Tell It Like It Is
Written by Charles Hoffman
Carol submits a story to a local magazine about her life with the Bradys. I hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MR. DELAFIELD, editor of magazine
WALLY WITHERSPOON, staff reporter
NORA MAYNARD, staff reporter
(The episode begins with Mike waking up in the middle of the night. He realizes Carol is not in the bed with him. He starts to worry.)
(He checks the boys room, then the girls room. He then goes down the stairs.)
Mike: Carol, Carol.
(He notices the door open and light on in his den. He goes in to take a look. Carol is sitting in a chair and writing something.)
Carol (looking up): Mike, you frightened me.
Mike: I frightened you? Honey, I looked all over the place for you, except the doghouse.
Carol: Well, I’m sorry, honey. I just couldn’t sleep.
Mike: That’s kind of hard to do, sitting under a bright light writing something. What’s that?
Carol: What is what?
Mike: What you’re writing there?
Carol: Oh, it’s just, something.
Mike: Honey, it’s a quarter to two in the morning. What could you possibly be writing?
Carol: Well, I, uh, I just don’t feel like talking about it. Not now.
Mike: Well, if that’s the way you feel. Is that the way you feel?
Carol: Yes, that’s the way I feel. I, I don’t mean to sound mysterious, but…
Mike: Well, that’s okay. You gonna come to bed?
Carol: All right, darling. (She heads to the door but turns around) But I warn you, even in my sleep, I won’t talk.
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has Mike coming in the kitchen to see Alice.)
Mike: Good morning, Alice.
Alice: How come you’re up so early, Mr. Brady?
Mike: I woke up in the middle of the night and never really got back to sleep.
Alice: I thought I heard you prowling around downstairs around 2:00. You interrupted a pretty lovely dream. I was about to be crowned Miss America.
Mike: Well, sorry about that.
Alice: Oh well, easy come, easy go.
Mike: I was looking for Mr. Brady.
Alice: Mrs. Brady?
Mike: Yeah, I finally found her curled up in a chair in a den, writing something. Wouldn’t tell me what it was.
Alice: That’s funny.
Alice: I found Mrs. Brady curled up in the family room just the night before last night writing something, too.
Mike: Oh yeah, what?
Alice: I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me.
Mike: What do you suppose she’s up to?
Alice: Maybe she’s keeping a diary.
Mike: No, she wouldn’t keep that a secret. Not from me, anyway. (Pause) I don’t think. Alice, what do people write when the rest of the world’s asleep and they don’t want to be caught or discovered?
Alice: Something they don’t want anybody to know about.
Mike: Oh, Alice, you have a keen, analytical mind. (The girls come into the kitchen) Hi, girls.
Girls: Hi, Dad. Hi, Alice.
Alice: Hi. How are you doing?
Mike: Where’s Mom?
Marcia: She’s gonna skip breakfast.
Jan: To do her hair.
Cindy: She’s going on a date or something.
Mike: A what?
Marcia: An early lunch appointment she said.
Jan: She’s getting real fancy. She’s under the dryer now.
Mike: Good. That will keep her in one place while I talk to her.
(Carol is in her room under the hair dryer. Mike comes in to speak to her.)
Carol: Oh, Mike, I thought you left.
Mike: No, I haven’t. The girls told me you were going to skip breakfast.
Carol: Oh, thanks just the same. I thought I’d skip breakfast.
Mike: No, they told me you were gonna get gussied up for a date.
Carol: The date? Oh, I think it’s the 14th. Look honey, I’m in a terrible hurry. (Mike shuts the hair dryer off) I don’t have much time and… (she realizes the hair dryer is off) Oh, sorry.
Mike: I understand you have an appointment in town. (She gestures it’s true) With Ellie?
Carol: It’s a secret. (Pause) It’s all part of the same secret.
Mike: And I suppose you still don’t wanna talk about it.
Carol: No, I’d rather not talk about it. (She goes to turn the hair dryer on again) So if you don’t mind, honey.
Mike (raising his voice): I do mind. Listen, I hardly got any sleep last night. I’m gonna be burning up with curiosity all day.
Carol: Oh, thanks honey. I hope you have a nice day too, bye.
(The next scene has Carol in a downtown restaurant with a gentlemen named Mr. Delafield.)
Delafield (ordering from the menu): Eggs benedict and iced tea for both of us, please.
Carol: Do you think it’s silly of me to try this, Mr. Delafield? I mean, after all, I am a rank amateur. I mean I’ve never written anything before except letters.
Delafield: Well, until you put it down on paper, Mrs. Brady, you’ll never really know.
(Mike comes by.)
Carol: Mike, what are you doing here?
Mike: I happen to be lunching over there with a client.
Carol: Oh, Mike, you remember Mr. Delafield. (to Mr. Delafield) This is my husband, Mike Brady.
Delafield (shaking Mike’s hand): Of course, we met a week or so ago at a party given by the Campbells.
Mike: We did?
Delafield: Yes, casually. Why don’t you join us.
Mike (sitting down): Thank you.
Delafield: I’m the editor of Tomorrow’s Woman magazine.
Mike: Oh, yes. I’m sorry, I didn’t remember.
Delafield: That’s perfectly all right. I spent most of the evening with Mrs. Brady. Well, you must be very proud of her.
Mike: Hmm? Oh, proud, yes, yes, of course I am.
Delafield: This big jump she’s taking into the world of journalism. You know, we feel that a magazine such as ours is an ideal market for the story that Mrs. Brady is writing about your family.
(Mike looks astonishingly at Carol.)
(Carol nods meekly as Mr. Delafield looks at Mike. He is surprised that he know nothing about this.)
(Back at home, Carol is in the family room talking to the girls about the story.)
Jan: For the Tomorrow’s Woman magazine?
Cindy: About us?
Carol: That’s right, kids.
Jan: That’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever heard.
Marcia: Everyone reads Tomorrow’s Woman.
Cindy: Even me.
(Carol laughs. Marcia tells the boys about the story.)
Bobby: I think it’s neat.
Peter: Even if it’s only a woman’s magazine.
Marcia: Tomorrow’s Woman happens to be a very fine magazine.
Greg: Yeah, besides, what other magazine wouldn’t want a story about a woman with three girls marrying a man with three boys.
Peter: Not popular mechanics.
Marcia: Anyway, it’s exciting, isn’t it?
Bobby: Yeah, we’ve never been a story before.
(Next, Mike gives Carol access to his den, where she can finish writing the story.)
Mike: I’m sure you’ll be comfortable here, honey.
Carol: But this has always been your den, dear.
Mike: Listen, I am the proudest husband in town, and you can have this whole den to yourself until you finish that article. (She sets up a desk and chair for her) Now, try the chair.
Carol: For what?
Mike: For sitting purposes. See, if you, it and that typewriter are in full accord here.
Carol (sitting down): Okay, well, it seems just fine. My goodness, I can’t think of anything else I need.
Mike: Well, two things. First, privacy, which you’ll have as soon as I leave here. And second, the first piece of paper to write on. (He sets it in the typewriter) There. (Carol looks uneasy) What’s the matter?
Carol: It sure looks blank.
(Later, Carol is busy typing as the boys are emptying the garbage with paper she already used. She gets upset to see them reading.)
Carol: You boys are supposed to empty the wastebaskets, not read what’s in them.
Peter: We’re just average, curious kids.
Carol: No one is going to read this article until I’m finished.
Greg: Okay, but we’re running out of places to dump these.
Bobby: Maybe you should scrunch them up tighter.
Carol: Go on.
(They leave to empty the garbage and run into Mike.)
Mike: Look out, look out, clear the road. (to Carol) Hi, honey.
Mike: How’s it going?
Carol: Well, just great, for the paper drive.
Mike (reading): Never forget the first time.
(He leans down to read what he has on.)
Carol: Uh, uh, uh, uh. Not until it’s finished. You know, Mike, everybody’s been so great through all this, especially the kids. They’ve been absolute angels.
Mike: Yeah, I think they’ve been practicing to be famous angels.
(Meanwhile, the girls are in their room, playing tea party. Cindy pours tea for Marcia.)
Marcia: Thank you, love. (to the camera and mocking a British accent) I’m Marcia Brady, the oldest of the three Brady daughters. If you read Mother’s article carefully, you must know I begin on page three.
Jan: How does it feel to have a mother as talented and successful as ours? Well, it feels lovely, my dear, just lovely.
Cindy: In the article, I’m called Cindy. But my real name is Cynthia. It’s so nice to have met you, darling.
(They all giggle. Next, Greg is getting dressed in the boys’ room and looking in the mirror.)
Peter: A necktie?
Greg: Sure, Pete. When you’re famous, you can’t look like a slob.
Bobby: Does that mean we have to wear clean socks, too?
Greg (adjusting his tie): There, now, how do I look?
Peter: Like a slob with a tie.
(Carol is in the den typing away and Alice comes in to dust.)
Carol (frustrated): Alice, this is the third time you dusted this desk.
Alice: Say no more, Mrs. Brady, I was just wondering if I was in the article.
Carol: Well, of course you are, Alice. You’re one of the family. As a matter of fact, you’re here at a very special time.
Alice: I am?
Carol: Yeah, watch. Just two more words. (She types) The End.
Carol (taking the paper from the typewriter): Well, Tomorrow’s Woman, here you come.
Alice: Congratulations, Mrs. Brady. What’s the article gonna be called?
Carol: Well, I haven’t decided yet. I have to discuss that with Mr. Delafield. As a matter of fact, I’m taking this down there right now. He promised me an answer within a week.
(A week later, Carol hasn’t heard back yet. She complains to Mike in the living room.)
Carol: Mike, Mr. Delafield said a week and it’s been a week. Don’t you think I ought to call him?
Carol: No, honey, in business, a week means, oh, ten days or two weeks. Don’t worry he’ll call.
Carol: Yes, but I gave my number to his secretary and maybe she lost it.
Mike: Oh honey, relax.
(The doorbell rings.)
Carol (whispering): Mike, do you think that’s him?
Mike: Oh, Carol.
Carol: Or maybe it’s a special delivery messenger with a letter of acceptance. Or it could be a check or, or maybe it’s…
Mike: I know a great way to find out. Open the door.
Carol: Oh no, no Mike, I couldn’t. I mean, I’d just go to pieces.
(The doorbell rings again and Mike gets up.)
Carol (sitting down): I won’t even look, or listen. Oh, it’s probably a salesman anyway.
(Mike comes back with an envelope.)
Mike: Hey, honey, you were right. Special delivery, Tomorrow’s Woman.
Carol: Oh my goodness, it’s awfully big, isn’t it, for a letter or, for a check?
Mike: Maybe it’s a big check.
(Carol opens the envelope and sees what it is.)
Carol (disappointed): It’s my story, they sent it back.
Mike: Well, sometimes they ask for changes.
Carol: Well, there’s a letter with it, too. (she reads it) Dear Mrs. Brady, you have certainly accomplished a Herculean task. (to Mike) I guess it was pretty big. (she continues to read) And I thank you for letting me read your manuscript. (to Mike) Isn’t that nice. He thanked me. (reading the letter) But as I pointed out at the first meeting, it was strictly a speculative venture. (to Mike) That’s right, he did, I remember. (back to the letter) And unfortunately, I feel the story doesn’t fit our needs at the present time. So I’m here with returning it with etc., etc., etc. (She get upset) Mike, I’ve been rejected, flatly rejected.
Mike (hugging her): Oh, honey, only by Tomorrow’s woman, not by tonight’s husband.
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has Mike lunching with Mr. Delafield. They are discussing the rejection.)
Delafield: The explanation is really quite simple, Mr. Brady. The story your wife wrote tells it like it is. That’s all.
Mike: Well, what’s wrong with that? You can’t mix a second marriage, six kids, a housekeeper and a dog and come up with Romeo and Juliet.
Delafield (laughing): I realize that. But Tomorrow’s Woman magazine likes to accentuate the positive, pleasant side of things.
Mike: You mean, not tell it like it is.
Delafield: Mr. Brady, today’s world is grim enough. Tomorrow’s Woman, well, we’re looking for, happy angles in life stories. Not exactly rose colored glasses, but.
Mike: Yeah, I see, I see. Well, what if we let Mrs. Brady make another try. Accentuating the positive, as you say.
Delafield: I’d be more than happy to read any revised version she’d care to submit.
(Later on, Mike tells Carol about his discussion with Mr. Delafield.)
Carol: But Mike, you couldn’t, you didn’t.
Mike: Yeah, I could, and I did.
Carol: After the way I was rejected, knowing how I’d feel?
Mike: Honey, you weren’t treated any differently than any other writer who received a rejection slip, and the way you feel is sorry for yourself, that’s all.
Caro (angry): Sorry for myself?
Mike: Listen, Delafield said that you placed too much emphasis on the problems in our lives instead of the lighter, happier times we had. If you rewrite it, he said he’ll be more than pleased to read it.
Carol: Oh, no, Mike Brady. I’ve had it. Filled wastebaskets, rejection slips, blank pages. I’m not going near that typewriter again.
(The next scene has Carol again at the typewriter. We show her typing in a few scenes, including one with Alice in the room.)
Carol: The end. Again.
Alice: That must be a big relief.
Carol: Oh it is, Alice. Only this time, Mr. Delafield isn’t getting first look at it. I want several of my most severe critics to read it first.
(Next, Carol is in the family room with Mike, Alice, Greg and Marcia. She is seeking their opinions on her story.)
Carol: Well, all right. You all had a chance to read it. What do you think? And, don’t mince words.
(The camera shows Mike, then to Greg, Marcia and Alice.)
Carol: Come on, let me have it, the truth. (She looks at Alice) Alice.
Alice: Well, I really had something else on my mind when I read it, Mrs. Brady. I was expecting Sam.
Carol (sternly): Alice, are you trying to tell me that my story wasn’t interesting enough to hold your attention?
Alice: Oh, I didn’t say that. I didn’t say that at all (to Marcia) Did I?
Carol: Greg, what was your reaction? And no holds barred now.
Greg: The typing was great, Mom.
Carol: The typing?
Greg: I’m big on westerns and whodunits. I don’t know much about stories like yours. Nobody got shot or killed or anything.
Marcia: Well, it’s all too sweet and goody-goody. We’re always helping each other and happy and smiling. What about times like when the washing machine overflowed and we all had a big fight?
Carol: Well, I had to change that. Magazine policy. Was that your only reaction?
Marcia: No. I guess you did a pretty good job, considering what you had to work with, us.
Mike: Honey, a husband can’t testify against his wife. Well, you gave Delafield what he asked for. (He stands up) I’m going to take it down there myself.
(The next day, Carol comes in the kitchen after she finishes cleaning out the fireplace.)
Alice (laughing): Excuse me, Mrs. Brady, but what are you made up for, Halloween?
Carol: No, I just thought I’d clean out the fireplace. Help me take my mind off of, well, you know.
Alice: Well, you only sent the story to the magazine yesterday. You couldn’t expect to hear yet.
Carol: I don’t expect to hear, period. (The phone rings and she answers) Hello. Yes, this is Mrs. Brady speaking. Who’s this? (surprised) Mr. Delafield?
Delafield (from the other line): I just put your manuscript down, Mrs. Brady. I could hardly wait to call you.
Carol (flustered): Oh, that was very nice of you, Mr. Delafield.
Delafield: Your rewrites are exactly what we want.
Alice: What did he say? Is it good? We’d like to schedule for publication next month. And of course, you should be introduced to our promotion department.
Carol: At once?
Delafield: Oh, as soon as possible. And, would a small tea at your house be convenient? We’d like to have our photographer take some candid pictures of your family at home, and meet a few of the local critics informally.
Alice: The suspense is killing me.
Carol: I think the suspense, yes, I think that can be arranged, Mr. Delafield.
Delafield: Splendid. Should we say, uh, Friday?
Carol: Oh, Friday’s fine.
Delafield: Excellent. Let’s say, 3 or 4:00?
Carol: Oh, it doesn’t matter to me, 3 or 4, 4 or 3.
Alice: 3 or 4, 4 or 3 what?
(Carol shushes her.)
Delafield: All right, let’s make it 3.
Carol: Uh, uh, uh, that’ll be just fine, Mr. Delafield. And thank you, yeah, thank you.
Delafield: Wonderful. Good-bye, Mrs. Brady.
(They hang up.)
Alice: Well, what did he say?
Carol: Let’s see, finger sandwiches, pastries, tea and coffee for adults, and maybe a bowl of punch for the kids. (Alice lets out a frustrated whine) Oh, I’m sorry, Alice. Mr. Delafield liked my story. He’s gonna buy it.
Alice: Oh, Mrs. Brady! Congratulations.
(She hugs her.)
Carol: And we’re going to start with a tea on Friday at 4 o’clock.
(That Friday, Carol is unprepared as Mr. Delafield and the crew arrive.)
Carol (answering the door): Mr. Delafield.
Delafield: We did say 3 o’clock, Mr. Brady.
Carol: No, I mean, uh, yes. Yes indeed, we said 3 o’clock, of course. I guess. Come in.
Delafield: Thank you. (He and the crew enter) This is Danny Engelbart, one of our very best photographers. And my editorial assistant, Daisy Lewis. And Mr. Jim Raymond, head of our promotional department. And Wally Witherspoon.
Witherspoon: Hope you read, wake up with Witherspoon in your morning paper, Mrs. Brady.
Carol: Oh, we never miss it.
Delafield: And Nora Maynard, who I trust will have a few nice things to say about the Brady family in her syndicated literary column.
(The photographer takes a picture of Carol.)
Nora: So this is Mrs. Brady.
Carol: Well, uh, would you all excuse me while I change? I was really expecting you at 4. Why don’t you just make yourselves at home.
(The girls come in arguing with each other.)
Jan: Well, that’s what you did!
Marcia: Well, I don’t care what you say, I didn’t do it!
Jan: Just because you’re older than I am, Marcia Brady, doesn’t mean you have to chop my school friends!
Marcia: You call those goons friends?
(Cindy lets out a hiccup.)
Cindy: I’ve got the hiccups.
Carol: Girls, we have guests. (to the crew) These are my daughters, Marcia, Jan and Cindy.
Nora: These are the adorable little moppets you wrote about, Mrs. Brady?
Carol: These are the three.
Witherspoon: There are three boys in the family too, aren’t there?
Jan: They’re right behind us. (teasingly) Bobby tore his good pants.
(Cindy has another hiccup.)
Bobby: I got caught on that same old fence.
(Cindy hiccups again and Carol notices Peter has a black eye.)
Carol (upset): Peter, your eye!
Peter: I got in another fight with Buddy Hinton.
Greg (scratching himself): Mom, I talked to the school nurse. She said I had poison oak.
(The other kids scream and run up the stairs. Greg goes upstairs and leaving Carol feeling bewildered.)
Carol (to the crew): And those, uh, were my boys.
Nora: Not quite the darling little tykes I expected.
(The photographer takes another picture of Carol, much to her horror.)
Carol: Well, uh, why don’t you all sit down. It’ll only take me a minute to change. I bet you’d love something to eat. (calling) Alice, would you bring those sandwiches please?
Alice (bringing out a tray): Yes ma’am. (she suddenly realizes) Oops, I forgot the mayonnaise.
(Mike comes in with flowers.)
Mike: Hi honey, I’m home.
(Alice accidentally bumps into him and the sandwiches get wet and soggy. Mike also drops the flowers.)
Alice: I’ll snap those, Mr. Brady.
(She takes the sandwiches back to the kitchen.)
Mike: Hello, everybody.
Witherspoon: This must be Mr. Brady.
Mike: Yeah, head of the family and chief flower dropper. How do you do?
Carol: Mike, this is, uh, Nora Maynard and uh, Wally Silverspoon.
Witherspoon (shaking Mike’s hand): Witherspoon.
Delafield: Uh, Mr. Brady, these are members of my staff.
Mike: How do you do?
Nora: Mr. Delafield, I’m afraid the family in Mrs. Brady’s story bears little resemblance to this one.
Witherspoon: Perhaps a ghostwriter wrote your story.
Mike: No no, she not only wrote it, she rewrote it.
Nora: Well, it certainly wasn’t about this delightfully normal family and its problems.
Witherspoon: I’m afraid the family you wrote about exists only in fairytales.
Nora: Take the advice of an experienced reviewer, Mrs. Brady. The truth isn’t only stranger than fiction, but far more interesting to the average reader.
Witherspoon: Right, tell it like it is, Mrs. Brady, tell it like it is. Now Nora, let’s see if some of the sandwiches survived the crash. Come on, fellows.
(The crew heads out to the kitchen.)
Carol: Well, I suppose they wouldn’t give my story a very good review, Mr. Delafield.
Delafield: No, no, they wouldn’t.
Carol: And I guess you wouldn’t want to publish it now.
Delafield: Oh no, not under these conditions.
Mike: Well, honey, even famous writers have had stories rejected, you know.
Carol: Yes, but I had the same story rejected twice.
Delafield: Oh, correction, just once. I’m going to publish your first version.
Carol: But you said…
Delafield: Mrs. Brady, I never listen to what I say. I listen to what they say.
(He goes into the kitchen to join the others.)
Carol: Oh, Mike, I can hardly wait to get in there to my typewriter.
Mike: You can’t wait to write another story.
Carol; No, I can’t wait to break it so I’ll never have to go through this again.
(The scene fades.)
(The final scene has Alice typing in the family room. The boys come into see her.)
Greg: You want us to empty your wastebaskets, Alice?
Bobby: So we can read what’s on the scrunched up paper?
Alice: That scrunched up paper’s important. That may be the best part. Now get. You’re disturbing a very busy writer at work.
Peter: When are you gonna stop writing your story and start cooking us dinner?
(He rubs his stomach and is still sporting a black eye.)
Alice: Your mother’s doing that for me today so I can finish this.
(Carol comes in with a tray for Alice.)
Carol: Well, Alice, your dinner’s ready.
Alice: Thank you.
Carol: Oh boys, ours is on the table too. Would you go tell your father and the girls?
Carol (to Alice): How’s it going?
Alice: Fine, I’m glad you inspired me.
Carol: Good. Oh, Alice, could you do me a favor?
Alice: Sure, what is it?
Carol: Can I have your autograph?
Alice: Autograph? Certainly., Mrs. Brady.
(She writes on a piece of paper and hands it to her.)
Carol (reading and laughing): Ernest Hemingway?
Alice: Well, I thought I might start at the top.