled "cut?" This is my show, dammit!

"Tara" (dropping character and muttering): Who the hell cares who said it? This is a boring scene anyway!

The door to the conference room opens. Skip Simpson (the real one!) and David M. Lynch (the real one!) enter, followed by several members of the Pleasantview cast: "Dr. Jane Kildeer,"Milo Fenderbender," "Barry Cabana," and various others.

Skip: Well, it's our show, too, and I'm the one who yelled "cut!"

Director: Oh! So sorry, Mr. Simpson!

"Tara": Oh, my God! It's the executive producers!

"Gretchen" (dropping character, and her German accent): Don't you mean "ohmigods," you dumb [expletive deleted]?

"Tara" (to "Gretchen"): Don't be a jerk. The cameras aren't rolling any more!

As if on cue, everyone in the scene that was being filmed drops character.

"Foxster": Oh, good! Can I take off these stupid sunglasses now? (He does so.) Now I can see!

The small crowd of actors and actresses began conversing among themselves.

Skip: Uhh, folks? (brief pause) FOLKS!!! May I -- may we -- have your attention?

David: What Skip's trying to say is... EVERYBODY SHUT UP!!! (Most of the assembled group laughs. Then, all fall silent.)

Skip (grinning): Thanks, David. (to all) Okay, listen up, everyone. The Blogger executives wanted to come here and make this announcement, but David and I thought this would sit better if it came from us. Briefly... Pleasantview has been cancelled.

Various members of the crowd express variations on "What?" including "what the hell," "what the [expletive deleted]," etc.

"Vickie" (beginning to cry, as "Tara" rises from her chair and walks over to console her while "Orson the Cat" follows "Tara"): B-but... why?

David: The usual reason, kiddo. Low ratings.

"Vickie" (tearfully): It's not fair! I tried so hard! We all did!

David: Of course you did. You were great, "Vickie." The Pleasantview episodes featuring you were the highest-rated ones! (David looks at several of the others.) You were all great.

"Gretchen" gets up from her chair at the conference table and storms off the set, quickly returning with a lit cigarette dangling from her lips. She stands near "Vickie's" chair, close to "Tara."

"Skipster": Hey! You can't smoke in here!

"Gretchen": Oh, shut up, you scrawny sack of [expletive deleted]! You're lucky I didn't bring a mirror and a few lines of coke!

"Vickie" (timidly): Gee, "Gretchen," you're not going to smoke that thing near me, I hope?

"Gretchen": You shut up, too, you mousy little twerp! [Expletive deleted], you're almost as whiny as (pointing at the "Foxster") "she" is!

"Foxster": I am not whiny!

David (trying to lighten the mood of the room): Yeah, you are. I'm certainly not like that in real life! (Most of the people in the room laugh, including the "Foxster.")

"Foxster" (to "Gretchen"): You're just jealous because I have better hair than you do. 

"Milo" walks up to the "Foxster's" chair, leans over, and plants a little kiss on the "Foxster's" cheek.

"Milo": You go, girl! You've got better hair than everyone... except for me! (All laugh... except "Gretchen.")

"Dr. Kildeer" walks over to "Gretchen."

"Dr. Kildeer" (to "Gretchen"): And don't you dare talk that way to my kid sister, you!

"Tara" (placing her hands protectively on "Vickie's" shoulders): Or my best friend!

"Gretchen": Fine. Whatever! (turning to Skip and David) So, we've all been [expletive deleted] fired?

Skip: No, not fired. Cancelled! And you'll still get your residuals.

"Gretchen": Yeah, right! As if anyone ever views the old episodes... except for you two!

David (to the others, ignoring "Gretchen"): And it's not the end of Pleasantview completely! In fact, Skip and I still have a few isolated stories that we want to do as stand-alone episodes... someday.

"Skipster": Meaning, a bunch of script drafts that you refuse to throw away? (All laugh... except "Gretchen.") Or is this just another example of your well-known need for "closure?" (All laugh... except "Gretchen.")

David (chuckling): Yeah, something like that... to both. (pause) By the way, everyone, there's a "wrap party" tonight. Eight p.m., on the Kewl Beanz! set. We've invited the cast members who aren't here, of course, and we hope you'll all attend.

"Barry": I suppose Ben Affleck will show up, and maybe even Jack Black...

David: Actually, we didn't think to invite any of our special guest stars from previous episodes...

"Barry": Like that'd stop Affleck? (Several people laugh.)

"Tara" (to Skip and David): So, does this mean that all the stuff planned for me in Season Two will eventually get used? I mean, there's the sub-plot about my book, and the stuff about my background... (David smiles and nods.) And there's gotta be a few people who wanna know if I get back together with (pointing to the "Foxster") "Mary" over there.

"Foxster" (laughing, as a still-standing "Milo" gently strokes the "Foxster's" hair): You just like filming the love scenes, sweetie, knowing you're not my type in real life! (All laugh... except "Gretchen.")

"Tara" (smiling widely and winking playfully at the "Foxster"): If you say so, fuzzy! (All laugh... except "Gretchen.")

"Foxster": *sigh* Well, screw it. What's done is done. (brief pause) I'm gonna shave this bushy beard off, and audition for that off-Broadway musical I've been looking at.

"Vickie" (sadly): Well, the only thing I'm going to audition for is my church choir.

Skip: "Vickie," you can sing? ("Vickie" nods.) Oh! I didn't know that.

All (except for Skip, David, "Gretchen," and the Director): YOU NEVER ASKED!!! (All laugh... except "Gretchen.")

"Gretchen" tosses her finished cigarette into "Vickie's" Kewl Beanz! coffee mug. "Vickie" grimaces with distaste.

"Gretchen": Awww, [expletive deleted] it! Who cares? If I had to hand out one more [expletive deleted] yellow rose, I think I'd puke, anyway! (pause) Okay, kiddies, I'm outta here. I'm gonna go bar-hopping, and maybe I can get laid tonight! Take it easy, suckers! ("Gretchen" exits.)

"Dr. Kildeer" (softly): And good riddance.

"Barry" (to Skip and David): So, when you make these so-called "stand-alone episodes," are you going to use us? Or are you going to re-cast?

Skip: We intend to use most of you, if at all possible, depending on your other commitments. (Offstage, there is the sound of a slamming metal door as "Gretchen" exits the building.) Then again... (he pointedly adds) there are one or two roles which we may re-cast...

"Dr. Kildeer": Well, I might as well get going, too. (to "Vickie") You need a ride, sis?

"Vickie" (standing): Sure, thanks. Maybe I can get to Bible study on time, for a change. ("Vickie" and "Dr. Kildeer" walk off-stage. They both wave to the remaining group.) 'Bye, folks! God bless! See you at the party tonight! ("Vickie" and "Dr. Kildeer" exit.)

"Milo": That "Vickie" is so sweet!

"Skipster": And what an amazing actress!

"Barry": Yup. Ya gotta love her.

"Tara": Well, I'm gonna split, too. (She playfully nudges "Orson" with her foot.) Ready to go, fur-face?

"Orson" stands on his hind legs and removes the head of his cat costume, revealing the sweaty face of a five-year-old boy.

"Orson": Okay, Mommy! ("Orson" and "Tara" say their good-byes, and leave.)

"Luke" (to Skip and David): Uhhh, if you guys don't mind my asking this, can you give me the phone number of that actress you hired a few weeks ago to play my teen-aged sister, Amy? I'd... uhhh... like to ask her out.

Skip: Well... we'll call her first, and if it's okay with her, we'll give it to you at the wrap party.

"Luke": Kewl beanz! (All laugh.)

 "Barry": Hey, "Luke," isn't that kinda ...sick?

"Luke" (laughing): Well, for one thing, she's not really my sister...

"Barry": I know that! But... she's only fourteen!

"Luke": Uh-uh, don't worry. Her character is fourteen. She's nineteen. First question I asked her! (All laugh, as "Luke" walks off-stage.) Gong xi fa cai, everyone!

David (to himself): Funny, I thought that was usually reserved for the Chinese New Year...

One by one, the actors and the Director say their good-byes and leave. Finally, only Skip, David, The "Foxster," and "Milo" remain.

David (to the "Foxster"): Hey... You mentioned shaving that beard. How do you look without it?

"Foxster" (smiling): Drop-dead gorgeous. Why?

David: No, I meant age-wise.

"Foxster": Heh. Like a teenager!

David: Great! I have a flashback storyline planned for you and "Barry Cabana." Its working title is "Young Foxster."

"Foxster": Terrific! (brief pause) See you guys tonight! (The "Foxster" and "Milo" say their good-byes and exit.)

After a very short pause, Skip walks toward the conference room door. He looks back at David, who is visually surveying the room.

Skip: Well... Are you coming?

David (after a long pause): You know, I am really going to miss this place.

Skip: Mm.

David looks at Skip, smiling knowingly. Both exit.


Skip's Voice (from off-screen): Hey! You can leave, too!

Uhhh... You mean me, Mr. Simpson?

Skip's Voice (from off-screen): Yeah, you, Mr. Omnipotent Narrator!

Oh. Okay.

THE END*... for now.

*The end of Pleasantview, not the end of the blog, that is!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Special Announcement... Kinda.

From the Real-World Team of Simpson & Lynch:

After posting only one chapter of what we call "Season Two" of Pleasantview nearly a month ago, this blog seems to be collecting more than its share of virtual dust, dunnit? 

Briefly: This is a combination of Skip's and David's time-consuming real-world concerns, as well as the fact that our thirty-year-old partnership -- if you don't count a hiatus of seventeen years! -- has recently gelled into not just one, but two exciting projects. These "projects" involve an opportunity for the two of us to actually make some money from our collaborative efforts, and that's something that we haven't seen (as a partnership) for over twenty years!

Want a hint? Okay, here goes: In a way, these projects can be described as "something old, something new, something borrowed, and -- heh, heh -- something blue!"

And no, it has nothing to do with a wedding! Skip's wedding to the lovely Sandy Herbert isn't scheduled until 2012, and as for David... Yeah, right.

So stay tuned, sports fans!

David says: "Thanks for your time."

And Skip says: "Vootie!"

Th-th-th-that's all, folks!