I’ve heard today about a new stage play starring Phil Jupitus about a life coach who may be good at his job in helping others but he has problems of his own that need solving. While not identical the premise is not dissimilar to an unfinished sitcom pilot I’ve been writing on-and-off over the last 3-4 years.
A preview of Life Coach will give you an idea of how that particular show works. Below is the synopsis of my version and the first scene. Over the coming days I will add subsequent scenes for your enjoyment (or not).
COACH POTATO – SITCOM SYNOPSIS
Edward King (38) is a life coach. A life coach with the canny knack of being able to help others to overcome the issues in their lives while being totally incapable of solving his own.
Ultimately Edward is good at life coaching but he spends half his time hiding his own inadequacies from his clients and the rest just getting caught up in their problems.
When life coaching became an option his life, Edward was out of work following the breakdown of his advertising business. A chance meeting provided an insight into a potential new career as he was able to ‘coach’ a guy back from the brink.
The main characters in Coach Potato are:
Frank Ward (38) is an old school friend who maybe less intelligent, with a more robust physique and from a poorer background than Edward but he his content with his life as an odd-job man. He is happily married with four kids and despite the banter and mock putdowns Edward is secretly jealous of Frank’s stable lifestyle.
Julia Lormor (26) is Edward’s former PA at the advertising agency who has always been besotted with him though he never seems to have noticed. She still wants to work in the media but can’t seem to get past menial product promotion jobs.
Both Frank and Julia always seem to get roped into some scheme to save Edward’s neck. They may get on each others nerves but they’ve been through a lot so in reality would do anything for each other.
The failure of Edward’s business led to him splitting up with his wife, Selina, who was happy to live the high life until it all went wrong. Edward would take her back in an instant but he has tough competition from her new flame the ultra-successful and super-fit Dr Neil Peters. Neil is extremely likable which understandably for Edward makes him terribly annoying.
Edward seems to be permanently skint and living on credit under the misguided notion that he is impressing Selina. this results in a daily battle to keep Christopher Thompson, Edward’s very young and ambitious bank manager from his door.
Edward and Selina have a son called Matthew who despite only being 13 has set up his own successful Internet business. Despite being a geeky lad he still gets the girls. Occasionally Matthew will loan funds to his dad – calling it pocket money – at interest rates bordering on the criminal.
SCENE ONE. EDWARD’S FLAT. INT. 0910
CAMERA PANS ACROSS THE LOUNGE AREA OF WHAT WAS ONCE A SMART OPEN-PLAN FLAT. IT IS NOW SLOWLY DETERIORATING WITH MAGAZINES SCATTERED ABOUT AND THE WASHING UP NOT DONE. A RADIO IS PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND AND WE CAN HEAR BILL WITHER’S ‘LOVELY DAY’ FINISHING AND BBC RADIO 2’S TERRY WOGAN’S DULCET TONES.
Top of the morning to you all. The time is ten past nine and it’s another fine day…
EDWARD APPEARS THROUGH THE BEDROOM DOOR DRESSED IN JUST HIS BOXER SHORTS, SOCKS AND AN UNDONE WHITE SHIRT. HE IS CLEARLY SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING.
That was Bill Wither’s doing his own impression of weather forecaster, Michael Fish. It’s going be a ‘Lovely Day’, with a possibility of light showers this afternoon, ha ha…
EDWARD OPENS A DRAWER AND DUMPS THE RADIO INTO IT.
Now then. Trousers. (BEAT) Trousers, trousers…
HE LOOKS AROUND THE ROOM. SOMETHING CATCHES HIS EYE IN A CORNER OUT OF VIEWERS EYESHOT SO HE BENDS DOWN AND PICKS SOMETHING UP. IT’S A BELT.
HE TAKES THE BELT AND PUTS IT ROUND HIS WAIST OVER HIS SHIRT. HE STANDS IN FRONT OF A FULL LENGTH MIRROR TO LOOK AT HIMSELF.
Hmm, a bit short in the leg maybe. [NOTE: Not totally happy with this line. Suggestions?]
CUT TO STREET OUTSIDE. EDWARD’S FRIEND FRANK WHO IS WEARING OVERALLS IS STROLLING UP TO THE EXTERNAL DOOR OF THE FLAT WHILE EATING A BACON ROLL. BEFORE HE GOES IN SOMETHING CATCHES HIS EYE FROM UP THE STREET COMING TOWARDS HIM. IT’S JULIA, EDWARD’S FORMER PA DRESSED IN A CHICKEN COSTUME ON HER WAY TO DO A PROMOTIONS JOB.
Julia? Is that…is that you?
Er yes, I‘m afraid it is.
What? This old thing?
Another promotions job?
No, I’m going to a funeral.
FRANK MOMENTARILY TAKES HER SERIOUSLY.
C’mon Frank get a grip.
Who this time?
Mr Cluck’s Chicken Bar.
(GRIMACES) Nice. (BEAT) I’m just on my way up to Eddie’s. Are you coming?
Nah, there’s a bit of a flap on you see…
Heh, did you see what you did there? (FRANK MIMICKS THE BIRDY SONG ACTION)
JULIE GIVES AN UNIMPRESSED SMILE.
I have to say Julie that I actually rather like the outfit? It’s kinda cute. (BEAT) I suppose a cluck is out of the question?
JULIA RECOILS IN HORROR.
Frank, in a man’s eye I may be a bird but I’m no-ones chick (UNDER HER BREATH) unfortunately.
(NORMAL VOICE) I am a woman and no amount of feathers can disguise that. I want a relationship based on love and understanding and not fancy dress.
CUT BACK TO EDWARD’S FLAT. EDWARD IS NOW TYING A SPOTTED HANKERCHIEF AROUND HIS HEAD TO MAKE HIMSELF LOOK LIKE A PIRATE. HE JUMPS AROUND CHILDISHLY.
A-hahhh! Jim lad!
HE STANDS UP HANDS ON HIPS AND BEHIND HIM, ON THE WALL, IS A TASTEFUL ART PRINT OF PENGUIN. THE PENGUIN LOOKS TO BE SITTING ON HIS SHOULDER LIKE A PARROT.
CUT BACK TO STREET OUTSIDE.
So you’re not coming in then?
No. (BEAT) I’ll see him later anyway as I’m meeting up with him at the Royal Park hotel to make sure he’s ready for this life coaching thing he’s doing. That’s the theory anyway. There’s no guarantee he’ll remember his appointment with me let alone his clients.
Julia, I gotta ask. Why do you put yourself through it? You don’t work for him anymore. He hasn’t picked up on your desperate flirting so far so why should he start now?
I know, but he just needs to see the real me…
Quite difficult I’d imagine in that get up.
Which is precisley why I don’t want to arrive on his doorstep looking like a genetically modified chicken.
Point taken. (BEAT) Don’t worry – I’ll make sure he gets there. I have a plan. (TAPS HIS NOSE)
Cheers. (SIGHS SADLY) Anyway, I must fly…
Ha ha! Must fly! That’s good that is!
(ROLLS EYES) Yes, Frank – priceless. See you later.
JULIA PLODS AWAY AND FRANK GOES INSIDE THE BUILDING.
END OF SCENE