Try, Try Again
Written by Larry Rhine and Al Schwartz
Jan is convinced she’s a born loser when she tries desperately to find a talent. I hope you enjoy the script.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MS. CLAIRETTE, Jan’s ballet teacher
MRS. FERGUSON, Jan’s drama teacher
BILLY, boy who auditions for school play
(The episode begins with the girls at their dance recital. The teacher, Ms. Clairette, notices Jan’s lack of grace and turns off the record player.)
Ms. Clairette: Okay, kids, that’s fine for today. Thank you.
(Cindy runs up to her.)
Cindy: What about the reciral, Ms. Clairette?
Ms. Clairette: Those of you who have been chosen to participate will find your names on the bulletin board.
(The girls check to find their names.)
Ms. Clairette: Jan, may I see you for a monent?
(Jan comes up to her. Marcia is happy that Cindy was chosen.)
Jan: Yes, Ms. Clairette?
Ms. Clairette: Jan, dear, I know how hard you tried in class.
Jan (upset): You don’t have to tell me, Me. Clairette. I’m not in the recital.
Ms. Clairette: I’m sorry. But, you know, ballet comes much easier to some than to others.
Jan: And I’m one of the others.
Ms. Clairette: There’ll be future recitals.
Jan: Thanks, but, I won’t be around for them.
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has Mike in the kitchen with Carol and Alice. He is tasting a sauce that they made.)
Mike: Not quite right.
Carol: And just what is wrong with our spaghetti sauce?
Mike: Too much oregano.
Carol: That’s impossible. I put in the exact amount the recipe called for.
Alice: It’s possible, Mr. Brady. I did the same thing you did.
Mike: See, and that’s why they all say, too many cooks spoil the spaghetti sauce.
Carol: We’re willing to turn in our aprons whenever your highness is ready to take over. Right, Alice?
Alice: I’ll make you a lifetime gift of my ladle.
Mike: Anytime, anytime except now. I’m busy.
Carol: See. All talk, Alice. Can’t even boil water without burning it.
Mike: I happened to have been a pretty fair cook in my bachelor days.
Carol: Sure, then your can opener broke and you had to get married to keep from starving.
Mike: For your information, I could create a souffle that would leave you begging for more?
Alice: More what, Mr. Brady? Bicarbonate?
Mike: Yeah, well, I could, I could.
Carol: All right. We accept your offer. (She extends her hand) Whenever you’re ready to take over the kitchen, just hollar.
(They shake on it.)
Mike: That’s a deal.
(Outside, Peter and Bobby are playing ping pong, with Greg watching.)
Bobby (to Peter): Lucky shot.
Peter: You wish.
Greg (to Peter): Okay, wiseguy. Let’s see you do against me.
Bobby: Here’s the ball.
(He throws the ball to them but misses the table. Jan comes home and steps on the ball, crushing it.)
(She comes in the house.)
Carol: Hi, honey. How was ballet class?
Carol (to Alice): I wonder what happened?
(The other girls come in.)
Marcia: Hi, Mom.
Carol: Hi, what happened to Jan in ballet class?
Cindy (to Marcia): You tell her. You’re better at breaking bad news than I am.
Marcia: Thanks a lot. (to Carol and Alice) Cindy and I, and some other girls were chosen for the recital. Jan wasn’t.
Cindy: She sank right in the middle of swan lake.
Marcia: She really tries hard, it’s just that her feet always won’t do what she wants them to.
Carol: Not everybody’s cut out to be a ballerina. Maybe she’ll improve after some more lessons.
Cindy: She can’t. Ms. Clairette said she quit the class.
Alice (surprised): Quit? Wow, she’s really taking this hard, Mrs. Brady.
(Carol goes up to Jan’s room to speak to her. She finds Jan moping on her bed.)
Carol: Jan. Marcia and Cindy told me about the recital. I’m really sorry, honey. They also told me you quit your ballet class.
Jan: Mom, I’m about as graceful in ballet slippers as an elephant is in ice skates.
Carol: Oh, Jan, you can’t be all that bad.
Jan: I am. I’m the stumbled foot of the century. And I really wanted to dance.
Carol: Well, honey, maybe ballet just isn’t your thing.
Jan: Sure, but what is my thing?
Carol: Well, there are other kinds of dancing, you know. Ms. Clairette’s school teaches tap, jazz, folk.
Jan: Yeah, that’s true.
Carol: Well, you never know unless you try. (She kisses her) Think about it.
(Cut to the kitchen. Mike is showing Carol and Alice a dish he was preparing.)
Mike: Listen, it took me three days to get prepared for this.
Alice: What’s it called?
Mike: Souffle ottawa plumage.
Carol: Ooh, la, la.
Mike: Please, a little less breathing until I get this into the oven.
(He finds he can’t put in there yet so he sets it on the edge of the stove. Jan comes home.)
Jan: Hey, everybody. Get a load of this. (She starts to dance for them) I took your advice, Mom. I’m taking up tap dancing at Ms. Clairette’s school.
Carol: So I hear.
(Mike tries to warn her of something.)
Jan: That’s why I’ve been coming home late these past few days. I wanted to surprise you.
Alice: I bet the kitchen floor is too.
Jan: Look what I learned today.
(She gives them a demonstration and when she turns around. She knocks Mike’s dish over.)
Mike: Couldn’t you dance in place?
Jan: I’m sorry, Dad.
(She shamefully goes upstairs.)
Mike (to Carol): Was tap dancing your idea?
Carol: I guess so. I suggested she try another kind of dancing to cheer her up.
Mike: What about the old soft shoe?
(Greg and Peter are upstairs playing guitar and about to record it.)
Greg: Are you ready to record?
Peter: Yeah. (He turns the recorder on) Okay, go.
(Greg starts to play when they suddenly hear Jan practicing her tap dancing in the bathroom. Peter turns the recorder off.)
Peter: Guess who.
Greg: The blonde woodpecker. (He yells down) Jan!
(He angrily stamps his foot.)
Jan: I’m trying to learn the routine!
(Greg and Peter angrily stamp their feet. Jan continues to practice. Marcia and Cindy are unhappily listening in their room and a figurine falls from a shelf and breaks.)
Marcia: Now look what she’s done.
Cindy: Maybe we can glue it back together.
Marcia: That’s not the problem. What do we do about us coming unglued.
(Next. Mike, Carol and Alice are in the kitchen.)
Mike: That was a delicious breakfast, ladies.
(Alice is preparing the kids’ lunch.)
Alice: Thank you, Mr. Brady.
Carol (pouring him coffee): No suggestions on how to make it better from the superchef?
(She kisses him.)
Alice: He’s backing away from his offer, Mrs. Brady.
Mike: I am not, I already made a souffle, haven’t I?
Carol: You almost made a souffle.
Mike: Okay. (He gets up) I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do, you wiseguys. (He writes on the message board) Come Saturday, I am gonna prepare not just a simple dish, but an entire gourmet dinner.
Alice: Consisitng of what, Mr. Brady?
Mike: None of your business.
Carol: But honey, we have to know what the ingredients are when they ask us at the hospital.
(Mike gets offended and starts to leave. The other kids start coming down.)
Mike: Ask your mother, I got to go to work.
Bobby: Mom, you do something about Jan.
Cindy: I’m beginning to hear tap in my sleep.
Carol: We’ll talk about it later, okay, have a good day. Bye.
(Greg, Marcia and Peter come in.)
Greg: Good morning.
Greg: Mom, you got to do something about Jan.
Marcia: She’s really bugging us.
Peter: Talk about noise pollution.
Carol: Oh, be patient with her, kids. I’m sure after a few more lessons, she’ll get much better at it.
Greg: No way.
Peter: I saw a bear on TV do a better tap dance.
Marcia: Mom, Jan really has no talent for tap dance.
(Jan comes in.)
Jan: No, I guess i don’t.
Marcia: I’m sorry, Jan. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.
Jan: That’s okay. You’re right. I have no talent for tap dancing. In fact, I have no talent for anything at all.
Carol: Now, Jan, that is not true.
Jan: Yes it is.
Marcia: I didn’t know jan was there.
Carol: Jan just has to keep looking until she finds something she really does well.
Marcia: Hey, I’ve got an idea. Maybe I know just the thing for Jan to do. I’ll check with her right after school.
(She starts to leave. Carol stops her.)
Carol: Marcia, what is it?
Marcia: Just as soon as I arrange it, I’ll let you know.
Carol: Oh, here, here, take your lunch. (She leaves) Have a good day.
Marcia: Bye. You too.
(Marcia is showing jan how to be a drum mjaorette. She has a hat and a baton.)
Marcia: You look great, Jan. Better than when I was a drum majorette. And you know, being a drum majorette has a lot of fringe benefits.
Jan: Like what?
Marcia: Well, like band full of boys.
Jan: Oh, I hope I can do this.
Marcia: If I can, anybody can. It’s a cinch.
(Jan starts twirling the baton while Carol and Alice watch from inside.)
Carol: That was a good idea Marcia had.
Alice: Jan looks so cute in the hat.
(Jan continues twirling. Marcia takes it for a monent.)
Marcia: Here, let me show you. Now, you hold it right about there. (She twirls) Keep going. Now, at first you hold your wrist like this so you can get used to the twirling motion. See. Think you got it? (Jan shows her that she does) Okay, you try it. (Jan takes it as Marcia encourages her) Hey, you’re getting the hang of it. Great. Faster. Come on, faster. Now toss it.
(Jan tosses it but accidentally breaks the window on the family room door.)
Alice: Lucky we saw that coming.
Jan (upset): Why don’t you say it! I’m strictly a no-talent! I’ll never be good at anytrhing, never!
(The scene fades.)
(The next scene has Alice and Greg in the kitchen. Alice is sorting out playing cards. She is also peeking at them.)
Greg: Uh, uh, uh.
Alice: I am ashamed of myself, Greg, and I’ll never do it again. Unless I think it will help.
(Carol and Mike come home with Marcia and Jan. They are returning from their ballet recital.)
Alice: Anybody for hot chocolate?
Marcia: Oh, great, Alice.
Greg: How did the ballet recital go?
Mike: Marcia and Cindy were terrific.
Carol: They were the best in the class.
Marcia: Mom, Dad, don’t be so unbiased.
Carol: Everything okay at home?
Greg: Everything but Jan. She hasn’t let her room all night.
Alice: I tried to talk to her, but on a scale of 1 to 10, she figures herself about a minus three.
Mike: Jan’s a big girl now. She’s gonna have to learn to face that kind of problem.
Carol: Well, you two girls get to bed right after the hot chocolate. Okay. Good night, Alice.
Alice: Good night.
Carol: Good night, Greg.
Greg: Good night.
Mike: Good night, all.
(The parents go upstairs.)
Marcia: Poor Jan. She must be the most miserable member of this whole human race.
Cindy: And that’s a race you can’t quit.
Alice: And it’s the only race in town.
Greg: Problem is, she lost all of her self-confidence.
Marcia: And the question is, how does she get it back?
Greg: Simple. All she has to be is good at something instead of bad.
Alice: And someday there’ll be a pill we can take for instant good.
Greg: Wait a minute. There is a way she can be instant good. Yeah, it just might work. It’s worth a try.
Marcia: Okay by me.
Cindy: Okay by me too, and I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
(We take you to the backyard. Greg is about to play ping pong and ask Jan to play with him.)
Greg: Okay, now make it sound legitimate so Jan doesn’t get suspicious.
Peter (whispering): Right.
Greg: This will be the first time I ever thrown a ping pong game.
Bobby (whispering): Here she comes.
(Jan starts to come.)
Peter: Greg, we just don’t have time to play ping pong.
Greg: But I need to practice.
Bobby: I’m sorry, you’ll just have to find somebody else. We’re busy.
Greg: Jan, how would you like to do me a really big favor.
Greg: Well, I’m entering this ping-pong contest, and I need all the practicing I can get.
Jan: You wanna practice with me?
Greg: I can’t practice by myself.
Jan: Well, okay, but I’m not very good.
Greg: Oh, hey, don’t worry about it. Listen, you’ll be doing me a really big favor.
(She takes a paddle and they start to play.)
(They start to play. Greg deliberately plays badly to let Jan win.)
Greg: Good shot. (He purposely misses the ball again) What kind of a spin did you put on the ball?
(Jan shrugs. We next see them continuing to play in the same manner.)
Greg: Your serve again. (He makes another blunder) You did it again! Are you sure you haven’t been practicing on the side?
Jan: No, honest!
Greg: You’re better than you think.
Jan: 20-17. Game point. (Greg slips again) I won! I actually beat you, I won!
Greg: Look, do me another favor, huh.
Greg: Don’t tell Peter and Bobby. I could never live it down.
Jan: Sure, I’ll protect you.
Greg: Thanks, Jan. Good game.
(He smiles to himself as we go up to the girls’ room. Jan is playing Monopoly with her sisters.)
Jan: And I own that hotel too. And you owe me $1,500 besides.
Marcia: That wipes me out. You win again, Jan.
Jan: Do you wanna play one more time?
Marcia: No way, you’re too good for me.
Cindy: You’re a financial genius.
Jan: I guess I am pretty good.
Marcia: You’re a regular Howard Hughes.
Jan (getting up): See you later.
(Next, Jan is outisde playing darts with Peter and Bobby. They let her win.)
Bobby (to Peter): She’s sandbagging us.
Peter: I thought you said you weren’t very good at darts.
Jan: I didn’t think I was. Oh, this gives me 40 points.
Bobby: You’re skunking us.
Jan: Well, we can’t all be happy.
Petyer: I’ll practice and I’ll challenge you tomorrow.
Jan: Any time.
Bobby: Great. No girl is gonna beat me.
(She walk off.)
Peter (to Bobby): You’re a better actor than Richard Burton.
Bobby: You’re a better actor then Elizabeth Taylor.
(Peter chases Bobby as we move into the next scene. Mike is conimg home with groceries.)
Mike (calling): Help, somebody lend a hand!
Alice: Oh, I’m on my way.
(She puts her mop down and goes to help him.)
Mike: I’m about to lose the eggs. Alice, quick.
Alice (grabbing the bag): Got it, got it.
(Mike comes in the kitchen with two other bags.)
Carol: Honey, what’s in the bag?
Mike: Sorry, every item is classified top secret.
Alice: Is it that gourmet dinner you’re going to cook, Mr. Brady?
Mike: Yes, anybody caught snooping gets the firing squad.
Carol: Alice, I think I know why he’s keeping Saturday’s menu such a secret.
Alice: Why, Mrs. Brady?
Carol: So if he messes it up, we won’t know what it was supposed to be.
Alice: They do say that 90% of domestic accidents occur in the kitchen.
Mike: Laugh if you must, but remember what I said, top secret.
(He puts the food in the refrigerator/freezer. Carol watches. Cindy comes in.)
Cindy: Hi. Anybody seen Jan?
Carol: She went to the library, honey, why?
Cindy: Oh, I just thought I’d let her beat me at checkers.
Mike: Why do you want to do that?
Cindy: To give her confidence. To make her think she’s good at something. That’s what we’ve been doing.
Carol: How long do you and your brothers and sisters plan to keep losing to Jan?
Cindy: I don’t know. A couple of months. I’ll ask Greg.
Mike: Cindy, look, it’s nice that you kids want to help Jan, but you’re not being very honest with her if you do that.
Carol: Honey, it’s not a real victory if everybody’s just pretending to lose.
Cindy (shamefully): I guess you’re right.
(Next, Greg is apologizing to Jan for all the kids.)
Greg: So, I’m speaking for all the kids. We’re sorry. We were only trying to help.
Jan: Yeah, well, thanks for what you’re trying to do.
Carol: Greg, why don’t you go round up the kids for dinner, okay.
Greg: Okay, they’re out in back.
(He walks away.)
Mike (to Jan): You know, I would say that goes to prove how much your brothers and sisters care about you.
Jan: It also proves something else. It proves everybody feels sorry for little Jan Brady, loser. That’s exactly what I am, a born loser.
Carol: Wait a minte, honey.
Mike: Listen, all they’re trying to do is give you a little confidence.
Jan: I do have confidence. I’m confident that I’m a no-talent loser.
Mike: No, no. Everyone has talent somewhere, and you’ll never find where yours lies if you quit trying.
Carol: Your father’s right, Jan. You have to keep trying in life. You’ll never succeed at anytihng if you’re a quitter.
Jan: But I don’t know what else to try.
Carol (to Mike): I’m sure there’s lots of things she can do.
Mike: There’s all kinds of things going on at school. There are club activities, there are plays…
Carol: Plays. That’s a good idea.
Carol: Why don’t you look into that tomorrow.
Jan: Maybe I will.
Jan: Okay, I promise. I guess I got nothing to lose.
Carol: Nothing except your no-talent.
(Next, Carol is knitting in the family room. Alice comes in.)
Alice: Hi, Mrs. Brady. How about a little afternoon snack?
Carol: Oh, no thanks, Alice.
Alice: I wish you’d say yes.
Alice: Because it would give me a chance to peek at the food Mr. Brady has in the freezer.
Carol: Now, Alice, we promised.
Alice: You’re right. I’ll wash my mouth out with soap for even suggesting it.
Carol: When you’re through, will you suggest it again? I’m weakening.
(Jan comes in.)
Jan: Mom, I did it! I found something at school that I’m really interested in.
Carol: What, honey?
Jan: I’m trying out for the lead in the school play.
Carol: Oh, Jan, that’s wonderful.
(Alice claps and cheers for her.)
Jan: Anyway, the play is about an American girl in Paris who’s starving and painting and trying to pay her bills and…. while I’m telling you all this. I should be learning my lines. I have to learn every one of them by tomorrow.
Carol: Why so soon?
Jan: Because I signed up so late.
Carol: Girls, they’re absolutely unpredictable.
Alice: Maybe that’s why they grow up to be women.
(The next day at school, Jan is trying out for the play. Mrs. Ferguson, the director, is there.)
Mrs. Ferguson: That was very nice children. Thank you. Next, are Jan Brady and Billy Naylor.
Jan (to Peter): Well, here goes.
Peter: Okay, Jan, now remember, self-confidence.
Jan: Right. Self-confidence.
(She gets up to the stage with Billy. She brings a painting with her and Billy puts on a wig and fake mustache.)
Mrs. Ferguson: What’s the painting, Jan?
Jan: Oh, I’m supposed to be painting in the scene. So I started this last night while I was at home. It’ll make it easier for me.
(She puts on a smock.)
Mrs. Ferguson: Okay, you and Billy may begin when you’re ready.
Jan: Okay. (She picks up some pastels and starts to paint) Come in.
Mrs. Ferguson: No, Jan, you wait till the landlord knocks.
Jan: Oh, sorry. (Billy knocks) Come in.
Billy: Madame Loisel, I’ve come to give you one final chance to pay the rent.
Jan: But monsieur, I must have more time. I’m almost finished my painting.
Mrs. Ferguson: Jan, you have another line, dear.
Jan: Oh, right, sorry.
Mrs. Ferguson: Let’s start again.
Jan: Come in.
Billy (frustrated): I’m supposed to knock first!
Jan: Come in, Billy.
Mrs. Ferguson: Jan, he’s the landlord, not Billy.
Billy: Madame Loisel, I’ve come to give you one final chance to pay the rent.
Jan: But monsieur, I must have more time. I’m almost finished my painting. (Pause) I’m sure I’ll sell it.
Billy: Who would buy such a horrible painting. I must have the rent. it is long overdue.
Jan: But I have no money. (She drops her nurse and accisentally spills the paint jars on Billy) Sorry, Billy.
(Peter covers his eyes.)
Mrs. Ferguson (getting up): Jan, dear, are you sure you’re up to this? I mean, you only did have one night to learn it.
Jan: No, Mrs. Ferguson, I’m not up to this.
Mrs. Ferguson: Maybe our next play.
Jan: There won’t be a next one for me.
(Back at home, Peter is telling Carol about Jan’s misfortune.)
Peter: Mom, Jan’s tryout was a disaster. She couldn’t get anything right.
Carol: Poor kid.
Peter: She’s gonna be more miserable now than ever.
(Jan comes in. She’s in a happy mood.)
Jan: Hi, Mom, Hi, Pete.
Carol: Hi, Jan. (to Peter) Were you putting me on?
Peter: No, she really bombed out. Honest.
Jan: Boy, did I ever bomb out.
Carol: Well, I’m delighted to see you so happy about it.
Jan: Well it’s what happened afterwards when Mrs. Ferguson called me back. (to Peter) You had left.
Peter: What happened?
Jan: You know that picture I painted for the play? Mrs. Ferguson is also our art teacher. She said that I show a real talent as a painter, that my paointing is terrific, and she wants me to enroll in her art class.
Carol (pleased): Oh, Jan, that’s great.
Alice (coming in): Yeah, how about that. She tries out as an actress and winds up an artist.
jan: You and Dad were right, Mom. If I hadn’t kept trying, I would have never known.
Alice: I wonder if that works the other way around. Maybe if I tried to paint, somebody would discover how much Raquel Welch and I have in common. (They all look at her disbelievingly) Or would you believe Shirley Temple?
(She starts to tapdance and the scene fades.)
(The final scene has Carol coming in the kitchen as Mike is cooking.)
Carol: Is tonight’s menu still a top secret?
Mike: Nope, it is now declassified. (He takes the lid off one pot) Vichyssoise, Caesar salad, chocolate mousse in the ice box. Tomatoes parmesan in the broiler, asparugus holeny, and pies de resistance, beef burgonione.
Carol: Oh, honey, it looks and smells delicious. You are the greatest.
Mike: Yes, that’s true. I have too much humility to disagree. Well, call the kids to dinner.
Carol: Oh, that presents a problem.
Carol: The kids are going to a surprise party tonight.
Mike (shocked): What? You mean after I slaved over a hot stove making all this food?
Carol: Alice and I will eat our share.
Mike: Honey, I got enough food here for nine people. Uh, call Alice to the table. I’ll start serving. (Carol goes in the dining room) (to himself) Talk about lack of appreciation, and all the money I spent preparing all this glut.
(He goes out to the dining room with one of the pots. He is surprised to see all the kids sititng there with Carol and Alice.)
Mike: Surprise party, huh.
Carol: Well, you got to admit that you were surprised.
The Kids (chanting): We want to eat, we want to eat, we want to eat.
Mike: Hold it! Now I got a surprise for you.
Carol: Oh, what?
Mike (in a French accent): The cook has resigned and you are serving the dinner.
Carol: Well, Alice, I knew we’d wind up doing all the work.
(She and Alice get up and Mike sits down.)