Gilbert and Sullivan debate whether "bluffing" rhymes with "muffin".


Gilbert and Sullivan debate whether "bluffing" rhymes with "muffin".

TOPSY-TURVY

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

INT. SAVOY THEATRE

A new GILBERT and SULLIVAN opera is being performed, which SUCKS.

THEATRE MANAGER

I say, this new opera of Gilbert and Sullivan's really sucks.

As proof, we are treated to an EXTENDED SCENE of the new opera, and it SUCKS.

AUDIENCE

Yup, this sure does suck. I guess the idea is to make us aware that they were in a rut just before writing the Mikado. Okay then, we get it. In fact we got it some time ago.

INT. THEATRE MANAGER'S OFFICE

JIM BROADBENT (GILBERT) and ALLAN CORDUNER (SULLIVAN) are in a meeting with the MANAGER and ELEVEN OTHER GUYS WITH SHITLOADS OF FACIAL HAIR STUCK ALL OVER THEMSELVES WHO CANNOT BE TOLD APART.

MANAGER

You guys need to write something that doesn't suck.

JIM BROADBENT

Well, I have written this new libretto which is not the Mikado, but instead total crap.

ALLAN CORDUNER

I can't set that crap to music. I haven't written a symphony in twenty years, you know.

GUY WITH FACE LIKE CHEWBACCA'S ASS

Allan, are you utterly convinced you can't set his crap to music?

ALLAN CORDUNER

Yes.

GUY WHOSE HEAD MAY AS WELL BE A HEAP OF TRIBBLE-SHIT

Jim, could you possibly write something else?

JIM BROADBENT

No.

TALKING KING-KONG NUTSACK IN A SUIT

Are you positively certain?

JIM BROADBENT

Yes, I'm quite sure, and what's more, I can't have sex with my wife and I'm depressed.

MANAGER

Allan, can I persuade you to change your mind?

ALLAN CORDUNER

No, you cannot, and might I just mention that I, in ironic contrast to my friend Jim here, have tons and tons of sex, but am nonetheless depressed.

MANAGER

Well I guess there's nothing to do here. But let's keep the scene going another ten minutes.

DIRECTOR MIKE LEIGH

I am so brilliant for letting the actors improvise these long rambling scenes. It endears me to critics and is so much better than a tightly focussed screenplay with a story to tell would be.

INT. RESTAURANT

JIM BROADBENT orders a STEAK.

JIM BROADBENT

Oh, if only I had some inspiration.

WAITER

(arriving)

I say, this steak has been... EXECUTED. It must have been done by an... EXECUTIONER.

(to audience)

Which is also a famous character from The Mikado, you see.

(pause)

Let's just move on.

JIM BROADBENT

Sigh, what to write, what to write.

MAITRE'D

AACHHHOOOOTHREELITTLEMAIDSFROMSCHOOLAREWEEEBLARFSNARF

INT. JIM BROADBENT'S HOUSE

JIM BROADBENT is pacing.

JIM BROADBENT

I am so fucking useless.

A JAPANESE SWORD falls off the wall.

JIM BROADBENT

Hey, Japan.

He gets a LOOK on his face like when the GRINCH decides to rob WHOVILLE.

CUT TO:

INT. THEATRE

The company is in DRESS REHEARSAL for the MIKADO!

AUDIENCE

What the hell? The whole thing's been written? Last scene they had nothing, then this sword falls down and BOOM, all the libretto and music is finished? We've just jump-cut over the entire writing of the Mikado, which we thought the movie was supposed to be all about!?!

DIRECTOR MIKE LEIGH

Yup, that's about the size of it. I would get into it but I needed time to let my actors improvise more boring scenes where they complain about costumes and makeup and crap like that. Oh, and get this; did you know that when actors rehearse, they sometimes FLUB A LINE and have to say it AGAIN?? That's worth a twenty-minute scene right there! Such penetrating insight into the world of theatre!

AUDIENCE

(sighs)

Whatever. But we get to see some neat scenes from the Mikado, right?

DIRECTOR MIKE LEIGH

Uh, yeah, sure.

There follows several EXTENDED SCENES of the MIKADO, except they are OUT OF CONTEXT so the wit is lost, and SUNG BADLY so the music suffers as well. Finally the film concludes with the SINGLE MOST ANNOYING VOICE IN THE WHOLE MOVIE singing at length.

AUDIENCE

(checking watch)

Fuck, we could have watched the entire real Mikado instead, except done well.

END

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