Pilot vs. Parents

CREDITS

Carl G. Brooks – Paul Ellis
Erin Lillis – Allison Baxter
Coral Baxter-Ellis – Tal Minear

Written by David S. Dear and Shannon Perry
Opening music “Coffee” by Cambo
Closing music “Life Illusion” by Ketsa


FOREWARD

CORAL

Hi everyone. I’m Coral, pronouns they/them. My parents have pretty… interesting perspectives on things between the two of them, so I suggested they start a podcast where they review things so they can share their perspectives… on things. So as I was starting to edit this I figured I’m going to just release this raw and unedited, let you get the full perspective. Okay, here we go.

MAIN SHOW

ALLISON

So where do I sit?

PAUL

How about you sit on the left and I’ll sit on the right?

ALLISON

OK…

She bumps her head on the microphone

Ouch! What is this?

CORAL

That’s a mic, Mom.

ALLISON

Well, what’s it doing up there?

CORAL

It’s on a boom arm.

PAUL

That’s for better sound quality, right, Coral?

CORAL

Um… sure, but mostly it’s because we don’t have much room in here. And also because it came with the podcast starter kit I bought, and it looks cool.

ALLISON

Testing, 1, 2, 3, test test.

PAUL

What are you doing?

ALLISON

No idea. But you see people do that at concerts, so there’s gotta be a reason, right?

PAUL

HA! When was the last time you were at a concert?

ALLISON

Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge, September 3, 2011.

CORAL

You can remember that but can’t remember what pronouns I prefer…

PAUL

Did I go to that with you? Or did you go with what’s-her-name?

ALLISON

The latter. You can’t stand them, remember?

PAUL

Is she using the “they/them” pronoun now, too?

ALLISON

Don’t be stupid. Dave Matthews Band. You can’t stand Dave Matthews Band.

PAUL

True. But I like what’s-her-name.

CORAL

Now that we’ve established who does and doesn’t like what’s-her-name and Dave Matthews can we proceed? First thing is to get you both seated and comfortable so we can position the mics.

ALLISON

So sit down, Paul.

PAUL

I’m checking out the equipment, Allison. Do you know how to work all this, kiddo?

CORAL

Most of it, yeah. I’m still learning some if it.

PAUL

But you know enough that we’re not going to sound like idiots, right?

CORAL

I’m the producer, Dad,

(Mumbles)

not a miracle worker.

PAUL

(Not listening to Coral)

So… what DAW did you land on?

ALLISON

What what?

PAUL

DAW, Allison. Software for podcasting.

ALLISON

Oh, you know all about podcasting now? Even though we’re about to record our very first episode?

PAUL

I did some research. So, Coral? What did you pick? ProTools? Reaper? Garageband?

ALLISON

You are making those up.

CORAL

Actually, he’s not. Audacity. It’s free, and it’s plenty for what we need.

PAUL

Free. Nicely done, apple doesn’t fall far from this old oak. Maybe we can graduate to ProTools and splurge when you’ve got more experience.

Coral

Sure, dad.

ALLISON

(Waaaay too close to the mic.)

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3…

PAUL

They didn’t call for a sound check yet, Allison.

CORAL

No, she’s fine, Dad. Move back a bit, Mom. More. More. You’re not moving.

ALLISON

I thought you were supposed to “eat the mic.”

PAUL

Good grief.

CORAL

These mics are pretty sensitive. Just keep your mouth in front of the mic and try not to move too much while you’re talking.

PAUL

Put your headphones on.

ALLISON

Why?

PAUL

You can hear yourself through the headphones; it sounds really cool. Hellooooooooooo! Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Universal Amphitheater. Well, here it is, the last 1970s, going on 1985…

ALLISON

NO MORE BLUES BROTHERS.

PAUL

Fine. But listen to yourself!

pause. nothing.

You have to actually say something.

ALLISON

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…

PAUL

Seriously? It’s a microphone, Ally, rock and roll!

ALLISON

It is pretty cool… Wait. Can anyone hear us?

Coral

Uh, no. Not yet. We’ll record it, and I’ll edit it, and then we’ll publish it.

ALLISON

And then people can hear us?

CORAL

That’s the plan.

ALLISON

This is a lot of cables. How can you keep them all straight? This is super impressive, Coral.

PAUL

Give a kid a credit card….

ALLISON

Well, I wouldn’t know what to buy or how to set all this up. Would you?

pause.

PAUL

All righty, sooooo, this is how we’re going to settle family debates, huh?

ALLISON

I guess so.

PAUL

Are we ready to test levels?

CORAL

Go for it.

ALLISON

So is this when I say “testing testing 1 2 3”? Is that okay Mr. Podcast or is that only if I’m onstage?

CORAL

Really doesn’t matter what you say, Mom. But give me a round of Peter Piper, will you?

ALLISON

Peter Piper?

PAUL

Coral’s testing for plosives. You’re testing for plosives, right?

CORAL

A-plus, Dad.

ALLISON

What does that mean, plosives?

PAUL

It’s when… Coral, explain to your mom.

CORAL

Certain letters make sounds into the mic. P and B are two of the worst. That’s why we have those screens in front of the mics, to help disperse the air that comes out. Put your hand in front of your mouth and say P P P B B B T T T.

ALLISON

P P P B B B T T T.

CORAL

Feel that little puff of air? When that hits the mic, it sounds really bad. But the pop screen plus the right distance from the mic usually takes care of it.

ALLISON

Got it. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How was that?

CORAL

Really good. Dad, you’re up.

PAUL

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

CORAL

Wow, Dad, are you doing that on purpose?

PAUL

What do you mean?

CORAL

Just back off the mic a bit and try to remember to control your air when you say Ps Bs, stuff like that.

PAUL

Right. Fine. Let’s just start.

ALLISON

Don’t get offended, Paul; she’s trying to help you.

PAUL

They. They are trying to help. Remember?

ALLISON

Right. Sorry, Coral.

CORAL

OK, I’m recording, so start when you’re ready.

PAUL

Hey everybody, I’m Paul-

ALLISON

And I’m Allison.

PAUL

-and this is the first episode of our new podcast, Deconstructive Criticism-

ALLISON

-where we review all the things you you do and don’t need in your life. Like this Dewalt electric hand drill. Which you definitely need, if you’re still working with a corded one. See this piece here?

CORAL

Mom, quit bumping the mic. And you don’t need to show the drill. No one can see it.

PAUL

What are you doing? You can’t just jump straight into the review. We have to set the stage first. You can cut that bit, right, Coral?

CORAL

Yep.

PAUL

Thanks for joining us today; we hope to bring you a fun show with lots of great information about the stuff we’re reviewing. If you’re like us, you have a lot of household decisions to make, but maybe you don’t always agree on what’s the best choice. We hope our experience with whatever we’re reviewing will help you make a decision on whether or not it’ll work for you.

ALLISON

Yes.

PAUL

Aaaaaand?

ALLISON

Aaaaand what?

PAUL

This is where you say something about how we’re not getting paid to review this stuff, then I say something about, like, “who would pay us for a bad review anyway” and you say something like “cuz bad reviews are bound to happen.”

ALLISON

But we don’t know for sure we’re going to give bad reviews. I love my DeWalt.

PAUL

You know we’re going to do more than the drill, right? If we’re planning an episode every, what, couple of weeks, Coral?

CORAL

That’s the plan.

PAUL

Then a bad review is going to happen. Eventually we’ll review enough stuff that we’re bound to review something we don’t like. You don’t remember us having this conversation?

ALLISON

We said that we’ll review stuff and there might be a bad review, but we didn’t say we were going to say that in the first two minutes of the first episode. It feels negative. I want to start off on a positive tone, like yay, electric drill!

PAUL

“Yay, electric drill?”

ALLISON

Or, “yay, lemon zester,” or whatever. I’m just saying, let’s start out positive.

PAUL

But the whole “who’d pay for a bad review” is funny!

ALLISON

It’s not that funny.

PAUL

I think it’s funny.

ALLISON

You think “pull my finger” is funny.

PAUL

OK, let’s just start over.

ALLISON

No, it’s fine. Coral will fix it. Let’s just keep going.

Coral

Uhhhhh…

PAUL

We promise you, we’re not being paid for any of our reviews, so you can assure you’ll be getting an unbiased review from us. Because who’d pay for a bad review anyway, right?

laughs alone

ALLISON

sighs

PAUL

You can cut that bit, right, Coral?

ALLISON

What bit?

PAUL

The heavy, woe-is-me-my-husband-sucks sigh.

ALLISON

If the sigh fits….

PAUL

Look, just lead me into the review. Without sighing, please.

ALLISON

Fine. So, Paul, what are we reviewing here?

PAUL

Wow, that didn’t sound fake at all.

ALLISON

I’m sure Coral can cut it. Along with everything else I say.

PAUL

Well, that bit certainly has to go. Thanks, Allison! Our family needs a new microwave!

ALLISON

Oh, goody. A microwave.

PAUL

Seriously? “Oh, goody”? You sound like you were carved out of oak.

ALLISON

That’s it. I’m done.

PAUL

You can’t leave. We haven’t finished. Hell, we haven’t even started!

ALLISON

You don’t need me. You’re just going to cut all my lines out anyway.

stands up to walk out, forgetting about headphones. gets yanked back

Dammit! Stupid headphones!

PAUL

snorts with laughter

ALLISON

(very, very angry)

Oh, I really wouldn’t, pal.

she storms out, he follows

PAUL

Honey, come on, I’m sorry. It was kinda funny, that’s all. Come back, we’ll try again. Ally…

AFTERWORD

CORAL

Hi, everyone, this is Coral again. And those were my parents, Allison Baxter and Paul Ellis. As you could hear they are buttheads who can’t agree on anything. ANYTHING. That’s why I suggested they start a podcast to review the stuff they can’t agree on. Then we’ll let you, the listeners, vote. Yay or nay, Item 1 or Item 2, and they have to abide by your decision. You can vote on our website, dcritpodcast dot com. But here’s the thing: I think what they’re really trying to decide is whether or not to stay together. So I’m not going to edit these episodes. You’ll get the whole mess — bickering and all. When we get to the end, whenever that is, I’ll ask for one final vote: stay married? or get a divorce. So, listeners, be sure to come back every two weeks, because you have a really big decision to make, and this family’s future is in your hands. I’ll see you next time.

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