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SCENE I: Will's Apartment Building, Lobby
[WILL AND GRACE ARE LOOKING THROUGH THEIR MAIL WHILE THEY WAIT FOR THE ELEVATOR. GRACE IS LICKING AN ENVELOPE.]
GRACE: Mmm. This envelope tastes kinda good. Taste the envelope.
[GRACE HOLDS OUT THE ENVELOPE TO WILL.]
WILL: Stop eating the mail, Grace.
GRACE: I'll stop eatin' it when they stop makin' it so tasty.
WILL: Hey! The new Advocate. The 25 Most Influential Gays Under 30. Why does gay culture worship youth so much?
[WILL FLIPS OPEN THE MAGAZINE.]
WILL: Ew, why is there a guy with gray hair in this ad?
[A NEW NEIGHBOR, NED, WALKS PAST WILL AND GRACE TO THE ELEVATOR.]
GRACE: [MUMBLING] Mm-hm.
WILL: New in the building?
NED: Yeah, uh, Ned Weathers. Just moved in to 10C.
WILL: 10C. Right above us. You don't have a pet elephant, I hope.
[NED STOMPS HIS FEET AND HE AND WILL LAUGH.]
GRACE: [UNDER HER BREATH] Wrap it up.
WILL: Uh, anyway, I'm Will. And, uh, this is Grace.
GRACE: [MUMBLES] Hm.
WILL: Welcome to the building.
[THE ELEVATOR OPENS. NED STEPS IN.]
NED: Uh, you going up?
[WILL TAKES A STEP TOWARDS THE ELEVATOR, BUT GRACE GRABS THE BACK OF HIS JACKET AND PULLS HIM BACK. THE ELEVATOR CLOSES WITHOUT THEM.]
WILL: [TO GRACE] What's wrong with you?
GRACE: What's wrong with me?! You were the one who's being all nice to a stranger, fool.
WILL: What's wrong with being nice to him? He's our neighbor.
GRACE: [SIGHS] Follow the logic, Will. We're nice to him. Suddenly, we're picking up his newspaper. Then-- We're watering his plants. Before you know it, there's a fire in the building and we're the ones who have to make sure he "got out okay". I'd rather find out on the evening news, thank you.
[GRACE PUSHES THE ELEVATOR BUTTON.]
WILL: I'm not saying that I wouldn't trample over him on the way out. But while he's alive, would it kill us to be nice to him?
GRACE: All I'm saying is you just let him blow on by without any eye contact. Otherwise, you're gonna get stuck having to say hello. And nobody wants that.
[THE ELEVATOR OPENS. JACK AND KAREN EXIT THE ELEVATOR.]
WILL: Hey, Jack.
GRACE: Hey, Karen.
[JACK AND KAREN WALK PAST WILL AND GRACE, LOOKING THE OTHER WAY WITH THEIR HANDS BLOCKING THEIR FACES.]
KAREN: [QUIETLY TO JACK] Just keep walking.
JACK: [QUIETLY TO KAREN] Do you think they saw us?
SCENE II: Out TV, Jack's Office
[JACK IS SITTING AT HIS DESK, TALKING ON THE PHONE.]
JACK: [INTO PHONE] Hi, this is Jack McFarland from Out TV, the new gay network. Uh-huh. We are thinking of doing a gay version of "The Swan", called "The Swan". And good news! After looking at your picture, we think you're the perfect candidate. Uh-huh. After we're through with you, all your horrible disfigurements will be corrected. [SIGHS] All right, but promise me you'll think about it, Will, okay?
[JACK HANGS UP THE PHONE.]
[JACK'S BOSS, TIM, KNOCKS ON HIS DOOR AND ENTERS HIS OFFICE.]
JACK: Hey, boss.
TIM: Hey, Jack. So did you get a chance to read the script of that new soap opera?
JACK: I did. I love it. When Hubert says, "Let me be your eyes," I sobbed like a little boy who wished he was a little girl.
TIM: [SURPRISED] Really? 'Cause I didn't care for it. When I was at Showtime, we developed something similar and it didn't work at all.
[ANOTHER EMPLOYEE, JIMMY, WALKS PAST JACK'S DOOR, BUT TIM STOPS HIM.]
TIM: Hey, hey, Jimmy, what'd you think of that new soap opera?
[JIMMY ENTERS JACK'S OFFICE.]
JIMMY: Oh, snooze.
JIMMY: Now, this may be my marketing degree from Arizona State talking, but I think the last thing we need is another tired soap opera. Just making everybody gay does not make it interesting.
TIM: Yeah, I agree, but Jack, here, liked it.
JIMMY: [APPALLED] You did?
JACK: No, uh, that was a test. And you both passed. Check, check. [CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY.]
TIM: How 'bout that cop show?
JACK: [SCOFFS] Another tired cop show? Who needs another one of those?
JIMMY: Really? Because in this case, I thought making everybody gay made it much more interesting.
TIM: I agree. That handcuffing scene was a much-needed reminder that older men can still be hot.
JACK: Oh, that cop show. Oh, I love that cop show. Yes, yes.
TIM: What other one is there?
JACK: Oh, well I heard someone talking about, like, a tranny and a crime-solving thing. Yeah, "Murder He/She Wrote."
TIM: Okay, well, thanks for your input.
[TIM AND JIMMY EXIT JACK'S OFFICE AS KAREN ENTERS.]
KAREN: Honey, is that tall guy your boss? He could pass for straight. I'm so jealous. I wish my boss could pass for straight. [SIGHS]
[JACK SHUTS THE OFFICE DOOR.]
JACK: I'm in big trouble. Everyone here is so smart. They all have, like, degrees and work experience. And they all have that line you get from thinking. [JACK POINTS TO HIS BROW, BETWEEN HIS EYES.]
KAREN: Honey, thinking is more damaging than the sun. Yeah, when I was young, I used to lay out and think all summer long. We just didn't know.
JACK: What do I do? People keep asking my opinions, and I'm always wrong.
KAREN: Oh, honey, come on. It's always rough when you're starting out a new job. But I brought you something to cheer you up. Bring it in, Rosie. Come on. Giddyap!
[ROSARIO ENTERS JACK'S OFFICE WITH A SMALL SHOPPING BAG.]
ROSARIO: I'm not your mule.
[ROSARIO PUTS THE BAG ON JACK'S DESK.]
KAREN: Yeah? Well, then why'd you eat that apple off my palm this morning?
ROSARIO: I knew that would come back to bite me on my ass.
ROSARIO: Can we still stop for licorice on the way home?
KAREN: You bet.
ROSARIO: Thank you, Mami.
[ROSARIO EXITS THE OFFICE.]
[JACK LOOKS IN THE BAG AND PULLS OUT HIS CHER DOLL.]
JACK: Cher! It's my Cher doll.
KAREN: Honey, I thought you might need a little friend at work. I know she's your favorite.
JACK: Oh, thank you, Karen. I'm feeling better already. Cher is my fairy godmother. Well, godmother to all fairies.
SCENE III: Will's Apartment Building, Lobby
[GRACE GETS IN THE ELEVATOR AS NED ENTERS THE LOBBY.]
NED: [TO GRACE] Oh! Could you hold that for me?
GRACE: Uh, sure. [PRETENDING TO TRY TO PUSH THE OPEN BUTTON] Oh, it won't-- I can't. I'm sorry.
[NED JUMPS INTO THE ELEVATOR AS THE DOORS CLOSE IN ON HIM, AND HE PUSHES HIS WAY INSIDE.]
GRACE: Oh, wow, that was really close.
NED: You weren't even hittin' the button.
GRACE: I believe I was.
NED: The button's there. [NED POINTS TO THE BUTTONS] You were hitting here. [NED POINTS TO THE OPPOSITE WALL.]
NED: I'm sorry, have I done something to offend you?
NED: Well, that's good because I thought I offended you, but I guess you're just rude.
GRACE: "Rude"? Or... Painfully... almost abusively shy.
SCENE IV: Will's Apartment
[WILL IS STANDING AT THE TABLE LOOKING AT HIS LAPTOP COMPUTER SCREEN WHILE TALKING ON THE PHONE. THERE IS A CHEESE GRATER ON THE TABLE.]
WILL: [INTO PHONE] Hi, my name is Will Truman. And, uh, I'm the owner -- proud owner I should add -- of one of your Zyliss rotary cheese graters. It-- Oh, it's a self-crank. With a, oh, 2-1/4 by 2-inch well for portion control. Um, I couldn't help but notice on the Internet that you now have a model with a wheel crank--
[WILL HEARS SOMEONE AT THE DOOR.]
WILL: I'm gonna have to call you back.
[WILL QUICKLY HANGS UP THE PHONE AND CLOSES HIS LAPTOP COMPUTER AS GRACE ENTERS.]
GRACE: Well, I hope you're happy. Remember Ned? Your boyfriend from the lobby? Well, I just talked to him in the elevator.
WILL: Now, was that so horrible? I'm proud of you.
GRACE: I invited him over for cocktails.
WILL: What?! Why the hell would you do that?
GRACE: Don't yell at me. You're the one who was makin' love to him in the lobby.
WILL: I was warm to him. Lobby warm. I was laying the groundwork for a lifetime of polite nods. [NODS] Hey. You know? And then you extend an invitation? Why would you do a thing like that?
GRACE: I don't know. We were stuck in the elevator. He accused me of being rude. So to prove I wasn't, I invited him over.
WILL: Faaantastic. Now that creep is gonna come walking in here on all fours, getting his filthy paws all over my stuff. Cancel!
GRACE: I can't. I already invited him.
WILL: Well, this is the worst thing that's ever happened!
GRACE: Well, you got us into it.
WILL: You made it worse.
GRACE: What should we serve?
WILL: I don't know. I'm thinking something with grated cheese.
SCENE V: Out TV
[JACK AND JIMMY ARE WALKING DOWN THE HALL TOWARDS JACK'S OFFICE.]
JIMMY: Hey, Jack. You were hilarious at that meeting today when you said you liked that stupid show about the subway.
JACK: Oh yeah. "Token Lesbians". Yeah. You guys thought I was serious when I was so obviously joking. Heh-heh. Had you going.
JIMMY: For an uncomfortably long time.
JACK: Yeah. Well, it's hard to keep a straight face at a gay network.
[JIMMY LOOKS INTO JACK'S OFFICE AND NOTICES THE CHER DOLL ON HIS DESK.]
JIMMY: Oh, my God! Is that Cher?
JACK: Actually, it is a Cher doll.
JIMMY: Did someone from advertising send that over? I mean, what do they think? Just because we're gay, we all love Cher. [SCOFFS]
JACK: We don't?
JIMMY: You're not actually gonna keep that thing, are ya?
JACK: This magnificent representation of one of the greatest ladies in the history of entertainment? Absolutely not.
JIMMY: Good. 'Cause if I were you, I would throw it out.
[JIMMY WALKS OUT OF JACK'S OFFICE.]
JACK: Forgive me, Cher. For I know not what I do.
[JACK SLOWLY SLIDES THE CHER DOLL UNTIL IT FALLS OFF THE DESK INTO THE GARBAGE CAN.]
[JACK TURNS HIS HEAD AND TRIES TO HOLD IN THE TEARS.]
SCENE VI: Will's Apartment
[WILL, GRACE, AND NED ARE SITTING IN THE LIVING ROOM CHATTING.]
NED: And since I moved to New York, I sent two letters in to the Times. Bang! They put 'em both in.
GRACE: Both in?
NED: I think the secret is being passionate about what you write. And I don't think breeders should clip the ears of miniature Schnauzers.
WILL: I don't think gay people should, either. [CHUCKLES]
NED: That's funny. Can I use your bathroom?
WILL: Go ahead. Just as long as we don't read about it on the op-ed page of the Times.
GRACE: You mean the op-Ned page.
[NED GOES INTO THE BATHROOM.]
WILL: This is a nightmare!
GRACE: What a freak! Pecking at his wedge of brie like a diseased bird. It's time we send a message: Night over, loser.
WILL: If I have to pretend to be interested in one more story, my face is gonna crack! [MOCKING NED] "Oh, I wrote a letter to the Times. Oh, I'm a licensed pilot. Oh, I donated a kidney to a 14 year-old." Get the hell out!
GRACE: Why do we have to be so nice? You think anyone else in the building is inviting this letter-writing putz over for drinks?
WILL: No way, missy. No way!
[NED EXITS FROM THE BATHROOM.]
NED: Hey, um. I really should be going.
GRACE: [FAKE CONCERN] Oh, really?
WILL: [FAKE NICE] Sad!
NED: Well... Thanks for the cheese and stuff.
GRACE: Oh, we'll walk you to the elevator.
[NED, WILL, AND GRACE WALK INTO THE HALLWAY, OFF-SCREEN.]
[A FEW SECONDS LATER, WILL AND GRACE RETURN TO THE APARTMENT.]
GRACE: "Let's do it again real soon, Ned?" What's a matter with you?
WILL: I'm sorry! I panicked. There was a lull. I had to say something.
GRACE: So you pick "How 'bout Friday? We'll cook."?!
WILL: Did I? I think I left my body by then.
GRACE: Dammit! Why are we so nice?
WILL: It's a curse. God, I hate Ned!
SCENE VII: Out TV, Jack's Office
[JACK IS STANDING BY HIS DESK, WRITING ON A PIECE OF PAPER. DAVE, THE SECRETARY, STEPS IN.]
DAVE: I'm going out for a coffee run. Do you want anything?
JACK: Oh, okay. I'll have an iced café mocha. Oh, you know what, actually, make that a hot chai latte. Wait, what is everybody else getting?
DAVE: I don't know. A bunch of different things.
JACK: Um, you know what then, just a regular coffee. No, wait, make it a hot chocolate. No, wait, make it one of those weird fruit salad things from the refrigerated bin. Stop looking at me like that! I hate you! Get out!
[DAVE QUICKLY EXITS. KAREN ENTERS THE OFFICE.]
KAREN: Honey, your assistant is so straight. [SIGHS] I'm so jealous. I wish I were a straight assistant.
JACK: Karen, um, what are you doing here?
KAREN: Honey, I just came by to, you know, check up on ya. See how you're doin'.
JACK: Everything's fine. Everything's great. My eyes aren't puffy from crying.
KAREN: Okay. Well, great. [LOOKS AROUND] Hey. Where's Cher?
JACK: Uh, I believe she's on tour.
KAREN: And was her first show on the road playing to an empty can of tuna and an apple core in a dumpster? Rosie!
[A DIRTY AND DISHEVELED ROSARIO ENTERS AND PLACES JACK'S CHER DOLL ON HIS DESK.]
ROSARIO: Shame on you, Jackie. I had to yank her out of a raccoon's mouth.
JACK: How did you find her? I threw her out yesterday.
KAREN: Luckily, this is the one day a month that I send Rosie out dumpster-diving in Midtown to look for scrap copper wire. It's always been my dream to amass the world's largest private collection of scrap copper wire. And make it into The Guinness Book of World Records.
ROSARIO: I guess World's Biggest Bitch was already taken.
[KAREN GLARES AT ROSARIO. ROSARIO EXITS JACK'S OFFICE AND KAREN SLAMS THE DOOR SHUT AFTER HER.]
KAREN: Jackie, why would you do that? You love Cher.
JACK: I don't know. I thought I loved Cher. But Jimmy doesn't. And he went to a school in Arizona for a really long time. I don't know what I think anymore. I'm lost! I don't know my right from my left! I don't know my up from my down!
[JACK SITS DOWN ON HIS DESK AND LEANS BACK.]
JACK: Oh, my God! The floor's so dirty!
KAREN: Oh, come on, come on, come on. Breathe, honey, breathe.
[KAREN HOLDS JACK'S HEAD TO HER CLEAVAGE AND RUBS HIS BACK.]
SCENE VIII: Will's Apartment
[WILL AND GRACE ARE GETTING READY TO HAVE NED OVER. WILL IS IN THE KITCHEN COOKING AS GRACE SETS THE TABLE.]
GRACE: I can't believe we're having this guy over for dinner. We don't have people we like over for dinner.
WILL: Rob and Ellen have never been here for dinner.
GRACE: And they never will.
WILL: Mmm-hmm. Joe and Larry. Nice guys, good friends. I'd stab myself in the neck before I'd cook them a meal.
[THE PHONE RINGS.]
WILL: [ANSWERING PHONE] Hello. Oh, hey, Ned. What's up?
GRACE: [QUIETLY] He's probably asking if he should bring something. Yeah, bring your other kidney.
WILL: [INTO PHONE] Oh, my God. I-I'm so sorry. No, of course. I understand completely. Sure, we'll-- We'll see ya.
[WILL HANGS UP THE PHONE.]
GRACE: I'm sensing something good.
WILL: Oh, it's good.
GRACE: How good?
WILL: Really good. His brother was in a car accident. Ned's gonna be at the hospital... all night.
GRACE: Will, what's the matter with you? That's not good news. That's great news.
WILL: You like that cake? Here's the frosting: He didn't mention a rain check... and neither did I!
GRACE: It's the best day of my life!
[WILL AND LAUGH.]
[MUSIC BEGINS PLAYING FROM ANOTHER APARTMENT.]
GRACE: Oh, I love this song.
WILL: Ah, "Company." Maybe Sondheim's best.
[BOTH CHUCKLE AND BEGIN SLOW DANCING.]
WILL AND GRACE: [SINGING ALONG] Isn't it warm? Isn't it rosy? Side by side...by side. Ports in a storm, Comfy and cozy--
GRACE: Is the music coming from upstairs?
WILL: Yeah. Ned's apartment.
GRACE: I thought he wasn't home.
[WILL AND GRACE STOP DANCING AND LOOK AT EACH OTHER.]
SCENE IX: Out TV, Jack's Office
[JACK AND KAREN ARE IN JACK'S OFFICE TALKING.]
JACK: Maybe I should quit, Karen. I don't think I have what it takes to climb over all these bottoms to get to the top. [SIGHS]
KAREN: Hey! These people hired you because they value your opinions. And they're good opinions. You know more about television than anyone I know.
JACK: I don't know, Karen. All these people went to those high-fallutin' New England schools, like Arizona State.
KAREN: And while they were doin' that, what were you doin'? Watchin' TV.
JACK: That's true.
KAREN: While they were wasting their time, taking a semester abroad, saving the environment, marching against Apartheid... What were you doin'?
JACK: Watching TV.
JACK: Sometimes takin' a nap.
KAREN: Hm. How 'bout that? Your opinion means more than anyone else's here! As a matter of fact, I can't think of anyone more qualified to come up with mediocre programming that appeals to a tiny niche market than you. So be proud, honey. Speak up. Although-- Maybe not in that voice that you usually use. It's a little femmy.
JACK: Okay. Thank you, Karen.
JACK: Oh-- [CLEARS THROAT DEEPLY] [NORMAL VOICE] Thank you, Karen.
[JACK NOTICES TIM AND JIMMY WALKING BY.]
JACK: Um, excuse me. Hi, guys. Could I talk to you in my office for a minute, please?
TIM: Oh, well, can it wait 'til the staff meeting? We're enjoying our fancy coffee drinks.
JACK: No, it can't.
JIMMY: Ugh, that ridiculous plastic thing is back?
JACK: Yes, she's back! And she brought my Cher doll with her. And she's helped me realize a couple things. You may not wanna hear this, but that gay soap opera? I loved it.
KAREN: Voice, Jackie, voice.
JACK: Oh. [CLEARS THROAT DEEPLY] [IN A HIGHER VOICE] I loved it.
JIMMY: You're kidding.
JACK: I'm not. We all know the only people who watch soap operas are women and gay men. And we both wanna see shirtless hunks. That's why it's perfect. The whole show takes place in a town where the women are missing.
TIM: Well, maybe Jack's right. Maybe we should revisit "Mantown".
JACK: And another thing. I love Cher. And I always will. There isn't a man in this room who doesn't owe his life to her. Who else was there to teach us to lip-synch, roll our tongue, and verbally abuse short people?
KAREN: Well, to be fair, poodle, Randy Newman did help.
TIM: You know what? Jack's right. As a gay network, we can't afford to turn our backs to our icons. [TO JACK] I'd like you to do a documentary on Cher. You think you can manage that?
JACK: No problem. As it happens, I've already made a 40 minute film chronicling her years between her third and fourth farewell tours.
TIM: That's fantastic!
JACK: Does it matter if I'm Cher in it?
SCENE X: Ned's Apartment (10C), Outside Hallway
[WILL AND GRACE EXIT THE ELEVATOR. MUSIC CAN BE HEARD COMING FROM NED'S APARTMENT. WILL KNOCKS ON THE DOOR.]
WILL: Come on, Ned. We know you're in there!
[THE MUSIC SUDDENLY STOPS.]
GRACE: Oh, so now you turn off the music like it was never on? Too late. We already heard it, Nedly.
[NED OPENS THE DOOR AND STEPS INTO THE HALLWAY, CLOSING THE DOOR BEHIND HIM.]
NED: Hey, there.
WILL: "Hey there?" [TO GRACE] Are you getting this?
GRACE: Okay, don't "Hey, there" us. We go out of our way to make you feel welcome in this building--
WILL: Invite you into our home--
NED: Oh, stop it! You don't want me to come over there again. [TO GRACE] You called me a diseased bird and a letter-writing putz.
WILL: You heard that?
NED: It was a bathroom, not a bank vault!
WILL: Well, we-- But you're taking that out of context.
GRACE: Yeah, it--it was a compliment. I mean, what is cuter than a diseased bird? And what--what's more appealing than a letter-writing putz? Put 'em together, you got a heart-warming Disney movie.
NED: Look. You really hurt my feelings. I'm new in town, don't know a lot of people. But hey. Let's just forget it. I guess what they say about New Yorkers is true.
[NED GOES BACK INTO HIS APARTMENT AND SLAMS THE DOOR BEHIND HIM.]
WILL: I feel awful.
GRACE: Me too. What's wrong with us? When did we become so cynical?
WILL: I know. I-- I mean, what's the worst that could happen? We make a new friend?
GRACE: We can't leave it like this.
[GRACE KNOCKS ON NED'S DOOR.]
[NED OPENS THE DOOR AGAIN.]
NED: What? You haven't abused me enough? You come back to kick me in the testicles?
WILL: We're sorry, Ned.
GRACE: There's nothing wrong with you. We're awful. We don't give people a chance.
WILL: Yeah, if anyone's a diseased bird, it's us.
GRACE: And if anyone's a putz, it's Will.
WILL: So, if you're willing, we'd like to start over.
GRACE: Come on. Dinner's still hot.
NED: That is so kind. But I can't. I'm having tea with friends. Unless you would like to join us?
GRACE: We'd love to.
NED: Come on.
[WILL AND GRACE FOLLOW NED INTO HIS APARTMENT.]
[THERE IS A SMALL TABLE WITH PLAY TEA-CUPS AND STUFFED ANIMALS AND DOLLS SITTING AROUND THE TABLE.]
NED: Will, Grace, This is Mitzi, Annie, Brian, Mr. Puffer, Cowboy Fred, Bluey, and Nick-Nick.
[NED SITS DOWN AT THE TABLE. WILL AND GRACE SIT DOWN. NED POURS PRETEND TEA INTO THEIR TEACUPS.]
WILL: [TO A STUFFED BEAR] Nice to meet you, Nick-Nick.
NED: Actually, that's Bluey.
GRACE: It's gonna take us a while to get all these names.
[ALL PRETEND TO SIP TEA.]
SCENE XI: Will's Apartment Building, outside Will's Apartment
[WILL AND GRACE EXIT THE ELEVATOR AND WALK TO THEIR DOOR.]
WILL: I know.
GRACE: That was a weird evening.
WILL: Really weird.
GRACE: Although you and Cowbow Fred hit it off.
WILL: What were you and Nick-Nick? I was like, "Get a room!"
[WILL UNLOCKS THE DOOR AS JACK AND KAREN EXIT JACK'S APARTMENT.]
GRACE: [TO JACK AND KAREN] Hey.
WILL: [TO JACK AND KAREN] Hi.
GRACE: Where are you guys going?
JACK: Oh, we're just gonna get some ice cream.
WILL: Oh, that sounds fun. We'll go with ya.
[JACK AND KAREN GET IN THE ELEVATOR. THE DOORS START TO SHUT.]
[JACK AND KAREN PRETEND TO FUMBLE FOR THE BUTTONS.]
JACK: Oh, I don't--
KAREN: Uh, what the--
JACK: Oh, uh...
[THE ELEVATOR DOORS SHUT BEFORE WILL AND GRACE CAN GET IN.]