Opinion

What if Philadelphia used reality TV to choose the city’s next mayor?

The Bachelor: Philly Mayor Edition — a suggested screenplay for the 2023 election.

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marthacooney

Ed note: This is a work of satire. Any resemblance to actual events or actual persons, living or dead…is entirely on purpose. (But not meant with any malice or ill intent. Really.)

The Bachelor: Philly Mayor Edition

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA SKYLINE, DAY

PHILLY (voice-over): Even though I been through a lotta heartbreak, one of the things I never done is give up hope. No matter how bad things got…

Montage: Young woman wearing an Erin Express t-shirt pukes on the sidewalk…

PHILLY (voice-over): No matter the heartbreak I went through…

…Rudy Guiliani rants at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference…

PHILLY (voice-over): I always held out hope.

…Birds fly over the Schuylkill River

PHILLY (voice-over): I’m far from perfect. In fact, I’m a hot mess. But I got a lot to offer the right person. I never given up on lookin’ for love.

PHILLY sits in “confessional” folding chair, facing camera

PHILLY: This is gonna be my 100th mayor. It just might be my last chance. (to the side) Yo, I don’t like this. It sounds desperate.

WHITNEY (off-screen): They’re gonna love it. Try to sound more excited.

PHILLY: (shakes head, annoyed. Clears throat, speaks in monotone.) Tonight’s the night. I’m ready to open up my heart. — Are you serious with this? Who wrote this [BLEEP]? (pauses, sighs) I’m ready for my happily ever after.

WHITNEY (off-screen): Cut. We got it. Take five.

PHILLY: Thank Christ. (Grabs Honey Bun from side table, takes bite)

— INTERIOR. CITY HALL MEETING ROOM, DAY

The room is jammed with City Councilmembers DEREK GREEN, CINDY BASS, ALLAN DOMB, HELEN GYM, CHERELLE PARKER, and MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ, along with City Controller REBECCA RHYNHART and Brown’s Super Stores Founder JEFF BROWN. Everyone looks at each other.

JEFF BROWN: What’s this about? Where’s Kenney?

— INTERIOR. MAYOR’S OFFICE.

MAYOR JIM KENNEY sits at a table playing the board game Sorry! against himself. He uses all four pieces, switching chairs to play each new piece.

— INTERIOR. CITY HALL MEETING ROOM.

JIM GARDNER enters

JIM GARDNER: Hello, everyone. As you know, a lot of folks, including you all, are rumored to be throwing their hat in the ring for Philadelphia’s 2023 mayoral election. The field is getting crowded.

HELEN GYM (looking around meaningfully): Thank you for saying it out loud, Jim.

JIM GARDNER: The minds in City Hall have decided to lean into it. Open the race up to everyone, add some spice so people pay attention. This election is going to be different.

DEREK GREEN (alarmed): What are you talking about?

JIM GARDNER: Welcome to “The Bachelor: Philly Mayor Edition.”

CHERELLE PARKER: Excuse me?

JIM GARDNER: The bus is here.

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA CITY HALL, DAY

Yellow school bus pulls up
Dramatic music plays

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): Welcome to a reality show like you’ve never seen before.

Montage: The TEMPLE OWL flexes a muscled wing … a PPA EMPLOYEE bursts into tears … MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ crosses arms and shakes head … A pack of contestants run up the art museum steps; someone trips, setting off a domino effect as the others start to fall.

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): In honor of the 2023 mayoral race, we present 23 Philadelphians competing for the heart of the city. I’m your host, Jim Gardner. Will Philly find the one they’ve been looking for? Find out now as we kick off “The Bachelor: Philly Mayor Edition.”

Title displays on screen; sentimental music plays
PHILLY gazes out the backseat window of an Uber

PHILLY (voice-over): I’m ready to meet my person.

A series of contestant reels play, interspersed with peppy music
First reel: A PPA EMPLOYEE tickets a car on South Street as the CAR OWNER frantically approaches

PPA EMPLOYEE (voice-over): I work for the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

CAR OWNER (pulling ticket off dash): Come on!

PPA EMPLOYEE in confessional chair

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

PPA EMPLOYEE: A lot of people think that, because I work for the PPA, I am a certain kind of person. I get called names… But there’s more to me.

Montage: PPA EMPLOYEE getting her hair done, baking cookies and bringing them to elderly neighbor, praying in church

PPA EMPLOYEE: Honestly, I’m so excited to meet Philly in person. Philly is so…genuine. There’s that quirky goofy side…and then the side where they’ll just cut your throat.

Next reel: YA FAV TRASHMAN throws garbage bags into sanitation truck

YA FAV TRASHMAN (voice-over): I’m Ya Fav Trashman, and I’m running for mayor of Philadelphia.

YA FAV TRASHMAN in confessional chair

YA FAV TRASHMAN: Let’s go.

Next reel: the TEMPLE OWL works out at Planet Fitness. It lifts weights, works with trainer, runs on treadmill. Now it’s in the Liacouras Center, preening and posing. Turns to camera with sign reading “OWL 2023”

Next reel: NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK walks under the El

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK (voice-over): Growing up, I always felt like an outsider. I was from another century. My hair didn’t make any sense. People were always saying stuff about my Newports…I dealt with a lot of opposition. But I’m not afraid anymore. This is my moment.

Montage: NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK faces opponent in boxing gym…hugs mother in living room…puts Steak-Umms into frying pan; sits down to dinner with family

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK in confessional chair

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: Ben Franklin said, you gotta shoot your shot.

A series of contestants in confessional chair

BEN SIMMONS: A lot of people been asking all season, “Ben, what are you doing? Ben, what is your strategy? Ben, why are you still here?” (beat) This is why.

MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ: Do you know the amount of [BLEEP] I have already put up with in my career? Do you think this mockery of the civil process is going to stop me? I’m not going away.

DEREK GREEN: I do not like this. But am I here? Yes. I’m here.

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

REBECCA RHYNHART: For the record, I want to say, this is ridiculous. But if this is what we have to do… (pulls out pink TI-82 calculator blinged out with stick-on rhinestones) Bring it on.

A RACCOON, on confessional chair, chews on a soft pretzel, jumps off chair

— INTERIOR. PHILLY ROWHOME, NIGHT

PHILLY sits on the couch with JIM GARDNER, watching the contestant reels on a TV screen PHILLY pauses the frame on the RACCOON in midair

PHILLY: Seriously Jim? Is this a good idea?

JIM GARDNER: Let’s just watch a couple more.

PHILLY presses play. Onscreen, AIR VENT GUY stands over a subway grate in front of McGlinchey’s, his clothes billowing out

AIR VENT GUY: Philly, I’m the one.

Next reel: DR. OZ walks backward down street, addressing the camera

OZ: As a true hometown boy, I would be honored to serve my city —

WHITNEY (off-screen): Cut! How the [BLEEP] did he get in here?

DR OZ trips and falls into pothole

— INTERIOR. SCHOOL BUS, NIGHT

Seats are jammed with candidates. MERRILL REESE and MIKE QUICK share seat with a sign that reads “Together We Fly.” TERRY GROSS is next to JOEL EMBIID. Councilmember CINDY BASS, shoulder to shoulder with the TEMPLE OWL, makes disgruntled face

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA SCRAPYARD, NIGHT

A trash can fire glows in front of a chain link fence
The yellow school bus pulls up
Contestants exit the bus one by one and introduce themselves to PHILLY

CHERELLE PARKER: My name is Cherelle Parker, I’m a city councilmember, and you already know me. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I don’t know why we have to go through all this.

DRUMLINE ELMO approaches, banging drum

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK (rapping badly): Move closer to your world my friend, take a lil bit a time, my mom says you get one love, and Philly you’re mine.

CUT TO:
NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK in confessional chair

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: You only get one chance for a first impression.

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA SCRAPYARD, NIGHT

A REGULAR GUY in T-shirt and jeans walks up

REGULAR GUY: Hi Philly, nice to meet you. I’m just a regular guy from the neighborhood. (touches ear nervously)

PHILLY: How you doin’.

Closeup of REGULAR GUY. He’s wearing an earpiece. A voice crackles.

JOHNNY DOC (through the earpiece): Shake hands, dammit!

— ​INTERIOR. PRISON CELL, NIGHT

JOHNNY DOC sits in jail cell wearing a leopard print smoking jacket, eating a bowl of Lucky Charms
A BUTLER approaches with a silver tray of food

BUTLER: Your honey ham, sir?

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA SCRAPYARD, NIGHT

DR OZ rollerblades in

PHILLY: Are you serious right now? Get him outta here, please!

— INTERIOR. PHILLY WAREHOUSE, NIGHT

Contestants hold drinks glasses and sit on lawn furniture spread with pillows. Small trash can fires light the room. Bouquets of barbed wire elegantly arranged in coffee cans are placed around the space.
HELEN GYM is on a bench, sipping iced coffee. When REBECCA RHYNHART goes to sit next to her, she puts a pillow in the way.

HELEN GYM: Sorry. No room.

JOEL EMBIID surveys the room. He’s drinking a Shirley Temple.

CUT TO:
JOEL EMBIID in confessional chair

JOEL EMBIID: They wanted me here to keep an eye on Ben, but now I’m thinking, hey, why not do this myself?

— INTERIOR. PHILLY WAREHOUSE,NIGHT

AUNT MARY PAT sits on a folding chair with legs crossed
She waves her wine glass

AUNT MARY PAT: Keep it flowing over here!

MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ: Don’t you live in Delco, Aunt Mary Pat?

AUNT MARY PAT: My [BLEEP]hole doorter Kelly has residency here and I been stayin’ with her, not that it’s any of your friggin business, hun, so why don’t you shut your trap?

SCABBY THE INFLATABLE UNION RAT enters and tries to sit on couch
He shuffles his enormous body to make room, knocking BEN SIMMONS to the floor

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

— INTERIOR. PHILLY WAREHOUSE, NIGHT.

JIM GARDNER enters carrying an orange Wawa milk crate filled with thirteen long-stemmed red roses

JIM GARDNER: Contestants, it’s time for the first Rose Ceremony. Some of you will be sent home tonight.

CUT TO:
PHILLY in confessional chair

PHILLY: I have some tough decisions to make. There’s a lot of great candidates here.

CUT TO:
Closeup of SCABBY THE RAT

— INTERIOR. PHILLY WAREHOUSE, NIGHT

The candidates line up for the Rose Ceremony

PHILLY: Ya Fav Trashman, will you accept this rose?

YA FAV TRASHMAN: Always.

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK rolls eyes
Montage: PHILLY hands out roses

JIM GARDNER: Contestants, I’m sorry, if you did not receive a rose, take a moment, say your goodbyes.

CUT TO:
BEN SIMMONS in confessional chair

BEN SIMMONS: To go home on the first night… I’m not gonna lie. I’m heartbroken.

ALLAN DOMB in confessional chair

ALLAN DOMB: I’m not going to dignify this. I have nothing more to say.

— INTERIOR. PHILLY WAREHOUSE, NIGHT

JIM GARDNER escorts out CINDY BASS, CHERELLE PARKER, DEREK GREEN, HELEN GYM, ALLAN DOMB, REBECCA RHYNHART, JEFF BROWN, BEN SIMMONS, and AIR VENT GUY

CUT TO:
PHILLY and JIM GARDNER reconvene in dimly lit back room

PHILLY (shaking head): Yo, I hate this.

JIM GARDNER: You’re doing great. Sit down, I got you a sandwich.

PHILLY: Thanks, man.

CUT TO:
TERRY GROSS in confessional chair, holding rose

TERRY GROSS: When you were five years old, you were walking home from school and you saw a cat getting chased by a dog. From that point forward, you knew you were going to be a reality show producer. Can you talk about why that moment was significant for you?

WHITNEY (off-screen): Terry, we’re interviewing YOU.

TERRY GROSS: Really? I’m surprised by that.

WHITNEY (off-screen): Can you please answer the question?

TERRY GROSS: Let’s take a short break.

— INTERIOR. TV STUDIO, NEXT DAY

WHITNEY hovers behind PHILLY and JIM GARDNER in makeup

PHILLY: I’m not feeling it. I can’t get excited about any of this. (snapping at makeup artist) Don’t touch my scar!

WHITNEY: A mantra I like to use is, fake it til you make it.

PHILLY: That ain’t me, Whitney! Can you talk to her, Jim?

JIM GARDNER (offering bottle to PHILLY): Here, drink some water. You’re just a little overwhelmed right now.

WHITNEY: Look, you got the stressful part over with. Today’s going to be so much fun. It’s the first group date! Enjoy it!

PHILLY: I was not clear minded when I signed that contract, and you know it, Whitney. I ain’t happy about this.

WHITNEY: Let’s circle back later, okay? Everyone’s waiting.

WHITNEY hurries PHILLY and JIM GARDNER down the hall. JIM GARDNER pats PHILLY comfortingly on the back.

— INTERIOR. DR. ETHEL ALLEN PUBLIC SCHOOL PRE-K CLASSROOM, DAY

Students in uniform sit on a brightly colored rug. The contestants crowd the room

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): It’s Day Two, and our remaining candidates are here in Mr. Whitaker’s class for their first challenge.

WHITAKER: To get a sense of how well you display leadership, we’re going to see how you handle a photo op while an aide whispers bad news into your ear.

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

AUNT MARY PAT sits in tiny chair

AUNT MARY PAT: Hi kids! Your Aunt Mary Pat’s gonna read to you today…”The Cat in the Hat.” How long is this? Oh God, this is friggin long.

STUDENT: Can I go to the bathroom?

AUNT MARY PAT: Do you want a slap in the mouth cause you’re fresh?

AIDE speaks softly into Aunt Mary Pat’s ear

AUNT MARY PAT (yelling): A bomb threat at the Flower Show?! Are you friggin kiddin’ me?!

Kids scream

CUT TO:
DRUMLINE ELMO sits on tiny chair in front of class, silently showing them pages of “The Cat in the Hat.” AIDE whispers into DRUMLINE ELMO’s costume head. DRUMLINE ELMO continues turning pages with no reaction.

CUT TO:
PHILLY in confessional chair

PHILLY: I gotta say, Drumline Elmo nailed it.

DRUMLINE ELMO in confessional chair, nods silently

CUT TO: ​
NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK in confessional chair

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: Drumline Elmo is cheating, and I’m not about that. I’m gonna rise above it, but I’m not gonna forget this.

— INTERIOR. PENNSYLVANIA CONVENTION CENTER FLOOR

Contestants stand together as a CONVENTION CENTER STAFFER approaches

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): The next group date is the Paper Mache Paper Trail.

CONVENTION CENTER STAFFER: Welcome, everyone! For this two-part challenge, you’ll go through your box, which contains your personal paper trail, and remove anything that indicts you in any way. Then you’ll use that paper and some glue to make a statue of something that can be appreciated by all Philadelphians. You’ll be judged on speed, style and attention to detail!

Closeup of REGULAR GUY, his hand is on his earpiece

JOHNNY DOC (through earpiece): Don’t [BLEEP] this up.

CUT TO:
YA FAV TRASHMAN in confessional chair

YA FAV TRASHMAN: There’s something about Regular Guy…I just don’t trust him.

CUT TO:
PPA EMPLOYEE in confessional chair

PPA EMPLOYEE: An art project is definitely something that’s a little intimidating for me.

CUT TO:
TEMPLE OWL struggling. Wings are stuck together with glue.

CUT TO:

CONVENTION CENTER STAFFER: All right, let’s see the results!

Contestants stand in front of paper sculptures of varying skill level
TEMPLE OWL’s wings are stuck to the floor

CUT TO:
YA FAV TRASHMAN in confessional chair

YA FAV TRASHMAN: The Owl was a complete mess! Is that who you want for your mayor?

CUT BACK TO:

CONVENTION CENTER STAFFER: The winners are Merrill and Mike!

MERRILL REESE and MIKE QUICK high five

MERRILL REESE: It’s gooooooooood!

MIKE QUICK: If you were looking closely, you could see that we actually left our box *untouched*, because we have nothing to hide! What we did was, we took a piece of blank paper and made a paper airplane and at *just* the right moment we let it fly! We’ve been preparing for this all season; we are showing up, baby, and we are ready to win it.

CUT TO:
MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ in confessional chair

MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ (frustrated): How are they even allowed to compete as a team?

— EXTERIOR. ACADEMY OF MUSIC,NIGHT

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): Today’s final event tests how quickly you can raise campaign money. Each candidate has twenty minutes to get as many fundraising dollars as they can.

CUT TO:
MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ in confessional chair

MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ: [BLEEP].

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

— INTERIOR. ACADEMY OF MUSIC BALLROOM, NIGHT

Donors in black tie congregate around the room, eating appetizers and visiting the open bar
The contestants start circulating

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: I got this.

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK starts drawing cardboard sign
DRUMLINE ELMO walks through room playing drum
Kid following him collects dollars in plastic jug
RACCOON jumps on charcuterie table and starts eating the prosciutto.

CUT TO:

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): Drumline Elmo wins by a mile.

CUT TO:
NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK in confessional chair

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: That’s two events he won today and I feel some type of way about it.

— EXTERIOR. ACADEMY OF MUSIC, NIGHT

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK is yelling

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: You a cheater, Elmo!

CUT TO:
DRUMLINE ELMO in confessional chair, silent. Wipes eyes, mascara runs down face

CUT TO:
PPA EMPLOYEE in confessional chair, hugging RACCOON in lap, crying

PPA EMPLOYEE: It’s getting very emotional around here and it’s starting to get to me.

— EXTERIOR. ROOSEVELT BOULEVARD HOME DEPOT PARKING LOT, NIGHT

Small trash can fires are lit on the ends of the rows of contestants
JIM GARDNER and PHILLY approach

JIM GARDNER: It’s time for our next Rose Ceremony, and to say goodbye to a few more candidates.

PHILLY: Terry Gross, will you accept this rose?

AUNT MARY PAT purses her lips

CUT TO:
PPA EMPLOYEE in confessional chair

PPA EMPLOYEE (weeping): I wanted Philly to see all of me, and they didn’t get to see all of me. (wipes eyes) I believe that one day, I *willl* find someone to love me.

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK in confessional chair

NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK: I wanted this city to fall in love with me, but you know what? I’m more madly in love with who I am than anything. I am tough. I am strong. I am beautiful.

— EXTERIOR. HOME DEPOT LOT

JIM GARDNER: Please say your goodbyes.

PPA EMPLOYEE hugs RACCOON
JIM GARDNER escorts out MARIA QUINONES-SANCHEZ, YA FAV TRASHMAN, MERRILL REESE and MIKE QUICK, PPA EMPLOYEE, the TEMPLE OWL, and NORTHEAST PHILLY MONK

JIM GARDNER: Remaining contestants, it’s time for you to head back to the warehouse. We will see you in the morning. Goodnight.

TERRY GROSS, JOEL EMBIID, REGULAR GUY, DRUMLINE ELMO, AUNT MARY PAT, SCABBY THE RAT and RACCOON all nod

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

— INTERIOR. TV STUDIO, NIGHT

PHILLY, WHITNEY and JIM GARDNER stand in PHILLY’s dressing room

WHITNEY (angry): I don’t want to get on you about who you’re choosing to send home…but you need to put more thought into it than this dartboard system.

Closeup of dart stuck through photo of PPA EMPLOYEE
Other contestant photos are scattered over dartboard on wall

PHILLY: I’ll do what I want! This is a clown show!

WHITNEY: You’re supposed to be excited. You have to stop being so negative. Viewers won’t like it.

PHILLY: You want me to lie about my feelings?

WHITNEY: You signed a contract!

PHILLY: I’m so done with you right now. (puts hand up, addresses cameraman) Get AWAY from me!!

— INTERIOR. BEST WESTERN MOTEL HALLWAY, NIGHT

JIM GARDNER knocks quietly on motel room door, PHILLY opens door
JIM GARDNER tucks PHILLY into bed, reads crime report aloud as PHILLY drifts off to sleep.

— INTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA WAREHOUSE, DAY

TERRY GROSS, JOEL EMBIID, REGULAR GUY, AUNT MARY PAT, DRUMLINE ELMO, and RACCOON sit on couch drinking coffee. JIM GARDNER enters

JIM GARDNER: Good morning! Today, Philly will start spending some one-on-one time with each of you. Today’s date card is for… (opens envelope) Raccoon!

Other contestants openly huff; roll eyes

— INTERIOR. PONZIO’S DINER, CHERRY HILL, DAY

PHILLY and RACCOON sit in a booth

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): This morning, Philly takes Raccoon over the bridge for some one-on-one time.

PHILLY: The eggs Benedict is good.

RACCOON chews on sugar packet.

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA WAREHOUSE, DAY

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): We’ve come to the end of the week. From the Greased Pole Climb to the Schuylkill Dunk, the contestants have had quite a journey.

FLASHBACK:
Contestants sit on inflatable floats on the Schuylkill River as swimmers try to tip them in.
AUNT MARY PAT is perched on a unicorn float, wearing a bright bathing suit, muumuu cover-up and wedge sandals and holding a wine glass.
AUNT MARY PAT: Youse are all losers!

CUT TO:
TERRY GROSS in confessional chair

TERRY GROSS: I don’t want to say Aunt Mary Pat was asking for it…but she was asking for it.

CUT TO:
Swimmer tips the unicorn float. AUNT MARY PAT tumbles into the river.

AUNT MARY PAT: Aaaaaaaaaaaah!

CUT TO:
TERRY GROSS in confessional chair

TERRY GROSS: (smiles)

— EXTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA WAREHOUSE, DAY

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): After a long week, everyone is feeling the pressure of tonight’s Rose Ceremony.

— INTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA WAREHOUSE, DAY

Contestants are in an animated discussion

TERRY GROSS: Yes. I would crack down on Savesies.

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Dre Reed for Billy Penn

AUNT MARY PAT (waving wineglass and yelling): You’re telling me that after I get Larry to shovel out a spot you’re gonna come to my street and move my cone? Is that what you’re telling me, Terry? (stands over TERRY GROSS, getting increasingly agitated)

SCABBY THE RAT tries to wedge self between TERRY GROSS and AUNT MARY PAT. One of AUNT MARY PAT’s nails punctures SCABBY THE RAT. SCABBY THE RAT starts to deflate. REGULAR GUY shrieks.

CUT TO:
REGULAR GUY in confessional chair

REGULAR GUY: When Scabby started to lose air, I was like…[BLEEP] is getting real.

SCABBY THE RAT in confessional chair, half deflated
A patch of duct tape covers the puncture wound

— INTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA WAREHOUSE, NIGHT

The contestants stand up as PHILLY and JIM GARDNER walk in

JIM GARDNER: Welcome to tonight’s Rose Ceremony.

Montage: JOEL EMBIID, TERRY GROSS, SCABBY THE RAT, DRUMLINE ELMO, RACCOON and REGULAR GUY get roses.

JIM GARDNER: Aunt Mary Pat, I’m sorry. Please say your goodbyes.

CUT TO:
AUNT MARY PAT in confessional chair.

AUNT MARY PAT: Buncha friggin [BLEEP]holes.

— INTERIOR. MOTEL ROOM, NIGHT

JIM GARDNER (voice-over): It’s getting down to the wire. The final Rose Ceremony is in two days, and Philly is going to have to make a choice.

PHILLY shakes Advil into mouth straight from bottle

— INTERIOR. LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD CORRIDOR, DAY

PHILLY and WHITNEY stand together in corridor
Cheers from the crowd can be heard from inside the stadium

WHITNEY: Okay, there’s been a few changes. Dave Davies was throwing up a stink, so unfortunately Terry had to go back to work. And Joel had to get back to practice.

PHILLY: Are you serious?

WHITNEY: Also, the raccoon has run away.

PHILLY: This is balls.

WHITNEY: Regular Guy, Drumline Elmo, and Scabby the Rat are waiting on the platform at midfield. Should we walk through the game plan?

PHILLY (yelling): I’m done, Whitney. (shakes head) I ain’t doing this no more.

WHITNEY: Please. Philly. The stadium is full. Everyone is waiting.

PHILLY (crying): Can I talk to Jim for a minute? (sniffles) He’s the only one around here who makes me feel like I’m not going crazy.

WHITNEY: But we have to —

PHILLY (lashing at camera): I just want Jim!

WHITNEY pauses. Slowly looks at camera. Beat.

WHITNEY: Yeah. No problem. Just wait here.

WHITNEY runs down hallway
WHITNEY bursts into JIM GARDNER’s dressing room, out of breath.

WHITNEY: Jim, we’re going to throw in a twist. We want you to put yourself in the running.

JIM GARDNER (whirling around, half-dressed): What? No.

WHITNEY: It’s ratings gold!

JIM GARDNER: I’m supposed to retire! This was my final gig! I promised my wife!

WHITNEY: And a lucky woman she is, Jim. But…how about…just once more, for the people in the back?

The crowd roars inside the Linc
JIM GARDNER hesitates

WHITNEY: You really weren’t ready to retire, were you Jim?

JIM GARDNER looks at camera. Tiny smile.

FADE OUT.
FADE IN:

— INTERIOR. PHILADELPHIA WATERFRONT CONDO BUILDING, NIGHT

WHITNEY is on the couch with the television on
On the screen, MAYOR JIM GARDNER sits at a desk with a microphone

JIM GARDNER: Welcome to my nightly fireside chat.

WHITNEY smiles, turns to camera

WHITNEY: You’re welcome.