Instead of buying movie product placements, why doesn’t Goodby, Silverstein & Partners create their own film?
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
THE SONIC CARHOP MOVIE
Screenplay by Alan Nafzger
Actors: T.J. Jagodowski and Peter Grosz
T.J. and Peter bump into a Sonic girl and single mother, help with the kids and decide to fix their romantic relationships.
T.J. (T.J. Jagodowski) is a farmer living in rustic rural America. The nearest city is Farmersville. He’s spent years on a big green tractor plowing fields and talking to cows and himself, and all his little heart wishes for is to find his farm/soul mate. This friendless job can account for some of T.J.’s idiosyncrasies, but not entirely. It seems every female he encounters wants to live in the city. He has a custom-made tractor, now a “two-seater”, but to no advantage. He’s been through three city girlfriends, none of whom wanted to grant his wish.
Each day after the farm work is done T.J. showers, puts on clean clothing and drives to the city. He picks his old friend Peter (Peter Grosz) up from the bank where he works. Peter is the President of the local bank. A ritual since high school, each day they get into Peter’s classic car and go to the Sonic Drive-In.
The ostensible character of “The Carhop” is beautiful Sissy; she has a hush-hush tractor fetish. She subscribes to “Tractor” magazine but hides it from everyone. When there aren’t clients to wait on she sneaks into the back and thumbs through the pages. She imagines being a farmer’s wife, but she just hasn’t met the right farmer, yet. She meets lots of farmers but they all seem to be wearing a wedding ring. She has never been on a farm but in some way knows all about farming (from Sonic small talk with married Farmers) and doesn’t mind being on roller skates. In fact, she rarely takes them off. She has two kids and the roller skates help her keep up.
For a long period, Sissy never delivers their food; another carhop helps T.J. and Peter. When Peter and T.J. finally meet her, Sissy’s has fit right into town. She is an exceptional employee and quickly knows all the townspeople and she knows basically what they will order. Our main characters, T.J. and Peter, greet her and welcome her and learn that she has traveled around a bit, that she has worked at several Sonic Drive Ins in other cities.
Peter is engaged to Cytherea, an attractive woman who works at the school as a librarian. She lives with him but insists that she doesn’t want to have children. The new Sonic girl is so lovely Peter can’t help but be tempted. Peter and T.J. have a debate about fidelity and T.J. convinces Peter to flirt with Sissy and that it will be his last opportunity before he is married to Cytherea. Our monogamy-minded bank president faces an unlikely test of his faithfulness. Over several visits to the Sonic, Peter works up his nerve to ask for her phone number.
Peter does have a witty chat with Sissy at the Sonic. When he finally asks for her number the disturbance causes her to be hit by a car. Sissy’s broken arm and leg are courtesy of Peter, who called her name as she skates into the path of a car. As a result, Peter feels that he must take care of Sissy and her two young children, who think Peter is their father. To avoid complications, Peter has told the nurse at the hospital that is he married to Sissy and he has told the school secretary that he is the children’s father.
Despite his intentions, Peter learns about and becomes closer to the children than he does their mother. Sissy’s son, Joey wants to be a successful baseball player and win friends at school. Sissy’s daughter desperately wants to be a ballerina and to be treated like a princess. Since the kids father has left them, Sissy has been a VERY good single mother and Peter feels a great deal of pressure to make the children happy. Peter has had a very soft life as a bank president with no children, but now must struggle to keep up with events. Of course they visit Sonic to celebrate baseball feats and ballet accomplishments.
This all leads to a routine in which Peter leaves home in the morning to go care for Sissy and her two kids, then picks the kids up from school, takes them to after-school activities and stays until bedtime. His secretiveness eventually leads Cytherea to suspect he’s having an affair, even as familiarity gradually cures Peter of any romantic interest in his patient. Sissy is a little scatter-brained for him. Peter begins smitten with Sissy, but actually learns to love the children and routine of family life. Peter uses T.J. to hide these doings from Cytherea. Peter loves Cytherea, but the kids are just too delightful and in need of a father figure.
There are outlandish complications that have Peter dashing back and forth between Cytherea and Sissy, keeping Cytherea in the dark about why he is constantly disappearing. It’s a variation on one of the oldest comic setups: the two-dates-at-once conundrum. Here, an added crease is that Sissy’s two young children also become part of the mix, as does Peter’s friend T.J.
Peter coaches the boy’s baseball team and takes the girl to ballet practice. He uses his banking and negotiating skills to win the girl the lead role in the ballet. T.J. plays a supporting role as Peter plays father. At baseball and ballet, T.J. gives incredibly ludicrous advice; the kids laugh. The children think T.J. is funny. Peter, their caretaker, is a bit jealous of the kids affection for T.J. Peter tries to help the children but T.J. continually gets in the way with silly ideas and crazy notions.
Each day, Peter and T.J. visit the Sonic to plan the days’ activities with the kids. T.J. messes up the baseball team and Peter must repair it. T.J. messes up the ballet and Peter must repair it.
If we are marrying “Like” to “Like” and not “Opposites” then Sissy and T.J. should be paired. And Peter and Cytherea should be married. Our two main characters don’t realize it but the situation is chaotic. Happy carefree Sissy is best matched with T.J. and Peter should marry common sense and reasonable Cytherea. Cytherea eventually will come around to the idea of having children. The audience should want the two men rematched.
This is unresolved until one day, Peter must ask T.J. to take care of Sissy. T.J.’s truck will not start so he drives his tractor into town. While straightening up the apartment, T.J. finds Sissy’s Tractor magazines under her bed. And confronts her. She breaks down and admits that she has a farm fantasy. She hasn’t been aware he was a farmer. They talk tractors, fried okra, the value of chicken necks for Sissy’s dogs, and T.J.’s angry bull. Sissy is enthralled. When Peter arrives T.J. and Sissy are making out on the couch. Peter mildly objects. T.J. and Sissy leave for the farm. They find privacy on a tractor in the middle of a corn field. And aerial view of the field show the newly plowed rows far from straight; the implication is that they are having sex on the tractor as it drives along on its own.
In the mean while, Peter picks the kids up from school and Cytherea confronts them. The children naturally announce that Peter is their father. The big romantic climax features Cytherea locked in her library crying. Peter must get on the school’s PA system to announce his love for the librarian.
Peter has told whoppers of lies, hurtful lies that the screenplay cleans up in the most uninspired, cheating ways possible. He lies to Sissy’s kids, who apparently have never seen their father. Peter also lies to Cytherea, who thinks he’s having an affair but is so slow to act upon her suspicions that she loses all credibility. But if love doesn’t have the power to forgive, what kind of love is it?
There is a double wedding in the city park. It is spring and a girl on her way to her Sonic job skates by. T.J. whispers to Peter, “I am going to give you the secret of life, pal. There’s always gonna be a girl on roller skates.”
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Notes
- This script is especially designed to allow T.J. and Peter to adlib.
- Financing this film should be done entirely with product placements. For example, Sonic Drive Ins, Wells Fargo bank, John Deere, Farm Collector magazine, Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto, etc.
- Cities where Sissy has worked and lived — Hookersville, French Lick and Threeway
- Magic chemistry of the movie – Sissy’s dogs and kids, baseball, ballet, T.J.’s farm and Peter caught in the middle of it all.