Oracle on Air

The school is going to have an on-air news program and both Jessica and Elizabeth want to try out for an announcer's permission. Jessica, as usual, cheats but, as usual, things don't go well for her.

Winston finds a way to get back at Bruce by putting hilarious messages on the scroll bar.

Bruce is talking about money and Winston again gets back at him.

Once again Jessica's actions backfire on her. There's also a lot of humor in this episode.

One of the script versions of the episdoe.

"ORACLE ON-AIR"

Draft 3, June 6, 1994

ACT ONE

FADE IN:

INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY

ELIZABETH and JESSICA chat as they walk.

JESSICA

I just can't believe what a jerk he turned out to be!

ELIZABETH

Really, Jess, you should find a guy like Todd: Attentive, trustworthy, loyal--

JESSICA

Ugh. That's not a boyfriend, that's a Cocker Spaniel.

ELIZABETH

Is not--

A winded TODD races up, rests his hands on his knees.

TODD

(panting) Here's you're Frisbee back.

(hands it to her) Mind if I skip lunch? I promised the guys I'd shoot some hoop.

ELIZABETH

Okay, Mr. Scruffy-face ...

Liz gives Todd a quick peck, musses up his hair. He runs off excitedly. Jess looks at Liz and the Frisbee.

ELIZABETH

(re: Frisbee) What? It's not like it's covered in slobber...

Ahead, Mr. COLLINS hangs a poster which reads "Open Auditions 4 Oracle News Show." Liz joins him.

ELIZABETH

News Show? What's the scoop, Mr. C?

COLLINS

The school's installing an in-class video system. As of next week, the Oracle goes broadcast.

Elizabeth looks excitedly to Jessica.

CUT TO:

INT. CAFETERIA - LUNCH TIME

Elizabeth, Jessica, Enid, Patty, and Lila sit together at a table. Patty fills in a News Show application.

PATTY

A live, on-campus news show. This is so cool.

ENID

What are you going to do for your audition tape, Liz?

ELIZABETH

I'm not sure yet. Something with substance.

PATTY

Well, you're a lock. Collins loves everything you do.

ENID

And from there it's just a small step to local news. Before you know it, you'll be Elizabeth Wakefield, world's first teenage Network Anchor.

ELIZABETH

(modestly) No way...

ENID

Way. Total way.

ELIZABETH

Total way?

ENID

Complete, total way.

PATTY

Well, I'm gonna direct. That's where the POWER is.

JESSICA

What about me? Would I make a perfect newscaster or what?

ELIZABETH

Since when are you interested in journalism?

JESSICA

Journalism? It's TV news. Give me time and I'll sound as professional as oh, you know, Barbara Whatsername.

ELIZABETH

Easy Babs. You have to research and write your own stories.

JESSICA

It's a small price to pay for having one's face in every classroom every Wednesday morning.

LILA

Every classroom? ...Maybe I should try out. I know exactly what to wear...

ELIZABETH

This is journalism, guys. There's more to it than just a smart outfit.

LILA

So you think I should wear glasses...

ANGLE-- ANOTHER PART OF THE CAFETERIA

Bruce Patman and his Jock friends eat lunch at a table bench combination. Bruce finishes emptying a bottle of Krazy Glue onto the bench.

BRUCE

Watch this

(yells)

Yo! Egbert!

ANGLE -- SERVING LINE

At the end of the cafeteria line, Winston Egbert, whips around, assumes a shaky karate stance.

WINSTON

I'm ready for you, Patman.

(turns around)

No matter what you do, I'm always one step ahead...

Bruce comes up behind Winston, taps him on the shoulder. Winston is startled.

WINSTON

Whoa, Bruce! ...I saw you coming.

Winston picks up his tray, heads toward the Cashier.

BRUCE

Easy, Winston. You know, this thing between us is getting out of hand. I play a trick on you, you try to get me back. The anger we're building up could scar us for life. --Here, let me get that.

Bruce pays the Cashier. Now Winston's really puzzled. Bruce walks Winston toward the Jock table.

BRUCE

(continues) --As I was saying, we should try to live together peacefully, lion beside lamb--

WINSTON

You're the lamb.

BRUCE

Fine, I'm the lamb. So how about it? Truce?

WINSTON

...Okay, Bruce. Truce.

Bruce and Winston shake hands. Bruce presents Winston with the open space on the bench. Winston sits, Bruce sits opposite him. The jocks suppress chuckles.

BRUCE

(smiles) This is nice. Can you feel the love?

The Jocks ad-lib assent. A pretty GIRL walks by, smiles at Winston.

GIRL

Hi Bruce. Hi Winston...

The Jocks ad-lib greetings. Winston watches the Girl walk off.

BRUCE

Whoa, Eggman. She wants you.

WINSTON

You think?

BRUCE

Shhyeah! Let's go talk to her...

Bruce gets up. Winston tries to stand but he's firmly cemented to the bench. The Jocks BUST OUT in LAUGHTER.

BRUCE

What's the matter, egg-head? Butt too heavy?

(pulls out Krazy Glue bottle)

Oh, gee, empty?? I must've spilled it all over the bench. I'm REALLY sorry, egg-head.

Bruce and the jocks LAUGH and walk off. Winston calls after them.

WINSTON

I'll get you, Patman!

The BELL RINGS. Students head out of the cafeteria. Passing Students GIGGLE and point as Winston tries vainly to free himself from the bench. Principal Cooper passes.

MR. COOPER

Egbert! Stop that horseplay and get to class!

The Cafeteria is almost empty. Winston tries to pull himself free one last time. No use. He looks around, then undoes his pants. Winston wriggles his way out of them, stands, his spindly legs poking out from Winnie - The-Pooh-print boxers.

Just then, a large group of students enters. HOWLS of LAUGHTER. Winston turns beet-red, RUNS from the room.

CUT TO:

INT. ORACLE OFFICE - DAY

Bronzed hunk RUSS FRANKLIN, with hair just long enough to be dangerous, stacks video gear onto an AV cart. Jessica enters. She appreciatively watches Russ' muscular body strain against his tight clothes as he bends to place gear onto the cart. Russ notices her.

RUSS

Can I help you?

JESSICA

You already are ...

Russ smiles, holds his hand out to Jessica.

RUSS

Russ Franklin. A. V. Guy.

Jess takes Russ' hand to shake it. Russ kisses the back of her hand.

JESSICA

Jessica Wakefield. Mind if I check out some of your equipment?

INT. HALLWAY - TRACKING

Russ pushes the cart down the student-filled hall. Jessica walks with him.

JESSICA

...Communications major at Valley College, huh? That must be a really tough program.

RUSS

Not really.

JESSICA

Oh, don't be modest.

RUSS

(smiles) Okay... It's tougher than brain surgery, and I'm the best student in the state!

Jessica laughs. Russ pushes the cart into...

INT. TV STUDIO -- MACHINE ROOM - CONTINUOUS

once a large meeting room, the space has been partitioned into three sections: Machine Room, Control Room, and Studio Floor Area.

Russ shows Jessica the Machine Room, a small room tightly packed with VCRS, Monitors, and Modulators.

RUSS

This is the nerve center I was telling you about. Cables run from here to every classroom on campus.

JESSICA

Impressive. You hook all this stuff up yourself?

RUSS

It's all working, too. Though I can't figure out what's causing that smell ...

JESSICA

Cigarettes. This used to be a teacher's lounge.

Russ nods knowingly.

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE STUDIO

Jess emerges with a camcorder case, Russ pushes the cart out of the Studio, locks up. The class BELL RINGS.

RUSS

...

And don't worry about the camera. You're only supposed to have it two days, but YOU can keep it as long as you want.

JESSICA

Thanks. You're my hero.

RUSS

(exiting) No sweat. Good luck on your tape. Maybe we'll be working together.

Russ smiles and exits. Jessica watches him go, smiling. She walks off, passing the Boy's Room before she exits. The door to the Boy's Room opens, Winston pokes his head out.

Winston, wearing sweatpants, emerges from the bathroom, sneaks his way down the hall. Two chatting, smoking Teachers approach. Winston ducks into a stairwell as they pass, then exits through a set of double doors to...

EXT. SVH -- STUDENT PARKING LOT - DAY

Parked next to the building, in the handicapped space, is Bruce's beautiful black Porsche. Winston hurries toward it.

ANGLE -- CLOSE BESIDE BRUCE'S PORSCHE

Winston kneels beside the rear tire.

WINSTON

You asked for it, Patman...

Winston TEARS open a small cellophane packet with his teeth. And out of the packet, he pulls ...

A plastic knife. Winston JABS the knife into the tire, but the knife SNAPS. Winston looks at the broken end in his hand, throws it down. He pulls the spoon-fork combination from the packet, starts to jab the tire with it, then stops.

Winston unscrews the cap from the tire's filling stem, uses the plastic implement to push down the valve inside.

WINSTON

Saved by the spork...

Air HISSES out of the tire.

BRUCE (O.S.)

...then the Club groundskeeper has the nerve to tell me to replace my own divots! Like I'M going to get MY hands dirty...

Winston hears Bruce, looks around the back of the car to see Bruce and hulking MARCO approach. Winston ducks back, looks for a means of escape, but he's trapped against a wall.

ANGLE -- BRUCE AND MARCO

Bruce and Marco close on the car. Bruce rounds his car, looks down to see...

The plastic flatware packet. He picks it up, shows it to Marco.

BRUCE

Can you believe people would litter in a beautiful place like Sweet Valley? It's sick.

Bruce tosses the packet back to the ground.

ANGLE -- THE GROUND

The packet flutters to the ground. Behind it, hiding under Bruce's car, is Winston. He holds his breath.

Bruce gets into the car, it sinks lower onto its suspension. Winston tries to make himself even flatter. Then Marco hops in. The car bounces down against Winston. He stifles a groan.

BRUCE(O.S.)

Tires must be low...

Bruce STARTS THE CAR. A look of terror come over Winston's face.

IN THE CAR

Marco appreciates the ENGINE'S ROAR as Bruce guns it, shifts into reverse.

UNDER THE CAR

Winston says his prayers.

WIDER

Bruce backs the car out of the space, revealing an oil stained, but otherwise uninjured Winston. Bruce PEELS OUT of the parking lot.

Winston breathes a sigh of relief, sits up. He looks ruefully at the spork in his hand, tosses it away. SOUND of an approaching car.

STUDENT (O.S.)

Look! A parking space!

CUT TO:

VIDEOTAPE MONTAGE:

A series of segments from the Students' audition tapes. Those slugged as 'S TAPE, are treated Video-Camera POV. All feature the students sitting at desks of some sort unless otherwise indicated.

INT. CLASSROOM -- ELIZABETH'S TAPE

Elizabeth sits before a neutral background. Her attire and demeanor are consummately professional.

ELIZABETH

Good morning, Sweet Valley...

INT. LIBRARY -- MARTIN'S TAPE

A deep-voiced student in a suit (MARTIN) sits before a world map.

MARTIN

Good morning Sweet Valley...

INT. BRUCE'S BEDROOM -- BRUCE'S TAPE

Bruce sits before a picture of himself.

BRUCE

Greetings fellow Gladiators.

INT. FOWLER CREST -- JESSICA'S TAPE

Jessica looks more like a model than a newscaster.

JESSICA

Yo, Sweet Valley High! ... No, too street. Lila, start it again--

SNOW, WHITE NOISE, then:

Jessica now has her hair pulled back.

JESSICA

(overly bright) Hi Sweet Valley High!

LILA (O.S.)

Ack! Perk alert!

JESSICA

You're right.

(beat, then melodramatic)

Heelllo there, Sweet Valley High...

ELIZABETH'S TAPE

Elizabeth is clearly more comfortable than her sister.

ELIZABETH

Here's the news you need to know...

INT. FOWLER CREST -- LIVING ROOM - DAY

Jessica works the camcorder, Lila sits behind an ornate desk, in a sequined dress, hair perfect. The Camcorder feeds a nearby BigScreen TV. Lila can't take her eyes off her image.

LILA

Zoom in.

Jess rolls her eyes, complies. Lila's face now fills the BigScreen. Lila watches herself, flutters her eyelids, licks her lips, obviously in love with her image.

JESSICA

I don't think this will get you on the news show.

LILA

You kidding? Even Mr. Collins can see Sweet Valley desperately needs my fashion help. ...And if not, Daddy will buy me my own cable network.

INT. TODD'S HOUSE -- TODD'S TAPE

We see hands reaching into camera. They pull away, revealing Todd. He looks into camera, as he backs toward an unseen chair. He sits, dropping so low, only his forehead remains in shot.

TODD (O.S.)

Todd Wilkins here, with Gladiator Sports ...

ELIZABETH'S TAPE

Elizabeth continues, smooth as silk.

ELIZABETH

...ending a twelve hour standoff and rescuing all inside ...

INT. CLASSROOM -- WINSTON'S TAPE

Winston, wearing a loud jacket and bow tie, stands before a blackboard map of the school. Colored weather markings are drawn on it.

WINSTON

... we'll have partial showers in the Boy's Locker room, tapering off to general mustiness in the Gym...

BRUCE'S TAPE

Bruce now rants like Rush Limbaugh.

BRUCE

I'll tell you the problem! Some PEOPLE have forgotten the meaning of SWEET VALLEY!

JESSICA'S TAPE

Jessica struggles through her piece. A stray wisp of hair hangs before her face, tickling her mouth. Jess pulls it aside, it falls back down.

JESSICA

And they, um...

(blows at hair) They...

(blows again) Darn this hair!

ELIZABETH'S TAPE

ELIZABETH

And that's the news you need to know. Good luck and good day...

CUT TO:

INT. WAKEFIELD KITCHEN - NIGHT

Elizabeth is preparing dinner. Jessica enters.

JESSICA

So, how did your tape come out?

ELIZABETH

Pretty good I think. Want to see it?

INT. LIVING ROOM - SAME

Elizabeth hits "PLAY" on the family VCR. Her image comes on the screen.

ELIZABETH

Good morning, Sweet Valley...

Jessica's heart sinks as she watches Liz's thoroughly professional performance. The tape ends, Elizabeth ejects it.

ELIZABETH

Let's see yours.

JESSICA

...I'd better not. I wouldn't want to show you up.

ELIZABETH

Since when?

JESSICA

Trust me, Liz. I'm just trying to spare your feelings.

Elizabeth rolls her eyes, sets her tape atop the TV and exits. Jess looks at Liz's tape, then her own. She scowls. Then, an idea comes to Jessica. It's bad, it's EVIL. Jess can't help but smile.

CUT TO:

INT. ORACLE OFFICE - DAY

Collins watches tapes with Russ who takes notes. On the monitor, Bruce finishes up.

BRUCE (ON TV)

And THAT, dear friends, is the Patman Perspective. For a transcript--

Collins stops the tape.

RUSS

Talk about pompous ...

COLLINS

You said it. But every news team needs a blowhard.

Collins grabs another tape.

COLLINS

Ah, Elizabeth's tape. This should be good.

Collins puts it into the VCR, starts it. But it's not Liz's tape. It shows Jessica struggling with her hair.

JESSICA

And they, um...

(blows at hair) They...

(blows again) Darn this hair!

COLLINS

(stunned) I can't believe it, I was counting on her. Let's see how Jessica did...

Collins pops a tape labeled "JESSICA WAKEFIELD AUDITION TAPE" into the VCR, starts it...

The monitor comes back to life, and we recognize the video as Elizabeth's tape. Collins is struck by its smooth professionalism. Russ is smitten for other reasons.

COLLINS

(nodding) Now there's a pro...

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT ONE

ACT TWO

FADE IN:

INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE ORACLE OFFICE - DAY

A clutch of expectant Students. Jessica and Lila stand next to Elizabeth and Todd. Enid and Winston are nearby.

JESSICA

The suspense is killing me.

ENID

Aren't you nervous, Winston?

WINSTON

I don't care about me. But if Patman gets on, I'll die.

Russ emerges from the oracle office, posts the list. The Students descend on him like vultures on a kill. Russ wriggles free as Bruce forces his way to the front.

BRUCE

(thrusts his fist in the air) Editorial! The Pat-man does it again!

WINSTON

(outraged) Is there no justice???

Bruce joins his Jock buddies, they exchange hi-fives. Jessica and Lila make their way to the fore.

JESSICA

Yes! I got anchor! Read it and weep, Lila!

LILA

Weep? When MY Fashion Forecast is going to steal the show? People will be dying to know: pastels and ruffles in Spring? Or sleek lines and ecru? Only Lila knows ...

JESSICA

It's okay, Lila. When I'm hosting Nightline, I'll remember the little people like you I trampled to get there ...

Elizabeth scans the list, her name is nowhere to be seen. She can hardly believe it.

ELIZABETH

Jessica and Lila get on and I didn't?? There must be some mistake.

TODD

It's got to be. Ask Collins.

Mr. Collins emerges from the Oracle office.

COLLINS

Everybody quiet down! Jessica, Martin, Lisa, and Bruce. Come get your story assignments.

Bruce, Martin, and Lisa grab their stories. As Jess picks hers up:

COLLINS

You did an excellent job, Jessica.

JESSICA

I was good, wasn't I?

She spots Russ, joins him.

COLLINS

Those who didn't get Talent positions, there's still room on the crew. Talk to Patty.

Winston and other Students flock to Patty.

COLLINS

I want everyone in the Studio tomorrow morning by eight. Talent, have your copy ready so I can approve it before we go live at nine.

Collins heads back into the oracle office.

ANGLE -- JESSICA AND RUSS

JESSICA

So, it looks like we'll be working together. Maybe you could give me a hand with my stories. ...Or maybe both hands.

They smile at each other and walk off.

INT. ORACLE OFFICE - SAME

Collins files some papers. Elizabeth enters.

ELIZABETH

Mr. Collins, I was looking at the list and... I didn't get any position at all?

COOPER

There's still room on the crew...

ELIZABETH

Yeah I know, but... --I thought my tape was really great.

Collins has a hard time looking Liz in the eye.

COLLINS

Elizabeth, I don't know what to say. I expected more from you.

Collins returns to his filing. Elizabeth is crushed.

CUT TO:

INT. DAIRI BURGER - NIGHT

Todd joins a down Elizabeth at a booth.

ELIZABETH

How was the crew meeting?

TODD

Fine. But Patty's tripping a little on this director business.

ANGLE -- AT COUNTER

Winston, Enid, and other members of the crew sit at the counter. Patty THWACKS a riding crop against the counter.

PATTY

People, PLEASE!

ANGLE ELIZABETH AND TODD'S BOOTH

TODD

How are you doing?

ELIZABETH

I don't know. I really I thought it was some of my best work, and Collins acted like it was nothing.

TODD

Hey, you're still the Oracle's star writer. No one can take that away from you.

ELIZABETH

Thanks, Todd. It seems you and I are the only people who care about substance anymore...

HUB-BUB from another part of the Dairi Burger. Elizabeth and Todd turn to look.

ANGLE -- FRONT DOOR

Jessica enters on the arm of Russ, who looks particularly delicious in his muscle shirt.

Jess exchanges greetings and laughter with the various SVH students as she leads Russ to Todd and Elizabeth's booth.

JESSICA

Hi Lizzie. Have you met Russ?

ELIZABETH

Hi Jessica. Yes, I have.

JESSICA

(smiles) Well, just wanted to say hi. Don't forget to watch me tomorrow.

Jessica and Russ sit at a nearby booth. Elizabeth turns to Todd.

ELIZABETH

Is it wrong to be jealous?

TODD

In this case, I think it's required.

Elizabeth tries to finish her fries, but can't.

ELIZABETH

I'd better get home. I feel a murder coming on.

Todd puts his arm around Liz, walks her to the door, opens it for her. She takes one last look at Jess before exiting. Todd follows her out.

ANGLE -- JESSICA AND RUSS' BOOTH

Lila plops herself down beside Russ.

LILA

(sniffs) Mmmmmm. College man...

(squeezes Russ' muscular arm) I'm Lila. which Greek god are you?

Russ recoils. Jess glares at Lila.

JESSICA

Lila. Russ and I are trying to talk.

LILA

Russ, is it? Rrrrrruss. Sounds kind of like an ANIMAL, doesn't it?

Jessica kicks Lila under the table. Lila stifles a YELP, looks at Jessica.

JESSICA

Your nose is shiny.

LILA

It is?? It is not! Is it?

(stands) If you're lying...

(to Russ) Back in a flash...

Lila rushes off to the Ladies' Room.

JESSICA

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea...

RUSS

Well, there's a Warhol movie at the campus theater tonight--

JESSICA

Really? They made a movie of that show with William Shatner?

RUSS

That's Tek War. Warhol's the painter who did the soup cans ... ?

JESSICA

...oh right, I love him!

Jessica takes Russ' arm. She waves like a Beauty Queen as she passes her friends and exits.

ANGLE -- COUNTER

Patty continues talking to her crew. Winston is fixated on Bruce, who celebrates at a booth across the diner with his Jock buds.

PATTY

...and I'll want a medium speed crawl for the credits. Hello, Winston? You in this time zone?

Winston sees Bruce go into the Men's Room.

WINSTON

Hmm? Oh, sorry. Nature's calling. Collect.

Winston hurries toward the Men's Room.

ENID

Why did he take a camera?

INT. DAIRI BURGER BATHROOM

Winston enters, looks under the toilet stalls. He sees Bruce's Italian loafers. Winston stands before the stall, aims the Camcorder.

WINSTON

(quietly) Okay Patman. Let's see how you like the whole school seeing you without pants ...

The door to the bathroom opens. Winston quickly stands at a urinal, hides the camera, and whistles. Behind him, we see Bruce exit the stall, then the bathroom, and a man in dark clothes take his place in the toilet stall. Winston peeks back, sees the door to the bathroom shut.

Winston sets the Camcorder to record. He gets in front of the stall, aims the camera, then:

WINSTON

(kicking stall open) Surprise!!

VOICE(O.S.)

What the--???

WINSTON

(swallows hard) --officer O'Malley...

CUT TO:

INT. ELIZABETH'S ROOM - MORNING

Elizabeth is in bed, fast asleep. Jessica enters in a panic, shakes her.

JESSICA

Liz! Wake up! You've got to help me with my stories!

ELIZABETH

Your stories? Don't tell me you didn't write them--

JESSICA

Of course I wrote them!

Elizabeth rolls over to go back to sleep.

JESSICA

...okay, so maybe I didn't write them.

ELIZABETH

(rolls back over) Jess!

JESSICA

It's not my fault! I didn't get in until three. How was I supposed to know a movie called "Sleep" would be eight hours of a guy lying there sleeping?

ELIZABETH

Why didn't you just walk out?

JESSICA

And miss something? Liz, please. Look, here's a pen--

ELIZABETH

Why can't you do it?

JESSICA

I have to put on my makeup.

ELIZABETH

You've got two hours!

JESSICA

I know it'll be tight. But I can skip exfoliating.

ELIZABETH

Sorry, Jess. It's your assignment. You'll have to do it yourself.

JESSICA

...Oh, I get it. You wanted the anchor job for yourself and this is your way of getting back at me. You'd let your own sister go down in flames just to satisfy your petty jealousy.

Jessica looks accusingly at Elizabeth. Elizabeth can't deny the grain of truth in Jessica's manipulation.

ELIZABETH

...Alright. But this is the last time I bail you out.

JESSICA

(hugs Liz) You're the greatest! And afterward, I'll tell Collins you wrote the stories. He'll see how good you are, and he'll let you write for the show. We can be a team!

Liz glares at Jessica as she exits. Elizabeth sighs ...

CUT TO:

INT. ORACLE OFFICE - EARLY MORNING

Elizabeth gets up from the computer, crosses to the WHIRRING printer. She sees the stack of audition video cassettes. Elizabeth picks hers up, looks at it, tosses it into the wastebasket. She spies Jessica's tape.

Elizabeth pops the tape into the VCR. The monitor above CRACKLES to life, plays a segment of Elizabeth's audition tape. Puzzled, Liz pulls the tape from the wastebasket- sure enough, it says "Elizabeth Wakefield.,,

Then the ugly truth hits her. Elizabeth's eyes narrow...

CUT TO:

INT. TV STUDIO -- MACHINE ROOM - MORNING

The place is a madhouse as Students prepare for the broadcast. Jessica waits anxiously at the door, eyes peeled for Liz. She grabs a passing Student.

JESSICA

Have you seen Elizabeth?

The Student shakes his head.

COLLINS

(entering) Ten minutes, people!

(to Jessica)

Jessica, I need to proof your copy.

JESSICA

Sorry, Mr. C. That irresponsible Liz is still Xeroxing.

INT. CONTROL ROOM - SAME

Patty sits at the Switcher, wearing a headset. She checks the monitor feeds from Cameras One and Two.

PATTY

...okay, looks good, Camera One. Camera Two, zoom out. ...Camera Two? Hello, Camera Two? That's you, Todd.

INT. STUDIO FLOOR

Todd, behind Camera Two, wakes up.

TODD

(springs to life) ...oh, sorry.

INT. MACHINE ROOM - BY DOOR

Jessica paces. Elizabeth enters.

JESSICA

Elizabeth! I knew you'd make it. Where are the stories?

Elizabeth hands Jessica some papers. Jess looks them over, puzzled.

JESSICA

These are blank...

ELIZABETH

They are? Silly me. I must've inadvertently exchanged the stories I wrote with the ones you wrote.

JESSICA

Is there supposed to be some kind of irony going on here?

ELIZABETH

How can you stand there and pretend you don't know what I'm talking about???

JESSICA

Practice?

ELIZABETH

You knew how much work I put in, you knew how much I wanted to be anchor! And still you switched tapes just so you could get the job!

PATTY(O.S.)

Fifteen Seconds! Where's Jessica?

JESSICA

...okay, okay. I admit it. It was dishonest, selfish, and inexcusable. Now, if I can just have the stories--

COLLINS

(enters) What's going on here?

ELIZABETH

It's about my tape--

COLLINS

I told you, Elizabeth, my decision is final. Now stop interfering and let Jessica get to work.

Collins herds Jessica into...

INT. CONTROL ROOM

Collins opens the door to the Studio Floor.

JESSICA

But the stories--

COLLINS

No time to proof them now; I'll just have to trust you. Now go! We're LIVE, remember?

Collins pushes Jess into...

INT. STUDIO FLOOR - CONTINUOUS

Jessica scrambles to take her place behind the News desk.

PATTY(V.0.)

Four, three, two ...

The Floor Director points to Jessica as Camera One's tally LIGHTS. Jess freezes like a deer in its glare. She manages a smile.

JESSICA

Hi ... I'm Jessica Fakewield-- Wakefield-- with the oracle On Air News ... So... Here we are. Our first live broadcast... Yep. Live. No editing to save our butts, no sir.

INT. CONTROL ROOM

Patty, Collins, and Winston.

PATTY

This doesn't look good...

Elizabeth enters, looks at the monitors. Collins looks to her. She shrugs.

INT. STUDIO FLOOR

Jessica's starting to sweat. The Floor Director gives her a "HURRY UP" sign.

JESSICA

Oh! The news. Yes, well, a lot has happened this last week. Bunches

(forces a smile) Why there's so much going on, you just can't keep track. Heh...

(smile drops) ...Yep, a whole lotta news.

(beat) And now, with the details, my sister Elizabeth. Elizabeth...

INT. CONTROL ROOM

Collins looks to Elizabeth. He's obviously figured out what happened.

COLLINS

I should have known. Now go get 'em...

Collins pushes Elizabeth into...

INT. STUDIO FLOOR

Elizabeth assumes a professional demeanor as she walks behind the news desk. Jessica stands to let Elizabeth take her place.

ELIZABETH

Thank you, Jessica.

JESSICA

Anytime ...

Jessica exits. Elizabeth looks into camera.

ELIZABETH

Good morning Sweet Valley. Here's the news you need to know...

INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

We HEAR Elizabeth continue with her report as Jess enters and quietly shuts the door to the stage. Collins comes up to her.

COLLINS

We should talk...

Jessica swallows hard.

INT. CONTROL ROOM - SAME

The Program Monitor shows Elizabeth, but the text below her still reads "Jessica." Patty calls to Winston.

PATTY

Winston. The graphic still says "Jessica." Type in a new card for Elizabeth.

WINSTON

By your command ...

Winston sits at the Character Generator, types. At the Switcher, Patty takes the new text.

PATTY

Perfect.

(into headset) You're up next, Bruce.

WINSTON

(grumbling) Bruce ...

Winston glares at Bruce through the window. A light goes on in Winston's head. He re-patches some cables, types into the character generator.

INT. STUDIO FLOOR - SAME

Elizabeth finishes up.

ELIZABETH

...And now, with his take on the news, Bruce Patman.

Camera Two's tally light goes on, Camera One's goes out.

BRUCE

Thank you Jess-- I mean Elizabeth. Hello fellow Gladiators. As if you didn't know, I'm Bruce Patman. And this is the Patman Perspective...

INT. CONTROL ROOM

Bruce's face fills the program monitor.

PATTY

Where's his card?

WINSTON

Coming right up...

Winston smiles, punches a button. "The Patman Perspective" appears below Bruce's face. Then the text starts moving, revealing ...

TEXT SCROLL

See how my nostrils flare when I talk?

PATTY

Winston...

(punches buttons, to no effect) Winston!

INT. STUDIO FLOOR

Bruce continues his commentary. Jessica kneels beside Elizabeth.

JESSICA

Elizabeth, I'm so sorry. I know that what I did was really low--

ELIZABETH

What did Collins say?

JESSICA

I have to talk to the Principal.

Elizabeth looks back down at her copy.

ELIZABETH

Can't say you don't deserve it...

JESSICA

Don't be mad. This is the first time you didn't let me walk all over you and get away with it. You finally stood up to me. And the only reason you did is because I behaved so awfully.

ELIZABETH

You're saying I should be thankful?

JESSICA

Yes ...

Jessica ventures a smile.

ELIZABETH

(a beat, then smiles) You're a nightmare.

INT. CONTROL ROOM

on the monitor, Bruce continues obliviously as text continues to scroll under him. Patty struggles to pull Winston away from the character generator.

BRUCE (ON MONITOR)

...well I don't care what people think! America is beautiful! I love America! And to those who don't, I say love her or leave her!

TEXT SCROLL

America is the name of my sheep...

FADE OUT.

END OF ACT TWO

CREDIT TAG

FADE IN:

INT. HALLWAY

Bruce walks along the hall. Students point and GIGGLE behind his back. Bruce is puzzled. Marco accosts him.

MARCO

Oh man, Bruce. You were great today! Those jokes running under your editorial were a howl!

BRUCE

Jokes?

MARCO

Dude, come on! America's the name of your sheep?

(laughs) That's funny stuff!

BRUCE

(covering) --Well, of course. I wrote it.

Bruce looks around, spots Winston LAUGHING with Enid. Winston smiles, waves. Bruce is livid.

BRUCE

Egbert!!!

Winston dashes off. Bruce runs after him.

INT. STUDIO FLOOR - DAY

Winston locks himself in the control room. Bruce enters, POUNDS on the glass.

BRUCE

You're history, egg-head!

Through the glass, Winston laughs at Bruce.

FADE OUT.

END OF SHOW


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