Friday, May 19, 2006

Room Service 4

While away in Europe I’m posting my favorite scene from FRASIER that my partner, David Isaacs and I wrote. This is from the “Room Service” episode. The whole act was this one scene, and here’s the conclusion.

INT. BATHROOM

FRASIER OPENS THE DOOR. NILES IS LYING SPRAWLED ON THE TOPPLED BREAKFAST CART.

FRASIER

Niles!

NILES

(sitting up) Yes?

FRASIER

Oh my God!

LILITH

I’m so sorry. We didn’t mean for this to happen.

FRASIER

Oh my God!

NILES

She’s telling the truth. It was a mistake. A stupid mistake.

FRASIER

Stop it, Niles. I don’t want to hear how or why or – I just want to get out of here.

FRASIER EXITS THE HOTEL ROOM.

LILITH

Frasier! Frasier!

BUT HE’S OUT THE DOOR.

NILES

This is my worst nightmare.

LILITH

You have egg on your face.

NILES

That’s an understatement. I’m mortified. I –

LILITH

No. Actual egg. It’s in your hair, too.

THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR. LILITH OPENS IT AND FRASIER COMES BACK INTO THE HOTEL ROOM.

NILES

I knew you couldn’t stay mad at us.

FRASIER

I’m in a bathrobe, you jackass.

FRASIER BEGINS COLLECTING HIS CLOTHES AS SOMETHING DAWNS ON LILITH.

LILITH

I can understand your shock and – believe me, if I could erase everything that happened last night I would. But if you look at this rationally for a moment, we didn’t technically do anything wrong.

FRASIER

What?! You didn’t do anything wrong?

NILES

I’m a little unclear on that myself but I’m willing to go along with it.

LILITH

You and I are no longer married. Neither is Niles. I won’t say this is my shining hour but we’re not responsible to you or anyone else for our actions.

NILES

(jumping on the bandwagon) Right! And I’m frankly insulted by your outburst.

FRASIER

I can’t believe this! You’re actually defending what you did?

LILITH

Just listen. The past few days have been the worst of my life. I’ve never felt less self-assured, more in need of validation, both as a person and as a woman. And Niles was feeling the same thing.

NILES

Exactly. (realizing) Wait a minute.

LILITH

(to Frasier) Our physical reaction to each other was nothing more than a desperate attempt to reaffirm our own worth.

FRASIER

Very impressive, Lilith. But I happen to be a psychiatrist too. Let me tell you what really transpired. This is a passive-aggressive manifestation of the deep resentments that you both have toward me. You were punishing me for my notoriety. My successful adjustment after our marriage. It is this shared bond that brought you two to your palace of sweet revenge.

LILITH

Allow me to rebut: What a crock.

FRASIER

It is not!

LILITH

This is yet another example of your complete self-absorption and the reason we could not stay together in the first place.

FRASIER

I think I have a right to -- why am I defending myself?

NILES

If you ask me, you’re both off the mark. Last night was all about two people ruled by very strong superegos, tortured by them, who had a chance, however misguided, to break through and rediscover their ids together. Call me an old softy, but that’s how I see it.

FRASIER

(a beat, then) Okay, then… the three of us have certainly analyzed the crap out of this.

LILITH

Where does that leave us?

NILES

Yes. Where do we all go from here?

FRASIER

(after a beat) I don’t know.

THERE’S AN AWKWARD SILENCE. A CELL PHONE RINGS IN THE CLOSET.

NILES

Oh, that’s mine.

NILES GOES TO THE CLOSET TO SEARCH FOR HIS CELL PHONE.

LILITH

You realize if you had simply given in to me last night instead of this morning, the three of us wouldn’t be in this hell?

FRASIER

No, it would be the two of us in a whole different hell.

NILES

(into phone) Niles Crane… Absolutely not. We agreed on a figure… Well that’s too damned bad. I’ve been manipulated enough by you jackals. I’ll see you in court. (hangs up) The very idea that Maris would still think… (realizes) Hey, wait a minute… I’m not sleeping. By all rights the strain of that conversation should have caused me to go out like a light. And instead I feel alert. Almost invigorated.

LILITH

It’s not surprising. Your experience with Maris over the past few months has been emasculating. Last night may have gone a long way toward restoring your self-confidence.

NILES

Yes. And by the same token, you can give up the neurotic assumption that Brian left you because you’re not attractive. You’ve had ample evidence to the contrary.

LILITH

Yes, I have. To hell with Brian. If he wants a doting little wife he can keep Stan.

FRASIER

Well, this just worked out great for everyone, didn’t it? You two solved your problems. The waiter got a handsome tip. Come on, everyone, on my cue… a rousing chorus of “Oh Happy Day.”

LILITH

Please try to understand.

NILES

Yes, what happened was nothing more than –

FRASIER

Oh, stop it, both of you. Enough. It happened, and I’m going to have to deal with it. (then) I suppose in a twisted way there is one positive in this for me. You see, Lilith, I have never stopped desiring you, even though we are completely wrong for each other. But now, from this day forward, whenever I look at your face, I’ll see the back of my brother’s head, and that’s better than a dead horse any day.

LILITH

Well, I’m glad to hear that… I suppose. You know, Frasier –

FRASIER

Enough, Lilith.

LILITH

All right. Maybe I’ll just go have some breakfast.

LILITH GOES INTO THE BATHROOM. THERE’S AN AWKWARD SILENCE. FRASIER AND NILES DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY TO EACH OTHER. FINALLY:

NILES

Are we okay?

FRASIER

No, we’re not. (beat) But we will be.

NILES

Well that’s enough for now. (then) We’re an odd little family, aren’t we?

FRASIER

Yeah, like the one in Deliverance.

THERE’S A KNOCK AT THE DOOR.

WAITER (OC)

Room service.

FRASIER OPENS THE DOOR. THE WAITER ENTERS WITH ANOTHER BREAKFAST CART.

WAITER

Here’s the eggs Benedict, and --

THE WAITER LOOKS AROUND AND NOTICES THERE’S NO LILITH, JUST TWO MEN IN BATHROBES.

WAITER

Ohh-kay.

AND HE TURNS AND EXITS, AS WE:

FADE OUT. THE END.

10 comments:

Julie O. said...

Call me an old softy...

Awesome. Thanks, Ken.
I enjoyed that.

Webs said...

It must be fun to write a scene between three psychoanalysts.

Stephen Benson said...

beautiful stuff ken. and yet...i am having a hard time forgiving you for putting the divine bebe in my head the last four days. in the show where i was in the pit, she had a very quick change, accomplished in the wings. out of view of the audience, not out of view of this one dude in the string section, 8 shows a week. leaning back, swiveling my head just. so. and there....ahhhhh beauty. at an after party one night she saw me and said "my favorite contortionist!" i blushed. stammered. said stupid stuff. she beamed and sailed on through the crowd like a racing yacht. we're not ok yet. but we will be.

Stephen Gallagher said...

This is great. As much fun to read now as it was to watch back when.

JOHN LEADER said...

That scene will still play as well 30 years from now as it does today. Really brilliant writing, Ken (& David). When it works...it really works!

A. M. said...

Yes, what Stephen said. Lilith is one of my fave female chars of all time. She rocks.

David said...

This is wonderful writing--very clever. I am sorry to say, I read you most days and only find you slightly amusing. So, is the other the guy the funny one? Does he have a blog I can follow?

Anonymous said...

Also kudos, Ken. Lifetime just showed "Room Service". I followed along, and it just so obvious what a pefect marriage of script and talent you have (had) here.

j said...

Wow! So much talent, right there... loved the Deliverance line, too.

Paul Duca said...

I just caught the late night rerun on Lifetime--you've pushed THE GOLDEN GIRLS back to 1 AM. And it was nice of the folks from CHICAGO to let Bebe take one of her outfits from the theater.