Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Scene I'd Like to See

From THE MENTALIST

EXT. HOME – DAY

Nicely appointed, framed in large proud lemon trees.

Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon pull into the driveway, get out of the car, and approach the house.

SUPER: OAKLAWN HILLS, CA.

Lisbon knocks on the door. A woman in her 30’s in a waitresses uniform, CAROL, answers:

CAROL: Yes?

LISBON: Yes, I’m Captain Lisbon, this is Patrick Jane.

CAROL: So?

LISBON: (a beat then) You’re supposed to tell us your name.

CAROL: Why?

LISBON: I don’t know. People just do.

CAROL: Just because you said your names?

LISBON: Yes.

CAROL: I don’t know you. Why should I tell you anything?

LISBON: Because we’re from CBI.

CAROL: What’s CBI?

LISBON: The California Bureau of Investigation.

CAROL: What the hell is that? I’ve never heard of it.

LISBON: Of course you have. Everyone has.

CAROL: Not me. I bet if I called ten friends none of them would have heard of it either.

LISBON: Well, pretend that you have. We need to ask you some questions.

CAROL: What do you do that the police don’t do?  Why aren’t the police here?

LISBON: We have jurisdiction.

CAROL: Based on what?

LISBON: Jane, are you gonna help?

JANE: Could I have some tea and snoop around in your house?

CAROL: No.

JANE: Everyone else lets me in.

CAROL: Everyone else tells you their name.

LISBON: What is your name?

CAROL: Why do you call him Jane?

LISBON: That’s his name.

CAROL: He’s a girl?

LISBON: No. We call everybody by their last names.

CAROL: Why? It’s confusing.

LISBON: It’s policy at CBI.

CAROL: What’s CBI again?

LISBON: California Bureau of Investigation.

CAROL: How’s that different from the State Troopers?

JANE: They wear uniforms.

LISBON: Jane!

CAROL: Don’t people make fun of you because everyone calls you by a girl's name?

JANE: You’re the first person who’s ever noticed that.

LISBON: Can we get back to the investigation?

CAROL: So who has more jurisdiction? State Troopers or you?

LISBON: Us.

JANE: Really?

LISBON: Shut up, Jane!

JANE: She’s right. Call me Patrick,

LISBON: Shut up, Patrick!

JANE: Can I call you Teresa?

LISBON: Fine. I don’t care.

JANE: Can I call you Terry?

LISBON: A man is dead and you want to talk about this now?

JANE: What did they call you in kindergarten?

LISBON: Lisbon!

JANE:  That explains a lot.

LISBON:  What does it explain?

JANE:  Oh, I just say that and never follow up.   That way I come off smart and never have to do anything.  Hey, that is smart!

CAROL: What about the California Highway Patrol?

LISBON: You’re not helping!

CAROL: I don’t have to help. You’re questioning me.

JANE: You sure I can’t come in and just go through your drawers?

CAROL: What’s NCIS?

LISBON: Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

CAROL: Are they real?

LISBON: (losing it) Nothing’s real!!

JANE: Well, CSI.

LISBON: CSI is bullshit!

JANE: No, they really exist.

LISBON: Oh yeah. And every CSI department has twelve-billion dollars in space age lab equipment right there at their disposal. Why send out for results when they have a contraption that looks like the Hubble telescope that’s only function is to cross-match snow tires? In Miami! Oh, Horatio, we better requisition a second one at four billion dollars just in case the first one breaks down. And talk about a stupid name – Horatio? First name, last name, makes no difference. Unless you’re wearing a fucking cape and reciting Shakespeare out your ass that’s the name of a pussy!

JANE: Lisbon, you’re getting a little hysterical.

LISBON: I don’t care. I have a thankless role anyway. I just have to stand around and make one dumb assumption after another while every Goddamn week you figure out the case. I won a Volpi Cup for Chrissakes!

CAROL: Is that real?

LISBON: Yes, Goddamn it! For Best Actress in the 1997 Venice Film Festival for a film called. NIAGRA NIAGRA.

CAROL: Sorry. It didn’t play in this town.

LISBON: Of course it didn’t! This fucking town doesn’t exist! There is no such place and Oaklawn Hills, California! Or Cedarplank Beach, or Hernia Falls or any of the other bogus towns we patrol so diligently! And that’s why CBI has jurisdiction. Because if it’s not us then it’s the Golden State Sheriff Patrol – or the Cal-I-A, or Califorensication.

Jane gently begins leading her back to the car.

JANE: Okay, Lisbon, let’s go.

LISBON:  T.W.A.T  -- "Torpedo Weapons and Tactics".

JANE: Easy does it. 

LISBON: Oaklawn Hills. It even sounds made up.

JANE: I’ll get you a nice cup of tea.

LISBON: Bitch wouldn’t even tell me her name.

JANE: It’s Carol.

LISBON: And just how the fuck do you know that?

JANE: She was wearing a name tag.

LISBON: And again I look like an idiot.

JANE:  I'll drive back to headquarters.

LISBON:  Fine.

JANE:  Where is headquarters?

LISBON:  That's never been established.

JANE: Then I'm sure we'll be there in ten minutes.

FADE OUT.

52 comments:

Kevin Rubio said...

Hell, I'd pay you to film it.

Pat Quinn said...

Great!

MATT said...

Well, I used to LIKE this show. Going to be hard to take it seriously again now.

Mr. Hollywood said...

Very funny stuff Ken ... just passed it on to my good friend who edits the show!
By the way ... even with your great spoof ... I enjoy the show thoroughly!

Steve Zeoli said...

Just brilliant!

RCP said...

One of my oldest friends is named Horatio, Ken. Yes, he wears a cape and is a pussy, but still.

Thanks for the laughs - I'd love to watch this scene.

iain said...

pre-coffee, I read that as "Lebron" instead of Libson.

It still worked.

Kathy said...

I've never seen this show. And yet...now I feel I have.

Nersonet said...

"Califorensication" and T.W.A.T. .... I LOLed.

An said...

Hee! Thank you, Carol.

Johnny Walker said...

Haha, wonderful! I wish there was a an actual show that made fun of all these morbid, brain dead, and ever so popular, procedurals. It looks like we might be getting close to the point where a modern "Police Squad" style show could come back and everyone would get all the references.

Tom Quigley said...

I suppose T.W.A.T. could be an adjoining agency to the "Surveillance Technology Facilitation Unit" -- STFU....

Mac said...

Ha ha! Funny stuff! This show is going to be even more annoying now. Or more watchable, just to compare that to the real thing.

Infauxtainer said...

Man, when "Jane" hosts Saturday Night Live, this is the bit. Thanks for the out loud laughing.

Pete Grossman said...

Hi Ken, Friday Question For You:

Lately been catching "Friends" in syndication and it feels like the laugh track has been pumped up. Don't remember this much "sweetening" when seeing the show when it originally aired. Are laughs increased when sitcoms go into syndication? Frankly, I'm finding it damn annoying (well, beyond the whole Rachel/Ross together/not together arc after arc after arc thing).

Mike said...

You are mocking these shows quite a bit. Do you think they are inferior? When done well the shows are good, and formulaic they are not. For example, NCIS LA is a relative flop compared to the show from which it is a fake spin-off, which is itself a fake spin-off of JAG.

DanTedson said...

The fact that someone else thinks like this gives me hope for my state-sponsored recovery.

bettyd said...

Don't watch the show, but the commercials always bugged me with the main character's last name. This really made me laugh.

JANE: You’re the first person who’s ever noticed that.

Ken Levine said...

Hey, I LIKE the MENTALIST. And CSI (not CSI: MIAMI though -- can't stand David Caruso). I'm willing to suspend belief and accept them as just goofy fun. But the MENTALIST really tickles me in that EVERYTHING is made up. I now can't help myself and look for that.

Cathy S. said...

I've never even seen that show and I thought that was hilarious.

GRayR said...

Ken,
That's great, you could write this stuff for TV. Maybe even have a career at it.

This is one of my favorite procedurals. The cast is just so cute. I think Tim Kang is great as he channels Sargent Joe Friday.

It is fluff and boy do you have to suspend reality, but it has the something that keeps me watching.

I agree, when Simon Baker goes on Saturday Night Live, this should be the sketch.

Thanks for the laugh today.
G

CouchPotato #2 said...

Re: The Mentalist

I have to say that I no issue with a show that has strong characters and good stories. It doesn't matter where it's set: A spaceship, the Old West, modern day New York... or a ridiculous, overblown version of reality.

My only problem with these shows, and the reason why I loved Ken's post so much, is the way they portray themselves as an approximation of reality. They often take themselves so seriously that they're rife for lampooning. CSI is to the harsh reality of everyday crime, what Wayne's World is to hosting a cable access program in Aurora, after all.

And given we watch these shows for fun, I have to admit it does concern me that they feature overblown and unrealistic depictions of rape and murder... for our entertainment.

It wasn't that long ago that Seinfeld was top of the ratings... What happened?

Tim W. said...

I've never seen the show, either, but I still found it funny. Possibly because it's not just that show being made fun of.

And speaking of the whole last name thing, that's ALWAYS bugged me. I've met one person in my life who would call people by their last name and he was incredibly annoying. I remember that being my biggest beef with the show Northern Exposure, a show I did like. I hated when Joel and the woman would call each other by their last name. HATED it.

Cap'n Bob said...

Funny, even though I've never seen the basis for this spoof. I just feel sorry for the prop guy having to find proud lemon trees.

Poster: it's "Sergeant" Joe Friday.

Elizabeth H said...

Ken, I'm so happy to have found your post! Although it's starting to affect my work productivity. Anyway, I was trolling youtube for a cartoon or something funny about the Reformation, and the Cheers scene w/Woody & his fiance popped up. Talk about hilarious. Woody H. really was fab on that show. He's also Lutheran. Do you know how that bit came about? And where did he get the pronunciation for "synod"? It's slightly off but very funny. Should be "SIN-ud," and he says something close to "sih-NOD," but not quite. Just curious.

Elizabeth H said...

Ok, maybe I wasn't clear. It's the bit about Woody & his fiance breaking up because they're from two different religions, the LCA (now the ELCA) and the LCMS.

Anyway, I have another question! What's up with David Caruso? People either love him or hate him, but mostly hate. Why?

Anonymous said...

Love it. Now we just need a scene where Lisbon's preposterously overt cross necklace flies up and knocks out a perp, or where Grace's rapunzel locks actually *get in the way* of her physical duties.

D. McEwan said...

Hilarious. The whole idea of the "CBI" has been bugging me since the show first went on the air, and the calling of him "Jane." A week or so ago, a female murder victim on Castle was named Jane, and every time they mentioned her, which was often, I got dizzy, (Did someone kill Patrick Jane? Which show am I watching?) as the two shows are practically identical already anyway, except The Mentalist doesn't have Susan Sullivan being funny.

They have established that their CBI headquarters are in Sacramento, though it seems to be just a few minutes drive from everywhere in the state! Last week, they invesitgated a murder on an offshore island only accessable via ferry, and still the characters were constantly going back and forth between the island and the office, like it took ten minutes.

I think it gets by because Simon Baker's charm makes the smug, insufferable Patrick Jane fun somehow, and the woman playing Lisbon is more human and less endlessly hostile than the woman with the identical role on Castle, who is a bit of a cold bitch.

One of my oldest friends did an episode of it last season, the Christmas episode with all the Santa impersonaters. He was Bill, the white racist-sexist Santa. They shot on the same soundstage that A Streetcar Named Desire and Auntie Mame were shot on.

But you didn't mention the most annoying Mentalist character, the Asian cop who is in his fourth season of doing his endless Jack Webb impression.

"Just try an inflection. One little inflection. What could it hurt? You know you want to."

"No, ma'am. Inflections are a gateway drug. Say a word expressively, and the next thing you know, you've turned into Mandy Patinkin. I prefer to sound like a bored Dalek at all times."

For the record, I was routinely called "McEwan" back in grade school, by kids and teachers alike. As an adult, not so much. "McEwan" is used less these days than "Hey Douchebag!"

D. McEwan said...

Hilarious. The whole idea of the "CBI" has been bugging me since the show first went on the air, and the calling of him "Jane." A week or so ago, a female murder victim on Castle was named Jane, and every time they mentioned her, which was often, I got dizzy, (Did someone kill Patrick Jane? Which show am I watching?) as the two shows are practically identical already anyway, except The Mentalist doesn't have Susan Sullivan being funny.

They have established that their CBI headquarters are in Sacramento, though it seems to be just a few minutes drive from everywhere in the state! Last week, they invesitgated a murder on an offshore island only accessable via ferry, and still the characters were constantly going back and forth between the island and the office, like it took ten minutes.

I think it gets by because Simon Baker's charm makes the smug, insufferable Patrick Jane fun somehow, and the woman playing Lisbon is more human and less endlessly hostile than the woman with the identical role on Castle, who is a bit of a cold bitch.

One of my oldest friends did an episode of it last season, the Christmas episode with all the Santa impersonaters. He was Bill, the white racist-sexist Santa. They shot on the same soundstage that A Streetcar Named Desire and Auntie Mame were shot on.

But you didn't mention the most annoying Mentalist character, the Asian cop who is in his fourth season of doing his endless Jack Webb impression.

"Just try an inflection. One little inflection. What could it hurt? You know you want to."

"No, ma'am. Inflections are a gateway drug. Say a word expressively, and the next thing you know, you've turned into Mandy Patinkin. I prefer to sound like a bored Dalek at all times."

For the record, I was routinely called "McEwan" back in grade school, by kids and teachers alike. As an adult, not so much. "McEwan" is used less these days than "Hey Douchebag!"

D. McEwan said...

Sorry about the double post. Computer glitch. And it won't let me delete it. Ken, feel free to delete the duplicate comment.

benson said...

Ken, this post so reminds me of Stan Freberg's Dragnet parody.

Funny. Needed the laugh today.

wv: rentee. Stimpy's friend's accessory.

Carol said...

Hey, D. McEwan said, don't pick on poor Kate Beckett! She's not cold, she's reserved. She did say 'I ain't afraid of no ghosts' after all just this week. That's awesome. /rabid Castle fan rant

Ken, Friday question for you. I just finished a run of Merry Wives of Windsor. One of the actresses never, ever, ever said the lines the way they were written, which is annoying in general, and in my opinion, unpardonable in Shakespeare. My question is, as a not-dead writer who is usually around to hear your words said out loud, what do you do if there's an actor who thinks as long as they get the 'gist' of the lines, it's okay. Does that come up at all in television? If it does, do you as the writer have the right/opportunity to tell them to knock it off?

aquariusacquah said...

I am doing a school project on trends of comedy and how sitcom characters work well together and I was wondering if I could conduct an interview on you, Ted Levine. Is this possible? If so I would I do something like this.

Ken C said...

Hey Ken,
Great, great post. The entire writing staff on "The Listener" (Canada) had a long laugh over this. Even if it did hit a bit too close to home with our show's fictional cop squad - The IIB (Integrated Investigative Bureau) a division of the RCMP.
More please.

Kirk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D. McEwan said...

"LISBON: T.W.A.T -- 'Torpedo Weapons and Tactics'."

Actually, on Harry's Law two weeks ago, the word "Twat" was said, unbleeped, twice in a courtroom scene. I could not believe I was hearing that on aNetwork primetime show. It's progress of a sort.

"Hey, D. McEwan said, don't pick on poor Kate Beckett! She's not cold, she's reserved. She did say 'I ain't afraid of no ghosts' after all just this week. That's awesome."

Yes she did - about five seconds after I said it aloud at home, waiting for the slow, cold, pain-in-the-ass woman to get around to it. Pick up the pace, woman. Castle's too good for her. I find Lisbon far more enjoyable to spend time with. At least she smiles and laughs a bit, and enjoys Jane's antics.

Loosehead said...

At last! I thought it was just me.

Hey, don't diss the Sunglasses of Justice. You think he doesn't know how he appears on the show, or that he doesn't do it deliberately?

And whats with all the colours in Miami? Its like they jazzed up the technicolour to 11.

Loosehead said...

OK, here's a Friday question. Lisbon. Or Beckett?
(Or Lisbon AND Beckett?)

lolly be said...

Thoroughly entertaining dialogue - thanks for the laugh!
The spoof brings to mind 'InSecurity' procedural parody. Available online cbc.ca, not sure of its broadcast status. Slightly predictable with some good bits of witty surprise. Anything that can give me a good guffaw is worth my time.

Now that I am finally here, two other belated comments I will make:

Appreciated your post on Barney Miller - loved that show as a kid.

I also adored All in the Family which I can't recall seeing any mention of in the posts/comments of the favorites. I was even given the game for Christmas, one year!

Really appreciate your blog. Would love to get to your Sitcom Room, but that would require me to get a paying job.

This stay at home mom wage sucks.

David said...

Tears. Tears of laughter... and yes, I'm a fan of the show. I third the motion of SNL doing this when Baker hosts -- with the appropriate writer's credit and fee, of course.

Muh. said...

Loosehead said...
And whats with all the colours in Miami? Its like they jazzed up the technicolour to 11.

Maybe it so people don't recognize that they're actually in L.A.

xjill said...

HQ is in Sacramento (on the show) and on Olvera Street (irl). And like GRayR, I love me some deapan Chang/Tim Kang.

At the PalyeFest Mentalist panel a few years back I remember Bruno saying the CBI used to exist for real so they used a lot of their traits (high profile cases, etc.) to base the show on.

Also, this post is freaking hilarious.

p.s. World Series rain delays suck.

sephim said...

SNL would never do a bit like this. There is more than one joke.

Anonymous said...

Funny. But the show has done scenes like this itself only shorter. They are very self aware and open about how silly it all is. It's a very tongue in cheek show.

Barry Traylor said...

I never cared for this show as I have always found the character of Jane to be extremely annoying. Can't for the life of me understand why this show is popular.

Bobman said...

Funny even though I like the show.

I will say that calling people by their last name seems to be a cop thing (and a military thing). Most cops I know refer to each other by their last names, and ALL military folk seem to. I can't tell whether they do it to avoid confusion (there's a lot of "matts" and "bobs" and "steves" out there) or just cuz it sounds cool / tough. The cynical me leans towards the latter.

Can't for the life of me understand why this show is popular.

Because a) not everyone is exactly like you, and b) it's on CBS?

rhys said...

There is a show that makes fun of procedurals. It's on Adult Swim and called "NTSF:SD:SUV::" It's a fifteen minute live action show with a bunch of funny comedians on it.

Personally, I always found it bizarre that other states have "State Troopers" but we only have the "California Highway Patrol".

There are some statewide investigative agencies that are a part of the Attorney General's office and California Department of Justice. But they would almost never investigate something like a murder. They mostly investigate boring stuff that doesn't fall under the purview of local law enforcement agencies.

Johnny Walker said...

Ah! Great to see that someone has tried to parody these shows, but "NTSF:SD:SUV" seems a little too scattershot for my tastes. I'm sure there's enough modern-day procedural tropes without having to resort to Battlestar Galactica references, and the David Carouso sunglasses thing has been done to death.

If I was going to write something, I'd put the crazily acronymed team in the middle of a very real police station. Hopefully the juxtaposition of police units and TV police units would be hilarious.

Anonymous said...

At work and laughed tears

Dana Gabbard said...

CBI may be inmspired by the
Bureau of Investigation and Intelligence but sounds more like a support agency not frontline.

lrobhubbard said...

CSI MIAMI makes perfect sense once you realize that it takes place in parallel universe with a binary sun - that's why the days seem to last so long and everything is in saturated colors.

In fact, most of CBS' series are actually set in a parallel universe - which explains how all the CSI shows can afford equipment that should be on STAR TREK, how all of the corpses on NCIS don't actually have genetalia and why TWO BROKE GIRLS is still on the air.

margaret said...

LMAO!!!

I'm just gonna straight-up admit that I watch The Mentalist for Tim Kang. Specifically, those tight short-sleeved shirts they're always putting him in. Yes please.