Almost Plausible

Ep. 15

Bread Maker

10 May 2022

Runtime: 00:57:33

Who doesn't love the smell of warm, freshly baked bread? We certainly do, which is why this week we're cooking up a story about a bread maker. Among several ideas for movies about bread based businesses, we come up with a tasty business venture of our own. We battle furiously to set ourselves apart from both common expectations and movies that already exist. And along the way we learn that Joseph Lee, the inventor of the commercial bread machine, was a fascinating guy. Also, we throw down a challenge for the audience to take a clip from the movie Encanto and... Er... Improve it? Perhaps the most amazing part of the episode is when we learn just how old one celebrity really is.

References

Transcript

[Intro music begins]

[Shep]
Is this a Yahoo Serious movie or a Carrot Top movie?

[Thomas]
They’re very similar.

[Shep]
Maybe we can get them both and they could be rivals.

[Thomas]
Yes. Their movies are so similar. I think it would be great to put them together in the same movie.

[Emily]
Back that up. There are Carrot Top movies?

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Oh, I’m glad I have missed that train.

[Thomas]
And somehow we got to squeak Pauly Shore in there.

[Shep]
Oh, my God.

[Emily]
Yes.

[Intro music]

[Thomas]
Hey there, story fans. Welcome to Almost Plausible, the podcast where we take ordinary ideas and turn them into stories. When I say we, I am referring to Emily-

[Emily]
Hey, guys.

[Thomas]
F. Paul shepherd.

[Shep]
Happy to be here.

[Thomas]
And I’m Thomas J. Brown. Emily, Shep, how great is freshly baked bread?

[Shep]
It’s the greatest. Before I was on keto, I had a bread maker in my bedroom because it was the only open outlet and it was the best thing. My whole room smelled-

[Emily]
Oh, how could you sleep at night without wanting to get up and eat every 5 seconds?

[Shep]
Yeah, well, there’s a reason I later went on to keto.

[Thomas]
Did you have it on a timer so you could wake up to fresh bread every morning?

[Shep]
Oh, no.

[Thomas]
Now you got to go off a keto and get a bread maker again.

[Shep]
I would just do it in the morning and then it would be ready at lunch because it takes 3 hours to make. It was great.

[Thomas]
There’s definitely something about the smell of bread baking that is positively intoxicating, which is why this week we’re going to come up with a story about a bread maker. Shep, why don’t you rise to the occasion and give us your pitches first?

[Shep]
Well, first I was thinking about maybe doing one where bread maker was a person that makes bread, but I didn’t really have anything for that. So how about a bread machine that makes bread? And by bread, I mean money. You put ingredients to make bread, and then when you come back 3 hours later, there’s money inside, like the goose that lays the golden egg. Except cash.

[Emily]
Do different doughs make different denominations?

[Shep]
Sure. Different ingredients do different currencies. Yeah, that’s good.

[Thomas]
Though. I’m going on a trip to Canada. I better make a loaf of… what’s-?

[Shep]
Canadian pumpernickel.

[Thomas]
A Canadian-? Yeah.

[Shep]
Yeah. I don’t know. We might have to do research on that one.

[Thomas]
A loaf of maple bars. I don’t know.

[Shep]
Now I want maple bars.

[Emily]
Yeah. Thanks.

[Thomas]
I don’t like maple bars, so I’m fine.

[Shep]
I call dibs on all of Thomas’s maple bars. Okay. Next pitch. A bread machine where you put in a loaf of bread and it unmakes it into its component ingredients. But when it’s doing that, it takes you that far back in time. So, like 3 hours. This is the obligatory time travel pitch, right.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
And the final pitch is two bread making business rivals that started out as partners in, like, a bread vending machine business. Like you’re at the store and you order bread when you start shopping, select the ingredients that you want, put in your money. And then when you’re leaving, you pick out the freshly baked bread that it had made for you. And one of them wanted to take that into like, a mobile business. Bread machines in a van that comes directly to your house. But the other one steals that idea and makes bread machine drones that fly bread to your house. And then it’s about the rivalry between them.

[Thomas]
Can you imagine being in traffic behind that van and just smelling the freshly baked bread?

[Emily]
Oh, the whole way.

[Shep]
There’s always places in town that are like that.

[Emily and Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
Whatever restaurant you’re driving by, it just smells delicious.

[Emily]
You know, as crappy as Subway is walking into it, that fresh bread smell just really is like, Yum.

[Thomas]
It’s sort of sad that the best part of Subway is when you first walk in and then it’s all downhill from there.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
I have only had good experiences in Subway. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

[Thomas]
All right, well, I’ll go next, I guess. Before I start. This isn’t a pitch. I just want to say that the inventor of the commercial bread machine, Joseph Lee. That guy should totally get a biopic because his life was really interesting. We’ll include a link in the show notes to some information about him, but he’s a pretty cool guy.

[Shep]
Okay, I vote for doing the biopic. We’re done. Yay.

[Emily]
Yay.

[Thomas]
The problem is there’s nothing to come up with. It’s just research his life done. Alright.

[Emily]
Let’s just read the Wikipedia page.

[Shep]
Right?

[Emily]
We’re good.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Shortest episode ever. Alright, I have three ideas though. My first idea is a stressed out, city dwelling woman’s world is turned upside down when her mother dies. The siblings come together to deal with the estate and being the oldest, she takes their mom’s bread machine. They all have fond memories of the bread machine that their mother used all the time. Each week it was someone else’s turn to choose what type of bread to make and help make it. As kids, they love to watch the bread rise through the little window. And as adults, they loved coming to visit their mom and smelling that freshly baked bread. The main character’s stressful life comes to a head. She quits her job or takes a sabbatical or an extended vacation, grabs the bread machine and goes on a road trip to visit her siblings and bake each of them one last loaf of bread.

[Shep]
Before she kills them for the inheritance. Ironically, she’s taking a sabbatical from her job at the bakery.

[Thomas]
That would be pretty great, actually.

[Emily]
At first I thought it was going in the way of us. Like, are we doing the Baby Boom? But instead of a baby, she gets a bread machine. This takes an interesting turn.

[Shep]
The Baby Boom.

[Emily]
Yeah. The Baby Boom with Diane Keaton in the 80s.

[Thomas]
No idea.

[Shep]
No.

[Emily]
Oh, no.

[Thomas]
Yeah, I’m not familiar with it at all.

[Emily]
What? She’s a high-powered ad executive who-

[Thomas]
This sounds like a movie from the 80s. Go on.

[Shep]
That doesn’t narrow it down at all.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Her first cousin she barely knows dies in a car accident and she ends up being the guardian of their baby, a brand new baby. And her husband or living partner is like, “Yeah, I don’t want to have kids.” And then he leaves and she’s trying to juggle her corporate life with raising the baby, ends up moving into the country and making baby food. It’s a good movie.

[Thomas]
Now that you describe it, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a trailer for this.

[Shep]
Yeah. Now it sounds very familiar. I don’t know if I’ve seen this or one of the many other movies from the 80s that were very similar.

[Thomas]
Or did I grow up in the 80s watching movies?

[Emily]
Yeah. I mean, it’s a movie in the 80s.

[Shep]
The baby food is the part that makes me think I might have actually seen this.

[Thomas]
All right, my second idea, a kid buys a bread machine at a garage sale and starts making bread like other kids sell lemonade.

[Shep]
Why don’t kids do that? That sounds like a wonderful idea.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
I love this idea. I think that’s adorable.

[Thomas]
See, step one is you go around door to door and take orders for what kind of bread.

[Emily]
Right.

[Thomas]
You have a little menu and then you bake the bread and then like a day or two later you bring them their bread.

[Shep]
And not just bread. Maybe do cookies. Maybe wear an outfit.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
Maybe wear a scouting uniform while you go door to door.

[Thomas]
Throw in some popcorn as well.

[Shep]
I forgot about that.

[Shep]
See, the thing is, I would probably absolutely buy bread if a kid came to my door selling-

[Emily]
I would too, if there was a yeah, like a paper boy, but bread. A bread boy.

[Shep]
Yeah, a bread boy.

[Emily]
Why aren’t there bread boys?

[Thomas]
Oh, my God. You’d have a bread box on your doorstep. And he would leave bread in the bread box.

[Shep]
Like a milk box.

[Thomas]
Yes, exactly.

[Shep]
Oh, yeah, I’m on board. When can we get this started?

[Thomas]
I’ll talk to my kid about it later.

[Shep]
This idea is pandemic ready.

[Emily and Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
So no more podcasts. We’re bread boys now.

[Thomas]
Forget that pitch. That’s our new business venture, so we won’t do that one as the story. My third pitch is in an agrarian society. So before the Industrial revolution, before the Jacquard loom, before there was even any concept of automation, an eccentric inventor creates an automated bread making device. So I imagine some, like, giant room size maybe. This could be like, a Yahoo Serious coming back into business film where it’s just like this big crazy machine that makes bread.

[Shep]
Is he age appropriate to play an old eccentric inventor?

[Emily]
Yes, he is. I actually like this one. I think it’s a really cute idea.

[Shep]
I like this idea a lot. I like the idea of primitive automation.

[Emily]
Right.

[Thomas]
Yeah. I imagine, like, big flywheels and ropes and one of those, like, a water wheel thing.

[Emily]
A water mill.

[Thomas]
Exactly. And a big millstone going around.

[Shep]
And it makes one small loaf of bread.

[Thomas]
Right. It takes, like, all fucking day. There are animals involved. There’s a chicken that lays the eggs that come down, and there’s a thing that the egg hits it and they crack open and it falls into the bowl.

[Shep]
That’s Pee Wee’s breakfast machine.

[Thomas]
That’s like, basically all of them, though. All right, so those are my pictures. Emily, what do you have for us?

[Emily]
All right. I have a bread machine that makes healing dough. Think Julietta from Encanto, but as a bread machine, put googly eyes on it and everything.

[Shep]
Does she have googly eyes?

[Emily]
No, but the bread machine would need the googly eyes.

[Shep]
I don’t remember that part of Encanto.

[Thomas]
All right, listeners, I want to see an edit. I want a scene from Encanto, but make her eyes googly.

[Emily]
Yes.

[Thomas]
This must be done.

[Emily]
So I was just thinking a similar idea that the bread you make will heal whatever ailing you in this special bread machine.

[Thomas]
Sure.

[Shep]
Do you have different ingredients for different illnesses, or is it any bread cures any disease?

[Emily]
No, I would think more specifically that you would need these ingredients, heal these diseases.

[Thomas]
So this is like a modern-day witch?

[Emily]
Yeah. She makes bread.

[Thomas]
Yeah, I like it.

[Shep]
So it’s like Practical Magic?

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
Yup.

[Emily]
In a way.

[Shep]
Yeah. No, the more I’m thinking about it, I like that modern day witch angle.

[Emily]
Right?

[Shep]
Like, if magic were real and practitioners were still practicing it, they just make do with what exists. You don’t need a cauldron on a wood fire.

[Emily]
Yeah. You have a bread machine.

[Thomas]
It’s an automated cauldron.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
It’s better.

[Thomas]
It stirs for you.

[Shep]
It stirs for you. It goes three times to the left and three times to the right-

[Thomas]
It’s super portable.

[Emily]
You have so much more time to learn other incantations and you can get so much done in a day.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
And it’s so accurate because that’s what you want in magic. You want scientific accuracy.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
This is true.

[Shep]
I like that. I don’t know if it’s about the bread machine anymore rather than just a modern day witch. Although I like the idea of a modern day witch.

[Thomas]
Maybe her bread machine breaks or it gets stolen or something like that.

[Emily]
Yeah. There can always be a problem with the bread machine.

[Thomas]
She goes on vacation and somebody steals it or gives it away to somebody else.

[Emily]
Some neighborhood kid takes it and starts selling bread up and down the street like an animal.

[Shep]
And I, being the fool, bought a slice and turned into a frog. Yeah. So this is a bread maker that she has modified to be more magical?

[Thomas]
Either she’s put some sort of a spell on this bread maker or she bought it from a witch supply store, where that has been done to it already.

[Shep]
The witch supply store is also a Halloween costume store because they’re all over the place. Like, how are they in business? Well, now you know. So the oven, the little container inside of where the ingredients go, has, like, etchings in it, runes or carvings of some sort. That’s why the baked bread can hold the Incantation. This makes sense.

[Thomas]
That’s good.

[Emily]
Yeah, that makes sense. That’s a good one.

[Thomas]
Very logical.

[Emily]
I like that. All right.

[Thomas]
A good scientific explanation for it there Shep.

[Shep]
As long as I can explain away the magic, make the world a little less magical.

[Emily]
Right. Take that little sparkle. It’s fine. My second pitch is a young couple is given a bread machine as a wedding present, and every time she breaks bread, she gets pregnant. And all the kids are named after the different types of bread. I think they figure it out after the second one and start purposefully making the kids personalities based off of the loaf of bread they make in the bread machine.

[Shep]
How infrequently is she making bread?

[Emily]
Super infrequently. Yeah.

[Shep]
Because when I had a bread maker, I made bread every day.

[Emily]
Well, they started out on keto and then they went paleo and then they just gave up completely. So they start out with one kid, then two, and then they have five-

[Thomas]
And surely while she is pregnant, she’s not getting double pregnant or something.

[Emily]
Right?

[Thomas]
She could make as much bread as she wants while there’s one pregnancy already happening. Well, there’s already one bun in the oven.

[Shep]
Oh, bun in the oven. There’s the title. Roll credits.

[Emily]
Yes. And my third one is a young man trying to impress his new girlfriend by baking her delicious bread. But his bread machine breaks in the middle of it and he has to figure out how to cook it in the oven. He’s the bread maker. Yeah.

[Shep]
I like that one. I could kind of identify with that one, except I learned, of course, how to make bread without any bread maker first. Like, I learned how to drive with a stick shift before I got an automatic.

[Emily]
Well, not all of us are in our 80s, Shep.

[Thomas]
How did none of us have a pitch that had to do with somebody learning how to make bread during the pandemic? I mean, it would be a dumb movie that no one would watch, but it seems like a really obvious pitch. How did none of us think of that until just this moment?

[Emily]
That’s something everyone can relate to.

[Shep]
Yeah, it’s called Starter. Everybody does their own sourdough starter, which is ironic because I let my starter die during the pandemic because I wasn’t taking care of it.

[Thomas]
All right, well, if that’s all the pitches, what do we like the sound of?

[Shep]
The Joseph Lee biopic.

[Emily]
Yeah. Open the Wikipedia page. Let’s go.

[Shep]
Just start reading it.

[Emily]
I do like the bread machine. I like the kid selling door to door.

[Shep]
Yeah, I like all of these.

[Emily]
And I like the big giant machine.

[Thomas]
What a whole slate of amazing pitches that we can’t choose from, like, once ever have we just known immediately.

[Emily]
Also the rival bread making businesses. We need a call-in portion where somebody can say, do this one.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
That’s right. Phone lines are open.

[Thomas]
I like the kid who sells the bread door to door. I like the Yahoo Serious one. I like the witch one.

[Shep]
Which one?

[Thomas]
Yeah, that’s the one. The rival businesses. Those are the ones I like the most.

[Shep]
Yeah, that’s almost all of them.

[Thomas]
It’s probably about half.

[Emily]
It’s a good chunk.

[Shep]
It’s one from each of us.

[Emily]
See the kid one? I see a very Dennis the Menace kind of story coming out of it. I don’t know, just Little Rascals kind of thing.

[Thomas]
What is the story in that one? I think we like the basic idea, but what actually would happen in that story?

[Emily]
Well, clearly the City Council would have some things to say about him just selling-

[Thomas]
I was just going to say the Health Department shuts him down. Oh, it’s a totally a kids movie. And so it’s like incompetent adults, like evil bad guy, like animal catcher style adults, right? It’s like the mean old Health Inspector who’s trying to track him down and-

[Emily]
Shut down his operation,

[Thomas]
Stop him from making money.

[Emily]
And he has to move, like the old school craps games that have to move from location to location. The floating craps games. He’s a floating bread maker. He goes from garage to garage and they can’t figure out where he’s operating out of to shut him down.

[Shep]
It’s easy to just smell. Just smell for the bread.

[Thomas]
Somebody has a giant machine that’s just like a big nose and it’s a smellatron and they’re trying to track him down. “Where is he?”

[Shep]
Is this an animated movie?

[Thomas]
No, live action. It was a van with a big nose on it, and they’re just driving around.

[Shep]
The nose turns back and forth.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
I imagine at one point he’s got a bunch of his friends making bread in a bunch of garages so they can’t narrow it down.

[Thomas]
They keep, like, pounding on doors, and it’s like some person just making some dinner rolls or something.

[Shep]
But it’s like the prohibition. They’re breaking the bread machines in the streets, and all the kids are lined up against the wall getting handcuffed.

[Thomas]
This got really dark for a kid’s movie. I mean, is there more to it than just, he’s breaking the law?

[Emily]
Is he raising money for something special? Is he just making money because he’s a capitalist entrepreneur?

[Thomas]
That’s how it all works out. In the end, he gives kickbacks to the mayor. “Here’s $20 and a loaf of freshly baked bread.”

[Shep]
“Still warm.”

[Emily]
“And you’ll have more of those every Tuesday at 03:00 P.M.”

[Thomas]
Bribing people with slices of bread.

[Shep]
Well, is that the entire pitch?

[Thomas]
I don’t know. The entire pitch was that a kid starts selling bread. That was the whole idea.

[Emily]
Maybe we’ve exhausted this idea.

[Thomas]
All right, how about the Yahoo Serious one? What’s the story there?

[Shep]
It’s Yahoo Serious. He makes a giant bread maker.

[Thomas]
Okay, moving on. He’s misunderstood. So my thinking is he’s an eccentric inventor, so nothing works, or it’s all stupid shit that solves problems that don’t exist. And so when he does create this bread machine, nobody takes him seriously.

[Shep]
Is this a Yahoo Serious movie or a Carrot Top movie?

[Thomas]
They’re very similar.

[Shep]
Maybe we can get them both and they could be rivals.

[Thomas]
Yes. Their movies are so similar. I think it would be great to put them together in the same movie.

[Emily]
Back that up. There are Carrot Top movies?

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Oh, I’m glad I have missed that train.

[Thomas]
And somehow we got to squeak Pauly Shore in there.

[Shep]
Oh, my God.

[Emily]
Yes.

[Shep]
He’s like the mayor of the village that’s trying to mediate between the two of them.

[Thomas]
Yeah. He’s like the king of the realm, and they have to impress him. He shows up, like, late in the film.

[Shep]
King Shore. So I think that they have to, at the end, work together against some external threat. These former rivals have to cooperate.

[Thomas]
Against Pauly Shore.

[Shep]
He’s the, not the Sheriff of Nottingham, but what’s the guy that taxes everyone?

[Emily]
Prince John.

[Shep]
Yeah, he wants to steal the machines for the war effort and give all the credit to his son. Deny these two inventors everything that they worked for.

[Emily]
So not a Dragon. They’re not battling a Dragon because I think they should battle a Dragon.

[Thomas]
With bread?

[Emily]
Yes.

[Shep]
So it stops eating. People just make lots and lots of bread.

[Thomas]
And constant supply of fresh bread for the Dragon.

[Shep]
“But who could make so much bread constantly? You’d need some sort of automated device.” So is that the entire pitch for that one as well?

[Thomas]
Sure.

[Shep]
What’s left? The witch one.

[Thomas]
Which one?

[Shep]
Yes.

[Thomas]
So do people know she’s a witch?

[Shep]
It sounds like it’s just Practical Magic. Where they’re going to her specifically for remedies or whatever.

[Emily]
So, yeah, everybody knows it’s not something you talk about out loud, but everybody knows.

[Thomas]
And then is she trying really hard to get a spot on the PTA, and they won’t accept her because she’s a witch.

[Emily]
And her husband died in a curse.

[Shep]
And also she eats children.

[Thomas]
We’re not literally doing Practical Magic.

[Emily]
They don’t eat children.

[Shep]
That’s a myth.

[Thomas]
That sounds like a bunch of Hocus Pocus to me.

[Shep]
Why does she want to be on the PTA if she doesn’t want to eat children?

[Emily]
I mean, you have a good point.

[Shep]
And bake them into her bread?

[Thomas]
So what’s the conflict in this story?

[Emily]
Yeah. How do we make this not Practical Magic? Why would you go to a witch? What would bring you to a point that you’re like “I have run out of recourse. I am here to get help from you.”

[Shep]
I mean, word of mouth. Someone in your family knows the inside story and you’re sick or whatever, or you have some problem, and they bring you to this person that can cure you. So they examine you, they interview you, they talk to you about whatever, and then they start making a loaf of bread.

[Emily]
I was going to suggest that a new town doctor move in and they kind of become rivals. But then I realized that’s the plot to the Hallmark show The Good Witch. So that’s not going to work.

[Shep]
So instead of focusing on the witch as the main character, I say focus on, like, a teenage runaway that gets taken in by this person who doesn’t know that this person is a witch.

[Thomas]
So does the witch live, like, outside of town?

[Emily]
Does she own the town bakery?

[Shep]
As a cover?

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
I don’t know if they would own the town bakery, but maybe the town bakery knows about them and is in on the deal. They need bread delivered. And so they send someone out to the witch’s cottage outside of town to make a, quote, unquote delivery, but they’re actually doing a pickup, and this bread is going to the Johnsons.

[Thomas]
Yeah, I like that idea. Because the town can maintain their fiction that they don’t trust her, they don’t believe in her. She’s ostracized from the town.

[Shep]
Quote, unquote ostracized.

[Thomas]
But also they all still want her services. And so everybody sort of quietly goes to the Baker and orders special loaves.

[Shep]
Right. And because she’s outside of town, that’s why the runaway ended up out there. She’s leaving town, or maybe she’s from a different town, and it’s like trying to find a place to crash and gets found by the witch who takes her in and maybe teaches her magic. The girl, the runaway is curious. Like, “Why are all these people coming out and bringing you gifts or whatever?”

[Thomas]
So the runaway finds an old barn, like an abandoned barn or something like that. And, oh, God, we’re sleeping in barns again.

[Shep]
Every episode.

[Thomas]
So she sleeps in the barn overnight. She thinks, “Okay, this will be a safe place for me to chill out for the night,” literally. And she wakes up in the morning and there’s a little loaf of bread and a thing of juice or something like that. There’s some supplies there. And she’s like, “What?” And then realizes somehow or somehow finds out “I’m on this person’s property. But they’re not mad about that or anything or freaked out by it.”

[Shep]
Right. Then she goes up to the house to say, “Hey, sorry for sleeping in your barn, and thanks for the bread.”

[Thomas]
Maybe there’s a little note that’s, like, “Leave the glass on the step when you’re done” or something.

[Shep]
You wouldn’t need to leave a note to say, hey, leave the glass on the step or whatever.

[Thomas]
That’s true. She knows the kid is a good kid and she’ll just do the responsible thing as she can tell.

[Emily]
She’s a witch.

[Thomas]
Right? She’s seen it all in her bread machine.

[Shep]
Now I’m picturing as it’s spinning, just peering through the window into the future.

[Thomas]
What does she have instead of a crystal ball?

[Shep]
A bread machine.

[Emily]
The bread machine does everything.

[Thomas]
It has different settings. Does it need electricity to operate?

[Shep]
Yeah, this is the modern era.

[Thomas]
Alright.

[Shep]
I mean, she doesn’t always use. Sometimes she uses her rice cooker. It depends.

[Thomas]
Different starch preparation device depending on what is she trying to do?

[Emily]
No, it’s always the bread maker. The episode is called Bread Maker. Okay.

[Shep]
No, that’s what she’s teaching the younger trainee witch on, she’s getting her started on the bread machine. That’s like the training wheels of magic.

[Thomas]
Because it’s set it and forget it, right?

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Well, the idea is precise. It’s precise measurements. It’s precise timing. You can’t over knead it. You can’t under rise it.

[Thomas]
All right, well, I think we finally figured out which store we want to pursue. So let’s take a quick break and when we come back, we’ll get writing.

[Break]

[Thomas]
Alright. Is this the story we’re going to write? I feel like this one has the most obvious potential for conflict.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
What’s the conflict?

[Thomas]
Kid’s a runaway. Her parents are looking for her. The woman’s a witch. The town, quote unquote, hates her.

[Shep]
Oh, she’s not just a runaway, she’s a criminal.

[Emily]
Okay.

[Shep]
Maybe she shoplifted food or something.

[Thomas]
Sure.

[Shep]
And so now you have cops sniffing around.

[Thomas]
Getting a little close to Practical Magic again.

[Shep]
I haven’t seen Practical Magic since it came out, so I don’t remember the details. Not that that’s stopping my subconscious, apparently from-

[Emily]
Yeah, we’re getting a little too close.

[Thomas]
That’s every episode.

[Emily]
It’s just so many stories in the world. I think humanity has run out.

[Thomas]
It’s not a surprising thing that the authorities sniffing around the witch’s house is coming up again and again and again. I mean, it’s a trope.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
So let’s subvert the trope. The cops are her friends.

[Thomas]
Her boyfriend is a cop.

[Emily]
Well, now we’re back into The Good Witch.

[Thomas]
Oh, damn it.

[Shep]
Isn’t her cop a boyfriend in Practical Magic? Or isn’t her boyfriend a cop, a sherif or something?

[Emily]
He becomes her boyfriend, but he’s there to investigate the murder of his sister’s possessive narcissistic-

[Thomas]
That’s right.

[Shep]
Yeah, it’s coming back to Angelov.

[Thomas]
God damn.

[Shep]
Yeah. So his spirit reaches for the guy and gets burned on his badge.

[Thomas]
Yup.

[Emily]
I just watched it this October because I’m a girl. And when it’s October, you watch Practical Magic. We should try and figure out how to subvert the trope. And maybe not that they’re dating, but their friends, their childhood friends.

[Shep]
Yeah. Not even childhood friends. It’s a small town. Everybody knows everything that’s going on.

[Thomas]
Sure.

[Shep]
And the cops know that she’s helping everyone out when they need help. Maybe she’s even helped them out. They get injured on the job or whatever.

[Thomas]
They don’t even bother with the Baker. They’ll just go straight to her.

[Shep]
Right. They don’t need a cover.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
Is the runaway family new to town?

[Shep]
I’d say-

[Thomas]
Different town.

[Shep]
Yeah. They’re not in this town.

[Emily]
Okay, she just stumbled in there, stole something from a store.

[Thomas]
Not in this town though, right? Or did she steal from this town?

[Shep]
It could go either way. If she’s just getting to this town and she’s on the outskirts of town, she wouldn’t have had a chance to shoplift anything yet.

[Thomas]
Maybe some wanted signs go up or missing or whatever.

[Shep]
Or both.

[Thomas]
Something that has her photo on it.

[Shep]
Oh, you need a trainee cop to go with the trainee witch. So he’s new to the force. He doesn’t know about the deal either.

[Emily]
Okay.

[Shep]
So he’s like, “There’s something suspicious going on with that woman. And why aren’t we hauling that teenager in? She’s clearly the girl from the missing poster or the wanted poster.”

[Thomas]
Maybe he does. He’s like out on patrol on his own, picks up the girl, brings her into the station and the older guy calls the witch and is like, “She’s here, you can come get her.”

[Shep]
Oh, because she runs away again from the witch.

[Emily]
Yeah, because we’re just trying to set her on the street and narrow.

[Shep]
Right. But she’s a witch and the girl is freaked out and takes off.

[Thomas]
Or it could just be that she’s an authority figure and the girl is like, “No, I’m out.”

[Shep]
“Screw you. I do what I want.”

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
“Yeah, you can’t help me. No one can.”

[Shep]
Oh, she messes around with magic she shouldn’t be messing around with yet and gets reprimanded.

[Thomas]
The witch is just like everybody else, just like all the other adults in her life.

[Shep]
No one understands her.

[Thomas]
Yup.

[Shep]
Yeah, teenagers. So she runs away again from the witch and gets picked up by the cops or by the trainee cop.

[Emily]
And the old cop calls her and says, “Hey, we found her.”

[Thomas]
What is the excuse he gives the younger cop? How does he explain that?

[Emily]
The witch is her aunt. She’s come to stay with her because her parents need her to be rehabilitated.

[Thomas]
Maybe the signs aren’t up yet. Maybe she goes into town and decides she’s going to shoplift in that town as well. And that’s how she gets caught the first time by the younger cop.

[Emily]
Yeah, I like that. That makes sense.

[Thomas]
And then later in the film, the wanted signs are up in the town or missing child or whatever it is. And then it’s a lot harder to just sort of hand wave away, letting her go.

[Shep]
So did she get caught shoplifting before she has spent time with the witch or after?

[Thomas]
No, she’s decided she’s going to leave this town too because everybody here sucks. She thought the witch would be cool, but she wasn’t. So she’s going to leave and before she leaves, she needs to shoplift some supplies. But she doesn’t quite get that far. She gets caught shoplifting and the younger cop happens to be there or something like that. And whatever it is, he sits in the parking lot because that’s the middle of town. So that’s just where he hangs out waiting for action that never happens because it’s a small town.

[Emily]
That’s where he’s having his coffee and donuts.

[Thomas]
Right, exactly.

[Shep]
He gets the call on the radio and it’s the store that he’s parked in front of.

[Thomas]
Yeah. He looks out the window and he can see the person on the phone in the stone.

[Shep]
They waved to the car. Would dispatch patch the phone call into the car?

[Thomas]
How would it work in this small town? Would it just go to a phone in the car? Like would it just connect automatically? How would that work?

[Emily]
Well, the grocery clerk saw that the car was out there. She’s got-

[Thomas]
The clerk just walks out, knocks on the window.

[Emily]
Yeah, she can see.

[Thomas]
Come here. Yeah, that’s your she could just call him on his cell phone.

[Emily]
That’s why I figured just call his private cell phone and be like, “Hey,”

[Shep]
“You can’t call me right now. I’m on duty.”

[Emily]
“This is work related.”

[Shep]
Yeah. “Come inside and do your duty.”

[Thomas]
Yeah. Okay. So the girl goes with the witch because her choice is that or be in jail.

[Emily]
Great.

[Shep]
Or they call her parents.

[Thomas]
Oh, yeah.

[Emily]
How does the older cop know that the witch should be involved or does the witch come looking for her?

[Shep]
The older cop has to see her-

[Emily]
Has to have seen her at the house.

[Shep]
At the witch’s property at some point. Yeah.

[Emily]
He comes over for his morning coffee and a little bread or whatever.

[Thomas]
He gets like a daily muffin or donut or something.

[Shep]
He’s got bad knees from chasing criminals or whatever in the big city.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
That’s why he’s retired, essentially working retirement in this small town. And she makes the stuff that helps his knees.

[Emily]
Alright, perfect. So she explained, “This is my new apprentice.” Whatnot?

[Thomas]
I don’t think he just sees her on the property at some point and doesn’t really ask any questions.

[Shep]
Or just makes a comment. “New apprentice,” something like that. He knows, but he doesn’t need to ask.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
He doesn’t want to ask too many questions because then he has to get involved and he doesn’t need the paperwork.

[Thomas]
Less is more.

[Shep]
He’s seen it all. He’s experienced, he hasn’t lived in a small town his entire life, so he’s seen everything under the sun.

[Emily]
Right, right.

[Shep]
So he sees the girl, figures out she’s got to be a runaway, figures out the witch is helping her.

[Thomas]
Okay. So does the girl spend the night in jail? And then the next morning, that’s when the older guy shows up and lets her go? Or is it such a small town that the front part of the police station is, like where the jail is and everything, and then the back part is his house.

[Shep]
Yeah. He has an apartment on the second floor.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
I don’t see any problem with her just spending the night in jail.

[Thomas]
I mean, that makes it kind of more real for her or helps her understand-

[Shep]
Right.

[Thomas]
What she’s in store for if she doesn’t go along with the witch.

[Shep]
And clean up her act because she got away the last time she shoplifted.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
Yeah. They caught her, but she fled. And so she still had that invincible mindset and did not work this time.

[Thomas]
Teenagers.

[Shep]
Now she’s having to learn about consequences.

[Emily]
Does she get community service though, because she did, in fact, shoplift? Or is it just the night in jail?

[Shep]
I like the idea of community service because that ties her to the town, at least for a while. So she can’t just leave.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
Otherwise she’s committing a larger crime just by leaving. So during her time when she’s got to do community service, she has to have a place to stay. Her, quote, unquote aunt will take her in temporarily.

[Thomas]
What is her community service? Is she a delivery person for the Baker? Does she scrub graffiti? Does she have to go stock shelves at the store.

[Shep]
Goes and takes care of old people at the old people’s retirement home.

[Emily]
I think she has to do a little bit of everything. So she ends up having to interact with the town because she just has to get the hours. So whatever is available that day is what she has to do. So Tuesday it’s scrubbing graffiti. Wednesday it’s helping Marge grocery shop.

[Thomas]
This person needs their fence painted. This person needs their hedges trimmed like you’re doing chores for people around the town.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
Works for me. I mean.

[Shep]
Do the townsfolk know that she has community service, or do they just get told, “Oh, she’s helping out. If you have anything you need done, let us know.”

[Thomas]
Well, I was thinking a source of conflict could be friction between her and other teens in the town. So if everybody knows she’s on community service, then they could be teasing her for that they could also be teasing her because she’s a little weird and she lives with the witch.

[Shep]
Oh yeah.

[Emily]
Everyone likes to mock a goth. I like that everyone would know because you’re right. It brings in the more conflict. And then maybe one of the community service items is that she’s supposed to help at the daycare or something. The parents are like, “No, this is too far. She’s a criminal. We don’t need her around our small children.”

[Shep]
Do the teenagers make anti witch graffiti knowing that she has to clean it up? Or do the teenagers in town not know that there is a witch?

[Emily]
I mean, they’re going to know.

[Thomas]
There would be rumors at least. Is there a woman in the town who just really doesn’t like the witch?

[Shep]
Oh yeah.

[Emily]
There always is.

[Shep]
Strong, devout Christian woman.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Is it like the Minister’s wife or something?

[Shep]
That could be the Minister. That could be a woman. Don’t be sexist. Check your assumptions.

[Thomas]
Well, she’s Catholic.

[Emily]
Then she can’t be the Minister’s mistress.

[Thomas]
Bruce? Now I kind of like the idea of a novel called The Minister’s Mister. And the Christian woman’s daughter wants to rebel. She hangs out with the teenage runaway.

[Shep]
Oh yeah, there you go.

[Emily]
She sees her painting the graffiti one day and then kind of like tells her a little bit of the stories or whatever that the teens have for the witch.

[Shep]
She asks her about stuff because she has heard rumors about the witch and she’s like, “Is it true? Is it true that she eats dogs and cats and whatever?”

[Emily]
“Does she dance naked in the full moon every month?”

[Thomas]
“I don’t know. I’ve only been here a few days. Maybe?” Does the runaway girl make up preposterous over the top stories to freak out the other kids?

[Shep]
Oh, of course.

[Emily]
Yes, absolutely. Because that’s going to create more tension with the crazy Christian woman.

[Thomas]
Right. But it doesn’t scare the crazy Christian woman’s daughter away. It only endears her even more. She’s even more interested now.

[Emily]
Yeah, it draws her closer. So she ends up going to the house one time.

[Shep]
Oh my gosh. And then gets caught later by her mother having gone there.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
Oh, and that’s just not gonna fly. Now she’s, you know, she tries calling the Sheriff but he does nothing.

[Thomas]
So the runaway is starting to teach the crazy Christian woman’s daughter some magic in the bread maker. And she’s definitely not supposed to be teaching other people this.

[Emily]
She’s not at that level yet.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
She shouldn’t be doing this.

[Thomas]
So is that… No, it can’t be because she has to get in trouble first. Does she get in trouble again or is this the main big conflict is she releases some demon or conjures some evil into being accidentally?

[Shep]
Well then it’s Practical Magic again.

[Thomas]
Oh yeah, you’re right.

[Shep]
Yeah. What can she do that has consequences-

[Thomas]
And involves the bread maker.

[Shep]
And involves the bread maker? So it’s got to be a spell or enchantment of some kind.

[Emily]
Well, what if they’re making a spell or an enchantment, she’s trying to teach her how to do it and then it incapacitates the daughter.

[Shep]
Crazy Christian woman’s daughter?

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
Oh yeah. So she’s trying to do a minor incantation like change her hair color or something.

[Emily]
Clear up her acne or something.

[Shep]
Yeah. And it goes horribly wrong. And the crazy Christian woman’s daughter ends up in the hospital or something.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
What if the woman’s daughter is a false ally? She believes that the woman is a witch and so she makes friends with the runaway, comes over, eggs her into showing like, “Hey, how does this work? Show me something.” And the girl’s like, “All right, fine.” And the daughter is wanting to make like a love potion. And for whatever reason she sneaks something into the bread maker. Or she convinces the runaway to leave the room momentarily or something like that ends up totally messing up this spell and that wreaks havoc on the town somehow.

[Emily]
You could easily have the runaway have to leave the room for an animal or something outside that needs her assistance. Like the cow keeps escaping or whatever.

[Thomas]
Or there could just be an ingredient they’re missing she’s like, “Oh, I’m going to grab that real quick.”

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
“I’ll be right back.”

[Shep]
They’re missing it intentionally because the daughter grabbed it and is hiding it.

[Thomas]
Right?

[Shep]
“Where’s the whatever?”

[Thomas]
Yeah, “I thought I grabbed that. I’ll go get it. I’ll be right back.” Yeah.

[Shep]
“Better hurry up. I mean, you said that this has to be precise. Timing matters.” So what does she do to the bread maker? What does she even know to do to the bread maker to mess it up?

[Thomas]
I was just thinking about that. It’s possible she did research.

[Shep]
Or her mom did research.

[Thomas]
Yes.

[Shep]
Oh, my goodness. I was thinking, so something goes horribly wrong, and for some reason, the witch is not there or incapacitated or something, and the only person who knows how to fix it is the crazy Christian woman because she did the research.

[Emily]
What’s going wrong?

[Shep]
I don’t know. This is just a fragment of an idea.

[Emily]
Right.

[Thomas]
Is she trapped in a spell? Like she’s frozen in place? Is she trapped in another realm?

[Shep]
Maybe she’s just out of town.

[Emily]
Yeah, I was going to say maybe she’s out of town on either for business or under false pretenses.

[Shep]
Well, she just could be out of town on business and has left care of the facilities to the runaway as a trust exercise. Like, “Hey, I’m going to be out of town. I trust you.” And that’s when the runaway brings the daughter over. Like, here’s this opportunity to show off-

[Thomas]
Because she wants to make friends.

[Shep]
Because she wants to make friends, and she wants to show off because that’s what teenagers do and they don’t think about consequences. So she invites the daughter over, the daughter messes up the spell. The spell goes horribly wrong. Much worse than anticipated.

[Emily]
Yes.

[Thomas]
Is there some sort of demon portal over the town that’s causing problems?

[Shep]
I figured it would have to be affecting the towns folk in some way.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
Not necessarily opening portals to the demon realm.

[Thomas]
But something that negatively impacts the town is kind of what I was getting at.

[Shep]
Right.

[Emily]
They all can’t stop dancing.

[Thomas]
So, like, crazy weather stuff happening that’s causing damage around town.

[Emily]
All the children fall asleep.

[Thomas]
That’s good. The town’s children. It affects the town’s children. And everyone in town would naturally assume it’s the runaway because they already didn’t want her around the kids in the first place.

[Emily]
She’s a delinquent, and now she’s a delinquent witch. What’s wrong with the kids?

[Thomas]
Catatonic or something. I don’t know.

[Emily]
We’re going old school Salem with it.

[Shep]
So how did the kids end up affected?

[Thomas]
The spell. Something about the spell. I don’t know. It’s magic. Just mixing bullshit up.

[Emily]
With cinnamon bread for the Church.

[Shep]
Why would they use the witch’s bread for anything at the Church?

[Thomas]
I just imagine it doesn’t even complete baking. It’s like during the baking process, something… It’s almost like there’s an overload in the cauldron of the bread maker.

[Emily]
So it kind of escapes outside of the bread maker and the bread in general.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
And it’s transmitted not through the bread.

[Shep]
So there’s a big cloud of whatever magic that blows over the town. So is the runaway affected? Is the daughter affected?

[Emily]
No, just small kids, prepubescents.

[Thomas]
They still have their innocence. Some bullshit like that. I don’t know. Whatever.

[Emily]
Now, let’s make it scientific. If you haven’t had nocturnal emissions or your first period, you’re affected.

[Shep]
How about if you haven’t had sex, you’re affected and the daughter is not affected. “We’ll talk about this later.”

[Emily]
And the runaway is incapacitated.

[Shep]
The runaway is incapacitated.

[Thomas]
Should she be incapacitated? I feel like she’s kind of our main character. She needs to be the one in the third act to actually do the work.

[Emily]
Okay, then in that case, she doesn’t get incapacitated.

[Thomas]
It could just be a puberty type of thing. Like if you’re below a certain age or above a certain age, you seem not to be affected by this. We don’t even actually ever have to explain it. Just say the town’s children.

[Emily]
Yeah. I like the conflict of it being if you’re a virgin, you’re affected. And then the crazy Christian woman’s daughter is like, “Oops.”

[Thomas]
I mean, she’s going to have enough trouble to deal with in that this is her fault and they’re going to have to go to the mom to try to fix this.

[Emily]
Oh, yeah. They go into the town and find out, and the girl is trying to get a hold of the witch, but she can’t.

[Thomas]
So I imagine they set this thing up, they hit the button, they go outside to have lemonade. I don’t know, just chill out while they’re waiting for the bread to do its thing. And then all of a sudden it gets really stormy and things are going crazy. And it’s definitely weird. Maybe there’s some sort of magic lightning or something that indicates this is not normal. “Maybe we should go check on the bread.” And they go in and there’s light shining out of the now open bread maker and they’re like, “Oh, fuck.”

[Emily]
Oh, yeah. The girl is like, “Is this normal? Is this how it’s supposed to happen?”

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
She’s like, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it do this before.”

[Shep]
Well, the daughter would know that it’s not normal because she messed with it.

[Emily]
Yeah, but she doesn’t want the girl to know that yet. She wants the girl to think it’s her fault, right?

[Thomas]
Does the daughter admit immediately that she messed with it, or is she trying to play it off, like, “Weird, I don’t know.”

[Shep]
I mean, I wouldn’t admit to it if my goal was to mess with it. If my crazy mother had sent me in here specifically to sabotage this thing to cause a big kerfuffle to get the witch in trouble.

[Thomas]
Is that why she’s there?

[Shep]
Isn’t that why she’s there?

[Thomas]
She could just be there selfishly. She could genuinely be wanting… I think it would help to figure out what is the spell they’re trying to cast. Remember in Fern Gully when she says the wrong words and it shrinks the guy down? Maybe something like that. It’s like they’re going for one thing and they accidentally do something else. Maybe there’s a weird ingredient. She thinks it might be this, but she’s not 100% sure “We’ll throw it in there,” they substitute something.

[Shep]
Okay, so did the daughter intentionally mess with it or not?

[Thomas]
We kinda in everything else have the daughter rebelling against the mother, so I can’t imagine she would. I mean, I didn’t think that until you said it.

[Shep]
I thought you said that she was a false friend.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
Yeah, that came from you.

[Thomas]
Right. But I meant that in that she’s not actually trying to befriend the runaway. She’s trying to get what she wants from the runaway. She’s trying to trick the runaway into helping her.

[Shep]
I see. I completely misunderstood.

[Emily]
Me too.

[Thomas]
In that case, it’s clearly my fault that I didn’t explain it properly if multiple people didn’t get it. I know what’s in my head. Guys, come on.

[Shep]
Listen to what I’m thinking. Not what I’m saying.

[Thomas]
Right, exactly. Shep gets it.

[Emily]
Okay, so the Christian daughter is there to do a love spell because she loves some boy or whatever, and she’s pretending to befriend the runaway to get access to this because her mother won’t let her anywhere near the witch.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
Not that the witch would do this spell anyway, because that’s not cool.

[Shep]
Why does the witch even have this recipe if this is a forbidden spell.

[Thomas]
It’s not necessarily forbidden. It could just be that the witch is like, “You think you know what you want, but you don’t understand what you want.” It’s like a permanent love spell or something. She doesn’t get how powerful it really is.

[Emily]
Because the intention is to get that man who’s dragging his heels, that partner who’s dragging their heels in a relationship.

[Thomas]
It’s because it’s almost like black magic. It forces someone to do something they wouldn’t do on their own.

[Shep]
No, it’s for old married couples that have lost their spark. And this is just to bring that spark back. They willingly-

[Thomas]
Right?

[Shep]
Order this and eat it. It’s not something that would even work against your will.

[Thomas]
Yes.

[Shep]
It’s just a little boost, like you want to fall back in love and this will help that. It’s like a cup of coffee helps you wake up, but it’s not going to substitute sleep. This isn’t a love spell on its own.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
But the trainee and the daughter don’t know that.

[Emily]
Right. And the witch isn’t there to explain it to them.

[Shep]
Right.

[Thomas]
Does the daughter know that the love spell exists? She must. If she’s a false friend, she has to know.

[Shep]
Oh, yeah, because her mother rants about all this stuff all the time. Because she has friends from Church that complain to her about their marriage or whatever, and then suddenly they’re in love again. That’s nonsense. That’s crazy. Someone did a spell on them.

[Thomas]
It could even be something where she has, like you said before, she’s done the research, but she doesn’t actually know. It’s not the complete, actual correct research. She’s gone on Facebook and done her own research.

[Emily]
Right.

[Thomas]
So she has this idea. She knows that a love spell exists, and in her mind, it works this particular way. But that’s not how it works. But she doesn’t know that.

[Emily]
She stopped at the first paragraph, didn’t read the rest.

[Thomas]
Right. It confirmed her already held beliefs that these things make people do stuff against their will. Therefore it’s bad.

[Shep]
So why does it go haywire?

[Thomas]
The daughter puts something in or too much of something in something like that.

[Emily]
Maybe it’s a very similar spell to a different type of bread. And she knows you got to add this ingredient, but she doesn’t know how much. And she just throws a bunch in when the runaway is out of the room or doesn’t have the specific ingredient and thinks, “Oh, it calls for cilantro. Parsley is the same thing.”

[Thomas]
That’s a details thing. That’s the person writing the script problem to figure out. We’ve been recording for quite a while. We’re getting close to the end of our time here.

[Emily]
We are getting close.

[Thomas]
I’m just trying to move things along.

[Shep]
This show is too short.

[Thomas]
Anyway. It goes wrong. The kids are stunned.

[Shep]
It’s affecting some of the townsfolk.

[Thomas]
Maybe it’s not just that. Just the kids are stunned. It’s just that weird things are happening. People are acting strangely.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
Strange things are happening and people are acting out of character. Not everyone is affected, but some people are affected. And again, we never actually have to explain that. Somebody even say, “Why are some people affected and some people aren’t?” “I don’t know. But we need to solve this.” Cool. We’ve addressed that. It’s happening. Moving on.

[Shep]
So is the end, the witch coming back like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and stopping everything?

[Thomas]
Do we want that or do we want the-

[Emily]
I want the girls to figure it out.

[Thomas]
If the runaway is the main character, I think she does need to be the one or her and somebody else need to be the one to do it. Is there something that’s actively preventing the witch from returning? When does she come back? Does she come back right away? After it’s solved? Is it a few days later and everything’s been cleaned up?

[Shep]
Well, that’s why I was asking if she’s coming back like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It’s solved when she gets back.

[Thomas]
Because she gets back?

[Shep]
Well, if it were like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, then, yes, it doesn’t have to be that way.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
What if she, it’s in the process of being solved when she gets back?

[Thomas]
The lesson that the runaway has to learn is to take responsibility. She doesn’t actually have to fix the magic. She just has to take responsibility for it.

[Shep]
How does she do that?

[Thomas]
Somehow she’s got to be able to contact the witch. Maybe the daughter is like, “Doesn’t she have, like, a crystal ball you can call her on?” It’s like “She has a cell phone I can call her on.”

[Emily]
“But I’ve tried and I can’t reach her.”

[Shep]
Would she have tried? Or is she trying to keep this a secret.

[Emily]
Oh, no, she’s trying to fix it without doing that. Right.

[Thomas]
Because she got chewed out the last time she fucked around with magic that she wasn’t supposed to.

[Shep]
Yeah. She’s doing the one thing that she said she wouldn’t do.

[Thomas]
Especially during this specifically explicitly stated trust exercise. But that’s the thing. You take responsibility for your actions, something she’s never done. Even when she gets caught shoplifting, she won’t admit that she did something wrong. She won’t apologize. She’s just “Whatever.” Blows it off, it doesn’t matter. So the lesson she has to learn is to take that responsibility. So she has to call the witch and be like, “Man, I fucked up. I need you to come back.” Maybe the witch knew that was what was going to happen. Not to that extent, but she figured something would happen. Maybe that’s why they put the wrong ingredient in, the witch took the really dangerous stuff with her or hid it somewhere.

[Emily]
That would make sense. She would be like, “Well, I got to give myself some guarantees here, because I can’t trust her completely.”

[Thomas]
Right, right. Do we like that? That she realizes she needs to take responsibility for her actions, and then it has to help the witch fix it? Oh, yeah. So it requires a coven to fix it, but she’s a solo witch and two people does not a coven make. Luckily, they have the Christian woman’s daughter.

[Emily]
We’re back to Practical Magic.

[Thomas]
Oh, God. You’re right. Damn.

[Shep]
It’s hard to make a story that hasn’t been made before, ever.

[Thomas]
I don’t know if we’ve mentioned this on the show before, but writing is hard.

[Emily]
So hard.

[Shep]
I can’t believe no one has said that.

[Thomas]
That’s going to be our first piece of merch, a T-shirt that says “Writing is hard.”

[Emily]
Writing is hard.

[Shep]
We say that as we pump out a new script every week.

[Thomas]
We don’t put them on scripts.

[Shep]
Oh, that’s true.

[Thomas]
There’s some rough ideas.

[Shep]
Right.

[Emily]
Like, at the most, it’s a treatment.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
If we had more time, though. Yeah.

[Thomas]
But then it wouldn’t be one a week.

[Shep]
I mean, it could be, if we all quit our jobs.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Well.

[Emily]
That’s the dream.

[Shep]
Okay. Spell goes wrong, townsfolk are being affected. Runaway finally takes responsibility. Calls the witch. She comes back, stops everything with the help of-

[Thomas]
The runaway, at least. Is the daughter involved or not?

[Emily]
Yes. She’s going to have to be part of what reverses the spell, because she’s the one who messed it up so she has to help participate with the reversal.

[Thomas]
I agree. Did she initially bail and they have to track her down?

[Emily]
The mother takes her away.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Good.

[Emily]
The mother is like, “I don’t want you affected by this. You’ve already caused enough trouble.”

[Thomas]
Did they drag the mother into it? Reluctantly. “It takes four people. We don’t have time.” The town is literally, like, starting to fall apart or people are going crazy.

[Shep]
Right. “We need a person in every direction.”

[Thomas]
Yeah, exactly.

[Emily]
Well, there you go. That’s not a cove, so that’s not Practical Magic.

[Thomas]
The four Cardinal directions.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
She’s the wicked witch. They put the crazy Christian woman-

[Emily]
In the east she like makes a joke. “No, clearly I would be the north. I’m the Glenda.”

[Thomas]
I think you should just be like, “You stand in the east”. She’s like, “Oh, so you know something about witches, then?” “It doesn’t matter. I’ll stand in the east. Whatever. Everyone rotates.” And then, does that make the Christian woman soften her viewpoint at all, or does it do nothing? Does it further entrench her in her viewpoint? She has to know that her daughter is the cause, right?

[Shep]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
And that the witch is saving the town.

[Emily]
Well, how big of a bitch do we want her to be?

[Shep]
Oh, she’s a big old bitch, but she has a talent for magic. She’s in denial. She’s rebelling against her nature. That’s why she went full on religious anti-witchcraft. But at the end, here where she is helping the main witch quell the magic, she can feel the power. And maybe she comes by for bread later. Not that she’s saying that she’s interested in being a witch. She just wants some bread.

[Thomas]
Does she allow her daughter to continue to hang out with the runaway after that?

[Shep]
I’m sure, maybe her daughter also doesn’t have any friends.

[Thomas]
Oh, she doesn’t come by for bread. She allows her daughter to go and tells her to bring something back.

[Emily]
I like that.

[Thomas]
Because she still wants to maintain that distance.

[Shep]
Right.

[Thomas]
The social distance. Right. The fiction that everybody believes.

[Shep]
I would like it if she had ideas about recipes that maybe she would like to exchange.

[Thomas]
That’s a good idea. Pretty much nothing changes for the witch.

[Shep]
Yeah. She’s not the main focus.

[Thomas]
No.

[Shep]
The story is not about her.

[Thomas]
Right. The runaway learns responsibility.

[Emily]
Does the runaway ever get reunited with her family or go home?

[Shep]
Oh, that’s a really good question.

[Thomas]
Boy.

[Shep]
If she’s taking responsibility, then going back home would be part of that.

[Emily]
Maybe the daughter comes by to say goodbye and also pick up the bread order for a mother. But she’s also saying goodbye because the runaway is going to go home.

[Thomas]
Or it could just be as simple as, like, contacting her parents to let them know where she is and that she’s okay. How old is she? Did we ever decide-

[Emily]
I was imagining 16, 17.

[Thomas]
I was 15, 16 was what I had in mind.

[Shep]
So not old enough to be living on their own.

[Thomas]
She’d have to be a minor in order for the whole police thing at the beginning to work out.

[Shep]
So why are her parents letting her stay with a witch if that’s what’s happening?

[Thomas]
Maybe they’re not, but she can come back for summer break or something like that.

[Emily]
Th retired cop or whatever helps reassure them that she’s been safe and been taking responsibility and shows that she’s made progress. And so they’re grateful. So they’re like, “Well, you can come back.”

[Thomas]
Yeah, she was always a handful back home, and now this environment is clearly good for her. Maybe the parents are just shitty people.

[Shep]
Yeah. That’s also very possible.

[Thomas]
And they’re like, “You don’t want to come back. Great. One less mouth to feed.”

[Shep]
Didn’t we already have a runaway in a story? We did in Penny.

[Emily]
Penny. She was running away from a foster home. These are real parents.

[Thomas]
To be fair, she didn’t have parents.

[Shep]
Saying even our own stories are-

[Thomas]
Okay. Old Sheriff doesn’t change. How about the deputy? How does he change? Obviously, he understands that there’s magic now. He knows it for sure.

[Shep]
Or if he’s one of the ones affected by it.

[Thomas]
Oh, yeah.

[Shep]
If it’s not just little kids, if it’s people that are virgins.

[Thomas]
Maybe he has no memory of it.

[Shep]
I’m sure he would claim he has no memory of it. Whatever they were doing.

[Thomas]
I kind of like the idea that he’s moving toward that new old Sheriff role that the old Sheriff knows. Like, “I’m not long for this world. At some point someone is going to have to replace me” and he wants to make sure that this new guy is going to be cool.

[Emily]
He brings them over for the donuts brings them along one morning.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Maybe he’s got a really bad headache. “I think I can help you out with that.” Or maybe he gets injured during the-

[Emily]
During the climactic climax.

[Thomas]
Yeah, exactly.

[Emily]
That’s right. That’s a technical term. Climactic climax?

[Thomas]
We wouldn’t just want a regular one. Do we have it? Are we there?

[Shep]
We have the ending state of all the characters that we have. We don’t have that many characters.

[Emily]
No.

[Thomas]
I mean, there are a lot of small characters. We don’t need more than half a dozen main people to focus on.

[Shep]
Right.

[Thomas]
It is a small town, after all. And I imagine we would see some other people, PTA moms or whatever, who are in one or two scenes, almost background characters, featured extras. Exactly. Right.

[Shep]
The shop clerk that catches her shoplifting, the person that works at the police station answering the phones.

[Thomas]
The town drunk who’s in the cell next to hers.

[Shep]
A little Central Casting. But, I mean, there’s so many details that we could go into.

[Thomas]
Sure. That’s every episode, though.

[Shep]
That’s every episode. How much time do we have?

[Emily]
There’s always more details.

[Shep]
I think we have it. How much of this is about the bread maker, though?

[Emily]
It’s the cauldron.

[Thomas]
Yeah, it’s the cauldron that sets this whole thing in motion. And I imagine that that would be part of the solution at the end, too. They would have to hold hands around the bread maker. Maybe they do some spell that draws all of the wild escaped magic back into it, and then somehow she can revert it back to a safe state or something.

[Shep]
Yup. But it ruins the machine.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Does she get gifted a new bread maker?

[Thomas]
No, it’s got to be some other thing because the bread maker, that doesn’t feel like a 2020 type of thing anymore. Right.

[Emily]
It’s a rice cooker.

[Shep]
It’s a pressure cooker.

[Thomas]
Yeah. That’s the end is she comes back, it’s later. It’s months later. At the end of the whole thing, the Sherrif is like, “I got to send you back home.” He can’t let her stay because this is just too big of a thing. But then she comes back for the summer and the witch knows she’s coming back and she’s like, “I got you something.”

[Shep]
Right.

[Thomas]
It’s an Instapot. Roll credits.

[Shep]
Set up the sequel.

[Thomas]
Right. All right. I think that’s it for us.

[Emily]
All right, we got it.

[Thomas]
We got it.

[Shep]
Get some product placement.

[Thomas]
Well, we’d love to hear your thoughts on today’s show. Was it the greatest thing since sliced bread or did it land buttered side down? You can let us know via email or social media. Links to those can be found on our website AlmostPlausible.com Hey, have you left a five star review for us on Apple podcasts yet.

[Emily]
kaiwilson726 has and they said “Such a unique idea. Great audio experience. I listen with my eyes closed and it feels as if I’m in the movie theater relaxed with my favorite snacks. Keep it going, guys.”

[Thomas]
Well, thank you, kaiwilson726, we appreciate it. And if you leave a five star review on Apple podcasts for us, we’ll read it on a future episode. So with that, Emily, Shep, and I thank you for listening. Be sure to come back next week for another episode of Almost Plausible.

[Shep]
Bye bye.

[Emily]
Bye.

[Outro music]

[Thomas]
How old is Yahoo Serious?

[Emily]
I believe he is in his 50s.

[Shep]
I mean, he played young Einstein and that was 500 years ago or however, I don’t know how time works.

[Emily]
I like this for a vehicle to return Yahoo Serious to the acting world.

[Thomas]
He was born in 1953.

[Shep]
Wait, really?

[Emily]
What?

[Shep]
1953?

[Thomas]

  1. That’s when he was born.

[Shep]
Wow.

[Emily]
That is insane.

[Shep]
He was already old when he played Young Einstein.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Yes. You just blew my mind, man.

[Thomas]
He was 35 when he played young Einstein. God his movies were so far apart. ’88, ’93 and 2000.

[Emily]
He did a movie in 2000?

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
What did he make in 2000?

[Thomas]
Mr. Accident.

[Shep]
I don’t know that one.

[Thomas]
I’ve seen that one. It’s a Yahoo Serious film. It’s exactly what you expect. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s what it is.

[Emily]
Sounds like another movie for me.

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