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Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll

Introduction

Francine lies reading on Muffy’s couch. Muffy sits on the floor beside her and turns on the music video to “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. (It starts as live action then becomes a cartoon.) The Backstreet Boys are standing on an airfield.

Backstreet Boys: “Yeah. / You are my fire. / The one desire. / Believe when I say / I want it that way.”

In Muffy’s imagination she runs up to the singers who vanish.

Muffy: Oh, me too! I want it that way too.

Backstreet Boys: “But we are two worlds apart.”     Muffy runs up to them again.

Muffy: Nick, we’re not that far apart.

Backstreet Boys: “Can't reach to your heart.”    

Muffy: I’m here! Over here!

Backstreet Boys: “When you say / that I want it that way.”

This time she takes Nick Carter’s hands and he swings her around. At that moment Francine accidentally puts her foot in Muffy’s face.

Muffy: Get off!

Francine: Sorry. What are you doing anyway?

Muffy: I’m busy

In the video the Backstreet Boys walk past cheering fans.

Backstreet Boys: “Don’t want to hear you say. / Ain’t nothing but a heartache. / Ain't nothing but a mistake.”   In her imagination Muffy pushes through the crowd.

Muffy: Nick! I’m here!

Backstreet Boys: “I never want to hear you say…”

Muffy grabs what turns out to be Francine.

Francine: What are you doing? You have to stop listening to this rot. It’s destroying your brain.

Muffy: What?? Are you talking about the Backstreet Boys, the ones who are coming to town in four weeks, six days, and fifty-   looks at watch    seven minutes?

Francine: Uh-huh. Rot. Maybe they were good once, but now they’re just sellouts. Look at them!

Muffy: I know. Aren’t they cute?

Francine: Muffy! Being cute is not the point. The point is they’re sellouts.

Muffy: Francine, if you had a band, you’d sell out in five minutes.

Francine: I would not. Music is sacred. I would never sell out.

Muffy: Oh yeah? You’d be just like everybody else. First you’d have a hit song, then you’d make a CD, then you’d make a video where you’d wear a cute little costume and learn how to dance and flounce your hair right. And the next thing you’ll know you’ll be making commercials and a ton of money, and, by the way, when that happens you owe me half of it, because it was all my idea.

Francine: I would never do that. If I had a band, we’d do nothing but make really good music, and if anyone even tried to make us go on TV or dance, I’d just quit.  She goes to the door.

Muffy: Well, we’ll never know, will we, because you don’t have a band and you probably never will.

Francine: If I do, it’ll be a million times better than those Blob Street Boys.

Muffy: Hh! How could you?? You, my best friend.

Francine: Oh brother. I’m getting out of here.

Muffy: Go! And don’t come back until you can apologize to Nick.

Francine: Until I what?? Oh man, you are losing it.   She leaves.

Muffy: Don’t worry, Nick. I know she didn’t mean it.     She turns the music back on. In her imagination she is in the crowd waving goodbye.

Backstreet Boys: I never want to hear you say / I want it that way. / Cause I want it that way.”

Title: Arthur – It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll

Muffy and Prunella stand by the sink in the girl’s room at school. A small radio plays “I Want It That Way”.

Prunella: What does Francine know anyway? I mean, who doesn’t like the Backstreet Boys?

Muffy: You said it. Cute guys with stock portfolios. What’s not to like?

They go to the door. Outside is Francine who holds a poster saying “Auditions – Rock Band” in Muffy’s face.

Prunella: Auditions… for a rock band?       Francine hangs up the poster.

Francine: Uh-huh. A band that won’t sell out.

Muffy: Like anyone would even ask you to.     She walks away in a huff. Students quickly crowd around the poster.

#

Buster is having dinner with the Read family.

Buster: And it’s gonna be a real live rock band.

Arthur: And if we get in, we could travel around the world and be rich and famous and not go to school anymore.    They start taking the dirty dishes to the kitchen.

Mrs. Read: I wouldn’t count on it, honey. Very few bands are that successful.

Buster: It’s what happened to the Backstreet Boys. They answered an ad and, boom, just like that they had their own jet.

D.W.: Hey, if Arthur’s gonna try out for a band and be rich and famous then I wanna try out for a band to be rich and famous too.

Arthur: The only song you know is “Crazy Bus”.

D.W.: “Crazy Bus” is for babies.  I know a million better songs.

#

D.W. sings in the bathtub.

D.W.: (sings:) "Skinnamarinky-dinky-dink, skinnamarinky doo, I love you".   Pal covers his ears with his paws.

Cut to D.W. auditioning in the school’s music room.

Francine: Thank you, that’s enough.

D.W.: (sings:) "Skinnamarinky-dinky-dink, skinnamarinky doo…"

Francine: I said thank you!

D.W.: But I’m not finished. There’s five more verses.  (sings:) "Skinnamarinky-dinky-dink,  skinnamarinky-doo…"            Francine bangs a loud gong.

Francine: Next!!    

D.W.: Hmph!     D.W. leaves the stage as George goes on.     Be careful. It’s a jungle in here.

Arthur and Buster are waiting in the corridor.

D.W.: Well, at least you didn’t get in either.

Buster: Can you believe it? She gonged us both.   A gong is heard.

Arthur: Let’s go.

#

Francine and Mrs. McGrady sit in the Sugar Bowl.

Francine: That was a pointless! I  auditioned fourteen people and they all stank. Except for you, of course.

Mrs. McGrady: Well, you know what they say, honey.

Francine: Uh, no. What do they say?

Mrs. McGrady: If the mountain won’t come to Mohammd, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.

Francine: If the mountain won’t… Hm.

#

Francine visits Binky in his room. He is practicing ballet moves.

Binky: I don’t get it. Why are you calling me a mountain?

Francine: I told you, it’s just an expression. Look, you’re the best musician I know. Will you be in my band or not?     Binky starts doing ballet jumps.

Binky: Is there any ballet in it?

Francine: In a rock band? No. But there are snacks.

Binky: Why didn’t you say so? I like snacks.     He lifts Francine up and does a pirouette.

Francine: So, you’ll do it? All right!

Binky: By the way, you won’t tell about me practicing ballet, right?

Francine: No, I won’t tell. Okay, so, we’ve got drums, piano, clarinet… Do you know anyone who can play the guitar?

#

Molly is fixing her bike in her family’s driveway as Francine and Binky invite her to join.

Molly: So, what’s in it for me?

Francine: Only a chance to be part of a major musical phenomenon. Hey, but if you’d rather sit around in your driveway all day, fine by me.

Binky: Let me handle this. Look, you like to play the guitar, right?

Molly: Right.

Binky: And you like snacks, right?

Molly: Right.

Binky: So there you go. Snacks and guitar.

Molly: What kind of snacks?

Francine: I don’t know. Whatever you want.

Binky: Woo-hoo! So what do you say?     Molly offers her hand and Francine shakes it.

Francine: All right!

Arthur and Buster pass by on their bikes.

Arthur: I can’t believe she’s asking Molly to be in her band.

Buster: I can’t believe she didn’t want us.

Arthur: We should form our own band. That’d show her.

# First Rehearsal

Francine’s band is rehearsing on the roof of her apartment block. Francine play drums, Molly plays the electric guitar and Mrs. McGrady a keyboard. Binky is eating snacks.

Francine: Hey, listen up! Welcome to our very first ever rehearsal for our band, which will prove that great musicians don’t sell out.

Mrs. McGrady: Right on!

Francine: Here are the rules. Number one: We hate groups that do sell out, like for instance the Backstreet Boys. Number two: We don’t care about fame our money or stuff like that. Number three: I’m the boss! Any question?

Binky: (burps) What’s our name?

Francine: The band’s name? Er…

Mrs. McGrady: How about “The Five Apostles of the New Millenium”, FAOTNM for short.

Molly: I’m not playing in a band called that.

Francine: Relax. We’ll worry about it later. Okay, does everyone have the sheet music?

Binky: Uh-huh.    He takes the crumpled sheet of his clarinet, unfolds it and puts it on the stand.

Molly: Yeah, I got it.

Francine: Ready? And a-one and a-two…    They start playing.   (sings:)  “We see the pretty boys, we see the pretty girls”  Something something… I didn’t finish this part.   “We see the videos where all the fashion plates lip-sync their ways to your hearts.”

Molly: Not bad. Did you write this?

Francine: Yeah.  “Well, no offense to them, and no offense to you. Don't take it na-na-na-na, don’t take it personally.”  She sings out of tune and drums out of time. Mrs. McGrady stops playing and looks worried.     Oh, shoot!  Start over!

#

Francine practices alone at sundown.

Francine: Now I’ve got it! “Well, no offense to them, and no offense to you.”

#

Binky and Mrs. McGrady approach Francine as she is shackling her bike in front of the school.

Binky: Okay. Before I say anything, promise you won’t get mad.

Francine: Me? I never get mad. Unless… you’re gonna quit the band, because you promised you wouldn’t, and if you quit before we even get started, I will make you sorry, Binky Barnes! Do you hear me?!

Mrs. McGrady: Whoa, girl, whoa. It’s nothing that bad. We just have a little suggestion.

Francine: Oh yeah, what?     They start walking towards the entrance.

Mrs. McGrady: Well, sometimes it’s difficult to serve two masters. Render unto Caesar, you know, and in this case, Caesar has been rendered too much.

Francine: What?

Binky: What she means is, you stink, Francine. You’re good on the drums and you sing good too, but when you do them together… whoa-haha! Look out! Stinkeroo!

Mrs. McGrady: But don’t worry. We have the solution.   She gives a sharp whistle. Fern comes out of the school.

Francine: What’s going on?

Fern: Um, Mrs. McGrady said you might need a singer, and since I like to sing I thought, you know, maybe I could be your singer.

Francine: You?? Fern, this is a rock band, not a “Let’s whisper poetry and drink tea”-party.

Mrs. McGrady: Just give her a listen, okay?

Francine: Okay. Go ahead.   She sits down on the school steps.

Fern: Um, what should I sing?

Francine: How about…(sarcastically:) “Row, row, row your boat.”

Fern: Really? Okay.  (sings:)  “Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, I said merrily, merrily, oh yeah, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”    She ends on a high note. Everybody looks at her, including some other students nearby. Birds fly up and a car stops.    (coughs)  Was that okay? Am I in?    Francine stares at her with her mouth open. Mrs. McGrady closes Francine’s mouth.

Mrs. McGrady: I think I can safely say, yes.     Fern smiles.

#

Fern, Binky and Molly sit in the Sugar Bowl.

Molly: You don’t look like a rock singer.

Binky: Wait till you hear her. She’ll blow your chops right out the window and down the street for, like, two miles.    Molly hands Fern a piece of paper.

Molly: Anyway, here’s the song. Can you learn it by tomorrow?

Fern: “Don’t take it personally.”  Done.   (sings:) “Well, no offense to them, and no offense to you. Don't take it personally.”        Molly moves with the beat.

Molly: Wait! We should have some harmony on this.

Fern+Molly+Binky: “But when it comes to rock, and when it comes to roll, don’t need to sell it ‘cause it’s born to be free.”      The other customers look at them.

People: (applaud)         Binky takes a bow.

Binky: Thank you. Thank you very much.   Molly pulls him back into the seat.   Whoa!

#

Mr. Haney stands in his office looking out of the window. There is a knock.

Mr. Haney: Ah. Miss Frensky. Come in, come in. The reason I called you here – please take a seat – I heard you have some kind of a band, is that right?

Francine: Uh… yeah.

Mr. Haney: Do you have a name for your little group?

Francine: Not yet. It has to be just right.

Mr. Haney: Of course, of course.   His phone beeps. He presses a button.   It will have to wait, Miss Tingley. I’m in the middle of a conference. Anyway, I was wondering whether you might be interested in performing at the PTA spring fundraiser.

Francine: Well, yeah, um… We’re not really ready, but I guess we could.

Mr. Haney: That would be wonderful.   The phone beeps twice. He presses the button again.     I’ll be right there, Miss Tingley.  And what kind of music do you play?

Francine: Well, stuff I write, mostly.         The phone beeps incessantly. He  puts it in a drawer.

Mr. Haney: Oh! Any Barry Manilow in your repertoire? He’s a great favorite of mine.

Francine: Er… no.

Mr. Haney: I suggest you look into him.  He starts dancing.  One, two, cha-cha-cha. Three four, ta-ta-ta.    Oh, I know you kids think grown-ups have forgotten how to be groovy.  Miss Tingley comes in.       But I assure you…     

Miss Tingley: Mr. Haney!

Mr. Haney: Oh.  H-hm. That will be all, Miss Frensky.    They shake hands.    We’ll see you next Sunday in the soccer field.

#

The band is rehearsing on the roof again.

Molly: I can’t believe you said yes. We don’t even have a name yet.

Francine: Yeah, well, I’ll think of one. I just need some inspiration.    She sits down in an armchair. Binky is eating potato chips.

Binky: Are you inspirated yet?

Francine: No.

Molly: This is boring. Let’s play.    They play.

Fern: (sings:) “Don’t want nothing but the music. Don’t need…"      A window opens in the next building.

Neighbor: Hey, you kids!  I hate to tell you this but you stink! You hear me?? You stink!

Francine: Oh yeah?! Well, you stink too, you know. You really really… stink.   Hey.

# PTA concert

At the PTA fundraiser Francine looks through the stage curtains at the people. Mr. Haney stands on stage.

Mr. Haney: Before I introduce our next PTA attraction, I have an important announcement to make. Mr. Pachiva, come on down.    A man come on stage and shakes hands with Mr. Haney.    Mr. Pachiva is the winner of our raffle. Miss Tingley, please show him what he’s won.   Miss Tingley is carrying what looks like a mat with holes.    It’s a combination potholder and bathmat. From oven to shower in one easy step.  And now, as a fitting conclusion to this special day, I am pleased to present the musical stylings of U… huh? 

Francine looks through the curtain.

Francine: Stink! ”U Stink“!

Mr. Haney: That’s a rather unusual name. Hehe. Could be a typo.   The curtain behind him opens.  It’s something along the lines of you…      The band starts playing.

Francine: Stink!

Fern: “We see the pretty boys, / we see the Barbie girls / climbing their way up the charts. / We see the videos, / where all the fashion plates / lip-sync their ways to your hearts.

Well no offense to them / and no offense to you. / Don't take it personally. / But when it comes to rock / and when it comes to roll / don't need to sell it, 'cause it's born to be free free free!

Don't want nothing but the music! / Don't need the shiny limousine! / Don't want nothing but the music! / Love it or leave it, / the music is all I need.”     Kids start dancing.

Mr. Haney: Oh dear.

Fern: “The TV interviews, / the glossy magazines. / We see the stars' every move.    Fern pulls a boy up on stage and dances with him.    / The Grammys pilling up, / the money pouring in. / But tell me, what does it prove? “

Mr. Haney: Francine, this has gone on long enough!

Fern: “'Cause real rock' n roll / is all about your soul. / So hey, when push comes to shove, / forget about the fluff, / the music is enough. / I'm sticking with the stuff that dreams are made of. / It's love!”

Mr. Haney: That’s enough now! Stop the music!   He tries to pull the curtain but it is jammed.

Fern: “Don't want nothing but the music! Don’t need no People magazine! / Don't want nothing but the music! / I'm pledging allegiance, / the music is all I need!

Nothing but the music!”

By the end of the song there is a large crowd in front of the stage.

Crowd: (applause)   “U Stink”! “U Stink”!...  

Prunella: “U Stink” Oh…  She swoons and is caught by Rubella. Muffy looks delighted.

Arthur: “U Stink!”

Buster: Hey, aren’t we still mad at Francine?

Arthur: Yeah, but… “U Stink”! “U Stink”!  The curtain closes and Mr. Haney comes on stage. People starts leaving.

Mr. Haney: Please, people, stay calm! If you feel faint, put your knees between your legs… I mean your head between your… Yes, well, don’t forget to sample some delicious PTA fudge on your way out. Remember, you can always count on fudge.

#

Behind the curtain the “U Stink” members high-five each other.

U Stink: (Yeah!  That was awesome!)

Francine: Wait! Wait! I mean, that was fun and all, but we have to be careful. Stuff like this could ruin us.    The others exchange looks.

Mrs. McGrady: You’re right, we shouldn’t let it go to our heads.    They pack up their instruments.

When they leave the stage, several children and adults (including Jenna, Rattles and the Tibbles) are waiting for autographs.

Crowd: (excited chatter)   The “U Stink” members, including Francine, smile and give autographs.

#

In preschool Timmy shows D.W. signatures on his face.

Timmy: I got all five. Francine, Molly, Binky, Fern and Mrs. McGrady.

Tommy: Me too. Only I got Francine twice.    He shows a signature on his tummy.

D.W.: That’s nothing. I got trading cards, and they’re very very cheap.   She walks away. The Tibbles run after her.

#

 In class all the other kids keep looking at Binky, Fern and Francine.

Francine: What are you staring at?

George: Er, nothing.

Mr. Haney (on PA): Will Francine Frensky, please report to my office.

Buster: (softly:)  Someone is in trouble.

Mr. Ratburn: That’s enough. I know we have a couple of rock stars in our midst, but that needn’t distract you from your math.

Francine: Oh, brother!

#

Francine is in Mr. Haney’s office with a journalist and a cameraman.

Mr. Haney: Apparently, they’re from the Cable Access and they want to… What is it you want, exactly?

Journalist: We want to interview the girl who formed the hottest band in Elwood City.

Francine: Who? Me?

Journalist: Of course you. We just need fifteen minutes of your time during recess. Is that all right with you, Mr. Haney?

Mr. Haney: Well, I don’t see why…

Journalist: Fabulous. Now, where can we go that would feel authentic, natural?

# Francine's Interview

With some difficulty the journalist sits down on a tire swing in the school playground. Francine sits on the swing next to her. A group of kids is standing around them.

Journalist: Oomph.    Ready?   Hello, everyone. I’m here at Lakewood Elementary having loads of fun with my dear friend Francine Frensky who formed the group…     Francine looks uncomfortable.

Francine: “U Stink”.

Journalist: That’s right, “U Stink”, with some of her little friends, and, boy, where you a smash at the recent PTA fundraiser.

Francine: I, yeah, I guess.

Journalist: So what’s next for your fabulous fivesome. Another concert? A record deal? I mean, just how do you intend to capitalize on your success?   Francine grabs the journalist’s microphone and gets off the swing.

Francine: Why does everyone think music is about making money? Music is about having something to say. I don’t know what we’ll do next, but “U Stink” will never sell out. We’d rather quit then do that.    The journalist takes her microphone back.

Journalist: Well, that’s very noble. You heard it here, folks, and that’s a wrap. With Elwood City Access almost live at 4:37 and 2:30 a.m. Did you get that, Manny?

Cameraman: Oh no, I forgot to turn it on.     The letters “.REC” appear in a corner of the screen, followed by static.

Journalist: Oh.

#

Francine, Fern and Binky walk along a school corridor.

Francine: So then she asked if we’d perform on TV for the library book sale, but I said no of course.    They leave the school.

Fern: Why? Why’d you say no? That’s crazy!

Francine: A: because this whole fame thing is getting out of hand. And B: nobody asked you. It’s my band.   

The Tibbles approach them on their bikes.

Timmy: Hey, aren’t you Francine Frensky?

Francine: You know I’m Francine Frensky. I babysit for you.

Timmy: Will you sign my trading card.     He holds out a crudely drawn picture labelled “FRANSIN”.

Francine: Your what? My name isn’t even spelled right. Where’d you get this?

Timmy: From D.W.   He yells to some other preschoolers.    Hey, it’s “U Stink” and we’re getting their  autographs!       The preschoolers run at the older kids who run away.

#

The preschoolers chase Francine, Fern and Binky around a corner, through a department store and into a back alley.

Binky+Fern+Francine: (Right! Left!)

They go on running. At a red light they stop and the preschoolers stop behind them. They all wait for the green light, then the chase continues.

Binky: Fern?

Fern: Yes?

Binky: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Francine runs on. Binky and Fern stop and give autographs.

#

Muffy’s limousine stops next to Francine. Francine jumps in.

Francine: Thanks, Muffy. You saved my life.        Muffy closes the window to the chauffeur.

Muffy: Actually, there’s something I want to talk to you about. I hate to admit it, but “U Stink” isn’t that bad.

Francine: Gee, thanks.

Muffy: No need. There is one problem, though. You don’t have a cute one.

Francine: Muffy, I told you…

Muffy: Wait, you can thank me later. The point is, every band needs a cute one and that’s where I come in. I’m not only cute, but I play the tambourine. So, what do you think?

Francine runs out of the limo.

Muffy: Just see how far you get without a cute one!

Francine: (coughs) Miss Smartypants thinks she knows everything. Busybody Muffy!

#

Francine walks past the Sugar Bowl. Arthur, Buster and George are inside.

Arthur: I still think we should form our own band. Why should Francine have all the fun?

Buster: Yeah, and let’s not let her play in it, even if she begs us.

George: What would we call it?    They drink and think.

Buster: I’ve got it. How about “We Stink”?  

George: That’s so cool!

Arthur: Hooray!

Buster: Francine will die.

George: I stink! You stink!

Arthur+Buster+George: We all stink!    All three give a thumbs up.

#

Arthur is doing homework in his room. D.W. comes in.

D.W.: Arthur? Is “Frensky” spelled with an H?

Arthur: Of course not, it’s F-R-E-N-S-K-Y.

D.W.: How about “Fern”? Is that spelled with a “B”?

Arthur: Why do you want to know?

D.W.: Because I made all these trading cards, and now they’re spelled wrong, and I have to give the money back, and I already made fourteen dollars.     She throws the cards on the floor and walks out. Arthur picks one up. It says “FERB”.

Arthur: You made fourteen dollars from this? Wow!

# Fern's Fantasy

Fern s lying on her bed.

Fern: I can’t believe I have my own “Ferb”-card. I rock!

She has a fantasy in which she has a punk hairdo. She is standing outside a concert hall and giving autographs to the other kids.    

Prunella: I just had no idea you were so cool!   Fern signs Buster’s ear.

Buster: You really rock, Fern.

Fern: I know.         Her manager comes running.

Manager: Fern! Hurry up! Ten thousand fans are going to be very annoyed, if you don’t get out there at once!    He pulls her away.

Fern walks on stage. The other “U Stink” members are already there.

Crowd: Fern! Fern! Fern! Fern!...

Fern: Thank you! Yes, thank you! I love you, I do! 

Francine stands up from her drum set and walks over to Fern.

Francine: I’ve had just about enough! This is my band, Fern! I’ve started it!

Fern: What can I say? It’s me they love, not you. That’s right, isn’t it?

Crowd: (cheers)

Fern: Sorry. My mother always said, I’d be popular one day.

Francine: Oh.   She walks away.

Crowd: Fern! Fern! Fern! Fern!…

The fantasy ends. There’s a knock. Mrs. Walters looks in.

Mrs. Walters: Goodnight, sweetie. Tomorrow’s a brand new day.

Fern: You are so right.     She puts the card on her nightstand an turns off the light.

#

Francine is doing her homework. 

Catherine: Hey, Francine, you’re on TV!    Francine runs to the TV. The journalist is interviewing Binky, Fern and Molly on the school steps.     Well, not you, actually, but everyone else.

Fern: Well, it kind of took us by surprise, so we don’t have any plans yet. But maybe we could make a CD or something.

Binky: Or an action figure. A “U Stink” action figure.    He begins posing.

Journalist: Now I’m sure you’ve heard that the Backstreet Boys are coming to town. Any chance you’ll get to meet them.

Fern: I hope so. We love the Backstreet Boys.

Journalist: You heard it here, folks. They hope to meet the Backstreet Boys and hope to make it big. This is Almost Life with…

Crowd: “U Stink!”

# Francine Quits

“U Stink” are on the roof.

Francine: How dare you talk to that lady without asking me?? It’s people like that who want us to sell out!

Fern: mumbles:) It’s not selling out to go on TV.

Francine: What did you say??

Fern: I said, It’s not selling out to go on TV and sign autographs and be popular.

Francine: What about you, Mrs. McGrady? Do you wanna “go on TV and sign autographs and be popular”?

Mrs. McGrady: No, but I think it’s silly to spend so much time arguing. Let’s just play and have fun.    Binky is eating snacks.

Francine: What about you, Binky? Do you want to sell out?

Binky: Er, maybe. I need a bigger pair of pants.

Francine: That’s it!! I hereby dissolve “U Stink”!    Pause.

Fern: Are we supposed to melt or something?

Francine: You do what you want. I’m leaving!   Molly plays a chord.    There’s one thing we got right: the name of the band. You guys stink!   She slams the door.

Mrs. McGrady: Oh, honey, you don’t mean that. Come back.     She runs after Francine.

Molly: So, now what?

Fern: Well, I have an idea.

#

In Mr. Ratburn’s class the P.A. box produces a screeching sound.

Class: Aaugh!

Mr. Haney (on P.A.): Attention, everyone. I want to remind you, that the library is holding its annual book sale this afternoon. And we’ve just learned that our very own “U-se hmhm” will be performing.

Francine: What?   She glares at Binky and Fern. Binky looks guilty.

Mr. Haney (on P.A.): Fun, fun, loads of fun. Come one, come all.  (sighs)   Is it time to go home, yet? I tell you, Friday afternoon is a bear. What, Miss Tingley? Oh.  The P.A. is turned off.

Fern looks uncomfortable, but then defiant.

# Francine's Fantasy

Francine has a dream about a TV show doing a documentary on “U Stink”.

Interviewer: The highs, the lows, the scandals, find out the shocking truth about your favorite rock stars on “Behind the Curtain”. Today, we’re taking a look at “U Stink”, one of the decade’s greatest bands. From its humble roots in Elwood City, “U Stink” has soared to the very pinnacle of success.    The now adult members of “U Stink” go on stage.   But first we’ll meet the girl who started it all, Francine Frensky, who gave her heart and soul to “U Stink”, only to be replaced by a digital drum.    Francine is standing outside a record store with posters of the “U Stink” members, including the drum machine. She walks away sadly.

Francine is sitting on a stool in a studio.

Interviewer: So tell me, Francine, how did it feel to be kicked out the world’s most fabulous band?

Francine: In the first place, I wasn’t kicked out, I quit, and in the second place…   The lights go out.

Interviewer: And doesn’t it bother you that your replacement has become so popular?

Binky is holding the drum machine out of a car window. Fans cheer and hold up a poster of the drum machine. Back in the studio.

Francine: No, it doesn’t bother me. I can’t help it if people are dopes.

Interviewer: So let’s get your story straight. You started “U Stink”, you quit “U Stink”, they went on to enormous fame and fortune, and you…

Francine: Opened a popcorn stand. No, really, it’s a great job, I swear.

While “U Stink” are on stage, Francine is selling popcorn.

Francine: I get to go to concert for free, and the work isn’t that hard. Plus, I handle a lot of important financial details.    Francine is shown selling popcorn to a boy.   That’ll be five dollars.  Thanks.  

Interviewer: When “Behind the Curtain” returns, we’ll explore Francine’s fall from grace and examine, why her misfortune turned into “U Stink”’s success.

Francine’s face is seen on a screen above the stage. The band members look at her.

Francine: I’m telling you, it’s a great job! Look, free popcorn! All I can eat!  She eats popcorn.

Francine wakes up in her bead.

Francine: Popcorn.  More Popcorn.    Er! Ugh! It wasn’t even salted.

#

The Tibbles are standing outside the apartment building on their bikes.

Tommy: Hey, Francine! Wake up!    Francine comes to the balcony.

Francine: Didn’t you hear the news? I’m not in the band anymore.

Timmy: Oh, we know that. Can you tell us where Fern lives?     He shows “Fern” written on his tummy.   Our autographs are fading.

Francine: Find her yourself!   She goes inside.  Fern, Fern, Fern. Can’t people talk about anybody else?

Mr. Frensky: Fern’s on the phone.

Francine: Good! I’m gonna give her a piece of my mind!     Her dad hangs up the phone.

Mr. Frensky: I was just kidding. The pancakes are ready.

Francine: Oh.

Mr. Frensky: Why are you so angry at Fern, anyway.

Francine: Wouldn’t you be angry if she stole your band?

Mr. Frensky: But weren’t you the one who quit?

Francine: Yeah, but I had to. They were selling out.

Mr. Frensky: Did you ever think there might be a way to stick to your principles and stay in the band? Why don’t you talk it over with Fern?

Francine: No way!

Mr. Frensky: It would be a shame for “U Stink” to lose Elwood City’s best drummer.

#

Arthur, Buster and George are rehearsing in the Read’s living room. George switches on a Mary Moo Cow radio with a plugged-in microphone. Arthur plays the piano, Buster the tuba.

George: Testing. One, two…    There is loud acoustic feedback.

Arthur: Turn it down!   George does.

George: ...three.   

Arthur: Is everybody ready?

Buster: Hit it, man.    They start playing.

George: (sings:) “Oh, our name is 'We Stink'! / We like to play rock 'n' roll music! / And we don't care what you think, / because we like to play a lot of songs!”  That last part doesn’t rhyme, you know.

Buster: I know. I couldn’t find anything that rhymed with music. Except for “goozik”.

Arthur: Is that a word?

Buster: No.

George: (sings:) “Oh, we stink! Don’t say we didn’t warn you. / We stink. We’re the coolest band in the world.“

Mrs. Read:  Arthur? Er, couldn’t you take it outside?

Arthur: But we need the piano.

#

“We Stink” rehearse in the treehouse. Arthur now plays a small Mary Moo Cow keyboard.

George: (sings:) “We have Arthur on the piano! / And Buster on the tuba! “

D.W.: I hate to tell you this, but you guys stink!

Arthur: No, “We Stink”. Our name is “We Stink”.

D.W.: That’s what I said. You stink!   She climbs down.    Boy, not too smart either.

# Hiring Muffy

“U Stink” rehearses in the Walters’ living room. Binky is eating cookies.

Fern: We need to decide what to do next. Like, we should try and get… What are those things called?

Molly: A gig.

Mrs. McGrady: And what about music? We can’t keep playing the same song over and over. Maybe we could ask Francine?

Fern: Actually, I wrote some lyrics the other day.

Binky: Cool.

Fern: But I don’t have a melody.

Molly: Can anyone write music besides Francine?   Binky takes Fern’s lyrics and plays a jazzy melody.

Binky: (sings:) "Well, I thought I saw the other night a strange…"     Molly angrily snatches the lyrics away.

Molly: No way! That’s not it. You need more guitar.         She plays hard rock style.  (sings:) "Well, I thought I saw the other night / a strange and tender scene…"          Fern takes the lyrics.

Fern: No! It’s supposed to be soft.   (sings:) “Well, I thought I saw the other night…”

Molly: (snores)  Oh, excuse me. I must have fallen asleep.

Fern: That’s not very nice.

Molly: This isn’t about being nice, it’s about making music.   

Fern: I listened to you…

Fern+Molly: (talk at once)

Binky: I like the words.   He picks up the lyrics.  (sings:) “Well, I thought I saw the other night…”    Mrs. McGrady hits her keys loudly. Everybody shuts up.

Mrs. McGrady: That’s better. I think we have too many cooks in this kitchen.

Fern: I know. We need a plan. We need…

#

Fern is on the phone with Muffy while the others listen.

Muffy: …a manager. You need me. At first, I thought I should be the cute one, but then I realized that managers make way more money.

Fern: But what does a manager do exactly?

Muffy: Talks on the phone, have lunch with important people and makes you famous. All for a mere fifty… sixty percent of the profits.

Molly: But we need a new song!

Muffy: Forget the song! When you’re famous you can buy a song. So how about it?

Fern: Well, okay, I guess.

Muffy: Fantastic! I’ll get right on it and come up with a plan. See you!

#

Muffy jumps on her bed.

Muffy: I’m a manager! I’m a rock ‘n’ roll manager and as a rock ‘n’ roll manager I could get to meet Nick.   She lies down.  Hh, maybe… maybe I could someday manage the Backstreet Boys.

In a fantasy an adult Muffy sits at a table with the Backstreet Boys.

Muffy: (sings:) I’m the manager of your dreams / ‘cause I'll make all of your dreams reality / Got a head full of plans and schemes   She shows a picture of a Nick Carter in a Sergeant Pepper uniform. / Yeah, you'll be topping the charts for eternity.   The Backstreet Boys come out of a plane wearing uniforms. / Bookin' the tours and promotions, / hittin' the stores on the way. / Showin' my love and devotion / each perfectly managed day.”     The Backstreet Boys are on stage.

Nick: “How would I manage without you? / You always know just what to do. (Just what to do). /  Muffy cuts a cake labelled “1 Gazillion $”. She gives Nick a spoonful.   I'm so happy to give you your sixty percent. / Need a glamorous manager just like you. / How would I manage? (How would I manage? / Without the manager of my dreams.(Manager of my dreams).  Nick lies by the pool while Muffy is on talking her cell phone. / You'rethe manager of my dreams. / Though I'm not sure whatcha do, owe it all to you. / Ever since I've been in your hands / life is New York and Paris and Malibu.   He looks over The Strip in Las Vegas. / Nickis giving an interview in a studio. Muffy holds up a cue card.

Helpin' me seem smart and funny. / Tellin' me I'm lookin' good (You’re looking good), / and makin' me truckloads of money   Muffy dumps a dump truck’s load of cash on Nick. / like all dream managers should.”    The Backstreet Boys stand on the deck of a steamship in sailor’s clothes.

Backstreet Boys: “How would we manage without you?”    Muffy stands in front of the chimneys wearing a posh dress from the nineteen-twenties.

Muffy: “It's truly a dream being me. / All the fabulous flash, / all the yachts and the cash. / All the manager stuff that I get to be.”     Nick and Muffy stand on the bow like in the “I’m flying” scene from “Titanic”.

Nick: “How would I manage without you? / Oh, girl, you came down from above (Down from above)”  Muffy calls the captain on her cell phone. He turns the steering wheel around.

Muffy: “Somebody has do lunch / and I've got a hunch, / you couldn’t manage (Couldn’t manage), / just couldn’t manage (Just couldn’t manage)”

Nick: “I couldn’t manage (Couldn’t manage) / without the manager of my dreams.

Backstreet Boys: “You’re the manager of my dreams.”

Nick: “You’re the manager of my dreams.”    The "S.S. Gigantic" passes the iceberg unharmed.

#

Muffy is daydreaming in class.

Mr. Ratburn: If Sally has lost two-thirds of her marbles, should she give the remainder to Jim or to Jessie? Miss Crosswire?

Muffy: Nick! I’d give them to Nick!

Class: (laugh)

Mr. Ratburn: Well, Nick would be pleased, I’m sure. Muffy looks embarassed.

#

Fern is standing in the cafeteria line. Everybody waves to invite her to their table.

Kids: (Fern! Come here!)   Francine stands behind Fern in line.

Francine: I guess it pays to be a traitor.

Fern: I’m not a traitor. You are the one who quit. Anyway, I can’t help it if I’m popular.

Francine: They only like you because you sing in a band that I started.

Fern: That’s not true. They like me because… They just do.

Francine: How many friends did you have before you joined “U Stink”? One? Two?

Fern: Just because it took me a while to make friends, doesn’t mean you have the right to…

Mrs. McGrady: Come with me.   

The girls follow Mrs. McGrady in to the kitchen.   

Mrs. McGrady: This is ridiculous. As a libra and a pisces you two should be as tight as grits and gravy.

Fern: It’s not my fault!

Francine: She’s the one who…!

Mrs. McGrady: Hear me out! Francine, you can’t blame Fern for wanting to continue “U Stink”. It’s a good group and it’s fun to make music.

Francine: But…

Mrs. McGrady: And Fern, you can’t blame Francine for being upset. She started “U Stink”. We should do everything we can to get her back.   Both girls sit on boxes.

Francine: (sighs)

Fern: I wasn’t trying to take “U Stink” away from you, Francine, or sell out, or anything. I just wanted to mean…

Muffy bursts in with several rolled up papers.

Muffy: Ah, there you are. I have plans for making “U Stink” famous. First, we make a video and send it to the Backstreet Boys. I know they’ll love it, and I’m sure they’ll let us sing with them on tour. After that we cut a demo, make some licensing deals. It’s great that you’re in charge now, Fern, because…

Francine: Hhh!!   Fern looks unhappy.

Muffy: What? What’s wrong?   

Fern: Like I said! You’re nothing but a traitor!    She leaves the room.

Mrs. McGrady: We can try again when she’s cooled down.

Muffy: And in the meantime, we have a video to make.

# Making a Video

A filmset with a backdrop and some props has been set up in the garden of the Crosswire mansion.

Muffy: (hums to herself)

Molly: Why are you putting laundry detergent on a headstone?  

Muffy: It’s called product placement. We don’t have any sponsors yet, but I want to be prepared.   She puts a bottle of ketchup beside the headstone.   Okay, everyone! Into the trailer for a production meeting!

#

“U Stink”, Arthur, Buster and George are sitting in a trailer. Muffy shows them a storyboard.

Muffy: So, here’s the story. “U Stink” is being chased by vampires… That’s Buster and Arthur.

Arthur+Buster: Cool.

Arthur story): Raa! I’d love to suck your blood.

Muffy: Then I come and save you…   

Muffy (story): Behold, I am Muffy the Vampire Slayer!  

Muffy: …and we sing some of the song.

Fern+Binky (story): La la la la…

Muffy: Then we’re attacked by George who’s a zombie…

George (story): Uhhh….!

Muffy: …but I zap him with the fourteen karat gold watch daddy gave you for second grade graduation. Then “U Stink” flies around the world singing the song.  

Fern+Binky (story): La la la la…

Muffy: And then I do a symbolic dance representing peace on earth and stuff like that.  (sighs) It’s just so meaningful. That’s it. Any questions?

Molly: Yeah. What does any of this have to do with our song?

Muffy: Oh! Great art is so often misunderstood. Just trust me, okay.   Molly blows bubblegum.

#

“U Stink” are sitting in a wooden plane on the film set. Muffy gives directions.

Muffy: No no no no!

Molly: What is it now?

Muffy: There’s a pyramid right there on your left, so you have to steer the plane to the right, otherwise you’ll crash. Geez, don’t you know how to act?!

Molly: You don’t know how to direct!

Arthur, Buster and George are sitting nearby looking bored. Buster chews on a stalk of grass.

Arthur: Um board.

Buster: What?     Arthur takes out his vampire teeth.

Arthur: I said, I’m bored.

Buster: Me too, and I’ve eaten too much grass.

George: I don’t think she even needs us anymore.     Francine arrives on her bike.

Arthur: Hey, Francine, what are you doing here?

Francine: Well, one thing I’m not doing is making a stupid video. What are you supposed to be anyway, trolls?

Buster: We are vampires. Trolls don’t have fangs, Francine.

Francine: Whatever. So how’s your group doing?

Arthur+Buster+George: (Oh! Well! I… Um!)

Francine: Yeah, yeah, I know. You started your own group and you ripped off my name, but hey, forgive and forget is my motto. Plus, I have an offer that I don’t think you can refuse.

#

Several scenes from the finished video are seen: “U Stink” sit inside the plane looking bored, while Arthur, Buster and George shake the plane. / Binky, Buster and Arthur are chased by a large dog. /  

Muffy (on video): Behold, I am Muffy the Vampire Slayer.     She jumps down on a bottle of ketchup. George gets ketchup in his face. / Muffy does flic flacs in front of a “U Stink” poster and knocks over the camera and cameraman.

Cameraman: (groans)    The kids look down at him.

Muffy turns off the TV in her room.

Muffy: Wow, that is just the best. Oh, Nick, finally, finally I’m going to meet you.   She puts the video cassette and a letter in a box and addresses it to Nick Carter.

She has a fantasy of Nick Carter looking at the video in his office.

Nick: This is genius! Who made this?   He presses a button.    Ruthie, get Crosswire mansion on the phone. I want “U Stink” on tour with us. I want Muffy.    The fantasy ends.

#

Muffy holds the package into the slot of a mailbox.

Muffy: Postman, Postman, don’t delay. Send this to Nick right away.    She drops the package.

#

She runs along the street whistling when she sees D.W. selling “U Stink” trading cards in the street.

Muffy: What do you think you’re doing?!

D.W.: Selling “U Stink” trading cards. Fifty cents.

Muffy: It may interest you to know that I am “U Stink”’s manager and I have not authorized you to make these cards. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers, D.W.!   She leaves.

D.W.: Okay, and tell them that if you buy all four at once you get a free Francine card. It’s a collector’s item.

The Tibbles stop at D.W.’s stand.

Timmy: Hey, D.W., we need three more Ferns and a Binky.

# Preschool Concert

“U Stink” are setting up in preschool.

Muffy: So, anyway, I sent them the video and expect to hear back within the week. Meanwhile you guys better practice because Nick is a professional and he’s going to have high expectations.    A loud screeching sound comes from the amplifier.   Ahh! Turn that down!   Molly adjusts it.   Okay, I’ll tell them you’re ready.   She goes out. Molly sticks her tongue out.

Mrs. McGrady: Molly, be nice. She’s just trying to help.

Molly: How? By getting us a gig at a preschool? I mean, come on.

Fern: This is just for practice. Muffy says we’ll be hearing from the Backstreet Boys any day now.

Molly: Yeah, right.

Binky: Even if the Boys did want to play with us, I wouldn’t do it unless Francine was there.

Fern: What are you saying? We don’t need Francine. I mean, we’re just as good without her, right?   Right?   Right?

Mrs. McGrady: (coughs)

Mrs. Morgan looks in. The preschoolers stand behind her.

Miss Morgan: Are you ready for us? The kids are so excited.      

Preschoolers: Yayyy!    The kids run in and sit on the floor in front of the band.

Timmy: “U Stink!” Hi, Binky!

Fern: Hey, everyone.    Binky turns on the drum machine.

Preschoolers: Wow!

Fern: (sings:)  “We see the pretty boys, / we see the fashion queens…”

Timmy: Hey, don’t you know any other songs?

Tommy: We’ve heard that one about ten thousand times.

Timmy: You know “Crazy Bus”?

Fern: “Crazy Bus”? I, er, no. We only know one song.

Mrs. McGrady: I have an idea. Why don’t we just jam a bit and see what happens? That’s what all the great jazz musicians do?       Fern picks up a tambourine. The preschoolers start leaving.

D.W.: (yawns)

Molly: Whatever Francine’s doing she’s got to be having more fun than this.

#

“We Stink” are rehearsing in the treehouse with Francine as drummer.

George: (sings:) Oh, our name is “We Stink” / We like to play rock ‘n’ roll…”

Francine: Stop! Stop! That’s terrible! George, can’t you even sing on key?

George: Uh, I don’t know. What’s “key”?

Arthur: I thought it sounded kind of good.

Francine: You thought that was good? Arthur, “We Stink” is never gonna make classic rock ‘n’ roll without some drastic measures, which is why I think we should fire Buster.

Buster: You’re firing me?

Arthur: You can’t fire Buster! He and I started this band!

Francine: Okay, okay. Maybe he can clap or something.

Buster: I don’t wanna be in a band that you’re in. I quit.

Arthur: I quit too!

Buster: We’ll form a new band and call it “She Stinks”.     They leave the treehouse.

George: I don’t mind staying. We can have a band with just tambourine and drums, right. Like Sonny and Cher.

#

A mail truck stops at the Crosswire mansion. Muffy comes out.

Muffy: Well, where’s my letter from Nick?

Mr. Higgins: Nothing here from a Nick.    He gives Muffy the mail.

#

Muffy is on the phone in her room.

Muffy: Hello, operator. Could you dial the Backstreet Boys for me? They’re in Florida somewhere. Thank you.   She presses the speaker button.

Nick (recording): Hi, this is Nick Carter.

Muffy: Nick, it’s Muffy!

Nick (recording): Thanks for calling.

Muffy: Did you get my…?

AJ (recording): And this is AJ.

Howie (recording): And Howie D.

Brian (recording): And Brian.

Kevin (recording): And Kevin. And you must be one of our fans.

Muffy: Of course, I’m a fan. Could you put Nick back on? I have some important to…

AJ (recording): For information on our upcoming concerts, press 1.

Kevin (recording): To join or fan club, press 2.

Howie (recording): To buy a CD, press 3.

Nick (recording): to repeat this…   Muffy turns the phone off.

Muffy: I don’t want any of that.    She leaves the room.

#

Mr. Crosswire is on the phone in his office.

Mr. Crosswire: By tomorrow, do you hear?! No ifs, ands, buts, maybes, whatabouts…

Muffy: Daddy? I have a problem.

Mr. Crosswire: Gotta go! Emergency!   He hangs up.    A problem? Well, you just tell me what it is, Muffin, and I’ll take care of it immediately.

Muffy: I sent a package to Nick Carter one whole week ago, and I haven’t heard back from him.

Mr. Crosswire: Nick who?

Muffy: Carter. You know, he’s one of the Backstreet Boys. The one I really really really like, although I actually really really like them all.

Mr. Crosswire: Let me get this straight. You sent a package to the Backstreet Boys and you haven’t heard back from them.

Muffy: shakes head    Make them answer me.

Mr. Crosswire: stands up   Muffin. There are certain facts of life I have tried desperately to keep from you, but… well… I’m afraid I can’t always help you. This is one of those times.

Muffy: What?? But you’re a sponsor of their concert! You’re a Crosswire! You make things happen!

Mr. Crosswire: Oh, that’s true, sweetums. Now, I might be able to put in a word at the concert, but as much as it pains me to say these words, compared to the Backstreet Boys we Crosswires are… small potatoes.     Thunder and lightning.

Muffy: Hh!     

Mr. Crosswire: Are you all right, Sweetums? Can I get you anything?

Muffy: No, thank you. I’m fine.    She walks out sadly.

Mr. Crosswire: Hey, how about a cheque? Would a big old cheque make you feel any better?

#

Muffy looks in the mirror in her room.

Muffy: I’m a potato. A small potato.  I swear, I’ll meet Nick Carter if it’s the last thing I ever do!    She cries.     I swear it as my great-granddaddy Crosswire is my witness!

# Before the Concert

A concert hall in Elwood City. A screen announces the Backstreet Boys. The journalist from earlier and her cameraman walk past the line of waiting people.

Journalist: Look, it’s “U Stink” waiting in line like everybody else. So, are you excited?

Fern: Yeah, it’s the biggest night ever!

Journalist: So, what’s new with “U Stink”?

Fern: Er…    Molly takes the microphone.

Molly: Nothing’s new, that’s the problem. We need a new drummer. We need a new song.

Fern: I wrote a new song.

Molly: You wrote half a song. There wasn’t any music to it. Binky takes the microphone.

Binky: Wanna hear the tune I wrote? It’s really pretty. (sings:)  “Well, I thought I saw the other night / a strange and tender scene...”     Molly covers her ears.

Molly: Binky, stop! You’re hurting my ears!    Fern tries unsuccessfully to stop Binky.

Fern: I wrote the song and I get to choose what it sounds like! The journalist takes her microphone back. Binky goes on singing.

Journalist: Now we finally got a scoop.   “U Stink” on the brink! Is this the end of the fab foursome?       Fern chases Binky.

#

Muffy, wearing a business suit and a backstage pass and carrying a bag, approaches a roadie and gives him money.

Muffy: Whatever you do, just make sure that Nick stays behind, okay.       The roadie gives a thumbs up and walks away. Mr. Crosswire approaches.

Mr. Crosswire: There you are, Muffin. Now remember what I told you. Crosswire Motors is a sponsor and we’re allowed backstage, but only on the condition that we don’t bother the Boys.

Muffy: Of course, Daddy.

Mr. Crosswire: That’s my sweetums.   He walks into an elevator. Muffy takes out a notebook.

Muffy: Okay. Number one. Don’t be nervous.    She holds out her hand.  (high voice:)  Hi, Nick. I’m Muffy.  (clears throat; deep voice:)   Hello, Nick. How are you this evening?   Yes, that’s better. Number two.

Security: Okay, coming up. We’ll be on stage in five minutes. We’re at the elevator now.  Muffy hides behind a plant. A security worker comes along, followed by the roadie and the Backstreet Boys.

Muffy: Nick!    She covers her mouth.

The security and four Backstreet Boys get in the elevator. The roadie stops Nick.

Roadie: Sorry, only four boys per elevator.

Brian: What?

Howie D.: Who says?

Kevin: We have to jump.

AJ: What is this all about?

Roadie: It’s the law. The elevator code of compliance.   The other elevator door opens.    There you go, sir. All yours.     Nick walks in. Muffy follows.

Muffy: Mind if I share the elevator with you. My name’s Muffy.    They shake hands.

Binky looks around the audience at the Backstreet Boys concert.

Binky: Hey, there’s Prunella! There’s Arthur! There’s the crosswalk lady! There’s the guy who mows the playground! There’s the kid who… oh yeah… You’re the kid who called me a lunkhead, and kid, don’t think I forgot about you!! I didn’t…

Molly: All right already.   

#   

Arthur, Binky and George sit down. The Frenskys sit together. Binky sits between Mrs. McGrady and Molly.

Binky: Hey, there’s Prunella! There’s Arthur! There’s the crosswalk lady! There’s the guy who mows the playground! There’s the kid who… oh yeah… You’re the kid who called me a lunkhead, and kid, don’t think I forgot about you!! I didn’t…

Molly: All right already.   

#   

Nick and Muffy are in the elevator.

Nick: (hums)  Muffy surreptitiously presses the elevator’s emergency stop button.   What was that?

Muffy: I don’t know. We seem to have stopped.           

#           

Francine looks glum.

Mr. Frensky: I can’t believe you’re so grumpy, Francine.

Francine: And I can’t believe you made me come here with you. This is gonna be the worst night of my life. 

Mrs. McGrady touches her hand.

Mrs. McGrady: Hello, honey.

Francine: Hi, Mrs. McGrady.

Mrs. McGrady: Isn’t this great? I have a feeling this is going to be the best night of your life. My pinky started aching this morning and that’s always good news.     She leaves.

Francine: You know, I really like her, but sometimes she’s just bats.

#           

Muffy has set up a projector and filing cabinet inside the elevator and is lecturing Nick who is looking confused.

Muffy: “U Stink” will be big, and if you let us tour with you I can promise you ten percent of our profits, that’s assuming you fully recoup our expenses. But I’m sure you won’t be sorry, and of course my services are always available to you and the Boys. So, what do you say? I’m not offering this deal to anyone else. Only you, Nick, and the boys.

Nick: Hello! We need some help in here!           

#           

The other Backstreet Boys are waiting in the wings with Mr. Crosswire.

Mr. Crosswire: Why can’t you just go on? What’s one more boy more or less?

Kevin: I’m sorry. We need Nick. We’re in this together.

Mr. Crosswire: But this is a disaster. You see those people out there? They’re getting restless. I’m not sure I can hold them off.

AJ: You’re gonna have to find Nick. Has anyone checked the elevator?

Mr. Crosswire: Elevator! I’ll be right back.    He runs off.

#

Nick is trying to get the elevator doors open.

Muffy: I just cannot believe you’re going to let this opportunity pass you by.

Nick: The phone! We haven’t tried the phone yet.      Muffy steps in front of the emergency phone.

Muffy: The phone? It doesn’t work.    The phone rings. Muffy takes it.   Oh, hi, Daddy. Yes, Nick is here. Well, can it wait? I’m trying to close the deal. Hh, okay, hold on.    She presses the down button.   It doesn’t work! It didn’t start!  Help, we’re stuck!!  We’re really stuck!   She runs to the other side of the elevator. Nick picks up the phone.

Nick: Hello?  No, it’s not working.   Yes, just a minute.

Muffy sits on the ground.

Muffy: I am a Crosswire. I’m a fourth generation Crosswire. I am a Crosswire. I’m a fourth generation Crosswire.     She stands up and takes the phone that Nick is holding out to her.   Yes, Daddy. Well, why should I care about your problems?! I’m stuck in an elevator!!  You know, I have an idea. A perfect idea.                                   

# Backstreet Boys Concert

Mr. Crosswire stands on stage.

Mr. Crosswire: Attention, please. Thank you. Okay. I am Mr. Ed Crosswire, one of the sponsors of tonight’s concert. Crosswire Motors is open every day from nine till nine, Sundays and holidays.   The audience looks bored.    Yes, well, there’s been a slight delay with the Boys, but in the meantime, I’d like to announce that “U Stink” is in the audience and their manager assures me that they’ll be thrilled to perform for you.   The “U Stink” members look horrified.    So, now, please join me in welcoming “U Stink”.

Audience: “U Stink!” “U Stink!”

The “U Stink” members stand up. Binky and Francine are frozen to their seats.

Binky: I cannot go up there. I can’t play in front of ten thousand people.

Mrs. McGrady: I don’t think you have a choice.

Molly: Come on, Francine. We can’t do it without you.

Binky: I’m not going if Francine’s not going!

Fern: The truth is, we really need you. You have to go up with us. Please?   Francine smiles and stands up.

#

“U Stink” go on stage and take the instruments. Francine lifts her drumsticks, then freezes.

Molly: Go! Come on!

Mrs. McGrady: Francine?       Backstreet Boy Brian puts a hand on her shoulder.

Brian: I felt the same way when I first got on the big stage. So, don’t look. Just focus on the drumset, think about the song, and keep the music in your head at all times. You’ll be fine.   Francine nods and starts playing.

Fern: (sings nervously:)  “We see the pretty boys. We see the barbie girls. / Climbing their way up the charts.        The audience murmurs.  /   Wee see the videos / where all the fashion plates / lip-sync their way to your hearts. /  Well, no offense to them / and no offense to you. / Don’t take it personally.”   Kevin suddenly stands on stage.

Fern+Kevin: “But when it comes to rock / and when it comes to roll, / don’t need to sell it ‘cause it’s got to be free free free.”     Brian, AJ and Howie come on stage.

Fern+Backstreet Boys: “Don't want nothing but the music! / Don't need the shiny limousine! / Don't want nothing but the music! / Love it or leave it, / the music is all I need.   (Music is all I need.)”    

Brian: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, once upon a time / turned on my radio / when I was feeling so down (feeling so down).”

Howie: “And all at once I heard / the future calling out. / My heart filled up with the sound (with the sound).”

Kevin: Might play a stadium / or audience of one / but one thing I know is true (one thing I know is true)   Nick comes on stage.

AJ: “No matter who you are, / the music is the star”

Nick: “And we're just here to let the music shine through, shine through!”

U Stink+Backstreet Boys: “Don't want nothing but the music! / Don't need no People magazine (People magazine). / Don't want nothing but the music! / I’m pledging allegiance, / the music is all I need. /   Don't want nothing but the music! / Don't need some hip and trendy scene (hip and trendy scene). / Don't want nothing but the music! / I’m pledging allegiance, / the music is all I need. /   Nothing but the music. / Nothing but the music. / Nothing but the music.”    The audience and the Backstreet Boys applaud as “U Stink” take a bow. Muffy and Mr. Crosswire stand in the wings.

Muffy: I told you, Daddy. Am I a business genius, or what?                                                                                                           

#                                                                                                           

“U Stink” walk off stage.

Francine: Wow, they really are good.

Binky: Yeah! Like when AJ did that thing. “No matter who you are, the music is the star”.  He dances.

Mrs. McGrady: They sure saved our behinds.

Fern: Well, they weren’t the only ones.    She looks at Francine.

Francine: I have to admit, it felt pretty good to be on that stage and have everybody screaming and clapping.

Muffy: This is just the beginning. Tonight Elwood City, tomorrow the world!

Binky: Are you kidding? I don’t want to do it anymore. I don’t mind playing for the PTA, but there’s too many people out there.

Molly: Now that you mention it, I gotta quit too. I got this blister on my finger and it’s just killing me.

Mrs. McGrady: Me too, I’m afraid. I’ve missed a month’s worth of bingo and Thora’s getting pretty peeved at me.

Fern: Didn’t you see what happened out there? Ten thousand people loved us.

Francine: Fern’s right. We can actually make it, and you guys want to quit?

Molly: Yeah.

Binky: For a while.

Fern: We’ll just have to look for some new members.

Francine: There’s always George and Buster.

#

The Crosswire limousine stops in front of the concert hall. Mr. Crosswire, Muffy and Francine come out of the building.

Mr. Crosswire: Are you all right, Muffin?

Muffy: I don’t know what’s worse, losing “U Stink” or discovering that Nick is not a businessman. I mean, I offered him the deal of a lifetime and he wasn’t even interested. I just can’t love a boy like that.       She gets into the limo. The Backstreet Boys appear.

Francine: There’s something I gotta do.     She runs up to the Backstreet Boys.     Hey! I just wanted to say, I used to think you guys were sellouts, and I really do hate that commercial stuff and all, but you really are good musicians. I guess it’s okay to want to make it, you know, be famous and all, just so long as you don’t forget that music is more important, right? Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. Bye now.

Howie: Right.

Brian: Okay.

Nick: See ya.

Kevin: Who was that?

Muffy and Francine sit in the back of the limo. There is a knock on Muffy’s window. Howie stands outside. He hands Muffy one of her overhead films.

Howie: I think this is yours. Nick said you left it behind. Looks pretty professional. Hey, maybe you can be our manager someday.    Muffy grabs Francine’s arm.

Muffy: Did you hear what he said? Their Manager! There I was focusing on Nick, when all along it was Howie. Howie’s always looked like the smart one. He’s cute, too. And, hey, in, like, five years, we’ve got a “U Stink” reunion tour with the Backstreet Boys.    The Crosswire limo drives through the dark streets.

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