My Fair Opponent
Written by Bernie Kahn
Marcia helps a friend who was nominated for senior banquet hostess. Then she has to run against her. I hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MOLLY WEBER, Marcia’s friend
SUZANNE, another friend
MR. WATKINS, Marcia’s principal
COL. DICK WINFIELD
(The episode begins with Marcia coming home in an angry mood. She kicks a basketball in her way and slams the back door shut. She sees Cindy writing have a nice day on the blackboard in the kitchen with a smiling face.)
Cindy: Hi, Marcia.
(She takes the piece of chalk from Cindy. Then she crosses out nice and turns the smile into a sad face. She sees Mike coming out of his den as she heads upstairs.)
Mike: Hi, honey. (she slaps the rail on the staircase as she walks up the stairs) Something wrong, huh, Marcia.
Marcia (seething): Ooh, there sure is! My senior class just played the dirtiest trick I ever heard of!
Mike: Oh yeah, what kind of trick.
Marcia: Well, the kids at school just (Pause) I’m so mad I can’t even talk about it!
(She storms to her room as the scene fades away.)
(Next, Marcia puts her books away and begins to sulk. Mike and Carol come in the room.)
Carol: Honey, I think you better tell us what this is all about.
Mike: What was the trick your senior class pulled?
Marcia: Well, (she sits down on her bed) this afternoon my class had nominations for the hostess for senior banquet night. They nominated two girls and one of them was Molly Weber.
Carol: And you think you deserved it?
Marcia: No, that’s not the point.
Mike: Well, then, what’s the matter?
Marcia: Molly’s the matter. Poor Molly, she’s really not that attractive, and she’s the shyest, the most (Pause) she’s completely wrong to be the banquet night hostess.
Carol: Then why did the kids nominate her?
Marcia: For a joke, a terrible joke. The other girl they nominated was Patty Hobart, the most popular girl in the class.
Mike: Well, does this girl Molly know it’s a joke?
Marcia: No, not yet. She was so thrilled to be nominated it went right over your head. And when the teacher’s selection committee interviews Patty and Molly for their choice, poor Molly, she’ll be sorry she was ever born.
Mike: Well, if you’re so upset about it, maybe you can think of a way to help her.
Carol: Right. You know, lots of people blow off steam about something they think is wrong, but very few people are willing to get involved and do something about it.
Marcia: I’m willing to get involved.
Mike: Then give it some thought, honey.
(They leave the room and Marcia begins to ponder. The next morning, Carol and Alice have the kids’ lunch bags ready.)
Carol: That’s it, Alice. 6 lunches.
Alice: And one corn beef sandwich left over.
Carol: Oh, don’t worry about it. We’ll recycle it tomorrow and use it for hash.
(Bobby, Cindy, Jan and Greg come out and take their lunch. They ask what it is and Carol tells them they’ll find out when they get to school.)
Alice: We need a crossing guard for the kitchen, Mrs. Brady.
(Marcia and Peter come out.)
Marcia: Mom, I’ve been thinking and thinking and I can’t think of a way to help Molly Weber.
Peter (grabbing his lunch): I know a way.
Marcia: What? Tell me.
Peter: Put a bag over her head. That’ll be a big help.
Carol: Peter, that’s not nice.
Marcia: I’m afraid that’s what all the kids think about Molly, Mom.
Carol: Well, honey, not everybody can be a raving beauty.
Alice: Right. Just ask my mirror.
Marcia: It’s not just her looks so much. It’s the way she talks and her shyness, and she’s so awkward. I just wish I could think of a way to make her more attractive to the Teachers Selection Committee.
Alice: Uh, that kind of magic only happens in the movies.
Marcia: Well, bye.
(She gets an idea and turns around.)
Marcia: The movies! (She runs back to Carol and Alice) Hey, wait a minute, do you remember My Fair Lady? (Carol nods) Well, remember how Professor Higgins took the plain cockney flowered girl and changed her into a beautiful cultured lady?
Alice (glumly): Yes, I saw that picture four times.
Marcia: Well, maybe I can do that in real life!
Carol: Hey, maybe you could. Listen, there’s an article in one of my magazines about improving yourself. Maybe that would help.
Marcia: I’ll get started on that right away. I’ll bring her home after school.
Carol; Honey, don’t hurt her feelings, okay.
Marcia: Okay. I’ll ease into it. Bye.
(That afternoon, Marcia comes home with her friend Molly. Molly is very drab and wears oversized glasses and a plain dress.)
Marcia: Come on, Molly.
(The guys are playing basketball when she introduces her to them.)
Marcia: Here’s Molly. (they get closer to them) Molly, I’d like you to meet my brothers. Greg and Bobby, and you know Peter.
Peter: Hi, Molly.
Marcia: We’re studying together.
Greg: That’s nice.
Marcia: Come on, Molly.
(They go inside.)
Peter: Didn’t I tell you she was a wipeout?
Greg: She’s not too bad looking.
Bobby: She isn’t too good-looking either.
(He grabs the ball and successfully takes a shot. Cindy and Jan see Marcia and Molly from inside the family room.)
Cindy (to Jan): Is that Molly Weber?
Jan: Yes, and remember, she’s very shy. So if you’re gonna say anything at all to her, say something nice.
Marcia: Oh, Molly, you know Jan.
Jan: Hi, Molly.
9Molly pushes her glasses up.)
Marcia: And this is my sister Cindy.
Cindy: Hello, Molly. so nice to meet you. We always like nice people to come visit us. That’s a very nice dress you’re wearing, and nice glasses too. You really look nice today, even though I never met you before.
(Jan gives an embarrassed look, as does Marcia. We next see Mike coming into the kitchen, where Carol is cooking dinner.)
Mike: Hey, honey, what smells so good? Pulled my nose right out of the den.
(He lifts the top off the pot Carol is cooking with.)
Carol: Ah, ah, ah, ah. That pot and that pot will just have to stew another hour.
(Marcia comes in the kitchen with Molly.)
Marcia: Hi, Mom, Hi, Dad. Molly, I’d like you to meet my parents.
Mike: Hi, Molly.
Carol: Hi, Molly.
(She pulls her glasses up and doesn’t even look at them.)
Marcia: We’re going to do some homework together.
Carol: Would you care for a snack before you start, Molly?
Molly: No thank you, ma’am.
Mike: Well, just make yourself at home.
Marcia: Come on, Molly.
(Molly walks by and accidentally knocks a pot of vegetables on the floor.)
Molly (scared): Oh, I’m so sorry!
Carol: Oh, honey, that’s okay.
(She reaches down to put them back in the pot.)
Molly: I mean, I really am sorry.
Marcia: But Molly, that can happen to anybody. Come on.
(They go up to Marcia’s room.)
Mike: That kid is afraid of her own shadow.
Carol: Yeah, I’m afraid Professor Marcia Higgins has her work cut out for her.
(Marcia and Molly are upstairs in her bedroom.)
Molly: I’m the clumsiest creature on Earth.
Marcia: I’ve done that millions of times.
Molly: I can’t imagine why the girls nominated me to be hostess at senior banquet.
Marcia (joyful): But they did, and I think that’s a terrific honor.
Molly: But I know I don’t have a chance to win.
Marcia: Now that’s the wrong attitude. You gotta be positive.
Molly: I am positive, positive I’m gonna lose. Sally Hobart is the most popular girl in the class.
Marcia: Well, I think you have a good chance, if you really care.
Molly: I do care. This is the biggest thing that ever happened in my life. But look at me.
(She puts her glasses up again.)
Marcia: Well, Molly, you can do lots of things to improve yourself, if you really try.
Molly: I could?
Marcia: Sure. For one thing, would you mind taking off your glasses?
(Molly takes them off and Marcia takes them.)
Marcia: You have beautiful eyes, but they’re hidden behind these glasses. You ever thought of wearing contact lenses?
Molly: Well, I’ve got some. But I figured what the use. It’s like trying to make a scarecrow in a beauty contest.
Marcia: Molly, there’s other things that you can do too that’ll really help.
Molly: You think so?
Marcia: Come on, by next Monday the kids at school are gonna see a brand new Molly.
Molly: I hope so, I sure will be glad to get rid of the old one.
(She bumps into the bed when they get up to leave the room. Next. they are in the family room with Marcia coaching Molly to be more graceful.)
Marcia: Hi, there.
Molly (quietly): Hi there, Marcia.
Marcia: Molly, you have to look at people when you talk to them? Once more, louder and smile. Be friendly.
Molly (louder): Hi there, Marcia.
Marcia: Well, that was better. Now, straighten your back. The key words are poise and dignity.
Molly: Poise and dignity.
Marcia: Right, so stand up straight and proud. (Molly stands a little straighter) That’s it, now chest out.
Molly: It is out.
Marcia: Okay. (She walks by) Hi there, Molly.
Molly (waving): Hi there, Marcia.
Marcia (smiling): Good.
(We next see Marcia give Molly lessons on how to walk straight, with a book on her head. Molly walks a few feet before the book falls off. Cut to the bedroom, where Marcia is helping Molly with her clothes, then in the bathroom doing Molly’s hair to a more desirable style. We next see Molly coming over with a brand new look. She looks beautiful and is wearing very nice clothes. The guys are out in the backyard working on a bicycle.)
Molly: Hi there.
(They don’t recognize her but finally they look up and are surprised to see the new, improved Molly.)
Molly: How are you doing?
Peter: Wow! You look great, nothing at all like you. I mean…
Molly: That’s okay. See ya.
(She goes inside.)
Peter: Did I say she was a wipeout?
Greg: You know, well, I just wiped her back in.
(Carol is putting dishes in the cupboard and Molly knocks.)
Carol: Who is it?
Molly: It’s me, Mrs. Brady, Molly.
Carol: Oh hi, honey, come on in.
(Molly opens the door and comes inside.)
Carol (pleased); Molly, you look lovely!
Molly: Thanks, I’m supposed to meet Marcia here.
Carol: Oh, I’m sorry, honey, she isn’t home yet.
Molly: May I help you?
Carol (laughing): Well, be careful, now.
Molly: Don’t worry, I’m giving up clumsy.
Carol: I just can’t get over the change in you, Molly.
Molly: Thank you. It’s sort of a trial run for me. I’m going to school tomorrow for the first time as the new me.
Carol: Well, I’m sure all the kids in school are in for a big surprise.
Molly: And it’s all due to Marcia.
Carol: You can wait upstairs in her room if you’d like. Jan and Cindy are up there.
Molly: Thank you. (She starts to leave the kitchen and sees Alice) Hi, Alice.
Alice: Hi. (She notices Molly) Molly? Molly!
Carol: Well, Alice, what do you think of the preview of the new Molly?
Alice: Preview? That’s opening night.
Molly: Thanks, Alice.
(She heads for the staircase as Mike is coming down.)
Mike: Hello. (He realizes it’s Molly) Molly?
Molly: Nice to see you again, Mr. Brady.
(She heads up the stairs)
Mike: Nice to see you too.
(Cut to the girls’ room, where Cindy is giving Jan’s hair a stroke.)
Molly (coming in the room): Hi.
Jan: Hi. Wow, Molly, you’re all put together.
Molly: Marcia really did it all.
Cindy: I wish she’d do that for me.
Jan: When you’re ready.
Cindy: I’m ready, I’m ready!
(Marcia comes in.)
Marcia: Hi, sorry I’m late. (to Marcia and Jan) You guys get out, Molly and I have some work to do.
(He gets up and she and Cindy leave. Cindy stops.)
Cindy: I’m really ready.
Molly: What’s there left to do?
Marcia: Your speech for the selection committee.
Molly: You’re gonna help me with it?
Marcia: Right now.
Molly: Marcia, I really don’t know how to thank you. But I’ll pay you back someway.
Marcia: You can pay me back by being selected as hostess.
(The next day, Marcia comes home in a depressed mood.)
Carol: Hi, honey.
Carol: Well (Pause) Come on and tell me, what happened at school today with Molly?
Marcia: Everybody thought Molly was a knockout.
Carol: Well you don’t seem very excited about it.
Marcia: Something else.
Marcia: Well, Patty Hobart, the girl running against Molly had to drop out. Her folks are going on a vacation and she won’t be here for banquet night.
Carol: Well that’s terrific, then Molly will be the hostess.
Marcia: It doesn’t work like that. Now, the number three girl, the one who was nominated as the alternate, has to move up and compete against Molly.
Carol: Who’s that.
Marcia (pointing to herself): Meet number 3.
(The scene fades away.)
(The next scene has Marcia and Carol discussing the matter in the living room. Marcia constantly interrupts Carol after she asks for her opinion.)
Marcia: what a dumb predicament. I go all out to help Molly win, and now I have to run against her. What am I gonna do, Mom?
Carol: Well, I…
Marcia: I guess there’s only one thing I can do, drop out. If I happen to beat Molly, it would just crush her.
Carol: Well then, why don’t you…
Marcia: On the other hand, I’d just love to be hostess. It’s a big event.
Carol: Well, in that case…
Marcia: But I couldn’t do that to Molly, it means so much to her to be hostess.
Carol: Oh, well…
Marcia: But it means a lot to me too, you know. It’s quite an honor.
Carol: Oh, but…
Marcia: But I’d be miserable if I did that to Molly. I’m gonna drop out. I’ll tell her at school tomorrow.
Carol (patting Marcia’s knee): You do that.
Marcia: I feel much better now. Thanks for all your help, Mom.
Carol: Oh, well, that’s what mothers are for.
(She reaches over and gives Marcia a hug. Marcia gets up.)
(Carol appears exhausted and confused. The next scene is at her school. Jan comes over to talk to her.)
Jan: Marcia, Marcia, you haven’t told Molly, have you? About your dropping out for hostess?
Marcia: No, I haven’t seen her yet?
Jan: Good, then I caught you in time.
Marcia: What do you mean?
Jan: The fantastic news. I was just in the principal’s office and I happened to overhear something. There’s gonna be a change in the guest of honor at your senior banquet night.
Marcia: You mean it’s not gonna be the principal.
Jan: No, it’s gonna be Colonel Dick Winfield, the astronaut.
Marcia (excited): Colonel Winfield! The one who’s going to the moon on one of those new missions? You’re kidding.
Jan: It’s true. He’s the most famous graduate of this school. He’s gonna be the guest of honor. Isn’t that fabulous?
Marcia: It’s terrible.
Jan: Terrible? Colonel Winfield is gonna escort the hostess on banquet night.
Marcia: That’s what makes it terrible. It won’t be me.
Jan: You mean you’re still gonna drop out?
Marcia: Jan, I can’t change my mind now. Not if I know what I’m doing is right. I’d be miserable.
Jan: Look, you’d be miserable if you weren’t the hostess too, won’t you?
Marcia: Jan, I just have to drop out.
Jan: Well, I hope you know what you’re doing.
Marcia: I do. It’s just harder now, that’s all.
(Next, Molly goes up to a classmate to say hello.)
Molly: Hi, Suzanne.
Suzanne: Hi Molly, it’s terrific the way you changed. We (she and her friends) were just talking about it.
Molly: Thanks. See you in class.
(Marcia is sitting on a bench reading and Molly approaches her.)
Marcia (getting up): Hi, Molly.
Molly: Hi, Marcia. Like my new outfit?
(She turns around to show it all off.)
Marcia: It’s really pretty.
Molly: Everybody thinks so. Did you hear about the new guest of honor for banquet night? Isn’t that fantastic?
Marcia: Yeah. It’ll be a really exciting evening for you.
Molly: Well, the teachers haven’t made the final selection yet.
Marcia: Molly, I’m dropping out. (Molly gives her a surprised look) You see, I’m already on the yearbook committee and the graduation exercise committee and, I’ve just got so many things to do.
Molly: Oh, that’s too bad. You would’ve made it a close race.
(Marcia gets offended).
Marcia: What do you mean close race?
Molly: Well, it’s amazing how popular I’ve become. Now that I’ve changed my looks and personality. The whole school’s talking about me.
Marcia: Well, you did have a little help you know.
Molly: Marcia, it doesn’t make any difference how I got there. The point is that I’ve arrived.
Marcia (angry): Wow, I guess you bet you can beat me easy.
Molly: Why else would you drop out? You wouldn’t be too busy if you thought you could win and be escorted by an astronaut.
Marcia: Well, maybe I’m not too busy after all.
Molly: Then go ahead and try to beat me. (She sees another friend of hers) Hi, Sally, wait up.
(A furious Marcia storms away.)
Suzanne: Hi, Marcia, we just saw Molly…
(Marcia walks away and we cut to that evening. Greg is in his room studying and there’s a knock at the door.)
Greg: Come in.
(Jan comes in the room.)
Jan: Hi, Greg. Marcia’s working on a speech and she wants to know if she can borrow some paper.
Greg: Oh, sure. (He gets up and gets some from his desk) What’s the speech for?
Jan: Faculty selection committee. It’s one of the things they judge you on for banquet night hostess.
Greg: I thought she worked on Molly’s speech last week.
Jan: She did but this one’s for Marcia.
Greg: She said she was dropping out.
Jan: Well, she isn’t.
Greg: What changed her mind?
Jan: That monster she created. Molly’s body is normal but her head’s bigger than a basketball.
Greg: Well, that’s a female for you. (He hands Jan the paper) You know, you can’t trust one as far as you can throw an elephant.
Greg: They got the brains of a goony bird.
Jan: Right. Hey, wait a minute, I’m one of them.
Greg: Yeah, uh, sisters are different.
Greg: Tell Marcia good luck with the speech.
(Jan goes into her room and gives Marcia the paper.)
Jan: Here’s your paper, Marcia.
(Marcia throws away some crumbled paper she was using.)
Jan: And Greg wishes you luck with the speech too.
Marcia: I’m gonna need it. I used all my best words for the speech I wrote for Molly.
(Next, Marcia goes into the family room to speak to Carol and Mike.)
Marcia: Mom, Dad, can you help me with something?
Carol: Sure, honey.
Mike: What’s that, sweetheart?
Marcia: Well, the faculty committee judges us on several things to be hostess. And for one thing, you have to dance the first dance with the host.
Carol: Well, that shouldn’t be any trouble for you, honey. You’re a good dancer.
Marcia: Yeah, but I dance like this. (She demonstrates a popular dance of her era) And at the banquet, with the principals and all the teachers there, well, we have to dance like when you were kids.
Mike: I think she means way back in the old days.
Carol: Speak for yourself, senior citizen.
Marcia: Can you show me how to waltz properly?
Mike (surprised): Waltz?
Carol: Okay. (Marcia turns the radio on) I’ll teach you the waltz and your father can show you the minutes.
Mike: Oh, thank you from the bottom of my silk knee bridges.
(We hear the waltz on the radio and Mike gets up and reaches his hand to Carol. Alice comes in to watch.)
Mike: Shall we? (Carol gets up and they start to dance) 1,2,3. 1,2,3. 1,2,3.
Marcia: Hey, the waltz is really beautiful.
Mike: Sure, you bet your Loompa pa.
Alice: Oh, isn’t that nice? You two haven’t danced for a long time.
Carol: Yeah, how come you never take me dancing?
Mike (to Alice): You had to open your big mouth.
(Carol laughs and turns to Marcia.)
Carol: Now. it’s your turn, honey. Come on.
(Marcia dances with Mike, who repeats the 1,2,3, good, better, on your knees lines. Then he goes over to Alice, and they do the waltz.)
(Next, Marcia is on the bathroom as the boys are waiting to get in and demanding she gives them a chance.)
Greg: Come on, Marcia, it’s our bathroom too.
(He knocks but gets no response.)
Peter: Marcia won’t even answer.
Bobby: How many times can she wash her hair?
Greg: Marcia, you’ll scrub yourself bald.
Peter: I’m glad the contest for the banquet hostess only comes once.
Bobby: Who wants to be a dumb old banquet hostess anyway?
Greg (sarcastically): Well, I would. (He glides around) Please, Mr. Principal, pick me, I got poise and charm.
(Peter and Bobby laugh. Peter walks with a towel on his head.)
Peter: But I got good posture, see Mr. Principal?
Bobby: Pick me, I got personality. I’m a living doll.
(He shakes around and Greg throws a towel at him. Bobby goes to throw it back as we cut over to the school. Marcia and Molly are being interviewed for the final round.)
Watkins: Sit right here, girls. (They take their seats and Mr. Watkins continues) All right, Marcia and Molly, last part is the least. Your speeches about why you want to be hostess for senior banquet night. You may go first, Molly.
(He sits down and Molly gets up and begins to speak.)
Molly: Mr. Watkins, and members of the selection committee, senior banquet night has always been the highlight of our graduation exercises. And the highlight of my last year in junior high has been working on the readers and writers club. I’ve learned many new things here at Fillmore Junior High School.
(Next, Marcia is giving her speech.)
Marcia: And so, the honor of being hostess is one that we will remember long after we say good-bye to our school. And to have that honor would be the high point of my years at Fillmore Junior High School. Thank you.
(Marcia takes her seat as the judges tally up their scores.)
Watkins: Before I announce the winner, I want to tell you we had the most difficult time reaching a decision. So you’re both to be congratulated. As a matter of fact, you were exactly even up until the speeches. But we feel that one of them captured the spirit of the occasion a little better than the other. It’s my pleasure to announce this year’s hostess for senior banquet night is (Pause) Molly Weber.
(Molly cheers and gets up to shake his hand.)
Molly: Thank you, Mr. Watkins, thanks to all of you.
Watkins: Congratulations Molly, that was an excellent speech you gave.
(Marcia sat in her seat looking and feeling dejected. We next see her at the house playing a game in the kitchen with Mike and Carol.)
Marcia: I don’t feel like playing anymore, I think I’ll go to bed.
(He gets up.)
Marcia (stopping): Huh?
Mike: You did your best in the competition, didn’t you.
Carol: Well, you can’t do more than that.
Marcia: I know, but what kills me is Molly beat me with a speech that I helped her write.
(She heads upstairs but the doorbell rings.)
Marcia (calling): I’ll get it!
(She answers the door and it’s Molly.)
Molly: Hi, Marcia.
Marcia: Molly. What are you doing here?
Molly: Well, I came over to thank you for all the help you gave me. I really do appreciate it, Marcia.
Marcia: Okay, so you appreciate it.
Molly: Especially the speech you worked on for me. I’m afraid I haven’t acted very nicely towards you.
Marcia: Okay, Molly.
Molly: Now, there’s someone here who wants to meet you.
(Colonel Winfield appears at the door.)
Winfield: Hi, Marcia. I’m Dick Winfield.
Marcia (excited): Colonel Winfield, the astronaut.
Winfield: Yes. I met Molly in the principal’s office. She was telling Mr. Watkins all you’ve done for her.
Marcia: You were?
Molly (nodding): Uh huh.
Winfield: Mr. Watkins and I decided that in view of the special circumstances, this year we will try something new for senior banquet. (Marcia looks at him in suspense) Co-hostesses.
Marcia: Co-hostesses? (to Molly) You mean, me and you?
Molly: Yeah, how about it, Marcia?
Marcia (happy): Oh, wow. I’ll go get my parents. (She slams the door in their face unintentionally, then goes to reopen it when she realizes her mistake) Sorry. Won’t you please come in? I’ll go get them.
(Her absent mindedness causes her to run outside and shut the door. She knocks and the colonel opens the door.)
Winfield (jokingly): Ah, so nice of you to drop by. Come in, Marcia.
Marcia: My parents… are inside.
(She leads them to the kitchen to meet Mike and carol as the scene fades.)
(The final scene has Marcia coming home from the banquet. Mike and Carol are in the living room.)
Marcia: Hi, I’m home.
Carol: Hi, honey.
Mike: Hi, sweetheart. How was the banquet?
Marcia: Oh, it was super. And I got the first waltz with Colonel Dick Winfield, even before Molly.
Mike: Oh, wonderful.
Marcia: And I’ll bet he remembers me a lot longer than Molly too.
Carol: Well, that’s not exactly being modest, you know.
Marcia: He’ll never forget me. I stepped on his feet seven times. (She repeats the dance by going 1,2,3 all the way to the stairs.) Good night.
Carol; Good night, honey.
(She continues with the 1,2,3 up the stairs until the scene fades.)