Almost Plausible

Ep. 5

Pillows

01 March 2022

Runtime: 00:47:00

This week’s theme is one you probably know very well. Most of us spend several hours every day with our pillow, but have you ever thought about how a pillow would play a crucial role in a movie? Our pillow talk on this episode includes a Western set in a pillow world, a fortune-telling pillow, and a boyfriend pillow that comes to life, but don’t worry, you won’t lose any sleep over this one!

References

Transcript

[Intro music begins]

[Thomas]
Does she get the cats at the end? Sorry, totally random thought.

[Emily]
She should get a cat. Someone should get a cat. I want to bring that cat from the beginning to the end.

[Shep]
Sure. Tie it all together.

[Emily]
Yeah, it’s the gun on the table.

[Thomas]
Chekhov’s pussy.

[Intro music]

[Thomas]
Hello, story fans. Welcome to Almost Plausible, the podcast where we take ordinary ideas and try to turn them into stories. Joining me on this show are my co-hosts, Emily-

[Emily]
Hey, guys.

[Thomas]
And F. Paul Shepard.

[Shep]
Nice to be here.

[Thomas]
Today we’re going to try to create a story about pillows. Now, each episode starts with a pitch session where we throw out a bunch of ideas, then we choose the one we think will work, and then try our best to come up with a story that’s almost plausible. Shep, why don’t you kick things off for us this week?

[Shep]
Okay, my idea for a pillow themed movie is like a Western that takes place in a pillow universe. So it’s a pillow world. Everything’s made out of pillows or stuffed animals, that kind of thing. Blanket forts. Something that would be in, like, a child’s imagination. But it’s all a Western. It can be as serious or as silly as you want. I was thinking more like a Rango style, where it’s silly, but it has dramatic elements.

[Thomas]
Right. They’re stakes.

[Shep]
There are stakes. I imagine a stuffed bear getting shot in a Western shootout and, like, fluff flying out.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
That’s what I’m picturing for this. That’s my pitch.

[Thomas]
Okay, Emily, do you want to let us know what you have?

[Emily]
So to start with, do you guys remember Pillow Pets?

[Thomas]
I remember commercials for them.

[Emily]
My sister and I both had Pillow Pets, so this is a Pillow Pet movie throwback. Let’s bring the 80s joy of childhood back into our lives. So a Pillow Pets movie would be a grown woman is cleaning her childhood bedroom and finds her collection of Pillow Pets from the 80s. And as she’s cleaning, they come to life, and she takes them home out of guilt of abandoning them for years alone. And the pets help her and her kids keep their house from some nefarious individual, like a landlord or developer or something.

[Thomas]
I like landlord because it’s very topical to what’s going on in the world right now.

[Shep]
So it’s a nostalgia movie with toys that come to life. Am I understanding this correctly? Okay.

[Thomas]
Fresh new ideas only on this show.

[Emily]
Fresh new ideas only.

[Thomas]
I like how we had two pitches, and both of them are referencing some other movie.

[Shep]
That’s always how it is.

[Emily]
Right. Number two is a magic pillow that gives the sleeper a revealing dream about their future.

[Thomas]
Oh, that’s cool.

[Shep]
Is it always a real future or is it…? I mean, I can imagine a dream manipulating the sleeper.

[Thomas]
There’s a good pillow and an evil pillow.

[Shep]
Well, there’s a good side of the pillow, and then there’s evil- You got to flip it over.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
The cool side and the hot side.

[Shep]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Originally, I was thinking it was true things, but maybe it’s like a Ghost of Christmas Future kind of thing, where you have a possible future. Unless you do X, Y, and Z, this will be your future. Like, you can change it. And then the other one I have is very random, and I don’t know why I thought of it, but a teenage boy’s pillow comes to life to give advice and guidance in the absence of his father.

[Shep]
I mean, those all sound plausible to me.

[Thomas]
So it’s funny because each of you has a pitch that is very similar to the two pitches I came up with. My first pitch is that somehow some kids get a magical pillow that allows their pillow-based creations to become real. So if they build a pillow fort when they go inside, they’re transported to another world where they’re in, like, a real fort. If they build a pillow mountain, then when they climb it, they’re climbing a real mountain. The other idea I had is a romantic comedy about a Boyfriend Pillow. Do you guys know what a Boyfriend Pillow is?

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
No?

[Thomas]
It’s kind of like a body pillow, sort of, except it has an arm on it and the arm goes over you. So you’re like the little spoon to its big spoon.

[Shep]
Oh, interesting.

[Thomas]
So there’s, like a pillowy arm that comes around you to snuggle you at night.

[Shep]
Okay.

[Thomas]
So it’s a romantic comedy about a Boyfriend Pillow that comes to life. So the main character is like a single woman in the city who complains to her friend or co-worker or roommate or whoever about how all the guys she dates are just no good for her. She has a promising date lined up, but the guy ends up being a creep or something. Whatever.

[Shep]
What?

[Thomas]
I know, in this day and age? So she goes home, gets into bed, cuddles up with her Boyfriend Pillow, and jokingly says, “You’re always here for me. I wish you were real.” And right at the moment, she makes her wish. Some magical phenomenon happens. The next morning, she wakes up with a real guy’s arm around her, causing her to jump out of bed screaming at the intruder. Standard romantic comedy hilarity ensues; the Boyfriend Pillow.

[Shep]
So it doesn’t stay a pillow with just an arm? It’s a whole person.

[Thomas]
Yeah. It becomes a whole person.

[Shep]
Okay.

[Emily]
Does it live by Mannequin rules where when other people are around, it becomes a pillow again?

[Thomas]
No, it’s just like, it’s a dude who has no identity in this world. And-

[Shep]
Does he have an adult’s intelligence? Does he know about the world, or is he just a blank slate?

[Thomas]
One of those. Yes.

[Shep]
Okay. Or something in between?

[Thomas]
So he could know a lot about her. Maybe he has, as a pillow, he knows what’s going on in her life because she’s in an apartment. It’s a tiny apartment. So anything that happened there, he’s been a witness to that.

[Shep]
He can’t see. I mean, he’s in the bedroom all the time. He’s not seeing out into the living room or the kitchen.

[Thomas]
Maybe it’s a studio apartment.

[Shep]
Okay, well, then there you go. Plot hole filled.

[Emily]
Well, and you can also know about the world then, because she watches TV from bed. So she watches pop culture news.

[Thomas]
Sure. So he doesn’t know nothing.

[Emily]
Yeah. He has some… some knowledge of- He’s absorbed some things into his pillow brain.

[Thomas]
But he knows all of her likes and dislikes. It’s like it’s weird because all of a sudden he’s there. So that’s weird for starters. Right? And then it’s just like a strange situation. She feels really uncomfortable. But also, he really is the perfect guy for her because he knows all of her likes and dislikes.

[Shep]
So does her stalker. That’s not a selling point.

[Thomas]
That’s a good point, I suppose.

[Shep]
I mean, this would be if you go by standard romcom rules, she doesn’t end up with him.

[Emily]
Right? She ends up with a real man.

[Shep]
She ends up with a real person. But it’s like being comfortable by having this pillow boyfriend makes her more comfortable around other guys, and then she hits it off with someone else. All right, so which one of these are we going to go with?

[Emily]
So far. I’m down for the romcom.

[Shep]
Why did she buy a Boyfriend Pillow? Or did she receive it as a gift? Because her friends are teasing her for being single and it was her birthday. That’s why her wish came true.

[Emily]
Yeah, 100% that.

[Shep]
Are we doing this one? Because we’ve already started.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
All right, let’s do it.

[Shep]
Okay, so she receives the pillow on her birthday as kind of a gig gift because her friends are teasing her for being single. And it’s a year later when she wishes that the pillow were real because.

[Emily]
Because she’s used it like it was gifted as a joke. Because maybe one time she mentioned something about, “Oh, I want one of those.”

[Shep]
“I just want to cuddle. I just want someone to hold me while I sleep.”

[Thomas]
That beginning part where she’s complaining to her friend. That’s the result of her complaining. That’s the initial thing. She’s like, “Oh, these guys are losers. I just want someone to cuddle with.” And her friend is like, “I know what to do” and gets her the Boyfriend Pillow.

[Emily]
And then a year later, she gets stood up on a date from a guy she’s been sort of seeing. They’ve gone on a few dates, and she makes the arrangements because it’s her birthday. She’s the only one who cares. She knows that other people don’t care about adult birthdays. So she’s like, “We’re going to have dinner at this restaurant. I’m going to go with my guy,” and then he doesn’t show up.

[Shep]
Oh, that’s good. So she goes out to this nice restaurant and just has dinner by herself. He doesn’t show up, and she’s like, “You know what? This is fine. I don’t need a guy.”

[Thomas]
She’s used to it anyway, right?

[Emily]
Yeah. And she’s got that nice cuddly pillow at home.

[Shep]
Yeah. Then she goes home, makes the wish. The next morning it’s alive.

[Thomas]
Maybe on the way home, she walks by a pet store and sees some cats in the window, and she’s like, “I’ll be back for you tomorrow.”

[Shep]
It’s only a matter of time.

[Emily]
That definitely has to be a scene.

[Shep]
Okay, I have a jump ahead question. Do they have sex or can he have sex? He’s a pillow. Is he just all smooth down there? I want to know.

[Emily]
They do have sex. He’s not all smooth down there, but she has to do all the work. Women will get it.

[Thomas]
I think that’s good. I like that. Maybe it’s a thing where she’s drunk one night.

[Shep]
She takes advantage of her pillow.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Yeah. Essentially.

[Shep]
It depends on how innocent his mind is. I don’t want to fall into the Tom Hank’s Big trap where you look back at it later. I’m like, “Oh, this was bad. This was not okay.”

[Thomas]
I think the difference there is that he was a young boy, and this is a pillow. It’s not rapey because he’s into it.

[Shep]
Is he into it? He’s a pillow.

[Emily]
Yeah. No, he’s into it.

[Thomas]
Because he wants to have a relationship with her that’s his reason for being.

[Shep]
His reason for being is to cuddle with her, not have sex with her, just cuddle.

[Thomas]
Is to be her boyfriend.

[Emily]
Maybe she tries to have sex with him, and he’s like, “Whoa.”

[Shep]
Oh, she tries and he doesn’t get up. He stays soft down there because he’s a pillow.

[Emily]
I was thinking it’s very common for women to masturbate with pillows. That’s a very common masturbation tool for women. So that’s why I was thinking he’d be like, “Yeah, we can have sex. I just lay here. You do everything.” Because she’s done it before when he was a pillow.

[Thomas]
Maybe it’s a false start on their relationship. Or she comes around on him and is like, “Okay, he does know everything I like, he is actually a really nice guy. He’s decent looking and everything. Like, maybe I’ll give this a shot.” It’s going well because he does know the things that she likes, but it’s really limited. It’s very superficial. He knows what he’s seen in the apartment, but he doesn’t really know anything outside of the apartment. He doesn’t know anything about her job or the real world that much. He doesn’t get how things work, doesn’t have any money, and he’s never had sex. He’s not good in bed.

[Shep]
Despite having spent most of his life in bed.

[Emily]
Right. I think, though, with the sex, it could be a case of where she at first isn’t interested in it because that’s all she wants is the cuddles. And she’s “Finally a man who is not all about just getting laid, rolling over, and going to sleep. He wants to spoon. He wants to cuddle. He wants to just lay here and pet my hair until I fall asleep.” Kind of a deal. And then she does get an urge and then tries. And then he’s like, “Whoa.” He doesn’t understand. He’s not, like, innocent, like it’s creepy, but he’s just like, “What are we supposed to do now?”

[Thomas]
I mean, if he’s been on the bed, though, he would know about sex.

[Shep]
Would he? Is she having sex on her bed with the Boyfriend Pillow there?

[Emily]
No, she puts him in the closet during sexy time. So the other men don’t know.

[Thomas]
That’s right. If there’s a prospect of a guy coming over, she would not have the Boyfriend Pillow out.

[Shep]
So he has heard it, but he’s never seen it.

[Emily]
So he moans a lot.

[Thomas]
Yeah. He has this weird idea of what it is.

[Emily]
He just lays there moaning.

[Shep]
I like that superficially he seems like the perfect boyfriend because he does know about her favorite foods or her favorite music or every night she watches Jeopardy or something. He knows about her, but just her home life. He doesn’t know what restaurant she likes. He doesn’t know what hobbies she has outside of the apartment.

[Emily]
Is he afraid to leave the apartment?

[Shep]
Oh, yeah. He’s never left the apartment. Once he’s been there, he has never left.

[Thomas]
He’s certainly not going to go anywhere on his own. I don’t think he would be afraid to leave with her, but-

[Shep]
But he probably wouldn’t want to leave the bedroom initially.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Because it’s a romcom, I think we can kind of get away with something that’s a little implausible in real life, which is that she wakes up and she’s like, “What the fuck?” And yelling at him, and he’s like, “It’s me, I’m your boyfriend” or whatever. And she’s like, “You’re a creep.” And I don’t know, maybe he, like, halfway demonstrates that he’s the Boyfriend Pillow. Like, he’s got the same shirt that it wears, and it’s not there. And he’s like, “Oh, and I know you. I know this and that and that.” And she’s like, “Ehhh.” But then she’s like, “Well, I have to go to work. You need to not be here when I get back” or whatever. Maybe she goes out and tells the super, like, “Get this guy to my apartment,” whatever, however that resolves. And then she comes home from work, and he’s like, cleaned the apartment, and she’s skeptical. But this is kind of nice, coming home to a clean apartment.

[Emily]
The dishes are done, and there’s food on the stove.

[Thomas]
And he’s got her shows ready. And then that’s how she sort of softens up on this guy who just showed up in her apartment out of nowhere.

[Emily]
I like the idea of her saying, “I want you gone when I get home.” And then she comes back, and the apartment is clean, and there’s food on the stove, but he is nowhere to be seen. And she goes to put her coat away. He’s in the closet. Because that’s all he knows about going away is to go in the closet.

[Thomas]
I like that. That’s good.

[Emily]
And she’s like, “Why are you hiding in the closet?” And he’s like “You told me to go away. This is where I go away to.”

[Thomas]
Which I think would be really strong evidence in that case that he really is the pillow, because only she would know that she puts- I suppose logically, she would put the pillow there, but no one ever sees her do it. It’s literally just her and the pillow when she puts the pillow in the closet or takes it back out. So for him to be like, “You just want me in the closet when you want me to go away.” And she’s like, “Wait, how do you know that?” “Because I’m the pillow.”

[Shep]
He’s in the closet and he doesn’t want to have sex with her.

[Thomas]
Okay, so let’s jump to the very end of the story. Does he find a nice boy pillow to cuddle up with?

[Emily]
Oh, my God, I think that would be fantastic.

[Shep]
How do they make another pillow come to life?

[Thomas]
That’s a problem for the sequel. Actually, that’s a good question. Does he stay human or does he return to being a pillow?

[Shep]
I mean, it could go either way. Depends on the type of movie you want to turn this into. If he turns back into a pillow, it could have been like an all in her mind type of magical realism. But if he stays human, then this is a thing that happened.

[Emily]
Okay, so if they don’t end up together, following classic romcom tropes, right?

[Shep]
Yeah. What happens to him if he stays human? He’s just kicked out. He has no identification. He’s got no job.

[Thomas]
I’m trying to think of, like, other movies where this sort of thing happens. In Kate and Leopold, he ends up going back to his time.

[Emily]
In Mannequin they just end the movie with them kissing.

[Thomas]
Well, that’s lazy writing.

[Emily]
Yeah. It just ends with her being real- I mean, it’s been years since I’ve seen it, but I’m pretty sure that’s what happens.

[Shep]
Yeah, I mean, it was the 80s. Splash. She was real, but no identification. Whatever. It didn’t matter back then. You could get away with it.

[Thomas]
If he stays real. That really does present a significant number of significant problems.

[Shep]
Yes, but it’s a movie, so we can probably just ignore a lot of them.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Emily]
Yeah. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate to reality. Like, we could have him buy an identity on the black market.

[Thomas]
We just never address his identity as an issue. He just gets a job, gets paid under the table. Somewhere.

[Shep]
No, he moves in with his boyfriend who’s not a pillow. It’s just some guy.

[Emily]
He meets some guy.

[Thomas]
It’s going to be like one of her friends that we meet at the beginning of the movie.

[Emily]
Yeah. But not the friend that bought the pillow.

[Thomas]
Not the main friend. No, not the one that bought the pillow.

[Shep]
She has to talk to the friend that bought the pillow immediately.

[Emily]
Yes.

[Shep]
As soon as the pillow comes to life, she’s like, “Where the fuck did you buy this thing?”

[Thomas]
Not the first day, though. Like, it’s going to be after she comes home and he’s in the closet and she’s convinced that it really is the pillow or really could be the pillow.

[Emily]
And she invites the friend that bought the pillow, and then the friend the pillow falls in love with later, over to be like, “The fuck am I supposed to do?” So that we have a little meet cute with the pillow and the pillow’s future partner.

[Thomas]
Maybe the pillow is not gay. Maybe he’s bi. I think we need more bi visibility in films.

[Shep]
Yeah, that’s fine.

[Emily]
There you go.

[Shep]
He’s a pillow. He’s got no orientation. Pillow will cuddle with everyone. So-

[Thomas]
So he’s a pansexual pillow.

[Emily]
100%

[Shep]
Yes, that math checks out.

[Thomas]
So the friends come over. Is she able to convince them that it really is the pillow, or are they just like, “What is this weird game you’re playing with your new boyfriend?”

[Shep]
No, they’ve got it because that’s how movies are. If people in movies just believe whatever immediately, it’s really unrealistic.

[Emily]
And she’s a serious businesswoman. She would not make stuff like this up.

[Thomas]
Yeah. She’s not acting like herself.

[Emily]
Yeah. She’s way too grounded in reality to make up this kind of nonsense.

[Shep]
She’s not going to put up with her friend who bought her the pillow not believing her because it’s her friend’s fault that this is happening.

[Thomas]
And maybe he says or does something that she just sort of, like, points at him, like, “See?” And they’re like, “Oh, okay, I guess he’s the pillow.”

[Shep]
She should not have invited them over because she’s trying to deal with this mystery pillow man. They should just show up out of friendly concern for her because they talked her on the phone, and she seems kind of out of it. And she had a really rough birthday they know about, so they’re like, they’re just checking in to make sure she’s okay. They come into her apartment and she’s with some guy and she has to explain “It’s not some guy. I don’t have a secret boyfriend. This is that fucking Boyfriend Pillow and it’s come to life.”

[Emily]
I like that. That works. And she has proactive friends.

[Thomas]
How wild would that be if you went over to your friend’s house and they’re like, “You know that pillow that I have? Yeah, we’ll meet the pillow.” You’d just be like, “What?”

[Emily]
This is where we can solve the name problem. Because then they just start talking and they’re like, “We can’t just call him ‘the pillow’,” because she’s been calling him ‘Pillow’ the whole time. So they name him.

[Thomas]
Do they name him or does he get to pick his own name? Or is there a name montage, where they’re trying out different- no I’m kidding.

[Emily]
They offer him names. So. Yeah, basically a name montage.

[Shep]
Or if you want to hint at the pillow’s future partner, the future partner could suggest the name and the pillow likes that name.

[Thomas]
That’s why I was thinking, actually that he’s the one that comes up with the name that the pillow is like, “Well, I like that one.” So that’s what they end up going with. And in fact, I think he’s the one, in my mind, he’s the one who’s the most concerned with: this is a person. I think it makes sense because if he’s gay, he would definitely understand somebody being marginalized or somebody being thought of as less than because of their identity. And he’s like, “This is a person. Maybe he was a pillow, but he’s a person now. Like, he deserves our respect and part of that is a name. He’s like a real person with a real identity, which we will now figure out.” And yeah, so then the pillow gets to choose the name, but yeah, maybe they can be the ones that come up with it.

[Emily]
Yeah. Will start throwing out names like Scott, Evan, Jorge…

[Thomas]
And then different people have different objections. Like, “Oh no, there was that guy Scott that you dated for a while. Can’t be Scott.”

[Emily]
Maybe even the pillow at one point says, “No, not Steve. That was that douchebag that was here for 15 minutes and then took off and you never saw him again.”

[Thomas]
I think it would be funny if it’s like, “No, it can’t be Steve.” She’s like, “Why not?” He’s like, “Because you dated that guy Steve.” “You didn’t like Steve?” “Definitely not.” Does she get the cats at the end? Sorry, totally random thought.

[Emily]
She should get a cat. Someone should get a cat. I want to bring that cat from the beginning to the end.

[Shep]
Sure. Tie it all together.

[Emily]
Yeah, it’s the gun on the table.

[Thomas]
Chekhov’s pussy.

[Emily]
It might have broken me.

[Thomas]
I know. Just going to say I think I killed Emily. All right, well, why don’t we take a quick break and give Emily a moment to reset and then when we come back, we’ll figure out the rest of the story for the pillow.

[Break]

[Thomas]
Alright, we’re back. Emily seems much more with it now.

[Emily]
Yes. I can breathe again.

[Thomas]
Excellent. Very good. Sorry. All right, so the pillow has a name. Maybe they do bring up that he doesn’t have an identity or like-

[Emily]
Skill set.

[Thomas]
A birth certificate or anything like that. So he does have a skill set though. Maybe she defends him in that somebody points out, like the female friend is like, “Oh, we didn’t even have any skills.” And she’s like, “Well, hang on, because if you notice, my apartment is very clean and I sure didn’t do that.”

[Shep]
He can clean and cook because he’s seen her do it. But that’s all he knows he can do. But he could be a line cook. He could do all kinds of things.

[Thomas]
He could be a maid that goes around and cleans people’s apartments.

[Emily]
Yeah. Which would be easy without an identity.

[Thomas]
Yeah, cash job. You just directly interface or get hired by the people who own the properties. It’s all just apartments. So it’s not like any big corporate thing.

[Emily]
They help set them up with that kind of a thing.

[Thomas]
Yeah. Get him a phone.

[Emily]
Yeah. What about her love interest? Are we going to flip the script on this and make the story where you think she’s going to end up with a real person, but really it’s the pillow and she ends up being fine on her own with her cats?

[Shep]
I would be okay with that. I don’t know if that would be a popular choice for a movie.

[Emily]
Yeah, I’m okay with it because it’s different where you think you’re going into the story and it’s going to be about this woman finding true love because of a pillow. But really it’s about the pillow finding true love and human identity and what it is to be a person in society.

[Shep]
Because the pillow is the focus of the movie, not her.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
This movie is about pillows.

[Emily]
Yes. So I actually think we should go with that. She should just end up with some kittens in her bed, happy as can be watching the news at the end, and he’s blissfully in love with his new partner and his new identity.

[Thomas]
Did they get married at the end? The two guys?

[Emily]
Sure.

[Shep]
How do they get married without ID?

[Emily]
Oh, yeah.

[Shep]
I think you’re really rushing into it. I mean, they just met.

[Thomas]
This would be another year later, right?

[Emily]
I think they should move in together.

[Shep]
I think you should move in together because what other option does pillow guy have?

[Emily]
Yeah. Because he can’t stay with her because he’s not in love with her. They’re not in love. They try, like the first two acts of the movie are them trying to make a relationship or whatever.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
Oh yeah, that’s got to go awful. Because when she is done with his nonsense, all of his little quirks, which seem endearing at first, but just grate over time, she can’t really kick him out either because where can he go?

[Emily]
And it’s a studio, so they have to share the bed.

[Shep]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Shep]
I can imagine that as like his lowest low. Because he didn’t ask for this. She wished him into being. It’s her fault.

[Thomas]
It’s almost like just life in general. How none of us had an option to exist. We all just exist because somebody else decided we should.

[Shep]
Yeah, it sounds like you’re arguing her side of it.

[Emily]
Oh, yeah, that could be the argument. And he’s like, “I didn’t choose this. You have to take care of me. You have to provide for me.” And she’s like, “That’s what being a human is. We end up here and we got to figure this shit out.”

[Shep]
“Welcome to the club.”

[Thomas]
Does he have a period of time where he’s trying to figure out how to go back to being a pillow then? Is he really depressed for a while?

[Shep]
Or he just lies on the bed and tries to stay motionless.

[Emily]
Then he gets hungry and he gets frustrated at being hungry.

[Shep]
Does he have to eat?

[Thomas]
Yeah, he’s a human.

[Shep]
Right. But does he know he has to eat?

[Thomas]
Sure. He’s seen her.

[Shep]
He’s seen her eat. He’s been there for a year and he’s never eaten.

[Emily]
Maybe he doesn’t know he has to, but he does at first to try it to see what it’s like, and he enjoys it. But then maybe there’s a scene where he doesn’t eat because he didn’t think about it.

[Thomas]
I could see at the beginning when he comes out of the closet that first day when she gets home, and they’re like, she’s realizing that he’s the pillow. At some point in that conversation, she’s looking around, she kind of realizes like, “Oh, damn, my apartment is really clean and all this stuff.” And he says something about, like, he doesn’t feel good or whatever. He’s like, “I don’t know…”

[Shep]
His stomach is rumbling.

[Emily]
Yeah, “Something’s weird here.”

[Thomas]
“Something hurts. Like it’s weird. I don’t know.” And she’s like, “Well, what did you eat?” And he’s like, “Well, I haven’t eaten anything.” And she’s like, “You haven’t eaten anything all day? That’s why your stomach hurts.” And so then she’s like, “Here, eat these chips” or whatever it is. And so he eats something for the first time, and he’s like, “Holy shit, this is great.”

[Shep]
“This is amazing.” So he cooked for her but did not eat.

[Thomas]
I’m not sure if you would cook for her.

[Shep]
I think he would cook for her if we want to establish that that’s a skill that he can do because she always makes a certain thing when she gets home. But he only made enough for her because that’s all he’s ever seen her make.

[Thomas]
He just microwaved the one Hot Pocket.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
Right.

[Thomas]
Lean Pocket.

[Emily]
I was thinking of a different frozen meal, but a Lean Pocket works.

[Thomas]
An entire Stouffer’s lasagna?

[Emily]
Don’t judge my life.

[Shep]
Get our sponsorship done.

[Thomas]
Yeah. I like the idea that it’s something that she makes on a regular basis. And so he’s like, “Oh, I’ve seen her make that. I can make that.” Or maybe he puts the TV on because he knows about the TV because she’s cuddled on the couch with him previously and there’s a cooking show and he’s like, “Oh, I could do that. I have all those things here.”

[Emily]
Yeah, I think that’s reasonable. He comes across Food Network and makes something simple, like a Rachel Ray recipe or something.

[Thomas]
Yeah. We want to maybe shoot for he’s not a total infant, but he’s also not a fully fleshed out person. He does have large gaps in his knowledge, but he has watched cooking shows with her. He has seen her do things like he’s experienced been around when all these things happen. He’s aware of these things. But like you said, Shep, he’s never seen anybody but her eat. It doesn’t occur to him that he needs to eat. He has never experienced hunger before. So he didn’t know that that was a thing he needed to- or that’s what that was and how to fix it. Does he have shame?

[Emily]
No, he has no shame.

[Shep]
Why would he have shame? Where would he have learned that?

[Thomas]
Yeah, exactly.

[Emily]
No, because she’s comfortable at home, so she has no shame at home alone. So he has no reason to know, to be embarrassed by anything.

[Shep]
Which will come up when they eventually leave the apartment.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
So I feel like we’re missing a lot of middle of the movie type stuff. What do we need to have happen?

[Emily]
We need him to go out into the world, the group of friends to coax them out into the world.

[Thomas]
So is there, like a showing him around the city montage?

[Shep]
Well, why not? He’s never seen it before. When’s his first memory?

[Thomas]
Oh, yeah.

[Emily]
Her unwrapping the present.

[Shep]
He doesn’t remember being created or being in the store.

[Emily]
Maybe he remembers the store.

[Shep]
If he was in the store, if it wasn’t just an online purchase. He remembers the warehouse.

[Emily]
He remembers the warehouse being stuffed into a dark box and tossled around.

[Shep]
He likes the dark box, though.

[Emily]
Yeah, it’s comforting. Yeah.

[Shep]
That’s why he likes the closet. He spent the early part of his life in a dark box. As soon as he was made in the factory, he went in the box. He didn’t come out until her apartment. So I guess he wouldn’t know the warehouse.

[Thomas]
I think we need to show that when the gift is given to her, it’s not just in a box. It is in a box with the branding, like Boyfriend Pillow. It is clearly this is the box it came in. It would have been on the shelf in this box. So, yeah, her opening the box is the pillow’s birth, essentially.

[Emily]
So they take him around the city and expose him to the world.

[Shep]
What if he gets upset when he’s out and about and there’s no closets around?

[Emily]
He finds the utility closet in like the restaurant. Maybe the friends are arguing and it’s making him uncomfortable because he doesn’t like the loud noises. And so he gets up and leaves and they think he’s going to the bathroom. And he finds the janitor’s closet next to the bathroom. And is just hiding in there. And they’re like, “God, he’s been gone a long time. I hope he didn’t- something didn’t happen to him.” And then somehow they find him in the closet.

[Shep]
Yeah, I mean, they could panic for a while.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
“He met someone else and they took him away and he’s not experienced enough in the world yet. And we kind of let him down and this could be a big, huge thing.” And no, he’s just in the closet.

[Emily]
And then, like, the waiter goes to get extra napkins or something. And is like, “What the hell are you doing in here?”

[Thomas]
Do they have a fight at some point where he does leave? Now that he’s had experience out in the world, he has a job at this point. He has some income.

[Emily]
Yeah. Maybe he’s coming into his own a little bit after being out and going out and working and earning some money and figuring some things out with himself. And she’s kind of controlling.

[Thomas]
That could be causing friction in their relationship.

[Emily]
Yeah. Because she wants him to just be home and be the cuddly buddy and take care of her.

[Thomas]
Well he’s not cleaning her apartment anymore. He doesn’t want to come home and clean another apartment.

[Emily]
They have an argument. He’s like, “I don’t have to stay here. I am a person. I can leave.” And he goes, but where does he go?

[Shep]
The future love interest’s apartment.

[Emily]
Yeah. And then that’s how they start to develop a kinship there between them.

[Thomas]
And then later, does she go with a boombox over her head?

[Shep]
Where are you going to get a boombox in this decade?

[Thomas]
Okay, she’s holding up her phone. Yeah.

[Shep]
Yeah, that seems more likely. Wait, didn’t Deadpool do that? Yeah. Alright, what are we missing? We have the intro, we have the magical new world.

[Thomas]
I mean, the whole middle feels really flat to me. I think we have a strong beginning and a pretty strong end. It’s just what is that progression?

[Emily]
What’s his lowest low?

[Thomas]
Yeah, exactly. Okay, maybe his lowest low is when he leaves, but he doesn’t know where to go at first. And so he’s like, basically homeless.

[Shep]
Does he have his phone?

[Thomas]
He would. Yeah, I would assume.

[Shep]
Okay, so she calls her friends to tell them what happened because eventually she realizes that she’s just let this innocent person, naive person out into the city, who is not really prepared for that. And so she calls her friends to tell them and one of them calls him because he wouldn’t necessarily think to call anyone.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
We would all like, “Oh, I have my phone. I just call whatever-“

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
Fix the situation. That wouldn’t occur to him. He doesn’t have enough experience.

[Emily]
So the friend, the love interest reaches out to him because he’s been concerned from the beginning about this person who doesn’t know anything, doesn’t belong anywhere. So he reaches out and is like, “Hey, where are you? What’s going on? What happened?”

[Shep]
Yeah. Finds out where he is and then goes and meets him there.

[Thomas]
Does he reach out or is he out with some friends and, like, they happen to end up at the same place? “What are you doing here?”

[Shep]
Unless you’ve established that this is a place that they go to and he also has gone there before and that’s why he went back there.

[Thomas]
Right. Yeah, you would have to do that. Establish that.

[Emily]
We could. It would fill in some of the middle.

[Thomas]
It’s a bar called Puzzles…

[Shep]
What?

[Thomas]
From How I Met Your Mother. But why is it called Puzzles?

[Shep]
So the future love interest is also at the bar with other friends and here’s, like a waiter or someone complaining, you can’t be in here because the guy has gone to the closet again.

[Emily]
Oh, yeah. So he gets up and goes thinking, “Oh, my God.” And this is where we could establish the bisexuality of the pillow if we need to.

[Thomas]
I think we need to see more of the pillow and the love interest.

[Emily]
Right. Developing-

[Thomas]
Developing their relationship. So this is not just, like, out of the blue.

[Shep]
The future love interest.

[Thomas]
Yeah, I guess we’d say the male love interest and the female love interest. It’s kind of what we’ve established.

[Shep]
Yeah. You could just sprinkle a couple of times in there like the name thing, other incidents that they kind of have a chemistry there.

[Emily]
Right. Where there’s a look, there’s a touch.

[Thomas]
They just naturally have things in common.

[Emily]
Right.

[Thomas]
He knows the things that the girl likes because he’s been around, but he is an individual. And as he goes out into the world, it turns out, oh, he really likes this particular color. That is not her favorite color. But he doesn’t know why, but that’s the color he likes. So it turns out that’s also this other guy’s favorite color as well, or stuff like that where they just naturally click.

[Emily]
Oh, and at brunch, he likes Brussels sprouts with fried eggs, and so does the other guy. And she, like, hates both or one of those things.

[Thomas]
Maybe she’s, like, allergic to eggs or something.

[Shep]
How does he try Brussels sprouts and fried eggs?

[Emily]
They all go out to brunch together.

[Shep]
Right. Is that the male love interest’s brunch?

[Emily]
Yeah. That’s his go to brunch thing.

[Shep]
Because he’s so into food now.

[Emily]
Right. He tries everybody’s.

[Thomas]
Exactly. He wants food experiences because like almost every one he has, like, 95% of them are great, 5% are really terrible. But it’s worth having the terrible ones to find the good ones.

[Shep]
Yeah. So he likes that lunch or that dish.

[Thomas]
And maybe it could even be something like a little more out there. And she’s like, “Nobody likes that. He’s crazy. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And then he’s like, “I don’t know. Actually, that’s pretty good.”

[Shep]
We have to see them go on dates. The pillow and the female love interest.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
They have a good time. And the pillow is interested in her. He’s not not interested in her.

[Thomas]
So is their relationship, the pillow and the female love interest, is it good but short or mediocre but long.

[Emily]
I think mediocre but long because it’s not something either one of them really wants. But they’re both really comfortable with the other person.

[Thomas]
Like, it goes up really fast but then plateaus really quickly.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
And then. Well, then they have the big fight.

[Shep]
What is the time frame of this movie span. How long does it-

[Emily]
I think we do year to year, bookend. Well, year to year to year, but the first year is really short.

[Thomas]
So the very beginning of the film is like her birthday one year, and that’s when she gets the pillow. And then we have the card that comes up one year later. Right? So that’s the beginning of the pillow being real. And then it’s like over the course of that year is the brunt of the film. And then the denouement takes place another year in the future.

[Shep]
It finishes another year in the future or there’s a year gap?

[Thomas]
Yeah. There’s a year gap. So we’re sort of jumping forward again to show, like, maybe she has met a guy, maybe she’s fine with her cats. Whatever. We see the two guys having a really strong relationship. It’s worked out well for them. How do we want the story to conclude? Like, we’re seeing those things. Because I think being a romantic film, you generally want a satisfying ending without any questions still lingering.

[Emily]
You want the Shakespearean marriage, whether there’s an actual marriage or not. You want the marriage at the end because that’s a happy movie. That’s a happy ending.

[Thomas]
I mean, you want a conclusion. You want the story to finish. Yeah. And you want it to be a positive one.

[Emily]
Yeah. I want them to be living together. The main story takes place through the course of a year. Pillow becomes real, they fight, pillow and the partner, future partner, end up in love by the end of the movie.

[Shep]
And then you skip another year.

[Emily]
And then one year later.

[Shep]
So it’s her birthday and then it’s her birthday and then it’s her birthday and then it’s her birthday. She has four birthdays in this? Okay, all right.

[Emily]
Yeah. Yes. Because then they come to her birthday party, she’s with someone else. Or have they bring a cat whatever. I don’t know.

[Shep]
No, she’s there on her own. She’s there with her friends because she’s decided she doesn’t need anyone else. She’s happy with her cats.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
So she’s decided she doesn’t need anyone else. Everybody’s there. We’re sort of going around the table. There’s a hint that maybe there’s a guy that she’s interested in or something like that.

[Emily]
Right. Because she’s secure enough that she’s not going after just anybody. So now she’s like, “I’m fine on my own, but, you know, person’s nice now and then.” And we see them announce a new apartment they’re getting or something.

[Thomas]
Some big milestone thing.

[Shep]
Oh, he got a new job. The pillow guy, that’s the big milestone. He’s lived in the world for a year now or two years now. He has enough experience to be an artist or something. There you go. That’s a job you can do that doesn’t need any ID. They do a trip to the art museum. So throw- sprinkle these into the previous movie. That’s where he discovers his love of painting. So a year has passed, and in a year in the future, there’s a gallery that he’s going to have a showing at, some of his work. So his male love interest is really proud of him for putting himself out there.

[Emily]
His male love interest helps him pursue it. He’s like, “No, you can have other interests than cleaning and being her bitch boy. You can be your own person. Like, what’s something you want to try?” And he’s like, “I don’t know. I really like paintings.” And he’s like, “Let’s go get smart supplies.”

[Thomas]
And his innocence and naivete work for him. He doesn’t have all of these preconceived notions and whatnot, about how art should be or what the world is like and stuff. And so he has this very pure, innocent view of things, more so than most people.

[Emily]
And it’s not derivative necessarily, because he’s got this pure imagination that hasn’t been tainted by culture and society.

[Shep]
In fact, you can put this early enough that he tries to introduce her to art because he’s trying to share his interests with her. But she’s not into it.

[Emily]
Yeah. She just doesn’t get it.

[Shep]
She’s an accountant. She doesn’t like… art is just a way for rich people to launder money. It’s just a tax scheme. It’s all bullshit. Don’t waste your time and money on that kind of stuff. She’s not just not into it. She’s anti-art and that’s where you can see that it’s just not going to work out.

[Thomas]
She bought one Gustav Klimt poster in college, and it’s all she’s ever needed.

[Emily]
Yeah. She’s still focused on it all being about her and what he can do for her, how he can serve her. And that’s his breaking point is one time he’s just like, “You don’t support anything I’m interested in. You don’t even care that I like art. You don’t know that I like this. We can’t go to this restaurant because you don’t like their waiter.” And he just starts listing all these things about, “I’m a person, too. I know I’m new to the world. I know I haven’t been here as long as you have. I don’t have the experiences you do, but I’m a person. I have opinions. I have a right to them.”

[Thomas]
“I like things.”

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
How do they resolve their dispute at the end of the film? So obviously they need to have a reconciling for her to grow as a character. She has to realize that he was right and she was being a jerk.

[Shep]
Yeah, I think she realizes that before she calls her friends. Or, no, she’s not calling her friends now. He’s running into him at the bar.

[Emily]
One guy runs into him in the restaurant, but she ends up calling later after he and the pillow have been hanging out for a while. And he’s like, “It’s okay. He’s here.”

[Shep]
Or she calls her other friend, the one that bought her the pillow.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Shep]
That’s her best friend.

[Thomas]
Right.

[Shep]
And so the two of them are talking about what happened and when her friend asks her what happened, that’s when she was going through the events and realizing, “Oh, I was being a jerk.” Hearing it back later…

[Thomas]
Yeah.

[Emily]
Well, can her friend supportively say, “Well, this is a pattern you have. No guy’s perfect enough for you because they’re not all about you.”

[Shep]
That’s really good. That’s why she’s still single at the beginning.

[Emily]
Right. It’s not that they’re all jerks. She is very skewed in what they need to give her versus what she needs to put into it, too.

[Thomas]
She should hear it then, but I don’t know that she should really accept it then. Like, maybe she’s telling the friend here’s what he was complaining about. And she’s like, “Well, yeah, that’s how you are with guys.” And she’s like, “What? No, fuck you too.” And then later somehow realizes like, “Oh, God damn it, they were all right.”

[Emily]
Maybe she runs into one of the exes and kind of has it in her mind that they’re all assholes. Like this asshole. This asshole right here. And then she’s kind of-

[Thomas]
Oh, yeah, they’re not on the phone. They’re at Puzzles, they’re at the bar. Whatever. No, wait, that’s where they’re meeting. Hold on. They’re somewhere. But yeah, the ex-boyfriend is there. And maybe she’s like, “Darren’s here” or whatever.

[Shep]
I don’t know, these type of coincidences-

[Emily]
Too much?

[Thomas]
Well, I’m definitely more accepting of them in a romcom. Maybe she gets off the phone with the friend and she’s like, “Fuck you. You’re wrong.”

[Shep]
And calls up her ex.

[Thomas]
Yeah, she’s stewing about it. And so she calls up her ex and he’s like, “Hey, what’s up?”

[Shep]
“I wasn’t selfish, was I?”

[Thomas]
She’s like, “Tell me something.” Yeah.

[Shep]
“It’s 02:00 a.m. You literally called so that I could tell you something about yourself. Just run that through your mind.”

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
That’s good. Yeah,

[Emily]
“Where am I right now?” No, he’s like, “It’s 05:00 on a Wednesday night. Where am I right now? I’m at the same place I always am at this time. Where am I?” And she’s like, “Your apartment?” And he’s like, “No, bitch, I’m playing basketball. I ain’t got time for your shit.” Hangs up on her.

[Shep]
Why did he answer the phone then?

[Thomas]
Maybe not quite that aggressive, but yeah. But I think that’s good. I really like that, of like, “Where am I right now?” And she’s like, “What do you mean?” And she can’t tell him. He’s like, “Right, because you never took an interest in my stuff.” And then what you said, Shep, “You are literally calling me to ask me about you.”

[Shep]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
That’s what she needs to hear. So she kind of is like, “Oh, damn it.”

[Shep]
That’s why she doesn’t end up with someone at the end. Because she realizes she’s not destined for anyone. No one’s going to fit up to her standard.

[Thomas]
The very least that she needs more time to work on herself.

[Shep]
Right.

[Emily]
Right.

[Shep]
Does she get a cat or she got a dog?

[Thomas]
I was thinking about that earlier.

[Shep]
The dog is going to love her just selflessly.

[Thomas]
And a dog would be needier than a cat, and it would be sort of like a reverse thing. Instead of her demanding the attention, the dog is going to demand the attention, and she has to give it to him.

[Emily]
So that’s how she’s going to grow as, further her growth is, through… I mean-

[Thomas]
Yeah, I mean, maybe it’s not feasible for her to have a child, but whether she realizes it or not, she needs a dependent in her life to help sort of balance out her selfishness or whatever. And so she gets a dog. And so maybe at the beginning she doesn’t see cats and say, “I’m coming back for you.” She sees puppies, and she’s like, “Oh, they’re so cute. I’d love a dog.”

[Shep]
I mean, she can say it to cats because that’s funny.

[Thomas]
That’s true.

[Emily]
Yeah. I think she should say it to the cat.

[Shep]
But she can get a dog at the end.

[Thomas]
All right, that’s pretty good.

[Emily]
Yeah.

[Thomas]
I think we’ve figured out everything we need to figure out.

[Emily]
I think we’ve nailed down a pretty good romcom.

[Shep]
We’ve got the framework. Just fill in the details.

[Thomas]
I mean, I like romcoms. I feel like I would watch this movie.

[Shep]
Oh, I absolutely would watch this, this is right up my alley.

[Thomas]
All right, well, that’s our story for pillows. Obviously, we all liked it, but we’re curious to know what you think. Is this something you’d be interested in going to see? You can get in touch with us via email or social media. Links to those can be found on our website: AlmostPlausible.com Also be sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you’ll never miss an episode. Just search for Almost Plausible wherever you regularly listen to podcasts. If you like the show, we hope you’ll tell people about it. Online, offline. It doesn’t matter. Just tell them about out the show and send them to AlmostPlausible.com Thank you for listening. Thank you to Emily and Shep. We’ll see you next week for another episode of Almost Plausible.

[Shep]
Until next time.

[Emily]
Bye.

2 Comments

  1. Megan on May 7, 2022 at 7:16 pm

    This episode is so funny. I was laughing out loud.

    • Thomas J. Brown on May 10, 2022 at 11:02 am

      I’m glad you liked it! This is one of our favorite episodes.

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