"A Minute With Stan Hooper"
Original Pilot Script



A MINUTE WITH STAN HOOPER

 

COLD OPEN

 

FADE IN:

 

INT. TV STUDIO Ė NIGHT

(BRAD)

 

BRAD EDWARDS, HOST OF ďNEWSLINE,Ē SITS IN A DIRECTORíS CHAIR IN FRONT OF A BLUE SCREEN WHICH HAS A PICTURE OF STAN HOOPER.

 

BRAD

 

As always, we close ďNewslineĒ with ďA Minute With Stan Hooper.Ē

 

CUT TO:

 

INT. RUSTIC CABIN SET Ė SAME TIME

(STAN, MOLLY, TODD)

 

STAN HOOPER, A MODERN DAY WILL ROGERS, SITS IN AN EASY CHAIR BESIDE A ROARING FIRE WITH OLD RED, AN IRISH SETTER.

 

STAN

 

(SMILING TO CAMERA) Tonight marks ten years that Iíve been coming to you for a minute every week, bringing you stories that may not make the front page of the papers, but they make up the fabric of America.† Real stories.† About real people.† Like Backporch Betty, the lady from Angus, Iowa, who makes pies for hobos.† Or Lebert Delaney of Corn Creek, Nebraska, who every year raises the biggest pig in the county, but canít bear to send it to slaughter.† Today, Lebert houses over forty-eight thousand pounds of happy pork.† The trouble is, Iíve been brining you these real stories from this set in Studio 6, in mid-town Manhattan.† And that feels a little less than honest to me.† So, tonight when I leave here, my wife Molly and IÖ

 

HE LOOKS OVER AT MOLLY STANDING OFF-CAMERA Ė SWEET, UNFAILINGLY SUPPORTIVE.† HE MOTIONS FOR HER TO JOIN HIM BUT SHEíS SHY.† HEíS INSISTENT, HOWEVER, AND SHE FINALLY AGREES.

 

STAN (CONTíD)

 

(PUTTING AN ARM AROUND HER)Ö Molly and I are packing up and moving to the kind of little town Iíve been talking about all these years.† (TO MOLLY) A place that has special meaning for us.† (TO CAMERA) Iíll still be coming to you live every week, but Iíll be coming to you live from Waterford Falls, Wisconsin, with a more honest minute.† Until then, goodnight.

 

STAN AND MOLLY WALK OFF ARM-IN-ARM, LEAVING OLD RED LOOKING CONFUSED.† IN A SECOND THEY RETURN.

 

STAN (CONTíD)

 

Oh, this isnít our dog, either.† (POINTING OFF CAMERA) He belongs to that guy.† But when Molly and I get to our new home, weíre going to have a dog of our own, I promise you.

 

THEY WALK OFF AGAIN, WHERE MOLLY GIVES HIM A KISS.

 

MOLLY

 

You were wonderful.

 

TODD, HIS 24 YEAR OLD PRODUCER, APPROACHES.

 

TODD

 

Youíre making a megaton mistake.† If thereís one thing Iíve learned from my years in this business, you donít screw with success.

 

MOLLY

 

Ten years of living a lie is long enough.† Heís burned out, Todd.

 

TODD

 

He works a minute a week!† For ten years, thatís eight hours.† Thatís one day!† Who burns out in a day?

 

MOLLY

 

(TO STAN) He has a point.

 

STAN

 

Honey, I work a lot more than just this minute.† It takes me hours to come up with a minute a week.

 

MOLLY

 

(GENTLY) I know, but when you say that to other people you sound dumb.

 

TODD

 

Well, if this doesnít work and you want to come back later, remember what I told you.

 

STAN

 

That door is locked.

 

TODD

 

And somebody swallowed the key.

 

TODD PATS HIM ON THE BACK AND WALKS OFF, LEAVING STAN WITH HIS IRREVOCABLE DECISION.

 

FADE OUT:

 

OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE

 

ACT ONE

 

SCENE A

 

FADE IN:

 

EXT. WISCONSIN HIGHWAY Ė SEVERAL DAYS LATER

 

THE HOOPERíS CAR AND U-HAUL PASS A BILLBOARD READING ďWELCOME TO WATERFORD FALLSĒ AND BELOW THAT, ďHOME OF CHEESE.Ē

 

INT. PETERESON BOYíS DINER Ė SAME DAY

(STAN, MOLLY, PETE, LOU, ED, CHELSEA, RYAN)

 

THE CENTRAL MEETING PLACE IN TOWN.† EVENTUALLY, EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN WATERFORD FALLS PASSES THROUGH HERE, BECAUSE IN ADDITION TO BEING A DINER, IT IS ALSO THE POST OFFICE, GAS STATION, SOUVENIR SHOP, AND THE PLACE TO BUY VIDEOS.† OH, AND CHEESE.† YOU CAN BUY IT BY THE SLICE, THE WEDGE, THE BLOCK OR THE BARREL.† YOU CAN ALSO BUY IT SCULPTED INTO A VARIETY OF FARM ANIMALS, WHICH ARE ON DISPLAY.

 

THE DINER IS PRESENTLY EMPTY AS STAN AND MOLLY ENTER, BOTH INSTANTLY CAPTIVATED.

 

STAN

 

Wow, look at this place.† Itís exactly like I remember it.

 

MOLLY

 

I know.† Nothingís changed in fifteen years.

 

SHE INSPECTS A BLOCK OF CHEESE.

 

MOLLY (CONTíD)

 

Just checking to see if the date on the cheese has changed.† (RELEIEVED) It has.

 

STAN

 

This is the vanishing America, Molly.† Unspoiled by fast food or trendy wine bars.† I bet these people never even heard of cappuccino.† I could do the show live from right here.

 

HE SUDDENLY LOOKS CONCERNED.

 

MOLLY

 

Whatís the matter?

 

STAN

 

What if my being a celebrity and doing the show from here spoils this place?† I donít want to do that.† I just want to be a common man.

 

MOLLY

 

(SUPPORTIVELY) You are, honey.† Youíre as common as they come.

 

STAN

 

Right, I mean, itís really important that these people think of me as just Stan Hooper, and notÖ (ARMS OUTSTRETCHED) ďSTAN HOOPER!Ē

 

MOLLY NODS AS PETE PETERSON, BURLY, EARLY 30íS, HAIR PLUGS, ENTERS FROM THE BACK IN A WHITE T-SHIRT AND APRON.

 

PETE

 

Hey, folks.† What can I do you for?

 

STAN

 

(HAPPILY TO MOLLY) ďWhat can I do you for?Ē I love that.† (TO PETE) Couple oí cups oí joe.

 

PETE

 

Two cappuccinos cominí up.

 

STAN

 

(SURPRISED) No, not cappuccinos.† Joe.

 

PETE

 

Espresso?

 

STAN

 

No, just regular joe.

 

PETE

 

(CALLING; DISAPPOINTED) Two Macadamia Nut coffees, hold the fun!

 

STAN

 

Donít you just have regular coffee?

 

PETE

 

That is our regular coffee. (PROUDLY)† We went to Hawaii last year.† So, where you folks from?

 

MOLLY

 

New York.

 

PETE

 

(CHEERFULLY) Oh.† You lost?

 

STAN

 

No, weíre going to make Waterford Falls our home.

 

PETE

 

(AS BEFORE) Oh. Hiding out?

 

STAN

 

No, this is the kind of place weíve always talked about living.† (AS IF ITíS OBVIOUS)† Iím Stan Hooper.

 

MOLLY

 

But donít think of him asÖ (ARMS OUTSTRETCHED) ďSTAN HOOPER!Ē† As far as youíre concerned, heís just Stan Hooper.

 

PETE

 

(BEAT) Gotcha.

 

MOLLY

 

And Iím Molly Hooper.

 

PETE

 

Pete Peterson.

 

LOU, EARLY 30íS, TALL WITH HAIR PLUGS, COMES OUT BACK WITH TWO COFFEES.

 

LOU

 

(RE: COFFEES) Two party poopers.† You people want a wedge with that?

 

STAN

 

No, thanks.

 

PETE

 

Lou, meet our new neighbors.† This is Molly and Ė what was your name again?† I know itís ďjustĒ something.

 

STAN

 

Stan.† Stan Hooper.

 

LOU

 

Lou Petersen.† Now where have I seen you before?

 

STAN

 

(MODEST BUT PLEASED)† Television.† But that doesnít mean anything.† Iím just like the rest of you.

 

PETE

 

(IMPRESSED) Not if youíve been on tv, youíre not.

 

LOU

 

It wasnít TV.

 

STAN

 

Yeah, it was.† Iím on ďNewsline.Ē

 

LOU

 

Whatís that?

 

STAN

 

Whatís ďNewslineĒ?† Itís the highest-rated primetime news show in America.† I do a segment Ė ďA Minute With Stan HooperĒ Ė every week.

 

PETE

 

Donít get upset.† If you say youíre on television, we believe you.

 

ED THE POSTMAN ENTERS, LIMPING AND LUGGING HIS MAILBAG.

 

ED

 

Pay your damn parking ticket, will you, Pete?† Iím tired of carrying around your past due notices.

 

HE SLAPS THEIR MAIL ON THE COUNTER AND SITS.

 

ED (CONTíD)

 

Gimme an iced mocha supreme with whipped cream and a cherry.

 

LOU

 

Cinnamon sprinkles?

 

ED

 

Yeah, bring it all on.

 

PETE

 

Hey, Ed, wanna meet a celebrity?

 

ED

 

Sure.

 

PETE

 

Meet Stan Hooper.

 

ED

 

Who?

 

PETE

 

(TO STAN) Show him your face.

 

STAN, A LITTLE HUMILIATED, TURNS TO ED.

 

PETE (CONTíD)

 

Heís on tv.† Whatís that show again?

 

STAN

 

ďNewslineĒ.† I do ďA Minute With Stan HooperĒ at the end.

 

ED

 

Whenís it on?

 

MOLLY

 

Wednesdays at nine.

 

ED

 

Same time as ďThe Wisconsin Farm Report.Ē

 

PETE

 

No wonder no oneís seen it.

 

STAN

 

A lot of people have seen it.† Some week when the price of pork bellies is down and you want to watch something to make you feel good about yourselves, maybe youíll see it, too.

 

ED

 

Donít think so.

 

MOLLY

 

Honey, this is great.† No one knows who you are.

 

LOU

 

I still feel like Iíve seen your face.

 

STAN

 

(SNAPPING) Well, you havenít. (THEN QUICKLY:) Letís just drop it, huh?

 

CHELSEA, 17 AND HOT, WITH A BUNDLE OF ENERGY, RUNS IN.

 

CHELSEA

 

Sorry Iím late.† I had a make-up test.

 

PETE

 

Howíd you do?

 

CHELSEA

 

My teacher says Iím still too heavy on the lip gloss.

 

PETE

 

(TO STAN AND MOLLY) Chelseaís studying to be a beautician.† Hey, Chels, meet a real, live celebrity.† This is Stan Hooper.

 

CHELSEA

 

(UNSURE) Hello.

 

STAN

 

You donít know who I am.† Itís okay.

 

PETE

 

Heís on a show called ďNewslineĒ.† He does a minute with himself.† (TO STAN) Now when you say a minute, thatís just the title, right?† You do more than a minute.

 

STAN

 

No, just the one minute.

 

ED

 

What do you do the rest of the week?

 

STAN

 

I work on what Iím going to say for the minute.

 

THEY JUST LOOK AT HIM.† MOLLY GENTLY SHAKES HER HEAD, INDICATING HE SHOULDNíT SAY THAT.

 

PETE

 

(UPBEAT) Well, nice work if you can get it.

 

CHELSEA

 

So, what brings you to Waterford Falls?

 

PETE

 

Theyíre moving here.

 

MOLLY

 

Stanís going to do his show from here.† He might even do it from this diner.

 

PETE

 

Hey, how Ďbout that?† Any chance you can change the night your showís on?

 

STAN

 

No.

 

ED

 

Too bad.† If youíre doing a show from Waterford Falls, seems youíd want the people from Waterford Falls to see it.

 

MOLLY

 

Well, the showís not the reason weíre moving here.† Weíve always wanted to live in Waterford Falls.† Stan and I passed through on our honeymoon and thought it was the most charming place weíd ever seen.† Itís been a dream of ours to live here ever since.

 

STAN

 

We ate in this very diner.† Camped on the riverbankÖ

 

MOLLY

 

And that night, we made love under the canopy of the biggest old oak tree weíd ever seen.

 

LOU

 

Thatís where I saw you!

 

STAN

 

What?

 

LOU

 

I was out crawfishing and I remember seeing you two under that tree.

 

STAN

 

NoÖ

 

LOU

 

Yeah, you had a mustache back then.

 

STAN

 

Good LordÖ

 

LOU

 

You were a very gentle lover, as I recall.

 

MOLLY PATS STAN AFFECTIONATELY.† HE LOOKS AT HER, AGHAST.

 

LOU (CONTíD)

 

That mustíve been fifteen years ago.

 

MOLLY

 

(IMPRESSED) What a memory you have.

 

PETE

 

Oh, this guyís got a beautiful mind.

 

RYAN HAWKINS, 18, WITH MIDWESTERN GOOD LOOKS AND THE REBEL SOUL OF JAMES DEAN, ENTERS WITH A FRESH SUPPLY OF CHEESE SCULPTURES.

 

PETE (CONTíD)

 

Hey, Ryan.† Youíll know this guy.† Youíre into tv.

 

PETE SWIVELS STANíS STOOL, SO STAN IS FACING RYAN.† STANíS NOT USED TO SUFFERING THIS HUMILIATION.† RYAN JUST LOOKS AT HIM FOR A BEAT, SPEECHLESS.† THEN:

 

RYAN

 

STAN HOOPER!

 

STAN

 

(LOOKING UP) You know me??

 

RYAN

 

ďA Minute With Stan Hooper!Ē† The best minute on television!† They should give you two, youíre that good.

 

STAN

 

(PLEASED) You think so?

 

RYAN

 

(TO THE OTHERS) Every week he comes on for a minute and tells these amazing stories about ordinary people, and itís like, profound.

 

STAN

 

Well, I donít know if Iíd go so far as to say ďprofound.Ē

 

MOLLY

 

(INNOCENTLY) You have.

 

RYAN

 

Man, what are you doing here?

 

CHELSEA

 

Heís going to be living here.

 

PETE

 

And doing his show from here.

 

RYAN

 

No way!† Could I meet your crew?† To pick their brains, I mean.† I want to be a documentary filmmaker some day.

 

STAN

 

Iím not going to have a crew.† All I need is a cameraman.† Iím just going to use somebody local.

 

RYAN

 

Use me!† Iíve got a camera.

 

STAN

 

(AMUSED) Well, I need a little more than a home video recorder.

 

RYAN

 

Iíve got an XLS with 3CCD pixel-shift technology, four channel digital audio, and super range optical image stabilizer.† Is that enough?

 

STAN

 

Considering itís just me in a chair, that should be enough, yeah.

 

RYAN

 

So I have the job?

 

STAN

 

Well, I did say Iíd hire somebody local, but I donít think the network was counting on me hiring a kid.

 

RYAN

 

Itís not like Iím a virgin.

 

CHELSEA

 

(EMBARRASSED) Ryan!

 

RYAN

 

I meant in the ďprofessionalĒ sense.

 

CHELSEA

 

(MORE EMBARRASSED) Oh.

 

THEY ALL SHARE AN UNCOMFORTABLE LOOK.

 

RYAN

 

Iíve got sample of my work if youíd like to see it.

 

STAN

 

Yeah, maybe I should.† To be responsible.

 

RYAN

 

Where are you staying?† Iíve shot over 900 hours of people in town.† Iíll bring it to you.

 

STAN

 

On second thought, I trust my instincts.† I donít need to see 900 hours of footage.† Jobís yours.

 

RYAN

 

All right!† Now I can finally tell emí they can take their job at the cheese plant and stuff it!

 

CHELSEA

 

Yes!

 

THRILLED, HE RACES OUT Ė THEN TURNS BACK AND GIVES CHELSEA A BIG WHIPPING KISS IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY BEFORE HE LEAVES.

 

CHELSEA (CONTíD)

 

(TO STAN) Thank you!

 

CHELSEA HAPPILY GOES OFF TO THE BACK AS STAN LOOKS CONFUSED.

 

STAN

 

Whatíd I do??

 

PETE

 

Chelseaís not ďcheeseĒ people. Now that youíve hired Ryan, heís not either.† Heís as common as you.† You set him free.

 

MOLLY

 

(PROUDLY) We just got here and youíre already helping people.

 

ED

 

So, where you folks staying?† As your mailman, itís my right to know.

 

STAN

 

The hotel, probably.

 

ED

 

Thereís no hotel.

 

STAN

 

Or motel, whatever.

 

ED

 

No motel.

 

STAN

 

What do people use?

 

ED

 

To have sex, they generally just go out under the old oak tree.

 

STAN

 

Suppose we just want a place to sleep until we find a place to live?

 

PETE

 

Oh, finding a place to live shouldnít take any time at all.

 

PETE PUTS ON A TIGHT-FITTING GOLD BLAZER.

 

PETE (CONTíD)

 

Youíre talking to the town realtor.† I know every piece of property for sale or lease within ten miles of here.

 

MOLLY

 

(ENTHUSED) Great!

 

PETE

 

(LEADING THEM OUT) Thereís two.† And one of them is haunted.

 

OFF STAN AND MOLLYíS LOOK AS THEY FOLLOW PETE OUTÖ

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

SCENE B

 

INT. WATERFORD FALLS HOUSE Ė A SHORT WHILE LATER

(STAN, PETE, MOLLY, GARY, FRED, RYAN, CHELSEA)

 

A WARM, TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY TWO-STORY WHITE CLAPBOARD HOUSE ON A RIVER, SURROUNDED ON THREE SIDES BY A BIG PORCH Ė THIS IS THE QUINTESSENTIAL MID-AMERICAN HOME.† STAN AND MOLLY ENTER DOWN THE STAIRS, FOLLOWED BY PETE.

 

STAN

 

Wow, what a house.

 

PETE

 

It was built by the founder of Waterford Falls.† Been in the family ever since.

 

MOLLY

 

I canít believe itís for rent.

 

PETE

 

Mr. Waterford prefers to have the place occupied while heís away.

 

STAN

 

Where is he?

 

PETE

 

Prison.† Some tax thing.† I donít understand it.† I just know the place is available for five-to-ten years.

 

MOLLY

 

(TO STAN; EXCITED) Itís like the house weíve always dreamed of.

 

STAN

 

I know, but itís owned by a felon.† How do we feel about somebody profiting while theyíre doing time?

 

PETE

 

I can show you the other house.† They say the walls bleed.

 

STAN

 

I guess a tax thing isnít like committing a violent crime, right?

 

PETE

 

Am I hearing a yes?

 

STAN

 

How much we talking about?

 

PETE

 

Itís not cheap.

 

STAN

 

How much?

 

PETE

 

Itís not cheap.

 

STAN

 

How much?

 

PETE

 

But the price includes furnishing, utilities, the whole she-bang.† You could move in tonight.

 

STAN

 

How much?

 

PETE

 

(WINCING) Five hundred.

 

STAN

 

(FLABBERGASTED) A month?!

 

PETE

 

(DONíT HIT ME) Four hundred.

 

STAN

 

No, Iím not negotiating.

 

PETE

 

Three-fifty.

 

STAN

 

You donít understand.† Iím not negotiating.

 

PETE

 

Okay, tell me what youíll pay!

 

STAN

 

Iíll pay five hundred.

 

PETE

 

A month?!

 

STAN

 

Yes.

 

PETE

 

Have it your way.† Seems like a lot of haggliní for nothiní.

 

GARY JAMISON, MIDDLE-AGED, WEARING A FLANNEL SHIRT AND BLUE JEANS, ENTERS FROM THE BACK, CARRYING A BOUQUET OF FRESH-CUT FLOWERS.

 

GARY

 

(FRIENDLY) Hey, Pete.† Saw your car out front.† Are these the folks looking to rent the house?

 

STAN

 

We just did it.† (OFFERING HIS HAND)† Stan Hooper, my wife Molly.

 

GARY

 

Gary Jamison, your butler.

 

STAN

 

What?

 

PETE

 

Oh, I forgot the best part.† The house comes with a butler.

 

STAN

 

We donít need a butler.

 

GARY

 

Whoís going to draw your bath?

 

STAN

 

Weíll draw our own bath.† I donít even take baths.† Iím just a regular guy.

 

GARY

 

Regular guy with a butler.

 

STAN

 

I donít have a butler.

 

GARY

 

Yes you do.

 

PETE

 

If you want to live here.† Mr. Waterford insists.

 

GARY SMILES TRIUMPHANTLY.

 

MOLLY

 

(TO STAN) Itíll be fine.† Besides, the house with the bleeding walls doesnít sound as nice.

 

PETE

 

Iíll draw up the lease.

 

PETE EXITS.

 

GARY

 

Iíll unpack your bags.† How do you folks like your underwear folded?

 

STAN

 

Donít touch our underwear.† Look, fine, youíre the butler.† But I donít want you doing anything for us, okay?

 

GARY

 

(DEFIANTLY) Well, Iím going to.† Iím going to get you tea right now.

 

STAN

 

We donít want tea!

 

GARY

 

(EXITING) Well, youíre getting it.

 

STAN LOOKS HELPLESSLY TO MOLLY.

 

MOLLY

 

You donít have to drink it.

 

GARY (OFF STAGE)

 

Yes you do!

 

THEREíS A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

 

STAN

 

(AS HE GOES TO ANSWER IT) I hate this.

 

AS STAN REACHES FOR THE DOORKNOB, GARY SUDDENLY REAPPEARS.

 

GARY

 

(ACCUSINGLY) What are you doing?

 

STAN THROWS UP HIS HANDS AND BACKS AWAY SO GARY CAN DO HIS JOB AND OPEN THE DOOR.† STANDING BEFORE THEM IS SMILINGLY AFFABLE FRED HAWKINS, WITH RYAN SULKING BESIDE HIM.

 

FRED

 

(FRIENDLY) Hey, Gare.

 

GARY

 

(FRIENDLY) Hey, Fred.† Ryan.

 

FRED

 

Iím here to see Mr. Hooper.

 

GARY

 

Sure, come on in. (CONTRITELY) Thatís him.† Announcing Fred Hawkins.

 

STAN

 

(EQUALLY CONTRITE) Thank you.

 

GARY

 

(FRIENDLY) You guys want tea?

 

FRED

 

If everybody else is.

 

GARY

 

(POINTEDLY) They are.

 

GARY EXITS TO THE KITCHEN.

 

FRED

 

(FRIENDLY) I understand you met Ryan this afternoon.† This is for you.

 

HE HANDS THEM A BLOCK OF CARVED CHEESE THAT SAYS ďWELCOME TO WATERFORD FALLSĒ

 

MOLLY

 

Oh, how thoughtful.

 

STAN

 

Yeah, Ryan seems like a nice young man.

 

FRED

 

(CHUCKLING) Well, yeah, and we want to keep him that way.† Thatís why I was a little surprised when he came to the plant and told me he was forsaking the family business to go to work for you.

 

STAN

 

Oh, I didnít realize cheese was the family business.

 

FRED

 

Yeah, weíve owned the plant for three generations.† They call me ďThe Big Cheese.Ē† We always get a good laugh out of that.

 

FRED AND MOLLY LAUGH.† STAN JUST LOOKS AT HER.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

Anyway, Ryanís our only son.† Naturally, we were breeding him to be fourth generation.† We could breed his sister but sheís no Ė whatís the word Iím looking for? That real smart guy.

 

RYAN

 

Einstein.

 

FRED

 

Einstein, thatís the one.† Sheís no Einstein.† (INDICATING RYAN) See?

 

STAN

 

But if Ryanís not interested in cheeseÖ

 

FRED

 

If heís not interested in cheese, itís because heís had his head turned by some dandy from New York.† No offense.

 

STAN

 

Iím no dandy.

 

MOLLY

 

(IN DEFENSE) Heís as common as dirt.

 

STAN

 

(WITH A LOOK TO MOLLY) Look, Mr. Hawkins, I donít know what you want me to doÖ

 

FRED

 

I want you to tell him he has no talent.† Crush his dreams once and for all.† (PUTTING HIS ARM AROUND RYAN)† Iíve tried to tell him, but you know kids.† They donít listen to their old man.† They need to be broken by someone they admire.

 

CHELSEA RUNS IN FROM OUTSIDE.

 

CHELSEA

 

Ryan, whatís going on?

 

RYAN

 

What are you doing here?

 

CHELSEA

 

Your father is trying to get you to go back, isnít he?† I was cleaning the greasepan when I saw you drive by.

 

FRED

 

(PRIVATELY) And tell him to dump waitress girl while youíre at it.

 

RYAN

 

Her name is Chelsea.

 

FRED

 

(TO RYAN) Why donít you take your little friend outside on the porch?† I want to talk in private.

 

RYAN

 

(PROTECTIVELY) Come on, Chels.

 

THEY STEP OUTSIDE, SHUTTING THE DOOR BEHIND THEM.

 

MOLLY

 

They seem sweet together.

 

FRED

 

Oh, I donít have anything against the girl personally, but the boy shouldnít be with someone who serves cheese.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

He should be with someone who comes from cheese Ė whoís comfortable with the things cheese can buy.

 

STAN

 

Mr. Hawkins, Iím not comfortable having this conversation.† I didnít come here to get involved in your familyís problems.

 

FRED

 

Youíre tearing us apart, Hooper.† Youíre shredding us like mozzarella.

 

STAN

 

All I did was give your kid a job!† If you donít want him to take it, fine, but Iím not firing him.

 

FRED

 

I see where youíre coming from.† (PULLING OUT A CHECKBOOK)† Let me write you a check for a thousand dollars.

 

MOLLY

 

Youíre trying to bribe him??

 

FRED

 

Call it first and last monthsí rent.† (OFF THEIR LOOKS) Okay, it was a shot.† Look, weíre both gentlemen.† Letís settle this like gentlemen.

 

FRED PUTS AWAY HIS CHECKBOOK AND PULLS OUT A LEATHER CIGAR HOLDER FROM HIS BREAST POCKET.† IT HOLDS PIECES OF STRING CHEESE LIKE FINE CIGARS.† HE OFFERS ONE TO STAN.

 

STAN

 

No thanks.

 

FRED

 

Peace offering.

 

MOLLY

 

Stan canít eat cheese.† Heís lactose intolerant.

 

FRED

 

Whatís that?

 

STAN

 

Iím allergic to diary products.

 

FRED

 

(FRIENDLY) Whatís the worse that could happen?

 

STAN

 

Cardiac arrest.† I could die.

 

FRED

 

(CONSIDERING; THEN SMILING) Címon, one little piece.† (OFF STANíS LOOK) Okay, I wonít force you.† So where do we stand, Stan?

 

STAN

 

I told you.† Iím not going to tell your son he has no talent.† What if he does?† And Iím not telling him to dump Chelsea.

 

FRED

 

(PUTTING HIS CHEESE AWAY) Then we have nothing to say to each other.† (CALLING) Gary, Iím leaving!

 

FRED STANDS AND WAITS FOR GARY TO COME OPEN THE DOOR.

 

STAN

 

Try to understand my position.

 

FRED

 

I didnít get where I am today by understanding the other fellowís position.

 

GARY ENTERS CARRYING A TEA TRAY AND OPENS THE FRONT DOOR.† RYAN AND CHELSEA ARE STANDING THERE.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

If you want to control my sonís life, you be his father.† Let him move in with you, I donít care.† I was my hands of the whole affair.

 

STAN

 

Waitó

 

FRED EXITS PAST RYAN AND CHELSEA.

 

STAN (CONTíD)

 

(CALLING) I donít want him to move in with us!

 

GARY

 

Weíve got the room.

 

STAN SHOOTS A LOOK AT GARY.

 

STAN

 

And I donít want to be his father!

 

CHELSEA

 

(TO RYAN) If they wonít let you stay here, you can move in with me and mom.

 

RYAN

 

You and your mom live in a camper, Chels.† Where would I sleep?

 

CHELSEA

 

Up front in the cab, with me.† Mom got new sheepskin slipcovers, so itís real luxurious now.

 

STAN

 

That sounds nice.

 

MOLLY

 

Come on, Stan, he can stay here until this blows over, canít he?† His dad wonít stay mad forever.† Besides, it might be fun.† We donít have kids of our own.

 

STAN

 

Have you ever heard me complaining about that?

 

MOLLYíS EYES PLEAD WITH STAN TO LET RYAN STAY.

 

STAN (CONTíD)

 

Okay, fine, you can stay.† But just until you work things out at home.† I didnít come here to get involved in your familyís craziness.† And Iím not going to be your father, either.† I came here to live a typical, small town, middle-class life and darn it, thatís what Iím going to do.

 

GARY

 

Tea is served.

 

OFF STANíS LOOKÖ

 

FADE OUT:

 

END OF ACT ONE

 

 

ACT TWO

 

SCENE C

 

FADE IN:

 

INT. STAN AND MOLLYíS BEDROOM Ė THAT NIGHT

(STAN, GARY, MOLLY)

 

GARY IS TURNING DOWN THEIR SHEETS AND FLUFFING THEIR PILLOWS AS HE PREPARES THEIR ROOM.† HE SETS OUT MINTS, THEN TOSSES ROSE PETALS ON THE BED AS STAN AND MOLLY ENTER IN PAJAMAS, SURPRISED TO FIND HIM.

 

STAN

 

What are you doing?

 

GARY

 

Getting your bed ready.

 

STAN

 

I donít want roses in my bed.† And I donít want mints on my pillow.† We donít live like this, Gary.

 

GARY

 

Yes you do.

 

STAN

 

We do not!† (TO MOLLY) This isnít going to work.

 

MOLLY

 

Itís a period of adjustment.

 

STAN

 

We came here to live a simple life.

 

GARY

 

Well, you came to the wrong place.

 

STAN SHOOTS A LOOK AT GARY.

 

MOLLY

 

(TO STAN) Itís going to be a wonderful life, but every place has things you have to get used to.

 

STAN

 

A butler?

 

GARY

 

Iíll be in my quarters if you need me.

 

MOLLY

 

Where are you quarters?

 

STAN

 

Why would we need him??

 

GARY

 

Right next door.

 

STAN

 

The house has five bedrooms!

 

GARY

 

Yes, and mine is next to yours.

 

MOLLY

 

(OFF STANíS LOOK) Itíll be fine.† (TO GARY) I donít think weíll need you, but thanks.

 

GARY

 

Well, if you do, just say my name.† I have hearing like a German Shepherd.

 

STAN GLARES AS GARY EXITS, SHUTTING THE DOOR BEHIND HIM.

 

MOLLY

 

(AFTER A BEAT) You all right?

 

STAN

 

No.† One day here and Iíve got a butler I donít want, Iíve got a kid living in my basement.† Iíve pissed off ďThe Big CheeseĒÖ

 

MOLLY

 

Youíre in a beautiful old house with a great big porch by a scenic river.† With a woman who adores you.† What say we christen this old house like we christened that old oak tree?

 

SHE WALKS ON HER KNEES ACROSS THE BED AND KISSES HIM.† THE SPRINGS IN THE BED CREEK.

 

GARY (OFF STAGE)

 

(FROM HIS ROOM) If this is going to be every night, I may have to move to another room!

 

SEIZING THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY, STAN SUDDENLY JUMPS UP AND DOWN ON THE BED LIKE A MAN POSSESSED.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

 

SCENE D

 

INT. DINER Ė A FEW DAYS LATER

(STAN, RYAN, MOLLY, TERI, LOU, FRED, PETE, CHELSEA)

 

THE DINER IS LIT FOR STANíS FIRST MINUTE FROM WATERFORD FALLS.† RYAN IS RUNNING A VIDEO CHECK.† A HANDFUL OF TOWNSPEOPLE, INCLUDING ED, ARE WATCHING WITH CURIOSITY.† STAN SITS ON ONE OF THE COUNTER STOOLS FACING THE CAMERA.

 

STAN

 

How does it look?

 

RYAN

 

Iím getting a flare off the cappuccino machine.† Iíll fix it.

 

STAN

 

I donít want to see a cappuccino machine in the shot anyway.† This is supposed to be down home middle America.

 

RYAN HEADS FOR THE KITCHEN AS MOLLY STICKS HER HEAD OUT THROUGH THE ORDER WINDOW.

 

MOLLY

 

Pete and Lou want to know if they should wear make-up?

 

STAN

 

No.

 

MOLLY

 

Not even eyeliner?

 

STAN

 

No, I want them to look natural.† Thatís the whole point.

 

MOLLY

 

(CALLING) He says no.† Take it off, guys.† Sorry, Chelsea.

 

MOLLY DUCKS BACK OUT.† TERI, A CHEAP BLONDE IN TIGHT PANTS AND HIGH HEELS, STEPS OUT FROM THE CROWD.

 

TERI

 

Pete, Lou!† Can I have a glass of wine?

 

LOU (OFF STAGE)

 

We donít serve wine.

 

TERI

 

Then can I just have a glass?

 

LOU (OFF STAGE)

 

Help yourself.

 

SHE PULLS OUT A HALF-BOTTLE OF WHITE WINE FROM HER BIG PURSE, UNSCREWS THE CAP, AND POURS THE CONTENTS INTO A WATER GLASS.

 

TERI

 

(TO STAN) We havenít met.† Iím Teri, Chelseaís mom.† Thanks for giving Ryan this job.† It means a lot to us.† With any luck, weíll be hearing wedding bells soon.

 

STAN

 

Wedding bells?† You donít think theyíre a little young to be thinking of marriage?

 

TERI

 

Not if theyíre happy.† Donít get me wrong, Iím not trying to push her out.† Iíd miss waking up in the afternoon knowing she wouldnít be sleeping in the front seat that night, but thatís just the mother in me.

 

TERI HEADS BACK INTO THE CROWD AS FRED ENTERS WITH AN ATTRACTIVE BUT PERSONALITY-CHALLENGED YOUNG WOMAN.

 

FRED

 

So, this is the big-time show business Ė lights, camera, action.† I know the routine, but my daughterís never seen anything like this.† She was real curious.

 

STAN LOOKS AT HER.† THERE IS NO TRACE OF CURIOSITY Ė OR EVEN A PULSE FOR THAT MATTER.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

(TO STAN) This is Marjorie, the one I was telling you about.† Someday sheíll be running the family business, God help us all.

 

STAN

 

Nice to meet you, Marjorie.

 

NOTHING.

 

FRED

 

Sheís a little star-struck.† (TO MARJORIE) Why donít you get yourself a gumball or something, sweetheart?† Maybe youíll get a yellow one this time.

 

HE HANDS HER SOME CHANGE AND OFF SHE GOES.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

(TO STAN) Yellowís her favorite color, as far as we can tell.

 

STAN

 

So, what are you really doing here?

 

FRED

 

I told you.

 

STAN

 

I donít think you came for Marjorie.† I think you came for Ryan.

 

FRED

 

Busted.† Okay, the way I size it up, Iíve got two choices.† Respect my sonís decision or lose him forever.

 

STAN

 

I think youíre sizing it up right.

 

FRED

 

What would you do, Hooper?† Iím torn.

 

STAN

 

You know what to do.

 

MARJORIE RETURNS.† SHE SHOWS FRED TWO GUMBALLS, A GREEN AND A RED.

 

FRED

 

Oh, thatís too bad honey.† (TO STAN)† Yeah, I know what to do.

 

RYAN AND CHELSEA ENTER FROM THE KITCHEN.† THEY STOP AS SOON AS THEY SEE HIS FATHER.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

Hey, thereís the young director and his little friend.

 

RYAN

 

Her name is Chelsea.† What are you doing here?

 

FRED

 

Did I miss your first little league game?† Did I miss your first piano recital?

 

RYAN

 

Yeah.

 

FRED

 

Well, Iím a busy man.

 

RYAN

 

So, whyíd you come today?

 

FRED

 

Your sister was badgering me to bring her down.

 

RYAN LOOKS AT HIS SISTER, WHOíS PRACTICALLY COMATOSE.

 

RYAN

 

(TO FRED) Youíre not still mad at me?

 

FRED

 

Sure I am, but one of the things your mother and I pride ourselves on is hiding our true feelings.

 

RYAN

 

Where is mom?

 

FRED

 

I thought Iíd do everybody a favor and leave her home.

 

RYAN

 

Well, Iíve got a show to do.

 

FRED

 

Then you go do it.† Iíll just get out of your way.

 

FRED BACKS UP, ALLOWING RYAN AND CHELSEA TO PASS.† BUT AS THEY DO, FRED SUDDENLY GRABS RYAN AND AWKWARDLY GIVES HIM A HUG.† ITíS MADE EVEN MORE AWKWARD BY THE FACT CHELSEA AND RYAN ARE PRACTICALLY GLUED TOGETHER.† FRED LITERALLY HAS TO PRY HIS WAY BETWEEN THEM.† FRED PATS RYAN AND SENDS HIM ON HIS WAY BEHIND THE CAMERA.

 

FRED (CONTíD)

 

(TO STAN) Heavy, huh?

 

STAN

 

(EXCITED) Yeah, but this is great.† This is the way it should be.† Heíll move back home now and everything will be back to normal.

 

FRED

 

No chance, Hooper.† I have a plan, a scheme.† Heís going through a rebellious stage.† I figure he lives with you, he rebels against you.† Sooner or later, he leaves you and comes back to cheese.† Itís perfect.

 

STAN

 

Yeah, but what if it doesnít work and he lives with me forever?

 

FRED

 

Thatís a chance Iím willing to take.† Now, if youíll excuse me, Iím going to keep up the charade and give him another hug.

 

FRED GOES OFF AS PETE, LOU AND MOLLY ENTER FROM THE KITCHEN.† PETE AND LOU HAVE SLICKED DOWN THEIR PLUGS AND ARE WEARING CLEAN T-SHIRTS AND APRONS.

 

MOLLY

 

How do they look?

 

STAN

 

Fine.† I guess.

 

PETE

 

Is it true the camera adds the pounds to you?

 

STAN

 

Thatís what they say.

 

PETE

 

(SUCKING IN HIS CHEEKS) If I do this, does it help?

 

STAN

 

No.

 

RYAN

 

Weíre counting down.

 

LOU

 

Tell us what you want us to do.† Weíve never acted before.

 

STAN

 

I donít want you to act.† Just be natural. Thereís no script.† The whole point of this is to show ordinary people just being themselves and enjoying lifeís simple pleasures.

 

LOU

 

Gotcha.

 

STAN

 

Here, sit on either side of me.

 

MOLLY

 

Good luck, honey.

 

MOLLY GIVES STAN A QUICK KISS AND DUCKS OUT OF FRAME.

 

CHELSEA

 

(TO RYAN) Good luck, honey.

 

CHELSEA GIVES RYAN A FRENCH KISS THAT LASTS WAY TOO LONG.

 

TERI

 

(SINCERELY) Isnít that sweet?

 

STAN

 

Uh, whereís the count at?

 

RYAN

 

In five, four, three, twoÖ

 

RYAN POINTS TO STAN.

 

STAN

 

(TO CAMERA) Welcome to Waterford Falls, Wisconsin, an old-fashioned town of twelve hundred people, located along the Wisconsin River in the heartland of America.† An old-fashioned town Iím proud to call home.† I hope youíll find tonightís minute a more honest reflection of me and the kind of people I hold dear.† Next to me are Lou and Pete Petersen, owners of this diner where weíre sitting.† What makes them special?† Just the fact that theyíre two brothers who work together, play together and who live together in the house behind this diner.† Theyíre the kind of people I like to call my friends.† You know, in this hurly- burly world, a brother is someone Ė

 

LOU

 

(TO CAMERA)† Donít mean to interrupt you there, Stan, but I donít know where you got the idea we were brothers.

 

STAN

 

(CAUGHT OFF GUARD) Oh, well, youíve got the same last name.† I just assumed Ė

 

PETE

 

(PROUDLY) Weíre married.

 

STAN

 

What?

 

LOU

 

Tied the knot last year in Hawaii.† I took his name because this modern idea of couples keeping their own name is a lot of bunk.

 

PETE

 

Call us old-fashioned.

 

STAN

 

Old-fashioned??

 

LOU

 

We were going to take my name because Peteís never liked being Pete Petersen, but my last name is Cockburn and Ė

 

STAN

 

Whoa, whoa here!

 

PETE

 

Yeah, we figured with two gay guys with the last name Ė

 

STAN

 

We got it!

 

LOU

 

Weíd never hear the end of it.

 

STAN

 

(SWEATING) How much time, Ryan?

 

RYAN

 

Weíre clear.

 

STAN

 

Thank God.

 

THE SCREEN INSTANTLY GOES TO SNOWY-WHITE, AS IF THE TRANSMISSION HAS BEEN TERMINATED.

 

LOU (VOICE OVER)

 

We first met under the old oak tree.

 

FADE OUT:

 

THE END


Transcribed by me, but a huge thanks to Nat S. for sending me a copy of the original script.