As you read this, I'm most likely headed up to Tennessee for a one-two punch of New Year's Eve wedding and auld lang debauchery with Holly and all her rowdy friends. Since I'll most likely be too car-bound, too drunk, or too hungover to post anything between now and 2010, I'll leave you ingrates with this sampling from a TV pilot I just started working on with Holly, a docu-dramati-comic peek inside the life of the hardest-working man in college football. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you: "That's So Urban!"
INT. CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY
A boardroom in the offices of the University of Florida Athletic Department. Assistant coaches CHUCK HEATER, DAN McCARNEY, and SCOT LOEFFLER sit around the table busily comparing notes and play diagrams; away from them, offensive coordinator and one-time interim head coach STEVE ADDAZIO idly bounces a tennis ball off the wall, ignoring them. Presently head coach URBAN MEYER enters the room, and every head except ADDAZIO's whips around as he does so.
HEATER, McCARNEY and LOEFFLER: Urban! You're back.
MEYER: Thanks, guys. It's good to be back, but before we get started today, I want to say two things: One, it's "Coach Meyer" unless I tell you otherwise.
(AUDIENCE: slightly uncomfortable laughter)
MEYER: Second, I think we should all thank Coach Addazio for his service while I was on my leave of absence. Steve, heard we had some damn fine drills the last couple months.
ADDAZIO: Yeah, they were good, I guess. I mean, I could coach some actual games and everything, but if you don't need me to, that's cool, I guess. I mean, whatever.
MEYER: No need. All right, men, what have you got for me?
HEATER: You sure you want to jump in right away, Coach? I mean, you want to talk about what you did on your vacation, or what you reflected on, or . . .
MEYER: Only the weak reflect, Heater. Let's get down to business. Loeffler, you've been working out with Brantley lately, how's he look? He gonna be ready to go against -- who we got opening day?
LOEFFLER: Citadel for the Deaf, sir. And, well, he's throwing the ball real well, but his pocket presence isn't great. We're really gonna have to redesign a lot of this stuff now that we don't have --
All action ceases as the phone on the conference table rings insistently. Everyone looks around to see who's going to pick it up, except MEYER, who stays radar-locked on his play diagrams. Presently McCARNEY sneaks a look at the caller ID window.
McCARNEY: Says "Meyer, N." 'S your daughter, Coach.
MEYER: 'F it's important she'll call back. (back to LOEFFLER) So what's his problem in the pocket? Footwork problems, is he staring down receivers, or . . .
MEYER: Yes to what?
LOEFFLER: (sheepishly) Uh . . . all of it?
(AUDIENCE: Whimsical laughter, except for the Gator fans)
LOEFFLER: I guess it's mainly his footwork -- jumps around trying to find an open receiver, and by the time he figures out there isn't one, he's too far behind the --
Another phone rings, this time the one in MEYER's pocket. Once again, everyone sits around waiting to see if it's going to get answered, and when MEYER finally notices all the eyes in the room are on him, he lets out a withering sigh and pulls out the phone.
MEYER: Hi, honey, and before you say anything you should probably know that I don't believe in hiding anything from my coaching staff, which means you're on speaker. Go.
NICOLE MEYER (V/O): Daddy, I've been carjacked!
NICOLE (V/O): I've been carjacked! I got turned around and ended up on the wrong side of downtown, and when I stopped to ask these guys for directions, they pulled me out of the car and drove off with it!
MEYER: Did you use the baseball bat I put in the trunk for you?
NICOLE (V/O): Daddy, they had guns!
MEYER: So it's a conditioning problem, then.
NICOLE (V/O): Daddy, you always do this! I'm sitting here at the police station, scared out of my wits, and you're giving me advice on how I should . . .
As NICOLE rails away, MEYER slowly slides the phone away from him, to the center of the table.
MEYER: Uh-huh. You're right, honey. Daddy's listening. (back to the coaches) All right, you were saying. If he's dancing around in the pocket, then we need to increase his regimen of footwork drills, and give him more quick-release stuff in the meantime . . . (back to phone) Uh-huh, honey, that's terrible . . . (back to coaches) We get Azzanni in here, see what he's got in the way of swings and short routes? . . .
INT. MEYERS' KITCHEN -- EVENING
The matriarch of the Meyer family, SHELLEY, stands at the kitchen island putting together a bowl of salad for dinner. She looks up when URBAN, wearing his characteristic furrowed brow, trudges in the back door of the house.
SHELLEY: You're home early!
MEYER: Don't remind me. One lousy cardiac incident and all of a sudden I got a doctor telling me I gotta start coming home at seven-thirty. Any earlier and I might as well be a frickin' Wal-Mart greeter.
SHELLEY: Well, maybe you should do that, it'd improve your attitude.
(AUDIENCE: Surprised, "Oh no she dih-ent!"-type laughter charged with female empowerment)
MEYER: Oh, you're gonna start in on me too now, is that it?
SHELLEY: Oh, come on. (gives URBAN a hug) You know what might help you wind down and do your heart some good in the process?
MEYER: Circumcising some Filipino kids with Tebow?
(AUDIENCE: Uproarious laughter quickly devolving into uncomfortable silence when they realize yeah, he'd probably do that)
SHELLEY: No, helping your son out with his science project. He's been sweating over it all afternoon.
MEYER: We have a son?
(AUDIENCE: "He-can't-be-serious"-type laughter)
SHELLEY: Nate, your 10-year-old??
MEYER: When did this happen?
(AUDIENCE: "He-really-can't-be-serious" laughter, followed by more awkward "Is-he-serious?"-type laughter)
SHELLEY: Do I need to start posting a roster on the fridge?
MEYER: That'd be a start, yeah.
The Meyers' 15-year-old daughter, GIGI, bursts into the kitchen from the den, earning the obligatory "WOOOOO!!!" and wolf-whistles from the male members of the audience. This continues until URBAN whips around, points at the audience, and stares them down into silence.
MEYER: You made me break the fourth wall. That was a bad deal. And next time, I'm going to make it a big deal.
GIGI: My life is over!
(AUDIENCE: Knowing, "Teenage-girls-are-such-histrionic-bitches"-type laughter)
GIGI: I was all set to ask Bobby Thompson to the Sadie Hawkins Dance at school in two weeks, but today I found out that Jamie, my so-called friend, already asked him. How could she do that? She knew I liked him!
URBAN and SHELLEY just look at each other while GIGI stews. Eventually SHELLEY urges URBAN over in their daughter's direction with her eyes.
MEYER: (sotto) What? This sounds like, you know, girl talk.
SHELLEY: (also sotto) Well, I'm busy, and this is a perfect opportunity for you to bond with a daughter you barely have time to say two words to in an average day, so go out there and be a father and do something besides drive me crazy.
MEYER: (pause) I bet Terry Saban doesn't talk to her husband like that. (to GIGI) Come on, uh, honey, you can tell your dad all about it, I guess.
URBAN leads his nonplused daughter into the family room to sit down with him on the couch.
MEYER: All right, tell your dad what's on your mind.
GIGI: (still wary) Uh . . . you really want to know about this stuff?
MEYER: Well, yeah, you're my daughter, so I guess it's my responsibility.
GIGI: (brightens) Oh my God! Dad! This is so awesome! I feel like I have my dad back! OK, so you know how I've had this crush on Bobby Thompson for, like, forever, right?
MEYER: Bobby Thompson, he's the, what, running back on your school's football team, right?
GIGI: Right! See, you have been paying attention! OK, so anyway, the first time I started talking to him was at one of the games last season. He had just run for this, like, 90-yard touchdown, and even though I was so nervous, I went up to him and I --
MEYER: Wait. Bobby Thompson did that?
GIGI: Well, yeah, he's like the fastest guy on the team. So anyway, I was so nervous I thought I was gonna throw up, but I went up to him after he'd come off the field, and . . .
MEYER: Did you get his number?
GIGI: Oh, god, no, I was way too nervous to ask him for that the very first time I talked to him, but later on that week, while we were changing classes, we exchanged e-mail addresses, and so we started --
MEYER: What's his e-mail address?
GIGI: Oh, something funny like speeddemon49 at yahoo or something like that. Anyway, we started e-mailing each other back and forth, and I didn't tell him straight-out that I liked him, but I mean the way I was talking to him he probably kinda knew I liked him, and besides, I had been telling my friend Jamie about this the whole --
GIGI stops talking as she notices that her father has surreptitiously pulled out his BlackBerry and begun typing on it with one thumb.
MEYER: Keep talking, honey, Daddy's listening.
GIGI: No you're not, you're typing on your BlackBerry. What are you doing?
MEYER: Just trying to get in touch with Bobby, that's all.
GIGI: Oh my God! You're not telling him what we're talking about, are you?
MEYER: Pffft, honey, I'd never tell somebody something like that.
GIGI: OK. Good.
MEYER: I'm trying to find out if he's gotten offered by anybody yet. Can't believe I let someone like this fly under my radar. Kid sounds like a stud.
GIGI: Oh my God, that is so gross! Forget it, I don't even know why I bothered talking to you about this! You don't understand anything!
GIGI storms upstairs, leaving her dad sitting there, BlackBerry still in hand.
MEYER: Jeez, this house is a tougher crowd than Tiger Stadium.
EXT. BACKYARD -- NIGHT
A lonely, troubled-looking MEYER trudges outside into the chilly air and wanders around his backyard for a bit. He stops at the back fence, behind which his neighbor WILSON is chopping away at something. We can only see WILSON from about the nose up.
MEYER: The hell are you doing back there, Wilson?
WILSON: Well! My neighbor has a second name, it's M-E-Y-E-R. Howdy-ho, Urban. I'm just chopping up some bay leaves for my bath.
MEYER: You got especially dirty bay leaves or something?
WILSON: (chuckles) Nooo-ho-ho-ho, Gator Neighbor, you throw these in steaming-hot water and it makes a very nice soak. Clears the sinuses, good for tense muscles . . . it's really quite relaxing.
MEYER: Man. Well then chop up some for me while you're at it.
WILSON: Do I sense some stress emanating from Gator Country, Coach M?
MEYER: Ehhhh, it's just, you know, I got a job to do, I got a top-ranked football team to run, and on top of that I got my wife and kids nagging me to help them out with every damn thing as soon as I get home. I mean, I only got so many hours in the day, you know?
WILSON: Weeeh-heh-heh-heeelll, Urban, I'm kind of surprised you'd be so frustrated by that. Seems like a guy such as yourself would take that as a compliment.
MEYER: Whaaaa . . . ?
WILSON: You're familiar with the concept of the "medicine man" in Native American culture, aren't you, Urban? Well, the medicine man was more than a healer, he was an advice-giver, a leader of men. And your position as the head football coach of one of the grandest football teams in the land puts you in a similar position. You're seen as a bright guy, someone who finds ways around problems, so it's only natural that your family would come to you for --
MEYER: Yeah, I tell you what, Wilson, all this Indian history is fascinating and everything, but I just thought of some new direct-snap formations that might be a temporary way around this whole Brantley thing. Thanks for the pep talk, you keep . . . uh, choppin' em up, or whatever it is you're doing.
URBAN turns and jogs back into his house. WILSON just stands there watching him.
WILSON: (shakes his head) Urban, Urban, Urban. If there's any justice in this universe, the Dawgs'll lay 60 on your ass this year.
WILSON shakes his head again and goes back to his chopping.
INT. BEDROOM -- NIGHT
The darkened master suite of the Meyers' home. The door opens and all we can see is the silhouette of URBAN in the doorway.
MEYER: Honey? You in here?
SHELLEY: I sure am, hon.
MEYER: Well let me turn on a light, for Chrissakes, I can't even see you.
SHELLEY: No, don't --
URBAN snaps on the room light to reveal SHELLEY stretched out on the king-sized bed wearing a very revealing negligee. Obligatory "WOOOOO!!!!" from the crowd, which URBAN is too shocked to even admonish.
SHELLEY: Well, so much for the mood lighting.
MEYER: Uh, wow. What's the occasion?
SHELLEY: Oh, nothing -- you just seemed really stressed out and preoccupied with work lately, and I thought I might be able to help you relax.
MEYER: Really? 'Cause you know, Wilson out back was telling me about this thing you could do with basil or something, I didn't really catch all of it . . .
SHELLEY: This'll work way better. C'mere.
URBAN crosses the room to his side of the bed, where SHELLEY immediately envelops him in a passionate embrace.
SHELLEY: You think you kind of got the idea here?
MEYER: Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.
MEYER plants a long kiss on his wife's mouth and moves his hand slowly up her thigh, prompting an even more fervent "WOOOO!!!!" and some scattered applause from the audience. They make out for a few moments, and then, with his left hand up on the back of SHELLEY's neck, URBAN glances at his watch. He immediately pulls himself off his wife and jumps off the bed.
MEYER: OK then. We good? I thought that was pretty good.
SHELLEY: "Pretty good"? Neither one of us is any less dressed than we were when we started.
(AUDIENCE: Condescending, smutty chortling from the ladies; pruriently sympathetic "I'd-hit-that!"-type belly laughs from the guys.)
MEYER: Ehh, we start taking clothes off and it's just more stuff we gotta put back on later. Besides, I'm supposed to meet Addazio and Loeffler in -- (checks watch again) seven minutes and twenty seconds, and it usually takes eight-thirty-five to get to the athletic building. I think I'm plenty relaxed for right now, can we, I don't know, take a raincheck or something?
SHELLEY: The team never has to take a raincheck!
MEYER: The team kicks off against Citadel for the Deaf in just -- (checks watch yet again) five months, seven days, fourteen hours and seven minutes. You think that gameplan's just gonna right itself? With a first-year starting quarterback?
SHELLEY: (as URBAN turns to go) Well, what am I supposed to do while you're gone?
MEYER: You're smart, you'll think of something!
MEYER gives a "goodbye" point-and-stare to his wife and hurries off. SHELLEY sighs dejectedly and stares straight ahead.
SHELLEY: Well, I guess I'll do what I always do.
SHELLEY reaches into her bedside table and pulls out a black plastic . . . remote control, which she points at the TV and turns it on. She hits a few more buttons and retrieves a TiVo'd recording of one of her husband's football games: the 2009 SEC Championship Game.
VERNE LUNDQUIST (V/O): First and goal for the Gators, they need a score here and badly. Tebow back to pass, looks right and throws for the end zone -- INTERCEPTED! Tebow was looking for Jeff Demps in the end zone but Javier Arenas was right there! Boy, what a blow to this Florida team, and I'll tell you, Gary, that's the kind of ill-advised throw you're just not accustomed to seeing Tebow make . . .
SHELLEY: (smiling) Oh, Verne, you always know just what to say to a girl.
FADE TO BLACK
"That's So Urban!" was filmed before a live studio audience.