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(Alternate Title: Monkey Robot)
A TELEVISION SCRIPT STORY ARC
NAILING PARIS HILTON (aka MONKEY ROBOT)
Robert Altman's “The Player” meets George Roy Hill's “The Sting”
BRENT and SEAN, friends from high school, are now midway through their careers and not satisfied with where they are. BRENT is a junior executive at a cable network. He started his career after winning an Oscar for Best Screenplay (for the film MONKEY ROBOT). He didn't actually write the screenplay and is in fact living a lie. In an effort to earn his current success he is constantly looking for the NEXT BIG THING hoping he can actually be part of something successful honestly. SEAN gave BRENT the screenplay. Due to a deal in the past (referred to as THE PACT but not explained further) SEAN gave BRENT the script in return for a series of ongoing favors in life. The nature of THE PACT is not explained until the last episode of the season. SEAN has no interest in long-term success. Approaching his mid-life crisis in full panic mode SEAN uses all of his favors from THE PACT with BRENT in the hopes of sleeping with beautiful famous women and hanging with cool male stars. BRENT and SEAN work together risking BRENT'S career with long-shot schemes that they hope will give BRENT the success he finally deserves and SEAN a short-term thrill. In an effort to get the most he can out of THE PACT SEAN frequently suggests to BRENT that he is working on a new better project that will be even more successful than MONKEY ROBOT – this time letting BRENT be part of the process rather than just taking credit. Sean never shows evidence of this. SEAN is haunted by the ghost of GRAHAM who frequently talks to him when he is alone in his apartment. GRAHAM was a friend of SEAN and BRENT in college. It is shortly revealed that GRAHAM died in a bungled murder-suicide when he made the mistake of starting with the latter. GRAHAM routinely begs SEAN to “let BRENT go” and SEAN routinely declines. In the final episode it is revealed that Sean stole MONKEY ROBOT from GRAHAM.
Brent is single and works long hours as a junior executive at a cable network. Brent hates his job. He hates not having enough authority and not being able to be creative. He constantly gambles his career hoping to either be promoted or fired though neither ever results. Brent is constantly approached by people who were touched by the moving film, MONKEY ROBOT, which he did not write despite winning the Oscar for Best Screenplay. He knows he has the talent he has been credited with but he also knows he has not proven it. He is eager to have one big success in his working life and will do almost anything to make it happen. Despite his desire for success Brent does not take his day to day tasks seriously and frequently ignores his boss, GAVIN. Brent is looking to make it big at his work in one big leap and has no interest in pursuing the corporate ladder.
Sean is single and works in an unnamed job in the financial industry. He always wears a suit and has no interest in seriously discussing anything beyond what his plans are for the weekend. Brent views Sean as a quasi idiot-savant with the arts as he was able to write the poignant Palm d'Or winning tragi-comedy MONKEY ROBOT. In fact Sean is a schemer and a con and is incapable of watching let alone writing a film as good as MONKEY ROBOT. He leads Brent on with promises of more scripts and ideas that Brent can legitimately produce in the hopes of meeting famous people. Every night Sean is visited by GRAHAM, the ghost of their college friend. Graham tries to reason with Sean to let Brent go from THE PACT.
Graham, the ghost who haunts Sean, is not having a happy afterlife. He constantly complains to Sean about conditions post-death and tries to encourage Sean to lead a better life. Despite being a ghost Graham seems tied to the physical world's needs. He routinely eats Sean's food and plugs his toilet. Sometimes Sean questions his own sanity or the possibility of Graham's actual living existence. In the final episode of the season it becomes clear that Sean stole the screenplay for MONKEY ROBOT from Graham.
Gavin is the Solieri of the cable network and Brent's boss. He hates Brent for the Oscar on his desk and does everything he can to sabotage Brent's ideas but he secretly has seen MONKEY ROBOT thirty-six times and often presses Brent for details of his inspiration. He is terrified of Jennifer Biel.
EPISODE SUMMARY – EPISODES ONE TO SIX
EPISODE ONE – PARIS HILTON Sean tells Brent he has an idea for a new script. He persuades Brent that if they could get Paris Hilton onboard to read the script she would support it and then Brent would win big at work while Sean would work on trying to nail Paris. They agree that if Brent cannot get Paris to read then an equal caliber female star will do for both plots. EPISODE TWO – VINCE VAUGHN While drinking too much in a bar after work Sean bets Brent that he could beat up Vince Vaughn in a fight. Sean offers to provide full details and rights to his new writing project as his part of the wager. Brent agrees to increase the duration of THE PACT for his. Brent arranges for Vince Vaughn and Sean to be at the same club on the same night under false pretenses. EPISODE THREE – THE OSCAR PARTY Sean convinces Brent to have his cable network host an Oscar party. Brent intentionally goes over budget on the party in the hopes that he can land a big name for his and Sean's new writing project. Sean fails to give any details about the project to Brent who then decides in the middle of the party that he wants to quit and go out with a bang. EPISODE FOUR – JESSICA BIEL Sean convinces Brent to go back to his job, ostensibly so he can begin work in the new project. Brent wants to pitch the new project to a different network. Sean spends the episode pretending to be Jessica Biel's personal assistant in the hopes of intimidating Gavin to take Brent back. EPISODE FIVE – THE PARTY Brent announces he no longer believes Sean is working on a new script. He challenges Sean to provide a sample or story arc to the new project. Sean hires a Paris Hilton impersonator to leave a message on Brent's voicemail claiming she's read the script and she wants in on the project. In a side story Sean and Brent make a bet on who can bring the lamest star to a party. Sean times his entrance to look like he arrived with Nicole Ritchie. Brent pays up. EPISODE SIX – MONKEY ROBOT II Graham challenges Sean about stealing his script (a new revelation in the show). Sean tries to convince Graham that he should write a new script and he would make amends by giving him credit. Sean presents MONKEY ROBOT II to Brent. Paris Hilton wants in on the project. Sean nails her.
INT. BRENT'S OFFICE – DAY BRENT is sitting behind his desk looking bored flipping through a magazine. SEAN is in the visitor's chair. SEAN So how is the job going? BRENT I hate it. SEAN Great. Here is what I am thinking. BRENT About what? SEAN That's what I am saying. I have an idea and I am going to explain. BRENT What idea. SEAN I want to nail Paris Hilton. BRENT You what? SEAN I. Want. To. Nail. Paris Hilton.
BRENT That's not an idea. SEAN No. BRENT That's a want. SEAN No listen. I'm talking about our pact. BRENT Oh. SEAN As part of our agreement, see. I've come for a new favor. BRENT Well look, you know I want to help. I've always honored our agreements. (BRENT pats the Oscar statuette on his desk) But I don't see how I can help. SEAN Wait. BRENT I can put a good word in but she doesn't really know me. SEAN No see. I have an idea.
BRENT Oh this is your idea. SEAN Yes. BRENT Coming up now? SEAN Yes. BRENT Well then, let's hear it. SEAN You invite Paris to come to a reading for a special project. BRENT And? SEAN I'll take it from there. BRENT You're not going to kidnap her are you? SEAN No. BRENT Well I really don't see what you're talking about then. What the hell do you mean you'll “take it from there?”
SEAN Well she's just another woman isn't she? BRENT Paris Hilton? SEAN Yes but underneath the Paris Hilton looks and money she is just another woman. BRENT Yes but it's the looks and money you want to nail not the person underneath SEAN OK that's fair. But what I mean is if we position me as someone who will be possibly working with her and I can get on the inside then I arrange to get in the same clubs and parties and before you know it we are on a regular first name basis and I move in and boom. BRENT Boom? You're that confident. SEAN Look, maybe I won't make it but I have to try. And to be honest perhaps getting rejected by Paris Hilton is better than then nailing her. BRENT I don't think I can help you, Sean. SEAN But the pact? BRENT The pact has clear rules on work impacts and let's not forgot clause 4.
SEAN I haven't forgotten. BRENT You can't hold me to one person. SEAN I understand. BRENT Even if I could arrange a reading it would have to be with someone with that same star power. SEAN Agreed. BRENT But we have a process here at work and bringing in someone of that caliber is like step 43. And Gavin needs to approve the first 42 steps. SEAN Look. BRENT What? SEAN I was keeping this as a secret but. BRENT What? SEAN I am almost done my new screenplay.
BRENT Really? SEAN I have to say it is much better than the last one (points to the Oscar on BRENT's desk) and this time you can actually help me write it rather than jjuts take all the credit. You can produce it and everything. BRENT Really? I had no idea you were working on anything. SEAN See, I figure if you skip all those steps and just have Paris read some of it and we get her on board then even Gavin couldn't stop you. BRENT No he couldn't. SEAN You'd skip a whole bunch of work and go right to the winner. BRENT Perhaps. SEAN (announcer's voice) From the writer of the Palm d'Or winning Monkey Robot – a new feature film. BRENT OK let's do it. I'll get us a Paris Hilton you bring the script and try to go boom or whatever. SEAN Great.
CUT TO: INT. BRENT'S OFFICE – DAY SEAN is sitting in the guest chair and BRENT ENTERS with LAUREN CONRAD BRENT Lauren I'd like you to meet Sean. LAUREN Nice to meet you. SEAN (to BRENT) Would you excuse us for one minute Lauren. Something came up I want to talk Brent about. LAUREN exits. SEAN What the hell is she doing here? BRENT That's Lauren Conrad. SEAN I know that's Lauren Conrad. What the hell is she doing here? BRENT She's here for the reading. SEAN I thought we said a Paris Hilton.
BRENT Yes but remember that didn't mean specifically Paris Hilton. SEAN I understand that. I am not an idiot. But when you say you're going to get a Paris Hilton I expected someone like Paris Hilton. BRENT Like who? I mean whom? I think. SEAN Like Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston or the English chick with no tits that somehow made flat sexy. BRENT Lauren is from The Hills. SEAN I know where the fuck she is from. Look, when I say I want to nail Blair from Facts of Life you don't bring me the fat one. You bring me Blair or the other hot one that had the pony tail. BRENT Joe. SEAN Yes. Exactly. Blair or Joe. BRENT That's not exactly a fair comparison. SEAN Well I am going home.
BRENT Well you can't go home. You're forgetting clause 3. You have to ride out a genuine attempt. SEAN Fine, but she can't read from my new script. I am saving that for someone who deserves it. Give her something to read and send her home. BRENT Well I don't have anything. What should we make her read? CUT TO: INT. BRENT'S OFFICE – DAY SEAN and BRENT are sitting behind BRENT'S desk. LAUREN is sitting in the guest chair reading out loud. LAUREN (reading) When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles against her own daughter, that's something. When you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body, it's a blessing! When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed, that's the finest I know. For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. SEAN I'm sorry I don't feel it. BRENT No. Thanks anyway Lauren.