Archive for March 2010

Dear Nora Ephron

03/31/2010


Dear Nora Ephron,

The other night I had a dream. I was walking down the street with my Mom in New York City. I guess she was in town visiting or something. She goes into a shop (Aldo’s Shoes on Seventh Avenue) and I’m waiting outside finishing up a phone call and out of the blue, you walk up to me.

Now, in the world of the dream I don’t recognize you, which is SO outrageous because I’m pretty sure I’d recognize you even if we were both in a darkly back room at a gay sex party. Not that you’d be at a gay sex party or that there are even dark rooms at gay sex parties. ARE there dark rooms at gay sex parties? I have no idea…. I’ve actually never been to a gay sex party believe it or not…. not that I’m the type of person who people would think had been to such a party. Am I? Ugh. Why am I asking you? You don’t even know me.

Anyways.

In the dream you walk over to me, and you’re dressed like you’ve been to a gym…. but not like gross and sweaty but like you were clearly at a fancy spa/gym. You had on trendy black work out clothes and your hair was pulled back. It was nothing like how you dress in interviews.

So you walk over to me and you’re like- ‘Hey Jeffery.’ and I go… ‘Uh…. hey.’

Because remember IN THE WORLD OF THE DREAM I don’t recognize you…. and I say…. this is gonna crack you up, Nora….
‘Oh. Are you Diane Sawyer?’

So…. a couple of things are weird about this being my response,aside from the fact that you and Diane Sawyer look NOTHING alike, there is also absolutely no reason that Diane Sawyer would approach me on the street unless I was holding up a giant glittery sign that read: DIANE SAWYER, I’VE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU. OH AND MY NAME IS JEFFERY.

So…. it was a weird reaction to your approaching me.

You shook your head and laughed, as if this happens to you all the time and you smiled this really friendly smile at me and said ‘Haha. No Jeffery. I’m Nora Ephron.’

In the world of the dream, and I’m pretty sure this would happen in reality as well, I was overcome by this beautiful feeling of happiness. The best description I can muster up is ‘yellow’. Like a bright sunny yellow feeling. And my immediate reaction was to let out this high pitched yell of excitement and give you this enormous hug that sent us both toppling onto the pavement and laughing these deep bellied laughs on the ground. We fell with enormous force but also quite gracefully…. in a way that made me wonder why you’ve never done ‘Dancing With The Stars’. No seriously… I think you’d be surprisingly fantastic.

Then, like in one of your movies, my prescriptive changed to seeing us on the ground from a shot above. We were joyous like Harry and Sally, midway into the plot. We laughed and laughed. Then, my Mom appeared looking at me like ‘What the hell is Jeffery doing on the ground with this woman?’- or I dunno, maybe in the fucked up dream world she was also like ‘What the hell is Jeffery doing on the ground with Diane Sawyer?’

So we get up and I say, with this huge grin:

‘Mom! You’re not gonna believe this but this is NORA EPHRON!’

My mom then let out the same high pitched yell that I’d projected moments before and you kinda backed away like ‘Oh shit. I don’t wanna fall onto the pavement again.’ We shared an insider-y laugh about that.

You then told me, and my Mom, that you thought I was doing the right thing. That…. I should keep at it and that eventually it would really pay off. My Mom was so overjoyed and impressed with me, and as you walked away (you had lunch plans, naturally) I felt everything was right in the universe that all this shit I freak out about and worry about is worth it…. and that one day, a year or twenty years from now, it really will have been worth it.

I woke up. First, very worried that you might have hurt something when we fell onto the pavement like that. Then second, disappointed it all had been a dream.

Either way. I hope that I get to meet you someday, and if that ever happens I promise I won’t call you Diane Sawyer.

Sincerely,
jeffery self

We got new wigs today. Get ready.

03/30/2010

Monday with Stocks.

03/29/2010


Hey bloggers.

It’s 11:41AM. Monday. It is gross outside my window. I’m dreading having to venture out into it. I can tell its gonna be that slightly humid grossness that makes that weird crevice in my chest get really sweaty. Not good. Not good at all.

I was just writing something that sucked so I stopped and decided to write a blog but as I’m often reminded, when you leave the house as infrequently as I do, there’s not much to write about. I mean…. I guess I could tell you the story about the TV in my bedroom and how it once belonged to a cast member from ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’ (not telling you who! But I will openly divuldge that it was NOT Caroline Rhea)…. I could tell you about what is in my refridgerator but you probably all ready know about that- soy milk, peanut butter, a lamb’s heart….. so yea. I don’t really have ANYTHING to write about. Which is pretty disconcerting.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
Hey Hey Hey! Jeffery. Cool it, you dumb whore. You’re sounding really whiney.

JEFFERY:
But I’m not trying to sound whiney. I’d be happy to write about my ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’ TV set and whats in my refrigerator…. though, spoiler alert- I don’t ACTUALLY have a lamb’s heart in there (I had to eat something for dinner last night- BADUMCHING!) I just mean to say that I don’t really have anything exciting to report on my blog today.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
Well I just think you’re sounding like some ‘woe is me dumbass’…. saying…. oh I have nothing to write about because I never leave the house and blah blah blah BLAH. Like I said to Nicci Kidman at Ruth Gordon’s Memorial Service- SHUT THE FUCK UP. You did do shit this weekend. I was there for a lot of it.

JEFFERY:
Oh. You’re right. You WERE there. On Saturday afternoon, you guys, I was so hungover from a dinner party I went to on Friday, that I laid around and watched movies all day. Besides ‘Big Business’ and ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’…. I also watched ‘To Wong Foo With Love Julia Newmar’ and ‘First Wives Club’…..

STOCKARD CHANNING:
With the TV residuals I get from ‘First Wives Club’ I bought some Walt Disney DNA. Still not sure what I’m gonna do with it.

JEFFERY:
Wow.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
Y’know Jeffery…. sometimes, our minds and bodies NEED a time at home, laying around on the sofa, watching movies that comfort us. I’m not so sure you needed to eat like someone with a terminal illness but nonetheless….. you shouldn’t feel guilty for having an unproductive weekend. I’m unproductive all the time.

JEFFERY:
You? But you’ve been in like a billion movies.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
Haha. You’re right I certainly have been but sure. I love being unproductive sometimes. Nothing pleases me more than laying around during a Saturday ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ marathon.

JEFFERY:
You like that show?

STOCKARD CHANNING:
Oh. God. Its my life. (Beat) Haha. I guess its actually THEIR life but yea. I LOVE it.

JEFFERY:
Weird. I wouldn’t have guessed that about you.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
There’s a lot of shit you wouldn’t guess about me. For example, whats my ethnic background?

JEFFERY:
Hmmmm. Thats a good question. I don’t know.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
Exactly. Did you know I almost turned down ‘First Wives Club’?

JEFFERY:
Oh. Because it was such a small part?

STOCKARD CHANNING:
NO! Because Cry-Ane Keaton’s face pissed me off.

JEFFERY:
Stockard. That’s not a very nice thing to say.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
You’re right. And here are a few other ‘not nice things to say’…. 1. Vietnamese people are-

JEFFERY:
Wow. Wow. Wow Hold it now- I don’t want people reading my blog and thinking Stockard Channing is some nut case because that’s not true AND thats slander.

STOCKARD CHANNING:
You’re right. I’m sorry. They should see it!

You guys can’t see this, because it’s…. a blog…. but if this were a movie, A. it wouldn’t be very good but B. you would now see Stockard Channing unzip the one piece jumpsuit she’s wearing and literally step out of it. Underneath the jumpsuit, she has painted the movie posters for each major movie she’s ever done all over her naked body. Its sorta like how Golide Hawn was always painted with flowers and stuff on ‘Laugh In’ except…. this is Stockard Channing and its not flowers, its movie posters. She dances around, as if inspired by a loud jungle beat. Then dives into a pond. She disappears.

JEFFERY:
Haha. I think Stockard Channing was making a good point… not about Vietnamese people…. or Diane Keaton’s face- which I happen to think is perfect but that you can’t get hung up over lazy, unproductive weekends. Sometimes you really just need your sofa and movies with ladies. Thats where its at. Goldie, Diane, Bette, Lily, Blythe, and Stockard. Never ceasing to bring me comfort. No matter what.

Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 3)

03/26/2010

A Scene From: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 3)
By Jeffery Self

Previously on Designing Women click here for Part 1 and Part 2

The Sugarbaker living room. Later that week. Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts) is midway into telling Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) a story.

MARY JO:
So I come down the stairs and there’s my little Quentin standing there with cereal all over the floor and STILL in his pajamas and I don’t know how it I happened, I just sorta snapped…. I picked up the TV and hurled it across the room. I wasn’t throwing it AT him per say…. I knew it wasn’t going to knock him over, I just wanted to shake him up.

JULIA:
And did it?

MARY JO:
Oh yea. He and his sister wanna stay with their Daddy for a while which is FINE BY ME. Its like they say…. sometimes it takes throwing a TV at a six year old boy to get a couple days to yourself.

The phone rings. Julia eagerly rushes over to answer it.

JULIA:
Hello?! Oh. Hey Suzanne….. No. I’m happy to hear from you, I was just hoping it’d be Charlene. No….. I like you too but there’s something I need to apologize to Charlene about….. Yes. I know that you’re terribly interesting and likable…. You’re doing what? Engaged? Suzanne, who have you met in the process of one week that you’re gonna marry?…. Uh huh….. Sure, we’d love to meet him. See ya then.

She hangs up.

MARY JO:
Suzanne is getting married?

JULIA:
Apparently. But you know Suzanne she’ll probably have changed her mind by the time she gets here and announce that she’s moving to the Middle East and becoming Saudi Arabia’s version of Barbara Walters. I just wish Charlene would call me back. I really want to talk to her before she goes through with all this.

MARY JO:
I can’t imagine spending my life’s savings on a son I’ve never met… then again, I threw a television at my son who I HAVE met so I guess I’m not the best judge of character. (Massaging her lower back) Or the weight of TV sets. I think I might have pulled something.

The doorbell rings

JULIA:
I just wish we could get a little more information on this alleged Mark Frazier.

She opens the door. There is a mousy middle aged woman outside, Karen.

KAREN:
Hi. I have some information about a Mark Frazier that might interest you.

MARY JO:
(Rushing over to the door)

Wow! Julia! Way to go. Its like magic! Try me. I wish we could find out who really shot JFK!

She closes the door and reopens it. It’s still Karen. A bit confused.

MARY JO:
Damn.

JULIA:
Sorry. Do come in…..

KAREN:
Do you all know a Mark Frazier?

JULIA:
Yes. He’s-

KAREN:
Your fiancee?

MARY JO:
No. He’s our friend Charlene’s estranged son.

KAREN:
Uh huh. This is going to sound a little bogus but…. the man you met, Mark Frazier, is not Mark Frazier.

MARY JO:
What?

KAREN:
The man you know as Mark Frazier is a con man. He’s been making his way throughout the southeast for over six years. Conning women into thinking he’s their estranged son…. or in my case in love with them.

MARY JO:
You were in love with Mark Frazier?

KAREN:
No. I was in love with Ron Hartfield. I met him at an AA meeting….. I’m sober now by the way. Completely. Unless you had a little somethin’ somethin’ you wanted to offer. And as long as you promised to keep it just between us girls. Haha. Do you? No? Okay. Thats totally fine. I met Ron at the meeting. He was handsome, charming, supportive and we started seeing each other. Going out for cups of coffee at the meeting. Stuff like that. It had been a while since I…. y’know…. put myself out there. A few years back I’d gotten a divorce and sold my business.

MARY JO:
What kind of business?

KAREN:
Sony.

JULIA:
As in?

KAREN:
As in Sony. It was a family inheritance thing but talk about a drag…. getting up, going to work, talking about crap I don’t care about. So yea. I sold that. And my husband had left me for our housekeeper, Keith. By the time I had gotten myself to an AA meeting which…. not gonna lie, was a police order…. I didn’t expect to meet somebody that made me feel as good as Ron made me feel.

MARY JO:
So what happened?

KAREN:
Oh. Same old story you’ve heard before. We got married, he disappeared one day, and took all my Sony and my ‘Gunsmoke’ money with him.

MARY JO:
Gunsmoke?

KAREN:
Yea. I did a couple episodes in the seventies. I played a novice who knew something she wasn’t supposed to. The only acting I’ve ever done actually. Ha. I think I was pretty good but who can say really?

JULIA:
So what you’re telling us is that you think Ron Hartsfield is Mark Frazier?

KAREN:
I’m sure of it. I’ve watched him come and go from this house for the past week.

JULIA:
You’ve been watching our house?

KAREN:
I don’t have ANYTHING going on right now. I literally re-read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ four times last month because I was so bored. Boooooring. The fourth time I tried reading it backwards. Even worse.

MARY JO:
Julia! We’ve got to talk to Charlene before she gives him that twelve thousand dollars!

The door opens. Charlene Frazier (Jean Smart) enters and goes straight to her desk.

MARY JO:
Wow! This door thing really does work!

JULIA:
Charlene-

CHARLENE:
Julia. I don’t have anything to say to you right now.

JULIA:
Charlene, there is someone you need to meet-

CHARLENE:
(Loading some things out of her desk)

I’m just picking up some things to take to the bank.

JULIA:
Charlene. This is Karen she-

CHARLENE:
Nice to meet you Karen, I’ve got to be going-

JULIA:
She’s here to prove to you that Mark isn’t your son.

Charlene stops.

KAREN:
Its true. My name is Karen and I’m…. well, Mark Frazier…. who I know as Ron Hartfield married me and stole everything I had.

CHARLENE:
Excuse me?

KAREN:
He’s not who he says he is. After what he did to me I became obsessed with trying to track him down and I did, in six different states in the course of two years. He targets women like us…. women of a certain age who might be eager for that kind of company. Whether its as a son or a husband or a friend…. he finds us and wipes us out then disappears.

CHARLENE:
Did Julia put you up to this?

KAREN:
No. I did. I don’t have a lot going on now that I’m sober and unemployed.

CHARLENE:
I don’t know what to say…..

KAREN:
You could say…. ‘I’ll buy you a drink!’…. haha…. I AM KIDDING!

JULIA:
You don’t have to say anything.

CHARLENE:
I really thought my baby had found me.

JULIA:
I know and maybe we can help you find the real Mark Frazier somewhere but for now we need to get this Mark, Ron, whatever his name is before its too late.

The front door opens again. Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) enters dragging Mark behind her.

MARY JO:
Wow! This is freaking magic!

SUZANNE:
(Still dragging him in)
Come on! Don’t be shy. Girls! This is my fiancée Paul!

Mark tries to run and Julia grabs him.

JULIA:
Stop it right there!

SUZANNE:
Julia!

JULIA:
Listen to me Mr. Mark Frazier, Ron Hartsfield, Dean Martin whatever the sam hill you’re calling yourself right now. I don’t know what you’ve got going on in that head of yours thats made you think you can run around doing what you’ve been doing to the women of the south but you’ve barked up the wrong magnolia tree!

SUZANNE:
Julia. What are you-

JULIA:
There are a lot of things I’d like to see done to you, young man. Many of which I’m too much of a lady to mention. But listen here and listen well… the women you see before you are Sugarbakers, one way or another, and when you mess with a Sugarbaker, you mess with me and when you mess with me you will NEVER and I repeat never think of women like Charlene or Suzanne or Karen as your own personal pawns in your sick game of thievery again…. you will bow down, with the afternoon sun in your face, you will look up at the mosquitos and spanish moss in that great Magnolia tree in our front yard, you will kiss the sweet Georgia clay beneath our feet, and rue the day you ever brought your lousy, pathetic self to the great streets of Atlanta!

The doors burst open, the police enter, arresting Mark. Julia walks away from Mark. She gives Charlene a big hug and shakes Karen’s hand as they all watch Mark be carried away. Suzanne, in a huff, storms over to Julia.

SUZANNE:
Well! You’ve done it again. You just can’t let me have ANYTHING, can you?!

Suzanne storms out. Julia, Charlene, Mary Jo, and Karen laugh.

The end.

Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 2)

03/25/2010


A Scene From: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part Two)
By Jeffery Self

Previously on Designing Women click here for PART ONE

The Sugarbaker living room. We pick up right where we left off. Charlene Frazier (Jean Smart), Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts), and Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) are shocked. Staring at Mark.

CHARLENE:
My son?!

MARY JO:
Charlene doesn’t have a son. Charlene doesn’t have any kids. That’s like… her THING.

JULIA:
I’m afraid you have the wrong Charlene, young man.

MARK:
Oh. I’m sorry to bother you then. I guess I’ll be going….

CHARLENE:
Wait! There’s something I never told you girls. Something I was afraid to admit to y’all or to myself. I wasn’t always the Charlene Frazier you see before you. Y’know. Blond, mild mannered, the kind welcoming face that says ‘Have a seat and prop up your feet! You’ve earned it!’ No. I didn’t used to be that girl at all.

MARY JO:
Who were you? Jackie Collins?

CHARLENE:
Ha. I wish. I don’t think Jackie Collins ever wrestled a sixty two year old woman into the mud for her last cigarette. And I seriously doubt Jackie Collins is banned from entering Monteray County, Tennessee for another four years or until the lawsuit clears.

JULIA:
Lawsuit?

CHARLENE:
For a good portion of the late 1960’s I travelled around the Southeast following Conway Twitty. We weren’t the most clean cut group of folks that ever followed a third rate country singer around the southeast in a beat up station wagon we’d stolen from Mexicans in Louisana. We never did anything flat out illegal. I take that back…. we never did anything flat out illegal more than twice but we lived hard and partied even harder. Waking up in ditches, going to bed in river banks. Ha. That was some time. And in that time I met a lot of people. And by people I mean men. And by met I mean slept with.

MARY JO:
Charlene!

CHARLENE:
I didn’t say this was a time I’m proud of. In fact, its a time I’ve regretted every day since. That whole two year period is a strange blur in my memory.

MARY JO:
So you think in that time you….

CHARLENE:
Had a baby? Ha! Yes. I don’t remember much from that time…. I don’t remember the name of that little old lady I wrestled into the mud. Or the name of the town we were in when that McDonalds caught on fire. I don’t even remember that name of the little girl who the Ronald McDonald statue melted onto…. I guess I could just research small towns in northern Missippii that are home to somebody with a lifesize Ronald McDonald statue permantently melted onto their back…. but I’ve put that life behind me. I do remember one thing though…. and thats having you. I’ve thought about you every day since. Wondering if we’d ever see each other again.

MARK:
I never thought I’d find you. The orphanage had information on you living in Orlando, Florida.

CHARLENE:
Yea. That’s where Conway and I ended up before our big falling out and before the house burned down. I know what you’re thinking, why the hell did you guys set everything on fire? That’s Conway. Not me. Conway Twitty would set himself on fire if he could watch it. He just loves watching shit burn. His words not mine. After all that I moved back home and started over.

MARY JO:
Well, Mark honey. If you’re family to Charlene, you’re family to us. Can I get you anything? Some coffee? Tea?

MARK:
I’m alright. Thank you, ma’am. I actually came with a pretty big favor from my mama here.

CHARLENE:
A favor?

MARK:
Yea. I know this is all so sudden and overwhelming. Believe me, I’m overwhelmed too…. I mean, I for one had no idea Conway Twitty was pyromaniac.

MARY JO:
Me either-

MARK:
But I decided to come looking for you when I got some pretty scary news not long ago. This is so hard for me to say so I’ll just come out with it fast- I’ve gotta have an operation…. a pretty big one….. on my lungs….. and seeing as though I just now got out of the orphanage and you’re the only family I’ve got…. you’re the only place I could think to turn to.

CHARLENE:
Oh my God. Honey.

MARK:
I know you don’t have much and that you don’t even know me but…. you’re the only person I could think of to ask for help.

CHARLENE:
Well, of course. And of course I’ll help you. You’re my son. You’re family. I’m just so happy to see you. How much does this operation cost?

MARK:
Twelve thousand dollars.

CHARLENE:
Oh!

MARK:
I know it’s a lot. All of this is a lot to even think about right now. Maybe I ought to go and come back. Let you process all of this and then maybe you and me can go to dinner tonight?

CHARLENE:
(Dazed)
Okay.

MARK:
It’s really nice meeting all of you. Mama, I’ll see you around seven?

CHARLENE:
Okay.

Mark exits. Charlene sits dazed and shocked. Julia has watched Mark leave, suspiciously.

MARY JO:
Wow. Ain’t that something?The door opens and your life changes forever. Oh! I bet somebody ends up making a TV movie about you before all is said and done. Judy Davis will play Charlene and Jane Fonda is gonna play me. OH! Angelica Houston is gonna play you, Julia!

JULIA:
Angelica Houston isn’t playing anybody-

MARY JO:
Fine. You can have Jane Fonda.

JULIA:
No. Charlene. I know this is a hard to hear but don’t you think its a little odd that this young man appears out of nowhere and asks for twelve thousand dollars?

CHARLENE:
Well, he IS my son-

JULIA:
Yes. Your son from a time where you and Conway Twitty were running around setting churches on fire.

CHARLENE:
Oh no. Conway never once set fire to a church. He always said ‘Watching something burn down is more exciting than a private night with a set of teenage Japanese triplets but even I won’t set fire to something sacred like a church’

JULIA:
But don’t you think its all just a little bit weird?

CHARLENE:
Not really. Conway Twitty really like Japanese girls… and boys, on more than one occasion. But you didn’t hear that from me.

JULIA:
No. I mean….. I’d look into this a little further if I were you. Mark, the money, this ‘operation’.

CHARLENE:
Julia! How dare you! This boy is an orphan. MY orphan coming in off the street to ask for my help! And you’re sitting here calling him a crook?

JULIA:
I’m just saying, I don’t want you making any hasty decisions.

CHARLENE:
(Offended)

Well, thank you Julia. I’m so glad I have you here to make up my mind for me but I don’t think I need you this time. My son is family, and I’m gonna help my family.

Charlene storms out.

MARY JO:
So wait. Conway Twitty was a pyromaniac AND bisexual?

To be continued

My Mom’s Birthday

03/24/2010


Today is my Mom’s birthday. Which is cool. Yesterday was actually my Dad’s birthday. They were born the same year, in the same hospital, a day apart. Neat, right? I often tell people a story that involves their fathers speaking to each other in the waiting room but that’s a flat out lie…. I just like how romantic and poetic that sounds. If I’ve ever told you that story, I apologize for the bold faced lie…. I can’t promise you its the only one I’ve ever told you/will ever tell you. In fact, go ahead and assume I’ll tell you something completely bogus like that again, most likely in the near future.

I’m actually not sure how old my Mom is. For the first twelve years of my life, any time she had a birthday she’d tell me she was turning thirty. My Mom has always looked good and I never really thought too hard about it…. I didn’t second guess her bold faced lie until my brother hit his thirtieth birthday and I put two in two together. I didn’t feel betrayed or anything. Just amused. Like hopefully the select few of you I told the mom/dad/parents/hospital waiting room bull shit to. Harmless lying. Fun lying. Not like the lying that led to my on-going custody battle in Central Florida. Amanda, I’m ready to talk whenever you’re ready to grow up and listen.

I suspect a lot of people had mothers who drove them back and forth to play practice or soccer practice or voice lessons or whatever and my Mom is one of them. Chicken nuggets in the back seat of her van, as we drove down Turner McCall Boulevard back to our house from the Rome Little Theater. The CD player blasting whatever CD I’d forced in. My Mom knew the lyrics to both ‘March of the Falsettos’ and ‘Falsettoland’ like she’d done the San Francisco regional premiere.

On my tenth birthday, the only thing I asked for as a birthday gift was an agent. And I really meant it. I wanted an agent to send me out on all the illustrious child auditions in Atlanta, Georgia. By my tenth birthday, my Mom had somehow found some one woman talent agency (operated out of the basement of a strange house with a lot of dogs and manilla envelopes). Out of seemingly thin air, my Mom found exactly what I wanted. Despite it’s ridiculousness and I’m sure, her better judgement.

I often think about what my Mom was thinking when she was my age and if she ever imagined having a kid like me. Someone who calls her and cries out all his manic chaos about why he can’t get out of bed today. Someone who calls her in an up swing and sounds even more chaotic and crazy as he babbles on about how ‘I’m gonna buy you eight beach houses one day, JUST YOU WAIT!!!!’ Or if she ever imagined the drives back and forth from the community theater, the putting her son on an airplane to move to New York City, simply saying ‘Yes’ when I decided I didn’t want to go to high school, or just understanding me no matter what.

She never once questioned my wants. Never once tried to make me be somebody else. Never once told me to take off a dress or a wig or put on a jersey. She sat back and watched and loved and listened.

I’m glad she’s my Mom.

Happy Birthday.

Sitcom Fan Fiction: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 1)

03/23/2010


A Scene From: DESIGNING WOMEN (Part 1)
By Jeffery Self


The Sugarbaker office. Morning. Charlene Frazier (Jean Smart) is finishing up something at her desk. Mary Jo Shively (Annie Potts) enters through the front door.

MARY JO:
I wanna say this off the record because I don’t want you thinking I’m some nutcase but sometimes when I see those local news reports on those mothers who drown their kids in the bathtubs or lock ’em up in the basements with rabid dogs for two years without food or water, I think….. you go girl.

CHARLENE:
Mary Jo!

MARY JO:
Again, I don’t mean it! So don’t go lecturing me about morality. I’m just saying that sometimes when I’m trying to get my kids ready for school in the morning and they’re screaming and yelling and knocking stuff over…. I close my eyes for just a split second and think…. what will I do with the bodies?

CHARLENE:
That’s just about the most terrible thing I’ve ever heard.

MARY JO:
I feel like burying them, which is the obvious choice, is SO much work. I like to garden but…. haha…. come on! And burning them isn’t gonna do because our damn fireplace hasn’t worked in four years and the last time I tried burning leaves in my backyard I ended up having to call the fire department and I do NOT want to the brave firemen of Atlanta in my back yard spraying some water hose all over the scorched carcus of my little Claudia. Talk about embarrassing.

CHARLENE:
Mary Jo, this is-

MARY JO:
Ugh. But my freezer is so small, Charlene. My freezer is just so damn small.

CHARLENE:
This is sick.

MARY JO:
(Without much emotion)

Oh. I’m just venting. I love my kids and I’m really glad I didn’t give them up when I said I would.

CHARLENE:
I’d be grateful if I were you. I can’t wait to be a mother one day. Back before my mama fell off the wagon and started drinking so heavily again, she’d say that being a mother was God’s special gift to women. (Beat, sorta sadly) Now she can’t say anything at all because of the accident she had when she started drinking again…. where she literally fell of a wagon. It was eerily poetic.

MARY JO:
(To herself, wistfully)

If I only had a walk in freezer… that would solve everything.


Julia Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter) and Suzanne Sugarbaker (Delta Burke) enter. Suzanne is very upset.

JULIA:
Suzanne, you’re acting ridiculous.

SUZANNE:
Acting?! Julia, this is NOT acting. What I did in my high school production of ‘Tea House Of The August Moon’. That was acting. What I did on my second AND third wedding nights. That was acting. But this is, in no way, acting!

CHARLENE:
Whats wrong?

JULIA:
We were at the fabric store and the young man who helped us carry everything out to the car referred to Suzanne as-

SUZANNE:
Don’t say it Julia!

JULIA:
– as Ma’am.

Suzanne throws herself onto the sofa.

CHARLENE:
Well, Suzanne thats just being polite. You’ve lived in the south your whole life…. thats just what people do. You know that.

SUZANNE:
My MeeMaw Sugarbaker was a Ma’am. My mother was a Ma’am. And despite what she may try to cover up with Clairol Midnight Black, Julia over here is a Ma’am. But Beauty Queens are not MA’AMs.

JULIA:
Can one really call one’s self a beauty queen when the last pageant they won took place during the Nixon adminstration?

The women laugh.

SUZANNE:
You all might think its real funny to sit here and laugh at me in my time of despair but I don’t! And I won’t stand for it.

CHARLENE:
Where are you going?

SUZANNE:
Out. On the town.

CHARLENE:
It’s ten ‘o’ clock in the morning.

MARY JO:
(With a casual laugh)

We could go bury my kids on some property I’ve got in Gwinnet County.

JULIA:
Suzanne. I think you need to just have a seat and calm down.

SUZANNE:
(Smearing on globs of make-up)

No. I’m serious this time. I’m gonna get my youth back if it kills me!

JULIA:
Like the time you claimed you were gonna sleep with Ted Turner if it killed you?

CHARLENE:
Julia, don’t joke about that. That almost DID kill her.

SUZANNE:
You can’t DIE from ghonerrea, Charlene. It’s 1987!

Now, made up half like a beauty queen and half like a crazed birthday clown, she flings the front door open and announces to seemingly all of Atlanta:

SUZANNE:
Listen close and listen hard, Atlanta…. Suzanne Sugarbaker is BACK!

She stampedes out the door. The audience applauds, because they always do shit like that. After a moment, a young man appears in the opened doorway. He pokes his head in nervously.

MARK:
Uh. Is this Sugarbaker’s?

JULIA:
Yes. I’m Julia Sugarbaker and that was my sister, The Tazmanian Devil.

MARK:
I’m looking for Charlene Frazier.

CHARLENE:
I’m Charlene. Who are you?

MARK:
I’m…. your son.

Everyone gasps.

TO BE CONTINUED