Friday, December 14, 2012

Case Study No. 0690: Prudence Goddard

Newhart 163 "Poetry and Pastries"
Dick is chosen to judge the annual Poetry and Pastry contest. Miss Goddard, the reigning champion, uses her feminine wiles to try to influence the judging. Michael throws an all-male baby shower
Tags: Newhart Stratford Inn Vermont
Added: 4 months ago
From: PumpkinGoo
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[Dick and Joanna find Michael on the couch, moping about how Stephanie gets to have a baby shower but he gets nothing]
JOANNA: Michael, you know showers are for women only.
MICHAEL: So are Sweet Sixteen parties, but it didn't stop me from having one!
DICK: Michael, wadda you want us to do, th-throw a shower for you?
[he suddenly springs up, very excited]
MICHAEL: Would you? Oh, would you? Could you, could you?!
DICK: [pause] No!
MICHAEL: Oh, thanks a lot, Dick. Set me up just to knock me down ...
JOANNA: Well, y'know, why shouldn't the father-to-be have a party? It might be fun, I could make my famous potato sal--
MICHAEL: Uh, ix-nay, Misses Ick-Day ... There'll be no skirts at this soiree, right Dick?
DICK: [pause] Yeah, y'know, let a woman into a baby shower and the next thing y'know, they're crashing our gymnastics classes.
MICHAEL: So true! Okay, let's divvy it up ... I'll do the guest list and you provide the rest, and serve whatever you like. Y'know, quiche, finger sandwiches.
DICK: Mmm, artichoke hearts in a creamy vinagrette?
[even though Dick is mocking him, Michael smiles]
MICHAEL: You sly dog, you've thrown one'a these before!
[he laughs]
MICHAEL: Well, adios!
[as he leaves, Prudence Goddard (the overweight female librarian) walks into the inn]
MICHAEL: I'm having a shower!
PRUDENCE: So? I've had four today, and I still feel dirty ...
[she walks over to Dick and Joanna, holding a letter]
PRUDENCE: Hello, Dick. Joanna.
DICK: Miss Goddard.
PRUDENCE: As you know, I wear two hats ... The hat of head librarian, and the toque of president of the local pastry club. Today I'm in the latter guise to extend a rare honor.
[she hands him the letter]
DICK: [reading] "The pastry club proudly presents an evening of poetry ... and pasties."
[she angrily grabs the letter]
PRUDENCE: That can't be right, that should say "pastries!"
DICK: Either way, it sounds like a fun evening ...
JOANNA: You said something about an honor?
PRUDENCE: Well, as you know, every year the poetry competition is judged by Talcott Harding.
[Joanna turns to her husband]
JOANNA: Honey, you've seen Talcott. You know, that sweet little old man with the long white hair ...
DICK: Oh yeah, I-I met him at the market once. He, he bit me when I took the last bottle of herbal conditioner.
PRUDENCE: Ordinarily, Talcott would jump at the chance to judge the contest again ...
DICK: What-what's stopping him from jumping?
PRUDENCE: He's dead.
DICK: That ... that would make it dicey.
JOANNA: So who'll be judging this year?
PRUDENCE: Dick, we feel the next logical choice would be you.
DICK: No, no thanks. I ... I hate poetry.
PRUDENCE: Well, so did Talcott Harding, but he showed up!
DICK: Look, I-I can't tell a good poem from a bad one.
PRUDENCE: Oh, you won't have to, I win every year.
DICK: Well, that'll certainly make it easier ...
PRUDENCE: Then you'll do it?
DICK: No, l-like I said--
[she smiles and starts walking off]
[before she leaves, she turns towards Joanna]
PRUDENCE: I hope that we won't have another unattractive display of tears when you lose again this year.
[she smiles and walks off]
PRUDENCE: Well, see you Saturday!
[she exits, as Joanna smiles and walks up to Dick]
JOANNA: Gee honey, if I win this year, I hope people won't think you gave me preferential treatment ...
[Dick doesn't even look up from the ledger he's writing in]
DICK: Well, you ... you won't be winning.
[her face falls]
JOANNA: Why not? Don't you think my poems are good enough?
DICK: "Good" is, y'know, such a ... subjective term. Uh, y'know, while most people like what William Shakespeare wrote, I'm sure there are some people that, y'know, that don't.
JOANNA: So you're saying that even though you don't care for my poetry, some people might.
DICK: [pause] Yeah, alright.
JOANNA: How kind and sensitive and compassionate you are to tell me my poems are stupid!
[she storms upstairs]
DICK: See, "stupid" is uh ... I mean, y'know, it's such a subjective term.


[Joanna is writing something down, as George the handyman walks in]
GEORGE: Morning, Joanna. If you're doing the crossword, I can help you with "Fiddler on the Blank."
[he points up at the ceiling]
JOANNA: Actually George, I'm working on a poem.
GEORGE: Well, I can't help you with that ... but if you want, I could hot-glue the tassles on your pasties.
JOANNA: George, they're pastries ... besides, I'm not entering this year.
GEORGE: Why not? Now that Talcott Harding's passed away, Miss Goddard isn't a shoe-in anymore ... Unless she's carrying on with the new judge.
JOANNA: Dick is the new judge.
GEORGE: And he uses the same herbal conditioner Talcott used, the kind that gets Miss Goddard all hotted up!
[Joanna sighs, as George looks over her shoulder at the poem]
GEORGE: "The Big Hurt" ... Gee, I tried to write a poem once called "The Big Hurt," did you drop an engine block on your foot too?
JOANNA: This isn't about a physical hurt, it's about my personal feelings.
GEORGE: Can I read it?
JOANNA: Well, it's not really polished yet.
[she hands the piece of paper to George]
JOANNA: I mean, the imagery might be a little off. Also, the rhymes are a bit forced ...
GEORGE: It's beautiful!
JOANNA: I thought so too!
GEORGE: This is even better than that poem Miss Goddard wrote last year, "Ode to a Glistening Plowman" ... You've got to enter this poem!
JOANNA: With Dick judging, it'd be like spitting in the wind.
GEORGE: But this should be shared with the world, and if it means taking a faceful of spit, I'm your man!


["An Evening of Poetry and Pastries" is being held inside the public library, as Dick stands behind a podium at the front of the room]
DICK: Alright, our last contestant is Miss Goddard. Miss Goddard?
[she gets up]
PRUDENCE: Thank you, Judge Loudon ... and might I add that your hair smells particularly herbal this evening.
[she leans up against the nearby bookshelf in a seductive pose]
DICK: Well, I ... wondered why you were sniffing me before.
PRUDENCE: "The Entwining", by Prudence Goddard ...
[she clears her throat as Dick sits down in a nearby chair, then she begins reading]
PRUDENCE: "Weaving and churning and heaving, they went until they were spent and filled with the scent of passion and moisture and fear!"
[she rips off the frilled scarf around her neck and hangs her head, as Dick begins to stand up (assuming her poem is finished)]
PRUDENCE: "Swooning and sighing and crooning, they lay for most of the day. They rolled in the hay, while he swore that he'd never deceive her."
[everyone in the audience gets very uncomfortable, as George gets up to turn on the nearby fan]
PRUDENCE: "Groaning and gasping and moaning, they shrieked until their loins creaked, the two lovers peaked. How ironic that soon he would leave her."
[she gives a dirty look to Art Rusnak sitting in the audience (who fidgets nervously in his chair), as the audience gives a polite round of applause, while Dick stands up and turns off the fan]
DICK: Thank you, thank you Miss Goddard.
[George leans over and whispers to Joanna]
GEORGE: Well, we've got a better idea of what killed Talcott Harding ...
DICK: Well I think, uh, I think that's about all we have. I know ... I know I've heard enough. Um--
[George stands up]
GEORGE: Wait Dick, I've got one.
[Jim Dixon leans over to his friend Chester Wanamaker]
JIM: I hope it's a haiku, I'm hungry.
[Dick sits back down, as George begins reading]
GEORGE: "The Big Hurt ... My hurt comes from a flame no one can see. It's seared away the hope inside of me. Time heals most things. I'll scar where I've been burned, but what I've lost can never be returned."
[he sits back down, as the audience (stunned at how good the poem is) applauds]
DICK: George, I-I had, I had no idea you were so ... you were so profound.
GEORGE: Well, Joanna's the profound one, she wrote this poem.
[the audience bursts out laughing, as Prudence stands up]
PRUDENCE: Profound? This is the woman who holds the town record for the number of times she's checked out "Sixty Days to a Tighter Tummy!"
[she laughs]
JIM: I thought I held that record ...
JOANNA: I wrote that poem! Doesn't anyone believe me?
[the audience responds in the negative]


[after everyone (including her own husband) admits doubt as to whether Joanna could really be the author of the poem, she explodes at them]
JOANNA: I refuse to be degraded by some small-minded people who get some perverse joy in passing judgment just so they can fill up their own empty lives!
JIM: [pause] Well, I don't like it, it doesn't even rhyme.
JOANNA: It's not a poem! It's what I'm feeling ... Angry, hurt. Like what I felt when I wrote that poem.
[she sits back down]
DICK: Oh, so all that burning and searing was because of our ... our little tiff.
JIM: Tiff? Sounds like you were branding her!
[Prudence suddenly gets a wicked smile on her face and begins writing something down]
PRUDENCE: Oh, I feel another poem coming on!
DICK: So, the reason that-that your poem was good was ... well, be-because of me.
JIM: Get a load'a this guy, first he humiliates his wife and now he's trying to take credit for her beautiful poetry!
PASTRY CLUB MEMBER: What a disgrace!
CHESTER: A damn disgrace!
ART: Damn damn disgrace!
[the audience murmurs angrily, while Prudence taps George on the shoulder and hands him a piece of paper]
PRUDENCE: Here ... a little bedtime reading.
[George smiles and slyly places the paper in his pocket]
CHESTER: Dick, make a decision! Who's the winner?
DICK: Well, it's a ... it's a tough call, but the-the winner is my-my lovely and talented wife Joanna.
[the audience applauds, as Joanna jumps up and screams in delight]
JOANNA: Oh, I can't believe it! After all these years of never even coming close, the one year my husband is the judge is the year that I finally win this prestigious honor, and I am just about the happiest--
DICK: Jo-Joanna ... you're babbling.
JOANNA: [quietly] Girl in the world.
[she sits back down]
DICK: Well, that uh ... that puts an end to our--
PRUDENCE: Oh, not so fast! You still have to judge the pastry competition!
DICK: The ... the pastry competition?
CHESTER: Poetry counts for ten percent, pastry for ninety!
JIM: It's a biathlon!
[everyone gets up and heads for the dessert table]
DICK: You mean, you mean all this-this poetry crap was just a ... a warm-up for a pastry competition?
JOANNA: Well, why do you think the pastry club hosts it?
[Prudence walks up behind Dick and whispers seductively to him]
PRUDENCE: Wait until you sink your teeth into my hot sticky buns!
[she walks away]
JOANNA: Don't listen to her, I made my cranberry crisp!
DICK: Wh-What's that?
JOANNA: Dick, it's your favorite! You know how much you love my cranberry crisp, with a big cup of coffee!
[she walks away, as Dick mumbles to himself]
DICK: How else am I gonna wash it down?



"Newhart" (Season 8, Episode 3)
Poetry and Pastries (2 Oct. 1989)

When Dick is named the judge of the local poetry and pastry contest, Joanna is convinced she will win until Dick belittles her ability as a poet.

Bob Newhart ... Dick Loudon
Mary Frann ... Joanna Loudon
Kathy Kinney ... Miss Prudence Goddard



LOUDON, Richard "Dick" & Joanna
c/o The Stratford Inn
28 Westbrook Road
Just off Route #22
Norwich [or River City], Vermont.

Dick is a "How-To" book writer. Joanna [nee McKenna] is a real estate agent. Together, they run the Stratford Inn, built in 1774. Room rates range from $35 to $55 a night. In revolutionary times, the Inn was a brothel.

The Inn's support staff includes their attractive maid, Leslie Vanderkellen [replaced by her spoiled sister, Stephanie] and George Utley, their droll handyman [there's been an Utley at the Stratford for generations].

Some of Dick's "How-To" books are So You Wanna Plant Plums (Dick's first book), Building Your Own Patio Cover, How To Make Your Dream Bathroom, Installation & Care Of Your Low-Maintenance Lawn Sprinkler, Let's Build a Barbecue, Pillow Talk (how to make pillows) and Shelf Help (how to build shelves).

Dick's first novel was called Murder at the Stratley. On page 6 of the novel, the innkeeper's wife, Johanna (Joanna with an "H") is bludgeoned to death with a typewriter, dismembered and then dumped in a lake. All the novel's characters were poorly veiled references to everyone in the author's small Vermont town, despite the author's insistence that nobody in town appeared in the book. Because the novel featured a lusty, man-hungry librarian, Miss Prudence Goddard, the local town librarian prominently placed Murder at the Stratley in the library's glass display case under the big lamp. Dick immodestly called his mystery novel "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

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