A Decent Proposal My Family


A Decent Proposal

Sitcom. While the Harper family attends Grace's funeral, Susan has a visitor from beyond the grave with an offer she can hardly refuse.


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I just need a moment alone...with my mother.

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Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

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I certainly am! How can they charge pay-and-display outside a church?

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-I meant Mum.

-Mmm?

-She's pretty upset.

-Oh, yeah.

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It didn't help that Dad led the funeral cortege

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through the McDonald's Drive-Thru.

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I was hungry!

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-Was it really the time for a Happy Meal?

-Yeah!

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It's what Grace would have wanted.

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I don't know why we didn't give Gran a cremation.

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Set her alight with all that booze inside her?

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She'd have gone up like Krakatoa.

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Look, I know how this is a moment for us to grieve,

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to muse upon the fragility of life

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and to contemplate our own mortality,

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but that guy's butt deserves a ceremony all on its own.

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Why don't you ask him out?

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I don't even know if he's gay.

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Oh, he's gay all right.

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-How do you know?

-Trust me, little brother, I can tell.

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I've been studying men a whole lot longer than you have,

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and, over the years,

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I've developed a bit of a sixth sense about these things.

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He turned you down, didn't he?

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Because he's gay.

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Deirdre McAllister.

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I knew your mother.

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We were members of the same erotic cinema club.

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Nice to meet you.

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Could you possibly tell me how Grace...went?

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Well, seeing as you asked...

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Mum was backpacking around Australia when she decided to join

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a group bungee jump with some Samoan body builders.

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Naturally, the bungee couldn't take the strain and snapped halfway down,

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sending them spiralling into the river below.

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They survived the fall but...

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..the water was crocodile infested.

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My brother went the same way.

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Hello, Susan.

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-Hello.

-It's good to see you again.

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And you.

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Sorry we're meeting in these circumstances.

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Yes...

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I'm sorry, we've obviously met before,

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-but I've forgotten your name.

-It's Arthur.

-Ah.

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My father was called Arthur.

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-He still is.

-No, he died 30 years ago.

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No, he didn't.

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Yes, he did. He disappeared at sea.

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On a trip to the South Pacific.

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Yes, that's right.

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How do you know so much about my father Arthur, Arthur?

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Susan, it's me.

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Mum, here...drink this, OK?

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Dad, listen. Mum and Arthur aren't speaking. Shouldn't you talk to him?

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You know the rules, Janey.

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-I don't converse with people at social events.

-People?

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-Dad, he's your father-in-law.

-It still applies.

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Fine, then you can just stay here with me and talk to me

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all about my ex-boyfriends in chronological order.

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OK, yeah, OK...

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All right, Arthur,

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having a good time?

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She hates me, doesn't she?

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It's, er...

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..hard to say, really.

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Does she always stare at people in that manner?

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Mm-hm, try going to sleep while she's doing it.

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I can hardly blame her.

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I abandoned her and her mother and disappeared for 30 years.

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Really? 30 years?

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Just like that?

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So...how did you do it?

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How did you do it exactly? Be as specific as you want.

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-I beg your pardon?

-Was it difficult when you left them?

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Theoretically, would it be difficult just to sort of take off, as it were?

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You know, change one's passport details?

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Why are you so interested?

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I was just told to make chit-chat.

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Susie!

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Susan?

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Susan, we'll have to talk eventually.

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Why did you come back, today of all days?

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I didn't want to miss saying goodbye to your mother.

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We all thought you'd died at sea.

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Well, my vessel did capsize, but I was saved by a passing trawler.

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How could you just leave everything? What was so much better?

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I travelled the world, salvaging shipwrecks, earning millions.

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How could a wet afternoon in Chiswick High Road compare to that?

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We have a Tesco Metro now.

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Look, Mike, I went to all the trouble to bring him here,

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just go over to him.

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What if he doesn't fancy me? I couldn't take a bad rejection.

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Oh, don't worry. He's an undertaker, he'll be used to breaking bad news.

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Oh, come on, Mike, come on, just give it a try.

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You're good-looking, bright, you've got a great personality!

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Wow, thanks!

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Yeah, just don't say too much,

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don't let him see your right side and...stay downwind of him.

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-Hi!

-Hey.

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So...you're in the funeral business, what's it like?

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It's a living.

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MICHAEL LAUGHS

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Michael.

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Er, Sean.

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Sorry, was there something you wanted?

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Well, I was just wondering if, say...

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I wanted to buy a coffin...

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..what base material would you recommend?

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Well, panelled oak and mahogany are very popular,

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but also in the region of £2,000.

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Well, I'm not coffin up that much!

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Sorry.

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So, you're interested in coffins?

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Is someone dying?

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Only me.

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You're dying?

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Yes, Sean.

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Yes, I am.

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God, I'm sorry.

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I'm so, so sorry.

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I didn't even realise you were sick.

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Oh, I'm sick all right.

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Listen, I really should tell you,

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what I said just now, I'm not actually ill.

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I'm really ill.

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Really, really ill.

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Right! Well, I think I'll, er... I'll turn in, mm-hm.

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Arthur, er...what about Brazil?

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-What?

-You know, vis a vis the emigration thing.

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The old Portuguese isn't too shabby,

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and I turn a nice shade of bronze in the sun.

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OK, got you, talk to you later, OK.

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All right, darling, I know, I know.

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It's been a very rough day.

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So, anything you don't drink, just tip it back in the bottle, OK?

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Goodnight!

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So, what do you think of Ben?

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The man is a shallow, uncouth, mean imbecile

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with all the charm of a Third World dictator.

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You hardly know him.

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Yet I can't disagree with any of it.

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Did you see him at the graveside?

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You're meant to sprinkle the earth onto the coffin,

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not kick it in with your feet and mumble, "Let's get out of here."

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Look, I could sit and listen to you insult my husband all night but...

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-I'm sorry, Susan.

-No, no, I really could, but...

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I'm tired and it's been an emotional day.

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I had such high hopes for you.

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I thought you would have ended up with someone worthy of you.

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Instead, you've been dragged down to his level

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and become embroiled in the same spirit-sapping, insidious grief pit.

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It's called marriage.

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I'm going to bed.

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I'll give you one million, Susan.

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£1 million to divorce him.

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-What?

-Over the years, I've given money to hundreds of worthy causes,

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but this will be the best million I've ever spent.

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Are you seriously offering me

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-£1 million to divorce Ben?

-That's right.

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That's outrageous! You can't put a price on a 30-year bond.

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Everything has its price.

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Well, not my life-partner, my best friend, my one true soul mate.

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I'm clearly not as shallow as you think I am!

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Two million.

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Well?

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Just give me a minute.

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You know, Susan, I really hit it off with your dad tonight.

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Yeah, yeah, it's funny how sometimes people just click, you know?

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Good man, Arthur, good man, yeah, someone I could really admire.

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The man is completely flawed, Ben.

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He ran away from his family and his responsibilities.

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And the flaws were?

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Look, I don't like saying this,

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but he wasn't exactly complimentary about you.

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Really? What did he say?

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Oh, no, forget it, it wasn't even worth mentioning.

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The sooner Dad's gone, the better.

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Oh, OK.

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I mean, it's ridiculous, really!

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Almost laughable, actually.

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If it's so ridiculous, why don't you tell me?

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Oh, no, no, no, no, it's crazy, forget it, forget it.

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He offered me £2 million to divorce you.

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He thinks I'm only worth two million quid?!

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What an insult! £2 million!

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I told you it wasn't worth mentioning.

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I'm telling you, Susan,

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he thinks he can pay someone off for a measly £2 million, come on!

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Please! That would be paid straight into our account?!

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£2 million!

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You're saying £2 million an awful lot, Ben.

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I'm saying it, Susan, because it is, it... £2 million?!

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-Ridiculous!

-It is, isn't it?

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Absolutely.

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I mean, having said that,

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couples nowadays don't really have to be married, do they?

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True.

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I mean, you know, it's only a piece of paper when all's said and done.

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Also true.

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I mean, we know in our hearts we love each other, don't we?

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We do? Oh, we do.

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Yeah, I mean, our marriage can survive anything.

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Anything, even, er...

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Even divorce.

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Are we seriously considering this?

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Taking my father's money?

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Well, he left you 30 years ago, Susan, he owes you that money.

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-But it's absurd!

-Well, it won't mean anything, will it?

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It's only for show.

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You know, we get divorced, take the money and then get married again.

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You know...

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It's a victimless crime.

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God, you're good!

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-Susan Harper...

-Oh, Ben, this is all so sudden.

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Would you make me the happiest man in the world?

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I can't believe this is happening.

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Would you do me the honour?

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I will.

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Would you do me the honour?

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I will.

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Susan...please...

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divorce me.

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Oh, Ben, you don't know how long

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I've been waiting to hear those three little words.

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-Come here!

-No, no, Ben!

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-Not before the divorce.

-OK.

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So, let me get this straight. You want a divorce?

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-As soon as possible.

-On what grounds?

-What do you recommend?

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It's not for me to recommend. You're the ones who want a divorce.

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-What's the most popular?

-Mmm.

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Irreconcilable differences is most common.

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That's a bit bland, isn't it? I mean, after 30 years.

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-Do you have anything a bit spicier?

-Yeah.

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There's desertion, but you have to have lived apart for two years.

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Ah, well I have slept in the spare room a couple of times.

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THEY GIGGLE CHILDISHLY

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Yes, um, I get the impression you're not taking this very seriously.

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-Oh, we are, we are.

-We loathe each other.

-Absolutely.

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-I know, I know. How about adultery?

-Oh, yes. Well done!

-Mm-hm.

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-Which one of you has been adulterous?

-BOTH: Me.

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-You? Who with?

-George Clooney.

-Oh, yes! Ooh!

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Me? Er, with Katie Price.

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How about them apples!

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So you want those names published in the petition?

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Published? Well, it was a bit dark, and I couldn't have been too sure.

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No, no. And Katie Price really wouldn't want the publicity.

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So, what else have you got?

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Look, this isn't a fast-food restaurant.

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You're meant to come in here with a reason.

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OK. All right, fine. Irreconcilable differences.

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-Agreed?

-Oh, agreed.

-Fine.

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We're going to have to sort out the division of assets.

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That'll take ages. Can't we do this here and now?

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It would speed things up

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if one of you handed over all the assets to the other.

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Oh, that's the cabbage!

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I'll take everything, bish, bash, bosh. Where do I sign?

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Hang on, why do you take everything?

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-It's just a technicality, Susan.

-Oh, fine. Well, I'll take everything.

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Very well, I'll draw up the documents.

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Though I'm inclined to say, "Would you like fries with that?"

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How many days before we get divorced?

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Try months. You have to wait for the decree to come through.

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No, no, no, no. No, we need the divorce today.

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There's a six-week grace period, and then it becomes a formal procedure.

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Right, well, can we have a note or something?

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It's just that we want to show her dad. That's all.

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I can write you an invoice for filing the documents.

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Good, perfect, that's great! Very, very nice.

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Oh, this is the happiest day of my life.

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-Oh, the air tastes so fresh!

-I know.

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You wait for something for so long, you never think it'll be this good,

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but honestly, this is so much better.

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-Too much?

-A bit, yeah.

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So, Mike, I never asked.

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How was your undertaking with the undertaker?

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Not bad.

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We had a long chat, and at the end of it he gave me a big hug.

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Oh, well done, you. Sounds like you two might have a future together.

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Not much of a future. I told him I was dying.

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Michael, that never worked with the girls.

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I panicked. I thought I had more chance with him me if I was...

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Dead?

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It's always good to have a shared interest.

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-It made sense at the time.

-Well, that's you two finished, then.

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Actually, no. He's called me three times.

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So he's either interested or he wants your measurements.

0:16:030:16:07

Tell you what, my dear.

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You've put on a few pounds since we last did this.

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Or my muscles have got weaker.

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Oh, never mind. Nothing can ruin this day!

0:16:150:16:18

-Sorry, but what's going on?

-BOTH: We're getting divorced!

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-Finally!

-Good for you.

0:16:220:16:24

Thanks for your support, but it's not a proper divorce.

0:16:240:16:27

No, we're doing it for your granddad's benefit, OK?

0:16:270:16:29

-So, where is he?

-In there, watching telly.

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Oh, great. Now, listen.

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Your father and I are going to stage a nasty argument

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-and we need you to play along.

-I don't understand.

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Act as if you're playing us off each other.

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Er, no, Mum, I'm sorry. I don't want any part of your freak show, OK?

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He's going to pay us two million quid if we divorce.

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-I'm in.

-Good.

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-What about you, Michael?

-What?

0:16:500:16:52

Is everything all right?

0:16:520:16:53

I lied to somebody, Mum,

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someone I have feelings for, just to get them to like me.

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He's a Harper.

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Haven't we always taught you, Michael, to be yourself?

0:17:010:17:04

Your decency and your inner core is what people respond to,

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not cheap lies.

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You're right. Next time I see him, I'll tell him the truth.

0:17:100:17:13

Good for you, darling. Honesty is the best policy.

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Now, if you'll excuse us,

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we have to go and cheat your grandad out of two mill.

0:17:180:17:20

-OK, you ready, you old hag!

-What?!

0:17:200:17:24

Just getting into character.

0:17:240:17:28

-I want you out of my life!

-No, I want you out of mine!

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-Neanderthal!

-You harpy!

0:17:300:17:32

-You make me sick!

-You were a pain in the arse!

0:17:320:17:34

-You're crap in bed!

-Please, boundaries!

0:17:340:17:39

-You'll be hearing from my lawyer!

-You'll be hearing from mine!

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I said, you'll be hearing from mine!

0:17:440:17:47

Oh, great. Just don't tell me I've wasted my performance!

0:17:470:17:50

-Is that what you call it?

-It was very good, and I knew my lines.

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Well, now, I'm sorry, but I was, I was word perfect.

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-Oh, and so over the top!

-How dare you!

0:17:560:18:00

Arthur?

0:18:000:18:02

Arthur?

0:18:030:18:04

Ben, I think there's been an accident.

0:18:060:18:09

-Go easy on the man, he's getting on a bit.

-No, no, not that kind.

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He's gone.

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Wasn't our acting, was it?

0:18:190:18:21

Anyone else getting a feeling of deja vu?

0:18:240:18:28

Sean!

0:18:310:18:33

Oh, hi, Michael.

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Fancy grabbing a coffee? I've got something to tell you.

0:18:350:18:38

It's really not a good time for me.

0:18:380:18:40

You've just come out of a relationship, haven't you?

0:18:400:18:43

No, I'm carrying your dead grandfather.

0:18:430:18:46

Idiot!

0:18:460:18:47

There's something I've been meaning to tell you,

0:18:470:18:50

I phoned Dad's solicitor...

0:18:500:18:52

And?

0:18:520:18:54

Dad was broke. It was all a lie.

0:18:540:18:56

Ah right, so the man who left his family, faked his own death

0:18:560:19:00

and changed his identity was a liar?

0:19:000:19:03

Who saw that coming(?)

0:19:040:19:05

Nice to see you.

0:19:050:19:06

Hello, thanks for coming.

0:19:060:19:08

Well...perfect.

0:19:110:19:13

We filed the divorce for nothing.

0:19:130:19:16

Show a little compassion, will you? I've just been orphaned.

0:19:160:19:19

You're a middle-aged woman, Susan, you're not Annie.

0:19:190:19:23

I can't believe I've lost both of them.

0:19:230:19:25

-Both millions?

-Both parents!

0:19:250:19:26

Sorry, that's what I meant.

0:19:260:19:28

Hey.

0:19:300:19:31

I thought that would be you.

0:19:310:19:33

-Come again?

-Inside it.

0:19:330:19:35

Why would I be inside...?

0:19:350:19:37

Oh, the whole dying thing, right.

0:19:370:19:39

What was it you wanted to talk about?

0:19:390:19:42

Um, well, the thing is...

0:19:420:19:43

Yes, Michael?

0:19:430:19:45

I forget. Memory loss is another one of my symptoms.

0:19:470:19:52

That and needing physical comfort. Constantly.

0:19:520:19:55

Your family really has shaky health, don't they?

0:19:580:20:02

I know, tragic, tragic.

0:20:020:20:04

So, are you free to go out tomorrow?

0:20:050:20:07

Are you sure you're well enough to be going out?

0:20:070:20:10

I want to live every day as if it's my last.

0:20:100:20:13

You're so brave.

0:20:130:20:15

I am, aren't I?

0:20:150:20:19

You know the only thing that gets me through these days?

0:20:190:20:22

A hug.

0:20:220:20:23

Come here, you.

0:20:230:20:25

THUNDER RUMBLES

0:20:270:20:30

Please stop that, Susan, you're creeping me out.

0:20:390:20:42

I just feel so dirty.

0:20:420:20:44

We've sacrificed our marriage for money.

0:20:450:20:48

I'm so disappointed.

0:20:480:20:50

I know, I know...

0:20:500:20:51

That money would have been brilliant.

0:20:530:20:55

The only thing that makes your heart beat faster is

0:20:550:20:57

the thought of £2 million!

0:20:570:20:59

Aren't you at all guilty about what we've done?

0:20:590:21:01

I suppose you're right.

0:21:030:21:05

Yeah, OK, we'd better go down and cancel the divorce.

0:21:050:21:08

Oh, do me a favour, why don't you?

0:21:080:21:10

If it's going to be a burden for you...

0:21:100:21:12

That's not what I meant, and you know it.

0:21:120:21:14

I am into this marriage, like you, wholeheartedly.

0:21:140:21:16

I will go down to that solicitor's office

0:21:160:21:19

whenever your precious little heart so desires.

0:21:190:21:21

-How about Thursday?

-Er...golf.

-Friday?

0:21:210:21:25

Mmm... Ah, getting a haircut. Sergio's managed to fit me in.

0:21:250:21:28

If it's going to inconvenience Sergio,

0:21:280:21:30

let's just go through with the divorce.

0:21:300:21:32

-No, no, no, no, he is very busy.

-Oh, Ben!

0:21:320:21:36

I mean, you can't... Susan, if you just... Look.

0:21:360:21:39

I'm sorry, but things are really taking off for him right now.

0:21:390:21:42

THUNDER CLASHES

0:21:420:21:44

-Hey.

-Hey.

0:21:490:21:52

I appreciate the lift, Janey,

0:21:520:21:53

I can't be late for my first date with Sean.

0:21:530:21:55

You mean your last date.

0:21:550:21:58

Due to the small matter that you'll be dead by next Tuesday?

0:21:580:22:01

Will you just drop it, please?

0:22:010:22:03

Seriously, it's beautiful. I mean, "Boy meets gay undertaker.

0:22:030:22:06

"Boy pretends he's dying to dupe gay undertaker into liking him.

0:22:060:22:09

"Boy can't tell him the truth or gay undertaker will kill boy for real."

0:22:090:22:13

It's a story as old as time itself.

0:22:130:22:16

-Hey, where are you two off to?

-Do you really care?

0:22:160:22:19

Not overly. Just being polite. Ta-ra.

0:22:190:22:21

-Hello?

-Mmm-hmm.

0:22:250:22:27

You're sitting in my chair.

0:22:270:22:31

Your chair?

0:22:310:22:32

And you've done my crossword.

0:22:320:22:34

I think you'll find it's my crossword,

0:22:340:22:36

and I've done it in half the time it takes you.

0:22:360:22:38

OK. What's going on here?

0:22:380:22:41

Don't you remember when we filed for the divorce,

0:22:410:22:43

you said you'd give everything to me?

0:22:430:22:45

I also said I slept with Jordan.

0:22:450:22:48

Technically, I'll own everything here.

0:22:480:22:51

You can keep your clothes, I'm not completely heartless...

0:22:510:22:54

or tasteless.

0:22:540:22:56

Susan, you're being ridiculous.

0:22:560:22:58

You don't value our marriage at all. All you care about is money.

0:22:580:23:02

No, I value... Isn't it OK to value both?

0:23:020:23:05

OK. Darling. My love.

0:23:050:23:09

Would you make me the happiest man in the world and...

0:23:090:23:12

un-divorce me?

0:23:120:23:14

-Well...

-My knee's starting to spasm.

-Oh, fine.

-Fine, good.

0:23:140:23:17

-If.

-If?

-If you sign this.

-What's this?

0:23:170:23:21

It says I retain ownership of everything here,

0:23:210:23:23

even if the divorce gets cancelled.

0:23:230:23:25

It's called a post-nup.

0:23:250:23:27

-This is ridiculous. I'm not signing this.

-No?

-No!

0:23:270:23:30

Look, Ben, I'm not asking for the world,

0:23:300:23:33

all I'm asking for is one romantic gesture. Would that kill you?

0:23:330:23:38

All right,

0:23:380:23:39

you can sit in my chair.

0:23:390:23:41

I don't want your chair! I want you to sign this.

0:23:410:23:44

What's more romantic than a man giving up everything

0:23:440:23:46

for the woman he loves? It's called sacrifice.

0:23:460:23:49

Can't I just slit a goat's throat on an altar somewhere?

0:23:490:23:52

THUNDER CLASHES

0:23:520:23:54

Listen, Ben.

0:23:550:23:57

I realised last night

0:23:570:23:58

we've lost touch with what makes marriage important.

0:23:580:24:00

And you could lose a lot of very valuable things,

0:24:000:24:03

including the one possession

0:24:030:24:05

that should be more important to you than any other.

0:24:050:24:08

Yeah, OK, what the hell.

0:24:100:24:12

I'm not going to meet anyone else at my age, am I?

0:24:120:24:14

Fine, fine, I'll sign it, I'll sign it.

0:24:140:24:17

I just want things to go back to the way they were, OK?

0:24:170:24:20

I love you, and I don't care if I don't have anything as long as I...

0:24:200:24:26

have you. And, er...hey,

0:24:260:24:28

I do love you, by the way.

0:24:280:24:30

Thank you.

0:24:320:24:33

-Now what are you doing?

-I've got what I wanted.

0:24:340:24:37

We've got our confetti, let's go to the solicitors right now.

0:24:370:24:40

-No, but I tee off in...

-THUNDER CLASHES

0:24:400:24:43

OK, let's go, I'm ready!

0:24:430:24:45

So, you don't have a boyfriend, then?

0:24:470:24:50

No. There just don't seem to be guys who fit what I'm looking for.

0:24:500:24:54

For me, the two really important qualities are a good sense of humour

0:24:540:24:58

and, most of all, honesty.

0:24:580:25:01

Yeah, a good sense of humour's really important, isn't it?

0:25:020:25:06

Look, I should say now,

0:25:060:25:08

I just don't think I can get involved with you, Michael.

0:25:080:25:11

I'd be too distraught when you go.

0:25:110:25:13

So, hypothetically, if, say, I had a clean bill of health,

0:25:130:25:19

you'd be interested in me? Hypothetically.

0:25:190:25:23

Of course I would, silly.

0:25:230:25:26

Hmm. OK, well...

0:25:260:25:30

I might be party to some information that could flip

0:25:300:25:34

this whole...crazy situation on its head.

0:25:340:25:37

Really? What is it?

0:25:370:25:39

I might not be dying, exactly.

0:25:410:25:43

What do you mean?

0:25:440:25:46

I sort of made up a bit of it.

0:25:460:25:49

-What bit?

-The dying bit.

0:25:490:25:53

Phew! I'm glad we've got that out of the way, now we can be together.

0:25:530:25:58

Yay for us!

0:25:580:26:00

High five?

0:26:010:26:02

You missed!

0:26:080:26:09

So, let me get this straight. You want to cancel the divorce?

0:26:100:26:14

-Are you sure?

-Absolutely.

-I was talking to her.

-Er, sorry...

0:26:140:26:18

Of course that's what we want. We're two crazy kids in love.

0:26:180:26:21

And I love her, blah, blah, blah.

0:26:210:26:22

He's my soul mate, blah, blah, blah.

0:26:220:26:24

Till death us do part, et cetera, et cetera.

0:26:240:26:27

It's Romeo and Juliet all over again(!)

0:26:270:26:29

Plus we want to re-establish the 50/50 property split.

0:26:290:26:32

But, of course, that's not the most important thing.

0:26:320:26:35

But of course, that's not the most important thing.

0:26:350:26:38

(But could we get it in writing anyway?)

0:26:380:26:41

So the all-in price for cancelling the divorce comes out at...

0:26:410:26:47

£1,250.

0:26:470:26:49

But, of course, couples nowadays don't really have to be married.

0:26:510:26:54

I'll write a cheque.

0:26:540:26:56

Well, I hope I never have another week like that.

0:26:590:27:02

No, you won't.

0:27:020:27:03

You haven't got any more parents left.

0:27:050:27:07

That came out all wrong, sorry.

0:27:090:27:12

I'm serious, Ben, I don't think I could take any more.

0:27:120:27:16

Ssh, it's all right.

0:27:160:27:19

It's been very emotional.

0:27:220:27:23

HE CRIES

0:27:250:27:26

-You're not crying about my parents, are you?

-You can't prove that!

0:27:300:27:33

THUNDER CLASHES

0:27:330:27:35

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0:27:410:27:43

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0:27:430:27:45

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