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Spelling Bee/Transcript

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Credits

Cast

Arnold,
Seymour Stump,
contestant
Toran Caudell
Gerald,
contestant
Jamil W. Smith
Helga,
contestant
Francesca Marie Smith
Grandpa Dan Castellaneta
Grandma,
Miss Slovak
Tress MacNeille
Big Bob Pataki Maurice LaMarche
Spelling Bee moderator Caroline Aaron
Seymour's mother Joey Paul (she's also the show's casting director)
Singer on Big Bob's commercial Angie Jaree

Minor note: During the spelling bits, a space between two letters indicates a brief pause between those two letters.

Scene 1

(Credits over shot of PS 118)

Slovak

Arnold?

(In the classroom, Arnold and Helga are at two podia, with Slovak at the teachers' table)

Slovak

Arnold! ... Arnold!

Arnold

Oh sorry. What was the word again?

(The class laughs)

Slovak

(sigh) "Nuclear".

Arnold

Oh yeah. "Nuclear". N-u-c l-e a-r.

Slovak

Right! (as the class cheers) That means you and Helga are the best spellers in school! The citywide spelling bee is on Saturday and there's a $500 prize, so good luck to you two! And Helga, don't spend all that money in one place.

Helga

I won't Ms. Slovak. I'll win, just like I'm supposed to.

Slovak

Good girl. One last announcement: They're conducting some very dangerous asbestos tests this weekend. So when you come to class on Monday, it's very, very important (the students put their books under their desks at this point) that you all re...

(The bell rings, and the teacher rushes out of the classroom. Soon the others are getting out as well)

Arnold

Good luck tomorrow Helga.

Helga

Yeah right, just get ready to lose your butt.

(By now all the other students have left and Helga's alone in the classroom, so it's Helga soliloquy time. Cue "soliloquy" music)

Helga

If only my love could melt the torment of my soul...

(OK, enough soliloquy. Cut over to Gerald and Arnold walking)

Scene 2

Gerald

I'm tellin' you Arnold, you got it made! A few years on the spelling bee circuit at 500 a pop, and you can retire by age 14!

Arnold

You kidding? Helga's gonna cream me!

Gerald

Think of what you can get with that 500 bucks.

Arnold (grinning large as he sees a keyboard on sale at a music store)

Tonemaster 2000. With 5 octaves, 800 MB music storage. And, over 250 pre-programmed instruments.

Gerald

It's only 499.95. You'll even have change left over.

Arnold

You're right Gerald, I'm gonna win that spelling bee no matter what.

Gerald

Now you're talkin', man.

Scene 3

(By now, Helga has left school, and is kicking a can along the way)

Helga

This is terrible: if I win, I lose; if I lose, I lose! I should be happy but I'm not! There's nobody on the planet with worse luck than me! (sighs)

(The can she kicked jams the wheel in Eugene's bike, causing him to lose control and fly into a garden filled with pit bulls, as indicated with a sign saying "Beware: Pit Bulls". OK, now Gerald and Arnold have reached The Sunset Arms, so it's time for Arnold to leave Gerald)

Scene 4

Arnold

Thanks for the pep talk. You'll be there for me right Gerald?

Gerald

What are you crazy? And blow the whole Saturday? You'll be fine. Just remember: "I before E except after C".

Arnold

Yeah. Right. (repeatedly says that on his way to his room)

Scene 5

(We pan towards the Patakis house as we hear, then see, an ad for Big Bob's Beepers. The jingle is over a somewhat extravagant production)

Singer on ad

"It's Big Bob's Beepers / He's the King / It's Big Bob's Beepers / Ching-ching-ching! (beeper noise) Big Bob's Beepers!"

(Switch to TV view)

Big Bob

I'm Big Bob Pataki, the beeper king. Remember: We'll beat any advertised price (accompanied with some babes scissoring a dollar sign), unless it's lower. (Bob sitting on bull) Come on down to our beeper emporium this Saturday (holding up pig) for our annual spelling bee sale : if my daughter Helga doesn't win the contest, you get your first beeper free! And remember:

Singer on ad

(beeper noise) "Big Bob's Beepers!"

(Big Bob turns off the TV)

Big Bob

Heh, heh, heh, I love that ad. Alright, back to work, the next word is "clavichord".

(Helga is sitting on a chair over a dictionary with spotlights shining at her)

Helga

Please dad, I'm so tired...

Big Bob

Hey, heyheyheyhey, your sister Olga could spell that word when she was five. And what are you, six, seven?

Helga

Nine, daddy.

Big Bob

Whatever. Point is you're a Pataki and Patakis are winners, right?

Helga

Yes, dad.

Big Bob

I remember the first time your sister Olga won the City Spelling Bee. It was the greatest moment of her life. She was so happy. (looking at a photo of the big win) I'll never forget when she got that final word: "qualm" (kwawm). Q-u-a-LLLLL-m, qualm. (Helga sighs) The "l" was practically silent, but she nailed it, she nailed that "l"!...

Helga

Please dad, I've heard this story a million times.

Big Bob

You know why? Because it was a Pataki moment, that's why. (shows Helga some trophies) She won that trophy, and she won another, and another, (pull back to reveal... well, a lot of trophies!) and soon this WHOLE ROOM was full of trophies! But I saved a spot for you, right there. (points to indistinct empty spot on a cabinet) Behind that little one in the back row. See it?

Helga (squinting)

Uh, sort of.

Big Bob

Well, it's there, and all you gotta do is win. You hear me? Win. Win. Winnn!!

Helga

(sighs) OK dad, I'll do my best. (cut to outside) Clavichord, c-l-a-v i-c-h o-r-d. Clavichord.

Scene 6

(Cut over to the Arms, where Arnold, over a huge dictionary, has his hands over his eyes, while he's practicing for the bee)

Arnold

Phlegm. P-h-l e... uh....

Grandpa (coming in with cookies and milk)

...g-m, phlegm. When you get to be my age, that's a word you use a lot. Milk and cookies?

Arnold

No thanks, grandpa.

Grandpa

Hey, what's bugging you short man?

Arnold

I dunno grandpa, it's just.... I don't think I have a chance to win this thing tomorrow.

Grandpa

Oh ho ho, now listen boy. You know that your grandma and me will be proud of you no matter how good you do. you don't have to prove anything to us.

Arnold

I know...

Grandpa

You're just as smart as any kid there. The only thing that can beat ya is your attitude.

Arnold

You're right grandpa. All I have to do is think positive. Here (hands Grandpa the dictionary), ask me a word, any word.

Grandpa

Uh, OK, here's one. Onomatopoeia (ah nah motto PEE a).

(Guitar string break noise... Arnold slumps to the table and sighs)

Grandpa

Like I said Arnold, we'll be proud of you no matter what.

Scene 7

(Now we fade out to the City Auditorium with a banner saying "Welcome Speelers!" in front. It's the day of the contest, and Arnold is at the bee with his grandparents)

Arnold (seeing all his competition)

I just hope I don't embarrass myself...

Gerald (in another chair)

Don't worry, you won't.

Arnold

Gerald, you came!

Gerald

Sure, how could I miss your big day?

Arnold

You're a pal...

(Arnold and Gerald do that hand thing they do)

Gerald (whispers)

So where's the snack bar?

(Backstage, it's Helga and Big Bob's pep talk)

Big Bob

Now remember pumpkin, all these kids have studied and worked real hard day and night just to get this far. (changing tone) But they're all suckers and saps, that trophy belongs to us!

Helga

I know, dad.

Big Bob

Oh, and one other thing. We got beepers riding on this, so where you're up there, wear this around your neck (holds out a medal). Okay?

Helga

But dad, this is Olga's medal. I don't need this!

Big Bob

Just wear it for good luck honey.

(When she tries it on, the medal weighs her to the ground. Now, it's time for the bee... as we pan across all 10 contestants:)

Moderator

Everyone knows the rules: Last speller standing is the city champion. (pause) And let the spelling begin.

(Some applause as the first contestant comes up)

Moderator

The first word is "glacial".

Contestant

Glacial. G-l-a-c-i-e l, glacial.

(A hornbuzz sounds)

Moderator

I'm sorry dear, that is incorrect. (some of the audience moans) You are out.

(The first contestant clearly feels dismayed as he leaves)

Big Bob (snickering)

This is going to be cake.

(Helga's word is "sanctimonious", but she's not done spelling it when we fade to Arnold spelling...)

Arnold

Philately (phil LATTLE ly): P-h-i l-a t-e l-y.

(Ding noises as the crowd cheers and the scene changes to a White-shirted Speller.)

White-Shirted Speller

Effervescent.

Rainbow shirt Speller

Spurious.

(A hornbuzz sounds as the scene changes to a Speller wearing a Green Turteneck Sweater.)

Turtleneck Speller

Agar-agar.

(Scene changes to a speller wearing glasses)

Speller with Glasses Lupin, L-u-p a-n.

(A hornbuzz is heard making the speller flinch) Big Bob

They're dropping like flies.

(A few contestants and hornbuzzes later:)

Helga

Velocipede (vel LOSS ih peed): V-e-l o-c i-p e-d... uh... e. Velocipede.

(Ding ding ding! And as the crowd goes wild...)

Big Bob

That's it, time for a little insurance policy. (leaves his seat)

Moderator

With only 3 spellers left, let's start with... Seymour Stump (indicating some kid who looks a lot like Iggy). Seymour, spell: "pasquinade" (PAHSS kwi NADE).

Gerald (whispers)

No kid can spell that...

Seymour (with hands on glasses)

Pasquinade. P-a-s q-u i-n a-d-e. Pasquinade.

(Thump sound as Gerald sits bewildered and the moderator looks at her list)

Moderator (surprised)

That is right.

(Ding noises, and the crowd goes wild... as something falls off Seymour. It's a hearing aid)

A female voice

Hello? Hello?

Seymour

Oops...

(Cue pan from the auditorium to a van outside: that voice belongs to, apparently, Seymour's mom)

Seymour's mom (flipping a dictionary and tapping into a mike)

Seymour... Seymour... you there? Did you get "pasquinade"?

(Back at the auditorium, the moderator picks up the aid. Seymour's about to get hauled off)

Moderator

Hines? (a security guard guy comes over)

Seymour (as Hines throws him over his shoulder and carries him out)

No, I'm just a pawn in a corrupt game, I'm innocent, innocent I tell ya! Innocennnnnt...

(As Seymour's being hauled off, Big Bob, now backstage, uses this distraction to "psst" Arnold over behind the curtains)

Big Bob

A lot of big words out there, it'd be pretty easy to mess one up.

Arnold

Huh?

Big Bob

Well, suppose you missed your next word, but somebody paid you the prize money anyway...

Arnold

You mean like lose on purpose?

Big Bob

Oh, it's not like that. It's more like just making sure that the kid who's the best speller really wins. C'mon, there must be something you wanna buy with those 500 smackers.

(Brief Arnold fantasy of him playing on the Tonemaster with braceface Ruth lying on it)

Big Bob

If you lose, you win... If you try to win, you'll probably lose. So get out there (hands him a check for $500) and lose like a winner.

Helga (to Arnold as he comes back out)

Hey! What were you talking to my dad about?

(Arnold has audio flashbacks to what Big Bob just said, and the Tonemaster 2000. Seeing the crowd cheer him on... he crumples up the check and throws it on the ground. Good call, Arnold... by this point, Arnold's grandma is dressed in a weird soldier outfit)

Moderator

Alright Arnold, you're next. Your word is "onomatopoeia".

(Yes, the same word Arnold had problems with last night. We intersperse with a shot of the grandparents as he spells...)

Arnold

Onomatopoeia... O-n-o m-a t-o p-o e-i-a. Onomatopoeia.

(Arnold's family goes wild, as Big Bob shows his dismay)

Grandpa

Way to spell that word!...

(Meanwhile, the crumpled check has somehow made its way to Helga)

Helga (uncrumples the wad of paper and sees the check)

I can't believe it, he didn't think I could do it on my own.

(Meanwhile, seeing this, Big Bob, who's still backstage, rips a bit of the curtain. Well, Helga, Arnold ain't willing to back off, so there's no reason you should do what you're about to do...)

Moderator

Alright Helga, you're next, and your word is: "qualm" (she pronounces it as "kwallm").

(Doink noise as Big Bob realizes the importance of this word)

Big Bob

"Qualm" — she's heard that story a million times. She's got it, she's got it!

Helga

Let's see, qualm: Q-u-a-LLL...

Big Bob (seeing that she remembered the "silent" "l")

You got it...

Helga (shrugging her hands out as if to say "I dunno")

-x?

Big Bob (over the hornbuzz)

What?!?!?

Moderator

That is incorrect. Arnold is the new champion!.

(Helga gives the hand to a somewhat bewildered Arnold as the crowd goes wild, then we fade to Arnold hauling off a VERY huge trophy outside. Meanwhile, Big Bob needs to talk with Helga)

Big Bob

How could you miss "qualm"? We just talked about it last night...

Helga

Did we?

Big Bob

Whattaya mean, "did we"? I've told that story a million times!

Helga

Oh yeah. I guess I just forgot...

(A lot of people show up)

One customer

Look, it's Big Bob!

Another customer

His kid lost! Free beepers for everybody!

Helga (over the customers' chorus of "We want beepers")

You know dad, I think you're gonna need this for good luck. (gives Big Bob Olga's medal)

Big Bob (chased by crowd of customers)

It was a joke, didn't you see the disclaimer?

(The trophy has been tied up on to the roof of Grandpa's Packard as one would tie skiing gear, that's about how huge it is)

Grandpa

You did good kiddo, I'm proud of ya.

Arnold

We all are, man. Thanks guys. It feels good to win, but I hope Helga's not taking it too hard...

(Over a radiophonic sting based on the regular end credits music, Helga is dancing and repeatedly yelling "I'm free!" in front the auditorium.)

Source

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