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Strangers With Candy: "__________ (Fill In The Blank)"

 

I loved the short-lived TV show Strangers With Candy, put together by Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Dinello. I liked it so much, in fact, that I wrote a little episode treatment and, on a lark, sent it in. Amazingly, Stephen Colbert called me to tell me how much he liked the idea, but, aaaw, the show's been cancelled. Frankly, I think this story is too vulgar even for this show's wonderfully low standards. Well anyway, here's what I sent him.

"________ (Fill in the Blank)"

by Daniel Silverman

Fade In:
Close up: Jerri Blank is sniffing and gently licking a long hairy tubular object. She moans. As the camera pulls back, we see she is in the produce section of a supermarket, and the object is actually a horseradish root. She is snapped out of her bliss when she hears familiar voices coming her way. She looks up and sees Chuck Noblet and Geoffrey Jellineck turning into the produce aisle, pushing a shopping cart together. Looking panicked, Jerri quickly hurls the horseradish into her own cart, which we now see is filled with cucumbers, carrots, sausage links, cooking oil, and Vaseline. She begins to turn and rush away.

Jellineck and Noblet stop suddenly when they see Jerri, but it is too late; they have noticed each other.

Jerri:
Oh, hi Mr. Jellineck, Mr. Noblet. Boy, it’s pretty strange seeing your school teachers doing their shopping in the super…market…together…at 2 in the morning...

Jellineck:
Hi Jerri! What in good-goobers are you doing here!!??

Jerri:
Oh, um, well, Orlando asked me to pick up a few things for him for his Beleaguered Minority Festival project. I don’t know, some Filipino holiday about…Saudi Arabia or something, I didn’t quite get it. Anyway, how could Filipinos be a beleaguered minority? I mean, there are over a billion of ’em in China!

Jellineck:
Wow Jerri! Looks like someone’s been acing Mr. Noblet’s geography tests this term!!

Jerri nods dismissively, and begins to hurriedly push her cart away. She stops (and winces) as Jellineck continues.

Jellineck:
The Beleaguered Minority Festival is gonna be really special this year. Principal Blackman tells me he’s ordered up some actual Shining Path members to swing by! Right Chuck?

Noblet (with irritation):
Geoffrey, we’re already late!

Noblet quickly snatches two horseradish roots of his own, and tosses them into their basket, which is now revealed to contain more or less identical contents to Jerri’s.

Jellineck (hurriedly):
Bye Jerri!!

Jellineck and Noblet scurry off. Jerri reaches back in to her cart, pulls out the root, and continues caressing it against her face, moaning.
The opening credits role.

Act One

In Chuck Noblet's classroom...

Noblet:
So who can tell me the one big mistake that Sacco and Vanzetti made? Jerri Blank!

Jerri (jerks awake from dozing):
Oh, well, ya see, these degos they had a good thing going with this little gypsy number in a miniskirt who they kept in the back room. Anyway, they didn’t know that she was triple-jointed, even though they’d tried just about every position in the book with her. So one day they forget to double-check the padlock they used for her cage, and--

Noblet:
Nnnno…but that’s good thinking. The answer is, they left evidence of the murders all over their pizza parlour.

Jerri again perks up, and mouths the word “pizza.”

The bell rings. Jerri picks up and walks out of class.

Noblet (indicating on a wall map):

Ok, Next time we’ll sail further down the Mediterranean Sea, past Greece—

Jerri (under her breath):
Thank the lord!

Noblet:
—All the way to the heathen lands of the Middle East, and discuss two more American heroes. Leopold and Loeb were so revered in their day that the Master of Suspense even shot a movie about them. But today, they’re largely ignored…simply because of their beleaguered minority status.

Orlando catches up with Jerri, now walking into the hall, looking exhausted.

Orlando:
Hey Jerri! Did you have a chance to pick up my Horseradish root?

Jerri (dazed):
What? Oh, oh yeah, Orlando…Wait…here it is…

Jerri reaches down the front of her pants and slowly pulls out the long root, which is now covered in a slimy substance.

Orlando:
Jerri, what’s that stuff on it??!

Jerri:
Oh, um… V-, Vaseline…?

Orlando:
Vaseline! Jerri! How are we supposed to eat it now?!

Jerri:
Eat it? I got news for you Orlando, I tried for over an hour last night to get this sucker down my throat. I figured after all my floor shows with Ramon down in Tijuana I could handle anything, but…

Orlando, rips the root out of Jerri’s hands.

Jerri:
Orlando! (She grabs for the root.) Well, I don’t understand this holiday! What kind of Filipino holiday has to do with Saudi Arabia anyway!!

Orlando:
Jerri! It’s Egypt, not Saudi Arabia. It’s for a Jewish holiday.

Jerri (horrified):
Jewish!!?

Jerri grabs a hold of Orlando’s head and turns it to the side. She squints as she inspects his profile.

Orlando:
I’m not Jewish Jerri! If you listened in class you’d know that we can’t choose our own minority group for the Beleaguered Minority Festival. That’s why I chose the Jewish Exodus from Egypt! This is for the Passover holiday!

In disgust and frustration, Orlando breaks the horseradish root over his knee.

Jerri (crying):
Orlando!!

Orlando:
Forget it Jerri! I’m gonna do this project on my own. You’ll have to find your own group to do.

Jerri:
Can I have the root back?

Orlando:
No!

Jerri (meekly):
Just the bigger half?

Orlando storms off. Jerri walks down the hall. Derrick and his friends, including Devin Hightower, walk up to Jerri.

Derrick (showing brown ink-stained fingers to Jerri):
Hey Whorebreath, what the hell was our phone number doing on the wall of the boys’ bathroom?

Jerri:
Oh right Derrick, you come out of the bathroom every day with brown stuff all over your fingers. Today’s nothing special. Look queer-thing, I didn’t get much sleep last night, if ya know what I mean. (she rubs her crotch as if it’s sore.) So why don’t you and your little faggot backing band make yourselves scarce and hit the road.

Derrick:
This stuff just better wash off! C’mon guys, I know a little place we can go to.

Jerri sneaks into the boys bathroom. She goes into one of the stalls and sees her phone number mostly smudged away. She shakes her head in disapproval, takes out a brown marker, and begins to rewrite it clearly. We hear the door open, and footsteps approach Jerri’s stall. There is a knock, and Jerri looks down to see a boy’s feet on the other side of the door.

Jerri (musically):
Just a minute!

She quickly checks her hair and make-up in the reflection provided by the metal casing of the toilet paper dispenser, strikes a seductive pose by raising her arm and leaning it against the wall of the stall. She slowly opens the door.

Jerri (seductively):
Yes?

We see Devin standing there.

Jerri (dismissively):
Oh, it’s you. Here to lay some cable, huh? All right, just gimme a second to clear out.

Devin:
No Jerri. I just want you to know that it’s very hurtful, those things you said to Derrick out there, and about gay people… like me!!!

Jerri looks panicked and shocked. Serious music swells, and we fade out.

Act Two
Jerri asks if Devin has a butt-buddy, someone to stir the fudge with, and he confesses he likes someone but is afraid to tell him. He asks Jerri for advice, since she’s a known lesbian. She riffs about fisting, felching, golden showers and especially rimjobs, and reluctantly arranges to meet him in her room that night to give him a whole lesson on gay sex, provided he puts out for her. Although he protests that he’s gay and can’t perform, she promises that he just needs to sit back and enjoy the ride. As she leaves the boys’ room she bumps into Tammi Littlenut and Jimmy Tickles. They are very excited about the Beleaguered Minority Festival, and especially the $50 prize that goes to the most beleaguered minority. Jerri now gets excited about the festival, because she needs 50 bucks to get that Bunsen burner she’s had her eye on, although Jimmy thinks that she just wants it to do some extra credit for chemistry class. That night Devin knocks on her bedroom door. She opens the door (again, seductively) in a jockey outfit with a whistle and riding crop, and keeps Devin up in her room all night with a disco ball going etc., going over old stunts she performed with Ramon (montage). The next day in school, Devin meets her, at the same stall in the boys’ room, and says that her rimjob idea hit the mark, that he seduced his friend. That afternoon at home an exhausted Jerri fights with Derrick in the usual manner, and calls him a “buttmunch.” Upon hearing this he runs into his room and slams the door. Later, Sara asks Jerri what in the world she said to get Derrick that got him so upset—he won’t come out of his room. Jerri realizes that Derrick is actually the one that Devin was after! Serious music swells, and we fade out.

Act Three
Meanwhile, the students are getting ready for the Beleaguered Minority Festival, and Jerri hits on the idea, inspired by recent events, of going as a homosexual man, since gay men are so beleaguered. She seeks confirmation of this idea by having a heart-to-heart with Mr. Jellineck. Dressed up with an open 70’s style disco shirt revealing fake chest hair, and sporting fake Village People-style muttonchops, Jerri wins the contest for the most beleaguered minority (Orlando runs up to congratulate her dressed as a Hasid, complete with sidelocks; Jellineck and Noblet are in blackface), but Derrick interrupts the ceremony, telling Principal Blackman (who is wearing a Vietnamese peasant hat) that Jerri really is a homosexual, and so must be disqualified, since students are not allowed to portray their own minority group for the festival. Jerri is branded a homosexual by Blackman in front of the whole student body, and is shamed and ridiculed by teachers and students alike, as they scream “Jerri’s a homosexual!! Jerri’s a homosexual!!” and she is unceremoniously stripped of her award, due to her deliberately trying to deceive the judges (and supposedly not for her homosexuality per se). For revenge, she is about to out Derrick to everyone, when Derrick saves her (and himself) by confessing to everyone that he was lying, that he only said she was gay because he hates Jerri’s guts so much, and that calling someone a homosexual is the worst insult imaginable. Blackman is moved by Derrick’s speech, and is convinced by his logic and reasoning. Derrick continues that actually, Devin is Jerri’s boyfriend, and she is heterosexual after all. Devin reluctantly acknowledges the supposed truth of Derrick’s words, the award is re-instated, and everyone is happy.

Closing
That evening, as Jerri is freebasing in her room with her new Bunsen burner, she reflects on the valuable lesson she’s learned about how it’s always best to keep your sexual identity to yourself.

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