Int. Morning. Fox 9 news Studio
KEITH MARLER sits in the break room between programs on a Monday morning sipping a cup of hot chocolate before THE BUZZ pre-show is about to begin. As he rests, enjoying the quiet solitude of a moments rest between shows, he hears what sounds like a door being kicked open in the hallway. He starts to stand, but pauses and sits back down when he hears the sharp, tappy and recognizable footsteps of JASON MATHESON heading toward the set.
Keith: (to himself) With the wind at my back…
Keith reaches into his shirt and rubs the Saint Jude pendant, (The Patron Saint of Lost Causes) which he wears on a leather cord around his neck.
Meanwhile in the studio Jason is now sitting in a directors chair holding a pair of pseudo-intellectual thick brimmed glasses. He carefully yet feverishly polishes the lenses and the shiny black frame with a white cloth he carries in his back pocket.
Lou (camera man): (In the background adjusting his camera) Always with this shining.
Jason: (snarls) These glasses are worth more than you make in a year Lou… (calms himself slightly) Don’t make me look pale again either, or you’ll find yourself taping reaction shots in the field… Can you dig it? …. Can you dig that Lou!!?? Lou… Louly…. (trailing off) Lou-zer…
Lou remains quiet and nods in acknowledgement while he keeps his eyes on his work, submitting to Jason’s demonstration of the Fox 9 hierarchy. Jason turns around and rubs the cloth down the side of the glasses one last time before he carefully folds it and places it back in his pocket.
Jason: (to himself) Who’s the big dog, who’s the big dog… you’re gall darn right its me. Owww owww owww. E.P. and Host ! bow down!
Lou Remains quiet in the background with an awkward and semi-terrified facial expression.
In the Control Room ALIX KENDALL talks to DAN the control room guy.
Alix: Can we work on a softer fade into commercial? It’s just a bit more theatrical.
In the background we can see Jason leaning towards Lou, barking and snapping his teeth.
Jason: (in the background of this scene) You want the bite? bitch?!
Dan: (to Alix) Anything you want, gadget my love.
Alix: Thanks my Monterey Dan!
Alix bends down and plants a kiss on Dan’s cheek. Dan smiles softly.
On the set Keith walks toward his weather predicting gear. He has one tiny drop of hot chocolate on his bright white shirt, that he has carefully hidden behind his tie.
Jason: (facetiously) Hey Marler… Is wardrobe late again?
Keith: Huh? You know I do that before my early show?
Jason: (calmly) Well it interests me that you would let yourself look like ahh, a, a, well a complete fucking slob.
Jason begins a high-pitched lunatic laugh that he abruptly cuts off by wiping his hand down his face.
Keith: (Holding back) What are you talking about Matheson?
Jason: Where do I start? How about that mole you’ve grown on your shirt! … This is a professional show goddamnit! Change it, now!
Keith: I’ll change it when I get done changing your diaper you pretentious fuck!
Jason: You promised you’d, … that was one time!… Goddamnit, Goddamn you!
Alix enters the set and jogs with urgency. Her heels CLICK CLACK as she runs. She heads straight for Keith.
Alix: No, no, no, no, no, no…
She reaches Keith and places her hands on his arms, which he now has spread out in the “What? You want some” position.
Alix: (cont.) Keith, you can control this. Lock it down. You’re better than this.
Jason: (from behind Alix) Yeah, just calm down Keith. Hey (directed at Alix) I don’t know what got into him. He’s just a monster sometimes. Calm down Keith…
Alix: Oh just can it! Both of you! Remember when we were all best friends. Lets get back to that.
Keith: (Breathing more slowly) Lets just do the show and get out of here. I don’t need to step into his (over pronounces) faaaairy tale land.’
Alix: Damnit fuck. Enough. Go to the weathering hole.
As the director gives the count down to the show. 10, 9, 8… Keith coughs and forcefully says something unrecognizable under the cough. Jason stands up.
Jason: That’s fucking it! Your fired.
Keith: Ha ha, on whose authority, the Charmin Baby?
Alix grabs Jason’s tie and pulls him back to a seated position. 4,3…
Alix: (Madly) Smile everyone!
Everyone gets some composure. The clipboard snaps closed. ACTION.
The beginning of the show goes well. It’s all smiles. Keith gives a perfect rendition of the fast talking hilarious Marler special. Jason stays level-headed and tells a few one offs. Alix is joyous that once again the fighting transformed into A.M. gold.
Jason: You will be on the edge of your chairs, like Keith over there, next week when we get a real treat. Zac Efron will visit us here on set for his new movie, Charlie St. Cloud.
Keith: Ha ha heh, not about St. Cloud, Minnesota though, ha ha ha. That one comes out next year.
Jason: You could slide back on that chair a little bit.
They all laugh lightly.
Keith: I know you threaten Lou to keep me barely on-screen when I’m on the sofa.
Alix: Oh boys, ha ha. Keith whats the weekend look like?
Keith: (snapping back to his on-air personality) Well it will be cloudy and grey on Saturday. Then Sunday ha ha well those clouds are gonna get wetter than Jason’s diaper at a 2009 Christmas party.
There is SILENCE. Everyone has a blank face for a second, knowing what will transcend. Then Keith presses his rain sound effect button. From off camera, Jason crashes through some monitors and half tackles Keith. The two struggle around, curse words fly all over the place and MA runs across the Buzz living room screaming.
Over on the Buzz Couch Alix goes bottoms up with a glass of Scotch and Lou pans out to show the whole debacle on camera. Dan enacts a softer theatrical fade out and the gang prepares for tomorrow.