Sunday, October 18, 2009

'Pessimism vs. Optimism': A Play in One Act


METROVILLE, a smart guy.
MRS. METROVILLE, his wife.
MALE FRIEND, Female Friend's fiancé.
FEMALE FRIEND, vice versa.
THE CAT, Metroville's strikingly handsome cat.


A patio area at a (vaguely douchetastic) sports bar in Los Angeles. Amongst the CROWD are METROVILLE, MRS. METROVILLE, MALE FRIEND and FEMALE FRIEND. On television is NBC's broadcast of a USC-Notre Dame football game at halftime: "Saturday Night Live's" SETH MYERS is performing a live mini-version of 'Weekend Update'.

METROVILLE: Wow...NBC really has nothing. Is it possible for a major broadcast network to fold entirely?

MRS. METROVILLE: Why are you so cynical?

On TV, Seth Myers partakes in a gag referencing the "balloon boy" story.

MALE FRIEND: Did you see that kid puke on two different TV shows? What was up with that?

METROVILLE: What's up with that is that the kid's dad is a psycho attention-addict and the whole thing was staged. Kid's got crazy-parent vertigo and probably some sternum bruising.

MALE FRIEND: Heard that.

FEMALE FRIEND (to Male Friend): Why are you saying that now? Is that your new thing?

MRS. METROVILLE (to Metroville): No, you were asleep while the whole "balloon boy" thing was happening, so you don't know. We were glued to the TV at work, freaking out. When the balloon landed and he turned out not to be in it...god, I could cry right now just thinking about was unbelievable.

METROVILLE: No shit it was unbelievable--whole thing was horse poop from jump street.

FEMALE FRIEND: I don't know. The dad seemed pretty genuine in that first press conference.

METROVILLE: This is a dude who was on "Wife Swap" twice.

MALE FRIEND: He was on "Wipeout"?


MRS. METROVILLE: I also heard "Wipeout".

FEMALE FRIEND (to Metroville): I think you're thinking of "SuperNanny".

METROVILLE: I'm thinking of "Wife Swap", 'cause that's what I said.

MRS. METROVILLE: You mumble.

METROVILLE: You know what kind of people choose to appear on reality shows? Psycho scumbags. And the fact that this dude--the "balloon boy" dad--forced his family to participate in that garbage on two separate occasions renders it mathematically near-impossible that he'd find himself in the national spotlight--by accident--a third time. Dude set the whole thing up, I guarantee it.

MRS. METROVILLE: You're wrong.

METROVILLE: I'm right. Bet me.

MRS. METROVILLE: I'm not going to bet you. I feel bad for you that you walk around with this dark view of the world.

FEMALE FRIEND: You guys are cute.

MALE FRIEND: Kid puked twice just on the "Today Show"... Fuckin' nuts.


METROVILLE is in his office at home, browsing on his computer. He comes across an article (on gets very excited.

He rises from his chair and skips jauntily from his office, to the living room, and finally to the bedroom...where MRS. METROVILLE is struggling to reclaim possession of a sweater from THE CAT.

MRS. METROVILLE: I hate this fucking cat.

METROVILLE: But he's so handsome.

MRS. METROVILLE: Still hate him.

METROVILLE: I love it when you talk negative.

MRS. METROVILLE: I never talk negative. I just want my goddamn sweater.

METROVILLE: Embrace it, baby: When all cards are on the table, pessimism--

Mrs. Metroville wins the fight, freeing her sweater from the cat.

METROVILLE: ...pulls us through.

MRS. METROVILLE: Save it. I beat your douchebag cat with positive thinking.

METROVILLE: Good intentions triumph over evil, love conquers all...that kind of thing?


METROVILLE: Remember that "balloon boy" thing we were arguing about earlier today?


METROVILLE: Guess what?


METROVILLE: "Charges to be filed."

MRS. METROVILLE: You're kidding!

METROVILLE: I am not! How you like that?!

MRS. METROVILLE: I don't like it at all. I think it's super-fucking sad. Guy's got a wife and three kids... This could tear the whole family apart.

METROVILLE: Yeah, okay, but... How about a high-five for me being right?

MRS. METROVILLE: No, thank you. I'm taking a bath.

Mrs. Metroville passes by Metroville (without high-fiving him) and enters the bathroom, closing the door behind her. Metroville looks at the cat.

METROVILLE: You got me, though, right?

Metroville picks up the cat and sort of makes it high-five him, getting scratched in the process.

METROVILLE: Ah, what the hell.


Later that night, METROVILLE is heading from the kitchen to his office. THE CAT approaches, rubbing against his legs.

METROVILLE: No dice, chief. We're still fighting.

Metroville's mobile phone buzzes in his pocket. He produces the phone, reading a text message...and frowns.

METROVILLE (calling OFF STAGE to Mrs. Metroville): Yankees won in the thirteenth! You gotta be fucking kidding me. I'm certainly not sad that the Angels lost, but the fuckin' Yankees? Major playoff in my favorite sport...

MRS. METROVILLE (from OFF STAGE): What about the National League?

METROVILLE: I'm talking about real baseball, not the pseudo-Canadian version with a guaranteed failed bunt in every lineup.

MRS. METROVILLE (from OFF STAGE): You're funny.

METROVILLE: I appreciate that but please do not distract me from my rant. Major playoff in my favorite sport and I want both teams to lose and neither to win. How am I supposed to enjoy that?

MRS. METROVILLE (from OFF STAGE): Maybe pessimism doesn't always pull us through, smart guy.

METROVILLE: Heard that.

Metroville goes back to work.


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