WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS STEELE'S NAME
By Ilsa Lund
(I'm English so you will see UK spellings).
Standard Disclaimers apply (I don't own any of the characters, this is purely for entertainment. Not a penny is being made yaada, yaada, yaada)
Permission To Archive
With gratitude to both show's creators: Glen & Les Charles and James Burrows and Michael Gleason and Robert Butler.
Int. A Boston Bar in October 1984. It's just another day.
Camera angle on the bar.
Fairly busy hubbub as customers interact and make conversation. There are two people behind the bar.
The owner, a former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, is mixing drinks. Sam `Mayday' Malone is in his middle to late thirties, tall, dark, sporty looking, ruggedly handsome in that all American way.
The man next to him is polishing glasses. Ernie Pantusso is affectionately known as `Coach' because he was Sam's pitching coach. He's grey-haired, in his late fifties, always wears a white shirt with a black tie and is completely endearing. But none too bright.
Seated at the far end reading a book is blonde waitress Diane Chambers, early thirties, bred and educated to walk with kings (in her humble opinion), pretensions to intellectual greatness and a lousy waitress to boot.
Carla Tortelli fertile, swarthy, Italian heritage is small in stature but big on insults. She's waiting on customers.
Postman Cliff Clavin, late thirties but appears older, is seated at the bar drinking a beer. Cliff is the living embodiment that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
The door opens and an immaculately groomed man enters. About 30, dark hair, piercing blue eyes, a definite air about him and an English accent. As he walks down the steps, the customers and bartender all yell a greeting.
Diane (waits a beat then adds her own solo greeting): Remington.
Despite himself, Steele acknowledges the greetings with a billion dollar grin as he strides over to a stool at the far end of the bar. The younger bartender holds up an empty glass.
Sam: Bloody Mary, Steele?
Steele: No, bloody Laura. Keep up Sam. I told you about her the last time I was here. Remember? She has to be the most impossible, bull-headed, obstinate
Sam: Uh-oh. Woman trouble. Drink?
Steele: Bit early in the day isn't it?
Sam: For a drink?
Steele: No. For a rhetorical question. I'll have a scotch mate. Neat.
Sam: Coming right up. (turns his attention from Steele to Coach) Say Coach, (points discreetly to Steele) d'ya know who that guy is?
Coach: Sam, come on. Half the time I don't even know who Paul is.
'Paul': I'm Steve, Coach.
Coach (to Sam with a shrug of his shoulders): See. (returns his attention to Steve) Thanks for the tip Dave.
Coach: No I'm Coach. You gotta see someone about that. Memory loss isn't something you can just forget about you know and what was I saying?
Sam (insistent): Coach!
Coach: Yeah Sam.
Sam: That man over there is Remington Steele. Look at him: suave, sophisticated, good looking. He's almost as handsome as me. A real hit with the chicks too. Used to be a bit of a babe hound but now he's got the hots for some filly named 'Laura' who won't put out. And get this, he's a real, famous private detective.
Coach: He is? A real, live, famous P.I? Like Colombo? Gee, I always loved that show Sam.
Sam: Yeah Coach and he's in my bar!
Coach: Colombo's here? (frantically looks around) Where?
Sam: No-no Coach. Remington Steele's in my bar. How 'bout that?
Coach: How 'bout what?
Sam (smiles at him affectionately and rubs his shoulder): Never mind. (gets Steele's drink and passes it to him)
Carla (saunters over to Steele and stares dreamily into his face): I still say you look like the kinda guy who wears ripped tank tops, has a hairy chest, scratches his stomach, burps loudly, repairs TVs and smashes empty cans of beer against his forehead. Right?
Steele (smiling): Not guilty I'm afraid.
Carla (looks him up and down. Mostly down. Then sighs wistfully): A girl can dream, can't she?
Diane: Ignore Carla, Remington. She has rather primitive tastes in men defined by her preference for Neanderthals or Homo sapiens who need to de-louse.
Carla: Beat it whitey. Me and blue eyes over here have fantasies to discuss.
Diane: And I'm sure he's praying that's as far as it ever gets.
Cliff starts to snigger then stops as the formidable Ms Tortelli directs a menacing glare at him.
Carla: You here to see the sights, handsome?
Steele: I've seen everything Boston has to offer.
Carla: You've seen me pour Chianti all over my erogenous zones and let you slowly lick it off?
Carla: Then you haven't seen everything Boston has to offer.
Steele: I stand corrected.
Carla: Do I get to see that for myself? Preferably on my back?
Steele (suppressing laughter): Actually, I'm here for some advice.
Carla: What kind of advice?
Steele: Advice about women. One woman in particular.
Carla: You want my advice?
Steele: I want any advice. I need some insight. A romantic problem. Y'see, I care very much for someone who cares for me but I can't get her to advance our relationship from the boardroom to the bedroom. What do you say Carla, eh? You're a woman aren't you?
Diane (smugly): Why do men always have to ask you that?
Carla: Don't you have something to do? Like swim the Atlantic weighted down? (to Steele) Here's my advice, handsome. Forget little Miss Perfect, grab the first woman you see in this bar directly in front of you and go to bed with her.
Steele (smiles): I wish it was as easy as that but it's not.
Diane: There Carla, you see. Irrefutable proof, if proof were needed, that not everyone has the morals of an alley cat.
Carla squares up to Diane.
Sam (butts in before it gets to blows): Hey-hey-hey ladies! I got thirsty customers over there. Both of you do some work while I give Steele here advice on handling women.
Diane (patronisingly): Sam, Remington is obviously in need of judicious counsel from a cultured, refined, woman who has keen feminine insight into 'affaires de coeur.' What he does not need is simple-minded guidance from a six foot two inch bubblegum card with air bubbles for brains who considers a hotdog the height of gastronomic sophistication.
Sam: Hey I resent that! (beat) I'm six foot three.
Diane: Now Remington, do you honestly feel this and I use the word very lightly man is the best person to give you sagacious instruction which will enable you to win the hand of your fair maiden?
Sam (dismissive): Don't listen to her. She's still mad that I dumped her flat on her fanny.
Diane (annoyed): As usual you cannot handle the fact that I walked out of here of my own volition leaving you a hollow, broken man. Incidentally that date is now noted in my diary as the epoch of my spiritual rebirth.
Steele: As a matter of
Sam (blood pressure rising): Yeah. You walked alright. Right after you got up from that spot over there where I dumped you first!
Steele: Y'see I
Diane (temper fraying): It's no wonder you have such trouble recalling the actual events of that evening. What could I expect from a man whose idea of intellectual stimulation is flicking a light switch?
Steele: That's the
Sam (angry): I went out with you for a year, I didn't touch any other women, you had more from me than any other woman has ever had in my entire life but that wasn't enough for you was it? You wanna know why it didn't work out between us? You always had to have the last say, you always had to be in control: tell me what to do, what to say, when to say it, how to say it. You always had to be on top (points to her) and you're still doing it!
Steele (raises voice): Dammit Laura, I care for you!
Sam and Diane (baffled): Huh?
Steele: Sorry. Déjà vu. (recollecting himself) That all sounded terribly familiar.
Carla (to Diane): Y'know, the only thing I enjoy more than yet another thrilling recap of your twisted, mangled, putrid love affair is the next exciting instalment of Cliff's Florida travelogue.
Cliff: Thank you Carla. Here's a little known fact. Uh, Florida's farmland covers less than two-fifths of the state, and about one-third of this total is in either pasture or timber. Florida produces, oooooh I'd say about 75 percent of our nation's citrus fruits, in fact Florida is second only to California in vegetable production which
Carla: And Boston's very own vegetable production better put a sock in it before I put a keg in it.
Cliff (bemused): You told me to speak.
Carla: Now I'm telling you to button it. Ain't democracy grand?
Cliff (turns his attention to Steele instead): Actually Remy I've got
Steele (plasters a smile on his face): Steele. Only my nearest and dearest call me 'Remy' and the nearest and dearest to me is my (beat) associate Laura. And she calls me Mr. Steele.
Cliff (in a huff): Oh yeah, okay. Fine. I see how it is, Mister Steele. I forgot how you Limeys are. First it's a tax on tea and now you're getting touchy over names. You weren't so pushy when we kicked your Limey butts back to England and you still come back for more. Yeah you're coming alright, coming over here because this is the land of the fast buck. Boy, you try to be a good mailman, you go that extra mile, you follow a guy around to make sure he gets all his fan mail, you devote long hours to him personally day and night and the next thing you know, he gets a temporary restraining order and the judge orders you not to go within thirty feet. That Elton John, who does he think he is? God? (taps the bar periodically as he rants) Well not in my country he's not! In my country he's just a Limey who needs the US Postal Service and this postal carrying American's mad as hell and he's not gonna take it anymore! (he exits stomping down the hall towards the pool room)
Steele: Tsk, tsk, tsk. Why does that man make a nervous breakdown seem so appealing?
Sam (addresses Diane and Carla): Ladies, do what I pay you to do. (they reluctantly disappear. He nudges Steele) Listen buddy, what's goin' on? C'mon hot lookin' guy to (stares Steele full in the face. A beat) guy. What's the problem?
Steele (sighs): As you know, Laura and I well, we've been close for a very long time. We've just come back from France but in many ways it was an unmitigated disaster and
Sam: Don't tell me. You still haven't hit the sack with her yet.
Steele: A little crude but to the point. And it gets worse.
Sam: Worse? What could be worse than that?
Steele: Now she's insisting that we stick to business and only business. No candlelit dinners, no unexpected flowers, no unbridled passion. You've had a great deal of women in your time
Sam: You'd better believe it. The old Sam Malone's back and ready for action. I'm giving the women of Boston a head-start (glances at his watch) Five minutes oughta do it.
Steele: What can I do? (frustrated) I can't get through to her. She never believes me when I tell her that I care, that I've changed, that I'm not going anywhere, that all those women meant nothing to me. (crescendo) She doesn't trust me, she doubts my intentions, she questions my motives, she's forever pushing me away and she irritates the living hell out of me!
Sam: Dammit Diane, I'm nuts about you!
Sam: God, sorry. Guess that déjà vu thing is catching. (recollects himself) Boy, you've really got the hots for that Laura Holt, haven't you?
Steele: 'The hots'? Pithy phrase but spot on.
Sam: This chick of yours, Laura, she got it where it counts?
Steele: Excuse me?
Sam (makes a gesture): Playboy of the month type, if y'know what I mean?
Steele: Ah! (beat) No. Flat as a pancake.
Sam: That's your problem.
Steele (baffled): My problem?
Sam: The flat ones get ya everytime. (points at Diane) I went through hell with her but it was smooth sailing with all the others; they had boobs. Take my advice Steele, get yourself a girl with boobs and sow those wild oats. There's a serious drawback though.
Steele: What's that?
Sam (glances at Diane then looks back at Steele): There's something about the one with nothing on top, isn't there? Ever known a woman like her?
Sam: Me neither. Still want her?
Sam: Me too buddy. Me too. Keep at it Steele, if she's got you tied up in knots like this, she's gotta be worth it. (moves off to serve other people)
Steele sighs and straightens his tie.
The door opens and a smartly dressed man with a receding hairline enters.
Dr. Frasier Crane is in his early 30s, rather pompous but desperately wants to be accepted by the bar. Unfortunately he isn't for a very important reason. He's not a loser (yet). He greets everyone but only Diane acknowledges him.
Frasier (with a cheery wave): Hello all.
Diane: Bonjour, mon pauvre petit.
Frasier: Bonjour, mon amour. (he embraces and kisses her)
Diane: I thought you were taking a Franco phobia symposium today?
Frasier: I was but courtesy of a mix-up in the booking, my party of patients with their irrational fear of all things French were mistakenly allocated the identical time slot coinciding with the annual meeting of the French New Wave Cinema Critics Society. They were screening `Day for Night' and what a nightmare. (beat) You won't believe the horrors inflicted with the brie-filled baguettes. Today I witnessed the birth of new human orifices. Still, you know what they say `the course of Truffaut never did run smooth' (laughs heartily at his little joke)
Diane: I'm glad unintentional misfortune has brought you here today. Now there are three people in this bar with a command of the English language. (beat) Frasier, there's someone here I want you to meet. Please talk to him as a favour to me. He desperately needs our assistance on a romantic matter.
Frasier takes off his coat, hangs it up and allows Diane to drag him over to Steele.
Diane: Remington Steele, I'd like you to meet my beau, Dr. Frasier Crane.
Steele: Dr. Crane. It's a pleasure to meet you. (shakes hands)
Frasier: The pleasure is mutual. Diane tells me that you're seeking romantic counsel and I'm here to offer my services free of charge as a gesture of love to my dearest apple dumpling.
Diane: Oh Frasier!
Steele: That's very generous of you Dr. Crane. I've already had some advice from Sam. He had a theory concerning my situation.
Frasier (conceitedly): A theory? About this country's metropolitan baseball franchises perhaps but not about the learned art of healing the human condition. (beat) Purely out of natural human curiosity, what was his theory?
Steele: That I boobed, so to speak, falling for a flat-chested woman.
Frasier: Mmm. Interesting theory. How did Freud miss that one? (beat) Now, in order for me to get to the root of your problem, you must take the first step. You must elucidate, you must not be afraid to embrace treatment. I won't let you down, I won't steer you wrong. I'm here for you Steele.
Diane (to Steele): Excuse us for a minute please. (pulls Frasier aside) Frasier, (sotto voce) I told you about Remington, remember? The famous private detective from Los Angeles?
Frasier: You mean, this is the man who previously exhibited shades of a Don Juan complex? The man that works with a woman named Laura Holt? The couple with the staggeringly dysfunctional sexual relationship? The two people driven by an insanely intensive level of competitiveness and control? And outside of that, an interaction centring on a constant, daily, power struggle about who is right and who is wrong?
Frasier: Here in the flesh, one half of the partnership where the attraction runs deep and the passion is all consuming? Here in this bar, a man who has strongly connected to a woman in view of the fact that, in a perverse way, their deep wounds complement each other she with her abandonment and control issues and he with his acute commitment ones that prevent him from telling her that he loves her?
Frasier: If memory serves, isn't the love of his life a borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferer ever striving for her universe to be in perfect working order? And doesn't he have traits of passive-aggressiveness? Deriving satisfaction from the occasional deliberate provocation of his loved one because it's his way of exerting control? The couple who are forever falling back on behavioural defence systems to protect the wounded, terrified, child within? The emotional infants?
Frasier: I finally meet one half of that utterly charming twosome. We really should have them over for dinner one day. (returns to Steele, hand in hand with Diane) Steele, (authoritatively) I specialise in the treatment of phobias and preach strict Freudian psychology. I have written 27 articles which have been published in psychiatric journals, I am in the middle of writing a book, I've received several awards from my peers and I've never disgraced my profession.
Steele: Wonderful. When do we start?
Frasier: We don't. (pulls out a card and writes on it) Here is the number of my mentor Dr. Bennett Ludlow. He's been seeking a case to test the finest minds in this scientific discipline of ours for over twenty years now. (beat) I'm sorry Steele but time is money and your romantic dilemma with Laura Holt, your on-again, off-again protracted love affair, your repression, her obsession, your mutual insecurities, her trust issues, your scarred psyche, her superiority complex the whole damn shebang, well frankly, I cannot in all conscience attempt to treat you. Not if I want to retain my smart townhouse. The pair of you would, to be brutally candid, bankrupt me. (hands Steele the card) Give him a call. It won't cost you a dime. Good luck. (shakes Steele's hand) Say Diane, how about a spot of bouillabaisse up at Melvilles?
Diane: Isn't Frasier wonderful Remington? (she doesn't wait for an answer. She takes Frasier's hand and they exit up the stairs together)
Steele looks at the card and sighs. Coach takes pity on him and approaches.
Coach: Son, you need some advice? Is it a girl?
Steele (tugs his earlobe and smiles): Yes it's a girl. I don't know what to do about her.
Coach: When I met my Angela it was love at first sight, we Italians call it 'the thunderbolt'. Anyway love struck me like a like a
Steele: Like a thunderbolt, eh?
Coach: You got it kid. I knew then and there that I'd marry her. I loved her. Yeah we had our ups and downs but that's love.
Steele: So in other words, what you're telling me is that `love conquers all'. (beat) Damn, who said that again?
Coach: You said it once.
Steele: No Coach, I mean, who said it before me?
Coach: There's only me and you talking here kid and I didn't say it.
Steele: Never mind.
Coach: You love this girl?
Steele (hesitates): I care for her. Very much.
Coach (smiles knowingly): You English guys, always keeping things under your hat. Okay, well I'm gonna tell you something my pop told me years ago after mass one day in 1946. 'Faint heart never won fair maiden,' those were his very words.
Steele (smiles): Robert Burns said that.
Coach: No, I'm pretty sure it was my pop, Santino Pantusso. (beat) I remember now. I'd just met my Angela and I didn't know what to do, I didn't know how to get her. Pop pulled me aside, said those magic words and I never looked back. That's my advice to you kid. Get off your butt and go fight for your girl.
Steele smiles the kind of smile that lights up the entire bar.
Camera angle on Diane and Frasier as they come down the stairs from Melvilles and return to the bar.
Frasier sits down, back to the front door. Diane waits on the table directly behind him, adjacent to a man Carla is currently serving.
Sam is at the bar mixing drinks, Cliff trudges back from the pool room and sits down next to Steele.
The door opens and a genial overweight guy ambles in. Norman Peterson is in his middle thirties, dark curly hair wearing a suit that's seen better days. As he walks down the steps, the customers and bartender all yell a greeting.
Diane (waits a beat then adds her own solo greeting): Norman.
Norm removes his coat and hangs it up.
Steele: Sam, I'm hurt. I thought I was the only one you all did that for.
Sam: Sorry Steele but you don't drop by often enough and we gotta keep in practice. (beat) What's up Norm?
Norm: My blood cholesterol level. Doc says I gotta take it easy so stop me at three.
Sam: Three beers?
Norm: No, three pitchers.
Steele (looks around him and glances at his watch): Nice talking to you all again but there's a wonderful young lady out there whose heart belongs to me. I think. I hope. (gets up) If only winning the rest of her was as easy. (walks over to the coat rack, puts on his jacket and exits)
Ext The entrance steps of Cheers. Same day.
A young woman is waiting on the sidewalk stamping her feet to warm them. The New England weather cuts to her bones because she's a California girl. She's in her late twenties, long auburn hair, brown eyes. Alluring rather than beautiful but that hasn't stopped some men from trying their luck. They didn't get far. She's only got eyes for one man.
Laura (irritated): And just what have you been doing while I've been doing legwork?
Steele: Icy calm Miss Holt. This part of Boston is a home from home for a lad from Dublin y'know. (gestures to 'Cheers') The owner's Irish. Well, his lineage is. I fancied being in a place where everybody knows my name and
Laura: They know your real name?
Steele: where I could aid our detection process at the same time.
Laura: Perfect. I'm out here risking pneumonia and you're exercising your elbow.
Steele: I needed some advice.
Laura: Oh? What about?
Steele: Somebody we both know.
Laura: Tell me about it on the plane. I can't wait to get home to my loft.
Steele: I can't wait to get you home to your loft either. (wiggles eyebrows)
Laura: You don't give up, do you?
Steele: Faint heart ne'er wan a lady fair, Miss Holt.
(extends his arm. After a moments hesitation, she links hers through his and they walk down the street)