POPPED CULTURE THEATER
episode 010, 1st draft
int. theater – onstage
Sitting in his chair is OTIS FIGBY, holding a book in his lap with cover visibly titled THE WISDOM OF P.T. BARNUM.
Otis Figby here, to tell offer the cautionary tale of a young woman who appeared to have everything imaginable going for her, the tale of a young woman at the right place at the right time, the tale of a woman destined for international superstardom by almost divine design. Her name was Ashlee Simpson, she was to be the superstar of the century, and this is her story.
Lights fade, curtain opens. Setting is a deluxe record company office. Sitting at a conference table are LABEL PRESIDENT, LABEL FLUNKY, MR. SIMPSON and his daughter ASHLEE. They are wrapping up a business discussion.
So itâ€™s the perfect plan–weâ€™ll have cameras everywhere shooting everything while weâ€™re actually making the record! And Ashlee, you can pretend youâ€™re nervous about it all while weâ€™re doing it. Itâ€™ll be high drama and itâ€™ll make us millions!
(acting moronically subserviently, tongue panting like a dogâ€™s) Nervous! Drama! Millions! Heee!
LABEL PRESIDENT throws bone-shaped wafer at Flunky, Flunky leaps up and catches in his mouth.
(dressed in leisure suit with flower in his lapel, gold chains, smoking cigar) Hmm…yeah, sounds promising. Maybe itâ€™ll light a fire under Jessicaâ€™s butt. Sheâ€™s been threatening to go public about her Ph.D in biotechnology if I donâ€™t (makes quotation marks with the fingers of his hands) â€śgive her some space.â€ť Like, sheesh–talk about blowing her image!
(with black hair, looking frustrated, speaking to her father) But Daddy! Whatâ€™s wrong with getting an education? Donâ€™t you thinkâ€¦
(Indifferently cutting her off) Yeah, letâ€™s just get her dolled up, market her as the punk version of her sister, and maybe get her together with Limp Bizkit for some street cred.
(with increased enthusiasm) Biscuit! Biscuit!
Label president throws another wafer at flunky, who catches it in his mouth again.
(in background)Yummy! Yummy!
Okay, itâ€™s a deal. Send the paperwork over later and weâ€™re on it.
As everyone rises from the table, ASHLEE glares disbelievingly at her father
But daddy, I didnâ€™t spend seven years with the Royal Ballet to be a punk rock singer! We both know I canâ€™t even sing!
A pregnant pause of absolute silence as LABEL PRESIDENT, LABEL FLUNKY and MR. SIMPSON all exchange nervous glances. After three seconds, the three simultaneously break out in uproarious laughter as the camera closes in on ASHLEEâ€™S horrified face.
But it would be a trial by fire for the younger Simpson sibling, as her own TV show aired and her debut album indeed met great success. The momentum and the demand for Ashlee mounted. And few can forget that one historic night on Saturday Night Live.
Scene is onstage at the SNL set, with ASHLEE holding a microphone in her hands, band behind her.
(offscreen) Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Ashlee Simpson!
As music intro plays, Ashlee holds microphone at her waist and is obviously jarred when another womanâ€™s voice emanates loudly from the PA. As the voice speaks, Ashlee grins in recognition.
DISEMBODIED P.A. VOICE
Ladies and gentleman, this is Jessica Simpson, and Iâ€™d like to take this opportunity to tell you that my sister Ashlee and I are being held prisoner by our fatherâ€™s ridiculously high show business aspirations. I, in fact, have a doctorate in bio-technology and my poor little sister here has studied for years at the Royal Balletâ€¦
At the side of the stage, MR. SIMPSON stares on aghast. He catches the eye of a nearby technician.
Find that tape and cut it off!! Cut it off now!!
Scene shifts back to stage as Jessica voice is abruptly cut off.
(speaking into her now-working microphone) Now Iâ€™d like to offer my interpretation of the closing scene of Swan Lakeâ€¦ (looking at her feet)…though sadly, I didnâ€™t think to wear my ballet slippersâ€¦
Chorus of booing emerges from the studio audience as the camera goes longâ€¦
Scene shifts back to side of stage
Just wait until I get those girls home!
Scene shifts back to deluxe record company office, as OTIS FIGBYâ€™s voice is heard.
(voiceover) And when the time came for a new ASHLEE SIMPSON album, clearly a change of strategy was called for. Luckily the brightest marketing minds in the music industry had just the fix!
OK, see we figure after the big brouhaha with the last album, weâ€™ve gotta come back strong with an album that unveils a brand new Ashlee Simpson. An honest, real, Ashlee Simpson. So weâ€™re gonna bleach your hair and weâ€™re gonna call it I Am Me.
Yeah. Yeah. (with mounting enthusiasm). Yeah!
(to Ashlee) What do ya think, babe?
(Staring at both LABEL PRESIDENT and MR. SIMPSON with obvious disdain) What do I think? I think the titleâ€™s inaccurate, for starters! And I think Iâ€™m leaving to join the ballet and Iâ€™m not never coming back!
ASHLEE departs the office and slams the door angrily behind her. LABEL PRESIDENT gives MR. SIMPSON a withering glare.
So now what do we do, smart guy? You owe us!!
(obviously nervous, he breaks into a sudden sweat until a light bulb suddenly appears over his head. Then he grins.) Tell you what. You just hold that thought, and Iâ€™ll be back in an hour.
Scene shifts to massive Beverly Hills mansion with â€śSimpsonsâ€ťon a conspicuous mailbox. MR. SIMPSON pulls in the driveway, jumps out of his sports car, and runs into the house. He swiftly runs upstairs and down a hall to a large double-doorway bearing the legend DAUGHTER DORMITORY. He opens the door and walks into a massive auditorium-sized barracks filled with frilly stuffed animals and pink-canopied beds. Occupying the room are at least two dozen extremely attractive blonde girls.
OK, who wants to make a record next?
(in unison) Me, daddy! Me, Me!
(pointing at the closest daughter, dressed in a bikini and ultra-ultra-sexy. He looks her up and down.) OK, Gabriella, youâ€™ll do!
Ooh, goodie! (grins gorgeously, then suddenly stops) But wait a minute, Daddy! I canâ€™t even sing!
Thatâ€™s OK, baby… (smirking) Neither can I!
Girls and their father laugh uproariously loud, knowingly, as pillow fight and floating-feather scenario ensues, then fades.