Misery Loves Company (2017)
LOGLINE: After Judd Casper is unceremoniously dumped, he joins a support group for Codependents Anonymous and meets a cast of characters struggling in their relationships, or the lack thereof. A single-camera dramedy, Misery Loves Company explores the many different facets of love, dating, and heartbreak.
Misery Loves Company is the most personal thing I've ever written. The heart of the series revolves around this unlikely group of lonely hearts who come together to form a makeshift family. At the center of that ensemble is Judd and Noel. I loved the idea of watching a friendship develop between an incurable optimist and a staunch romantic pessimist and have been trying to work the fourth act reveal — Judd lying to his ex-girlfriend about having a fatal brain aneurysm in a misguided attempt at a romantic reconciliation — into a script for a long time. That's a ludicrous but maddeningly human impulse that (hopefully) illustrates the lunacy a broken heart can engender.
At its core, the script deals with our inherent inability to let go. Some people can go from relationship to relationship while others have difficultly making genuine connections so when they do and it doesn't work out it takes FOREVER to move on; the same principle can be applied professionally. Three of the characters are named after actors from Semi-Charmed Life, so I guess I'm doomed to drop these people into every TV pilot I ever write like I'm trapped inside some sort of literary Quantum Leap of my own creation.
The reason this script is so personal is because it came at a time in my life when after years of uncertainty I thought my professional and personal life were finally beginning to take shape. But that shape eventually transformed into a rhombus, which, as we all know, is the dumbest of shapes.
Grow up, rhombi.
Judd came within inches to what he perceived to be the perfect life and he lost it, which drives him to an impulsive act of stupidity. Also, I feel the need to state that none of this happened in real life. Actually, that's not entirely accurate. I didn't lie to my ex-girlfriend about dying (YET), but I actually did go to a CODA outing for research. A friend of mine had previously gone to a meeting and that's what kind of kickstarted the whole idea. Unfamiliar with CODA, I accompanied her to a meeting to (respectfully) check it out. During the sharing portion, the person next to me courageously told a very personal, immensely sad story (different from what's in my script, obviously). When she concluded, I was next.
She had a life and death story of genuine pain and suffering, and I had a bee in my bonnet because a girl I used to like wouldn't email me back.
Much like the Noel character in the script, I declined to share.