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5th Jul 2013, 11:50 AM Episode #9 Script

Ok so now that this episode has finished posting I can post the script for it.

This episode had an interesting genesis. It started with Zack saying he wanted to write an episode. He said he wanted to have them discover the internet and I told him to go for it. The James Town thing is something we came up with randomly during one of our conversations. Here's what he came up with (he wrote it in a more traditional screenwriting format, whereas I just kind of invented the one I write with):

TEASER

 

Scene A

 

 

COLD OPEN:

INT. ATTIC - DAY

STARDUST AND FREDDIE ARE WATCHING TV. TV IS PLAYING A COMMERCIAL

ACTOR 1

And where would you like to book, sir?

ACTOR 2

The name's Town, Jamestown

NARRATOR

Come visit Jamestown today!

STARDUST

(DISGUSTED) That's a horrible catchphrase for a place.

FREDDIE

I don't think it was. It kinda makes me want to go.

STARDUST

These people have no shame. I bet Sean Connery is cursing at this awful commercial. Well, moreso than usual.

FREDDIE

I don't see what the problem is.

STARDUST

It's these advertisers. They think they can rehash famous lines just to try and sell a product, and think it's good enough to show millions of people.

 

 

FREDDIE

Well, what's so bad about that? Isn't the idea to make people want to go?

STARDUST

Theres just no originality in it anymore. Can't they come up with anything on their own?

FREDDIE

Well, what if there isn't anymore originality? Like, everything has been thought of?

STARDUST

(WITH AN ANGRY FACE) Then the universe would cease to exist.

 

 

END TEASER

 

ACT 1

 

Scene B

 

 

COLD OPEN:

INT. ATTIC - DAY

STARDUST IS STILL WATCHING TV, WHILE FREDDIE IS RUMMAGING THROUGH SOME OF THE BOXES IN THE ATTIC. IN THE BACKGROUND, WE SEE A BOOKSHELF WITH SOME BOOKS ON IT, AS WELL AS A PLAQUE WITH WRITING ON IT. FREDDIE PULLS OUT A MACBOOK WITH SOME PRETENTIOUS STICKERS ALL OVER THE COVER.

 

FREDDIE

Hey, look what I found!

STARDUST

Ah, that must be her old laptop computer.

FREDDIE

What's it doing up here?

STARDUST

She thought she could be Amish a few years ago, so she decided to put away everything she owned.

FREDDIE

Why would she want to be Amish?

STARDUST

She thought she could boycott corporations by joining people that grew their own food.

FREDDIE

Well, why did she stop?

 

 

STARDUST

She couldn't stand wearing a dress, not to mention the manual labor.

FREDDIE

I bet it still works. Let's fire it up!

 

FREDDIE PRESSES THE POWER BUTTON. THE MACHINE STARTS TO WHIR. THE SCREEN LIGHTS UP. CUT TO FREDDIE'S AND STARDUST'S FACES, WIDE-EYED. CUT BACK TO SCREEN, WHICH NOW SAYS "PRESS ANY KEY TO CONTINUE".

 

FREDDIE

Alright, now where's the "ANY" key?

STARDUST

(LOOKS ANGRILY AT FREDDIE) It means you press any of the buttons.

FREDDIE

Oh... (PRESSES A BUTTON, AND THE SCREEN FLASHES) Now it's calling for a password. Do you have any idea what it is?

STARDUST

I have a hunch. Let me see it for a second.

 

STARDUST TYPES ON THE KEYBOARD. THE SCREEN FLASHES AGAIN, REVEALING THE DESKTOP.

 

FREDDIE

How did you know what it was?

STARDUST

(CUT TO THE SIGN ON THE WALL. THE SIGN SAYS "HARE KRISHNA".)  Oh, it was a lucky guess.

 

FREDDIE

(CUT BACK TO STARDUST AND FREDDIE AT THE COMPUTER) So, what do we do now?

STARDUST

How am I supposed to know? I barely know what I'm doing here.

FREDDIE

But I thought you knew everything there is to know.

STARDUST

(CUT TO BOOKSHELF, FULL OF ENCYCLOPEDIAS) I do, up until about 1990. (CUT BACK TO TO COMPUTER) Here, how about this icon that says "Internet". That's were people spend their miserable lives, anyway.

FREDDIE

Well, what is the internet?

STARDUST

The internet is a network that links computers all over the world via cable, sattelite, or wireless signal.

Freddie

Sounds like a waste of time.

Stardust 

You have no idea.

 

So that's about as far as he got. The biggest problem I had with it was that there was no actual...plot. I mean after finding the computer the story just kind of runs out of steam (and so Zack apparently). So I told him to send me what he had and I would try to get something out of it. I think at one point there was also something about Stardust being angry about LOLcats, which I couldn't really see happening because he's become such a jaded individual that something that trivial wouldn't really phase him all that much.

So that left me with the problem of finding a suitable plot. It was suggested at some point that there should be a wager between them to see if Stardust can read the entirety of Wikipedia. I tried it but,since it's obviously impossible, the story seemed too inevitable, like you knew exactlly what would happen before it did. I like writing stories where I know what's going on, but I can keep the audience in mystery before reavealing the truth.

I had had this idea in the back of my mind for a while about Freddie having escaped from a laboratory before coming to the house for a long time. I didn't really know how to implement it, but it was there. And then, when I was writing like the 4th draft of this thing, I had him say the line "I don't know, it just seems... familiar". I had no idea what the line meant at the time I wrote it. But it gave me this idea that seeing the laptop would have an effect on his psyche (possiblly a subtle omage/ ripoff of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey). Then I remembered the laboratory thing and it just kind of all fell into place.

I also should confess that the only reason I had the cheese in the dream sequence was so that I could use the Cheezburger joke (which was kind of my version of a rage comic). That was what started the idea of including internet references which eventually just kept getting added as we went along. Eventually I had to dial it back a little bit because it was just getting ridiculous.

Here's the script I wrote. I think it works ok. The biggest thing I don't like about it is how I had to be so expositional at the end of it. But I can justify to myself by comparing it to something like the movie Psycho where a similar thing happens. I also had to change some of the dialogue in that scene to make it a little clearer so that's why it's different here than it is in the final comic.

 

Episode #9

Welcome to the Machine

The Cast:

Regular characters:

                Stardust

                Freddie

                April

Guest Characters:

                James Town

Scene A

Ext. Beach – Day

A beautiful woman in a bikini rises up out the water in slow motion. She walks up on the beach. A man wearing sunglasses sees her.

Man – Do you always look this dangerous or only when wet?

Woman – You have sharp eyes Mister uhh?

Man – The names Town – James Town.

                A logo for Jamestown pops up on screen.

Cut to – Int. Attic

                Stardust and Freddie sit watching TV.

Stardust – I’d like to say I saw it coming but I really had no idea. Well now we just HAVE to go there.

Freddie – Why are we going there?

Stardust – We’re not really going there I just said because…Oh never mind. What‘s on next?

TV- Can these housewives castrate the baby giraffe in time? Or will the high schoolers take the prize?

Stardust – Oh god not a reality show!

                He goes to change the channel. Nothing happens.

Stardust – What? Why do you not respond?!

Freddie – Maybe it needs batteries?

Stardust – Then why are you still here?

Freddie – Ok geez gimmee a sec.

He goes to look for it. He starts rummaging through some stuff. He looks up and sees a giant screen (relative to him that is). He stares at it as if it had some kind psychic power.

Stardust – (walking to toward where he is) Did you find it yet? Kinda losing braincells over…(he sees Freddie entranced by a laptop screen) here.

Freddie – What is it?

Stardust – Oh nothing, just an old macbook.

Freddie – What’s it doing up here?

Stardust – The same reason the TV is. When she first converted to Buddhism she swore off all modern technology. 

Freddie – How long has it been here?

Stardust – I don’t know, a couple years I guess. What’s the difference?

Freddie – I dunno. It just seems…familiar.

Stardust - Well isn’t that just dandy. Now come on and help me look for the remote.

                Freddie looks at it a moment longer, then walks away.

Int. Dollhouse – Night

Freddie lies asleep in bed. He begins to shake. We see a hazy vision of a macbook with some hands typing on it. The last thing we see is a piece of cheese.

 He wakes up with a shock.

Cut to – Freddie standing in the dark staring at the dark computer screen.

Scene B

Int. Attic – Morning

                Stardust walks into the room and sees Freddie sleeping in front of the computer.

Stardust – Well this is a new one.

                Freddie’s eyes begin to open slowly. He has bags under them from being awake almost all night.

Freddie – Was I really here all night?

Stardust – Based on my powers of inductive reasoning I’d say it’s a fair assumption. Now what exactly is it about this thing that’s making you act so strange?

Freddie – I dunno. But last night I had a dream…a nightmare…a vision.

Stardust – A vision?

Freddie –I’m pretty sure it was a memory.

Stardust – I doubt it.

Freddie – Why?

Stardust – The past is something we reconstruct in our minds. Most people don’t remember things the way they happened. Not entirely anyway.

Freddie – I still say it could be. Something about this thing has jarred it lose.

Stardust – Ok Jason Bourne, what exactly could that be?

Freddie – I dunno. Maybe if we turned it on…

Stardust – Yeah I don’t think so.

Freddie – Why not?

Stardust – Ummm…I kinda…broke it.

Freddie – Why’d you do that?

Stardust – Ugh because that of damn Wikipedia. I never got any sleep. It was killing me. So much knowledge!

Freddie – Well can you fix it again?

Stardust – If I do will you promise to stop with this whole obsession of yours.

Freddie – I need to know.

Stardust – (mockingly) I need to know.

Scene C

Stardust – Now that SHOULD work…

He presses the “on” button. The screen reads “All systems OK. Press any key to continue”.

Stardust – YESSS!!!

Freddie- I’m looking but I don’t see the “any” key.

Stardust – It just means to press any button…

Freddie – Oh…

                He hits the spacebar. The computer starts to log on.

Freddie - So what does this thing do anyway?   

Stardust – The primary function of the computer is to surf the internet. Without it, this machine would only be good for little more than word processing and playing solitaire. But through a miracle invention by a Dutch computer programmer, we are capable of accessing information from anywhere in the world.

He opens up the web browser.

Freddie – So what do I do?

Stardust – Ah yes, to find anything on the internet, we simply type our desire into this search bar. For example, let us see what my beloved owner used to look at?

                He clicks on the history.

Freddie – Dicks.com? Hey isn’t that the sporting goods store?

Stardust – Uhhh ok I’m just go ahead and clear that.

                *Flush*

                An awkward moment of silence as they exchange glances.

Stardust – Well anyway that’s pretty much how it works. Let me know if you find what you’re looking for.

                He gets up and begins to walk away.

Stardust – Oh yeah, be sure not to click anything that says XXX on it.

Freddie – What for? I don’t even like Vin Diesiel.

                He stops and turns around.

Stardust – Good.

                He leaves. Freddie looks up at the screen.

Freddie – Uh ok let me think now…

He squeezes his eyes shut. The same vision flashes again.

Freddie – (opening his eyes ) Ok I’ll try that I guess.

                He begins to type the letters “C, H , E, E, Z”

Freddie – Whoops that’s not how you spell that.

He goes for the backspace. The screen reads “Cheezburger: All you’re funny in one place!”

Freddie - Well I guess it couldn’t hurt for a minute.

                12 hours later…

Freddie – Son of a-

Scene D

Int. Attic – Night

Stardust – Did you find anything?

Freddie – Well I kinda…got sidetracked.

Stardust – Yeah the internet kinda works that way.

Freddie – I guess I’ll have to try again tomorrow. How do you turn it off?

Stardust – I’ll do it, you go to bed.

                Freddie leaves. Stardust looks at the computer. He hesitantly types the letter “W”.

Stardust – Hello old friend…

Int. Dollhouse – Night

Freddie lies asleep once again. The vision of the computer starts. We see a mouse standing in a glass case next to the laptop. Suddenly a piece of cheese drops in with him. We see a wider shot where a girl in a lab coat sits at the computer next to the glass case.

Scene E

Int. Attic – Morning

                Freddie walks out of his house and sees Stardust asleep in front of the computer.

Freddie – Well, that escalated quickly…

                Stardust begins to wake up. He looks at Freddie, who has an expression of disapproval.

Stardust - Judge not lest ye be judged.

Freddie – Did I say anything?

Stardust – No but you were thinkin’ it. At least I haven’t had any psychotic episodes…lately.

Freddie – Do you think it really happened? Or am I just schizophrenic?

Stardust - I’m not sure that counts as schizophrenia. It’s more like amnesia with a side of PTSD.

Freddie – So it DID happen?

Stardust – Well I read up a little bit on it last night, you seem to be exhibiting symptoms of a repressed memory that was jarred loose the image of this computer.

Freddie – Isn’t that what I’ve been saying this whole time?

Stardust – Yes but it’s on the internet, so now it must true.

Freddie – So how do I remember the rest?

Stardust – I’m not licensed physician, how am I supposed to know?

Freddie – I don’t know! I’m so confused!

                He holds his head in his hands.

Stardust – Ok uh…tell me about your childhood I guess…

                Later on…

Freddie – …And so my dad says “Why don’t you man up and enlist!” and my mom says “But he’s only six years old!” and my dad says-

Stardust – Ok this is really not helping we’re gonna have to try something else. You left your parents house right?

Freddie – Yes.

Stardust – Ok what did you do after that?

Freddie – Well I moved in with this girl named Mary who turned out to be a complete psycho.

Stardust – You should talk…

Freddie – I lived in a tree till I found out an owl did too. Not exactly safe to go out at night if you know what I mean. Then after that I found this house.

Stardust – That’s it? Nothing else?

Freddie – Well it was kind of strange how I found this place though. I was walking through the woods, and I came across a small box with wood shavings in it. It was perfect for sleeping in. So I decided to make it my new home. When I woke up I was in a field. I figured I had been sleep walking or something.  I started walking again and I found this house.

                Cut to – Stardust reading on the computer.

Stardust – Hmm…Sorry did you say something?

                Pause

Freddie – You ass.

Scene F

                That night…

Int. Attic – Night

Stardust sits reading Wikipedia with bloodshot eyes. He scrolls through a few pages. All of a sudden he is taken by surprise by something he is reading.

Stardust – Er…Ma…Gherd!

Int. Dollhouse – Night

                Stardust’s eye appears in the window.

Stardust – Wake up wake up! I’ve figured it out!

                Cut to – Outside Dollhouse

                The two of them walk towards the computer

Freddie – What do you mean you figured it out?

Stardust -  Come on and I’ll show!

                Cut to – Stardust and Freddie in front of computer.

Stardust – So I was reading this article on this college, and under the section that says “controversy” (I always love it when they have one) and it says there was an incident with one of the students being expelled.

Freddie – What has this got to do with me?

Stardust –Just give me a minute I’ll get there. It says the incident happened a few years ago when a student was protesting the mistreatment of the animals in science lab. Apparently some students were tampering with the food with chemical agents to see what neurological effects it would have. So I crosschecked the year and expelled student’s name and came across this very angry livejournal post written around the same time.

Freddie- What does crosschecked mean?

Stardust – I typed it into Google. Anyway it seems that the author of this post is none other than my esteemed owner.

Freddie – I still don’t get it.

Stardust – Can’t you see the pattern here? They picked you up in the middle of the woods and injected you with all kind of weird stuff. No wonder you can’t remember anything. You were more doped up than Keith Richards!

Freddie – So…I’m a laboratory mouse?

Stardust – Well, not technically since you were born in the wild. Although you are white instead of brown or black so maybe...

Freddie – Wow. So how does that laptop fit into all this?

Stardust – Simple. My owner was an environmental science student. You were one of the test subjects. She must have sat next to your cell while conducting research. But when she found out what was going on she let them all lose in the field outside our house. You just happened to find your way back. So…faith in humanity restored.

Computer – Oh Lord Jesus it’s a fire!

Stardust – A-a-a-a-nd it’s gone.

Scene G

 

Int. Attic – Night

                Stardust and Freddie sit watching TV.

Freddie – So when did you guys move here?

Stardust – Well I’ve lived here my whole life. My owner used to be some 90 year old woman.

Freddie – What happened to her?

Stardust – I dunno. She… died… or something…

                The TV plays the same commercial it did at the beginning.

Stardust – Ugh do they honestly think anyone is gonna want to go there?

Freddie – I’d like to go there.

Stardust – You wouldn’t like it.

Freddie – How do you know?

Stardust – Never you mind.

                THE END