(We open in a short line in front of a small, run-down theater in Los Angelas. The line is mostly young adults and a few seedy characters...and two oddly dressed people standing at the very end of the line.)

Davy: Micky, a Groucho nose an' glasses? You couldn't come up with somethin' bettah?

Micky: What's wrong with it? Atleast it hides my face. What's with your long coat and hat?

Davy: It hides MY face.

Micky: But I can still see you under there.

*Micky pulls the hat over Davy's face.*

Micky: There. Much better.

Davy: (Almost falls over) 'Ey! Now I can't see! (He moves the hat a little until we can see his eyes) There.

Micky: I couldn't help myself, sorry, Dave.

Davy: (Sighs) That's all right. (As the woman in the ticket booth gives them their tickets; she blinks, but says nothing) I don't know about this, Mick. The reviews on "Head" have NOT been lovely at all.

Micky: I know, but then what do reviewers know? We wanna find out how the public really reacts and there's no better way than this. *shrugs*

(They head in the slightly run-down theater, following an usher down a row of worn seats.)

Davy: Ain't the Mammoth Theatah, is it?

Micky: *makes a face* Ugh, no, it isn't.

Davy: (As they head down a row of seats) I'm almost afraid to sit down. I'll bet there's gum and candy from twenty yeahs ago stuck on the seats!

Micky: Well, then the gum I left in here when I was 7 will still be here.

Davy: (Makes a face) I wouldn't look.

Micky: *innocently* Why not?

Davy: 'Cause it's probably there.

Micky: But that's what I wanted to know. *chuckles*

(The screen flickers to life, and we see a commercial, then a Pink Panther cartoon.)

Davy: (Looks around) Ain't too many people 'ere.

Micky: That is definitely not good.

Davy: Guess we ain't as populah as we thought. (Sighs) I TOLD Jack we should 'ave gone for a lowah ratin'.

Micky: *turns back around to face the screen* Well, if the rating was lower, then those two way in back wouldn't be getting to know each other the way they are. *pauses briefly, making a face* Don't look.

Davy: If I wanted that, I could go 'ome and do it meself with Daph. I don't need it 'ere.

Micky: Not quite the same thing. *shakes his head slightly* There's no girl back there.

Davy: (His blush can be seen, even in the dark) Oh.

Micky: Yeah.

Micky: Oh, look, it's starting, finally.

(The movie begins with Micky's jump-off-the-bridge scene, and we get a montage of the boys watching the movie in the dark theater, munching popcorn, sometimes throwing it at each other. Occasionally, throughout the film, people throw things, or get up and leave. More and more people leave as the film progresses. Finally, the lights go up and the screen goes blank.)

Davy: Well, it could 'ave been worse. 'Ow many people stuck around? (Looks behind him to count)

*Micky snores.*

Davy: (Groans) Micky! (Shakes him) Mick!

Micky: *snorts as he wakes up* Huh? Wha--? What's going on? :-/

Davy: The movie's ovah, OUR movie! You didn't even SEE it?

Micky: *blinks* Oh man... I think I only missed the very end, atleast.

Davy: Mick, not only is our movie OVAH, but so's our audience!

Micky: *sits up and looks around--they're the only ones left* Oh shit...

Davy: Even the two guys in the back left, and durin' me dance numbah too!

Micky: ...Would you really have wanted them to stay FOR it?

Davy: 'Ey, Toni 'n me worked 'ard on that bloody numbah!

Usher: (Comes down with a broom) Hey, are you guys goin' home yet, or what?

Davy: Uh, yeah.

Micky: We're going, we're going.

Usher: (Nods at the screen) Lousy movie, ain't it? I didn't get a word of it! Looked like it was made by a bunch of guys who'd been smokin' some weird drug in a back room!

Micky: Uh... that's possible...

Davy: Um, yeah, anythin's possible these days. (Nods at Micky) Um, come on George, let's get 'ome.

(The two hurry out of the theater, both looking upset. Davy finally turns to Micky the moment they get out the door.)

Davy: Micky, we're in trouble. BIG trouble.

Micky: Man... even I was down on the movie, but I never expected... a complete bomb!

Davy: Biggest bomb since Hiroshima!

Micky: What are we gonna do? *pauses; eyes widen as much as possible* What're we gonna tell Mike?

Davy: What are we gonna tell PETAH?

Micky: *gulps* Well, we could just go get the girls and our kids and run for our lives...

Micky: Heh. Little joke... *nervous chuckle; holds his fingers together* about that big.

Davy: Problem is, I'm startin' to think that's a good idea. Petah's gonna be 'eartbroken when 'e 'ears about this...and Mike may break US.

Micky: My point exactly.

Davy: And Val...what are we gonna tell Val? She's technically our BOSS! All that publicity, that live special....

Micky: Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. *puts a hand on his stomach* This is so bad, my stomach's actually upset!

Davy: That's REALLY bad. You're the one with the cast-iron stomach. If YOUR stomach's upset, we are DEAD.

Micky: Dave... *makes a face* I'll be right back... *runs for the bathroom*

Davy: (Eyes widen; turns to the sky) We're DOOMED!

(Davy runs back into the theater and into it's grimy men's bathroom, where we hear violent retching.)

Davy: Mick, are you ok in there?

Micky: *groans; calls out* Did it just sound like I am? *pauses* Hang on a second...

Davy: I KNEW we should 'ave gone for the box of popcorn that was only the size of a small ocean!

Micky: *moans and coughs; spits; there's a moment before the stall door opens; still holds a hand on his stomach* Man... it's been forever since I've felt that horrible. *stills looks queasy*

Davy: Next time, man, we're goin' for the small box of Juniah Mints. (Sighs) Mick...what ARE we going to do?

Micky: We're, uh, literally, gonna have to suck it up... and tell the others. We sure as hell can't keep it from them or lie.

Davy: They may already 'ave some idea of it, anyway. I'm sure they've all read the reviews, and we all know 'ow fast word can get around.

Micky: Yeah... but THIS BAD?

Davy: (Shakes his head) I know, Mick. I mean, we all knew the film 'ad some problems, and the script is a mess, but I thought it at least 'ad a chance...

Micky: *sighs* That's more than I thought...

Davy: Feelin' well enough to 'ead 'ome now, Mick?

Micky: *shrugs* Can't really stay here all day. I think I can survive... I hope.

Davy: Mike's at 'ome today, right?

Micky: Yeah. Matter of fact, Lauren and the kids went over to visit when I left for here.

Davy: Which means Em's probably there, too. Might as well tell as many people at once as we can and get this ovah with.

Micky: No kidding. It'll make my stomach feel better sooner.

(Fade out as the boys leave the bathroom. Fade in on the kitchen of the Pad, where Emma serves muffins and juice to Lauren and the kids and Mike works on a song, strumming Black Beauty and occasionally singing along.)

Emma: So, gang, how's the pumpkin muffins?

Katie: Yummy! My mama makes yummy muffins!

Little Mick: Yummy, Auntie Emma!

Shelly:Pumpkin is GOOD!

Emma: I'm glad you enjoy them. (Looks over at Mike in the living room) Honey, why don't you come and have some muffins with us? Your song will keep.

Mike: Yeah, yeah. (He heads over to the kitchen and leans between Katie and Mick, reaching for two muffins) Hey, has anyone heard from Mick and Davy? They went to see the movie at that theater downtown.

Katie: Movie! Movie! Papa's in a movie!

Mike: You might say that, Cowgirl. Papa's in a movie that a lot of big, important people don't seem to like much.

Lauren: No. Mick said they'd come back here after the movie's over.

Emma: Mike, critics don't like a lot of things that end up being popular at the box office. Look at how many critics called "The Sound of Music" treacly, and how much money THAT ended up making.

(Micky and Davy finally enter at that point. Micky still wears his Groucho Marx nose and glasses. Davy wears the coat but has ditched the hat.)

Mike: Where have you two BEEN? The movie ain't that long!

Katie: Hi, Uncas!

Micky: Uh, well...

Davy: We made a slight detour before 'eading 'ome.

Mike: (Smirks at Micky) Nice glasses, Mick. I like the nose, too. It's definitely you.

Micky: Thanks. *pulls off the nose and glasses--he still looks a bit pale*

Lauren: Mick, are you okay? You look a little pale.

Emma: (Frowns) Micky, you look like you've seen a ghost! What happened? Devil encounter in the theater?

Micky: No devil encounter...

Mike: Did somethin' happen with the movie?

*Micky and Davy exchange glances.*

Davy: Well, um...

Mike: (Narrows his eyes) Guys, the movie. How did the audience react?

Micky: *one breath; nervous* It bombed! There was no one left in the theatre by the end of it and even I'd fallen asleep!

*Davy rolls his eyes to the ceiling and sighs.*

Mike: Somehow, I ain't too surprised.

Emma: That bad, huh?

Lauren: Oh man...

Micky: Excuse me... *runs for the bathroom again*

Davy: And that's a good paht why we were late coming back.

Lauren: Oh dear. Mick...! *gets up and goes to the bathroom*

Mike: What's wrong with him?

Katie: Unca Micky looks kinda white!

Davy: We were both really kinda worried about 'ow to tell you and it... and everything we ate at the movie didn't sit too well with Mick's stomach.

Mike: I told Jack they shoulda put a warnin' out not to eat, then watch our movie.

Emma: Well, it's just one theater, guys. There will be others.

Mike: Em, the movie's only in four theaters in the entire country right now!

Emma: (Eyes widen) Oh.

Davy: There weren't even that many people in there to begin with.

Emma: (Sits down hard) OH.

Mike: Yeah, "oh." As in "Oh man, we are DEAD meat."

Emma: But if you open at more theaters...

Mike: Em, when word gets out and people see those reviews, we'll be lucky to open in ViewMasters.

Emma: Guys, it can't be THAT bad...

Davy: There were about a dozen people in that theatre including us. There were two guys 'o according to Mick weren't even paying attention to the movie and the rest got up and left at various times through the movie.

*Micky finally comes out of the bathroom with Lauren, who has an arm wrapped around his waist. He still looks a bit pale.*

Emma: Micky, how are you feeling? Would you like something for your stomach?

Micky: *plops down on the psychiatrist's couch* Bromoseltzer?

Emma: (Nods) I'll get that. (She heads for the bathroom and returns with a glass) Here you go, Mick.

Katie: Papa, can we see the movie?

Micky: *nods* Thanks, Em.

Mike: Not until you're older, Cowgirl.

Emma: You're welcome, Mick.

Katie: I'm a big girl! I see it now!

Mike: (Shakes his head) Sorry, Katie, it's rated "R" for a reason. This ain't a movie for you guys.

Katie: Awwww! (Grins) How 'bout Shelly 'n Mick? They're bigger 'n me!

Mike: Still not old enough to get into an "R" movie, kiddo. This just ain't for you guys.

Micky: *mutters* ...Ain't for us, either...

*Lauren rubs Micky's back. She gives a short nod, agreeing with him.*

Emma: Well, there's still the soundtrack album. You guys did write some great music for this movie, even if the movie itself is a big train wreck.

Mike: (Sighs and shakes his head) Reviews are just as poor, and it's not exactly flyin' off the shelves.

Davy: Wot're we going to do?

Mike: What CAN we do? It ain't even really our movie. They didn't even give us writin' credit when we came up with half the ideas!

Micky: We should be glad they didn't.

Mike: We just have to stand by it, do what we can to promote it, and hope the soundtrack picks up and the whole thing don't drag our reputations any further through the gutter.

Micky: *looks at Mike like he's got three heads* Mike, when the heck did you get so optimistic? Everything is absolutely pointing to a major BOMB in both the movie and the soundtrack!

Mike: I ain't bein' optimistic. I'm tryin' to survive with my career somewhat intact here.

Micky: Somewhat intact? I think if we manage any amount of being intact we'll be lucky. The movie is crap and without it, the soundtrack has nothing to float on!

Mike: (Shrugs) At this point, I just want to distance us from the specials.

Emma: Why? I still don't understand that. What's WRONG with the specials?

Micky: Doesn't matter. This'll do it.

Mike: People think we're just some bubblegum kiddie act, singin' cutesy songs for a bunch of kiddies on TV!

Emma: Mike, that's not true...

Micky: There's no possible way this outcome can be better than that.

Mike: Micky, do you want to be just some wild and crazy guy forever? People think we don't play our own instruments, like the Archies or somethin'! They think Pete really IS that dumb!

Micky: I'm not saying that, Mike. The thing is, we took changing US way too far and now it's biting us in the butts!

Mike: So now, we do what damage control we can and live with the results.

Emma: Mike, this sounds like it's beyond damage control.

Micky: Thank you, Em. It IS.

Mike: We still have to live with the results.

Emma: Has anyone heard the soundtrack yet?

Mike: (Shakes his head) I couldn't find it in any of the local record stores.

Micky: I even drove out and around and couldn't find it. We're in deep shi-- *remembers the kids* trouble.

Mike: Pete said he was gonna see if he could find us copies, or at least get Val to send a few along. That's where he is now, in fact. We were talkin' 'bout the premiere last week, and he said he hadn't seen the soundtrack yet either, so he'd go sloggin' around some of the bigger record stores in LA lookin' for it.

Micky: Well, I wish him luck.

Mike: (Sighs) Actually, it's Pete I'm the most worried about. He was so excited about the movie and the soundtrack and how we were gonna be big, respected stars.

Emma: Valerie won't be happy, either. She and Headquarters did put out the money for all this, the publicity and the ad campaign and all that.

Davy: Train wreck, anyone?

Katie: No movie?

Mike: No, Cowgirl. Not for you guys, and not for the grown-ups, either. The movie...well, it's GOOD, but it's not what people LIKE.

Katie: (Looks at the twins) No movie! No moosic!

(Suddenly, the door to the Pad flings open. Peter storms in, clutching something square and silvery in his hand. He's angrier than he's ever looked in either the original series or the Dream World series, and probably in his life. He stomps over to Mike, fire in his eyes.)

Peter: Explain THIS, Michael! (He shakes the silver square in Mike's face)

Mike: You found the soundtrack, and, from the way your eyes are bulging, listened to it, presumably while higher than a kite. It's that bad?

Peter: Michael, what happened to the version of "Circle Sky" that's in the movie?

Mike: It's making about five people across the country real mad right now.

*Micky covers his face with his hands, shaking his head.*

*Davy rolls his eyes and wanders into the kitchen.*

Peter: You TOLD me you'd use the version WE made in UTAH! (Slams the record on a coffee table, making Mike's coffee cup rattle) Mike, this ISN'T the live version we made in Utah! (Growls) IT'S YOUR DAMN STUDIO VERSION!

Mike: My...Pete, I re-recorded my vocal 'cause you couldn't hear it over the crowd, but I swear, that's all us on there!

Peter: Not according to the album!

Mike: (Picks up the album and shakes his head) Pete, seriously, I don't know how this could have happened. It must be some mistake...

Peter: Mistake my ASS! Michael, all you care about is YOU and your DAMN music! You don't give a SHIT about the group!

Emma: Peter, watch your language! The kids are listening!

Peter: If you don't believe me, just listen to it! (He goes over to a record player on a table on one side of the room and plays the record. We do hear "Circle Sky," but it lacks the screams and "live" sounds of the film version)

Micky: *looks up* Of all the... MIKE!

Mike: I swear, guys, I don't know who switched the versions, but it wasn't me! Our version was pure electricity! Do you think I'd mess with that?

Emma: If it added another royalty to your coffer, yes.

Mike: Em, stay out of this.

Emma: Guys, it's your music on the record either way, so what's the big deal? It's the same song, and it's in the movie.

Peter: No, Em. It's not OUR music on the record. It's MIKE'S music. This is not HIS band, it's OURS. We're a group. (Mutters) Or so I thought.

Micky: *groans* This has to be a nightmare that I'm gonna wake up screaming from soon, I just know it...

Mike: So now you're so interested in the group, Pete? (Looks at Micky and Davy) Hey guys, how often have we seen Pete lately?

Peter: Michael, keep my friends out of this!

Davy: I'm staying out of this.

Micky: *looks up again* We're Mike's friends, too, Pete.

Emma: Yes, you are all FRIENDS. You have been FRIENDS for, how long now? Eight years? You have literally worked, eaten, played, and fought together.

Peter: And I'm still friends with all of you. I just...

Mike: Haven't been around much lately.

Peter: Neither have you!

Davy: Wot about us? Me and Mick, we've been around.

Emma: (Mutters) You're about the only ones these days.

Peter: I've just had a lot on my mind lately.

Mike: We all have, Pete. You've been spendin' more and more time with these people...

Peter: Michael, they're my friends!

Micky: *frowns* That's fine, Pete... but it's like you're ignoring us now!

Peter: I'm not ignoring you.

Mike: Oh yeah? Why have you been late for our last three rehearsals?

Peter: I was out in Laurel Canyon...

Mike: Smokin' weed with your so-called buddies.

Peter: So what? We were relaxing!

Davy: Is that wot it's called.

*Micky shakes his head and leans his forehead against his clasped hands. Lauren keeps an arm wrapped around him. Davy makes his way around to where they sit.*

Mike: You were gettin' high.

Peter: It's not like all of you haven't done it!

Mike: Once or twice, but Pete, that stuff's addicting!

Peter: Do you think I don't know that?

Katie: (Looks at the twins) "What's 'weed?' Is it in your backyard? :-/"

Little Mick: *makes a face* "No, it's something very yucky and can make people act weird. That's what daddy said. We heard him complaining to mommy about uncle Peter."

Katie: "Uncle Peter doesn't look high! He's on the ground!"

Shelly: "It doesn't mean the same thing. The "high" they're talking about means acting weird."

Emma: Look, why don't we get the kids out of here, so the boys can rehearse and work things out?

Lauren: Good idea, Em.

Emma: We'll see you boys later. (Puts the remaining muffins on a plate) Here's something for you, in case you get hungry. (Turns to the kids) Hey gang, wanna go to the park? There's still plenty of time in the day for running around on the swing set.

Katie: Yeah! Let's go to the park!

Little Mick: Swings! Yay! Lets go!

Shelly: Lets go to the park!

Lauren: An excellent idea.

Emma: (Gives Mike a quick kiss on his cheek) Don't kill each other, ok? I don't want to have to get blood out of that new carpet.

Mike: No, Em, we won't kill each other.

(Emma and Lauren shoo their charges out the door, after Lauren gives her husband a quick hug. Mike picks up Black Beauty and turns to the others.)

Mike: Pete, I don't know who switched the songs, but there ain't much we can do about it now, so why don't we rehearse for the live special while we're all here?

Peter: (Sighs) Fine. (Turns to Micky and Davy) Guys?

Davy: *shrugs* Sure. Mick?

(Peter closes his eyes; his bass appears in a blue light.)

Micky: *looks up again* Yeah... but fair warning that my stomach still isn't feeling right.

Davy: We'll leave ya a cleah path to the bathroom, mate.

Micky: *stands* You are too, too kind, Dave.

Davy: I know. It's just me nature.

Mike: Ok, you two, knock it off. Since you comedians are in such good moods, why don't we rehearse "As We Go Along?"

(We go into a video for "As We Go Along." Mike stands by the drums, concentrating on his guitar and shaking his head at Micky and Davy...and ignoring Peter. Peter, for his part, ignores Mike, though he'll occasionally laugh with Micky or Davy.)

Mike: (As the song ends) You know...I could really go for one of Em's muffins. How about you guys?

Peter: Um, yeah.

Davy: Sure!

Micky: *gulps* Uhh... I'll be right back! *runs for the bathroom again*

Davy: *calls out* We'll save ya one for latah, Mick!

Mike: (Turns to Davy) What the HELL did you guys EAT at that theater?

Davy: 'E did mention something about wanting to look for gum 'e left there when 'e was 7...

Davy: I'm kidding, Mike. It's just nerves and the lot of junk we ate.

Mike: I hope he calms down soon. We can't have him upchuckin' through the whole rehearsal.

Peter: Thoughtful as ever, Michael.

Davy: Petah does 'ave a point, Mike. *sighs* Mick's just upset, that's all.

Mike: I hope so. (He and Davy reaches for a muffin while Peter sits and stares at the ground, his eyes still fairly angry, and we hear the sounds of heaving in the bathroom as we fade out.)