Originally written October 9, 2004.
SCENE: A STUDIO BIGWIG and THREE JUNIOR EXECUTIVES are sitting at a table.
BIGWIG: All righty. Next on the docket – Fat Albert. Why haven’t we made a movie of Fat Albert yet?
FIRST JUNIOR: You know, I was just asking myself that the other day.
SECOND JUNIOR: I long to see those lovable Cosby Kids on the big screen!
THIRD JUNIOR: I think it’s because there hasn’t been a new episode of “Fat Albert” on the air since the mid-Seventies, and unlike “Scooby-Doo”, where the primary audience for a family film exists thanks to kids watching new episodes of Scooby and the gang every week, “Fat Albert” appeals mostly to Gen-X nostalgia, which hasn’t made for a successful film in years. At best we’d make our money back like Starsky and Hutch did. Seriously, who cares about Fat Albert any more, right?
(There is an uncomfortable silence.)
THIRD JUNIOR: Also we’ve had lots of trouble with the script!
BIGWIG: Ah, the writers. Always the writers, ain’t it? Okay, so let’s tell them what the story is.
FIRST JUNIOR: Right!
SECOND JUNIOR: Sure thing!
THIRD JUNIOR: Okay!
BIGWIG: What’s the story?
(A long pause.)
FIRST: How about the Cosby Kids just have a wacky adventure?
BIGWIG: Wacky adventure. Okay. I think that works. So, the Cosby Kids –
THIRD: Uh –
(BIGWIG stares at THIRD.)
THIRD: It’s just that the Cosby Kids are so weird. Like, the guy who wears his hat over his head. I mean, we’re going live-action with this, right?
THIRD: So how do we make that hat look realistic? Heck, how do we make Fat Albert look realistic and still have him be jolly, as opposed to morbidly obese?
BIGWIG: You raise an interesting point.
THIRD: I’m fired, aren’t I.
BIGWIG: Actually not yet. Your clever point has raised in me a counter idea!
(FIRST and SECOND glare at THIRD.)
BIGWIG: We will have the Cosby Kids come out of the television from cartoon land and into the real world!
(Silence. Crickets. A tumbleweed blows past in the background.)
SECOND: I love it!
THIRD: Why not.
FIRST: And wait, and wait – the Cosby Kids can be from Seventies cartoon land! So they’ll be amazed by the things we consider to be commonplace and mundane! Like pull-tops and the Internet!
SECOND: I like it, but maybe to avoid looking like we’re saying black people are stupid and don’t understand the basics of life, they can also gradually master our modern ways over the course of the movie!
BIGWIG: Exactly! Like, Fat Albert could do a rap!
THIRD (blinks): A rap?
BIGWIG: Black people love to rap!
THIRD: Well – it’s just he’s from the Seventies, right? Nobody listened to rap back then. It hadn’t been invented. I mean, the Cosby Kids had a funk band. He could sing a funk song instead. It’s not like funk isn’t cool.
FIRST: Yeah, but Snoop Dogg sells way more records than Government Funkadelic.
THIRD: Parliament –
BIGWIG: Look, I know we’re trying to be true to the spirit of Fat Albert here, so that means clearly that Fat Albert must do a rap. And possibly Mushmouth can be his human beat-box.
SECOND: Genius! Sheer genius! This movie will win Oscars.
FIRST: But where’s the human element?
THIRD (rubbing temples): It’s a movie about cartoons coming to life and you want a human element.
BIGWIG: No, no, he’s got a point. We need to create conflict! Conflict is what makes all drama great!
THIRD: Fine. Conflict. What’s the conflict?
SECOND: …some of the Cosby Kids want to go back to cartoon land!
FIRST: Because they’re scared by modern-day society and the Internet!
THIRD: So why do any of the Cosby Kids want to stay anyway?
BIGWIG: That’s a good question. We need a reason for Fat Albert to want to stay.
FIRST: Why Fat Albert?
THIRD: Possibly because the movie isn’t called Weird Harold.
BIGWIG: Right. So why does Fat Albert want to stay?
SECOND: ….he meets a girl and he wants to fuck her!
THIRD: Oh, for crissake, it’s a kids’ movie!
SECOND: …he meets a girl and he wants to fuck her and then cook her breakfast the next morning!
BIGWIG: Maybe we just tone down your idea a bit. He meets a girl and he falls in love with her.
SECOND: I guess that works too, but really, you lose something when you take out the fucking.
SECOND: Well, the fucking for a start.
THIRD: And maybe we get a big-name R&B singer to play Fat Albert’s love interest?
BIGWIG: That would cost us more money, right?
BIGWIG: Then let’s not do that. Matter of fact, let’s try to use as many no-name character actors as possible so we can save money to put towards the awesome special effects when Fat Albert and the others come into the realworld from cartoon land.
SECOND: I think we can get Kool Moe Dee –
THIRD: Even for Fat Albert?
BIGWIG: No, I think we can afford someone vaguely recognizable to be Fat Albert. Get one of the guys who was in Good Burger.
FIRST: God, I loved that movie!
SECOND: “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?”
(FIRST and SECOND high-five.)
THIRD: Which guy from Good Burger did you want?
BIGWIG: Whichever one of them was fatter. Okay, who do we got to direct this?
THIRD: Joel Zwick.
BIGWIG: …what did he do?
THIRD: My Big Fat Greek Wedding and “Webster”.
BIGWIG: Okay, make sure in all the ads we have the announcer say “directed by Joel Zwick” like he’s a big deal. People will think “my god, he’s so funny they put his name in the ads.”
FIRST: WAIT! I had an idea!
(FIRST becomes aware that maybe this isn’t the best thing.)
FIRST: Well, it’s not that important.
BIGWIG: No, no. I want to hear it.
FIRST: No, really –
FIRST: Well since the Cosby Kids are coming out of cartoon land, that means we could potentially have them meet Bill Cosby, right?
SECOND: And, and – this is good – they could actually go looking for Bill Cosby! The Cosby Kids would go looking for Bill Cosby so he could help them get back to cartoon land!
BIGWIG: How would he do that?
SECOND: …I don’t know?
BIGWIG: Ah, I’m sure the writers will think of something. Okay, I think we’re about done with Fat Albert – let’s move on. What’s the deal with The Jeffersons?