JOAN DOES DYNASTY, 32 minutes, 1986, Complete Script

JOAN DOES DYNASTY, 32 minutes, 1986, Complete Script
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  J OAN B RADERMAN — J OAN D OES D YNASTY  JDD: Final Script © Joan Braderman, 1986 1   Hi. My name is Joan, and I‟m American, like TV itself. I‟m your local beatnik professor — as opposed to anchor-clone — an unabashed — well a bit bashed — sixties throwback type doing stand-up theory as TV infiltrator, media counterspy, and image cop. These campy creatures have been interceding in my key personal relations for several years now. I assigned myself to watch the show, to see how the thing works. Why do a hundred million people in 78 countries welcome this department store dressed-to-kill aliens into their homes every week? So, we‟re in the home of Esther Shapiro, the producer cum  ideological stylist, who told us we were tired of granny glasses and long skirts and needed some shoulder pads and a hell of a lot of make-up to reach utopia. You could call this the home of the American Broadcasting Corporation, a/k/a Alexis Carrington Colby Collins, the designer castrating machine and center of power and desire in this show. The reason I wanted to start in this bathtub, which is about the size of my apartment — and probably yours — is because this is a raunchy, dirty-min ded show. It‟s not  for the thin- skinned. It‟s not tacky, like Dallas . It‟s not for wimps. Here people— even old people like Joan Collins — take their clothes right off and get down to it. Secretary: Congressman McVane is here to see you, Mrs. Colby  Alexis: Show the ex-congressman in. McVane: Hello, Alexis.  Alexis: Hello, Neil. Come in. Well, come all the way in, Neil unless you’ve got a nostalgia for that particular spot. That’s where you tried to strangle me one memorable night.  So, we see there are these sensual Art Deco moments, interludes, never mind the 20 crew members at the edge of the bubble bath. And then, there‟s work, as signaled by  Alexis‟s snappy little suit. And when Alexis works, you can bet that someone‟s dick is going to be lying on the floor. Now, just to get the seductive, narrative thrust pulling at you while I ramble on, I should explain that this bozo, McVane, tried to pull a fast one on our girl, and she‟s in the process of savoring the exercise of power on his little body and his little mind. Now Mark, entering right, with the jewels — her jewels, not his; she got his jewels a long time ago — will meet an untimely death at the hands of the ex-congressman later in the show.  And, you guessed it, he will, “Put the blame on Mame, boys, put the blame on Mame ….”   McVane: I’m the best man for this job, and you’re the one who ruined me, damn it. Now  you owe me.  Alexis: Owe you? I don’t owe you or anyone else a thing.  Mark: Oh, I got your necklace fixed, Alexis.  Alexis: Just leave it with my secretary, Mark. Oh, Mark, I have a little job for you. Please escort Mr. McVane out of my office and out of my building. McVane: Just a minute, Alexis.  Alexis: Get out of my sight, you miserable has been.  J OAN B RADERMAN — J OAN D OES D YNASTY  JDD: Final Script © Joan Braderman, 1986 2   God, I love it when she says things like that. Centurie s of women‟s oppression, a huge passionate movement against it, and where are we in 1986? Engaged by twisted pleasure, while this monstrous victim of fashion delivers verbal karate chops while issuing bursts of smoke through her shiny, blood-red, key light lips. What a swagger. What a walk. Look at that ass. This is Mr. Dex Dexter. Yes, that‟s his name. You saw him just now in the bathtub. He is Alexis‟s oil -rich, cowboy husband, roughly the same age as her various sons, and the current object of her lust. They smack each other around from time to time — a little paradigmatic sadomasochism —and he‟s involved with Rambo -like, CIA, action film stuff, in third world cutaways with Rock Hudson…now deceased. But, Dex‟s main function here, besides looking excellent in blue jeans, is that he marks for us, the viewers, one of the pseudo- progressive trajectories of this show: that, even if you‟re old and bitchy, if you have enough money, the right make-up man, and Nolan Miller to design your clothes, you can still get laid over 50, by a cowboy with great thighs, no less. Here, Alexis, the one-tone but canny performance and energy center of the show, the  phallic women, daughter of noir cynicism, power, and sexual charisma, becomes both active subject and object of desire in the narrative. Frankly, to me, she looks a little like her face would run if you touched it. You really don‟t want to touch her; no body wants to touch her but Dex. Blake: The first time I met you I called you young man, and you told me that you had as much experience and as much knowledge as the big boys. Well, welcome to the big time.  And here‟s big daddy Blake, patriarch par excellence and Alexis‟s ex, with her current squeeze. Now, they seem to be talking about business, but, of course, as Blake spells out the rules of the male power game, they both begin barking like crazy wolves, pissing on each other‟s shoes, territorializing with such intensity that it‟s clear that, in the world of unconscious desire, where we all live in Dynasty   world, Dex wants to jump the bones of the big boy, and Alexis, in some ways, is just a token exchange between the two. Blake: You came on Denver Carrington’s board with your father’s proxy. I ask one thing of you: loyalty. And you make deals with the competition. So, you’re no longer  part of Denver Carrington. You’re party of Colbyco. You chose yo ur partner, Dexter. Now you and your partner get somebody else to refine your oil. In the name of the Father, the Son, the Law, the Patriarchy…some kind of certainty , however odious. I mean, Bachelor Father is now the oil king. And power, while it‟s everywhere, as Foucault says, is more some  places than others. Blake: The police are on their way out to the airport. I want you to hold all the planes to New York . . . . I don’t care what it takes, do it!    OK, as you just saw, you can‟t fuck around with   Daddy‟s oil line. And you can bet that you can‟t fuck around with his bloodline either, especially if it‟s Daddy‟s little Electra -girl, Fallon. Unfortunately, that‟s exactly what happened. This toot -freak did it. The toot-  J OAN B RADERMAN — J OAN D OES D YNASTY  JDD: Final Script © Joan Braderman, 1986 3   freak, played by “gay Nazi” movie star, Helmut Berger, is indeed about to be punished by our narrative, as they find half a pound of coke on top of the decoy girlie magazines in his briefcase. Check out the face in the bust. Can‟t you feel the paranoia? The gorilla-faced cop is going to find the goods. Cop: I’ll have to ask you to open your baggage, please.   Helmut: I don’t understand.  Cop: Please open it.   So, here comes Daddy, and whoa, he‟s pissed as hell. He can stop planes with his telephone. He‟s so inflamed since Helmu t fucked and dumped the daughter and she was so bummed out that she fell under a car. But with a burst of geriatric macho, throwing his decaying body at the coke fiend, not only do we get this odd spectacle of tidy Dad in action film style, punching off the face of Helmut, but in terms of star auras, we have Bachelor Father, plastic, homogenized American TV money, at the throat of Old World real movie art stars — recycled for the eighties. Have I got a theory for you. In the architectonics of phallocentric power. . . “It‟s not the meat, it‟s the motion”. . .the skyscraper is the emblem. Phallus means power, not penis. If you‟ve got this many skyscrapers, you can forget castration anxiety. In the modern world, only power is real pleasure. And Dynasty   reminds us — between almost every one-on-one scene, with an extreme low-angle zoom on an enormous building — think of piles of money, with the super-rich scheming at the top, while the rest of us become bag people in the nightmare alleys of urban America. Hold-on Dynasty    titles announce that‟s where power lives: home, which you fly to in a helicopter shot over a land-rich medieval fantasy of family as it never really was; home, with TV, that little American salesman, beaming Dynasty   and feminine hygiene spray into us. . . and peasant villagers. Kirby: I don’t want to be smiled at. I don’t want to be told what a beautiful day it is, OK?   Krystal: Kirby, I know what you’re going through. I lost a baby, too. And I know the feelings of hurt and anger. You have to open up to others. Meet Krystal, the saccharine lady, the devoted wife forever, the ex-stenographer of Blake, constantly annoying everybody with dumb clichés. This cunt is such a sticky sweet Pollyanna, from morning „til n ight that, what can I say? As a member of a dark immigrant minority group, this kind of hokey Americana good cheer makes me want to throw up. Even John Derrick, no talent guy, dumped Linda for Bo. You can take the girl away from the typewriter, but you can‟t keep her out of the kitchen. On the other hand, it‟s not likely that Krystal is going to get her milky little hands dirty dressed in this marvelous beige outfit. See her chat with the head slave of the plantation, cooing over chocolate mousse, the dream of the bourgeoisie, wife as princess and sexual toy, first dependent on the class privilege of servant labor. Then, of course, technology was going to eliminate the whole problem. The question is elided,  J OAN B RADERMAN — J OAN D OES D YNASTY  JDD: Final Script © Joan Braderman, 1986 4   though. We don‟t see much of the servants, a s in Upstairs/Downstairs,   but they‟re always around. Certainly, none of the rich ones do any . . .fucking . . . work. Now we know who the new potatoes were for: this crowd, the entire disgusting, ever-growing family. The bacterially multiplying clan is gathered at home, in black tie, of course, because they‟re having a party for Fallon‟s legs, which temporarily stopped functioning due to toot-freak withdrawal. Here is Stephen (in remission from his undeniable gayness) with his current wifelet, the mad psycho, Claudia the dog, another wimpy annoying female, but one who‟s intolerable, because she ain‟t got Linda Evan‟s  Aryan cheekbones and smiling hair. OK, let‟s meet some more ghoulish Carringtons. There‟s Adam, who turned up late on the series as a kidnap- baby, but he‟s really the most deeply perverted macho. Kirby, the servant ‟s daughter. Dimpled Jeff. In fact, most of these people have screwed each other already or will in the future. And I can‟t emphasize this enough— but since everyone‟s here in full regalia with fancy camera movements — let me say this is a show about incest  , which, under the reign of Reagan, is the last taboo, but anything‟s better than extra-marital sex. Here‟s our very own flashback to show you some high melodrama in one of    the TV‟s favorite fantasy sites, the hospital. Good old solid smack-me-again Jeff, the boy next door, is at Fallon‟s bedside, only to be mistaken for the long -gone Nazi lover. Poor Jeff, every woman loves a fascist, but not, as you can see, when it‟s yo ur mother. Fallon: No, go away.  Alexis: Fallon. . . Fallon: Mother, get out of here. I don‟t think of this scene so much as a celebration for pedophiliac foot fetishists, but rather as a classic narrative movement, in which the prone body of a female hysteric has been entrusted to the prime patriarchs, husband and doctor, as they exchange meaningful glances across her body, pinning her in places with their powerful male glances, paralyzing her from the waist down. We‟re supposed to feel reassured. N ow I ask you, in a culture where the medical institution collaborates in a complex orthopedia of female desire, where female pain is always suspect, where women are one step above fucking laboratory rats, Fallon, do you really trust these guys? Fallon: I can’t move my legs.   That‟s the kind of girl Slimy Jo is. She‟s Stephen‟s homophobic ex - wife. She‟s barely met Adam. But these two predatory animals get naked immediately. Right off the bat, they start grunting and touching, trying to find routes to power, some kind of credibility that will elude them, always. I guess a lot of people like her. I know that a lot of people like Sammy Jo. She‟s the Valley Girl who escaped from the supermarket, escaped from the shopping mall into the mansion. The spunky little temptress as tragic hero. However, no matter how low she gets and how interesting and disruptive that might be, I personally find her boring. Her ideas backfire. I‟m really bored with the kidnappings,  J OAN B RADERMAN — J OAN D OES D YNASTY  JDD: Final Script © Joan Braderman, 1986 5   the Krystal kidnapping, the baby kidnapping. And, you can identify with those big teeth if you want to, but I don‟t trust her. I don‟t like her. And her clothes suck. Stephen: I’ll tell you why not. That brother of mine becomes father to my son over my dead body  — or yours.   Yuck, we‟re talking slime here, folks. Nothing is too low for Adam. If Aristotelian aesthetics has anything to do with mass-mediated soap operas, and we expiate our sins through the catharses of actors, we couldn‟t find a better sinner than Adam. He appears on the show late, reopening new incestuous possibilities. In Dynasty  , as the family grows, the singles bar atmosphere expands — and there are more people to fuck. So, we have Oedipus returned, or another six-foot, white male clothes horse, with blow-dried hair. He is the son that every father really wants to kill. These are the stories that need to be told. If you want to bone the daughter and off the son, meet Adam. He lies, he cheats. He schemes like a veritable girl, ladies and gentlemen. By now I think he‟s come on to every female on the show. He has married half of them, when the other guys are through with them. He tried beat his father out of his corporation, kill his fucking brother-in-law, and recently, exposed a young Kennedy-type politician to the papers as a queer, ruining the poor son of a bitch‟s life. Even when he‟s bumming, we hate him. In real life, as Enquirer   readers know (this is an intertextual moment), Adam is a bigamist. But — with the confusion between the real, his  acid flashbacks and his actual visitation in my   bedroom every Wednesday night — even advertisers know that using Adam to sell male cologne would be tantamount to using Richard M. Nixon. So here we see him through the magic of video editing, with his latest victim, servant daughter Kirby, biting her on the neck in the hopes that this ex- rapee will spread „em again and pop out another little Carrington.  Adam:   Power, money, the Carrington name…I want it all.   Since identification, according to seventies film theory, is always a free-for-all in a show like Dynasty  , here, in the bedroom of Claudia the dog, the victim of countless anti-psychotic drugs, in her alliance with the desperately closeted Stephen, in heterosexual transmission — excuse me, remission — we have an interesting space for free association, for your perversity and mine to be drawn deliciously, like a reflex, from our own trapped selves, isolated in our own little apartments and homes. Stephen: Let me ask you something. Are we going to stop all this talk and go to bed? Claudia: Why don’t yo u ever want to talk about anything serious? Stephen: I think sex is very serious. Come to bed, Claudia. Claudia: No. Who‟s the guilty one? Is it Claudia, for wearing this unsightly nightgown? Is it Claudia for refusing sex? Is it the mom? Or, is it a culture in which sexualities and commodities, like designer nightgowns, stand in such a direct and chilling relationship?
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