Sitcom Fan Fiction: WASH YOUR HAIR, BETSY LEEN, BETSY LEEN


A scene from: WASH YOUR HAIR, BETSY LEEN, BETSY LEEN
By Jeffery Self

The following is the pilot for a failed CBS sitcom from the 1996-1997 television season. The show, ‘Wash Your Hair Betsy Leen, Betsy Leen’ was to star Brooke Shields in a pre-‘Suddenly Susan’ attempt at sitcom stardom. Set in San Francisco, the plot centers around Betsy Leen, the owner of a trendy women’s clothing boutique. She’s a single woman that is surrounded by predictably off beat friends. The odd premise of the show, however, is that Betsy Leen continuously refuses to wash her hair and in each week’s episode, the wacky cast characters surrounding her attempt to get her to wash her hair.

Here’s the pilot.

The camera pans into Betsy Leen’s boutique ‘Betsy’s Rags’. It’s Monday morning and shop worker, Varlerie is fussing with a display. Valerie is young, blond, bubbly, and quirky…. perhaps a little dim. The phone rings.

VALERIE:
(Answering)

Betsy’s Rags. How may I help you? (Visibly disgusted) Uh…. no sir…..we don’t mean THOSE kind of rags. Sorry.

She hangs up the phone, obviously freaked and grossed out at the same. She returns to the display. The door opens and Betsy Leen enters. She’s carrying a cup of coffee.

BETSY:
G’morning, Valerie.

VALERIE:
OH! Ms. Leen-

BETSY:
Valerie, how many times do I have to tell you…. I’m Betsy. Call my mother Mrs. Leen, call my Aunt Mary Mrs. Leen, hell…. call my cousin Paul Mrs. Leen if you want to you….. he certainly cries like a Mrs. on holidays….. but please, do NOT call me Mrs. Leen.

VALERIE:
Sorry! BETSY….. its hard to get used to calling somebody thats my elder by her first name.

BETSY:
Valerie. I’m only twenty nine years old. I’d hardly call myself your elder.

VALERIE:
I don’t know Mrs- uh…. Betsy—– back in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee most girls have had two or three babies by the time they get way up to your age.

BETSY:
Uh huh.

VALERIE:
I have messages for you.

BETSY:
Okay-

VALERIE:
One. Your dry cleaner called. They said they couldn’t get the stain out because for legal reasons they weren’t allowed to touch those kinds of stains.

BETSY:
(A little embarrassed)

Uh huh. What else?

VALERIE:
The mean Chinese lady with the glass eye from the jewelery company that always calls you ‘ugly slut’-

BETSY:
‘Scary whore’ but yes-

VALERIE:
Uh huh. She called and said she’d be by this afternoon-

BETSY:
(Preoccupied with setting up the cash register)

Okay.

VALERIE:
(Holding up a note)

And…. a Mike Miller called and he asked if you’d call him back at this number.

BETSY:
(Thrown off)

MIKE MILLER?! Uh. No. Throw that one away.

VALERIE:
But I told him-

BETSY:
Thats very well but….. throw that one away. Thanks.

VALERIE:
Uh. Okay. (She sniffs the air) Whats that smell?

BETSY:
I dunno…. what does it smell like?

VALERIE:
Like…. sorta….. feet and…. sweat….. and grease…..

BETSY:
Oh! Thats probably my hair.

VALERIE:
Yikes. Whats wrong with it?

BETSY:
Oh. Nothing. I just keep forgetting to wash it.

VALERIE:
Oh. Thats kinda gross.

BETSY:
Grossness is in the eye of the beholder. Thats what the Bible says.

VALERIE:
I don’t think thats-

BETSY:
Okay. Valerie. Could you get that shipment of cardigans from the store room and start folding those. I’d like to have those out on the floor today. I don’t want to be one of those stores that only puts winter clothes out in September and by the time January rolls around you’re displaying swimsuits. Don’t ya just hate that?

VALERIE:
I do!

BETSY:
Good. Then I’ll help you fold.

Valerie goes into the store room. Betsy accidentally spills her coffee on the floor.

BETSY:
Damn!

She gets a paper towel and begins wiping it up off the ground. She realizes she’s gotten the coffee all over her white leggings. Did I mention she’s wearing white leggings? Well, she is. She then hikes up her skirt and with her crotch and knees in the air begins scrubbing her leggings. Just then the front door opens and Michael Miller enters. A handsome man around Betsy’s age. The kind of man you saw a lot on nineties sitcoms. Big jawed and with a good head of hair. A good head of hair went a long time back then. Simpler times. Betsy looks up in shock.

BETSY:
(Giving him a full crotch shot)

Michael!

MICHAEL:
Well. This certainly is a better welcome than my Mom gave me.

Betsy quickly pulls her skirt down and gets up.

BETSY:
Michael! What the hell are you doing here?!

MICHAEL:
And thats exactly the greeting my mom gave me. I called you this morning then I was driving by and just thought I’d stop in.

BETSY:
What are you doing back in town?

MICHAEL:
Well. Thats why I called you. I’m back.

BETSY:
Back?

MICHAEL:
I moved back to San Francisco.

BETSY:
You? Why? How? For? What? When?

MICHAEL:
Which one of those do you want me to answer first?

Betsy kinda giggles but still holds her guard up.

MICHAEL:
Well. New York wasn’t for me. I mean….. I knew it was a bad omen when I walked into my apartment and saw Dead Baby.

BETSY:
Oh my God. There was a dead baby if your apartment?!

MICHAEL:
Ha! NO! That was my roommate. Dead Baby. She’s this performance artist. She does this act with chocolate syrup and a cardboard cut out of Alfred Hitchcock every weekend in the East Village. It’s…. not terrible just not my cup of tea I guess. But she was a really terrible roommate. Got chocolate syrup EVERYWHERE.

BETSY:
(A little freaked out to see him and trying to distance herself from him)

Oh. Wow. Well. Welcome back to San Francisco.

She goes back to her work.

MICHAEL:
Is that all I get?

BETSY:
What?

MICHAEL:
Thats it? Welcome back?

BETSY:
Uh…. have some Rice R Roni?

MICHAEL:
Betsy, we were engaged for five years…. and the best you can muster up is-

BETSY:
Yes, Michael. But you broke up that engagement after five years….. you DO realize that’s not how this works right?

MICHAEL:
Betsy, lets not-

BETSY:
Lets not what, Michael?!

They lock eyes for a moment. Then Betsy pulls away and goes back to the counter, fiddling with things to distract herself.

MICHAEL:
I’m sorry. How many times do I have to say I AM SORRY? Look. I miss you. Okay? I’ve missed you for the past eleven months. Every day. Ask Dead Baby. She’s sat and listened to me like…. well, a dead baby. And I dunno. Maybe…. maybe, part of me actually came back here to see you again. I’m just….. I’m really sorry Bets. I just wish you’d give me another chance to at least be your friend.

Betsy, despite all her attempts at staying strong and guarded, looks up at Michael and finds herself moved. Just then Valerie enters with the box.

VALERIE:
I dunno if its these panties I’m wearing or what. But my hoo hoo is itching like a huntin’ dog in sweat pants.


She sees Michael.

VALERIE:
(A little embarrassed)

Good morning.

BETSY:
Valerie, this is…. Michael. Miller.

VALERIE:
As in-

BETSY:
(Quickly)

As in Michael Miller.

VALERIE:
Wow. I’ve watched Betsy set fire to so many pictures of your face I feel like I already know you! Gimme an ole Tennessee tackle hug!

She locks him into a bear hug. It’s incredibly tight. After releases him.

MICHAEL:
I better get going. It’s nice to meet you, Valerie. Uh…. Betsy. Could I take you to dinner? Tomorrow night? 9PM? Our place?

BETSY:
(Without really looking at him, she begins folding the cardigans)

Sure. Fine.

MICHAEL:
Okay. Good. (He stops and sniffs the air) Whats that smell? It smells like sweat and grease and-

VALERIE:
It’s Betsy’s hair.

MICHAEL:
Whats wrong with it?

BETSY:
JESUS CHRIST! Nothing is wrong with it. I just haven’t washed it in a while. Is that such a crime?

MICHAEL:
(Weirded out)

Uh no.

VALERIE:
Though, I gotta say Betsy…. the way your hair smells right now might legitimately break some laws in some of the snooty New England states.

MICHAEL:
Okay. I’ll see you at 9PM tomorrow. (He sniffs again and shakes his head) Jeez. You really should do something about your hair.

He exits.

VALERIE:
So that was THE Michael huh?

BETSY:
Can you help me fold these sweaters, Valerie?

VALERIE:
Yes, ma’am.

Valerie vigorously scratches her crotch. Betsy vigorously folds the cardigans.

To be continued

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