On my bus ride to New York this weekend, I treated myself to reading the screenplay to "There's Something About Mary."
It's an absolutely genius script, and nearly as funny on the page as it was in theaters.
I chuckled the whole bus ride there, and shook my head at how well done were the comedic sequences. Here's just a snippet of the first one, on paper, that I can distinctly remember causing fits of laughter in theater. Sure, you've all probably seen it, but I think it perfectly illustrates Steven's point on situational comedy:
INT. BATHROOM - TWILIGHT
Ted dabs his head with a tissue, then moves to the toilet. As he
TAKES A LEAK he glances out the window to his left.
TED'S POV - two LOVEBIRDS are perched on a branch.
...at the SOUND of these beautiful tweeties singing their love
song for themselves, for the spring, for Ted and Mary, and
suddenly they fly away and we...
...to reveal Mary in the bedroom window DIRECTLY BEHIND WHERE THE
BIRDS WERE, in just a bra and panties, and just then her mother
glances Ted's way and MAKES EYE-CONTACT with what she can only
presume to be a leering Peeping Tom.
...he loses the smile and ducks his head back into the bathroom,
PANICKING NOW, he hastily zips up his fly and
TED GETS HIS DICK STUCK IN THE ZIPPER!
I mean, is this not a textbook in comedy in just a single scene? You have a scene that already starts awkward, with a nervous teen at his dream girl's house, having to go freshen up in the bathroom after embarrassing himself.
The scene begins innocently, with the birds, only to turn to Ted being mistaken for a peeping Tom. Mortifying. Can't get any worse, right? You think you know where this scene is going, right?
Wrong. It get's worse. He gets his junk caught in his fly, and every guy in the theater howls with him.
What's even more genius about this script is that this is just THE BEGINNING of this comedic sequence. It gets worse...Mary's parents and then a cop enter and try to help, embarrassing him further. And then EVEN WORSE...he ends up bleeding severely after they get it unstuck, has to go to the hospital and misses prom with the dream girl.
Brilliant, brilliant stuff. And very funny.
If you want to read the rest of the screenplay online, you can do so here.