Jerri Blank in "The Birds and the Blanks"

First off, let me apologize for the length of this...  When I first heard about your contest, I WENT TO WORK—brainstorming, picking ideas and comic moments, fusing them into a script, writing drafts, re-writing. I am TOTALLY SERIOUS! It wasn't until I checked out the other entries today [I didn't want to before in case I lost my confidence or subconciously tried to Shanghi someone else's shit ;)] that I realized I went totally overboard. Synopsis??? I wrote dialogue! (Don't worry -- I didn't write ALL the dialogue!) But, what the hell, I figured I'd submit this as is. It was a blast to write! I'm not sure if you'll be open to posting it on your site because it's so long, but do what you can..... Feel free to edit it down or something.... Hope you get the laughs and appreciate the RESEARCH that went into this. And that's all I'm going to say about THAT. I hope you enjoy. — Jim Lautenbach

P.S. Congrats on a successful site -- and a successful contest.

And, with no further ado, I present tonight's episode of "Strangers With Candy":


Jerri finally learns the facts of life after she misses her period and worries she might be pregnant.

© 2000 - Jim W. Lautenbach. All rights reserved.

OPENING SCENE: The episode opens in Coach Wolf's class. Coach Wolf begins separating the male students from the female students, explaining that the girls will stay in her classroom while the boys will go to the locker room for their "annual physicals." Mr. Jellineck shows up ("Hey, kids!") with a rubber glove on his left hand, looking a lot more excited and cheerful than we've ever seen him, and he leads the men down the hall, saying, "Come along, letterwinners." He passes Mr. Noblet in the hallway, who suddenly remembers he has a free period and turns to join the line, offering to lend a hand.

We hear both Mr. Jellineck and Mr. Noblet emitting little coughs as the line proceeds into the locker room.

Back in her classroom, Coach Wolf begins showing a filmstrip to the girls, with this introduction:

"Ladies,some of those nosy PTA mothers have brought it to our attention that we have neglected to teach you a few things -- they're unimportant things, really -- but you probably should have learned them a while ago. So, let's just take care of that today, OK?

"First of all, you shouldn't use electrical appliances in the bathtub or shower. It could kill you.

"Second, the earth -- our planet -- is round, like a globe, not flat, like this map of the earth.

"And -- ah, yes -- and, as for the remaining topic we've yet to cover, this filmstrip will address all of the things you might have been wondering about. Answers to any further questions can be found...on the Internet. Lights."

She then proceeds to show a film entitled, "Growing Up and Liking It," which basically lays out (in cartoon form) the bodily changes a girl goes through during puberty. As the film details certain changes, the camera zooms to certain girls in the class who have obviously already passed that stage of development ("Breasts will enlarge" pans to an endowed girl; "Hair will grow" pans to Jamie, an female exchange student who has a moustache). Overall, the film is very vague and silly and never uses clinical terms, but instead refers to a girls' private parts as the "tweeters" and the "woofer" and a period as "a visit from a special friend."

NEXT SCENE: It's the next morning. We see Jerri hit the snooze button and roll back to sleep at least four times, while some crazy pop music plays each time the snooze alarm goes off (her snooze is set to go off after, say, two minutes, so it keeps going off right away). The camera cuts to a calendar on the wall near her bed, which has Xs marked through all of the days until the current day, which has a skull and crossbones drawn on it. Jerri finally wakes up, looks at the calendar, says "Time to caulk the faucet" and then looks underneath the covers. She stares there for a little while and finally says, "That's odd."

The alarm goes off again (Jerri had never shut if off completely). The song that plays this time is Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach." The camera shoots to a pensive Jerri, over the lyrics "I'm keeping my baby ."

NEXT SCENE: Jerri finds her stepmother in the kitchen, where this scene takes place:

Jerri: Mom, I've missed something...

Sara Blank: Yes, Jerri. I was looking at your calendar... Isn't it time you did something with that landfill you call a hairdo?

Jerri: No, I mean, ah, I'm "late."

Sara Blank: Oh, Jerri, there certainly is a lot of work to be done there, but it's never too late.

Jerri: No, stepmother. Listen to me. My [Jerri makes hand gesture] "special friend" hasn't visited in a long time...About a month, to be exact...

Sara: Well, Jerri, I'm sure Orlando has been very busy. You know, with having to learn the language -- and spending time with people he likes more than you.

Jerri: I'm not talking about Orlando, stepmother. Oh, forget it!

Sara: Jerri, wait. Here, sit down. You know, I know that neither you nor I find it easy to talk to one another, and I suppose...uh, well, that's pretty much...your fault. But, I just want you to know, this is one time I DO know what you're going through, and, well -- woman to woman -- I'm sure it will work out fine.

Jerri: I don't know what to say...

Sara: And when Orlando calls again, and I'm sure he will [winks], let's have him over for dinner. Just you and your special, Chinese friend... [She pats Jerri on the head, gets up and leaves Jerri at the table alone]

Jerri (to camera): I'm glad we could have this talk.

NEXT SCENE: Jerri is clearly distracted in Mr. Noblet's class. She's doodling in her notebook, drawing a stick figure but giving it a well-defined, big, pregnant belly. Then, she starts drawing a family of stick figures following the first, and she keeps drawing and drawing small stick babies until she and the drawing are out of control. She grimaces and is out of breath. Mr. Noblet is lecturing on paying attention to details and to illustrate his point he writes two seemingly identical sentences on the board. No one in the class is able to say what the difference is. Mr. Noblet says, "The first sentence is clearly missing a period, just like -- Jerri Blank..."

Jerri, astonished, looks up from her doodling to see Mr. Noblet holding a note.

NOBLET: "Note for you, Jerri. Mr. Jellineck needs to see you sometime today. All of the information I'm about to cover will be on tomorrow's exam. So, why don't you go see him NOW."

NEXT SCENE: Jerri is in the art room with Mr. Jellineck.

Mr. Jellineck says Jerri seemed distracted in art class that morning and wants to know if something is wrong. After some creative metaphors and general misunderstanding, Jerri finally blurts out that she's worried she might be pregnant. When Jellineck asks if she knows who the father might be, Jerri goes through a recitation of various male names ("Good times!"), but isn't able to come up with anyone. Jellineck says there's only one thing Jerri must do -- and immediately.

Jerri shakes her head in agreement.

Jellineck: You have to go visit Suzie Flowmore, the pregnant girl! She can give you advice, Jerri -- and maybe even maternity clothes. By the way, can you drop off this homework for her while you're there?

NEXT SCENE: Jerri rings the buzzer at Suzie Flowmore's house. Suzie comes out to talk with Jerri on the porch. Right away, it's clear that Suzie, who is a petite thing, isn't pregnant at all. Jerri is puzzled until Suzie explains that she's been Flatpoint High's "pregnant girl" the past 2½ years. She explains: "It's perfect! I never have to go to class, all of my homework is delivered to me, and to get out of reports I just say I have morning sickness."

Jerri: Hmmmm... Well, what do you do all day?

SUZIE: Not much -- just a little gambling... For extra spending money.

Jerri: Oh, sure. Like what?

SUZIE: Blackjack, roulette, poker, craps, slots, pool, church bingo, baccarat, game shows, horses, dogs, cats, lottery tickets, football pools, pull tabs, cock fights. I made 2 G at a Boy Scouts soap box derby last weekend.

Jerri (intrigued): I see...

SUZIE: Where are my manners? Why don¹t you come in?

Jerri enters Suzie¹s house, which on the outside had looked like a typical middle class, white-sided house, but on the inside rivals a Vegas casino. It is smoky and dark, except for flashing lights. Jerri sidles up to a roulette table, shakes a pair of dice, says "C'mon Queen Kismet, mama needs a bassinet," and the scene fades out.

Jerri leaves Suzie's house (later that evening) very inspired -- and $300 richer. Although she had spent most of her time up to this point trying to figure out how she would rid herself of any impending offspring, she now decides she will carry a baby to full-term, especially if it means more free time, more gambling and more cold, hard cash.

NEXT SCENE: Jerri, who had met Orlando at the mall, is now walking into her bedroom at home with him. Jerri is carrying shopping bags that say "Toys R Us" and "BABY."

Orlando: I can't believe this, Jerri.

Jerri: I know, $4.99 for a rice shaker made by some Indonesian sweatshop worker. But, a baby's gotta' have toys...

Orlando: No, I can't believe you might be pregnant.

Jerri: Believe it. For the next nine months, I'll be eating, sleeping and walking for two. I'll be like a kangaroo, with a growing, blossoming pouch biscuit inside my belly. Hop, hop, hop. (She hops.) All day. All the time.... Oh, who am I kidding? I don't want to have a baby. Sure -- some things would be rewarding.

Orlando: Like, watching it grow, and caring for it...

Jerri: Yeah, whatever. I mean, teaching it tricks and dressing it up for dog shows. But I need my spaaaaaaaace. I need my elbow room. I don't even have room for bed, or a... baby dresser, or...a baby stove in here.

Orlando: Well, you could always move out into your own apartment. Jerri: Yeah, and cook and clean for myself, too. That's hilarious.

Orlando: Well, Jerri, aren't you jumping the gun, anyway? You don't even know for sure you're pregnant yet.

Jerri: Oh, I can feel it. [Rubs her stomach] Yup--There's something growing in here, and it's not just the spic food from Papa Pequeños. I am "with child"...

Orlando: Well, you should find out for sure.

Jerri goes to her closet to grab a coat hanger and throws it in a duffle bag.

Jerri: You're right, Island boy. Just in case [referring to the coat hanger]. OK, let's go.

NEXT SCENE: Jerri's on an examining table. Behind her, a doctor and nurse are discussing a lab result.

Doctor: All right, Nurse Fallopia, what color? Pink? Blue?

The nurse lifts a test tube from a rack, which is filled with samples from Jerri's body (her "pregnancy test"). The liquid is a murky, pukey brown. The nurse departs, and the doctor walks to Jerri.

Doctor: Jerri, I'm afraid what you're experiencing is what some people call "The Curse."

Jerri: Oh, my dear Lord.... "The Curse."... Well, is it a boy or a girl?

Doctor: No, Jerri, you don't understand. You're not having a baby. In fact, you'll not be able to have a baby anymore.

Jerri: Yeah, right. What did you do in there? Put a knot in the 'ol tummy tubes? Do I have to pay extra for that?

Doctor: No, Jerri. You're going through menopause.

Jerri: ???

Doctor: The cessation of your regular menstrual cycle.

Jerri: ???

Doctor: The " change of life."

Jerri: ???

Doctor: You see, Jerri...

The scene fades out with the doctor explaining the facts of life to Jerri, with her shaking her head in seeming understanding after each sentence ("Oh, yeah. Yeah."). The doctor actually starts at the beginning, possibly sketching out a doodle of the female anatomy on a pad (Jerri: What's that?), and uses words and phrases reminiscent of the filmstrip in Coach Wolf's class.

The scene fades in again. The doctor has almost explained it all to Jerri.

Doctor: So, Jerri, the bad news is -- I know this might come as a shock to you -- you'll never be able to have a baby anymore.

Jerri: Have a baby do what?

Doctor: No, you'll never be able to get pregnant.

Jerri: Oh, I've been pregnant.

Doctor: You'll never be able to carry a baby, to give birth to a baby, to be "with child."

Jerri: Not even on my "fertile days?"

Doctor: I'm afraid you won't have fertile days anymore. Your "special friend" won't be visiting anymore.

Jerri: What's the bad news again?

CLOSING SCENE: Jerri is in a hallway at Flatpoint, looking through a window outside the "Flatpoint High Day Care Center." It is overpopulated with babies and toddlers.

Jerri: You know, having a baby must be a wonderful thing. So many women have done it. In fact, I think that everyone who has had a baby has been a woman. And I have learned that most of them got pregnant first. Being pregnant, then, isn't so bad if you want to have a baby. Or, if you want to turn 50 bucks into a cool G in an afternoon.

As Jerri walks down the hall, she says:

I'm sure going to miss my special friend. Yeah, right!


FLATPOINT HIGH SIGN: What child is this?

· Pregnant? We All Have Our Problems
· Don't Be A Baby
· Give Mirth, Not Birth
· A Pregnancy Test Is One You Should Fail