Girl With Self-Imposed, Melodramatic Issues: S01E01.
written: 1:58 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 28, 2005

WORKING TITLE: GIRL WITH SELF-IMPOSED, MELODRAMATIC ISSUES

Season 1 Episode 1: Welcome to the Madhouse

INT – RANDOM PSEUDO-HIP CAFÉ – DAY

Music: We Used to be Friends by the Dandy Warhols

LYRICS: A long time ago
We used to be friends but I haven’t thought of you lately at all
If ever again
The greeting I send to you
Short and sweet to the soul I intend

Business is as usual in Random Pseudo-hip café: university students are tinkering away on their laptops, kids in uniform are congregating and making a racket, and the air-con is always non-eixstent. Our screwed up heroine, Nancy, is sitting across the table from her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. He’s looking fidgety while she calmly stares back at him with a stoic expression on her face.

SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: Look, I don’t know what’s supposed to work, but this isn’t exactly functional.
NANCY (sarcastically): Oh, you think?

The camera goes for a close-up on soon-to-be ex-boyfriend’s uncomfortable face. He heaves a sigh and evades Nancy’s glare.

SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: I just don’t think I’m ready for this, after what happened with my last relationship. It’s…complicated. I’m busy, you know? I don’t have time for you. I can’t make you happy. I just want you to be happy. You know that, don’t you?

Soon-to-be ex-boyfriend yammers on. The camera goes for a close-up on Nancy’s face: she’s stoic still, but now she’s frowning a little.

NANCY VOICEOVER: Right. Why don’t you toss me another one of your endless clichés while you’re at it? You think you’re the only one who’s busy? Who died and made you King of the World?
SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: …and well, I hope you understand, and that we can be friends.
NANCY: Sure do.

Nancy forces a smile. She scoops up her laptop and hoists her bag over her shoulder.

NANCY: I’m gonna go. See you around.

Without a second glance at soon-to-be ex-boyfriend who is now officially Ex-Boyfriend, Nancy hurries out of the café. She swipes at her eyes. The camera pulls back to reveal:

EXT – ABC LANE – DAY

NANCY VOICEOVER: So there it is. The break-up I saw hurtling towards me at top speed, one which, incidentally, I initiated. They say be careful of what you wish for; now I wish I’d listened.

FLASHBACK: INT – NANCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Nancy lies in bed in the dark, trying to fall asleep. Her eyes are wide open as thoughts run through her mind. She looks perturbed by something, a nagging thought that refuses to go away. Finally, she sits up and reaches for her cellphone. She presses a few buttons, and the camera goes for a close-up on her display screen: “It’s sad how mutually exclusive our lives are. I think we need to talk.”

Nancy sends the text message. She leans her head back into the pillow, sighs, and closes her eyes.

FLASHBACK: INT – RANDOM PSEDUO-HIP CAFÉ – DAY

We’re taken back to where we first met Nancy. She seems to be at a loss as she looks at every single object in her vicinity but soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. Finally, she trains her gaze on him.

NANCY: This…casual dating thing. I don’t think it’s working.
SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: Yeah…
NANCY: I want more from you. I hate this ‘neither here nor there’ thing and I really don’t mean to issue you an ultimatum, but I can’t go on like this. So, take your pick: We either fix this now or we walk away.
SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: Walk away? What do you mean?
NANCY: Like, you know. [She pops a Clorets ocean mint candy into her mouth, and shrugs.] We call this thing off and don’t talk to each other for a few months until I think I’m ready to. You know?
SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: Oh. Um, I don’t know…Isn’t that a bit extreme?
NANCY: [Snorts] Well, I’m sorry, but that’s just how I function.

The camera goes for a close-up on soon-to-be ex-boyfriend’s face. He looks very uncomfortable. A minute of silence ensues as Nancy stares blankly into space, her eyes trained on a random spot on the nearest slab of concrete. Soon-to-be ex-boyfriend does the same. And finally, soon-to-be ex-boyfriend exhales.

SOON-TO-BE EX-BOYFRIEND: I’m going for Option 2.

END FLASHBACK.

EXT – A BUS STOP – DAY

NANCY VOICEOVER: What can I possibly say? It sucks to be me? I completely understand why you’re dumping me? Am I supposed to be magnanimous and pretend it’s all fine and dandy?

From the corner of her eye she spots Ex-Boyfriend walking in her direction. Nancy looks away and swallows. The camera focuses on Ex-Boyfriend, who sees Nancy sitting at the bus stop, and quickly walks in the opposite direction.

NANCY VOICEOVER: Let the cold war begin.

INT – NANCY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT

Nancy’s mother knocks on her daughter’s bedroom door. She turns the doorknob but it’s locked.

NANCY’S MOTHER: Nancy, dinner’s ready. Can you come out?
NANCY [off camera]: Go away, Mom. I’m not hungry.
NANCY’S MOTHER: [looking concerned and knocking more rapidly on the door]: Is everything okay?

Camera cuts to:

INT- NANCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Nancy has been crying. She’s sitting in front of her laptop, her fingers flying in all directions as she hits furiously at the keypad. The camera cuts to her laptop screen, revealing a diary entry on MS Word. Nancy sniffs and reaches for a tissue.

NANCY VOICEOVER: Is everything okay? No, Mom. Everything isn’t okay. Do you want me to count the ways in which my life sucks?

The clattering stops. Nancy stares out of her window, and heaves a heavy sigh. She resumes her typing. The camera focuses on her laptop screen: “Fuck him to hell.”

EXT – LAW SCHOOL – DAY

Music: Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana

LYRICS: Hey, wait
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Your advice

Nancy gets out of a yellow Xterra and slams the door, heading for the lecture theatre.

NANCY VOICEOVER: Law school. Another thorn in my ass. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s more employable than what I really want to do, I wouldn’t even be here. Hate me for being an ungrateful little bitch, but after what I’ve been through, I think I have the right to gripe.

Nancy walks past a flyer tacked onto a wall, and slows down to take a look. It says, “LAW BASH @ CLUB PEACHES N CRÈME. $12 ONLY. ONE FREE DRINK. THE PERFECT WAY TO START YOUR LIFE AT LAW SCHOOL!”

Close up on Nancy’s face. She rolls her eyes.

INT – LECTURE THEATRE – DAY

Nancy is on MSN. The camera zooms in on her laptop screen, revealing an instant message session with her friend Kerry. It reads, “I’m so sorry for not getting to you earlier. I hate that one of my best friends is in such turmoil and I’m so slow on the uptake. I hope you’re not too down about it all, because I know you and I know you deserve better. If he can’t see that, he can and should just take a hike. Fuck him, okay?”

Close-up on Nancy’s face, a vague smile in the form of an upward tug of a corner of her mouth.

NANCY VOICEOVER: [typing] Oh, gross, I don’t want to. It’s fine, K. I’m giving you a hug right now.

A pair of arms snake around Nancy’s shoulders, enveloping her in a hug. She turns to her left. It’s her friend, Raina.

RAINA: You’re gonna be okay.

Nancy smiles and returns the hug.

INT – CLASSROOM – DAY

A class is in session. The camera pans the room, revealing 12 students, 1 teacher and a whiteboard. Nancy sits in the front row, slouched in her seat, pretending to be paying attention.

TEACHER: Is there consideration when one promises to do something which one was contracted to do? Anyone? Has anyone done the readings?

Nancy yawns. It catches her teacher’s attention.

TEACHER: Nancy. Can you explain the case of Stilk and Myrick?
NANCY: Um, I don’t know. I haven’t read the case.
TEACHER: Oh dear.

The camera zooms in slowly on Nancy’s face. She’s looking downwards, purportedly at her laptop screen, but her mind is miles away from the classroom.

NANCY VOICEOVER: Am I usually such a bad student? No. I’m sorry, Teach, but due to extenuating circumstances that have since taken over this joke that is my life I failed to read your very exciting case. Um, wait – I meant cases. At the rate I’m going it’s in everyone’s best interest for me to drop out of law school and stop wasting my parents’ money on tuition that doesn’t benefit me in one way or another. And here I go, being a selfish little bitch again. I think I officially hate myself now. Well, if this is any consolation at all, I don’t think I’m the only one.

INT – NANCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Music: All They Do is Talk by Earlimart

LYRICS: If they come in just to meet you
With broken words in monotone
Just smile and take the picture
It’s nice to know you love the song
That someone would remind you
Nothing hurts until it’s gone
My New Year’s resolution
‘Cos all they do is
Talk

Nancy is lying on her bed. Only her study lamp is on; the rest of the room is dark.

NANCY VOICEOVER: A day later and I still feel the stab in the gut. Or the heart. Or maybe it’s both. And I keep imagining scenarios in which I have the final say, where I deliver scathing, cutting punchlines devised to make him hurt as much as me. But they are random snippets at best, with no beginning or end.

Cut to: Scenario Number 1.

NANCY VOICEOVER: This takes place a few months later.

INT – UNIVERSITY, CANTEEN – DAY

EX-BOYFRIEND: I never knew you could be so damn childish. Drop the “I am so eternally scarred” act for crying out loud! I didn’t even do you that much damage!
NANCY: In case you weren’t paying attention, this was and is my first time in such a place emotionally. Can I have your gracious permission to deal with it my way? And hell, what are you even doing here? This isn’t remotely your school!
EX-BOYFRIEND: [laughs incredulously] You’re so damn dysfunctional. And guess what? I don’t have to answer to you.
NANCY: Don’t flatter yourself.

Nancy starts to walk away, but Ex-Boyfriend grabs her arm.

EX-BOYFRIEND: I never thought I’d ever say this, but you know what? I hate you too.
NANCY: That’s great. That makes the two of us. I’m so glad the feeling is mutual. [pauses] Oh wait, I just realised – that would be a real first, wouldn’t it?

Nancy yanks her arm out of Ex-Boyfriend’s grip, and walks away.

Cut to: Scenario Number 2.

NANCY VOICE-OVER: This, during one of our dates.

INT – FANCY RESTAURANT – NIGHT

Ex-boyfriend is cutting up a piece of steak, while Nancy sips on her iced coffee.

EX-BOYFRIEND: I hate criminal lawyers.
NANCY: Why?
EX-BOYFRIEND: Because they defend criminals.
NANCY: [raising an eyebrow] You don’t think criminals deserve legal representation?
EX-BOYFRIEND: Who cares? They’re less than human. How can you defend a murderer?
NANCY: [obviously offended] Whoa. What are you saying? How can you say that? Have you heard of ‘innocent until proven guilty’? Before he’s convicted an accused murderer has equal right under the Constitution to a fair trial, like any other person. Not all accused criminals are guilty of the crimes they’re accused of, and even if they are, it doesn’t make them less than human. How can you even say that?
EX-BOYFRIEND: Are you insane? You know, Nance, I think you’re too compassionate.
NANCY: Wanna know what I think?
EX-BOYFRIEND: What?
NANCY: You have a screwed up values system.

Cut to: Scenario Number 3.

NANCY VOICEOVER: A month later, after I hooked up with some hot guy.

INT – SHOPPING CENTRE – DAY

Music: Have A Nice Day by Stereophonics

LYRICS: Lie around all day
Have a drink to chase
Yourself and tourists, yeah
That's what I hate
He said, we're going wrong
We've all become the same
We dress the same ways
Only our accents change
So have a nice day
Have a nice day

Nancy walks hand-in-hand with Current Boyfriend. The Shopping Centre is an old complex, fitted with too-white fluorescent lightings. There are random patches of dubious-looking stains on the walls. Nevertheless, Nancy and Current Boyfriend are laughing and talking, looking – dare we say it? – quite happy.

CURRENT BOYFRIEND: Hey, do you think this thing with us will ever get more normal?
NANCY: What, like going to the mall isn’t normal enough? Do we have to get each other stuffed bears that say, ‘I love you Beary much’?
CURRENT BOYFRIEND: [laughs] Don’t even think for a second that the Veronica Mars reference was lost on me. But really, all we do is have fun and make out. I don’t really know you know you. You know?
NANCY: [wry smile] Hmm, really? Oh look, I love that mug! Let’s go in!

Nancy drags a bewildered Current Boyfriend into the said store. She picks up a mega mug with cartoonish cow prints on it against a dark blue background.

NANCY: Man, I’ve always wanted one of these! It’s perfect for my latest obsession with iced coffee and vanilla. And look at the cows! Aren’t they just soooo adorable?
CURRENT BOYFRIEND: [still bewildered] Uh, yeah…I suppose. Would it piss you off if I said your obsession with cows is kinda weird?
NANCY: [swatting Current Boyfriend’s arm playfully] Oh, you! [Pauses, examining the mug] Know what, I’m getting this.

Nancy begins to proceed to the cashier, but Current Boyfriend takes the mug from her hand and smiles.

CURRENT BOYFRIEND: I got it.
NANCY: [genuinely touched] Thanks.

They walk – hand-in-hand – to the cashier. Nancy is beaming. Current Boyfriend puts the mug down on the counter. The cashier takes it. Nancy casually looks at the cashier – and her smile immediately vanishes. It’s Ex-Boyfriend, and they make eye contact.

NANCY: [under her breath] Oh, fuck.

Ex-boyfriend is looking uncomfortable (we’re starting to think he doesn’t have any other facial expressions). He glances at Current Boyfriend, then at Nancy again, and finally he clears his throat and scans the mug. Nancy tugs on Current Boyfriend’s sleeve.

NANCY: Hey, I’m waiting outside.

Without waiting for a reply Nancy exits the store. A few minutes later Current Boyfriend emerges from the store, new purchase in hand. He hands it to Nancy.

CURRENT BOYFRIEND: Here you go. Happy?
NANCY: [glancing at the bag] On second thought, I don’t want it anymore. On third thought, I think you should return it.

Without waiting for a reply (again), Nancy walks away, leaving poor Current Boyfriend staring after her in bewilderment (again).

Cut to: Present.

INT – NANCY’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Music: Feel So Free by Ivy

LYRICS: Ask me again
I’ll take my chances
I don’t know how to begin
You can’t understand
I’ve got no answers
I can’t explain where I’ve been
I should’ve known better
I should’ve known by now
And I feel so free
Yeah, I feel alright
Never thought I’d feel
Like I feel tonight


NANCY VOICEOVER: What I want is a new story about who I am. What I need to do is to fuck up so bad I can’t save myself. Even if it means blatantly ripping off Chuck Palahniuk. [pauses] I hope I pronounced that correctly.

A look of resoluteness briefly crossed Nancy’s face. She gets up from her bed and opens her laptop cover. The camera zooms in on her screen as she types this URL into the address bar: “http://ilivenearyou.com”.

NANCY VOICEOVER: The Bard hit the nail pretty hard on the head: Hell hath known no fury like a woman scorned. No more playing nice. From now onwards, I’m getting my own back.

The camera pulls back for a long-range shot of Nancy on her laptop. Ivy’s Feel So Free continues playing in the background, its haunting melody foreshadowing the destruction that is to come. Fade to black. End.


**

Reactions from the online community:

BADTVSUCKS: What the hell is up with this retard? So some guy dumped her - GET OVER IT! To paraphrase Madison Sinclair from Veronica Mars, "Oh my god, you got dumped. You are like, so scarred for life!"

DOWNWITHBADTV: I second that, BADTVSUCKS. This is reading like a very bad attempt by some pathetic loser to dramatise her equally pathetic life. Why did I just waste 30 minutes of my life watching that stupid dribble?

BADTVKILLSPUPPIES: I second and third the preceding opinions. Nancy's voiceovers are total rip-offs of Veronica Mars' voiceovers. Who the hell is this writer trying to kid? She's obviously a huge VM fan, but plagiarising VM does not equal show of fervent support. Get another day job, Loser.

IHATEBADTV: Oh my god. Just when I thought nothing would get worse than The O.C. I bemoan the death of quality television.

GETRIDOFBADTVFORWORLDPEACESSAKE: I am still trying to get my mind around the fact that this piece of self-gratifying dribble even made it past the executive room. That is all I have to say.

BADTVRUINSYOURHEALTH: Huh? Some spoilt ass got dumped and goes online...to do what? And what the hell is ilivenearyou.com? That's the lamest single-seeking-single website I've ever heard of.

BADTVMAKESYOUFAT: Just watching 30 minutes of that piece of trash has caused me to gain 5 pounds. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

BADTVISWORSETHANTHEPLAGUE: How in the world did this whiny little bitch get into law school? Talk about unrealistic! I foresee the cancellation of this joke of a soap opera-wannabe after this ridiculous episode.

And on and on they go.

**

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Disclaimer 2: Names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

Disclaimer 3: This is styled after format of the Veronica Mars Pilot transcript because I couldn't find any (read: Veronica Mars) actual teleplays, and I was too lazy to dig up my Romeo & Juliet screenplay for a more realistic format. Whatever.

Disclaimer 4: To Veronica Mars, I'm sorry for stealing a couple of your lines. And uh, stealing the music used on your show. In fact, with the exception of Nirvana's Heart-Shaped Box, all the songs were used on your show. Oops.

Disclaimer 5: To Chuck Palahniuk, I'm sorry for the plagiarism too.

Disclaimer 6: I am aware that the first episode of a TV show is usually called "Pilot". Yes, I know that. What has that got to do with me?

Disclaimer 7: Save for the first one, I'm probably using the word 'disclaimer' wrongly. Again, whatevever.

before sunrise // before sunset


Previously:
- - Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017
I'm moving. - Sunday, Jul. 11, 2010
In all honesty - Tuesday, Jul. 06, 2010
What I want for my birthday... - Sunday, Jul. 04, 2010
On Roger's behalf. - Friday, Jul. 02, 2010