Taxi S3E17 Script

Bobby and the Critic (1981)

( Theme music playing )

Here it is. Here it is.

What? What?

"Charles Darwin Tonight, starring Bobby Wheeler."

We made enough money in the first two weeks of the show to run an ad in the paper.

Ooh! Let me see!

"A one-man show based on the life of Charles Darwin."

When I first read the script, I said to myself, "There's something about this play that I would go see."


Me, alone on stage for 90 minutes.

LOUIE: 90 minutes?!

I didn't know ham could keep that long under hot lights.

Food's here, guys. Hey, hey!

Great! We're starving!

All right!

I could use some of that stuff.

Yeah. Hey, you know what?


They gave us extra contest coupons.

What contest is that? BOBBY: Hey!

Oh, they give you a coupon with every purchase.

If you get two coupons that match, you get the prize that's in 'em.

Come on, tell me something.

Have you ever met, or do you know, anybody who's ever won one of those contests?

I do.


Me. I have won.

I have a match.

( All cheering )

I won a complete men's wardrobe.

Hey, congratulations, Latka.

Ooh! Is that the first time you've ever won anything?

No. Once, in my country, one year, I won the prize in the lottery.

Oh, yeah? What'd you win... Money, Latka?

No, no. A fly swatter.

That's some lottery.

That doesn't sound like much of a prize, Latka.

No, he was a good worker and a very nice man.

Anyway, I got to go...

I got to go and pick up my new threads.

See you, Latka.

( Mutters ): I don't believe this.

Did anybody happen to read John Bowman's review on Anouilh's Thieves' Carnival in this morning's paper?

No, I didn't.

Did you read the story... about the woman... who got her cat's head stuck in her mouth?

No, Jim, I missed that one.


( clears throat ) let me find it for you.

L-Let me do mine first, okay?

John Bowman is one of the biggest critics in New York City, and one of the worst, if you ask me.

I mean, he hates everything he sees.

I mean, the man does not critique, he humiliates.

He's not a reviewer, he's an assassin.

Here, here, here, look, look. Read this.

Read it for yourself.

"A 30-millimeter cannon

"fired at the stage during production could not hit anything worth saving."

Hey, I'd like to see that.

What time do they shoot off the cannon?

"Forgettable as all the performances may be, "that of Patty Ganzel seems to vanish before your eyes.

"Not only is her acting suspect, "but her appearance is so horrifying

"that it should henceforth be a felony to yell 'Patty Ganzel' in a crowded theater."

Ooh! Ouch! Ow!

That is not a nice review.

This is not a nice man.

But the terrible part is, is he has power.

Hey, I saw this play, and it wasn't that bad.

I mean, it needed work, but it didn't need to be killed and I know Patty, and she doesn't deserve this.

But, Bobby, he's a critic, so, uh, so what can you do?

I tell you exactly what I can do.

I can write this guy a letter and tell him what I think of him as a critic and as a human being.

All right, Bobby.

You know, better yet, I'm going to write the newspaper, so everybody can read it!

Ooh! Good idea! I'm gonna get you some paper.

Oh, good. Okay. All right.

Oh, boy, I'm gonna tell 'em exactly...

Bobby, you really serious about this thing?

You bet I am.

Well, then open up on him, Bob.

No, no, you see, Tony, I have to handle this with some finesse.

You see, I don't want to sink to his level.

Uh, Bobby?


"Slime wad" is two words.

Oh. Thanks.

My pleasure.

Okay, now. "Your reviews are..."

Listen, I really need some, like, strong adjectives.

Uh, how about "reprehensible"?

Oh, that's good.




Not as close.



TONY: Good, good, yeah.


Signed, "Robert L. Wheeler, an actor."

Boy, I'd hate to get that letter.

That is very strong.

Yes, it is, and it's a very angry letter to a very powerful man, Bob.

Yes, and he is really gonna know who you are after he gets this letter.

I don't think I need "hate" in this sentence.

Bobby, Bobby, don't change nothing, man.

It's perfect.

This guy will go crazy when he gets that letter.

You know, you're right.

I can't send this.

What are you doing?

Ah... What are you doing?

I can't send this, Tony.

Bowman will have me for breakfast.

Maybe someday, when I'm a big star...

You know, then he can't hurt me...

But right now, I'm a struggling young actor and I got to protect myself.

LOUIE: Wheeler.

Let's drive.

I think you did the smart thing, Bob.

I think you chickened out, Bob.

Tony, I didn't chicken out.

That letter could have cost me my career.

ALEX: You did a smart thing, Bob. Iggy?


Minus ten and counting.

I can't do this.

It could ruin his career.


Stop that!

What are you doing?

What are you dressed like that for?

I won it in the hamburger contest.

Get those things off.


Hey, has anybody seen today's paper yet?

No. No, I didn't.

Did the lady get the cat's head out of her mouth?

Come on, Jim, who cares about that?

Well, I know a cat and a lady who care plenty.

Come on, what's in the paper?

Look at that, it's Bobby's letter, he sent it in...

The one about John Bowman.

All right, Bobby. He sent the letter.

He must have changed his mind.

Yeah, it took a lot of courage for him to send that one in.

Yeah, a whole lot of courage.

An incredible amount of courage.

It wasn't Bobby.

Nah, not him.

No. Somebody must have gone through the trash can and, uh, sent the letter to the paper without Bobby knowing about it.

Ah, who could be so rotten?

( Bell dings )

Louie, how could you?

Do you realize this could cost Bobby his career?

Louie, could I talk to you for a minute?

I kinda figured you'd wanna.

( Cackling )

I kind of figured you'd do that, so I came prepared to get into that cage.

He's going to get in the cage...

This fortress... He's going to get in.

No way.

This is hermetically sealed, this cage.

All right.

All right, now, don't come near me.

I mean it.

I'm going to get him this time!

Nobody... nothing's gonna stop me!

Hey, Bobby, it's your agent.

My agent's calling me?!

Okay, okay, Louie, you stay right there.

Alex, come over here.

Take this.

Make sure he doesn't slither out of there.

ALEX: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Louie, you know, I've had it.

You've had enough.

You've really done it this time.

When you sent that letter in, you went one step too far.

Here, Bob.


Yeah, hi.

Listen, uh, about that letter.

It was a big mist... Real... Really?!

Hey, well, that's really nice of you to say.

That's, uh...

Well, yeah, I guess it did take a little courage to send it but I've had that guy up to here, you know what I mean?

And you know what?

I'm going to send him another one!

Yeah! Yeah!

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Talk to you again sometime.

That was my agent.

He called me.

He liked the letter that I wrote to John Bowman.


That's not the only call you got this morning, Bob.

What are you talking about?

I'm afraid my little scheme backfired on me.

I've been taking messages for you all morning...

All of them from people congratulating you on the stand you made.


Yep. Here's one from your union president.

"Tell him we're proud of him."

Here's another one...

"a credit to our profession."

Here's one from a repertory company.

"We wish we had the guts to do it."

Look at that.


There's some really big names here.

Oh, wow!

Now I'm a hero and great-looking.

I'm proud of you, Bobby.

You pounded that guy. Oh!

And that is not all.

What, what, what?

I got one here from your producer, who said to tell you that because of your letter and the attention that it's drawn, ticket sales have gone crazy.

All right!

( Whooping )

Hey, I may even get paid this week.

ALEX: It paid off this time, eh?

And... What?

I saved the best for last.


Your producer also told me to tell you that a certain very special VIP called personally and asked for tickets for your show for tonight.

To see me?

Especially to see you.

Ooh! Who is it?


Oh, come on, Louie, I can't guess.

Is it somebody, like, real big?

I mean, come on, give me a hint.

Big name. Big name, Bob.

Oh, come on.


Please, please, tell me, tell me.

No, no, no, no, you gotta guess.

No, no, no... no, you gotta guess.

No! All right, I'll give you hints.

Oh, oh, good, good, good, good.

Okay, all right, listen.

Are you ready? Yeah. Yah-huh.



Oh, uh, two words.

Two, uh, names.

Uh, first name.


Uh, rest rooms.

Uh... From Here To Eternity.

Jim, Jim... shh, shh, shh.

Wait. Wait.



All right!

Uh, second name.



Oh, oh... Robin Hood.

Uh, The Magnificent Seven.

Jim, Jim, shh. Wait.

Uh, okay. Uh, John. John.

John Archer. John Shooter.

John... Bowman.

BOBBY: Bowman! Right!

John Bowman!

John Bowman the critic is coming to see me?

Oh, it's John Bowman!

John Bowman...

The guy I insulted is coming to review me and rip me limb to limb.

Oh, God. Bing.

For my own part, I'd as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey who braved his most dreaded enemy to save the life of his keeper, as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, practices infanticide with no remorse, knows no decency... and is haunted by the grossest superstitions.

( Crowd cheering )

Coffee will be served during the intermission in the lobby.

Hey, Bob, that was... A disaster.

No, Bobby.

The play stinks.

I stink.

Oh, come on, Bob.

Oh, no, oh, Bowman hates it.

Bowman hates it, and I bet you he is loving hating it, too.


That was great.

That was just great.

You know, this is the first time I ever see it and I don't know why everybody say it is too long and boring.

You know, I enjoyed it and to me, I think it was just right.

Well, there's a second act coming up, Latka.

Not for me, there isn't.

Eh, good-bye. Good-bye.

Bobby... it's going great...

Better than the last time.

Jim laughed through the whole first act.

Look, guys, I know what you're doing and I really appreciate it but I know a bomb when I've been hit by one.

Ha! You crazy guy.

Charles Darwin, eh?

( Guffawing )


Thanks, Jim. I'm glad you liked it.

Hey, listen, if you guys don't mind, I got to get myself together, here.

Oh, yeah.

I age 40 years in this thing.

Yeah, I guess it feels that way, huh?

No, Darwin is 40 years older in Act Two.

Oh, oh, I'm sorry. Yeah.

Let's, um... we better get outta here. Come on.

They're gonna start the second act.

Come on, let's get to our seats.

Just a sec.

Uh, Bobby?


Can I borrow your comb?


Uh, Jim, why don't you just keep it?



Okay, Bob.



This is the worst night of my entire life.

Oh, no, Bob. Bob.

You're doing great.

Oh, yeah. Sure.

( Sighs )

( Grunts )

( Audience applauding )

We will now discuss, in further detail, the struggle for existence.

( Jim laughing hysterically )

You know, you were very, very good tonight.

No, I wasn't, Elaine.

I stunk tonight.

Oh, come on, Bob. Stop being so hard on yourself.

Hey, Bobby, I think you were great.

I mean, in that second act, you were sweating like a pig.

I've never, never, never seen anybody sweat like that.

That's what I call talent.

Well, unfortunately, the only thing that matters is what Bowman thinks and he's going to rip me to shreds.

ALEX: Aw, come on.

Oh, my God.

John Bowman just walked in the door.

Don't look.


Why would he be here?

Well, maybe he's come to kill me with his bare hands.

( low, indistinct speaking )

Mr. Wheeler?

Uh, yes.

They told me at the theater I could find you here.

My name is John Bowman or, as you referred to me in your letter:

"The carbuncle on the butt of the American theater."

Mr. Carbuncle?

My name's Jim Ignatowski.

Could I speak to you for a moment in private?


Will you all excuse us for a couple of minutes?

Right this way, bunky.

Jim! Jim, Jim, Jim, he's talking to me.

Oh. Gee, I feel kind of silly.

Is he the playwright?

Right over here.

To be perfectly honest, Mr. Wheeler, I went to the theater tonight, expecting... and hoping... To hate everything I saw.

I was disappointed.

You mean you liked the play?

Are you insane?

That play is an excellent argument for dying young.

Then what did you like about it?

I thought your performance was engaging and energetic... and, uh, courageous.

Here. It's all here in my review.

"One of the most promising young actors"

"to emerge this season..."

"Triumphs over impossible material..."

"He made me feel optimistic about off-off-Broadway theater again."

Mr. Bowman... this is amazing.

I have to apologize for everything that I said in that letter.

For you to come here and show me this... well, uh, I'm overwhelmed.

And people are going to know that you have a lot of integrity when this comes out in the newspaper in the morning.

Well, too bad it's not going to come out in the newspaper.

What-what-what... what are you doing?

This is what you should have done with your letter.

You see, Mr. Wheeler, a bad review could make you a hero.

A good review could make you a star.

No review will keep you anonymous and you can keep on acting in church basements and supermarket openings, and your own mirror for the rest of your life.

Well, I enjoyed seeing you, Mr. Wheeler.

Ah, I've had a wonderful evening.

Hold it. Hold it. Now... you mean you came here to show me this good review just to tear it up in my face?

Well, that's the cruelest thing I've ever seen.

Thank you.

BOBBY: Please, reconsider.

I'll tape it back together.

What am I doing?

I'm on my knees, here on the floor, groveling in dirt and beer, and for what?

Because of what you think of me?

Well, that's crazy.

The only thing that matters is what I thought of my performance tonight.

( Grumbles )

Right! Right on, Bob!

( All talking )

Hey! That's the Bobby of old, baby!

Bobby, the only thing that matters is your opinion.

Right, and you thought you stunk!

( Theme music playing )

WOMAN: Night, Mr. Walters.

( Grunts )