Posts Tagged ‘One Is A Number’

December 28, 2019;  January 25, 26, 2020

By Teresa Jade LeYung

Every year, I sponsor my Immigrant Experience Writing Contest (short stories, essays, monologues) offered through California Writers Club San Francisco Peninsula Branch and The Literary Stage at the San Mateo County Fair  https://cwc-peninsula.org/the-literary-stage/. You do not have to live in California in order to enter any of the writing contests. Some contestants will enter an excerpt from a long piece of work (novels, memoirs) without investing time to rewrite the pages so that the piece would engage the reader with a beginning, middle and ending.

As a theme consultant and a writing coach, and a fan of a few television series, I have found another inspiration when teaching my clients how to show archetype-driven plotlines.

One of my favorite characters is Rhoda Morgenstern in the situational comedy (sitcom) RHODA  portrayed by Valerie Harper.

One of my favorite episodes is “One Is A Number” (Season 4, Episode 4, written by Charlotte Brown). I love this episode because this is a stand-alone piece. I do not have to  know the backgrounds of the characters.  The script clearly shows what the main character (protagonist) wants and how she goes about getting it.

Act 1 – we see relationships, the protagonist’s personality and what she wants.

Fellow: “Rhoda, it was really nice of you to invite me to breakfast.”

Rhoda: “Gary, I did not invite you.” (with a smile)

Gary:  “Well, then it was nice of you not to kick me out.”

Rhoda’s sister Brenda arrives to tell her why she can’t go out to dinner and the theatre with Rhoda tonight.

 

Act 2 – we see Protagonist pursuing what she wants.

Rhoda calls friends; they cannot go with her.

She asks her boss; he doesn’t like going to theatres.

She even asks Johnny Venture, the  fellow she has been turning down; he cannot because he’s judging a beauty contest tonight.

 

Act 3 -  Protagonist reveals what the real Antagonist is.

In her apartment, Rhoda paces, she picks up the theatre tickets and puts them down again.

She gets on the intercom with Carlton the doorman.  She tells him why she doesn’t want to go out alone at nighttime – she fears what people could be thinking of her, how they would judge her.

Archetype:  Carlton is the unexpected ally and mentor

 

Act 4 – Protagonist has overcome Antagonist.

At a restaurant where tea tastes like coffee (Rhoda is escaping from pouring rain), she meets:

- a taxi driver who is eating his spaghetti dinner

- an old woman named Marie who says she is a stewardess on a rocket on the Martian Space Patrol

- the waitress named Bea who says: “What are you doing out on a terrible night like this?”

Rhoda:  “Tonight was a big night for me. I was trying to do something alone.”

Bea: “You married?”

Rhoda: “Divorced.”

Bea: “Sounds like you’re already doing something alone.”

 

Act 5 -Protagonist has been transformed.

In her apartment are her allies – her sister Brenda, Brenda’s boyfriend Benny, Gary, Johnny.

Rhoda comes home.  She says: “I had a great time. It was wonderful.  It’s great to go out alone, I found out. I mean, you meet terrific people…. You would have loved it….”

Her boss Jack arrives.  “You’re not dead.”

Brilliant line.  Rhoda is the opposite of dead.

She has realized a new life. She can go out alone and enjoy herself. She has learned to look at people. She wants to share her discovery with her sister and friends.

They want to leave.

Rhoda says: “You had to be there.  I love you all, even if you didn’t get it.”

“Brenda, look at me. Have you ever seen your sister in better shape?”

After Rhoda closes the door, she reaches into her bag and pulls out Bea’s hat (souvenir from mentor archetype) and puts it on her head.

I love how sitcom character Rhoda Morgenstern shows beginning, middle, and ending  through an archetype-driven plotline! Thank you, Ms. Charlotte Brown!

Cheering for all Writers and Readers!

Story Theme Consultant Teresa Jade LeYung - photo by Mary E. Knippel, creator of Your Writing Mentor

 

 

As a story theme consultant, award-winning writer, and platform-building coach for pre-published and published authors, Writing Coach Teresa Jade LeYung helps her clients identify their core themes and transform their manuscripts into novels, biographies and memoirs. http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog

 

 

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