INTERIOR: George's Suite at the Maritime Hotel – Early Evening
I'm feeling rather sluggish and frightened today, so I don't know how this blog will go. It's a beautiful fall day out and I have every reason to be in fine spirits - Abraham Lincoln famously said that people are as happy as they want to be and I agree - but I'm low today and maybe there's no fighting it.
Anyway, about this episode: I'm quite proud, I have to say, of this opening scene. I wanted George to really confront his mortality, in response to his diagnosis of prostate cancer, and Ted Danson's performance is really something. It felt risky to have George go so 'dark,' especially in a comedy, but Ted and Jason pull off this scene with both pathos and comedy, though, naturally, my take on such things is biased.
I have George say that he's been 'living like a demented god,' because sometimes my behavior can be out of control, and I wrote that line in my journal and then gave it to the George character. I also have him reference Joan Didion's book 'The Year of Magical Thinking,' because I was very moved by it, and all that George says in this exchange with Jonathan reflects part of my thinking on death. I can't have him espouse all my ideas on the subject - this is a comedy, not a George Bernard Shaw play - but I was glad to get across a few of these ideas.
I did have George bring up the dandelion which turns into a tiger's paw to try to lighten things up, and also because that's a vision I had one time when I overdid it in the steam room of the Russian Baths in the East Village. At the time, after I left the steam room, I recorded that image in my little notebook and I thought it showed the connection between all living things - that we all share some essential design and connection, which is not a new theory of course, but I appreciated the visual poetry of linking something so delicate as a dandelion to its distant genetic cousin the tiger's paw, and I was also pleased by the word-play of a dandelion and tiger.