Friday, December 05, 2008

My Romantic Comedy Mad Lib

My holiday crazy time starts this weekend, with a couple of events, a party and the community Christmas concert. If you're in the north Texas area and looking for something festive, I'm singing in the Coppell Christmas Pops concert at the First United Methodist Church at 6:30 on Sunday. It's free, and if you come early, there's also a free dinner. There will be several choirs, an orchestra, the Coppell High Madrigal Singers (I'm really looking forward to hearing them), a Dixieland band, some dancers, etc. For directions, info, etc., here's the church web site.

Only one more pineapple left -- and yet, when I was in the grocery store yesterday and they had pineapple on sale, I found myself saying, "Ooh, pineapple!" It's a sickness. I think it has something to do with a trip to Hawaii at an age when it must have imprinted on my tastebuds.

Meanwhile, it's still cold. I generally keep my heater off at night unless it will be cold enough that there's a risk of pipes freezing because I don't sleep well with the heater on. It's very noisy, my bedroom is the first vent off the blower, so even at the lowest setting, it gets too hot in my room before the thermostat registers the heat, the blowing hot air dries me out, and I like sleeping in a cold room under a pile of blankets. The downside is that it makes it hard to get up in the morning when the house is cold and I'm snuggled up in my nice, warm bed. So, when I woke up at five this morning, I got the bright idea to go turn the heater on, and that way the house might have warmed up by the time I needed to get up. I put on my robe and slippers and hurried to the living room to turn on the heat, then ran back to bed and waited for it to cut on. And waited. And waited. At first, I thought something was wrong, then as I mentally went through the layout of the thermostat, I realized that I'd dragged myself out of my nice, warm bed on a freezing morning to go turn on the air conditioner.

I eventually got the heat on, and it didn't seem to help much in the getting-up issue, but that may be because of the extended early-morning awake period caused by the thermostat follies. One of the first things I'll do when I get a sense of any kind of income stream is replace that heater with something more efficient, and maybe a programmable thermostat.

So, as promised yesterday, here's my mad lib romantic comedy:
1) Hero is played by John Krasinski from The Office -- since everyone loves Jim, right? Heroine is played by America Ferrera from Ugly Betty -- again, pretty much beloved, plus that automatically means she's going to fit the "Plain Jane Turns Out to Be Gorgeous" cliche. Betty is in love with her next-door neighbor, a single dad, and is always bringing over casseroles for him, but he's still bitter about the divorce and only seems to date women who are totally not marriage material. She realizes her chances of catching him are are slim when he starts dating a supermodel, and she learns that the notoriously mean supermodel is only dating him because she's trying to rehabilitate her image by being seen with a normal guy and a kid. Betty fears that since she's Hollywood plump, the guy will never be into her, and she decides to stop wasting casseroles on him. Meanwhile, Jim is toiling in an office, working for an idiot boss (you know, in case some viewers miss the Jim connections). He works for a company that publishes cookbooks, and their fortunes are fading, but he could save the company if he could find the perfect cookbook idea.

2) They meet cute when they both take their lunches to a park to eat. She has leftover casserole that she reheated in the office microwave and he has a takeout meal. Watching all the thin, beautiful women in the park makes her decide not to eat the fattening casserole, so she offers it to the guy with the takeout meal. He realizes that she could be the perfect cookbook author. However, she's not interested in talking to him after she discovers that in spite of working at a cookbook publisher, he doesn't like cooking and thinks that home cooking is pointless. People only buy cookbooks to have around to make it look like they cook, and the cookbooks just make them feel bad about themselves for not cooking. He thinks convenience food and restaurants are the way to go. Because of this view, she decides that he can't possibly be husband material, and he's cold and heartless. He thinks she's overly sentimental about food.

3) She discovers that she needs money to pay for her father's life-saving operation, so she reluctantly agrees to go through with the cookbook, which means she has to work with him to put it together. They spend a lot of time bickering about whether the perfect cookbook should really just be a collection of takeout menus.

4) There's a montage to a pop song of them goofing off together in the kitchen, her feeding him tastes of the dishes she makes, doing the photo shoot for the book, etc.

5) She's scheduled to appear on a talk show the day the book is released, and they pull an all-nighter as she frantically tries to decide which recipe to demonstrate. As they giggle drunkenly, he admits that he loves home cooking, but since his mother died when he was young, anything other than a restaurant meal or something frozen to throw in the microwave is just too painful for him. They start making out and end up in bed.

6) When Betty eagerly goes to the bookstore to see her book on release day (yes, I know in the real word authors get copies of their books weeks in advance, but in Movie World they always seem to see their new books for the first time on the shelf at a bookstore, and the cover always comes as a complete surprise), she finds out that it isn't her picture on the cover at all. It's the supermodel who's dating her neighbor -- just proving that she isn't pretty enough. Betty is furious at Jim for betraying her like that and refuses to listen when he tries to explain that he didn't know anything about the cover, that it was his idiot boss who did it. Even worse, her talk show appearance was cancelled by the publisher because they knew it would be obvious that Betty isn't the gorgeous, thin blonde on the cover. She thinks Jim knew about that, too, and only used the all-night prep session as an excuse to get her into bed.

7) The cookbook is a huge success, and Our Hero gets a promotion for saving the company, but it's meaningless to him now that Our Heroine won't return his calls or bake casseroles for him. Things get even worse for Betty when she's watching a morning talk show and sees that the supermodel is on, pretending to be her as she talks about the cookbook. Betty is even more furious at Jim -- until she sees that he apparently set it all up to expose the supermodel as a fraud. She's supposed to do a cooking segment, but obviously can't cook and then starts being bitchy to the hosts when they question her. After a quick commercial break, the show returns with Jim on, talking about how the supermodel was just someone the company put on the cover, and he tells that Betty is the real cookbook author. Single dad was watching the same show and comes over to tell her he was foolish to go after such a mean supermodel when a great cook like Betty was next door. As he's gazing wistfully at her, she realizes that she has no feelings for him, and she's really in love with Jim.

8) She finds out that his promotion means he transferred to another office, and she only had his work number, so if she doesn't reach him at the TV studio, she may never see him again, so she goes on a mad cross-town rush, helped by friendly subway conductors and passengers, to get to the TV studio, but the security guard won't let her in. The people crowded around on the sidewalk outside the studio windows help her make a sign expressing her love for him and identifying her as the real cookbook author. The cameras pick it up, he sees it, and comes outside for a big kiss that's caught on camera. In an epilogue, we find that they've co-authored a book on the importance of home cooking.

I guess it's sort of a cooking version of Singing in the Rain. And, you know, even though I was trying to be silly when I did this, it may be more thematically coherent than a lot of attempts at romantic comedy these days. Monday I'll get into the right way to do it. Feel free to share your own wacky rom com mad libs.

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