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: Hi. I'm Diana Christensen, a racist lackey of the imperialist ruling circles. Laureen Hobbs
: I'm Laureen Hobbs, a badass commie nigger. Diana Christensen
: Sounds like the basis of a firm friendship.
: I'm interested in doing a weekly dramatic series based on the Ecumenical Liberation Army. The way I see the series is: Each week we open with an authentic act of political terrorism taken on the spot, in the actual moment. Then we go to the drama behind the opening film footage. That's your job, Ms. Hobbs. You've got to get the Ecumenicals to bring in that film footage for us. The network can't deal with them directly; they are, after all, wanted criminals.
: The time has come to re-evaluate our relationship, Max. Max Schumacher
: So I see. Diana Christensen
: I don't like the way this script of ours has turned out. It's turning into a seedy little drama. Max Schumacher
: You're going to cancel the show? Diana Christensen
: By tomorrow, he'll have a 50 share, maybe even a 60. Howard Beale is processed instant God, and right now, it looks like he may just go over bigger than Mary Tyler Moore.
: You need me. You need me badly. Because I'm your last contact with human reality. I love you. And that painful, decaying love is the only thing between you and the shrieking nothingness you live the rest of the day. Diana Christensen
] Then, don't leave me. Max Schumacher
: It's too late, Diana. There's nothing left in you that I can live with. You're one of Howard's humanoids. If I stay with you, I'll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed. You're television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You're madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. But not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain... and love.
] Max Schumacher
: And it's a happy ending: Wayward husband comes to his senses, returns to his wife, with whom he has established a long and sustaining love. Heartless young woman left alone in her arctic desolation. Music up with a swell; final commercial. And here are a few scenes from next week's show.
[Picks up his suitcases and leaves
: I'm the man that you presumably love. I'm a part of your life. I live here. I'm real. You can't switch to another station. Diana Christensen
: Well, what exactly is it you want me to do? Max Schumacher
: I just want you to love me. I just want you to love me, primal doubts and all. You understand that, don't you? Diana Christensen
] I don't know how to do that.
: Look, I sent you all a concept analysis report yesterday. Did any of you read it?
[Aides stare blankly at her
] Diana Christensen
: Well, in a nutshell, it said: "The American people are turning sullen. They've been clobbered on all sides by Vietnam, Watergate, the inflation, the depression; they've turned off, shot up, and they've fucked themselves limp, and nothing helps." So, this concept analysis report concludes, "The American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them." I've been telling you people since I took this job six months ago that I want angry shows. I don't want conventional programming on this network. I want counterculture, I want anti-establishment. I don't want to play butch boss with you people, but when I took over this department, it had the worst programming record in television history. This network hasn't one show in the top twenty. This network is an industry joke, and we'd better start putting together one winner for next September. I want a show developed based on the activities of a terrorist group, "Joseph Stalin and His Merry Band of Bolsheviks," I want ideas from you people. This is what you're paid for. And by the way, the next time I send an audience research report around, you'd all better read it, or I'll sack the fucking lot of you. Is that clear?
: [flipping through the newspaper
] You know, Barbara, the Arabs have decided to jack up the price of oil another 20%... uh, the CIA has been caught opening Senator Humphrey's mail... there's a civil war in Angola... another one in Beirut... the, uh, New York City's still facing default... they finally caught up with Patricia Hearst... and the whole front page of the "Daily News" is Howard Beale.
: Well Max, here we are: Middle-aged man reaffirming his middle-aged manhood, and a terrified young woman with a father complex. What sort of script do you think we can make out of this?
[immediately after making love with Max
] Diana Christensen
: What's really bugging me now is my daytime programming. NBC's got a lock on daytime - lousy game shows - and I'd like to bust them. I'm thinking of doing a homosexual soap opera, "The Dykes": The heart-rending saga about a woman hopelessly in love with her husband's mistress.
: [begins passionately making out with Max
] NBC's offering 2.2 and a half mill per
] Diana Christensen
: per package of five James Bond movies, and I think I'm going to steal them for 3.5
] Diana Christensen
: for their third run.
: I was married for four years, and pretended to be happy; and I had six years of analysis, and pretended to be sane. My husband ran off with his boyfriend, and I had an affair with my analyst, who told me I was the worst lay he'd ever had. I can't tell you how many men have told me what a lousy lay I am. I apparently have a masculine temperament. I arouse quickly, consummate prematurely, and can't wait to get my clothes back on and get out of that bedroom. I seem to be inept at everything except my work. I'm goddamn good at my work and so I confine myself to that. All I want out of life is a 30 share and a 20 rating.
: I watched your 6 o'clock news today; it's straight tabloid. You had a minute and a half of that lady riding a bike naked in Central Park; on the other hand, you had less than a minute of hard national and international news. It was all sex, scandal, brutal crime, sports, children with incurable diseases, and lost puppies. So, I don't think I'll listen to any protestations of high standards of journalism when you're right down on the streets soliciting audiences like the rest of us. Look, all I'm saying is if you're going to hustle, at least do it right.
: I'm sorry for all those things I said to you last night. You're not the worst fuck I ever had. Believe me, I've had worse. You don't puff or snorkel and make death-like rattles. As a matter of fact, you're rather serene in the sack. Max Schumacher
: Why is it that a woman always thinks that the most savage thing she can say to a man is to impugn his cocksmanship. Diana Christensen
: I'm sorry I impugned your cocksmanship. Max Schumacher
: I gave up comparing genitals back in the schoolyard.
: Well, the issue is: Shall we kill Howard Beale, or not? I'd like to get some more opinions on that. Diana Christensen
: I don't see we have any options, Frank. Let's kill the son-of-a-bitch.
] Son of a bitch. We've struck the motherlode.
: Look, we've got a bunch of hobgoblin radicals called the Ecumenical Liberation Army who go around taking home movies of themselves robbing banks. Now, maybe they'll take movies of themselves kidnapping heiresses, hijacking 747s, bombing bridges, assassinating ambassadors. We'd open each week's segment with their authentic footage, hire a couple of writers to write a story behind that footage, and we've got ourselves a series.
: Mr. Jensen is unhappy with Howard Beale and wants him discontinued. Diana Christensen
: He may be unhappy, but he isn't stupid enough to withdraw the number one show on television out of pique. Frank Hackett
: Two billion dollars is not pique! That's the Wrath of God! And the Wrath of God wants Howard Beale fired.
: Let's stop kidding ourselves. Full-fledged messiahs don't come in bunches.
: [Discussing Beale's poor ratings
] Where's that put us, Diana? Diana Christensen
: That puts us in the shithouse. That's where that puts us.
: The next time I send out a marketing analysis you all better read it or I'll sack the fucking lot of you.