What we have here is a 43 page 'Writer's Second Draft' written by Mark Roberts and dated December 5, 2009 (Download here). The show itself has a cold open, two acts and a tag, breaking down to: (9/17/14/3).
So, here's the thing: For a long time I've heard people (including myself, at times) bitch and whine that 'real people' never get TV shows; that TV characters never look like normal people.
Kudos to the Mr. Roberts and company for putting together a show that's put 'regular people' on TV. And yet, at the same time, 99% of the entire script is fat jokes. Worse, they're not even funny.
In fact, the only 'funny' joke I found in the entire script had nothing to do with weight -- and it was even kind of cute.
A TOILET FLUSHES AND A LITTLE BOY CROSSES OUT OF ONE OF THE STALLS. HE SEES THE TWO COPS AND NERVOUSLY STARTS TO CROSS OUT.
Hold it right there, fella.
You wanna go to jail?
Then wash your hands.
THE LITTLE BOY NODS NERVOUSLY, CROSSES TO THE SINK AND WASHES HIS HANDS.
I think what bothered me most about this episode was that it really seemed to take the easy route in regards to the comedy here. I almost felt like they were saying 'well, might as well get these jokes out of the way' -- and, you know, I get it. I get that you can't really have (even in this 'progressive' day and age) a show where you've got two obese main characters and not have some fat jokes in there.
Though, to their credit, the writer did also work in a few drug and homosexual jokes as well.
But the whole thing -- much like the premise of the show as the series/relationship moved forward -- felt forced. It was like someone put a fat guy and a fat girl in a room together and went 'Now... KISS!", 'cause the only characters that do have any chemistry are Mike and Carl (which, notably, they do play off of as the series progresses with lots of latent homoerotic/bromance jokes).
Getting back to the script at hand, this thing appears moderately well-written. The pacing clips along and there's not too much mugging for the camera. But, oddly enough, I just kept wishing for more. More substance.
Molly's mother and sister are pretty one-dimensional here, they don't do much except for act insensitive and flirt with the boys while Samuel -- the Senegalese waiter -- basically acts as a mouthpiece for a good number of the show's more 'edgy' fat jokes.
It is interesting to note that, being a Writer's Second Draft, there's a good amount of stuff in here that never made it into the final pilot that aired. I don't have a lot to say about it, but it's worth noting and, if you're interested, worth taking a look to contrast and compare.
All-in-All, I don't know. I'm glad there's something out there trying to do something different. It's worth mentioning and worth applauding. But when most of the pilot is spent making fun of its own characters, making them feel 'not normal' even as the 'heroes' of their (fictional) world... I wonder how much has changed, really?
As I've said before, I've watched the whole season of this thing, taped it on my PVR, sat down every week and put in my 30 mins -- though I'm still not entirely sure why. It's definitely gotten better since the first episode but the basis of the jokes hasn't changed all that much.
I guess I keep watching in the hopes that it'll get better. That it'll find its stride and really bring home the laughs. I keep WANTING to like it.
But so far I'm a solid 'meh' at best.
Tomorrow is the last script of our 30 day reading series (you have been reading along, right?? :P). And, yes, I did save the best for last. The West Wing 1x01.