1) A tie with a googly-eyed squid on it.

2) The FURminator shedding brush. If the pictures of the dogs surrounded by their extra fur do not delight you, you are tired of life. (Only buy this if you have a dog or a cat, probably. Otherwise you’re going to seem really odd. “BOB! BOB! Come on, let me run it through your hair! IT PULLS OUT THE LOOSE UNDERCOAT.”)

3) A James Spader robot head.

Okay, I like dogs. I would LOVE to have a dog. I think about dogs ALL THE DAMN TIME. I constantly say things like “Look at that dog! Do you think he likes chew toys? I bet his name is Harold. He looks like a Harold.” I DRIVE PEOPLE CRAZY, in fact, with how much I like dogs.

And even I think that this is a bridge too far:

Flexpetz.

This service allows you to rent a dog. And if we can for a moment leave aside the fact that I’m imagining all these worried dogs with wrinkly little dog foreheads who are all “WHY DON’T I HAVE A FAMILY OF MY OWN?!? WHY DO THEY KEEP SHIPPING ME OFF TO YOUNG SINGLE PEOPLE WHO RUB MY BELLY EVEN THOUGH I HATE BELLY RUBS?!? WHY?!? IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME? HAVE I BEEN A BAD BOY?” that would be good.

Instead, I must draw your attention to their fee structure, which I wish to duplicate for my startup, “SIGN HERE YOU DUMBASS”:

For the first year of being able to hang out with a dog, you will be charged a minimum of:

*$150 startup fee/hanging out with FLEXPETZ TRAINERZ who will show you how to KICK IT with the DOGZ

*$99.95 account maintenance fee (“Yes… I am still maintaining my poor financial choices!”)

*$49.95 monthly membership x12=$599.40

*$49.90 minimum for your mandatory monthly Doggy Time purchases x12=$598.80

That’s $1448.15 for your first year.

$1448.15.

And that doesn’t include any additional Doggy Timez, sales tax, or – if you’re a slacker/can’t let go of the dog – a restocking “Inconvenience Fee of $75.00 per day, in addition to any Doggy Time Charges, if the FLEXPETZ dog is not returned on the last day of the reservation period.”

And for that low, low price, you only get a dog two weekdays a month.

I am stunned into silence.

WHO ARE THESE MARKETING GENIUSES. AND HOW CAN NAOMI AND I EMPLOY THEM TO SELL OUR SCRIPTS.

Big Love

July 30, 2007

I have been watching the first season of Big Love recently. I find myself pondering conversations Jeanne Tripplehorn and Tina Majorino may have had on-set. I REALIZE THAT THIS IS WEIRD.

INT. BIG LOVE SET – CRAFT SERVICES – DAY

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
So, wow! You really grew up!

TINA MAJORINO
I know, I know…

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
When was the last time I saw you? The Waterworld wrap party?

TINA MAJORINO
Mmm, probably.

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
Wow, Waterworld… takes me back.

TINA MAJORINO
Seriously. I mean, Kevin Costner!

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
Exactly. You ever talk to him?

TINA MAJORINO
…No. You?

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
…No.

TINA MAJORINO

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
So! I loved you in Napoleon Dynamite!

TINA MAJORINO
Oh, thank you! And I loved you in—
(beat)
Um.

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
Dial 9 for Love?

TINA MAJORINO
(relieved)
YES! I loved that.

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
Yeah, I get that a lot.

TINA MAJORINO
Who—who was the male lead in that?

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
Liev Schreiber.

TINA MAJORINO
Liev! God, he’s amazing. You still talk to him?

JEANNE TRIPPLEHORN
No.

TINA MAJORINO
…Oh.
(beat)
Look! Hair and makeup needs me. Coming, Sandy!

You would THINK that a music video of clips from various Jane Austen adaptations set to Nelly Furtado’s Maneater would not be awesome.

BUT YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

BEHOLD THE GLORY.

Holy mackerel, you people were right about me enjoying Ferrets: The Pursuit of Excellence. (Although I am not going to become a Ferret Lady. NO.)

KINAN
So why do you think it was called FERRETS: IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE?

ELANA
Well, I googled it, and I think it’s because there’s a three-part documentary series about people competing in unusual ways: ferret shows, Hairstyle Olympics…

KINAN
Oh.

ELANA
Oh no! You sound disappointed.

KINAN
Well, yes. I thought it was called IN PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE because ferrets are industrious little fuckers.
(beat)
I don’t normally swear this much.

ELANA
They were fairly industrious. They stole large quantities of athletic socks. And there was this lady who had built a ferret luge–

KINAN
Wait, wait.

ELANA
Yes. It was pretty much as awesome as it sounds.

Also, the ferret people were largely kind of loopy and composed EPIC BALLADS about their ferrets, and lifted their ferrets up and took them for walks outside (“In the ferret community, we call this butt-planing,” said the husband who looked exactly like I B’LIEVE YOU HAVE MY STAPLER GUY from Office Space, and I said: “?!?!?!?!?!?”) and this one lady had a freezer full of dead ferrets (she was saving them up until she had enough pounds of dead ferret to qualify for a bulk cremation discount AND I AM NOT MAKING THAT UP) – which was weird to begin with, but THEN.

THEN Freezer Lady said, as though this were a husbandly quirk on the order of, you know, sitting down to pee sometimes: “Hee hee! My husband complains that there’s more dead ferrets in there than food!’

HOLY SHIT. WHAT? I thought it was a DEDICATED dead ferret freezer, but now I’m supposed to be okay with the fact that you also store frozen taquitos in there?!?

BECAUSE, I AM NOT OKAY WITH THIS.

I KNOW, YOUR SURPRISE CAN BARELY BE CONTAINED.

I was reading this post about Mad Men on Jill Golick’s pilot-dissecting blog (don’t read that post if you have grand plans to watch the pilot of Mad Men unspoiled), and she mentions this theory, that an hour-long pilot’s theme is expressly stated at a point my calculator tells me is about 3/4 of the way through. Or, as The Script Enabler says:

There is a moment in the third act where the theme of the series is explicitly stated: that is, stated ‘on the nose.’ Because many pilots eschew the traditional four act structure, it might be more useful to say that this moment occurs roughly 30 minutes into the episode if you leave out the titles and commercials (the entire episode is roughly 41 to 43 minutes in length measured this way).

I have this pilot I’ve written, so of course I immediately flipped to page 30. And went OH GOD!!! because page 30 is two supporting characters bickering in an office. No theme to be found! But then, happily, math happened, and I realized that since my pilot has a… length problem, and currently clocks in at a cool 69 pages (HEY THAT IS DOWN FROM 73, SO.), my pilot’s version of minute 30 actually happens around page 50, and there it is! Right there on page 51 – people having the climactic fight! THEMES FLYING EVERYWHERE!

It’s so reassuring to me when my writing accidentally lives up to rules I didn’t even know about. Like, for a brief moment, the fog of MY FRUIT STAINS, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THEM fades a little, and all is well.

I went to Wahoo’s for dinner (well, “dinner”, since I had NACHOS) and a lady said “Excuse me! That’s a very eye-catching dress!” and I said “…thanks. Um.” because my very first instinct was to go “Thank you, but I actually spilled lentil soup on this part right here– see? Yeah.”, and had to be suppressed.

Kinan calls this the Fruit Stain Effect, where someone will go, for instance, “Hey, your pilot is awesome and I would like to bring you in for a meeting and maybe give you lots of cash and a blind deal!” and you’ll go “OKAY, BUT BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO THAT, FIRST LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS FRUIT STAIN. ON MY SHIRT. FROM WHEN I WAS EATING A PLUM EARLIER. IT’S A PRETTY BIG STAIN.”

Unrelated! Earlier, I read something about how Oprah’s beloved dog died after choking on a rubber ball, and while it was very sad BUT uplifting, because of course there was a message about remembering your spirit, and while I love dogs AND Oprah…

Well, to be honest, I could not help but feel that the part where she explained that she was lounging around on her vast estate when the dedicated, full-time dogwalker and her dog security person sounded the alarm and she ran out – “Barefoot!!!!” – to see the security man performing chest compressions on the dog which, sadly, failed, and then gently placed the poor dog in a golf cart before, one assumes, driving her in a solemn cortege to the Oprah-owned dog funeral home just a few miles up the private road, SOMEHOW made it seem like Oprah’s dog-related problems, while terrible! were not quite the same as the dog-related problems of ordinary folks who don’t even HAVE a dog-security guy (WHY, one might ask, do these fools think they are even allowed a canine companion? Indeed.)