Saturday, June 6, 2009
The original script
THE MEDIA SHOW: WHAT'S IN A FLAME?
(©2009, Nicola McEldowney)
(Erna, typing at the computer, Weena nearby. Suddenly, a DRAMATIC CHORD.)
Erna: Ye gads!!!
Weena: What, what is it?!
Erna: Someone – on a message board – is – WRONG!
Erna (with difficulty): He says Trillian from the original BBC Hitchhiker’s Guide** is an incandescent talent!
Weena: Foul blasphemer!
Erna: What can be done? – I know! We must correct him, and, so doing, save mankind! (She taps a few keys.) Done!
Weena: (Beat.) – Look! He wrote you back already!
Erna: Why, I think I’ll open it!
(Click. Beat. Computer makes a HIDEOUS NOISE hereafter meant to indicate “flame.” E. and W. react in horror.)
Both: AAAHHHH! WE’VE BEEN FLAMED!
(In the following line, an “AA-OO-GAH!” occurs every time there is a “---" in the text.)
Erna: Would you LOOK at the things he SAID to me?! He called me a (---)! He told me to go (---) myself! He said I could take my opinions and stick them up my (---)! I don’t even think I have a (---)! (Wounded.) I wasn’t trying to be mean!
Weena: I know, but on the Internet, nobody can know for sure what you’re trying to be. It’s easy to take offense at something innocent. Say you write, “That’s a great idea.” Who’s to say whether it means - (Melodious “happy music.) - “that’s a great idea,” or, (Music from hell. Synthesized evil mega-voice a la monster truck announcer.) – “THAT’S A GREAT IDEA”?
Erna: You’re right. I now see the error of my ways. How can I put this right? – I know! Everyone knows two wrongs make a right – I’ll flame his flaming butt right back! (She attacks the computer.)
Weena: No, Erna, Erna, stop! Don’t start a flame war! It’s the road to ruin! Don’t you realize what hideous destiny will be yours?
Erna: The angels will kill me?
Weena: Even worse: you’ll be the subject of an AFTER-SCHOOL SPECIAL, CIRCA 1973!
(Even more dramatic chord than the previous one / tight shot on Erna’s face.)
(The scene turns into an after-school special promo/public service announcement hybrid, starring Erna and Weena, with hideous ‘70s hair styles. After-school special music.)
Narrator (always hyperdramatic): Heather and Cookie thought they’d be best friends forever…
Erna (in character): Gee Cookie, do you think we’ll be best friends forever?
Weena (in character): Heck yes, Heather, as long as unsightly bangs are in style!
Narrator: …until FLAME WARS threatened to tear them apart.
(Weena at a computer. The computer makes the aforementioned hideous noise. The following text appears across the screen: ur a loser)
(Erna at a computer. Hideous noise. Text on screen: its circa 1973 and theres no such thing as flame wars so ur a bigger loser)
(The next two lines occurring as though in separate “clips.”)
Weena (bad acting): I hate you.
Erna (bad acting): I wish I was dead.
Narrator: Can Heather and Cookie ever repair their friendship?
(The next two lines occurring in a single “clip.”)
Erna: Look, Cookie, I’m telling you as a friend, one day something called “Wikipedia” will define flaming as “a hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users,” and a flamer as “an individual who believes he or she carries the only valid opinion,” which “leads him to personally attack those who disagree.” I just – don’t – want – to see you get hurt!
Weena: You so don’t get me – you never got me!
Narrator: So remember, kids: don’t shoot up and/or reproduce while getting in cars with perverts unfamiliar to you. Because divorce is never your fault.
Erna (to the narrator): What about flame wars?
Narrator: Oh, right. Flame wars are bad. Ba-a-a-a-ad. So, kids: don’t be a flame-war starting Flamey McFlame flaming flamer flamemeister flamey flame-butt. Or the angels will kill you.
Weena (to the narrator): Well, that seems a little harsh.
Narrator: Okay, well. (Beat.) Kids: don’t start a flame war, because you won’t just start one flame war. Before you know it, you’ll need to start flame wars every day. Soon you won’t be able to control your urge to flame, and you’ll be starting MULTIPLE flame wars SEVERAL TIMES a day, and you’ll GROW HAIRY PALMS.
Erna (showing her paws to camera, and weeping): It happened to meeeeeeee!!!
Weena (in “character” again): Now forgotten actor Jeff Conaway*** will never take you to the prom!
Erna (in “character” again): I hate my liiiiife.
Weena (to audience): Don’t start flame wars.
Narrator (extremely fast): This program has been sponsored by the Anti-flame war-starting Flamey McFlame flaming flamer flamemeister flamey flame-butt Council of America. Batteriesnotincluded.
* Shut up.
** I can say without hyperbole that this performance is the cause of everything bad.
*** It is a scientifically proven health benefit to use the phrase "forgotten actor Jeff Conaway" as frequently as possible. See, watch this: forgotten actor Jeff Conaway. Ahhh! Hangnail awwww gone.
©2009, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending