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Int. Living Room - Day
Maxwell and Brighton come downstairs with baseball gear.
Fran : Okay, boys. Here you go. These are your gloves. This is the ball. These are the rules… you throw the ball and you catch it. Reverse and repeat.
They stare at her.
Fran : (Cont.) Ah, you’ll watch the other fathers and sons. You’ll pick it up. (to Maxwell) Where’s your cap?
Maxwell : (Taking cap from back pocket) I’m not really a cap person.
Fran : Come on, you’ll look adorable.
Maxwell : My life’s ambition.
He puts the cap on with brim forward. Fran turns It.
Fran : Try to be cool.
They look at each other.
Brighton : We cool.
Fran : (Calling) Come on, Gracie, we’re going to the park.
Grace enters carrying a kite.
Grace : I’m a little anxious about this whole kite thing.
Fran : Honey, it’ll be fine.
Grace : What if I let go of the string and lose it? I’m not good with separation.
Fran : A kite is like a really cute guy. You gotta give him some slack, let him go where he wants, feel like he’s free. Then at the end of the day, you’ll reel him in and put him away ‘til you want to use him again.
Int. Dining Room - Morning
Fran and the family are having breakfast. Maxwell's face is buried in his variety.
Fran : Last question: the capitol of Peru is?
Grace : (Quickly) Lima.
Fran : (Checking the answer) Very good. (To Brighton) If she can fit in your book bag, you might actually pass this test.
Brighton : I don’t need to be a genius. I’m gonna be a producer like Dad.
Maxwell lowers the paper and glares at Brighton.
Brighton : (Looking around) Who said that?
C.C : Morning, everyone. I have the fabulous news!
Niles : They’ve selected a dilettante for the biosphere.
C.C : I was at Elizabeth Arden, having a facial, manicure and herbal wrap -
Fran : You know, Earl Sheib could do the whole job for eighty-nine ninety five. Body work included.
C.C gives her a look.
C.C : Why do I come here?
Brighton : That’s what we were wondering.
Maxwell : It’s a tough room, C.C. Please go on.
C.C : And who do you think was under the next turban?
Grace : Aladdin?
Fran : Yassir Arafat?
Maxwell : That’s not a turban, it’s a burnoose.
Fran : Well, whatever it is, he could use a facial… or better yet, a chemical peel.
C.C : Nanny Fine -
Fran : Wha..? We’re giving him the Gaza Strip, would it kill him to take a shave and put on a little Paco Rabanne.
C.C : Does the name Maureen Wentworth ring a bell?
Maxwell : Not even a jingle.
C.C : She invested fifty thousand dollars in our last production.
Maxwell : Ah, yes. How is the dear lady. I’ve missed her so…
Fran : Fifty thousand dollars for a lousy play? (Then, realizing) Which I found delightful, I know I’m still humming the tunes.
C.C : That’s the kind of change she finds in her couch. These are the Wentworths. They came over on the Mayflower.
Fran : That whole voyage is a mystery to me. How did they know what to pack? I mean, you’re going to a new world. Is it hot… cold… rainy? There’s no brochures…
Maxwell : They were Pilgrims. They all wore the same thing.
Fran : And what a mistake. Very few people look good in a big hat, a big collar, and a big buckle.
C.C : Anyway, she and her daughter, Cynthia, are very active in the Cotillion Society. I mentioned Maggie and they’ve invited her to be a Junior Debutante.
Maxwell : C.C., that’s splendid. What a nice opportunity for Maggie.
C.C : Maggie? Oh, yes, of course. And God knows it wouldn’t hurt us to meet some new old money.
Maggie : Excuse me, but does anyone care how I feel about this?
Brighton : I know I don’t.
C.C : You’ll love it. I was a debutante. It’s the only way to meet the right people, make the right connections, marry the right man…
Grace : But you never got married.
Niles : Good one.
C.C : Oh, I had my chances, but I’m waiting for my Prince Charming.
C.C smiles at Maxwell. Maxwell sips his coffee.
Fran : Same here. Funny how we started out so different, and yet still wound up in the same place.
Maggie : I don’t want to be a deb.
Maxwell : Why not? You’ll meet some new girls.
Maggie : Snobs.
Maxwell : They have a lot of parties.
Maggie : Boring.
Maxwell : Maggie, if you really don’t want to do this, you don’t have to, but it might help you come out of your shell.
Maggie : I like my shell.
Fran : I agree with Miss Babcock.
Everyone stops to look at her.
Fran : (Cont'd) Believe me, it was an ugly shock for me too. But I think this could be a great opportunity for Maggie.
Maggie : I don’t care what you all think I don’t want to do it!
Maggie thows down her napkin, and runs out of the room.
Fran : (TO C.C) See what happens when we agree?
Fran gets up and goes after Maggie.
Int. Living Room - A Moment Later
Maggie : I mean, who does C.C. think she is, butting into my social life?
Fran : What social life? Honey, you’re fourteen years old. This house should be full of obnoxious teenagers; sharing sweaters and trashing each other.
Maggie : I hate all those girls. They go to my school. They’re just so -
Fran : Popular?
Maggie : (Meekly) Yeah.
Fran : Honey, there’s no reason you can’t be just as popular. You’re smart, and gorgeous, with a double A width… the world’s your oyster!
Maggie : Skinny feet cannot get me into this group. You don’t know what these girls are like.
Fran : What’s to know? You think they’re any different from the girls in the Cosmetology Club at Flushing High? Okay, maybe we had better nails. But all cliques are the same. You got your leader of the pack. She’s the prettiest, the snobbiest, and everybody wants to be her friend.
Maggie : (Impressed) That’s Cindy.
Fran : Forget her, she don’t need you. Find the low man on the totem pole and make your move. See, nobody ever listens to her, so she’ll be grateful, and wide open for infiltration.
Maggie : How do I infiltrate?
Fran : Choose from the three universal topics… boys, clothes, and Bobby Sherman.
Maggie : Bobby who?
Fran : Okay, Marky Mark. Although he doesn’t have half the talent of Bobby. It also helps to unite against a common enemy…a good choice would be your P.E. teacher.
Maggie : You make it sound like a war.
Fran : It’s worse. War is just hell. This is high school.
Int. Living Room - A Week Later
Fran and Grace are looking through and old "sixteen" magazine. Brighton is there. Maggie is on the phone. Niles is sweeping.
Fran : That’s Bobby Sherman.
Grace : What’s that?
Fran : That’s his hair. Isn’t he cute?
Grace : He’s not really my type. I like Barney.
Fran : You should hear Bobby’s records.
Grace : What’s a record?
Fran : Oy, just bury me.
Maggie speaks into a portable phone.
Maggie : That sweater you wore today is just gorgeous.
Fran : Good.
Maggie : No wonder Jason Matthews has a crush on you.
Fran : Very good.
Maggie : You look thinner. Did you lose five pounds?
Fran : (Impressed) Grand slam. The three universal topics and sucking up.
Maggie gives Fran a thumbs up.
Brighton : Could it be our Maggie has a friend?
Grace : You live long enough, you see everything.
C.C enters from the library.
C.C : Niles, Maxwell wants these contracts in London by morning.
Niles offers C.C his broom.
Niles : Here, hop on. With the time difference you’ll just make it.
Maggie : Fran, I’m on the phone with Cindy Wentworth.
She makes a "can you believe it?" Face.
Maggie : … and she wants to know what to bring tomorrow.
Fran : I told her. Potato salad. And not the German kind.
C.C : Niles, why is Miss Fine mentioning the words “Wentworth” and “potato salad” in the same sentence?
Niles :: Oh, Miss Margaret and Miss Fine are hosting a mother-daughter debutante tea.
C.C : You’re hosting a society tea?
Fran : Yeah, we’re doing potluck. That always goes over big.
C.C : What?!
Fran : Meanwhile, with all their money, go find someone to bring an entrée.
C.C : You’re asking Maureen Wentworth to bring her own food?
Fran : Hey. Fair’s fair. We’re springing for the make-your-own-sundae-bar, the cosmetic demonstration and the gypsy fortune teller. Come on, kids. Let’s go wrap the gifts for the grab bag.
Fran and the children start upstairs.
C.C : Miss Fine, a moment.
Niles : Does this mean you aren’t leaving?
C.C : Sorry to disappoint you.
Niles : I’ll bounce back
He closes the door and exits.
Fran : Kids, start without me. Oh, and Maggie remember, a smart hostess always wraps the best present in aluminum foil. (TO C.C) That way you can always grab it for yourself.
The children exit.
C.C : Always the perfect hostess.
Fran : With the mostest. You know this debutante stuff was a really great idea. I haven’t had this much fun planning a party since my sweet sixteen at Lenny’s Clam Bar. We took over the whole halfshell room.
C.C : I’m sure it was the highlight of the Flushing social season.
Fran : No that would be the Casino Boulevard block party. They had two of the Four Tops.
C.C : Miss Fine, my point is a society hostess should have style, flair and a proper degree of social sophistication.
Fran : Yeah, so?
C.C : So you’re grossly underqualified.
Fran : And yet still Maggies first choice.
C.C : Miss Fine, this is not a popularity contest.
Fran : And I won anyway. I’ll have you know I’ve traveled in some pretty exclusive circles. I sat at the Captain’s table on the Carnival Cruise. I passed the A-1 to Kathy Lee.
C.C : This is not brunch with Captain Stubing. Maggie’s entire social future is at stake.
Fran : They’re just a bunch of fourteen-yeer-olds. They’re gonna love it.
C.C : You’re forgetting the mothers and I don’t use the term loosely. These women are vicious, backstabbing, judgemental harpies. I know, they’re my closest friends.
C.C exits. fran yells out to C.C.
Fran : You know you don’t scare me. You obviously never sat in on my mother’s Mah Jong group.
Fran closes the door.
Fran : (Cont'd) Oy, I’m dead meat.
Int. Library - Moments Later
Maxwell and Niles are in the library. Maxwell feeling roguish, is tossing a baseball in the air.
Maxwell : You know I’m getting the hang of this baseball and really rather enjoying it.
Niles : Don’t toss the ball in the house, sir.
Maxwell : Stop being such an old stick in the mud. (Tosses ball to Niles) Come on, old man. Burn it in.
He motions Niles to back up. Niles throws ball.
Sfx : crash.
Back to Maxwell, now holding broken ming vase.
Maxwell : It was old. Ancient.
Niles : I’ll get the crazy glue, sir.
Fran : You want to hear a good one? C.C. just said I’m gonna stick out like a sore thumb at this tea party tomorrow.
Fran laughs. Maxwell and Niles are silent.
Fran : (Cont'd) You’re not laughing. Too hip for the room? C.C.’s implying I got no class. Get it?
Silence again. Fran picks up a tony, taps it.
Fran : (Cont'd) Is this thing on? Jump in any time with heartfelt reassurance.
Maxwell : Miss Fine, don’t worry. These ladies tend to be a bit uppercrust but I’m sure you’ll be a breath of fresh air.
Niles : A delightful novelty.
Fran : What am I? A freak in a sideshow?
Niles : Everyone loves the circus.
Fran : This is Maggie’s coming out party. I don’t want to send her right back in. You gotta make me more like those ladies.
Maxwell : What do you suggest we do?
Fran : Teach me. I’m an empty canvas, a blank slate. An Etch-A-Sketch right after you shake it.
Maxwell : Where would we begin?
Niles : Her clothes.
Maxwell : Her voice.
Niles : Her laugh.
Maxwell : Her walk.
Fran : You came up with that list pretty fast. Two minutes ago I was a breath of fresh air, now I’m a stink bomb.
Maxwell and Niles laugh, then Fran laughs. Maxwell and Niles grimace.
Fran : What, shouldn’t I laugh?
Niles : That’s always an option. But if you must, try a soft, breathy…
Niles demonstrates. fran imitates badly.
Niles : (Cont'd) Smile.
Fran smiles broadly.
Maxwell : Perfect!
Fran : Thank God my teeth are okay. They are okay?
Maxwell : Stunning.
Niles : Each one is a pearl.
Maxwell : We can’t say enough about your teeth. (To Niles) Now, if only she didn’t have to speak. It’s just an impossible task.
Niles : And yet somehow I have the feeling it can be done…
Push in on poster of "my fair lady."
Int. Office - Later That Night
Maxwell, in shirt sleeves, is drilling Fran. Niles serves coffee.
Maxwell : Round tones, Miss Fine. “How now brown cow?”
Fran : (Garbled) How now brown
She spits marbles from her mouth.
Fran : Enough with the marbles. I already swallowed three and passed two. (She tries again) How now brown cow? Not that there’s gonna be any cows at the party.
Niles : That’s what you think.
Maxwell : Party, Miss Fine.
Niles : Yes, let’s try to capture that elusive letter “R”.
Fran : Wha?
Maxwell : Your accent.
Fran : Look who’s talking. At least I was born in this century. I don’t see any
“R’s” coming out of your mouth.
Maxwell : Yes, but we’re British.
Niles : We can say anything we want and people think it’s Shakespeare..
They share a smug, British laugh.
Maxwell : Now, repeat after me. Mark went on a lark after dark in Central Park.
Fran : I hope he had a gun.
Maxwell : Miss Fine, focus.
Fran : Alright. But meanwhile, the Kennedy’s don’t have an “R” between them. (With Boston accent) They park the car in the river and no one criticizes them. What’s next?
Maxwell : I shoot myself.
Fran : “I shoot myself.” Does that come up in conversation a lot?
Fran laughs. Maxwell and Niles react.
Int. Living Room - Later
Fran walks across the room with a book on her head.
Maxwell : No, it’s all wrong.
Fran : You’re telling me. This book has completely flattened my hair.
Maxwell : No, it’s your hips, Miss Fine.
Fran : I’ve never had any complaints before.
Maxwell : It’s the way they move from side to side.
Fran : I’ve never had any complaints before. What, these women don’t have hips?
Maxwell and Niles exchange a look.
Maxwell : Not really, no.
Niles : And flat bums.
Maxwell : But who’s looking.
Niles : Perhaps we should move on to conversation, sir.
Fran : Now, this is my area of specialty. I’m never at a loss for words.
Niles : There are several topics which are appropriate in any social setting - the weather, current events, literature.
Fran : I’ll take weather for a hundred, Alex.
Int. Dining Room - Two Hours Later
Fran and Maxwell sit before two elaborate place settings. Niles stands alongside Fran.
Niles : Let’s review. (Holding it up) This is the fish knife, the salad knife, the steak knife and the butter knife.
Fran : You know, one amazing Ginzu could do it all.
Maxwell : Now let’s begin. The salad has just arrived and you pick up your -
Fran : Uh - eany, meany, miney - (Choosing one) salad fork.
Niles : And wrong again.
Maxwell : That’s the shrimp fork.
Fran : Well, I don’t know about you, but I got the shrimp salad.
Fran mimes eating.
Maxwell : Uh-uh-uh. Haven’t we forgotten something?
Niles taps on the finger bowl. Fran squeezes the lemon into the bowl, picks it up and takes a genteel sip.
Fran : (Smiling; through gritted teeth with perfect pronunciation) Tart, but refreshing.
Maxwell : (Losing it) No!! Miss Fine, that is your finger bowl!!
Niles : It’s for washing your fingers.
Fran : What, these people can’t afford wetnaps?
Maxwell : Niles which is the wrist knife?
Int. Fran's Bedroom
The room is empty for a beat, then clothes come flying out of the closet.
Maxwell : (O.S.) No, no, no, no, no.
Int. Fran's Closet
Niles and Maxwell are holding onto a pile of clothes.
Fran : I can’t believe you’re knocking my style. I’m known for that, except for my corn row phase in the seventies.
Maxwell : Don’t you have anything more conservative?
Fran : Sure.
She holds up watermelon and vegetable dresses.
Niles : Those are lovely, but… (At a loss)
Maxwell : Don’t you have anything outside the four basic food groups?
Fran : (Concerned) Not this season.
Maxwell and Niles continue sorting though the closet. Maxwell notices something.
Maxwell : Oh, what’s this beige frock?
Fran : That’s my dress bag.
Niles : Two arm holes and a string of pearls.
Maxwell : Could work.
Harp music over.
Ext. Mansion - Est.
Int. Living Room - Afternoon
it's "tea day". Even more fresh-cut flowers around than usual. Several chic society dames chat amongst themselves. A group of stylish teenage girls are gathered.
Brighton : I’m really sixteen. Don’t be fooled by my thyroid condition.
Cindy : Buzz off, twerp.
Brighton : We’ll do lunch.
Maxwell and Niles stand at the bottom of the stairs.
Maxwell : Oh, God. This is worse than an opening night.
Niles : And the critics here are much tougher.
Maxwell : Whatever happens, I’ve enjoyed working with you.
Niles : Same here, Sir. Somehow, I feel closer to you.
Maxwell : Let’s not get carried away, old man.
Niles : Right you are. It’s in God’s hands now.
Fran appears at the top of the stairs. her hair is in a french twist. She wears a pastel tailored suit, gloves, hermes scarf and sports a charming hat, as well as a dazzing smile. She crosses to Maxwell and Niles. Maxwell and Niles look thrilled. C.C looks chagrined.
Maxwell : By George. I think she’s got it.
Niles : We did it.
Maxwell : We did it.
Niles : We said that we would do it.
Maxwell : And indeed we did.
Maxwell holds out his arm and gallantly escorts Fran across. She waves to guests like the queen of England.
Fran : Hello, hello. How do you do? (A large woman in a brown dress walks by) How now brown cow?
Angle on : Mrs. Wentworth.
C.C approaches her.
C.C : Maureen.
Mrs Wentworth : C.C., how lovely to see you.
They mime kissing and hugging each other.
C.C : Kiss kiss.
Mrs Wentworth : Hug hug. (Re: Fran) Who’s that lovely creature on Maxwell’s arm?
C.C : That’s the nanny.
Mrs Wentworth : (Taken aback) Oh. (Then) And yet, what a stunning outfit.
Niles walks by.
Niles : (Talking credit) Thank you.
Fran and Maxwell join C.C and Maureen.
C.C : Miss Fine, you look…shorter.
Fran : (Speaking perfectly) I’m wearing flats, and they’re killing me..I have such a corn.
Maxwell : Mrs. Wentworth, I’d like you to meet our hostess, Miss Fran Fine.
Fran : Charrrmed, I’m surrre.
C.C : Look who discovered the letter “R.”
Fran : Forgive me for being tardy, but I was on the phone with my motherrr and she can be such a yenterrr.
Niles : (Quickly) Cucumber sandwich?
Mrs Wentworth : Oh, don’t these look yummy?
Fran : I’ve had the seeds removed to avoid gas.
Mrs. Wentworth chokes momentarily on the sandwich.
Maxwell : Come, let’s meet our other guests.
Maxwell escorts Fran away, Niles follows.
Maxwell : (Cont'd) “Gas”, Miss Fine?
Fran : Just making conversation.
Niles : Indeed. Literature, the weather and the lively arts are such narrow topics, one must invariably turn to flatulence for inspiration.
Angle on : Maggie and the girls.
Cindy : Great party, Maggie. It’s almost as much fun as algebra.
Girl : After this, maybe we can go out and get flu shots.
Brighton : I could entertain you if you like.
Maggie : Shut up, Brighton. It’s gonna get better, really. Wait till Fran gets here.
Fran comes over.
Fran : Good afternoon, ladies.
Maggie : Fran?
Brighton : Oh my god. It’s invasion of the body snatchers.
Fran : Come on, girls. We’re going to sing madrigals with the harpist. (To Maggie, Sotto) Is this classy , or what?
Maggie : No, it stinks.
Fran : Huh?
Maggie : This is the worst party I’ve ever been to.
Maggie runs off to the kitchen. Fran turns to Niles.
Fran : She obviously missed my cousin Ira’s bris.
She exits after Maggie. Pass the harpist.
Fran : (Cont'd) (To Harpist) Why aren’t you playing? We’re paying you by the pluck.
Int. Kitchen - Continuous
Fran walks in on an upset Maggie.
Fran : So what you’re saying is this isn’t going well?
Maggie : No!
Fran : Oh, you know I couldn’t tell. I mean I was bored to tears, but what do I know from teas besides Lipton?
Maggie : Why did you change everything? The food, the music, the way you look.
Fran : I wanted everything to be perfect for you, so I tried to fit in.
Maggie : If I wanted a boring, old lady cucumber party, I would have asked C.C. to throw it.
Fran : (Confessing) Well, I didn’t want to do it, it was all her idea.
Maggie : I should have guessed.
Fran : Since when do I listen to her, I don’t know. Does she entertain? In all the time I’ve known the woman, she hasn’t asked me over once.
Maggie : I wanted you the way you are.
Fran : Well, that seemed to be a minority opinion.
Maggie : What happened? When I had no confidence I listened to you. You said be yourself.
Fran : Sure, if you’re you… perfection, you can be yourself, but if you’re me… a diamond in the rough…
Maggie : Are you kidding? I’’d kill to be you.
Fran : Really? I’d kill to be you.
Maggie : So now what do we do?
Fran : Either we kill each other, or we go throw a party that’ll kill C.C.
Maggie : Now you’re thinking like a deb.
Fran : Kiss kiss.
Maggie : Hug hug.
Int. Living Room - A Short Time Later
Music : Harpist plays limbo rock.
Fran is back to normal in leopard. Somme girls are doing Limbo. Niles mans the sundae bar.
Maxwell : Okay, who wants sprinkles?
Cindy : (To Maggie) Your father’s really cute.
Brighton : They say I look just like him.
Cindy : They lied.
Mrs McFadden : (To Fran) Our family can be traced back five hundred years. We came over on the Mayflower.
Fran : We took a different line.
Mrs McFadden : We landed on Plymouth Rock.
Fran : We landed on Ellis Island. They changed our name, now we don’t know who the hell we are.
Mrs. Mcfadden laughs and Fran joins in. Niles walks by with a silver tray. Mrs. Mcfadden takes an hors d'oeuvres.
Mrs McFadden : These are absolutely divine.
Fran : You like, huh? Marshmallow rice crispy treats. Always a big hit.
Mrs McFadden : You must give me the recipe for cook.
Fran : Maureen, honey, spring for the cereal. The recipe’s right on the side panel. What, you gonna make me write it all down?
Grace comes over in a facial mask.
Grace : The Mary Kay lady says I have very tight pores.
Fran : You’re six. What do they have to be loose about?
Maxwell comes over, eating an ice cream sundae.
Mrs McFadden : Maxwell, this woman is a gem.
Fran : Maureen, enough.
Fran slaps mrs. McFadden on the arm.
Mrs McFadden : (To Maxwell) I want in on that new musical of yours.
Maxwell : We have very high hopes for this one. You know, we’re talking to Carol Channing.
Mrs McFadden : I know. The fortune teller told me.
Angle on : The gypsy fortune teller.
She is reading C.C's outstretched palm.
Gypsy : (In romanian accent) I tell you for the hundredth time. I see no tall, dark, handsome nothing in your future.
C.C : Well, try this hand.
Gypsy : We tried the hands, we tried the feet. Now go, let the little girl have a turn.
Meanwhile, Maggie and the girls are gathered around the grab bag.
Maggie : Fran, it’s your turn for the grab bag.
Fran : Me? Oh, I really wasn’t going to pick. All right.
She reaches in and pulls out the aluminum foil wrapped gift.
Fran : (Cont'd) I wonder what this could be?