The Equality State
(Why I’m In London)
Notes and ideas:
Because there have been so few- good or successful- U.K. animated comedies, it is high time there was an attempt. At the moment, there are few comedies- from Britain- I watch- there is a bit of a dip at present. I want to write something with a U.S. sensibility; inspired by the likes of The Simpsons, Family Guy and South Park, it will a very modern look to it- the same style of animation as The Simpsons (without the yellow people), and feature a great and varied cast. I have an idea for the main cast- two boys, two girls- and hopefully they will be in. The pilot will hopefully wet appetites for a full series. With cliffhangers and plot twists, the idea is to leave people wanting more- both A-story arcs have huge longevity and potential for growth. The series will see the girls with the power- transposing gender roles and making them the dominant duo. Parodying and (with) affection referencing Breaking Bad, the girls go all across London- and the U.K.- and get in all sort of adventures and scrapes. The boys go all across the world and bond; experiencing and achieving huge things. The reality of home life and reality never is far from the door; each couple comes together and keeps their other lives separate.
In time, I hope to employ celebrity voices for episodes, but want to make sure the pilot gets made and received. If there is not an animation company in the U.K., it may be a case of going to the U.S. – or raising a Kickstarter campaign and getting it made privately.
Figure It Out- Royal Blood
The National Anthem- Radiohead
Metal & Dust- London Grammar
The pilot focuses on two different couples in their 20s, who come together; during Hallowe’en of 2014. Their coming together will have a huge effect on each other; that will change their lives and cause huge waves.
Alice Yorke is a Jehovah’s Witness; she is down on her luck and a mother-to-be. She has just learned she is pregnant and tries to balance her daily life, coping with it. She goes door-to-door in east London; trying to spread ‘the good word’. The local citizens are not so accepting, and as she meets some weird and wonderful people, she starts to doubt herself. As the sun rises over east London, Alice and her ‘colleagues’ try to change people’s minds; before a huge song-and-dance number- mixing Thriller and Billie Jean together with classic musical elements- breaks out: D.E.N.I.A.L. As a hard morning drags on, Alice returns to her Canary Wharf apartment she shares with her boyfriend.
The boyfriend in question is a one Stefan Buckley. He has recently been fired as a teacher, and spends his days obsessed with Radiohead; smoking, drinking and preparing for an upcoming court case: a harassment charge made by Thom Yorke. The two sit down and discuss the future possibility of becoming parents; both knowing that they do not have the money or security- or stability- to be able to handle it. They weight up their lives, and recollect how and why Stefan got fired: both aware that they need to change their lives.
Over in Camden, P.C. Natalie Mercury is on the beat- and on a crime scene. She is a controversial and ‘bent’ police officer, and has been in trouble constantly. From drag racing The Red Cross; wrongful arrests, parking in disabled spaces and tampering with murder scenes, her boss is fuming. Natalie arrests some ‘freedom-hating terrorists'; lays down the law and not strictly playing by the rules- not realising they are Hasidic Jews. When they complain, she tells them to ‘tell someone who cares'; as there is a smash cut to her Chief Inspector’s office; as a stack of complaints and written warnings are piled on the desk. She is given one last chance, and told she is on very thin ice. In her spare time, she models for Crimson Electric: a London model agency that is filled with the most disreputable opportunists and odd assignments you could imagine.
In a local hospital, her high-flying and dashing boyfriend Dan Bush is experiencing a typical day. In the clinic he is dealing with some strange and depraved patients, whilst dealing with the advances of a gorgeous co-worker; as well as fending off a tyrannical boss- who is rather violent and angry. In his spare time, he manages a successful band (Famous Atheists)- as well as looking after his sick and cantankerous parents (two 80 year olds). After a rough month, he catches a quick break at his flat; located opposite a kebab shop in Camden- Madonna’s Kebabs (run by Madonna herself; although she tells everyone she is a look-alike). He meets Natalie there, as the two discuss a recent event: Dan proposing the previous night. With Natalie’s job at risk and pressures in Dan’s life; Dan starts to feel the strain; as Natalie makes lavish- and very unusual plans! As they prepare for the evening’s Hallowe’en party, the day ticks on…
Alice deals with the effects of morning sickness; choosing inconvenient and embarrassing places to fall ill. The day continues, and the four prepare for the evening. As the guests arrive in various costumes, Alice’s niece is round as they have to babysit her. She is a very ‘mature’ and strange 4-year-old and causes all ends of issues; not helped by Stefan teaching her how to smoke. The party swings on, as each of the couples confide in each other; and their various doubts.
As the morning arrives, the four go separate ways. Alice is left to clear up the mess and carnage of the night before; before having to go onto the streets, in a desperate attempt to bring the word of Jehovah to Elephant and Castle and Hackney. Dan has a nightmare morning as his colleague makes a pass, and his fellow doctors tease him about settling down. Natalie is fired for letting a drunk meth-head drive her home after the party- in a police car. Natalie has her badge, car and clothes stolen, and is now out of a job, being pursued by angry criminals, with the Met. Police angrily demanding the return of the stolen assets. Stefan spends his morning trying to invent the perfect hangover cure; looking for a new job, as well as being embroiled in a battle with a neighbour- with disastrous consequences.
The two boys meet up at a local bar- Homme’s; they discuss their situations and both feel trapped. They are making plans for the future when Stefan gets a phone call with terrible news- he may only have 8 months to live. The two girls meet at an Australian bar in Soho. With Natalie fired and Alice dislocated and lost, they both feel a change is needed. After both drinking a well-known cocktail; Natalie still has drugs- taken from a local gang. After dropping them in the cocktail; she accidentally takes a sip. The effects start to take a hold; leaving her sedate and ecstatic- a bizzare and brilliant animated sequence takes place (mixing Fantasia, stop motion, The Beatles and live action). As the girls make their way home on the tube, they see the depression of London life; the inequality as well as the beauty and fascination. As Alice finishes her day, arriving at the door of a chavy couple, Natalie calls. Suddenly a master plan is struck, and the girls strike upon a way out of their problems.
Stefan and Dan have a heart-to-heart and asses the news. Stefan decides that he has been a disappointment to Alice, and decides to make a list; a sort of Bucket List, where he will do as much as possible- as well as achieve as many goals as possible. The girls realise that Natalie has stumbled upon an addictive and potent invention. The two set up premises in the empty basement of the kebab shop (opposite Natalie and Dan’s flat), and come up with a name: The Equality State. They recruit a group of followers who are all socially different. It refers to the effect the cocktail has where everyone- rich or poor- is levelled and equaled: everyone feels the same. It also refers to Wyoming, a U.S. state which is mountainous and sparsely-populated- the first state of America to give women the vote. It seems like a metaphor for their business, and how they customers will blend into London life.
As the police close in on Natalie and Dan’s flat and the walls close in, Natalie still uses her pull and power as a police officer to round up customers and make money and connections. Stefan and Dan begin a list of 30 ‘to-dos’ or tasks; starting with number 1- with the help of Dan’s band, Famous Atheists. The two forget about work and life. Dan does not mention that his colleague made a pass, as well as his doubts about the wedding; Stefan does not let Alice know about his illness. Meanwhile neither girls mention their business venture, as well as Natalie’s firing, and Alice’s doubts about motherhood.
In the closing scenes, Alice and Stefan talk about the future, and possible abortion. Outside an inappropriately-named abortion clinic, as the rain lashes; the two realises that they want to stay together and need a future to hold onto. Knowing that each of their lives will be very different and turbulent, they continue as they are: making sure neither knows of each other’s fate. Natalie and Dan spend the night together; neither revealing truths, but promising to stick together. When the following night comes around, Natalie and Alice are in the basement, surrounded by acolytes. In a homage to Fight Club, Alice gives a speech; the mantra of the club and society:
The vile men that take the head of the world,
Break the mind and kill our kind
The women who break the mould will never ask
For an even mind
In spite of light the sun goes down
The world’s true nature is revealed
The poor are blinder, the rich control
The average are crushed under foot
The right to vote, the equality state
Every human on a level plain
In the openness of the midnight hour
We are all the same
Whilst mere mortals tell us they see some
And only remember a few
We feel everything
When eyes of the fools are closed and their idle dreams dance
We will rule- and they will hear us call
As the conclusion plays out, the girls find that they are being pursued. Alice has her colleagues, as well as some of her ‘faithful’ chasing her; angry at her betrayal and revaluation; as Natalie finds that her flat is taken over by the police; keen to find her, as some disgruntled criminals also close in. Stefan has a court case; illness and fatherhood to think about, as Dan’s colleague announces her intentions- leaving each pair with much to ponder. The screen splits as each of the couples go separate ways. Stefan and Dan head to the U.S. to fulfill the next ‘task’- both trying to escape from life; unaware what ramifications could be in store. They are involved in an epic fight and car chase; escaping with cuts, the duo pledge friendship and the promise of making things better. Natalie and Alice have a huge queue of customers, as word spreads. As the siren’s flash across the street and the flat is turned over, the girls both join hands and smile; realising that London will be changed, and that their lives will never be the same again. Mirroring the first scene- in tribute of Memento- Stefan pulls his car outside a local tattoo parlour (just before heading to America). There is mystery to why he is there; what is going to happen- setting up another cliffhanger, there is narration (from Stefan), as he delivers the line: “Now… where were we?” as there is an instant cut to the closing credits.