May 062008

So, Eme (sometimes Eme Kay), Basket of Kisses reader and frequent discussion chime-in-er, purchased herself the production script of the Wheel (how did we survive before eBay?), and was terrifically kind enough to share it with us truly. I was expecting to enjoy it for the cool factor, but what I didn’t expect was to come across lines that were cut. And I’m not talking about lines that were chopped out by AMC after the original broadcast; the version of the Wheel that I have recorded is in fact the uncut one (with the ‘deleted scene‘). No, I’m talking about lines that never made it to air. Possibly never made it to shoot.

There’s plenty in this treasure chest, but let me start with this:

(I omitted stage direction– Cooper flips through book— but left in character direction; emphasis mine for lines that were not included in the episode as it aired.)

Are those the legendary secret files of Bert Cooper?

No. I have to write a report to the board. My sister Alice is quite a business woman. It’s hard to be scrutinized by your sister.

Those reports are always the same. This year, big, next year, bigger.

Okay so can I just say, Alice? Let’s hope we get to meet her in Season Two! Fascinating premise, and this goes back to the discussions we’ve had regarding acceptable (by BoK standards) celebrity cameos.

I got a call from Abraham Menken. I’m sure you know that his daughter will be unavailable for the next three months– taking some sort of ocean voyage to Paris and whatnot.

Don tries to hide his surprise.

I hadn’t heard that.
But otherwise?


There is no otherwise. Why is this man calling me?

And I take a moment right here to appreciate the acting. And acting in general. You read the words on the page, and then you hear how much the actor breathes into it. A primitive insight, perhaps, but there you go.

I don’t know. Was he unhappy?

Roger told me you had difficulty working with this woman. As a partner, I do not expect your personal preferences to interfere with our business.

Who says they have?

It was the tone of his voice. He’s her father.

That’s it, cowboy. If I don’t see you, have a nice holiday.

Holy! So it seems that, as it was originally scripted, Cooper did not see all when it came to Rachel and Don’s affair. Which, for the record, I had never been convinced about; the words ‘personal preferences’ hearkened directly back to everyone’s take on Don’s relationship with Rachel based on their first horrible meeting in the pilot. It was Cooper’s “cowboy” that cast doubt, for me.

But I’m wondering… am I better informed now, or was the line cut for the purpose of giving the impression that Cooper knows?

This is one of those times I wish I could speak to Matthew Weiner. I am generally quite content with the nebulous nature of this show; all the gray areas and answers that Mr. Weiner may not specifically have. But this one is specific and I think there’s an answer.



  38 Responses to “The Wheel just keeps on turning!”

  1. Alice Cooper … funny.

    It seems from the deletions that the conscious effort was made to make Bert's comments malignant, rather than benign.

    The scene plays as one where Cooper's high opinion of Don begins to wane. Removing the line about "had difficulty working with this woman" makes it very clear that Cooper knows Don was fooling around with Rachel. If the line stayed in, we'd think that Cooper was at least a little in the dark.

    Glad they omited the "holiday" line … "That's it, cowboy," is the perfect was to dismiss Don in this context.

  2. One of the things I like about that scene is that Cooper is so graceful when it comes to putting people in line for the good of the company. Don is also very good at this.

    My distinct impression of Cooper is that nothing gets past his radar.

    I'm glad you ladies are enjoying the script.

  3. Done, eme – how best to swap emails/contact info?

  4. too late, already spammed the hell out of it …

  5. Heh! Youse are cute.

  6. And the scene lasts, what? A minute, about a page? It's so much better with the edits. That's elegant writing.

    I think Robert Morse is the only actor who can get away with saying "peanut" without it sounding like he's a doddering fogie. He's affectionate with his men and yet he's sharp as a tack.

  7. When I read the scene, I got the impression that the deletions were due to the realization that Cooper would know the truth about Don and Rachel’s relationship and intimate as much. It’s possible that the actor said as much. Either way, the decision to delete those lines feels right bc Cooper definitely comes across as knowing much more than he lets on, as opposed to many of the other characters who truly seem like they have their heads in the sand.

    I do like the Alice line, though. Would love to meet her in future episodes as well.

  8. Alice.


    I totally read that script and didn’t see that.

  9. It's a control thing, like the bare feet. He's lording his leadership over others by indulging in eccentricities.

  10. Good point. I never thought of it that way.

  11. I think the Alice line was cut to clean up the scene. It’s an odd spot to introduce back story about corporate structure, especially given the intense emotional impact Cooper’s news will have on Don.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the line was originally there to set up an introduction of the sister in season 2, and I bet we see her.

  12. Yup, it's both patronizing and a little gay, and you can't call him on either, 'cause of how his name is on the door, and he'd have your heart removed.

  13. Fantastic!

    I wish we could form a MM reading group, where people might share their bounty with others…heh…

    I also prefer the edited scene. It's more ambiguous, which leaves the door open to so many other story possibilities.

    I can't wait to meet Alice, though. Shirley McLaine, anybody?

  14. Ooops. Forgot the extra a…MacLaine…

  15. Shirley MacLaine is PERFECT. But she'd have to be tough; can MacLaine play tough?

  16. btw – great idea, eme.

    i’m about to pick up nixon v. kennedy – when it arrives, would you want to swap?

  17. Have you never seen Steel Magnolias?


  18. Dude, you must have esp bc I was just thinking about how I’d love to read that specific script. No joke. I collect scripts for research purposes and there are lots of sites with free scripts but, alas, MM is not available for free.

    Yes, I’d love a swap. Thanks for the offer.

  19. I love the reading group idea. Although I'm going to have to save my hard-earned bucks for scripts from other shows. None of the shows I like are online for free. *Sigh.*

  20. Okay, I just deleted Eme’s email address. Just as a policy, I don’t feel good about leaving that posted for God and everyone to pick up.

    You all can write to us at basketofkisses at gmail and we will put you in touch with each other.

    Which will be the perfect opportunity hint hint to send US a copy of that other script as well.

  21. Hey, do we have groooovy avatars now? Psychedelic!

  22. Thanks for the protectiveness, Deb. I was going to ask you to delete it after Dan picked it up.

  23. So (now that I have more than two seconds to breathe… busy, busy, busy day at work!) I agree that the edits were probably made to read… well, the way it read. Better dramatic impact for Don to be seen through. One episode after Who cares? Plus there’s precedent, with Cooper knowing about Roger and Joan.

  24. "But she’d have to be tough; can MacLaine play tough?"

    Surely (or should that be Shirley…nyuk, nyuk) you jest? Everything she's done as a "mature" woman has been pretty…steely? Steel Magnolias, The Turning Point, Terms of Endearment–any of those women would be a "scrutinizing" sister to someone like YodaBert. That she was the mousy girl who was passed around in The Apartment would make her transformation to tough as nails business woman even more fun. What a great treat that would be for the audience…

    P.S. Thanks for the avatar. Kinda op arty. Very 60s.

    O/T, but not really–it's still MM related…I just received the June issue of Vanity Fair (great cover story on RFK, btw), and what little show do you think had a lovely pictorial? Featured performers include: Jon Hamm, Vincent Kartheiser, Bryan Batt, and John Slattery on the men's side, and January Jones, Elizabeth Moss, Christina Hendricks, and…Talia Balsam (?) on the women's side. I have to wonder (and I'm posing this question with tongue planted firmly in cheek…), is Maggie Siff a diva? She doesn't do any of the extras–no forums or talks, no press, no other appearances. That's not to say that Talia doesn't deserve to be there, but they styled her to look like Rachel–as if she were filling in for the missing Maggie Siff instead of being featured as Mona Sterling. Who doesn't do Vanity Fair? That said, though, everyone is dressed to the nines and looks absolutely fantastic–especially our boy in a Giorgio Armani grey suit. Mmm mmm mmm.

  25. I've always thought of MacLaine in movies like Terms of Endearment (which I HATED) as ditzy and oddball. Tough but flakey. I guess I meant, can she be tough and serious?

    Since Maggie Siff is currently filming two TV shows, she may not have been available.

  26. OT: I, too, hated Terms of Endearment and still cannot fathom the hype surrounding that film!

    On topic….Such a wonderful thing to share the MM script here. Interesting what was deleted….Hmmm….

  27. Just happened to have VF at my elbow when reading hulla's post about the spread … you can tell that Jonathan Kelly, the writer of the Spotlight piece, is a hard-core MM fan … only a real fan would call Roger Sterling "a well-oiled dandy," and observe that Joan Holloway is "the precursor of the flower generation."

    And of course some great quotes from Mr. Weiner … thanks for the heads up!

  28. I think odd ball might be okay for someone like Alice Cooper (heh). She'd probably be eccentric like her brother, but very serious when it came to money–especially if it looked like she might lose some of it.

    For the record, I too hated Terms of Endearment, but I still like Shirley MacLaine. She's in my Ewan McGregor category of actors. I love Ewan, but he continually loses cool points with some of the movies he does. Continually. Like almost every movie he's made in the last 10 years. Grrrrrrr. But then I'll see one of his early films, and he'll be fully restored. And yes, in case you're wondering, I am a dork.

    BTW, the Vanity Fair shoot was probably done during the time of the writer's strike, so nothing would have been in production. It looks like eventually there will be video in addition to the photos included on the Vanity Fair site, although nothing is there now.

  29. I think MacLaine was pretty solid in In Her Shoes. She struck a nice balance in that role.

  30. Terms of Endearment (yuck) also beat one of my all-time favorite films, The Right Stuff, out of its richly-deserved Best Picture Oscar. Oh, the humanity.

    In Her Shoes is in my Netflix queue.

  31. Apropos of nothing we're discussing here, can I just say that this article about boy-men in the movies made me realize one of the things that I like best about MM? The fact that the men are supposed to be real adult men. Yes, I know that when we discuss these things we realize the real adolescent immaturity at heart of the MM men but nevertheless, doesn't MM in a way celebrate a culture of sophisticated adulthood? Personally, I'm just dying for a grown man to show up onscreen and even though I do appreciate and enjoy Apatow's flicks, the boy-men in them are… well, BORING. I've lived with these boy-men and he captures them perfectly. But in real life, they're really not all that appealing.

  32. I'm not a big Terms fan, but I think there were a number of scenes where she was tough as nails. I would not want to be the one denying her daughter pain meds, dammit!

    I loved In Her Shoes. The book made me cry a lot. The movie made me cry a little. I'm reading The Guy Not Taken, which is short stories by the same author, and I teared up once there, too. I'm not really a crier — honest.

    Oh, and I bet I'm about to get myself thrown into the spam folder, but… there is a site that runs a competition for best and worst romance novel covers. Tell me this one doesn't make you think of Pete Campbell: (There's probably a chip and dip at their feet)

  33. LOL@That cover! You are SO right!

  34. Here's a link to the VF spread:

  35. […] I sat down to watch The Wheel again last night. Figured it would be extra fun after reading the script and all. The ones I have saved on my DVR are from the second straight-through run of the […]

  36. […] Fair spread Posted on May 9, 2008 by Roberta Lipp As hullabaloo mentioned in a comment, this month’s issue of Vanity Fair has a nice little piece on Mad Men, written by Jonathan […]

  37. […] turn overnight to sunflowers Posted on May 14, 2008 by Roberta Lipp Eme commented on another post about the appeal of the Mad Men as […]

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