Original Airdate 10/9/2003
Written by Jhoni Marchinko
Directed by James Burrows
Transcript by Rob Durfee
Eric McCormack (Will Truman)
Debra Messing (Grace Adler)
Sean Hayes (Jack McFarland)
Megan Mullally (Karen Walker)
Blythe Danner (Marilyn Truman)
James Earl Jones (Himself)
Emily Rutherfurd (Joanne)
Nathan Anderson (Andrew)
Susan Leslie (Carol)
Michael Medico (Josh)
Jon Fleming (Russell)
Gordon Davidson (Himself)
SCENE I: Will's Apartment
[WILL AND GRACE ARE WATCHING TV.]
WILL: What is it about "Smallville" that brings out both the teenage girl and the lecherous old man in me?
GRACE: It's the writing. So how's living with your mother? Think you'll do a Christmas card together? Maybe you guys and a couple of schnauzers?
WILL: Don't remind me. I spend every minute with her. Museums, shopping, hair appointments. In the last seven days we've had eight dinners together. Don't ask me how.
GRACE: Where is she now?
WILL: Well, we had an early dinner. I sent her off to see Gypsy. We'll probably get a quick bite later on. Oh, now I see how that works.
JACK: Hmm, interesting. "Smallville" night. Oh, I used to be a part of that back in the day. Don't have time for it anymore. Why?
[JACK PRETENDS TO SMOKE A CIGARETTE.]
JACK: Got one-liner in an off-broadway play.
WILL: Who are you playing? A guy that smokes an imaginary cigarette?
JACK: Maybe. Maybe I should talk it over with James Earl Jones. He's starring opposite me.
[JACK PRETENDS TO SMOKE A CIGARETTE.]
GRACE: Opposite you, or across the street from you?
[JACK LAUGHS AND PRETENDS TO SMOKE A CIGARETTE. HE STARTS COUGHING AND CHOKING.]
WILL: Here, drink this.
[WILL PRETENDS TO POUR A GLASS OF WATER AND HOLDS OUT HIS HAND TO JACK.]
[JACK PRETENDS TO DRINK IT.]
[WILL'S MOTHER, MARILYN TRUMAN, ENTERS.]
MARILYN: Don't mind me, I'm not even here. Hello, boys. Grace, you must have a very understanding husband. I am going to take a long tub. But before I do, does anybody have to make? Will?
WILL: I'm good.
[MARILYN EXITS INTO THE BATHROOM.]
WILL: [SIGHS] I hate when she talks to me like a child. "Does anybody have to make?" Oh, shoot, now I do have to make...
SCENE II: The Cherry Lane Theatre, Greenwich Village
[KAREN AND JACK HAVE ENTERED THE THEATRE. THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER PEOPLE WALKING AROUND.]
KAREN: Honey, I am so proud of you. Acting in a play with James Earl Jones.
JACK: I know.
KAREN: One of the greatest large black actors of our time. How did you do it?
JACK: Well, you know, Karen, it's such a crazy story. There was an open call. I tried out, and I got it. I didn't even know you could get parts that way.
[JAMES EARL JONES ENTERS THE THEATRE.]
JAMES: Good morning, fellow actors! Ahh, the smell of an off-broadway theater. It's always worse than you remember.
JACK: Mr. Earl Jones. I'm Jack McFarland. I just wanna say what an honor it is to be working with you. The theater is, well, it's my life, you know. I live it, I breathe it, I fondle it till it falls asleep. But more importantly, I respect it. By the way, do you know what play we're doing?
JAMES: The Iceman Cometh.
JACK: [GIGGLING] Cometh.
KAREN: [GIGGLING] Cometh. You are outrageous, James Earl Jones! Filthy and outrageous. Would it be forward if I asked you to lift me above your head?
JAMES: I'm sorry, I hurt my back doing that for Kevin Costner.
KAREN: Ah ha. Yes.
JACK: Mr. Jones, I only have one line, but I was thinking of saying it a few times in different accents. Thoughts?
JAMES: Jack, as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't matter if you have one line, or 437 like me. You and I are the same. Yes, I have two Tonys and most recognizable voice on the planet... Otherwise, you and I are the same.
JACK: You know, I've always thought that. But to hear you say it... Wow.
SCENE III: Crunch Gym
[WILL IS WORKING OUT ON A TREADMILL WHEN GRACE ENTERS.]
WILL: What are you doing here? You're married. You should be at home getting fat.
GRACE: I know, right. But ever since Leo's been home, he's just had a lot of extra energy. He wants to do it like twice a week. Together. So I've gotta tone up.
WILL: What kind of shape do you have to be in to just lay there?
GRACE: Good shape. Anyway, I started with a trainer last week.
WILL: You're paying for a trainer?
GRACE: Is that so hard to believe?
WILL: Kind of, you tried to have a cavity filled at a street fair.
GRACE: [FAKE LAUGH] U-hu-hu-hu-huh. That's cute. Did you think that up while you were living with your mother?
WILL: Could you not bring up mother, please? The gym is the one time of day I have to myself.
GRACE: Okay. Just so you know, that was a little Norman Bates-ish. Oh, okay, I gotta go. There's my trainer.
WILL: What? That guy over there? He looks like he's already training that woman.
GRACE: Yeah, I train with them.
WILL: Oh, I see. And do they know that?
GRACE: Look, why should I pay good money when I could just as well follow these guys around and do the same exercises for free.
WILL: Because it's cheap and unseemly.
GRACE: And yet, I still don't live with my mother.
[GRACE WALKS OFF. WILL WALKS OVER TO THE FREE WEIGHTS AND PICKS UP A COUPLE.]
ANDREW: How many more sets you have?
WILL: Oh, I'm just getting started. You wanna work in?
ANDREW: Thanks. I'm Andrew.
WILL: Will Truman.
ANDREW: So, Will Truman, you here alone?
DESK CLERK [OVER PA SPEAKER]: Will Truman, your mother is at the front desk.
WILL: Yes, yes, I am.
ANDREW: Didn't they just page you?
WILL: Nope, no. I-I don't think so.
DESK CLERK [OVER PA SPEAKER]: Will Truman, please meet your mother at the front desk. Will Truman!
MARILYN [OVER PA SPEAKER]: Will, dear, are you here?
SCENE IV: The Cherry Lane Theatre - Rehearsal
[JAMES EARL JONES, JACK, AND THE OTHER ACTORS ARE REHEARSING THE PLAY. GORDON, THE DIRECTOR, IS SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE. KAREN IS SITTING A COUPLE ROWS BEHIND HIM.]
JAMES: I'm just a man who's scared of life and even more scared of dying. So I'm staying drunk and hanging on to life at any price, and what of it--
[KAREN LAUGHS AND STOMPS HER FEET.]
JAMES: And you know what real peace means, because you won't be scared of life or death anymore. You simply won't give a damn.
[EVERYONE LOOKS AT JACK. JACK IS NOT PAYING ATTENTION. HE FINALLY LEANS AGAINST THE BAR AND NOTICES THAT EVERYONE IS WAITING FOR HIM.]
JACK: [QUICLY BLURTED] You're a liar.
GORDON: Okay, okay, okay. We're gonna have to stop. There's only one person that's acting on this stage. And that's Jack McFarland.
GORDON: James, you're not giving me anything.
JAMES: Well, I have two friends that might disagree with you, Tony and Tony. Would you like to meet them? They're in my dressing room.
JACK: I've also had two Tonys. Also in his dressing room.
GORDON: Who is this guy you're playing? It's called acting, James. Let's see some. Take five, everyone.
JAMES: Like I need this crap at my age. I've got Darth Vader money!
[JAMES SITS DOWN.]
JAMES: [TO HIMSELF] "It's called acting, James." How 'bout some directing, Gordon?
KAREN: You okay, honey?
JAMES: What? You think all that bothered me? I'm fine.
KAREN: If you say so. [WHISTLES]
KAREN: Well, uh, can we get real for a second, honey. You are a big, gorgeous man with a dazzling smile and large sausage-like fingers. You don't need to act. Which brings me to my point. You can't.
JAMES: What? You gonna make me bring up my Tonys?
KAREN: Ugh, enough with those bowling trophies! Honey, that's an award they invented to keep gay men off the streets for a night. Let's face it, honey. You stink. Now, you haven't done anything good since "This is CNN."
JAMES: But what about-- Look I-- I was Mufasa.
KAREN: Mufasa? Honey, more like Boofasa. Yeah. It's bad.
JAMES: You know, you're right. You've finally said out loud what I've always feared. I'm a fraud.
[KAREN RUBS HIS BACK.]
KAREN: There you go, honey. Whew, it's out. Now you can let it go. You know, I hear they're hiring at Lady Foot Locker.
JAMES: If I could only be more like that Jack, the way he breathes so much life into one line.
KAREN: [CHUCKLES] Well... you can't compare yourself to Jack McFarland. After all, he is one of the foremost acting teachers in this city.
JAMES: He's a teacher?
JAMES: You think I can get into his class?
KAREN: Eesh, I don't know, honey. It's like a hundred bucks a month.
JAMES: But that's exactly what I need. I haven't been to a class since Lee Strasberg. I sat between Marlon Brando and Shelley Winters.
KAREN: Honey, no offense, but how did that bench not break?
JAMES: Who said it didn't?
[JAMES AND KAREN LAUGH.]
SCENE V: Crunch Gym
[WILL IS LIFTING HAND WEIGHTS WHEN THE GUY HE MET PREVIOUSLY - ANDREW - SHOWS UP.]
ANDREW: Hey, Will, right?
ANDREW: Are you here alone, or are you here with your mom again?
WILL: My mom? Please...
[MARILYN WALKS PAST.]
MARILYN: Oh, there you are, Will. I'm borrowing your flip-flops for the shower.
WILL: I'm with my mom.
[IN ANOTHER AREA OF THE GYM, GRACE IS FOLLOWING "HER TRAINER" IN EXERCISE.]
GRACE: [WINDED] Come on, I don't even need this muscle for sex.
WOMAN: [TO GRACE] What?
GRACE: What? I didn't say anything.
[WILL WALKS UP TO GRACE, WHO CONTINUES TO MIMIC THE TRAINER AND THE WOMAN.]
WILL: My mother was here. Again! Third time this week! The only person that goes out in public with their mother more is Kevin Spacey.
GRACE: Tell her it's time to go home.
WILL: I can't. It would devastate her. You should've seen her when we were shammying off the mini-blinds. She hugged me and said it felt like Christmas came early this year.
GRACE: Well, you know, you're gonna have to be honest with her. It's the only way.
WILL: Oh, nice advice, coming from the first woman to steal exercise.
[WILL STOMPS OFF.]
TRAINER: [TO THE WOMAN] Okay, let's take a break.
GRACE: [TO HERSELF] Ooh, it's about time.
WOMAN: [TO GRACE] What?
GRACE: Why do you keep "whating" me? And your shorts are up your butt.
[GRACE WALKS OFF, BUMPING INTO MARILYN.]
MARILYN: Oh, Grace. Grace, Grace. I-I have a little problem. Can I talk to you about it? You know, girl to girl.
GRACE: Um, heh-heh, well, wouldn't you rather do that with Will?
MARILYN: I don't like that kind of joke. And besides, Will is the problem.
GRACE: What do you mean?
MARILYN: [SIGHS] I am dying to get out of there. He's driving me crazy. Always including me in his plans. [SIGHS] I swear to God, if I have to get up at 5 A.M. to go to one more flower mart!
GRACE: Well, you should just tell him that you're ready to leave. I'm sure he'll be fine with it. Beyond fine.
MARILYN: I'm not like you, Grace. I just can't say anything that pops into my head. And, besides, he is so much happier and regular since I've arrived. It would devastate him.
WILL: Mom, come on, or we won't get to spin next to each other.
MARILYN: Coming, son.
[MARILYN LOOKS AT GRACE AND ROLLS HER EYES, THEN FOLLOWS WILL TO CLASS.]
SCENE VI: The Cherry Lane Theatre
[JACK'S ACTING CLASS IS SITTING IN THE THEATRE. JAMES EARL JONES IS THERE, ALONG WITH CLASS REGULARS JOANNE AND RUSSELL, PLUS SEVERAL OTHERS.]
JACK: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to class. Now, remember, we are guests of the owners of this theater here today. So if you see any of the owners, hide.
[JACK TAKES THE STAGE.]
JACK: Now, we have a very special friend joining us today. He is an acting legend, known for such memorable roles as...
[JACK UNFOLDS JAMES EARL JONES' RESUME AND QUICKLY SCANS IT.]
JACK: [EXCITED] Oh, get out of town! You did a "Lois and Clark?" Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. James Earl Jones of TV's "Lois and Clark." Make some noise.
[JAMES JOIN JACK ON STAGE.]
JAMES: Thank you. Thank you.
JACK: Now... Let's just jump right into it. Jiminy, what do you got?
JAMES: I did prepare a monologue from King Lear.
JACK: Ooh, tough. Who would you like to do this monologue with?
JAMES: Uh... just me.
JACK: [CONFUSED] Uh, all right, it's a little unorthodox, but, hey, I give you points for moxie.
[JACK SITS DOWN AND PUTS ON HIS GLASSES.]
JACK: Let's do it. Yeah, let's see. Action, please.
JAMES: ["ACTING"] Blow winds! Crack your--
JACK: Whoo! And stop! Stop. Okay. [WHISTLES 'WHEW'] Let's start with the voice. It's fine for a lesbian, but you're a man. You want to-- [HIGH-PITCHED] You wanna be up here real high in your head voice. [LOW-PITCHED] Not down here. [HIGH-PITCHED] But real high up here, okay, La la la.
JAMES: [HIGH-PITCHED] La la la.
JACK: [FALSETTO] La la la la.
JAMES: [FALSETTO] La la la la.
JACK: A little more nasal. Nasal, like, lady.
JAMES: [FALSETTO] Lady!
JACK: Good! It's all part of lightening up, James. We gotta lose the James Earl Jones, and find the James Girl Jones. Now. We're gonna do a scene from "Sex and the City." Joanne, would you like to help us?
JOANNE: Great! I'm still on a high from my Monostat 7 callback.
[JOANNE TAKES THE STAGE.]
JOANNE: Mr. Jones, may I just say I am such a--
JACK: Stop gushing, Joanne, you're a commercial actress.
[JACK HANDS JAMES AND JOANNE EACH A PAGE, THEN SITS DOWN.]
JACK: Okay. And you're walking with purses. And action.
[JOANNE BEGINS MOVING AS IF SHE'S WALKING, AND JAMES FOLLOWS HER LEAD.]
JAMES: Oh, Samantha, I'm so nervous.
JACK: [INTERRUPTING] James, James. Uh, did you get mugged? Where's your purse?
[JAMES HOLDS UP HIS HAND AS IF HE'S HOLDING A PURSE.]
JAMES: [FALSETTO] Oh, Samantha, I'm so nervous. Big is in town, and I don't know what to do.
JOANNE: You don't what to do, or you don't know who to do?
JAMES: Oh, Samantha, you're so terrible. But those Jimmy Choos are to die for.
JACK: James, the voice, okay, Jimmy Choos.
JAMES: Jimmy Choos.
JACK: [HIGH-PICHED] Jimmy Ch-- Up here.
JAMES: [FALSETTO] Jimmy Choos.
JACK: No, it's [SCREECHING] Jimmy Choo!
JAMES: [SCREECHING] Jimmy Choo!
JACK: That's better, excellent, better. Russell, take your shirt off.
JACK: 'Cause we got a lot of work to do.
[RUSSELL STANDS UP AND TAKES HIS SHIRT OFF.]
SCENE VII: Crunch Gym
[WILL AND MARILYN ARE SITTING ON A MAT, FEET TOUCHING OTHER, LEGS SPREAD, DOING STRETCHES.]
WILL: Honey, cover up. I can see you.
WILL: [JUMPING UP, DISGUSTED] Oh!
[GRACE WALKS UP TO WILL.]
GRACE: Will, can I talk to you for a second?
[WILL AND GRACE WALK AWAY FROM MARILYN FOR PRIVACY.]
WILL: [QUIETLY] What's up?
GRACE: [QUIETLY] Great news. Your mom's sick of you, and wants to leave.
WILL: [QUIETLY] She does?
GRACE: [QUIETLY] Yeah. Isn't that great?
WILL: No, it's not great. I'm her son.
[WILL WALKS UP TO HIS MOM.]
WILL: Mommy! Are you sick of me?
MARILYN: Of course not. Where did you get such a crazy idea?
WILL: Grace said you said.
MARILYN: I said no such thing.
GRACE: Yes, you did. You did. [TO WILL] And you said you're sick of her.
WILL: I did not! Would I handwash the stockings of a woman I'm sick of?
MARILYN: Grace, what's wrong with you? You seem to enjoy causing trouble.
GRACE: Oy, goyim...
[GRACE WALKS AWAY.]
MARILYN: Well, I don't know what that was all about.
WILL: Me either. Oh, I hear they're gonna have gerbera daisies at the flower mart tomorrow. We should get up early.
MARILYN: Darling, I'm sick of you.
WILL: I'm sick of you too.
MARILYN: I really can't wait to leave. I mean, if I have to watch one more documentary about an alternative family and pretend to be moved I'm going to jump out the window!
WILL: And if you call my doorman oriental one more time, I'm going to have to find a new building.
MARILYN: Can I go home tomorrow?
WILL: Tomorrow? Why not tonight?
[WILL AND MARILYN HUG.]
[GRACE IS BACK TRAINING WITH THE TRAINER AND THE WOMAN. THE TRAINER SPOTS GRACE.]
TRAINER: Excuse me. Are you working out with us?
GRACE: No. I don't even know you, Josh.
WOMAN: Then how did you know his name was Josh?
GRACE: Oh, shut up, Carol.
TRAINER: You know, I don't do this for free.
GRACE: Oh, I'm shaking. What are you gonna do? Send me to exercise jail? And P.S., You're not even worth it. I haven't noticed any changes in my body. If anything, my ass has gotten bigger.
TRAINER: That's because this work out is designed to make Carol's butt larger and her chest smaller.
GRACE: Oh, dear God. [VOICE BREAKING] What have I done?
SCENE VIII: The Cherry Lane Theatre - OPENING NIGHT
[THE AUDIENCE TAKES THEIR SEATS. GRACE IS IN THE FRONT ROW. JACK AND KAREN ARE WAITING BACKSTAGE FOR THE PLAY TO START.]
KAREN: Honey, this is so exciting. In five minutes, that curtain is going to go up. And you're going to make your big debut!
JACK: I know...
KAREN: Anyway, I should get home.
JACK: Wait! Karen, I need your support. I'm really worried about James Earl Jones.
JACK: He has made no progress at all. A week in my class, and his hair looks exactly the same.
[JAMES EARL JONES WALKS BY.]
JAMES: Have a good show, Jack.
[HE CLICKS HIS TONGUE AND POINTS HIS FINGER AT JACK AS HE WALKS PAST.]
JACK: [ROLLS HIS EYES] [TO KAREN] He can't even do that.
KAREN: Oh, honey, this isn't one of those shows where everyone wears a hat?
[LATER, AFTER THE PERFORMANCE.]
[GORDON, THE DIRECTOR, CONGRATULATES JAMES EARL JONES.]
GORDON: James, you were amazing tonight, amazing!
JAMES: I know. I already called my family. It was only five cents a minute.
[GRACE WALKS UP TO JAMES EARL JONES.]
GRACE: Mr. Jones. Hi. I'm a friend of Jack's, and I just wanted to tell you, that you were brilliant.
JAMES: That's very kind of you. But no, I will not record your outgoing message.
[GRACE SCOFFS AND SITS BACK DOWN.]
[KAREN WALKS UP TO JAMES EARL JONES.]
KAREN: Hey, J-Jo. Nice work out there. Listen, uh... could I ride on your shoulders for a few minutes?
JAMES: Oh, all right. I'll go change into my Juicy Couture sweats and meet you in front of Sardi's.
KAREN: Ha ha!
JAMES: Jack. I got to thank you. That week in your class really helped me. Got me back to basics. You got me to the place where I knew nothing about acting. Because you know nothing about acting.
JACK: Well, you're welcome. So, I'll see you tomorrow in class. We'll be doing selections from L'Oréal commercials, okay, so bring a wig.
JAMES: Actually, you won't. I'm leaving your class.
JACK: Oh. Okay. So I'll see you here tomorrow night at the play.
JAMES: Actually, you won't. I had you fired. You're a lovely person, Jack, but I'd rather share the stage with a dashboard bobblehead. So, in future, let's all remember the words of that great Dane, "the purpose of playing, was and is to hold, as it were, the mirror up to nature."
[JAMES EARL JONES EXITS.]
JACK: Great Dane. [SCOFFS] Yeah, right. Like a dog can hold a mirror.