Cue up: “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo. You know the song, it’s irreversibly attached to one of the more iconic situational comedies ever televised. That’s right, dork, it’s the theme from Cheers.
The juiciest burger that special effects can produce fills the entirety of the screen. Toppings balance perfectly under a grilled brioche bun as signature barbecue sauce oozes down the sides and onto a plate. A pile of crispy onion tanglers accompanies the burger like a high class hooker in the Chicago club district.
A bowl full of mashed potatoes topped with a perfectly constructed mountain of chicken tenders, french fries, and jack-cheddar cheese erupts with just a little bit more than too much beautiful brown gravy, cascading down the caloric volcano like a heart attack waiting to happen. It’s incredible. It’s an Incredi-bowl!
David Caruso adorns his sunglasses like only he can. The question “who are you?” flitters at the back of your mind for an iota of a moment.
Come join us for Happy Hour every day between 2pm and 4pm and after 9pm, where boneless wings are half-priced and watered down Margaritas and fake Long Island Teas are $2.99! Just look around at all of these happy people, drinking and stuffing their faces full of cheap chicken and cheaper drinks! We’re all Apple-buddies here!
A familiar figure walks into the scene, an Applebee’s branded Brewtus glass full of something green in one hand and a surely-not-forced smile plastered across his face. Eric Dane takes a seat at the bar as the camera pans in on him for a medium close-up!
Eric Dane: Hello friends! Don’t forget to join us every Saturday Night here at the Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill for High Octane Happy Hour while Refueled airs on all of our 4k UHD TV screens! Watch all the action live every week as you enjoy a Bottom Line Burger and wash it down with an Applebee’s Best Margarita!
He drains half of the drink as a waitress set’s down a giant burger in front of him, held together by your very own Applebee’s Bottom Line pen!
Eric Dane: We’re eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood!
Sitting just next to him at the bar is an aging, balding, blind gentleman. You can tell he’s blind because he’s got on the very same black glasses that Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles used to share, you know the ones. Also probably there are mechanical eyeballs covered by dueling patches. You get the idea. The same server delivers him a drink and he holds it out for a split second…
With a practiced grin, The Straw That Stirs the Drink reaches over and grabs a bar-straw from its place and actually stirs the old man’s drink. The shot lingers momentarily before-
Angus Skaaland switches off the television.
“What in the actual fuck?”
Sitting across from him, paying attention to everything but the television, is The Only Star. He doesn’t answer right away as he pretends to have not heard the question. Angus throws a throw pillow at him. Somewhere off screen Rich Mahogany shrieks, he bought those pillows after all and they are certainly Not For Throwing.
“The fuck?” Eric demands.
“I asked you a simple question my guy.”
The Antagonist relents.
He grumbles under his breath, “Contractual obligations.”
As if on cue, from off-screen, Graysie Parker chimes in.
“Must be FUCK’n nice!”
Eric rolls his eyes. “Here we go.”
Graysie strolls into the room, one of two large living areas in the penthouse home of Angus and Rich on the top floor of the building housing the Crescent City Fight Club gym and dojo. She’s dressed extra-casually because ever since Angus asked her what she’s still doing here last week the Iron Butterfly has been asking herself the same thing and doing less and less around the gym. She’s in a cut-off sweatshirt and workout tights with her hair pulled back loosely.
“She’s got a point,” Angus piled on.
“Yeah? And what might that be?”
The question is directed at Graysie, not Angus.
She gives a sarcastic shrug. “I’unno, you tell me.”
“I don’t have time for this.”
“Really?” She demands. “Because I seem to have all the time in the world!”
“Look,” Eric starts. “I told you. It’s a process. Nobody’s even seen Lee since No Remorse. How am I supposed to get a meeting with him to even discuss your contract?”
Graysie doesn’t hesitate.
“You didn’t have a problem getting your little commercial made.”
Eric screws his face up at her in some mixture of anger and disgust.
“Do you think I enjoyed that? Do you think I even got paid?”
Graysie tries to answer, she doesn’t get the first syllable out before The Only Star cuts her off and continues his own thought.
“No, you don’t know shit about shit, and you need to shut your trap before I decide to make it the rest of my life’s work to have you completely blackballed out of this business. Didn’t you used to work at Applebee’s by the way? I bet I can get you back on now that I’m their fucking spokesman! Is that what the fuck you want?”
Eyes flash red as she seethes but doesn’t answer.
“Or maybe you think you’re hot shit, you think you can get your own deal?”
Eric stares her down, his force of will forged in the fires of a quarter-century of ring wars and much, much stronger than hers.
“I… I just…” she trails off as tears well up in the corners of big brown eyes.
“Yeah. You just.”
Eric rolls his eyes. Angus steps in.
“Why don’t you leave the kid alone,” he says.
“Why don’t you stay the fuck out of it?”
“You wanna take about 80% off the top of that and remember who’s fuckin’ house you’re in right now? Remember who’s building you live in? And maybe even remember who’s the last person in the business that hasn’t either cut you all the way off or tried to kill you?”
Angus is extremely matter of fact.
Eric’s eyes narrow, it’s everything he has not to say something stupid.
Graysie fights back more tears.
The tension is palpable.
Well, well, well.
All these years later and crazily enough, we’ve never crossed paths officially.
Now, I suppose that’s not entirely true. There was the half decade that you brought me coffee in DEFIANCE. I’m not even sure why, but every time I laid eyes on your big bulbous ass you had me a fresh cup. This was before you were huckin’ eggs and carryin’ Jiles’ jock.
You know, during your “unreliable years.”
But nevermind that place. Let’s talk about here. Let’s talk about now. Let’s talk about how even though Bobby Dean wouldn’t be anywhere near HOW right now if it weren’t for me, he hasn’t had the common courtesy to come by and say hello, tell me to fuck off, get stuffed, or anything. Why is that, Bobby, is it because you’re scared?
What’d I do, Bobby, that makes you turn white and piddle your Osh Kosh’s anytime you’re in the same room with me? Because honestly I can’t remember. Concussions yanno, I’ve been hit in the head a lot over the years. Was it that time I sought you out and hired you, at a sizable wage might I remind you, and you flaked on me like a cereal tiger somewhere between six and nine times? Or was it when I took you on the road with me, paid you out of my own pocket, and let you get more sloppy seconds than the rest of the Egg Assholes have ever produced combined?
Oh, I got it!
Yeah, this is the one for sure!
It must have been that time I walked into a Waffle House in the middle Fuck-off Nowhere Texas and found your sloppy ass wobblin’ around trying to break the world record for most useless excuse for an Assistant Manager of a greasy-spoon breakfast diner in the history of ever and plucked you out of that scattered, smothered hell and brought you with me to HOW?
You know, where Lee saw you and remembered he liked laughing at you.
Where you were taken back in by your egg fucking friends.
Where Lindsay Troy still won’t fuck you.
Where your best friend Michael Unlikable gave you a fuckin’ concussion.
Where even though you trucked it down to Mexico or wherever the fuck you went and got yourself the advanced liposuction+gastro surgery you still can’t get anybody, not even your fellow chicken abortion enthusiasts, to give you a half a teaspoon of respect.
Where the one time you got your shit together and almost pulled off the upset of the century you let Mike Best bite your dick off and the last I heard you can’t even get it up for the ol’ rub an’ tug anymore. Jesus fuckin’ Christ, Bobby, why are you even here? I know first hand the money sucks. You’ve got to be tired of being the laughing stock of the group that everybody else laughs at, am I right?
You still think they’re laughing with you?
Think about this, Bobby. I may have given you the most menial of tasks when you ran with me, getting my coffee and carryin’ my bags, booking hotels and fetching food, but I never laughed at you. I always treated you with respect, and I always took care of you. I want you to think about that at Refueled when I’m peeling back your forehead and exposing your skull to oxygen.
And why, you might be wondering?
I’ve been back for a few months now, and you haven’t so much as darkened my door.
Not even once.
I thought we were friends, Bobby, real life bosom buddies.
But you’d rather sit there in that goddamn egg carton or whatever played out bullshit that Doozer probably dreamed up while he was inventing Fraggles in the eighties or whatever the fuck his deal is and sulk to your self, lubing your little turtle-head up with tears and jerking it to Cancer Jiles matches while he makes fun of you RIGHT TO YOUR FUCKING FACE.
For Christ’s sake, Bobby, you may have had the surgery, but you’ve still got tits, and you still let everybody and their brother treat you like a bitch.
Well, I’m not gonna treat ya like a bitch, Bobby.
I’m gonna treat ya like a grown ass adult man.
A man who’s standing in my way.
A man who’s about to catch the ass-whupping of a lifetime.
Afterward, if you want, you can start getting my coffee again. As I recall, your quality of life trended a fuck of a lot higher the last time you were doing that. But if you bring any of those egg-fucking dorks you love so much within a city block of me the deal’s off.
Doozer was old when I was a rookie.
Jiles has been sniffing my balls since the day we met.
I don’t even know the rest of their names, Bobby. Big Dick Fugly and Chance Von Crank Jr, I guess, they don’t even matter.
The eGG Bandits are a joke, Bobby.
Don’t be a joke.
Be a man.