Thursday, November 14, 2013

If I wrote for SCANDAL

I know I’m late to the party, but I’m just now getting into SCANDAL. It’s good sudsy fun, as if Joe Eszterhas wrote WEST WING. There are elements that seem far fetched – Kerry Washington just yelling at the President of the United States and a woman getting to a fourth floor office in the Capitol building with a bomb strapped to her (good security at the lobby) – but overall it zips along. ABC was so right to get Shonda Rhimes to create this show instead of me. If I were writing SCANDAL this is what a typical scene might be between President Fitzgerald Grant (the always-evil, always-good Tony Goldwyn) and Olivia “Liv” Pope (Kerry Washington).




Olivia places a call on her cellphone. The president’s phone rings. “I’m Saving All My Love For You” is his ringtone. He rolls his eyes and answers.

PREZ: This is not a good time.

LIV: It’s never a good time anymore.

PREZ: Seriously. The world is exploding.

LIV: You said you were going to call last night.

PREZ: A hurricane destroyed New Orleans.

LIV: Yeah, yeah. It’s always something.

PREZ: I had to fly down there and inspect the damage.

LIV: You don’t have people who can do that?

PREZ: No. I have to do it myself. I also helped out sandbagging the levee. I was up to my hips in water for five hours.

LIV: I stayed up past midnight waiting for you.

PREZ: Look, you knew what you were getting into when you met me.

LIV: No, I didn’t. You never said you were the president.

PREZ: I specifically… (realizing) What? You didn’t know I was president of the United States?

LIV: It’s tacky to just ask a guy what he does for a living.

PREZ: We met in the Oval Office.

LIV: Well, there was some confusion. There was someone else’s portrait on the wall. I figured he was the president.

PREZ: That was Lincoln!

LIV: Okay, now it makes sense. I didn’t think Daniel Day Lewis was the president. He’s British. You can’t have an American president from a foreign country, can you?

PREZ: I just got the word. Our embassy in Libya was attacked.

LIV: No, no. You’re not using that old excuse again.

PREZ: What do you want? I’m in the middle of two major crises.

LIV: Do you think I’m pretty?

PREZ: What?

LIV: You never compliment me anymore.

PREZ: You’re gorgeous. Smoking hot. Amazing. I gotta go.

LIV: Should I get a Brazilian?

PREZ: Huh?

LIV: They hurt but I’ll get one for you if that’s what you like.

PREZ: (calling to someone) The War Room? I’ll be right there. Don’t attack anybody until I get there. (to Liv) Uh, sure. Fine.

LIV: Do you know anybody?

PREZ: What? No. How would I know anybody who does Brazilian waxes?

LIV: Can’t you call the CIA? Don’t they know everything?

PREZ: That’s not what they’re there for.

LIV: Then the FBI?


LIV: You’re right. They handle stuff inside the U.S. and this is Brazil.

PREZ: Just Google it!

LIV: Does your wife have one?

PREZ: Honestly. Truly. I have to go.

LIV: Wait. A couple of things. First – when am I going to see you?

PREZ: This is a bad week. Maybe Thursday if the government doesn’t shut down again.

LIV: Okay. Great. I’ll go back on the pill. Number second – I have a friend from yoga class who tried to get a tour of the White House and they said they were booked. Could you call someone and see if they could squeeze her in? Her name is Bambi Moneymaker and she’d like to go tomorrow so if you could call today that would be great.

PREZ: I’ll take care of it.

LIV: You won’t forget now!

PREZ: I said I’d take care of it.

LIV: I know you.

PREZ: I’ll do it!

LIV: Text me when it’s done.

PREZ: (to someone o.s.) How many are dead? Jesus!

LIV: Hello? You’re not listening to me!

PREZ: Liv, I can’t…

LIV: Last thing. Promise.

PREZ: Okay. What?

LIV: I’m in Congressman Krellman’s office and there’s a woman here with a bomb strapped to her. She wants all the classified documents relating to the Kennedy assassination. And a pardon for a jaywalking ticket. I said you can’t help her with that.

PREZ: You waited until NOW to tell me this?

LIV: I didn’t want to forget the other stuff. You’re so hard to get ahold of these days.

PREZ: A woman with a bomb? I swear, Liv, you are the Lucy Riccardo of mistresses. Every goddamn week it’s something else. Your father runs a super secret spy organization, you’re in a hostage situation…

LIV: Well, excuse me for having a life.

PREZ: Put the woman on.

LIV: Thanks. Oh… what time Thursday?

PREZ: Just put the suicide bomber on the phone!

LIV: Okay, but use your nice voice. She has her thumb on the button. One press and we’re all blown to smithereens. Love you. (to woman bomber). He wants to talk to you.

WOMAN: Me? That’s the president of the United States? And he wants to talk to me? What, what do I call him?

LIV: I call him Sugar Bear but you might want to go with Mr. President, although doesn’t that sound stupid? Shouldn’t it either be mister or president? (on phone) How come people call you Mre. Pres…

PREZ: Just put her on the phone!!

LIV: Don’t talk long. My battery is running low.

Liv hands the phone to the woman.

WOMAN: Hello, Mr. President.

PREZ: Who else besides you and Ms. Pope are in that office?

WOMAN: No one. It’s just us. I’m a big fan. I voted for you.

PREZ: Of course you did. Okay. Listen very carefully. I will release all the Kennedy documents, every single one, but only under one condition.

WOMAN: What’s that?




Wendy M. Grossman said...

I think I'd rather watch that than what actually aired.

SCANDAL has always baffled me: I can see it has pace and twists. But every character talks the same way, the flips and flops are so extreme that either they're psychotic or the writers just go with whatever they feel like that week, and the whole thing reminds me of those amateur guitarists who think if they play really fast no one will hear the mistakes. Nonetheless, I was somewhat fascinated by season 1, mostly because of Jeff Perry. At this point, however, I'm out: the show got boring, to me.

Enjoy it while the fun lasts for you.


Tyler said...

My wife is into Scandal, so I see snippets here and there. Because some of the actors on the show are from some of my favorite shows of the past, all I can think is "There's Harvey from Nash Bridges" when I see Jeff Perry, who is an excellent actor, or "There's Bob from "The Unit" when Scott Foley's on screen. And yes, I might actually watch the show if you were writing it.

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely watch that. Damn, you're good.

Anonymous said...


Little Miss Smoke and Mirrors said...

Wendy Grossman - Every character on every Shonda Rhimes show talks the same way. It's maddening.

Hamid said...

Scandal doesn't appeal. I already watch too many shows to make time for this one. And talking of shows I do watch, any other fans of The Americans? Can't wait for Season 2.

On a different subject, I just got this nice email: 'Your order of "Must Kill TV" has been dispatched'.

chuckcd said...

As always, Ken, your versions are way better than the real thing!

Really, you should do this for a living...

Rob said...

Watched the first episode or two of Scandal but didn't have time to continue with it.

I'd definitely watch the Ken Levine version. Very funny.

But Ken....don't leave us hanging!

Did Olivia ever get the Brazilian?

And if she much did it hurt?

Little Suzy the BOSS said...

This is an awesome idea, they should hire you as a writer on the show. lol...You should check out this Gladiator TEE, though it's for women only.

z said...

Are you going to Kick-Start to fund that Brazilian for KW? I'm in!

RareWaves said...

Brilliant! For your next book project, have you considered a book of all "lost scripts?" Scripts (or script fragments) written by you but presented as though they are parts of scripts of episodes that were never shot. I think it would sell.

R. said...

Very amusing, Ken. However, the name "Ricardo" is spelled with one 'c,' not two. Please rewrite this and bring it back when you can get all the details right. IIt's not worth reading it if you can't get the details right

And if that little spiel sounds idiotic, I once had a bone-headed network "consultant" reject an entire script--one that wound up being filmed--on equally trivial reasons.

Hamid said...

Off-topic but this is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. It's an "honest trailer" for Man of Steel and it sums up everything that was wrong with that movie. I think you'll dig it, Ken.

These guys have done "honest trailers" for lots of movies and the guy who does the voiceovers for them is brilliant.

Charles H. Bryan said...

What I would like to ripoff from this: Using "The Brazilian" as the name of a character.

Our protagonist is a female espionage operative. (Maybe she specializes in wet work.) Her mission: Get The Brazilian. One of her obstacles: Can't find a decent landing strip.

It's probably just a sketch. Probably not a good one.

Pamela Jaye said...

there was be scene once where her employees decided to do something bad (forget what) and they were like We do this for Olivia and we don't ask questions, cause she saved us.
I thought, oh crap - now it's a cult!

I dare these people to try to get Much from Chicago Fire elected as union president.
They'd all kill themselves.

Mike said...

I only watched one show and dropped it when I saw they were trying to use it for liberal propaganda. The episode I saw, the plot turned on global warming changing the weather in the Balkans, as if global warming operates o such a short time scale.

Rob said... other thing.

Wouldn't you assume Olivia ALREADY has a Brazilian?

Dale said...

Bwahahahahaha that was great! SO true.
Thanks so much. :-D