Her Sister’s Shadow
Written by Al Schwartz and Ray Singer
Jan gets jealous of Marcia’s trophies and overachievements so she tries to find something else to succeed at. I hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MRS. WATSON, Jan’s teacher
KATIE, Jan’s friend
(The episode begins in Jan’s classroom, with her and her classmates handing in an essay to their teacher, Mrs. Watson.)
Jan: Here’s my essay, Mrs. Watson.
Mrs. Watson: Thank you. Oh, what a splendid title, Jan. What America means to me.
Jan: I hope the judges like it.
Mrs. Watson: I hope so, too. Incidentally, I’m very pleased with the way your work has been improving, Jan.
Jan: Thank you.
Mrs. Watson: Of course, I always expect great things from a Brady. Your sister Marcia was one of the best students I ever had.
Jan: I know, you told me.
Mrs. Watson: And I’m sure that if you try hard enough, you can do as well as your sister.
Jan: Thank you, I’ll see you tomorrow.
(She starts to leave and then Marcia comes in.)
Marcia: Hi, Jan.
Jan: Hi, Marcia.
Marcia: Hello Mrs. Watson.
Mrs. Watson: Oh, Marcia, we were just talking about you.
(She walks out the door.)
Marcia: Hey, wait a minute. I stopped by to walk home with you.
Jan: I think I can do that all by myself.
Marcia (to herself): Gee, I wonder what’s bugging her.
(Back at the house, Jan goes upstairs to her room, and, in a fit of jealousy, takes all of Marcia’s awards and trophies and puts them in the closet. The scene fades out.)
(The next scene has Marcia coming home. She notices all her awards missing.)
Marcia: Mother! Mom!
(She rushes into Carol’s room.)
Carol: Hi, honey.
Marcia: Mom, have you seen my awards? They’re not on my shelf.
Carol: No, I haven’t.
Marcia: Well, they were there when I left for school this morning.
Carol: Well, maybe Alice took them down to dust them.
(She runs down the stairs to Alice, who is cleaning out the stove.)
Alice: Oh, yeah?
Marcia: Did you take my awards down to dust?
Alice: No, I didn’t, Marcia. They were in their usual place when I cleaned this morning.
Marcia: Well, they’re not there now.
Alice: You’ll find them, sweetie.
Marcia: My whole lifetime of achievements were on that shelf. All my years of hard work. All my awards. Gone, gone, gone.
Alice: And you never got a dramatic award?
Marcia: Alice, it isn’t funny.
Alice: Well, they’ve got to be around somewhere, honey. What about the boys? Maybe they’re pulling one of their jokes.
Marcia (bitterly): The boys. They sure do have a dumb sense of humor.
(Outside, the boys are playing basketball.)
Greg (to Peter): You missed again. (He grabs the ball) Watch the master show you how to do it.
(He takes a shot but misses also.)
Peter: I can do that without being a master.
(Bobby grabs the ball.)
Bobby: Watch me you guys. (He takes a shot and makes a dunk) Any questions?
(Peter gets a dunk after standing too close to the basket.)
Marcia: All right, you guys! Which one of you took them?
Peter: Took what?
Marcia: You know what!
Greg: Marcia, we didn’t take anything. And we’re trying to play ball.
Bobby: They’re just trying, I know how.
(Greg takes a shot and misses. Marcia grabs the ball.)
Peter: Hey, give me it!
Marcia: Nobody gets the ball until I get a straight answer.
(Mike comes driving in and sees the arguing. He parks and then goes to intervene.)
Mike: Hey, what’s all the yelling about, huh?
Bobby: She stole our ball.
Marcia: I’m just trying to find out what they did with my school awards. They took them from my room.
Greg: We did not! At least I didn’t.
Peter: Me neither. I wouldn’t touch them.
Bobby: I can’t even reach them.
Mike (disbelieving): Fellas, let’s stop kidding around, huh.
Greg: Honest Dad, I didn’t lay a hand on them.
Peter: Me neither.
Bobby: I’m too short.
Marcia: Well somebody took them. Mom hasn’t seen them and neither has Alice.
Mike: All right, honey, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll find them.
(He takes the ball and successfully takes a shot. He and Marcia go inside and see Carol.)
Carol: Marcia, were the boys responsible for the missing awards?
Marcia: Well, they said they weren’t.
(Cindy comes in with the awards.)
Cindy: Marcia, if you’re through with these, can I have them?
Marcia (pleased): Where did you find my awards, Cindy?
Cindy: In the closet in our room.
Marcia: The closet?
Carol: What on earth were they doing there?
Cindy: Hey, I could scratch your name off, Marcia, and put mine on it.
Marcia: Sorry, Cindy.
Cindy (looking one award over): Cindy Brady, class president. Hey, that would be really neat.
Marcia: I wonder how they got in the closet. (Mike and Carol shrug in ignorance) Thanks for finding them, Cindy.
Cindy: You’re welcome.
(She runs out of the family room. Marcia takes her awards and puts them back where she had them.)
Carol: I wonder who could’ve done that, Mike.
Mike: I don’t know, honey. Everybody’s denied it, I guess except one person, Jan.
Carol: But why would Jan do it?
Mike: That’s a good question.
(We next see Marcia in her room cleaning off the awards and Jan comes in.)
Marcia: Jan, did you put those awards of mine in the closet?
Jan: What if I did?
Marcia: Well, why would you do a thing like that?
Jan (petulantly): Because I felt like it, that’s why.
Marcia: What kind of dumb reason is that? I want to know why you did it.
Jan: It’s none of your business.
(She leaves the room.)
Marcia (angry): Jan, wait a minute!
Jan: I don’t care to discuss it!
Marcia: Come back here!
(Mike and Carol overhear the argument from the den. They come outside and see Jan coming down the stairs, still arguing with Marcia.)
Jan: I don’t have to tell you anything! (She comes down the stairs and sees Carol) Oh, hi!
Carol: What’s all the yelling up there? What’s wrong?
Jan: Oh, nothing. Nothing at all.
Carol: Uh-huh. That’s the kind of nothing that bothers me the most.
(They go into the den to discuss the matter with Mike.)
Jan: I didn’t hurt the awards. Marcia always makes such a big deal out of everything.
Mike: Jan, if those had been your awards, and Marcia had dumped them somewhere, wouldn’t you be upset, too?
Jan: I guess. But every time Marcia turns around, they hand her a blue ribbon or something.
Carol: Oh now, Jan, you know that isn’t so. Marcia worked very hard for those things.
Jan: Well, all I hear all day long at school is how great Marcia is at this, or how wonderful Marcia did that. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!
Carol: Now, sweetheart.
Jan: All those awards staring me in the face was too much. I’m tired of being in Marcia’s shadow all the time.
Carol: Now, Jan, you’re not in anybody’s shadow. Well, Marcia’s three years older than you. She should have more to show for herself.
Jan: Maybe, but everything comes so easy for her.
Mike: Oh Jan, come on. You have to be realistic all the time. Nobody, nobody has smooth sailing all the time.
Carol; Well, that’s right. Marcia has her disappointments, too. She doesn’t always win.
(Marcia comes in.)
Marcia (excited): You’ll never guess what! I just got a call from the school! I’ve been made editor of the school newspaper!
(Mike, Carol and Jan look like they don’t know how to respond.)
Mike: That’s fine, honey.
Carol: That’s great, Marcia.
Marcia: I’ve got to call Jennifer. She’ll just flip!
(She leaves the den.)
Jan: See what I mean? She wants to be editor, boom, she’s editor.
Carol: Jan, you’re really not being fair. You know that Marcia’s been working on that for months. Look, honey, if you really feel you’re in your sister’s shadow, do something about it. Get out and develop your own talent.
Mike: That’s right, Jan. Some of us are good at one thing and some of us are good at another.
Carol: It’s like your father and I always say, find out what you do best, and do your best with it.
Jan: Maybe you’re right, but what can I do best?
Mike: Well, if you keep your eyes open, I’ll bet you something will present itself.
(The next day, Jan and her friend Katie notice they have pom-pom tryouts on the bulletin board.)
Jan: This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for, Katie.
Katie: Hey, I think I’ll try out for pom-pom girl, too.
Jan: I’m going to start practicing right after school. That’s one thing my sister’s never done, been a pom-pom girl.
Katie: Oh, you have one of those sisters, too?
Jan: Have I ever. But I’ll show her.
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has Alice in the kitchen cutting up newspaper for Jan to practice with. Greg and Bobby come in and notice what she’s doing.)
Greg: Alice, the news can’t be all that bad.
Alice: Well, you know what they say, no news is good news.
Bobby: What are you cutting up the papers for?
Alice: I’m not cutting up papers. I am creating.
Greg: Creating? Creating what?
Alice: Pom-poms. Jan wants to join a pom-pom squad at school. She wants to practice, so I am creating pom-poms.
Greg: Oh now, I get it. The strips of paper, you tie them to the spoons and pom-poms.
Alice: Oh, well, now that you’ve got the idea in your heads, how about a little help.
(He and Greg assist Alice in cutting up papers and making new pom-poms.)
Bobby: This is fun.
Greg: You know pom-pom girls are really important. last year our team was terrible, but the cheers were great.
Alice: Yeah, like what, for instance?
(Greg gets up and demonstrates a cheer.)
Greg: Hey, hey, what do you say, who’s gonna win the game today? I say, ho, ho, what do you know? the score we got is gonna grow. I say, hey, hey, ho, ho, come on team, let’s go, go, go!
Bobby: Hey, that’s great, go, go, go!
Alice: Well, I hate to say it fellows, but I think we did it better in my day.
Greg: Oh yeah, like what?
(Alice gets up and performs an old cheer from her high school days.)
Alice: Popcorn, peanuts, onion soup! We want a touchdown, boop boop a doop!
Greg: Boop boop a doop? I think that’s a little old fashioned, Alice.
Alice: Well, in my day, it was as right on as heavy man is today.
Bobby: Hey, I heard a great cheer at Peter’s basketball game the other day. But I need some help from you guys, okay?
(Now, it’s Bobby’s turn to recite a cheer.)
Bobby: Give me a B!
Alice and Greg: B!
Bobby: Give me another B!
Alice and Greg: B!
Bobby: Give me another B!
Alice and Greg: B!
Bobby: What does it spell? (Alice and Greg don’t answer) What does it spell?
Greg: What does it spell?
Greg: That was really a great one, Bobby.
Alice (finishing): Hey, here they are. They’re finished. How do they look?
Bobby: Why don’t you use them.
(She gets up to try them out but as soon as she does, they fall apart.)
(Next, Jan goes outside with Cindy to start practicing. Cindy sets down a radio with mood music. Cindy sets it down as Jan gets warmed up.)
Cindy: Can I turn it on?
Jan: No, I better limber up first.
Cindy: How can you practice being a pom-pom girl without any pom-poms?
Jan: Alice is making me some.
(She starts to practice kicking but accidentally kicked her shoe off. Carol catches it.)
Carol (coming outside): Well, I heard of flying saucers, but shoes?
Jan: I was just warming up, Mom.
(Alice comes out.)
Alice: Anyone for pom-poms?
Jan: They look like mops, Alice.
Alice: Well, when they’re down here, they’re mops. When they’re up here, they’re pom-poms.
Alice: It’s the best I could do in short notice.
(She hands them to Jan.)
Jan: Thanks, Alice.
Carol: Well, come on, honey, let’s see you do your stuff.
Jan: Okay, Cindy, now.
(Cindy turns on the radio and Jan starts to practice to the tune of the Washington Post March. Mike and Marcia notice her from inside.)
Mike: Well, she’s certainly working hard at it.
Marcia: I sure hope she makes it, Dad.
Marcia: Hey, maybe I could give Jan a few pointers and show her some steps I learned when I was trying out for pom-pom girl.
Mike: Marcia, now, I know you want to be helpful, but I think under the circumstances, you better not, hmmm?
Marcia: Yeah, I’m the last person she’d want help from. But I sure am rooting for her.
Mike: Well, I think she’d like to know that. Why don’t you tell her.
Marcia: I sure will.
(Jan finishes and the music stops.)
Carol: Oh, hey., that’s good.
Jan: Oh, thanks.
Carol: Hey, you’ve been working.
Jan: Yeah, but I still have to practice a whole lot.
Carol: Oh, that’s okay.
(Jan is later in her room and Marcia comes in to offer her support.)
Marcia: I was watching you rehearse before. I just want you to know I think you’re doing great.
Jan: You really do, Marcia?
Marcia: You might even be chosen to be the leader, Miss Pom-pom.
Jan: Wow, thanks.
Marcia: Well, I just wanted you to know how I felt. That’s all.
Jan: That means a lot to me,. Marcia.
(The next scene has Jan practicing some more.)
Jan (to Cindy): It’s really hard to do it by myself. There’s supposed to be three other girls.
(Peter and Bobby come over and teasingly pretend to dance in the background.)
Jan: What do you think you’re doing?
Peter: We’re just trying to help.
Bobby: That’s all.
Carol: Hey, that’s a great idea. Bobby, you get over there and Peter, you stand right there. Jan could use some help.
Alice: Oh, yes, you boys will make lovely pom-pom girls.
Peter: I’m not gonna be any pom-pom girl.
Bobby: I’m not even gonna be a pom-pom boy.
Jan (to Carol and Alice): I really could use some help.
Carol: Well, I’ll lend a leg. I once won a twist contest.
Alice: Oh, and I may have one good kick left.
(They get up and join Jan.)
Carol: Okay, now what do we do?
Jan: This is a different one. Okay, so we go right, left, right, kick. Left, right, left, kick.
Carol: Come on, Alice, get up there.
Alice: Woo. Oh, oh, oh, oh.
(She feels pain in her back.)
Carol: What’s the matter?
Alice: That’s my two way stretch. I think it just went three ways.
(She walks away in agony. the next day, tryouts are being held in Jan’s school. They show a girl trying out very energetically.)
Teacher: thank you, that was very nice. The last girl up is Jan Brady. Ready, Jan?
Jan: Yes, ma’am.
(Jan gets up to try out while Marcia looks on behind the stage.)
Teacher: Thank you, Jan.
(Jan sits down with the other girls while the teacher and the other judges tally up their scores.)
Teacher (standing up): You were all wonderful, girls. But as you know, we only need four pom-pom girls. And the ones we selected to represent the school this year are, Gloria Harper, Katie Rand, Judy Smith and Laura Richmond. Thank you, girls, that’s all for today.
(A disappointed Jan gets up and leaves while Marcia looks on unhappily. Back at home, Marcia tells the parents what happened.)
Marcia: I wanted to go over to try to cheer Jan up, but I thought I’d just make her feel more upset.
Mike: Jan wanted that so badly, too.
Carol: She worked so hard for it.
Marcia: If there was any way I thought I could make her feel better, I’d gladly give back all my awards.
Mike: Well, when she gets home, let’s not bring up that pom-pom thing. If she wants to talk about it, she will.
Marcia: I doubt it, she’s absolutely miserable.
(Jan comes in.)
Jan (excited): Hi, have I got terrific news!
Carol: You made the pom-pom team!
Jan: No, better! Remember my essay on Americanism? It won the contest! I finished the first in the whole school!
Carol: Oh, that’s wonderful!
Mike: That’s great!
Jan: After I bombed out at the pom-pom trials, Mrs. Watson was waiting to tell me. My essay won 98 out of a possible 100 points.
Mike (pleased): 98?
Jan: Yes! the highest anybody ever got. The closest was Nora Cooms with 95.
Carol: Oh, Jan, we’re so proud of you.
Jan: Monday morning at the assembly, in front of the whole student body, I’m going to be presented with a certificate in the Honor Society.
Marcia: Oh, I’ll make that the headline story in the school newspaper. (she mimics her voice to sound like a reporter) Tell me, Ms. Brady, how does it feel to be a celebrity?
Jan: No different darling, I’m so used to it, I’ve been one for almost an hour.
Marcia (to Carol): As the mother of a celebrity, Mrs. Brady, would you care to tell us anything about her childhood?
Carol: Oh, yes, I’d love to. Well, you know, she was always a genius. She learned to say Mommy and Daddy before she was six years old.
Marcia: One more question, please.
Jan: Sorry miss, I cannot go on any longer, it’s been a most exhausting day.
(She leaves and goes upstairs.)
Carol: Well, everything is back to normal.
(Upstairs, Jan is going over her essay.)
Jan: Finally, I did it. Something Marcia has never done in her whole life. (She kisses the folder her essay is in) 98 points. (She tallies up her score) Spelling 15, Grammar 14, Neatness 14, Originality of idea, 15, Composition 15, Presentation 10, Literary style 10. (She realizes a mistake) That only adds up to 93 (she checks again) it is only 93. (She gets shocked) I didn’t win, Nora Cooms did.
(Jan’s conscience starts to speak.)
Jan’s conscience: Jan, everybody thinks you won.
Jan: But I didn’t.
Jan’s conscience: Nobody but you and I know that. We’re not going to tell, are we?
Jan: How can I take an honor I haven’t earned?
Jan’s conscience: Listen, they owe it to you. You should have been a pom-pom girl, you were the best one there.
(Alice comes in.)
Alice: Ta-da-da-da-da-da! Congratulations, honor society woman of the year. (She hugs her) I’m going to bake you a cake the size of Mount Rushmore but much sweeter.
(The other kids come in. They all congratulate her and Greg picks her up and gives her a bear hug. They notice her folder with the essay.)
Greg: Hey, is this it?
Jan: Yes, that’s it.
(Greg tries to look at it but Jan stops him.)
Greg: I’m not going to steal it! I just want to see your terrific score.
Jan: But I don’t want you to smudge it or anything.
Cindy: 98, wow, I hope I grow up to be as smart as you.
Bobby: Yeah, you could use it.
(Cindy gives him a dirty look.)
Greg: Well, congratulations again, Jan.
(They all leave. Jan stays in there and ponders. She looks at Marcia’s awards again. Her conscience starts to speak up again.)
Jan’s conscience: You finally did something Marcia never did. you’re not going to throw that away, are you?
Jan: I guess everybody would be awfully disappointed.
Jan’s conscience: Your mother and father would be crushed. You can’t let them down. Besides, you have it coming to you.
(The next scene is back at Jan’s school. The honor assembly is ready to present Jan with her award.)
Principal: I’m happy to say that the PTA Bazaar raised 87 dollars for the student activity fund. The dramatic society’s annual play will be postponed one week. The lab schedule for science 9B will be posted on the bulletin board tomorrow. And any students wishing to volunteer for cleanup week kindly give their names to Mrs. Atterbury.
(Mike and Carol are standing backstage.)
Carol (to Mike): Proud?
Mike (jokingly): Nah.
(She nudges him.)
Principal: Now I’m going to turn over the microphone to Mrs. Watson who has a very important announcement to make regarding the honor society award. Mrs. Watson.
(The audience claps as the teacher goes to speak.)
Mrs. Watson: As you all know, this is the time of year when the students compete for a place in the honor society.
Jan (rushing up to her): Wait, Mrs. Watson.
(She whispers in her ear and shows her the mistake on her essay. Mrs. Watson hugs her and she goes off the stage.)
Mrs. Watson: The announcement I was about to make has to be changed. I just learned that an error was made in scoring the essay contest. (Mike, Carol and the audience are in shock) The winner of the Honor Society Award is not Jan Brady. it is Nora Cooms, with a score of 95. (Another shocked reaction from everyone) We will present Nora’s award at the assembly next week, so her parents can be present. I wish I had a special award for Jan Brady for calling this error to my attention. She has today set a standard of sportsmanship and honesty that truly gives meaning to the words honor society. I’m sure Jan’s parents are very proud of her. (Pause) Her behavior today should be an example to all of us.
(The audience claps. Jan is backstage talking to her parents.)
Jan: And I wanted to win at something so badly, I didn’t know what to do.
Carol: Well, Jan, sometimes when we lose, we win.
(She hugs her. Jan is in her room at home with Marcia.)
Marcia: You really created a sensation yesterday, Jan.
Marcia: Yeah. My room was still buzzing about it today.
Jan: Oh, thanks.
(Cindy came in the room unhappy.)
Jan: Hi. What’s the matter with you?
Cindy: You’re the matter with me.
Jan: What do you mean?
Cindy: They changed my room in school today. I got one of your old teachers.
Jan: So what?
Cindy: She heard about what you did. Now all I hear all day is what a great sister I have. Jan, Jan, Jan.
(Jan gives a meek but proud grin.)
Marcia: Look, Cindy, some of us are good at one thing, and some of us are good at another.
Jan: That’s right. So find out what you do best and do your best with it.
Cindy: It isn’t going to be easy.
Jan: Why not?
Cindy: I’m good at so many different things.
(Marcia and Jan laugh. The scene fades.)
(The final scene has Alice in the family room. Greg comes in.)
Alice: Hi, there.
Greg: Hey, you’re sure in a good mood.
Alice: Yes I am, and it’s all thanks to you.
Greg: Me? What did I do?
Alice: Well, you cut my housework in half.
Greg: How did I do that?
Alice: By teaching me all those cheers. Now, you know the way I usually dust? You know, like this? (She shows him) Pretty dull work, right?
Greg: I guess so.
Alice: Well, now, thanks to you, rickety rack, rickety rust, give it a flick and away goes the dust.
(She continues to dust the fast way and then starts dusting Greg playfully.)