Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The 50 - or 6 - best comedies...

The AVClub puts out great lists, like this one:  The 50 Best Comedies since 2000.  But there's no point reading it and getting your heart set on watching one, since so few tend to be on Canadian Netflix.  So for that list, right now on July 12, 2016, here are the 6 best comedies since 2000 you can watch right now.
40.  Zoolander (2001)
28.  O brother, Where Art Thou? (2008)
24.  Obvious Child (2004)
18.  Mean Girls (2004)
14.  Bridesmaids (2011)
8.  High Fidelity (2000)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Overview

About the age of my first abuse.
I was sexually abused as a child, from ages 3 to 15.  I spent most of 2015 healing from it, and the work continues in 2016.  I’m ready to share my story and try to find a way to help protect children, and help others who have been abused.  As a start, here are the resources I've found that have been most helpful to me.  The first line of defense is your family doctor and a good therapist.  After that, the best resources for me have been books, with information and community found on the web a close second.  I'd love to hear from other survivors.

If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse

  • The Courage To Heal, by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis, is the top of any such list for a reason.  It's the biggest, most thorough book on the topic.  It is aimed at female survivors; I'd love to hear from any male survivors who have read it, with their opinion on whether it was helpful.
  • Allies in Healing, also by Laura Davis, is specifically aimed at partners of survivors.  I've read (most) of it, and I'd recommend the chapter of The Courage to Heal for partners first, then this book if you want more information.  Some of the stories are intense, so go slowly if you choose to read part II.  This book covers both male and female survivors and their partners.
Online Resources
  • There seem to be many online forums for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault.  www.aftersilence.org  comes up first on a web search, and seems typical. I found it welcoming and supportive.  It's not the easiest to navigate; you have to find and click on the Message Board link and sign up, and then certain forums have a password you need to request.  Once you've done that, though, it's an easy way to anonymously tell your story and get support by others who have been through the same situation.
  • There are more and more Facebook groups you can belong to.  Many are "closed" groups, so your Facebook friends won't see that you belong to the group, or anything you post there.

If you are worried about a child close to you

  • By far the best online course I've found comes from LittleWarriors.ca in Alberta. You have to request access to it, but in about 90 minutes it takes you through the current state of research, busts open some myths, and gives a ton of actionable information on how to protect your children and how to deal with sexual abuse if it does happen.  There is also a downloadable workbook that goes along with it.
  • There are several good write-ups on the internet about what to do and what not to do if you suspect your child may have been abused.  I like the one from the Gatehouse:  http://www.thegatehouse.org/gatehouse-parents  There are similar versions of the information for youths and children.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

"Better Call Sal": A gender-swapping re-write

Copyright:  The original script and show are property of AMC, I guess.  My version is a parody and falls under fair dealing.  Whatever intellectual property I have added (the descriptions, the choice of names) I would like to retain, so please ask me before reproducing.

Better Call Sal:  Season 1, Episode 1:  "Uno"

{The open scenes, in black and white, show hands rolling dough, sprinkling filling, and (eventually we realize) making cinnamon buns.  The shot moves backwards to show a man putting the buns into a pan, while behind another man uses the oven.  The second man helps customers – a father and young adult son, and an older woman on a cellphone – while the first puts icing in containers.  We see the first man again as the camera pulls out even further, to show the entire shop. A dozen or so customers sit at the tables and come up to the counter.}

{We see hands cleaning a board, a shot of a nametag that says “GINA” and “MANAGER”, the visor of a cap and Sal1’s thinning hair, then finally Sal’s face as she looks up and around the shop.  We see Sal mix cinnamon bites, watching the dough mixing in the industrial mixer, rolling the bowl into the shop, and weighing dough while a very old man watches on, drinking coffee from his counter seat. The shop is starting to empty out, and Sal clears and wipes tables while the second man from before ices another pan of buns.  Sal cleans the doors of the oven as the first man does something indistinguishable at the counter.  Sal continues to clean, first the big metal pans, then sweeping the floor with a broom and long-handled dustpan.}

{Sal carries a sign out into the mall, and we get a long shot showing two floors and the escalators.
Back in the shop, we see a middle-aged woman in a nondescript zippered jacket look up from her table, with a quizzical look or a frown at Sal, who is unaware she is being watched as she cleans some of the display cases.  Sal eventually looks up and around, locks eyes with the woman at the table, and does a subtle double-take.  They stare at each other, the woman at the table impassive (but possibly narrowing her eyes just a little), Sal getting more nervous.  The woman at the table gets up and walks straight towards Sal, keeping eye contact, but heading out of the shop, breaking into a few jog-trot steps as she reaches the mall, to get to a group of four men standing outside.  She says something to a young man in the group, clearly having recognized someone, and they give each other a friendly hug.  The shot returns to Sal, looking relieved but shaky.  She tightens her lips and composes herself.}
{The camera shakes as if the operator is on the escalator, and we see the Cinnabon shop and the woman outside it, still with her friends, as we pan away.}

Next Scene:
{Still in black and white.  There is a dusting of snow on the ground, and a snowplow goes by a set of angular townhomes.  We see a bottle of Drambuie and Sal’s hands putting ice in a highball glass, filling it halfway from a bottle that turns out to be Dewar’s White Label, then topping it up with the Drambuie.  The noise from a TV show is in the background, men’s voices possibly on a talk show, while Sal adds lemon from a squeeze bottle, half in the drink and half spilling over her hands.  We see her in a plain t-shirt and dark pants drink from the glass, and walk towards the TV, where it seems they are discussing art.  Sal walks slowly to the living room and sits heavily down on a recliner, sighing, taking a drink.}
{We see Sal from above as she changes channels to a nature channel, where a woman’s voice is describing a tortoise, then to a weather report.  The weather reporter mentions snow, and Gina goes to the window and looks through the vertical blinds at the snowflakes in the air, her breath steaming the window.  She closes the blinds, then goes to the other side of the fireplace to close the blinds on that side as well.  As her drink rocks on the arm of the recliner, she goes down a hallway away from us, opens sliding doors, and gets down on her knees.  We see her remove one box, then a shoebox that she puts down and opens.  There are photos and a passport on top, which she tips up to reveal an unlabeled videotape.  She brings it into the living room and puts it back in the machine, sitting back down at the recliner to watch.  It beeps three times, then we hear Sal’s voice over a bright, piping version of “Glory, Glory Hallelujah”:}
Sal, on tape:  Don’t let false allegations bully you into an unfair fight.  Hi, I’m Sal Goodman, and I will do the fighting for you.  No charge is too big for me!  When legal forces have you cornered, better call Sal!  {three beeps}  I’ll get your case dismissed, I’ll give you the defense you deserve.  Why? Because I’m Sal Goodman, attorney-at-law.  I will investigate, advocate, persuade, and most importantly, win.  Better call Sal!  {three beeps}  Do you feel doomed?  Have opponents of freedom wrongly intimidated you?  Maybe they told you you’re in serious trouble there’s nothing you can do about.  I’m Sal Goodman, and I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong.  It’s never too late for justice.  Better call…
{The recording is interrupted and we cut to the brightly coloured opening credits.}

Next Scene:
{A courtroom in New Mexico.  The judge is an older woman, wearing the usual robes, conservative glasses and a tidy haircut.  No-one speaks as we see several perspectives of the room, which is small, but has every seat filled.  Three teenage girls sit at one table at the front, two lawyers (the prosecutor, an older black woman in a no-nonsense gray suit, with a younger white man assisting) at another.  The judge slowly checks her watch, then nods at the bailiff, who nods in return and gets up, hiking up her ill-fitting uniform pants as she goes.  Cut to the bathroom.  Sal is muttering to herself, moving around nervously, trying out a fake laugh. We see her feet and hands as she practices her speech.  The bailiff opens the door to the bathroom and steps partway in, pausing a moment to watch Sal gesture.}
Bailiff:  Psst!
{Sal looks at her, sighs, looks back.  We then cut to seeing Sal throw open the courtroom doors and launch herself in, tossing open the doors to the front area of the courtroom, and clapping her hands together tightly as she addresses the jury:}
Sal:  Oh, to be nineteen again!  With me, ladies and gentlemen?  Do you remember nineteen?  Let me tell ya, the juices are flowing the red corpuscles are corpuscling, the grass is green, and it's soft, and summer's gonna last forever.  Now, do you remember? Yeah, you do.  {Sal points to a late middle-aged man in the jury, who frowns and looks away.}  But if you're being honest, I mean, well, really honest, you'll recall that you also had an underdeveloped 19-year-old brain.  Me, personally, I, if I were held accountable for some of the stupid decisions I made when I was 19, oh, boy, wow.  And I bet if we were in church right now, I'd get a big "amen!" Which brings us to these three.   Now, these three knuckleheads, and I'm sorry, girls, but that's what you are {Sal points to the three young women at the desk}, they did a dumb thing.  We're not denying that.  However, I would like you to remember two salient facts.  Fact one, nobody got hurt, not a soul.  Very important to keep that in mind.  Fact two, now, the prosecution keeps bandying this term "criminal trespass." Mrs. Spinauzo, the property owner, admitted to us that she keeps most portions of her business open to the public both day and night.  So, trespassing? That's a bit of a reach, don't you think, Liz? {gestures to the prosecuting lawyer} Here's what I know, these three young women, near honors students all, were feeling their oats one Saturday night, and they just went a little bananas.  I don't know.  Call me crazy, but I don't think they deserve to have their bright futures ruined by a momentary, minute, never-to-be-repeated lapse of judgment.  Ladies and gentlemen, you're bigger than that.
{Sal takes her seat next to the three young women.  There is a moment of silence as we wait for the prosecuting lawyer to start her comments.  Instead, she walks purposefully over to a TV on a cart, holding a videotape, which she puts on the cart while she pulls it out, castors creaking, to sit in front of the jury.  A young woman from the back of the gallery gets up and leaves as the lawyer deliberately inserts the tape and presses play.  She leans a little on the cart, hand on her hip, as we see one of the young women defendants on the tape – clearly a video taken with a cellphone or other handheld device.} 
First girl on tape:  Laura, you rolling?
Second girl on tape:  Yeah, wait a minute.
Third girl:  Yeah, baby.  Yeah!
Second girl:  Tone it down.  Chill out, would you?
{We see feet on a trolley and realize the girls are in a morgue}
First girl:  Hey, Mr. Watson’s  fourth period biology class, this one’s for you!  Watch and learn, losers.
Third girl:  Oh, yeah.
{The girls turn away and do something to the body we can't see.  We go back to the jury, who are all looking away in various directions.}
First girl:  Oh, God.
Second girl:  Hey, where’d all the blood go?
First girl:  She’s dead.  They suck it all out, dumbass.
Second girl:  Awesome.  Where to they put it?  All right, I’m through the neck bone now.  Oh, nice.
First girl:  Laura, get over here.
Second girl:  I’m getting it.
First girl:  Get a shot of this.
Second girl:  Fine, fine.
First girl:  Let me do it.
Third girl:  I got it!
First girl:  All right.
{People in the gallery are getting up to go to one side of the courtroom, so they can see the TV better}
First girl:  You’re sawing like a wimp.  Let me do it.
Third girl:  Would you get off?  Chill out.
First girl:  All right.
Third girl:  Wait, wait.  Okay.  Wait for it. Wait.
{On the tape, the two girls being filmed hold up the head of the dead woman.}
First girl {Laughing}:  Come on.  Yeah baby.  Yeah.
Second girl:  Oh, my God.
First girl:  I dare you to stick your finger in the throat hole.
Third girl:  I will if you will, loser.
First girl:  All right, all right.
{The girls at the desk look at Sal, who gestures at them as if to say “don’t worry”.}

Next scene:
{We cut to Sal putting up a cheque against a plexiglass window.  The cheque is made out to Jane McGill, in the amount of $700.}
Sal:  What the hell kind of math is that?
Bored male voice:  Seven hundred per defense.
Sal:  No, no, no.  “Defendant”.  “Dant”.  Three defendants, twenty-one hundred.  {She slams the cheque down on the ledge.}  Which, by the way, a bargain, what I did for them.
Male voice:  They going to jail, ain’t they?
Sal {angry}:  So since when does that matter?  They molested a head.
Male {who we now see, black, fairly young, with long hair, trendy glasses and clothes.  He sounds aggravated now}:  Look, didn’t nobody tell you to try all three of them together.  One trial, seven hundred dollars.
Sal:  You’re gonna miss me.  You are gonna miss me, because it’ll be a cold day in hell before I do any more PD work for this shitty court. Sayonara, dude.
Male {emotionless}:  You have yourself a nice day.
{Sal picks up her briefcase and storms out of the courthouse.  She looks at the cheque in anger before putting it in her briefcase.  She strides angrily out past security and into the parking lot, heading for a rusty and broken-down old yellow car.  Her cellphone rings, so she slams her briefcase onto the roof of the car, takes her phone out of her pocket, and gives a little gasp as she sees the number.  She breathes deep to calm down, opens the phone:}
Sal {in a fake male voice with a bit of a terrible British accent}:  Law offices of Jane McGill, how may I direct your call?  Yes, Mr. Kettleman, how good of you to return.  Actually, I don’t have Ms McGill at the moment, but I know she’d…{pauses, listens agitatedly} Oh, splendid.  Unfortunately our offices are being painted and the fumes are quite horrid. Um, uh, could she meet you and your wife at, say, uh, Loyola's Café on Central? 4:00 it shall be.  Cheers.
{Sal hangs up and gasps happily.  She checks her watch, gets in the car, not forgetting her briefcase.  The car lets out a cloud of black smoke as it starts and Sal screeches off to the parking kiosk.  Sal hands her ticket to Michelle.}
Michelle:  Three dollars.
Sal:  Uh, I’m validated.  See the stickers?
Michelle:  Well, I see five stickers.  You’re one shy.  That’s three dollars.
Sal {sighs}:  They gave me… Look, I’m validated for the entire day, okay? Five stickers, six stickers, I don't know from stickers because I was in that court back there saving people's lives, so-- {pauses}
Michelle (an older woman with short hair and a blue shirt with the parking kiosk logo on it):  Well, gee, that's swell.  And thank you for restoring my faith in the judicial system.  Now you either pay the $3, or you go back inside and you get an additional sticker.  {Holds the ticket back out to Sal.}
Sal {quietly, but angrily}:  Son of a bitch.  {Glares at Michelle for a moment.}  Fine, you win.  Hooray for you.  {yelling at driver in car behind her}  Backing up! I have to back up! I need more stickers! Don't have enough stickers! Thank you! Thank you, very nice! {Backs up, screeches over to spot near the gate, gets out of the car and walks back towards the building. As she passes the police cars:}  Employee of the month over here! Yeah! Hooray! Give her a medal! {Gesturing at two cops chatting by their cars:} Don't do anything, ladies.  Just relax, all right?

Next scene:  
{Presumably the Loyola Café.  Sal and the Kettlemans sit at a booth.}
Mr. Kettleman {to Sal}:  Well, I'm just fuzzy as to why you think she needs a lawyer.  {Turns to his wife, sitting beside him:}  I mean, Karen, the way you run your office is beyond reproach.
Karen Kettleman:  Yeah.
Mr. Kettleman:  Yeah.
Karen:  Beyond reproach.  I'm a stickler, you know, for…
Mr. Kettleman {interrupting}:   She is.  She's a stickler with the money.  She's definitely a stickler.
Karen:  Yeah.  Yeah.
Mr. Kettleman:  Yeah.  I mean, she's certainly not guilty of some…
Sal:  Is certainly not.  She's innocent of any wrongdoing.  That's abundantly clear to me.  And frankly, I don't go looking for guilty people to represent.  I mean, who needs that aggravation, right? Right.  {All three laugh a little bit, tentatively.}  Look, all I know is what I read in the paper.  And typically, when money goes missing from the county treasury, and the number here is, uh, one point six million dollars?
Mr. Kettleman: Well, that's an accounting discrepancy. {Karen echoes}
Sal:  It's a discrepancy, absolutely.  But typically, when that happens, the police look at the treasurer.
And since that person is, uh {pauses, gestures to Karen}.  I just think a little proactivity may be in order.
Karen:  Well you know, I just think I'd look guilty if I hired a lawyer.
Mr. Kettleman:  Yeah.
Sal {raising a finger to make a point, shaking it slightly}:  No.  Actually, it's getting arrested that makes people look guilty, even the innocent ones, and innocent people get arrested every day.  And they find themselves in a little room with a detective who acts like she's their best friend.  "Talk to me," she says.  Uh, "Help me clear this thing up.  "You don't need a lawyer, only guilty people need lawyers.  " And boom! Hey, that's when it all goes south.  That's when you want someone in your corner, someone who will fight tooth and nail.  Lawyers, you know, we're like health insurance.  You hope you never need it.  But, man, oh, man, not having it, no. 
Karen:  How would we proceed if we decided to, uh …
Sal:  Oh, well, this is a letter of engagement.  It's very simple, straightforward.  Please, uh, read it closely, but if you sign it, um, I can get started on that defense strategy of ours this very afternoon.
{In slow motion Karen clicks the pen, reaches out to sign; Sal looks nervous and hopeful}
Mr. Kettleman:  Karen… I think maybe we should sleep on it.
Karen:  Uh, sure.  Don't you think, Ms McGill? Maybe we should sleep on it.
Sal:  Oh, oh, please, call me Jane.  Absolutely.  I mean, there's no rush.  You…
Mr. Kettleman:  Oh, and, you know, Karen, we got to pick up the kids.  At the…
Karen:  Oh.  Right.  Yeah.
Karen {rising from booth}:  Well, uh, we will be in touch.  Uh, thank you for the coffee and for the advice.
Sal {rises as well, shakes Karen’s hand}:  You're very, very welcome. Oh!  Um, here.  {Reaches into briefcase for a blue matchbook}  Take this.    It's, uh, it's got my phone number on it.
Mr. Kettleman {walking between them, grabs matchbook, walking away:}  Yeah.  Okay.  Got it.
{Sal watches, standing by the booth, as Mr. Kettleman and Karen walk away.}

Next scene:
{Sal is in her car, driving in a residential neighbourhood, talking on her cellphone, with her credit card in her hand as she steers.}
Sal:  The number is 9-4-5-6- 0-0-5-4-4-8-9-6- 0-6-4-3, and the expiration is 11/04.  Okay, and the keyword here is "classy," all right? Super classy, use only flowers that look expensive, but, you know, aren't.  Uh, and the note should say "Dear Bradley and Karen" Uh, "Best wishes from your stickler for justice, Jane McGill."  Okay? And "McGill" is spelled "M-C" Well, run it again.  Oh, no, no, no.  It's paid up.  Run it again.
{We are riding in the back seat with Sal, and as she turns a corner there is a collision: something bangs into the windshield, making Sal and us jump.  She immediately stops, closes her phone, panting, near tears; she gets out of the car and looks at a 20-something woman in knee pads and helmet lying on the ground, while another young woman similarly dressed rolls up on a skateboard, jumping off to kneel beside her sister:}
Lisa:  Oh! Oh Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, my God! Oh.  Meg, Meg! Look at me!  Look at me.  Are you okay? Say something.  {Turns to yell at Sal}  What did you do? What did you do to my sister? Why don't you look where you're going?
Sal:   I was making a turn! She came out of nowhere!
Lisa:  You freaking, freaking hit her!
Sal {trying unsuccessfully to interject}:  I did--
Lisa:  You ran her over! You ran over my sister! And I got the whole thing on video. 
Sal:  It was an accident.
Meg {from the road where she lays}:  It was an accident.  She didn't, she didn't mean to.  Let me just, aah! Aah! Oh! No, no.  That's broke.  Is it broke?
Lisa:  You broke her leg.
Meg {in pain}:  It's my leg.  Oh! It's my leg.  It's my leg.
Lisa:  Why are you driving around and not looking?
Sal:  Shh, shh, shh!
Lisa:  Driving around, breaking people's legs!
Sal {trying to calm Lisa down}:  It's, it's, it's, okay, okay, okay!
Lisa:  Where's the, somebody call the cops!
Sal {talking over her}:  Don't call, don't call the police.  Don't call the police.
Lisa {calling over to two Mexican women doing yard work, who turn away and ignore her}:  Policia!
Sal:   Don't, don't, don't.  Don't call them.
Lisa:  I'll call them myself.  I'm doing it myself.
Sal:  Don't call the police.  Don't call the police.
Lisa:  Don't call the cops?
Sal:  No.
Lisa:  How you gonna fix this? What are you gonna do to make things right?
Sal  {pauses, gasps for air}:  I don't know, girls.  What can I do to make it right?
Meg {shaking head}:  I don't know.  {pauses}  Five hundred dollars.
Sal {still panicking, but calmer}:  Five hundred bucks?  Yeah?
Lisa:  Yeah.
{Sal suddenly hauls off and kicks Meg in the foot, hard.}
Lisa:  Ow! What the hell?   {Meg gets up, leg clearly not broken, backs up with her sister}
Sal:  Listen, Starlight Express, I'm gonna give you a 9.6 for technique, 0.0 for choice of victim.  I'm a lawyer.  Furthermore, does, does this steaming pile of crap {gestures to her car} scream "payday" to you, huh? The only way that entire car is worth 500 bucks is if there's a 300 dollar gigolo sitting in it.  Now, let's talk about what you owe me for the windshield.  {holding out hand}
{Meg and her sister make a dash for their skateboards and run off.  Sal lunges as if she's going to chase them, but doesn't bother.}
Sal {yelling after them}:  I'll take a check!

Next scene:  
{A nail salon.  Hands put a spacer on toes, fish swim in an aquarium.  Everything is nicely done, calm.  Sal comes in the front door, swinging her jacket.}
Sal:  Chào cô, gents, chào cô!
{A line of young Vietnamese men greet her back, sitting on the row of stools in front of the tubs, as white men of various ages sit having their toenails done, some chatting to each other quietly, some on their phones.}
Sal:  Chào cô, Mr. Nguyen.  My, don’t you look…. {trails off, continues meekly}  My mail?
Mr. Nguyen:  You work for people who mess with chopped-off head?
Sal:  Was it in the paper?
Mr. Nguyen:  I heard it from my cousin.  {disgusted, as Sal walks off towards the back}  Why?  Why you work for these people?
Sal  {mostly to herself, as she stops to get water from a decorative dispenser}:  Just lucky, I guess.
Mr. Nguyen {crossly}:  Cucumber water for customer only.
{Sal slams the cup down and walks to the back, to a small, dark room.  She turns on the light to the laundry room, then fishes out the key to her “office”.  The door barely opens, and she squeezes in and slumps down at her desk.  She looks hopefully at the phone, does a little pretend magic with her hands, and hits the “messages” button:}
Recorded male voice:  You have {pause} zero messages.
{Sal slumps back in her chair, sighing.  She gathers up her mail and flips past five bills marked “past due” or “suspension of service”.  She pauses at one that says HHM and sits up, staring at it a moment before turning it over and slicing it neatly open with her letter-opener.  The letter is on letterhead saying “Hamlin, Hamlin, and McGill”.  The letter itself is brief, saying only “Dear Ms McGill:  Pursuant to your discussion with Helen Hamlin, please find the enclosed check.  I hope this letter finds you well.”  The cheque behind the letter is made out for $26000.  Sal stares it for a long moment before carefully ripping it in half, then in half again, and again.}

Next Scene: 
{Sal calls an elevator in a parking garage.  She buttons her jacket as she waits, and looks over to the stainless steel trash can, which is dented.  She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath before stepping onto the elevator.  We see her exiting the elevator into the lobby of the HHM offices, with their logo prominently displayed.  Sal makes a friendly motion towards a young black woman getting on the elevator, who ignores, then slaps playfully on the reception desk:}
Sal:  Brian, looking good!  Nice ‘do {pointing at his head}.  Where’s Malificent?
Brian {not looking up}:  She’s not quite ready for you yet.
Sal {has the sound of a confident guess}:  South conference room.  {She starts to walk away}
Brian {looking up, slightly alarmed}:  How about you wait out here?
Sal:  How about I don’t? 
{Sal steps away and notices an older woman in a suit passing behind her.  She calls out “Dame Frances” and shakes her hand.}
Frances {coldly}:  Jane.
Sal:  Well groomed, as always.
Frances {still coldly}:  Okay.
Sal:  All right. {bounds up the long, impressive staircase.  As she passes two lawyers on the stairs, she calls out their names and gives an exuberant wave}  Keith, Kathy, yes!
{Sal opens the doors and enters a large, expensive-looking conference room:}  
Sal {at the foot of the long table, impressively}: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Ms Hamlin, and I won't have it!
Brian {on speakerphone}:  Do you want me to call security?
Ken:  It's okay, Brian, we got it.
Sal:  Hey, Joan.  Hey, Nat.  Hey, Erin.
Helen:  What can we do for you, Jane?
Sal:  I'm sorry.  It's, it's this table.  Something just comes over me.  {Walks over to them, sprinkles the pieces of the cheque on the table, sits down}  You can tell me what this, uh, twenty-six thousand dollars is supposed to be for.
Helen:  That's money for Cath.  Isn't that what you wanted?
Sal:  A measly 26 grand? Jesus, you're like Peter Minuit with the Indians.  Throw in some beads and shells while you're at it.
Helen:  It's just a start.  There'll be more, unless you're gonna just tear them all up.
Sal:  And why was it made out to me, why not Cath?
Helen:  Can she make her way to the bank? {Pause, Sal says nothing.} I just assumed it was best to have the money go through you.  We can do it any way you want.
Sal:  This isn't going away, Helen.  What Cath did for this firm, and damn near single-handedly, one-third of this place belongs to her.  Yeah.  What do you got, twelve chairs here? Four of these chairs are Cath’s.  You got five of these light thingumajigs? Uh, mmm, one and two-thirds are Cath’s.  Yeah.  Six, how many Danishes, six Danishes?
Helen:  You can have all the Danish you want, Jimmy.
Sal:  No, no.  They're Cath's Danishes, and Cath isn't greedy, so she'll just take two plus seventeen million dollars, in that ballpark.  I mean, we'll know once we get the accountants poking around here.  Until then, no more penny-ante checks designed to make it look like Cath still works here.  She doesn't.  She never will again.  It's time to do right by her and cash her out.
Helen:  So, these are Cath's own wishes that you're conveying?
Sal:  This is what's best for her.
Helen:  Mmm.  So she personally told you that it's her wish to withdraw from the firm? See, that would surprise me.
Sal:  It's been nearly a year since she's set foot in here.  I'm just doing what's in her best interests.
Helen:  So am I.  And I, for one, believe she's gonna lick this thing.  Until then, her office is just as she left it.  Her secretary's still on payroll.  If Cath can call this an extended sabbatical, then so can we, she's that important to us.
Sal:  You know what? Let's let a jury figure it out.  Yeah, they're gonna love you, Helen.  You're so down-to-earth and relatable.  {Gets up, walks back to the end of the table where she came in, declaiming again}  And you will atone! {conversational again} It's Ned Beatty, from Network.  For Christ's sakes.  {Turns and leaves the room.}
{Sal is walking in the corridors of the office.  Helen comes up behind.}
Helen:  Janey.  I almost forgot, this month's filings.  You could save me the postage.
Sal:  Weren't you listening in there? Cath doesn't work here anymore.  You think I'm gonna help you establish a paper trail?
Helen:  Now, Janey …
Sal:  No, stop trying to pawn that shit off on her.
Helen:  Janey.  You know, Janey, sometimes, in our line of work, you can get so caught up in the idea of winning that you forget to listen to your heart.  Give Cath my love, would you?
{Helen turns and walks away.   Sal stands, looking lost, for a moment.  She peeks over the balcony and sees the Kettlemans talking to Helen.  Sal comes out of the elevator in the parking garage and kicks the already-dented garbage can repeatedly.  As the camera pans out we see Ken pensively smoking a cigarette in the parking garage.  Sal comes out and sees him standing there.  As Ken pulls on the cigarette, Sal grabs it and takes  a long breath on it, then another, before giving it back.}
Sal {nearly in tears}:  Couldn’t you just…
Ken {cutting her off}:  No I can’t. 
{Ken grinds out the cigarette and goes back inside, righting the garbage can and putting its lid on as he goes.}

Next scene:  
{A tree-lined residential street, late at night.  We see Sal’s car pulling up, then we see her putting her keys, cellphone, and watch in a mailbox.  She picks up a couple of awkward bags and makes her way up to the door as the wind blows the trees.  Before opening the door, she taps an odd metal device that gives off a little zap, then opens the door with her key and lets herself in.  Inside is dark and we can barely see her.}
Sal {to herself, dropping the bags}:  Son of a bitch.
Cath {offscreen}: You ground yourself?
Sal {angry}:  Yes, I grounded myself.
{We hear a mechanical typewriter from the other room as Sal lights a barbecue lighter and starts turning on a gas lamp.  She brings the light over to the bags she dropped and inspects the contents of a nearly-empty cooler.  She pours ice from a big garbage bag, then adds a small white plastic bag of presumably groceries.}
{Sal comes into the other room, the house's living room.  Cath sits in the flickering light of a gas camping light, typing at her desk.  She is late middle-aged, older than Sal, dressed casually (almost to the point of sloppiness) and needs a haircut.}
Sal  :  You’ve gotta stop putting bacon on the list.  That cooler’s looking like a trichinosis stew.
{Cath holds one finger in the air, indicating that Sal should wait a moment.  After a few more clicks she pulls out the paper with a flourish and hands it to Sal.}
Cath:  Perfect timing.
Sal:  Professor DagmarVogelson?  University of Helsinki?
Cath:  Yeah, you're gonna have to get that translated.
Sal:  Into Swedish?
Cath: Finnish.
Sal:  Finish, uh, translating into--?
Cath {exasperated}:  I'm sure there's someone at UNM who can do that.
Sal:  You do know I'm trying to start a legal practice, right?
Cath:  Vogelson's been working on the effects of electromagnetic fields on zebra fish, and, oh! {distracted by what Sal is holding, pleased} Financial Times.
Sal:  Yeah, I knew you missed it, so I figured, "What the heck?"
Cath:  Thank you.  I know it's expensive here.
Sal:  That's not—
Cath:  It's all right.  I don't expect you to go out of pocket.  {Gets a coffee can off the bookshelf behind her and holds it out to Sal}  Go ahead, reimburse yourself.
Sal:  {reluctantly takes a couple of bills from the coffee can.  Cath puts it back and starts looking at the headlines}  Thanks.  Hey, Cath, um, can you not read that for a second? Can we talk?
Cath:  Are you all right? You look peaked.  {she says it like "peak-ed".}
Sal:  I'm fine.  Please, just sit.
Cath {sort of a question, as if expecting the worst}:  You're not in trouble.
Sal:  Um... You got to cash out.  You got to.
Cath:  Again? Really?
Sal:  There's no other way.  I know that you don't want to hear it, but you've got to.
Cath {starting to get agitated}:  You know I'm going to beat this.  You know I'm going to get better.
Sal:  Yeah, sure.
Cath {calm again}:  Well, then, there's nothing more to talk about.  I will beat this.  Ergo, a falsis principiis proficisci.  Meaning?
Sal:  That's not…
Cath:  Meaning?
Sal:  That's the one about false principles, but it's not --
Cath:  You proceed from false principles.  Your argument is built on quicksand.  Therefore, it collapses.
{Cath gets comfortable on the couch with the paper.}
Sal:    You're not listening.
Cath:  Fine.  Let's take this to its logical conclusion.  In order to pay out my share, suppose my partners are forced to liquidate the firm.  Then what?
Sal:  That's their problem.
Cath:  My clients are out in the cold.  My cases are scattered to the winds.  One hundred and twenty-six people lose their jobs.  What happens to your cronies in the mailroom, the assistants, the paralegals, the janitorial staff? All of them, out on the street.  Your friend Ken, a promising career, over and done with.
Sal:  Hamlin owes you everything.  You built that place single-handedly while she was out at Four Hills working on her bunker shot.
Cath:  Let's not exaggerate.  I helped.
Sal {incredulously}:  You helped.
Cath:  All the more reason not to tear it down just for a little bit of cash.
Sal:  Look, Cath, I'm going under, okay? For the third time with these bull-crap contract counsel –
Cath {offended}:  Bull crap?
Sal:  Bull-crap, pissant PD cases at seven hundred bucks a shot.
Cath:  Public-defender work is some of the best experience there is.
Sal:  I just had a case, Cath, with three clients, uh, arraignments, voir dire, jury trial, the whole nine yards.  You know what I took home? Seven hundred bucks.  Yeah, I might as well head down to Skid Row and sell plasma.
Cath:  You're representing people who have nowhere else to turn.  The money is beside the point.
Sal:  Money is not beside the point, money is the point.
Cath:  I keep telling you, have patience.  There are no shortcuts.  Do good work, and the clients will come. 
Sal {chiming in – she has heard this before}:  The clients will come.  Yeah, I know.  Okay.  Hand to God, I wasn't gonna say this, but you are broke.  I can't carry both of us.  I've been trying like hell, but I can't.
Cath:  Well, you're saying what? You think you have to provide for me? I never asked you that.
Sal:  You didn't have to ask, okay? I've been doing my damnedest, but the day of reckoning is here.  Soon, Cath, you're gonna be out on the street with all the electromagnetism in the world raining down on you.  Now, please, please, picture that, then tell me that money is beside the point.
Cath:  This is what has you all worked up?
Sal:  Yeah!
Cath:  Janey, there's nothing to worry about.  {Gets a small piece of paper from the desk and hands it to her}  Here.
Sal:  What is this?
Cath:  A stipend.  There's gonna be one every week.
Sal:  Eight hundred and fifty seven dollars from Hamlin, Hamlin, McGill?
Cath:  I'm gonna pay her back, every penny.  I didn't want to take anything, but Helen was very insistent.  And I'm gonna pay you back, too. 
Sal:  Wait, Hamlin was here?
Cath:  It's not like I'm a recluse. 
Sal:  What? She put her cellphone in the mailbox?
Cath:  She understands the situation.
Sal:  She grounded herself?
Cath:  Of course.
Sal:  And the two of you agreed that since, as everybody knows, you're going back to work any day now, that the firm should help you make ends meet.
Cath:  That's correct, minus the sarcasm.
Sal:  Hamlin's making you a chump!
Cath {upset}:  I'm going to get better! I'm gonna go back to work, and I'm picking up where I left off!
{Sal is defeated.  She backs up and collapses into an easy chair.}
Sal {sincerely this time}:  Sorry.  Sorry, Cath.
Cath:  I understand that you're trying to look out for me, but you're missing the bigger picture.
Sal {quietly}:  I got it.
Cath:  Speaking of which, Helen brought this.  She's concerned.  {Cath picks up one of Sal’s matchbooks and holds it out.}
Sal:  What?
Cath:  You have to admit, it could be confusing, Hamlin, Hamlin, McGill?   Jane M McGill?
Sal:  That's my name.  I was born with it.  I—
Cath:  Still... how about Vanguard Law? Or Gibraltar Legal
Sal:  Wait, wait.  So I'm not supposed to use my name on, on Hamlin's say-so? What's she gonna do, sue me?
Cath:  Nobody wants to create an adversarial situation.  I'm sure Helen would gladly pay the cost of new matchbooks and so on.  It's simply a matter of professional courtesy.
Sal:  Cath, whose side are you on?
Cath:  There are no sides.  But, Janey, wouldn't you rather build your own identity? Why ride on someone else's coattails?
{We cut to Sal angrily taking her watch, cellphone, and keys out of the mailbox and banging it shut, then banging the car door as she gets in.  She pulls out the matchbook again and addresses it:}
Sal:  You want to dance, Helen?  Let’s dance.

Next scene:  
{A concrete surface with graffiti-like designs is lit by the sun.  A skateboarder with a video camera gets on a ramp, ready to film:}
Lisa:  Go!
{Meg comes up and around on her skateboard.}
Lisa:  No, you can get closer than that, you bitch. {running commentary as Meg loops around twice} Come on.  And here it comes.  There you go.  Better.
Meg {jumping off her board and coming running up}:  How was that?
Lisa {shows her the camera}:  It's all right.   Here, take a look.  Still, tighter -- everything.
Meg:  Tighter? What? Tighter what?
Lisa:  I don't know.  Just stand tighter.  You know what I mean?
Meg:  I don't know what you mean.
Lisa:  That’s a--  We can call that a stylistic choice, I guess, if you want.
Sal {calling down from the top of the ramp}:  Hey, girls. We got business.
Lisa {nervous}:  How did you find us?  
{The camera pulls out to show an entire skate park.  Sal looks around.}
Sal {sarcastically}:  I know.  Eerie, right?
{Meg and Lisa clutch their boards and start to edge away.}
Sal:  Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Come on.  Give me 30 seconds.  Could be the most profitable 30 seconds of your lives. 
{The boarders look at each other, intrigued}
Sal {sitting on the edge of the ramp now}:  Let me tell you about a young lady, actually, she's about your age.  She lived a long way from here in a town called Cicero, Illinois.  And in Cicero, she was *it*.  I mean, when she strolled down the street, all the corner girls would give her the high five.  All the finest dudes would smile at her and hope that she would smile back.  They called her "Slippin' Janey," and everybody wanted to be her friend. 
Lisa:   "Slippin' Janey?" What the hell kind of name is that?
Sal:  Well, I'll tell you, now, winters in Cicero are murder.  You girls growing up out here in the golden west, you don't know, okay? I'm talking cold that'll freeze the snot right in your nose.  I'm talking wind that'll cut through your jacket and carve you up like a Ginsu knife.  In fact, most folks in Cicero were scared of winter, but not Janey.  Janey waited around all summer, and when September finally rolled around and she'd feel that first cold wind come sweeping off Lake Michigan, she knew it was coming.  Was it Christmas? Was it Kwanzaa? Better, it was slip 'n fall season.  Soon as it was cold enough, she'd find a nice, smooth patch of ice.  State Street was good.  Michigan Avenue was better.  She'd pick her spot, wait for it to get busy, then she'd walk out on the ice, and, boom! She would biff it so hard, people would come running from five blocks away.
Lisa:  Yeah, but did she collect?  
Sal {scoffing}:  "Did she collect?" Slippin' Janey had it dialed in, all right? One good fall, she'd clear six, eight grand.  That'd keep her in old Milwaukee and Maui Waui right through Labor Day.
Meg:  Eight grand?
Sal:  Eight grand.  Now, see, I look at you girls, I see potential.  The skateboard's a nice wrinkle, that makes it a year-round gig.  And clearly, you know how to take a header, right {nodding to Meg}? But I got to ask you, your best day ever, how much did you clear?
Meg and Lisa {together, quietly, embarassed}:  Six hundred and thirty.
Sal:  Six hundred and thirty bucks.  Was that for one fall?
Meg:  Two.
Sal:  Two falls in one day.  Even at your age, that's got to hurt.
Meg {firmly}:  True that.
Sal:  All right, well, I got a job for you.  How's two grand sound?
Lisa:  2 grand for one hit?
Sal:  One hit.  Plus, you get to learn from the best. 

Next scene:  
{Sal and the boarders sit in her car on a residential street.}
Lisa:  Nice boat.
Sal:  Yeah, discreet, like a stripper pole in a mosque.  Forget the boat.  Look at the car.  You know what that is?
Lisa:  I don't know, a station wagon?
Sal:  It's a Mercury, a 1988 Mercury Sable Wagon.  Remember it.  Burn it into your brains.  You got it?
Lisa:   It's a Mercury Sable Wagon, sure.
Sal:  Close your eyes.  What color is it?
Lisa and Meg {together, tentatively}:  Brown.  Brown.
Sal:  No, it's medium sandalwood.  Keep your eyes closed.  How does the license plate start?
Lisa and Meg {together, more confident this time}:  Four.
Sal:  Give those ladies a gold star.  

Next Scene:
{A business area, not too busy, with a café on the corner.  A dozen or so people are sitting on the patio at the café.} 
Sal:  Bradley Kettleman's his name.  Every weekday between 2:25 and 2:50, he comes through here on his way to pick up his kids at Kit Carson Elementary.  Now, you need a place where he's gonna slow down, am I right?
Lisa:  Yeah.
Sal:    All right.  Well, there you go.  He slows down.  He hangs a right.  You come shooting out of there.  {points to alley}  You do what you did to me.  You go ass over teakettle.  You make it a blue-ribbon special.  When he gets out of the car, you're sufferin' Saint Sabina,  right? {points to Lisa now} You're the hammer, okay? You get in his face.  You scare the bejesus out of him.  Give me your phone.
Meg {worried}:  It's kind of busy here, don't you think?
Sal:  Well, witnesses are good.  Witnesses are pressure, all right? Now, once you've got him good and rattled, then you call for an ambulance, but really, you're calling for me.  I'm number one on your speed dial, right next to your weed dealer. {hands phone back to Lisa} You call me.  I hotfoot it over here.  I just “happened” to be driving by.  I stop to see what the trouble is, and this is the most important part, you don't know me {turns to them to emphasize the point}.  We've never met.  You got it?
Meg and Lisa:  Sure.
Sal:  Okay.  Now, I come to Mr.  K's rescue.  {Gestures to Lisa again} We go head to head.  You light into me, okay? Get nasty.  And no touching.  Leave the hair alone.  But otherwise, you know, open season.  Yell.  Stomp.  Call me a bitch.  I'm gonna play it cool, give you back some of the razzmatazz.  And once he's seen the fireworks, you fold like a lawn chair, happy ending.
Lisa:  When do we get our money?
Sal:  After.
Lisa:  After?
Sal:  After.  You get paid when I get paid.  I'm the rising tide that raises all dinghies.  Now, pop quiz, what's the car?
Meg:  Mercury Sable Wagon.
Lisa:  Baby-poop brown.
Sal:  Okay.  Do you know me?
Meg and Lisa: No.
Sal:  Damn straight.  Go with God.
{Sal claps them both on the shoulders and walks away smiling.}

Next scene:  
{Sal is back in her car, waiting on a side road.  She practices her lines.}
Sal:  Well, I'm just glad I happened to be passing by.  Happy to be of help, Bradley.
May I call you "Brad?" Please, call me "Jane”.   Hmm.  Oh, the kid will be fine.  Don't worry.
She just got her bell rung a little.  I'll, I'll handle that.   Oh, no.  Oh, no, no.  I wouldn't think of, uh, taking your money for this.  {We see Sal’s car in the background as Bradley comes out of the house and into his car}  The embezzlement case? Mm, yes, I'd, I'd be happy to talk it over.  {She sees Bradley and ducks down}  Oh, shit.  {She dials her phone}    Two-minute warning.    Two-minute warning.
Lisa:  Got it.
{We see Meg and Lisa at their posts, limbering up and getting ready.  Lisa gets out the video camera and starts filming, while Meg rolls her board back and forth.  Meg starts to breathe heavily as they see the station wagon approach; she shoots out onto the street, perfectly timed, and breaks the station wagon’s windshield as she rolls over it and onto the road.}
Patrons at café:  Oh, my God! What happened? Call 911.
Lisa:  Oh, my God! Meg! Meg! Look at me! Are you okay? Sis, say something.  Meg, look at me.  {glances at the car, muttering} Come on already.
Meg {on the ground, not moving, whispering}:  What is he doing in there?
Lisa:  I don't know.  Shh.
Meg:  Is he making a sandwich? Where's his sense of responsibility?
{The car suddenly starts, speeds up and tears off}
Meg and Lisa:  What? What? Hey! What the f --
{We cut back to Sal, still practicing her lines, getting more and more nervous as the minutes pass.
Sal:  Funny to run into you, Bradley.  I was just, uh, strolling the neighborhood.  You, you were in accident.  {Makes a face, checks watch; getting impatient}  Come on.  {checks phone, waits; phone finally rings}  Yeah?
Lisa:  He took off on us.
Sal:  He what?
Lisa:  It was textbook.  We were diamonds, but then he just took off.
Sal:  Okay, wait.  {incredulous} He, he hit-and-run?
Lisa:  That's what I'm saying.  He bailed and wailed.
Sal:  Okay.  Just stay where you are.  I'll come get you.
Lisa:  No, no, no.  Screw that.  We're following him.
Sal:  You're, how are, you're following him how?
Lisa:  We got our ways, yo.  {Shot of Lisa and Meg on their skateboards, holding on the back of a pickup driving behind the station wagon}
Sal:  Okay, okay, okay, new plan, new plan.  You do know me.  I'm your lawyer.  You got that? I'll meet you at the school.
Lisa:  No, he's way past the school.  He hooked a left on Juan Tabo, and he's coming into Holiday Park.
Sal:  Okay, stay with him.  When he gets where he's going, wherever that is, just don't do anything.  Wait for me.
Lisa {angrily}:  Wait for what? You haven't been right even once! Slippin' Janey, my tit!
Sal:  You fell into the honeypot, kid.  You get it? Hit-and-run is a felony.
Lisa:  So what?
Sal:  "So what?" So more money.
Lisa {to Meg}:  She says we fell in the honeypot. She says "more money”.
Meg:  So what do we need her for?   {Lisa thinks a moment, snaps the cellphone shut.}
Sal:  Meg? Lisa? Whoever, oh, damn it! Come on.  Come on! Do it.  Do it.  Do it.
Son of a bitch! {Sal is yelling at her car, which won’t start}  Come on! Come on!{Car finally starts, she tears off.}
{We see the station wagon pull into a tidy bungalow.  The door of the car opens, but before we can see who is getting out, Lisa and Meg roll up.}
Lisa:  Hey.  Hey, your leg.  {Puts her arm around Meg to support her while she limps}
Meg:  Oh, I'm gonna do this one.
Lisa:  Okay.  Hey! Aah! Aah! Hey, yo, hold up.  {A tiny, very old Mexican man gets out of the car.  He looks confused, and too old to be driving.  He is neat and clean but dressed very casually, almost as if in pajamas or a sweatsuit}
Lisa:  Hey, yeah, you, what is the matter with you? You hit-and-run.  You ran her over.  You felonied my sister.
Abeulo2:  Que pasa?
Lisa:  Habla English.  We call, we call la policia. 
Meg:  La policia gonna be pissed.
Lisa:  I see you hit her.  You see that, that windshield? You did that.
Abeulo:  No entiendo.  No entiendo.
Meg:  I did that.  You did that to me.  You did that.  Now you pay.
Abeulo:  No, señora3.  No, señora.  No entiendo.
Meg:  Make, make with the dinero.
Abeulo:  Dinero?
Meg:  Dinero.
Lisa:  Si, righteous dinero.
Abeulo:  Dinero? Y, si.
{Aftera short pause he waves the girls towards the house, shaking his head and leading the way.} 
Lisa:  Okay.  Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.
Meg:  Talking about.
Abeulo {calling ahead}:  Mija4.
Meg:  Let's go.
Abeulo:  Mija!
Meg:  Is that money?
Lisa:  Yeah.
Abeulo:  Mija
Lisa {helping the limping Meg into the house}:  Watch this step.
Meg:  Aah.
Lisa:   Watch this, watch this step.
{They all disappear into the house.  The door closes and for a moment all we hear is the birds.
Cut to Sal racing around a corner in her rusty car.}
Sal {talking to herself, trying to find the right place}:  Where are you? Holiday Park.  {still practicing lines} Mr.  Kettleman, Bradley.  What are you doing here?  Hit-and-run?  That's very serious.  I can, I can mediate.  It's,  I represent their parents, so…   Come on.  Come on.
{She drives by the house, sees the station wagon, quickly backs up and parks.    She sees the cracked windshield as she rushes by.  She knocks politely and waits a moment, then starts trying to peer in the front windows.
Sal {knocking again}:  Open up! Officer of the court! Open up in the name of the law! {the door starts to open}  Good afternoon.  This—
{She stops abruptly as she, and we, realize a gun is pointed at her head.  A hand reaches out and pulls her into the house.  A middle-aged Mexican woman, perhaps 40 to 50, neatly dressed, looks out and around briefly, then closes the door.}

Cut to credits.


1:  Although her nametag reads Gina, and her real name is Jane, I refer to her as "Sal" throughout.
2:  In the credits the original character is referred to as "Abuelita", which I know is "grandma", but I wasn't sure whether the analogue would be "Abeulo" or "Abeulito".
3:  Similarly I wasn't sure whether an older man would call a younger woman "Señora" or "Señorita". I went with the more formal because of the tenseness of the situation.
4:  Again, I hope that "mija" is the correct replacement for "mijo", and would be used the same way for a daughter or grand-daughter.

What I did:  Very little of the dialogue has changed; just what needed to, to reflect the new genders.  I didn't change any situations, scenarios, sets, or scenes.  I wrote the descriptions of what's going on myself.  They're intended to make it stand alone as a story you can read, rather than just being a transcript. I hope you enjoy reading it as a result. I watched on Netflix with the English subtitles turned on, so my dialogue is fairly consistent with that.

On the names:  I spent a lot of time picking replacement names, because I wanted to get them right.  I did use the same initial where I could, but my top priority was finding names that were popular baby names at the same time and had the same type of style - e.g. traditional or trendy.  I used the Baby Name Wizard's Namevoyager tool to accomplish this.  Jane/Janey is not a perfect match for James/Jimmy, but I'm pleased with Ken for Kim Wexler.  It seems odd that the red-haired skateboarders were "Cal" and "Lars".

On the gender-swapping:  Where characters used "dude" or "man" and it could just be removed, I did so.  It's odd that there aren't really terms like that for me to call another woman.  I let some terms like "son of a bitch" stand as they were.  When Jane quotes a male character, Ned Beatty, I left it; my point was not to create an entire alternate universe where every male character has been female, but to show that this particular show could have been made in this universe we live in.  It's unfortunate, and I had forgotten, that the trial in this episode involves boys having sex with a severed head - that's one thing that really does require traditionally male anatomy, or a strap-on replacement (which would have required the girls planning ahead, which I didn't think the boys had), to achieve.  I really couldn't think of a sexual analogy, and frankly, didn't care to contemplate it for too long.  I settled for the greater vagueness of "messed with" and substituted "finger" for "wang", although it's not a great replacement.

If I was using this in a high-school class:  I would ask my students about the Vietnamese nail salon.  I chose to leave it alone rather than, say, make it a barbershop.  I would ask them if it seemed believable or unbelievable to them. I would ask them to notice what parts of the story overall seemed wrong, and help them to examine why.  Are their speeches of Jane's - perhaps the ads - that don't sound plausible for a female character?  What does that say about what we, as women, are allowed to do in the business world?  Does it seem unbelievable that Cath would believe she has such severe electromagnetic sensitivity, and it would seem more believable if it was something that occurs more often for women than men, perhaps agoraphobia? What does that say about conditions like electromagnetic sensitivity and agoraphobia, and who can acceptably announce that as their diagnosis in our society?  What about the skateboarding sisters, Meg and Lisa?  Do you have difficulty believing that two sisters could be such good boarders, or does it bother you that two girls would turn to the kind of ruse they use to get money out of innocent people?  Did it seem odd to you that there were five lawyers at a table, and only one was male?  What about calling someone by their last name, as in "Hamlin"?  Does that seem like a purely male habit?  There's a whole ton of discussion potential here.

On the Bechdel test:  As soon as I saw the original show, much as I enjoyed it, I hated the fact that the episode fails the Bechdel test miserably.  There are only three named characters in the first episode: Kim Wexler, Betsy Kettleman, and Mrs. Nguyen (who runs the nail salon).  None of them appear in the same scene with each other, never mind talk to each other about something other than a man.  I don't want to risk any spoilers, but in my memory, the whole first season only squeaks through the test on a technicality.  As for the ratio of male to female characters in general, in the opening credits, there are eight male characters versus four female in total, which seems like it could be worse.  It jars with the fact that it seemed like in my version above, I was talking mainly about female characters.  Looking more closely, of the eight male characters, four are lawyers; six of them I would describe as being central to the action as the show continues.  Of the four, Kim Wexler is barely seen in this episode, and it seems clear that her purpose is going to be as a love interest.  The other three are the embezzler's wife, the grandmother, and the woman who runs the nail salon - all characters who exist in the service of a male character.  In the end credits, on the first screen there is one male guest star.  The second screen is nicely balanced with four co-stars, two male and two female, one of each a named character.  In the final twelve credits, all un-named characters, the six who are male appear together on one screen, before the six who are female.  They are not arranged alphabetically, or in the order they appear in the show; so the only conclusion I can draw is that men were deliberately put before the women.

So, there you have it.  Feel free to comment, but be respectful.  Comments will be retained or deleted purely on my judgement; this is, after all, my forum.