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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (2/20/09) 10:32am - ... wherein Peter writes a sketch for Sketch War.

Here's what I ended up posting for this week's Sketch War

First, let me copy/paste the description of this week's topic from my first-draft post:

Huh -- this was a rather interesting Sketch War -- this time around, we took our cue off of this this chirp from Chicago Tribune TV columnist Mo Ryan:
Now I am daydreaming about a TV show with @brentspiner and @stephenfry. Who will make that happen?
She was referring to a twitter conversation between actors Brent Spiner and Stephen Fry where they had speculated about opportunities to work together.

And as it turns out, the Sketch Warriors have been perfectly happy to jump in and help, with the theme of "sketches that would star Brent Spiner and Stephen Fry".  We've already had a few Fry-and-Spiner entries this week -- quick comic bits that hint at larger, TV-show possibilities.
And now the sketch:


               Sketch War
               A Bit of Fry and Spiner Edition
               "Grosvenor Square"

               FADE IN:



               INT. CONSUL-GENERAL'S OFFICE - DAY

               The signs of moving -- half-empty boxes, a filing cabinet on
               a furniture dolly, a few paintings leaned against the walls --
               fill a spacious office.

               Even with all the clutter, the place looks expensive:  big
               wooden door, big wooden desk, heavy ugly curtains.

               BRENT WAGNER (50s, American, pricey suit) picks a Don Quixote
               figurine out of a moving box.

               He puts it on his desk next to his phone and a family
               snapshot, accidentally knocking a signed baseball off the
               desk and into the box-pile.

               As Brent fishes around for it --

                                   STEPHEN (O.S.)
                         "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the
                         world."

                                   BRENT
                         Yeah, Yeats knew a thing or two
                         about government work.

               Brent looks up to see --

               STEPHEN WHITCOMBE (50s, British, pricier suit) setting a coat
               and a red scarf on a pile of boxes.

                                   STEPHEN
                         Stephen Whitcombe.  The ministry's
                         liaison to the American consulate.

               Stephen holds out a hand, but Brent doesn't see it -- he's
               fishing around in the boxes for something.

               Stephen awkwardly retrieves his hand.

                                   STEPHEN
                         You are the consul-general, yes?

                                   BRENT
                         As of today.  Brent Wagner, at your
                         service.

               He fishes out a file, hands it to Stephen.

               Stephen flips through it, stops on a photo of LINDA HASSAN
               (30s, professional, Middle Eastern descent).

                                   STEPHEN
                         This would be the 'favor' you had
                         mentioned?

                                   BRENT
                         Linda Hassan.  U. S. national. 
                         Picked up near one of the Dungeness
                         plants in Kent --

               Stephen continues rifling through the file.

                                   STEPHEN
                         -- under the Terrorism Act, yes.

               Brent resumes looking for his baseball.

                                   BRENT
                         I need her out of police custody --

                                   STEPHEN
                         That's not possible --

                                   BRENT
                         -- quickly.

                                   STEPHEN
                         Mr. Wagner.  Your first day as a
                         chief diplomat is not an auspicious
                         time to 'cowboy up' and lay down
                         demands.  Now, your predecessor
                         understood discretion and --

                                   BRENT
                         Handler knew how to do two things: 
                         make money off of oil pipelines,
                         and donate two million dollars to a
                         presidential campaign without
                         getting thrown in jail.

                                   STEPHEN
                         The fact remains, she is a
                         suspected --

                                   BRENT
                         She's not a suspected anything!

                                   STEPHEN
                         With respect, Mr. Wagner, how can
                         you know that?

                                   BRENT
                         Because she's my chief of staff! 
                         Only I don't have a staff yet,
                         because Linda's in a cell
                         somewhere.

                                   STEPHEN
                         Ah.

                                   BRENT
                         We've background checked her out
                         the wazoo, Stephen, so unless what
                         you've got on her is scarier than
                         "snapshotting a nuke plant while
                         beige," I'd let this one slide.

                                   STEPHEN
                         This isn't racial profiling,
                         because racial profiling doesn't
                         work.  And we do this sort of thing
                         eminently well, Mr. Wagner, because
                         England has fought domestic
                         terrorism for longer than Americans
                         have sold processed cheese.

               Brent closes the door.

                                   BRENT
                         Check the end of the file.

               Stephen does so.

                                   BRENT
                         Mr. Bajaeen at The Guardian is
                         already putting together a piece
                         about Linda.

                                   STEPHEN
                         How speedy.

                                   BRENT
                         Human-interest, wronged by
                         injustice, whole nine yards.  I
                         give him all our intel on it, the
                         story'll have legs.

               Brent nearly trips over something.

                                   BRENT
                         Ha!

               He plucks his baseball off the floor.

                                   BRENT
                         You could have a scandal on your
                         hands.

                                   STEPHEN
                         You won't divulge anything, Mr.
                         Wagner --

                                   BRENT
                         I will do --

                                   STEPHEN
                         -- because the ministry has already
                         talked to your boss about the need
                         to rein in her rather demanding new
                         consul.

                                   BRENT
                             ("you're kidding")
                         My boss is the U. S. Secretary of
                         State.

               Stephen smiles.

                                   STEPHEN
                         I do hope you'll replace these
                         curtains.  Handler picked a color
                         so bilious it clashes with itself.

               He gathers up his coat.

                                   STEPHEN
                         And, Brent, "scandal" is a poor
                         threat.  For a British politician,
                         a scandal is a bit like --

               He retrieves his scarf.

                                   STEPHEN
                         Like a colorful scarf.  Perhaps it
                         could choke one to death -- but
                         instead it just lends a splash of
                         color to our rather dowdy lives.

               The phone starts ringing.

               A little red light on the phone starts blinking.

                                   STEPHEN
                         Ah.  That would be her.

                                   BRENT
                         "Her" as in the Secretary of --

               Stephen nods.

                                   STEPHEN
                         That's what the little red light
                         means.

               Stephen shakes Brent's hand.

                                   STEPHEN
                         I'll leave you to it.

               Stephen exits.

               The phone keeps ringing.

               Brent sighs, absently drops the baseball.

                                                              BLACKOUT.

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