Summary: A day in the life of the Studio Executives. (Believe me–you don’t want their jobs.)
Approximately 1,870 words. Rating: PG.
Studio Executives Series:
The Real History of “The Crucible”
Little Joe Cartwright’s Very, Very, Very Bad Day
The Roberts Dilemma
A Ponderosa Christmas . . . Or Maybe Not
Men of the Ponderosa: A Valentine’s Day Treat
On the Other Hand
A Sharp Idea
Negotiating Clingers, Going Natural, and the Big-Ticket Item
Studio Executives #9: Negotiating Clingers, Going Natural, and the Big-Ticket Item
Scene: Interior. Conference room.
Present: STUDIO EXECUTIVE #1, STUDIO EXECUTIVE #2, STUDIO EXECUTIVE #3
SE #3: You’ve got to be kidding.
SE #1: I wish. I just got off the phone with his agent.
SE #2: I hate it when the agents call. I mean, they never say anything like, “Gee, my client’s so happy with all your hard work!”
SE #3: Tell me about it. It’s always “The other guys got more screen time!” or “He didn’t like his lines!” or “His hat looks stupid!”
SE #1: That was only Landon, and we got rid of that little black number.
SE #2: He was right about it looking stupid. Whose idea was it, anyway?
SE #1: I don’t know. Wardrobe, probably.
SE #3: I’ll tell you this much—ever since the guys went to the uniforms, Wardrobe’s a whole lot happier.
SE #2: Uniforms?
SE #3: That’s what Wardrobe calls them, where the guys always dress in the same outfits.
SE #1: Does Wardrobe think we did that to make them happy?
SE #3: I think so. (everyone chortles)
SE #2: So nobody told them how much money we’re saving by being able to reuse all those long shots of the guys riding along here and there, and how we couldn’t do it before because you couldn’t have Greene wearing a jacket in a long shot and then showing up at the door in a vest?
SE #1: Practically the only thing we swap out now are Landon’s pants, and they’re all the same color.
SE #2: But some of them . . . (whistles) You couldn’t pay me enough to wear pants that tight.
SE #3: Believe me, we pay him enough for it.
SE #1: Tell me about it. Did you see his last contract? Not only is there a line item for hair color, but there’s a per-episode bonus each time he has to wear the clingers.
SE #2: The whats?
SE #1: Clingers. You know—the ones that cling to his butt and . . . everything else.
SE #3: I never knew there was a name for those.
SE #1: That’s because you didn’t have to negotiate it with his agent. (mimicking a whiny voice) “Mike says they’re really uncomfortable, plus I know a urologist who says that wearing pants that tight can cause fertility issues, so if you want him to wear those, it’s gonna cost you.” (rolls his eyes) Believe me, that’s not a conversation I ever want to have again. Next time, we pay whatever he wants, and I don’t care if it means every love interest for the next ten years has to wear the same friggin’ blue dress.
SE #3: Fertility issues? Doesn’t Landon already have, like, a dozen kids?
SE #2: Hey, is that why he has that really high laugh? Like, the clingers are squeezing his jewels too tight?
SE #1: All I can tell you is, between Landon’s markup and the censors screaming that those pants are so tight they’re practically obscene—
SE #2: –which, let’s face it, they are—
SE #1: —we had to cap it at six of those episodes a season.
SE #2: I’m guessing the censors don’t realize how many of the ladies tune in just for that particular bit of scenery.
SE #1: (snorting) RCA still thinks it’s about those pretty views of Lake Tahoe in living color. (everybody chortles)
SE #3: The censors are idiots. They don’t care about viewership. With them, it’s public decency and all that crap.
SE #2: We’re just lucky nobody wants to put clingers on anybody else. (everybody shudders)
SE #1: Anyway, back to the problem of the day.
SE #3: As long as I don’t have to think about Landon’s private parts, I’m game for anything. Whaddya got?
SE #1: Roberts. (everybody groans)
SE #2: Lemme guess. He doesn’t like the scripts.
SE #3: He never likes the scripts.
SE #2: Maybe he doesn’t like Hop Sing’s cooking anymore.
SE #3: Or he got into an argument with his horse.
SE #1: Better than any of it. (the other two eye him) He thinks they should all go natural.
SE #2: (spits out his coffee) You mean—
SE #3: He can’t. He can’t mean it.
SE #2: So much for Landon’s clinger bonus.
SE #1: Not naked, you idiots! (the others sigh in relief) He thinks they should all go with their natural hair.
SE #2: He does realize that—well, he doesn’t actually have a whole lot of natural hair?
SE #1: I think that’s the point. He’s tired of wearing a hairpiece.
SE #2: The Germans call it a fifi. (the others stare at him) My wife’s got these German language records. She wants to go to Munich next summer. I’m telling you, every night, it’s Fraulein this and—
SE #1: (yelling at the top of his lungs) Who gives a crap? (everybody sits in silence for a minute) Seriously, guys—are we really supposed to worry about what to call the friggin’ thing? Is that our biggest problem?
SE #3: I’m with Phil. Who cares what it’s called? So Roberts doesn’t wear a hairpiece. Make Adam bald. Problem solved.
SE #1: You think? Pa’s son, who is supposed to be twenty years younger than Pa, is bald as a billiard ball, and there’s no problem there?
SE #2: He’s gonna look like Pa’s brother from back east, not his little boy.
SE #1: Exactly. So Roberts’s solution is that they should all trash the hairpieces and just go natural.
SE #3: Holy crap.
SE #2: Does Greene know about this?
SE #1: I’m waiting for the call. Roberts isn’t exactly the soul of discretion.
SE #3: (awed) Greene is gonna go through the roof.
SE #2: Did you know the guy has three different pieces? One to look like he just got a haircut, one to look like his hair’s growing, and one for when he “needs” a haircut.
SE #3: You’ve gotta be kidding me.
SE #2: Nope.
SE #2: What about Blocker? What does he think?
SE #1: He doesn’t give a crap. I mean, remember how his hair’s already looked for the first few years. He’d probably be happy as a clam to shave it all off and call it done.
SE #3: The only problem he’d have would be keeping his hat on. We’d have to get some double-sided tape to stick inside so it didn’t slide off.
SE #2: What about Landon? The only thing that kid has that’s bigger than his jewels is his hair.
SE #1: Roberts thinks he should stop dyeing it.
SE #3: He thinks Little Brother should be as gray as Pa?
SE #2: Grayer. Have you seen Landon in the off season? I’m telling you, one time I saw him when he hadn’t had his roots done—forget gray, the kid’s hair is practically white.
SE #1: Yeah, I know. No way in hell is Landon giving up his Miss Clairol. He’d walk first.
SE #2: And take his clingers with him, I bet, and sell that merchandise someplace else.
SE #1: No question.
SE #3: I hear they’re hiring in Vegas.
SE #1: But seriously—what do we do about Roberts?
SE #2: Are you kidding? Just tell him “no.”
SE #3: It’s a stupid idea.
SE #2: The thing I don’t get is this. He’s a smart guy—I mean, really savvy. No way he ever thought you were going to go for it.
(everybody looks at each other as understanding dawns)
SE #1: (slowly) Which means he wants something else, and this was just the opening bid.
SE #2: The question is, what does he want?
SE #3: What does he always want? To get out of his contract.
SE #1: We all know that’s not gonna happen. Mr. D. was crystal clear about that.
SE #2: So what are our choices?
SE #1: (presses button on phone) Hey, Stella? Listen, we’re gonna be working through lunch in here. Bring us some sandwiches from the commissary, and don’t forget the pickles.
SE #2: And potato salad.
SE #3: And chocolate pudding. They make the best chocolate pudding.
(several hours later)
SE #1: (looking around at dozens of balled-up pieces of paper) So that’s it. That’s our final offer.
SE #2: (reading from his yellow legal pad) All talent who currently wear hairpieces will continue to do so at all times when they’re on camera. All such hairpieces will be subject to approval by management.
SE #3: So Roberts doesn’t get the bright idea to wear some hippie hairpiece.
SE #2: Exactly. Landon will continue to color his hair Miss Clairol Medium Neutral Brown, golden highlights optional. All costuming will be as designated by Wardrobe and agreed upon by Management. No talent other than Landon will be required to wear clingers at any time.
SE #1: Or asked to.
SE #2: We’re not putting that in the proposal.
SE #3: I can just see Blocker saying that if Landon gets to wear clingers, so should he.
SE #1: Nah. He wouldn’t do that for Roberts. On the other hand, if Landon was complaining about it, Blocker would do it in a heartbeat. Those guys love to mess with each other.
SE #3: Guys, come on! Let’s finish this piece of crap and go home!
SE #1: Sheesh, settle down. What’s left?
SE #2: The big-ticket item.
SE #1: I don’t know. I still don’t like it.
SE #2: I’m telling you, it’ll work.
SE #1: I hope you know what you’re doing.
SE #3: I don’t care. I gotta get out of here. My wife expected me home three hours ago.
SE #1: Maybe if you wear Landon’s clingers, she’ll forgive you.
SE #2: Would you guys just shut up! (picks up the phone) Hey, Stella—yeah, sweetheart, I know it’s late, but we’re almost done. You can go home soon. Just get me Roberts’s agent, okay, baby?
(everybody crosses their fingers)
* * * * * *
Scene: The Ponderosa. Interior.
Present: BEN CARTWRIGHT, ADAM CARTWRIGHT, HOSS CARTWRIGHT, JOE CARTWRIGHT
BEN: (thundering) Have they lost their minds?
HOSS: That’s downright stupid!
JOE I’m calling my agent right now!
BEN: Not before me! Give me that! (wrestles JOE for the phone)
HOSS: You two just wait a goldarned minute! (forces BEN and JOE apart) Now gimme that dadburned phone!
ADAM: (sitting in the blue chair, strumming his guitar and singing) Goin’ to the chapel and I’m / Gonna get ma-a-a-ried / Gonna get married and I’m / Gonna get some you-know-what / Gonna have a wife who doesn’t / Drop dead in twenty minutes / Goin’ to the Chapel of Love!
As we all know, Adam’s final attempt at matrimony (and getting laid) was not successful, and he departed the Ponderosa for—well, we never really got a firm answer on that. On the other hand, we’re pretty certain whatever he ended up doing, it likely involved him finding a pretty young thing and getting some you-know-what. And he probably didn’t even have to wear his hairpiece to score.
Other Stories by this Author
- Studio Executives #1 – The Real History of “The Crucible” (by pjb)
- Studio Executives #3 – The Roberts Dilemma (by pjb)
- Studio Executives #4 – A Ponderosa Christmas . . . Or Maybe Not (by pjb)
- Studio Executives #5 – Men of the Ponderosa: A Valentine’s Day Treat (by pjb)
- Studio Executives #6 – On the Other Hand (by pjb)