#ProjectTom — Entry Four: Bosom Buddies “Pilot”
(September 2nd, 2015: 2:15 PM)
I’m vulnerable. I’m very vulnerable.
Tom Hanks is currently riding two performances that make me question whether he would’ve even made my radar in 1980. I’ve come to idolize this guy. And while I always admitted that my knowledge of the Hanks canon was limited in scope and knowingly ignored some areas where I figured he might falter… I had no idea that a chronological Hanks’ viewing would lower my opinion in this way.
It is with this mental state that I open my Hanks/Cruise canon schedule to reveal Hanks’ next major TV role. Bosom. Buddies. Uhoh. Talk about kicking a guy while he’s down.
Bosom Buddies is THE role that 90% of people bring up when they hear I am a die-hard Hanks fan. Smirking the whole time, they think: How’s he going to justify Hanks in this one? A sitcom about two guys who decide to dress and act like women in order to secure a cheap yet ballin’ apartment in an all-women building. A plot so absurd that I laughed it off as some practical joke everyone was playing on me. Oh, sure. Tom Hanks starred in a sitcom for two seasons about a pair of cross-dressing guys. Who would put something that dumb on television? Hard truth time. They did.
So, for the longest time, I dealt with this reality like I deal with the overflowing garbage can in my apartment. Ignore it. Let someone else deal with it. It’ll go away eventually. Meanwhile, the flies descend. One day, as I carefully stack a used paper towel on the teetering Jenga pile of trash, a swift breeze blows through the window and the entire tower crumbles. Leaving me face to face with the ugly reality of this smelly heap.
My Bosom Buddies trash heap moment came in 2011. Fresh off my first pilot season in LA, I was nervously waiting for word from my Production Coordinator about the fate of the pilot we worked on. Would it get picked up for series? Would I find myself on the ground level of a brand new show that, with a bit of luck, could become the next Friends? I’d rise through the ranks. PA to Writers’ PA to Writers’ Assistant to Script Coordinator and finally given a shot as a writer in the final seasons. Rocketing me off into the dream career I had — RING RING
Oh, shit! My phone. This is it. Yes, Kathy? They– No! But it had such promise– Good news?… Yes. Mmhmm… Another show?! Done! I’m on board. Can’t wait to start up… Next Monday? Hell yeah! –Oops, sorry. Shouldn’t have said hell… I know, but being excited is no excuse for poor work etiquette. Okay, I should let you go. CLICK
I was hired. It wasn’t the pilot we worked on but a brand new show none-the-less and just like that, the dream was still alive. I didn’t immediately recognize the title of the show and I was so pumped about having a job again that I’d already forgotten what the name was anyways. No big deal. I’ll find out Monday. I’m working!!
Monday rolls along and I’m bopping my way into the office. Hey Kathy! Great to be back. What’s the name of this new show now? Work It? Interesting. I pop back to my desk for a quick Google and…
Work It centers on two unemployed car salesmen who realize that they are living in a woman’s world, so they decide that to find work again, they must dress…as women…to get jobs…as pharmaceutical reps…
It’s like Bosom Buddies! Kathy says.
There it was. An empty, salmonella-covered package of what used to be chicken, next to some gooey broken egg shells, next to some ripped up credit card applications, covered in piles of soggy coffee grounds.
Work It was my life for the next five months as we filmed 13 episodes…yes, 13… like the number after 12. Our premiere was set for after the new year and I’ll say this. (Those familiar with the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome will recognize the following behavior.) By the end of November, the crew began discussing if the show had a shot to come back. We talked about the fragmented audiences of television these days. You know, you don’t need massive ratings to come back. Everybody around set is so great and the writers are great and the creators are great. (EDITOR’S NOTE: I met my current boss on this show!) How could anyone take that away?! Look around at some of these other shows on air! If they can make it…we probably can too. What else does ABC have right now? And the pinnacle of the yay-sayer arguments… Bosom Buddies ran for two seasons.
To tie up this story, Work It finally aired in January. Out of thirteen episodes, I believe we made it three episodes in before getting the boot. I don’t know, even I stopped watching after the pilot aired. IMDB claims they burned off ALL the other episodes a year later in Summer 2013… Whatever. Moral of the story is that Work It is fully entrenched in my personal Hollywood story…like it, or not.
As proof, here’s a selection from my own IMDB page.
Phew. That intro went on a little longer than I hoped. But at least you know all the facts.
No messing around. Incredible opening credits. Hanks and friend clowning around for what feels like an eternity and I could still see it for longer. The highlight easily being friend loading more money into the parking meter as we reveal…the two guys…SUNBATHING in a parking spot! This is epic. Programming note to self: re-create this credits sequence exactly and post at later date. How does that not go viral?!
Also, Billy Joel’s “My Life” was used as the theme song?! BILLY. JOEL. Wow.
Continuing with the “no messing around” mantra, show opens directly on the buddies (pre-bosom) sleeping in their apartment as…a mother fucking wrecking ball crashes into their building. These two mopes apparently either ignored all posted signs to vacate their building because…well…it was going to be torn down by wrecking ball OR these two mopes live in an abandoned building scheduled for demolition. Though you’d assume they would still have some sort of fence/signage warning of their impending doom. Anyways, the wake up call has arrived.
How easily I am swayed back into Hanks favor. He is DELIGHTFUL in this. Makes me want to see him in a TV comedy today. What chemistry, what flow, what charm. And to bring him even closer to Earth, he can’t find love. I guess he is the lame one of the pair and his buddy Henry is the ladies man.
This Hanks hair is killin’ me. Slightly bushier than previous roles. The effect is that he looks like a human broccoli. Though, broccoli is usually a little stumpier so maybe the better description is broccolini.
Hanks is a piece of broccolini and it’s crackin’ me up. This show is crackin’ me up. I haven’t stopped smiling. THIS is no Work It.
Blah, blah, plot, blah. The buddies’ day of apartment hunting has gone so poorly that they called up the pushy, flirtatious receptionist, and asked to stay at her place for the night. So here they are at the Susan B Anthony Hotel. What? Yes. Susan B Anthony Hotel. And the hotel/apartment manager, suspicious of two MEN IN THE BUILDING holds them up by the elevators at cheese-point. What? Yes. Cheese-point. As in holding a can of cheese whiz. Man, these two are idiots. Hanks finally realizes it’s cheese whiz. Jokes on jokes.
The place looks amazing and rent is only $600?! I could barely rent a parking spot in Santa Monica for that much today. It’s loaded with cute girls. Seems too good to be true. The obvious progression from here? Do we dress as women and take one of these empty apartments?! Hanks/Kip replies: “We’re not that desperate” with one of the strangest facial expressions I’ve ever seen. Well, he can’t win ’em all.
Back from break and there the buddies (post-bosom) are in all their womanly splendor. Utilizing my cardinal rule of movie/TV-watching: everyone else seems to be ignoring these two large, deep-voiced, Adam’s-Apple-covering, prospective tenants…and so will I! I get that in this and Work It they tried to pick actors who look SO incredibly masculine that it’s funny when we eventually see them in make-up and dresses. But if we’re to take this journey with you, at least make one of the guys a little more feminine looking. Maybe a Zac Efron or something…
Their woman names are Hildegard and Buffy. What kind of names are those? Then again what kind of names are Apple and North or whatever other dumb nouns that people are passing off as names?
We arrive at receptionist’s apartment to find…two twin beds? Why 80’s why?! Oh, wait, she has a roommate. But even still, what was the plan here? Fitting four ladies in this tiny shed of a place…two of which are suspiciously large…man-sized some could say. I would say man-sized.
Roommate arrives. Of course she’s beautiful. This is going to make for some interesting tension. Though, roommate is acting…drunk? High? Sleepy? To those who watched the Season 2 of True Detective, perhaps this is the proto-type that Vince Vaughn’s wife tried to model her behavior around.
“I have to go…powder something” — good joke Hildy!
“Did I hear a cork pop?” — This is my favorite moment of the show. Hands down. The ladies pop a bottle of the bubbly and within seconds, their door blasts open to reveal…two dozen women running from all ends of the apartment complex — Susan B Anthony hotel — to cram into their shoe-box room. Throw in a pillow-fight and we got a party! “Uhhh, I think we’re going to like living here” — glances exchanged by our bosom buddies.
Back at the office, these two bosom buddies miraculously create the perfect ad campaign for their glory-hogging boss. If you dress like a woman, you get to know the womanly products and guess what comes out the other end? Genius! Imagine the kind of campaigns Don Draper could’ve spear-headed if he just slapped on a little rouge and hit the town with Peggy and Joan.
We end on my revelation that Hanks’ character name is Kip…WILSON! WILLLLSOOOONNNN!! Second fore-shadowing of another Tom Hanks movie. (see also: the Woody costume Hanks wore in He Knows You’re Alone) Thank you. Thank you.