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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Big Bang Theory 2x05 - The Catalina Alternative

So here we have an episode of one of my favourite shows on TV, needless to say, I was a bit excited to open up this script and have a looksee.  (Download it here)

What we have here is a 41 page Final Draft, uncredited but dated September 29th, 2008.  This script comes complete with two (yes, two! More on that below) Cold Opens, two Acts and a Tag.  (3/2/17/17/2)

Immediately what struck me is just how different the formatting is for a half-hour comedy script as compared to a drama script -- and then I quickly realized that I've never read a non-drama or Film script before.

I don't know how that happened or why, (most likely because I tend toward 'drama' writing) but now that I'm here it's certainly an interesting way of looking at things.

Right off the top, the show has 2 Cold Opens which, basically, are just 2 separate scenes that lead you into the main titles.

Right off the bat they establish the crux of what this story will ultimately be about: Sheldon wants people to drive him around but he's too much of a pain in the ass to put up with for a whole trip.  Thus the group puts pressure on Sheldon to learn how to drive.

Another interesting thing is the somewhat liberal use of the CUT TO: transition.  I'd always been told that it's something that people don't really use anymore (I've heard that a lot, actually) but I found that almost every scene has a CUT TO: or a SMASH CUT TO: at the end of it.  Maybe it's a different thing entirely when looking at a half-hour comedy script, but it was something that I noticed as 'odd'.

The other interesting thing -- and this could've just being because it was a final draft/possible shooting draft -- was that each scene, no matter how short was given its own letter and page.  By the end of the show they were up to 'Scene M' before they hit the Tag and then called it quits.

Story-wise, what struck me about this episode was that while there weren't a lot of jokes that 'worked on the page' for me, that just 'read funny', as soon as I went back and imagined Sheldon's voice or Penny's reaction, it really did bring about a chuckle or two.  I guess that's what happens when you have some truly fantastic actors on hand, you know it's not just the joke, but how they'd deliver it that truly knocks it out of the park.

All-in-All, I'd have to say that my favourite scene of the episode was pretty much the entirety of 'Scene K' where Sheldon was learning to drive via computer simulator... again, not incredibly funny on the page, but once the ol' imagination kicked in -- imagining them sitting around the computer and their collective faces as the scene plays out -- ... brilliant.  Just fantastic stuff.

Tomorrow I'll be tackling a show I've never seen but heard great things about: Psych.  I'm interested to see how that will effect my enjoyment of the script and, since I don't know the characters, how easy they'll be to pick up.

Until then,
Cheers!
Brandon

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