My wife watched Jodie Foster promoting "Flight Plan" on Leno tonight and she said the highlight was when the super-achiever -- child prodigy, Yale honors grad, double Oscar-winner, and would-be portrayer of Leni Riefenstahl -- announced that she plays Candyland and Chutes and Ladders with her children, but never lets them win because she wants to win. If her kids don't want to play by the rules, they should just play a different game.
As I've mentioned before, according to the British press, Jodie spent a lot of time searching for the perfect sperm donor dad for her two children, so she presumably has high expectations.
That reminded me of a spec script I wrote in 2000 for an animated sit-com on the WB Network called "Baby Blues," based on the popular comic strip about the young MacPherson family of Darryl, Wanda, and Baby Zoe. It was kind of an imitation "Simpsons" (not that that's a bad thing to imitate). My spec script, however, came out sounding a lot like "Family Guy," with lots of "pop-out" jokes and even a talking baby. But the producers thought it promising enough that they paid me union scale (i.e., a king's ransom by the standards of an opinion journalist) to write another script for real. (But then the show got canceled so my screenplay never got produced.)
Here's the opening from my spec script. I realize it's hard to read scripts for a show that, judging from its Nielsen rating, you almost certainly never saw and won't know who the characters are..., but, who knows, you might find it amusing:
Ext. the Macphersons' street - Day (Early Thursday Evening)
Wanda (the mom) pushes little Zoe's baby carriage. Across the street, Sylvia (the butch lesbian neighbor) is hitting infield practice to Midge (her femme girlfriend) on their front lawn.
Hi, Sylvia, hi, Midge.
Wanda stops in front of Josie's yard to play with Baby Zoe's cartoon toes.
(TO ZOE) Let's count Zoe's toe-ies!
(GIGGLES AND GURGLES ADORABLY) Coo.
Distracted by Baby Zoe, a grounder hits (femme lesbian) Midge on the shin. She stares at the softball sadly.
Sylvia, is fielding grounders all I'm ever gonna do?
No way. You also need work on your pop flies.
Angle: Wanda and zoe
Multiple close-ups: each of zoe's cartoon toes (in turn)
We focus on each toe as wanda says the appropriate line.
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home …
Zoe giggles with increasing excitement. Bizzy (their teenage babysitter) skates up.
This little piggy had roast beef, and (BUILDING TO A CLIMAX AS ZOE SQUEALS IN DELIGHT) this little piggy had NONE!
PAN BACK TO SHOW Wanda's four-fingered Cartoon hand wiggling the fourth of zoe's four Cartoon TOES
Zoe's expression falls, and she bursts into tears.
I always thought it ended on a downer, too.
wanda stares, puzzled. Zoe continues crying.
Another grounder gets by a listless Midge and bangs into Zoe's stroller.
(RACING UP, THINKING SHE MADE THE BABY CRIED) Is the baby OK?
Oh, Zoe's fine. (PICKING HER UP) Here, want to hold her?
As soon as Zoe sees Midge, she stops crying and smiles preciously. Midge's mitt slides to the ground from her stunned fingers. Midge takes Zoe gingerly, but enraptured. Josie (the know-it-all rich lady on the street) emerges from her side yard, hedge clippers in hand.
You've got a way with babies, Midge.
You should have one of your own.
Well, you know …
Midge gestures at Sylvia, who is watching with arms folded. Sylvia turns and begins throwing the ball against her garage door for individual fielding practice.
You know that "Little Man Tate" movie where Jodie Foster is a single mom with a genius child?
Jodie rules! Do you think she's a --
(CONSPIRATORIALLY) Well, I heard that to become a single mom herself, Jodie hired a handsome scientist with a 160 IQ to be the father.
Angle: Wanda's wide-eyed face
chryon: "beverly hills"
Int. the nursery of an elegant mansion -- Day
music: a Haydn Symphony
A Beautiful baby of Zoe's age looks up at Jodie Foster.
Jodie Foster's Talking Baby
Oh mummy, Nanny is playing Haydn instead of Mozart. I can just feel my IQ dropping!
Jodie instantly pops in a "Mozart for Mighty Mentalities" CD. We Then hear a mozart symphony, which sounds virtually identical to the previous haydn symphony.
Both sigh with relief, then the superstar and superbaby share a cloying superlaugh.
Later in my script, after many zany hijinks, Wanda's blue-collar neighbor Melinda explains what her husband Carl, a beefy greenskeeper who intimidates Wanda's white-collar husband, did for spare cash in high school, which anticipated David Plotz's recent book The Genius Factory.
Back in high school, Carl used to mow the lawn of a famous scientist, an old geezer who mailed in a weekly contribution to this fertility clinic just for Nobel Prize winners.
I remember something about that.
Some women must want kids their kids to be real nimrods. (SHAKES HEAD) Anyway, the clinic complained that Old Doc was shooting blanks. So he hired Carl to fill his, uh, shoes.
100% live ammo. My man's got a green thumb, he can make anything grow. Soon all the other old Nobel Prize-winners hired Carl to mail it in for them too.
Oh my gosh.
Yeah, it's not every high school boy can turn his hobby into a business. Carl was making money hand over fist. In fact, he still keeps his hand in. Recently, one of his old clients needed a favor, this handsome scientist with a 160 IQ.
push in on wanda's face:
chryon: "Beverly hills"
int. the same nursery in the elegant mansion - day
music: the same mozart symphony as earlier
Jodie Foster storms in, in the style of Faye Dunaway playing Joan Crawford in "Mommie Dearest."
Why, why has it all gone so horribly wrong?
Pan down to a baby who looks just like Carl the greenskeeper, who smashes the cd player, silencing the music, with his polo mallet.
pop back to:
But, what about these women who didn't get the children they were expecting?
Who does? After you've had a passel of kids, you'll realize that who inherits what is a crapshoot. Look at Jack and Jackie Kennedy.
But JFK Jr. inherited their good looks.
So what happened to Caroline Kennedy?