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Script Review: The Wonderful Maladys

Failed HBO pilot that didn't get picked up to series. It starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as Alice, Molly Parker as Mary, Neil Corddry as Neil and Adam Scott as Doug.

Alice, Mary and Neil are three dysfunctional adult siblings who lost their parents at a young age and are damaged for life ever since then. Molly is the oldest of them, a married and controlling therapist, who wants to get pregnant and has chosen to get pregnant by artificial insemination. When her husband complains about the porn that he's supposed to masturbate to at the fertility clinic, she decides to buy him the suitable porn movie and is shocked to learn that her husband does not want to watch a porn movie which has black girls in it, which she thinks of as racist. Alice is an aggressively opinionated and lonely book editor, who seeks refuge in drugs, alcohol and sex. She also fears abandonment, which is why she can't let go of Doug, her first love, who is screwing his assistant and considering a restraining order against her. Awkward and weird grad student Neil is the youngest of the siblings. He is in a monogamous relationship with an Indian-American woman and describes himself as 'absolutely honest' and is about to get his heart broken. "The Wonderful Maladys" is the story of these three siblings and their everyday life-struggles.

I honestly don't understand why HBO didn't pick it up. "The Wonderful Maladys" is smart, sophisticated and emotionally compelling. It's a light and yet very dark half-hour-comedy about three flawed siblings, who still cope with the childhood tragedy that defined their lives. It's a true character piece about damaged characters that seem like they could actually exist. There is not one bad thing I could say about the pilot script of the show. For a network that proclaims to be daring and not to be tv, it's actually quite an embarrassment that they didn't pick it up. What is even more shocking is that no other network tried to pick it up, when HBO passed on it, because all the ingredients for a great show are there. It would fit right in with Breaking Bad on AMC, or maybe even more so with Showtime's dark half-hour-comedies, as it is also anchored by a strong female lead and similiar in tone. While Sarah Michelle Gellar has made a lot of questionnable choices since "Buffy" ended, "The Wonderful Maladys" might have been her smartest choice to date and could have been a role that would not only have helped her to get a place in the spotlight of the media again, but it could also been the kind of role that finally could have gotten her the recognition that her fans have been waiting for and that could have led to better movie offers in the future. The part of Alice was written with her in mind, which you can tell, as the script really plays to her strengths. How HBO could order "How To Make It in America", but not this is beyond me. But apparently they want to establish themselves as the to-go-network for wannabe-douchebags, with "HTMIIA" and Entourage still on the air. But I should probably not turn this into a rant and diss other shows. "The Wonderful Maladys" probably was just at the wrong network at the wrong time. I'm pretty sure they would have picked it up when "Six Feet Under" and "Sex And The City" were still on the air, when they focused a little bit less on male demographics. While some of my readers might think I'm a bitter Sarah Michelle Gellar fan, whose opinion isn't worth a shit, I can tell you, I loved the pilot script for this so much, I would even watch it without Sarah Michelle Gellar. It's that good and this is really the kind of project where I hope that it shows up again somewhere.

Script Excerpt

A restraining order?! Really, Doug?!

Alice. Hi. Wow.

The Assistant appears and stands proprietorially at the
door. Doug’s eyes go back and forth between the women.

So, uh, yeah, hey, what’s going on?

What’s going on?! You never call! I never
hear from you. But, since I value our
friendship, I keep trying. Then I see Julie
and she says you’re convinced I’ve got some
sort of stalker crush on you! Which is sad
and delusional. Insulting. Cruel. Then she
says you’ve “discussed” a restraining order,
because, apparently, I’m just that evil!

Doug gives his Assistant a sheepish glance.

What the fuck, Doug? I’ve known you since we
were kids! You were my first boyfriend! You
knew my parents! What’s so invasive about
wanting you in my life?

Doug just nods. Okay. Maybe you’re right.

Whatever pathetic myths of self-importance
you guys need to create around yourselves,
keep me out of them! Please! I’m soooo not
interested having sex with you!

I get it.

Do you? Really? Look at me?
He does so. Shrugs. What?

I’m not interested in having sex with you.

You’re right. I’m sorry. We apologize.
Alice nods. Okay. Fine. As the issue’s resolved, no one
knows quite what to say. A tense beat.

Bali? Like the island?


The place drunk Australians go to get laid.


No, it’s just weird. Who names their child
for some sex tourism capital?

It’s where I was conceived.

Alice spins. The Assistant is BALI (25). Alice had even
forgotten the woman was standing in the doorway.

Alice, Bali. Bali, Alice.


You’re screwing your assistant?!

Doug peers out into the cube farm.

A little discretion, please.

I’m interviewing replacements.

Hey, it’s none of my business...

Alice, can you just...wait down the hall?


Alice waits. Muffled arguing comes from back in the cube
farm, behind frosted glass. It finally trails off. Stops.
Doug joins Alice out in the small lobby.

Jesus, Alice. What the hell do you want?

Nothing. That’s the whole point.

An awkward beat.
Her tone softens, grows more vulnerable.

I need to know you won’t cut me off. I can’t
handle people disappearing. You know that. If
it’s awkward to see me, send an e-mail, offer
lunch some day I’m out of town. Whatever.

Fine. I’ll pretend to be available.


If you stop antagonizing my girlfriend.

She smiles. Shrugs. Maybe.

  • 1
Wha?! Ugh, I was looking forward to this one. :(

Here's hoping there's still a chance that this pilot will see the light of day (in a very near future)!

I sure hope so.

Thanks for commenting.

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