It’s An Equal Life

Former President Obama is negotiating with Netflix to produce a variety of programs. It was thought that these programs would have a talk-show format, and be of a political nature. But it appears, however, that Obama has caught the movie bug, and is set to produce a remake of the classic It’s A Wonderful Life.

Excerpts from the script for It’s An Equal Life have been leaked. In this new version, George Clooney will star in the George Bailey role. The plot has a new contemporary feel. Unlike the original, George doesn’t get to see what would have happened if he had never been born. Instead, George gets his wish to see what life would be like if there never was income inequality. It’s a life where everyone is equal in every way—equal pay for women and every minority group. And everyone has exactly the same as everyone else.

The following excerpt was discovered on Anthony Weiner’s hard drive:

A bit drunk, George arrives at the bridge over the river. He’s distraught and is muttering to himself.

GEORGE: So much inequality everywhere. And the wage gap, just terrible. I make millions more than Frances, and she just won the Oscar. I know I’m cuter, but it’s still not fair.

George stares down at the water, desperate.

GEORGE: I have to do something.

George leans over the railing, then begins to remove the Rolex on his wrist as though to toss it into the river. Suddenly, someone jumps into the water and cries for help. George considers jumping in, but quickly realizes he’ll not only destroy his Rolex, but ruin his custom tailored suit and his handcrafted Ferragamo shoes. So George tosses the guy a rope instead.

CUT TO Clarence the angel drying up with a towel.  

GEORGE: Why did you jump in?

CLARENCE: I’m your guardian angel, George. I had to save you from being wasteful.

GEORGE (remembering): Oh no, I never did what I wanted to do.

CLARENCE:  And it’s a good thing. It would be silly of you to destroy a wonderful timepiece just because you’re feeling upset at the moment.

GEORGE: Oh, I’m very upset. (taken aback) Hey, how’d you know that?

CLARENCE: I told you. I’m your guardian angel. I know everything about you. Now please tell me you won’t try that again.

GEORGE: I don’t know. But I sure wish there never was income inequality.

CLARENCE: Oh, you mustn’t say things like that, George.

GEORGE: It’s just not right. We need something different, so we can have equal pay for women, and everyone will have the same as everyone else.

CLARENCE: Now George, you don’t know what you’re saying.

Suddenly, Clarence brightens and gets an idea. He glances up toward the heavens.

CLARENCE: All right, George. You’ve got your wish. There is no income inequality. Not now or ever before. Everyone, man and woman, is treated exactly the same.

GEORGE (annoyed): I’ve had enough. I’m going back to my car.

Clarence follows, but George is unable to find his car.

GEORGE: Where could I have I left it? Everything seems so different. So dark, so bleak. Is it going to rain?

CLARENCE: What kind of car are you looking for?

GEORGE: A Ferrari.

CLARENCE: Is that an expensive car?

GEORGE (rolls his eyes): That depends on your definition of expensive.

CLARENCE: You won’t find your car, George. When incomes are equal, expensive means something that no one can afford.  

Dumbfounded, George recognizes someone approaching on a bicycle.

GEORGE: Hey Elon. Slow down. It’s George.

But Elon doesn’t stop and rides away on his bike.

GEORGE (to Clarence): That was Elon Musk. He can tell you all about expensive cars. He invented the Tesla, you know.

CLARENCE: You’re not going to find any Teslas on the road. A fellow like that has no incentive to invent a special car. And there’s no one who would invest when there’s no opportunity for a windfall. Income equality guarantees that no one can enjoy a greater amount of success than anyone else.

GEORGE: I’ve had enough of this. I’ve got a meeting at the Four Seasons, and I’m probably late.

George checks on the time and discovers he doesn’t have his Rolex.

GEORGE: How could I have lost it?

CLARENCE: You didn’t lose your Rolex, George. In a society where you can earn only what others are earning, no one can have a wristwatch equivalent to years of wages.

George is completely bewildered, then brightens a bit.

GEORGE: You know Clarence, I think you don’t get out enough, and I’m guessing you never get to hang out with anyone interesting.

Clarence looks to the heavens.

CLARENCE: Oh, I don’t know about that.

GEORGE: Follow me. I want you to meet a couple of guys. Maybe that’ll help you get your head out of the clouds.

CUT TO George and Clarence, standing in front of a run-down bar.

GEORGE: I don’t get it. I was supposed to meet with Will Smith and LeBron James. But this place is a dump. This is so strange.

CLARENCE: You’ll see a lot of strange things from now on.

They head inside, and it’s a very seedy joint. George looks around and is shocked and distressed.

GEORGE: I need to make a few calls.

George reaches into his pocket for the phone, but can’t seem to find it.

CLARENCE: Sorry George, no iPhone either. Without an opportunity for riches, people like Steve Jobs never try to come up with new technologies. They just end up working in the post office.

George notices a woman in the crowd. She seems drunk and has her hand out, asking for money. It’s Nancy Pelosi, playing a broken-down panhandler.

NANCY: Please, anything. Just a few crumbs.

GEORGE: How pathetic!

George runs over to her.

GEORGE: Nancy, it’s me, George. Don’t you know me? We just did that pro-choice fundraiser, Some Lives Don’t Matter. Remember?

Nancy stares blankly at him and walks away to the other end of the bar.

CLARENCE: She doesn’t know you, George. In this world of equality, she couldn’t become the demagogue she was meant to be. She couldn’t pit the rich against the poor, when no one is rich. So she couldn’t make the sleazy political deals that would provide her and her husband with tens of millions of dollars.

GEORGE: I need to get out of here.

They’re back outside.

CLARENCE: Too bad you never got to have that meeting.

GEORGE: That’s right. I’ll have to reschedule.

CLARENCE: Don’t bother. Your star actor and world-class athlete are nowhere to be found. Income equality is an equal opportunity downer. Financial reward is the great motivator. It makes people want to try to do extraordinary things. But if nothing is to be gained by years of arduous training, it saps the spirit right out of you. You just stop trying, or you do things like those women across the street.  

Clarence points to three women on the corner. They’re obviously hookers. George and Clarence walk towards them, and George realizes he knows these women.

GEORGE: That’s Jennifer and Ashley and Alyssa. What could they be doing?

CLARENCE: Well, from my vantage point in heaven, I don’t see any of this. But I still can venture a guess.

As they get closer, Jennifer calls out to them.

JENNIFER: Who’s ready to have a good time?

She gazes at Clarence.

JENNIFER: Hey, you’re not a Republican, are you? Because I don’t do business with Republicans.

George grabs Clarence and walks a few feet away.

GEORGE (appalled): I can’t believe it. These women are movie stars.

CLARENCE: Only if someone were still making movies. But you can’t have an industry that pays millions to their stars, while the ticket-buying public is toiling for minimum wage. That’s the very definition of income inequality and unfairness.

GEORGE: But they’re so talented.

CLARENCE: Maybe so, but right now, they have no choice but to rely on other talents to get by.

Some guy is approaching, yelling at them. It‘s their pimp played by Harvey Weinstein.

HARVEY: OK, you checked out the merchandise long enough. If you’re not buying, move along. (He yells at the women) Come on, girls. Let’s get busy.

GEORGE (calls out to him): Harvey.

HARVEY (very suspicious):  How do you know my name? You’re not from the secret police are you? We’re just doing a public service, you know. We’re not doing anything wrong.

Harvey nervously turns and walks away.

GEORGE: Secret police?

CLARENCE: You see, all this equality very quickly leads to the government making sure that no one has an advantage over anyone else. The next thing you know, they’re spying on their own citizens.

George looks back at Harvey.

GEORGE: It’s amazing how Harvey has thinned down. Must be his rehab.

CLARENCE: No, that’s malnutrition. People are getting only a fraction of the calories they need each day. This is what happens when in the name of equality, the government fixes the prices, and limits the earnings of farmers and manufacturers. Before you know it, there are serious shortages. People don’t have enough to eat. Children are starving.

GEORGE: I can’t believe it. We always have so much of everything. You should see all the leftovers we give to our housekeeper each week.

CLARENCE: You won’t have to worry about leftovers anymore.

GEORGE: This can’t be happening here. People have rights.

CLARENCE: Rights come and go.  But women still have reproductive rights.

GEORGE: I knew it couldn’t be all that bad.

CLARENCE: Things are quite good for Planned Parenthood. They’ve got the abortion mills going 24/7. You see, no one wants to bring a child into a world where there is no opportunity, and no hope.

George is completely befuddled. Suddenly, they hear sirens. A police car pulls up

Two policemen run out, and break down the front door of a house. One of them drags out the family members. The other carries out some guns and rifles. George is shocked to see these Gestapo-like policemen played by Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert.

GEORGE: Jimmy, what are you doing?

JIMMY: Just enforcing the law. Owning guns is strictly forbidden.

STEPHEN: We have to be vigilant. There are subversives everywhere.

JIMMY: If you see something, say something.

The two drive off with their prisoners. George is horrified.

CLARENCE: Don’t be so surprised, George. If you want equality, you get a government that controls everything. They tell you how to live, what to read, what to say, what to think.

George is overwhelmed by all that he’s witnessed.

GEORGE: Look, who are you?

CLARENCE: I told you, George. I’m your guardian angel.

GEORGE: Yeah, yeah, you told me that. I don’t know how you’re doing it, but somehow, you’re pulling the wool over my eyes.

CLARENCE: Not at all. You’ve been given a great gift, George. A chance to see what a world without inequality would be like. You got to see what happens when everyone is forced to be equal.

GEORGE: So long, mister, I’m going home.

CLARENCE: Home? What home?

The following is the official ending, but not the original ending. Obama demanded that the original ending be changed. That ending was deleted and the files were wiped and bleached.

This ending has Jimmy and Stephen accuse George of being an enemy of the state. Clarence cannot prevent them from arresting George. George is sent to a maximum-security prison where he is beaten by the other inmates and repeatedly raped. He dies after three days.

Turns out, despite the best efforts of Obama, the original ending survived and was found among the 500 missing text messages of FBI agents Strzok and Page.

The following is the ending as originally penned:

GEORGE: So long, mister, I’m going home.

CLARENCE: Home? What home?

CUT TO They are both standing on Fifth Ave. But it’s a Fifth Avenue with no skyscrapers. No exclusive shops.

GEORGE: Where is my penthouse? Where is Trump Tower?

CLARENCE: You have no penthouse, George. Trump Tower was never built. Donald Trump could never create his real estate empire without anyone lending him the money. It’s very simple. No income inequality means no access to capital. No capital, no penthouse.

Clarence disappears. George is frantic, and goes running through the streets.

GEORGE: Clarence! Clarence! Help me, Clarence. Get me back to my car. Get me my Rolex. My iPhone. Get me my penthouse! Clarence, please! I earned it. Why should anyone take it from me? Please, Clarence, I want to live like before.

George is sobbing. Suddenly he hears someone calling his name.

VOICE: George, are you alright?”

It’s Elon Musk, driving by in his Tesla.

GEORGE: You’ve got your Tesla!

George kisses the hood of the car and runs off.

George checks his wrist and sees that he’s got his Rolex. He reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out his iPhone. From his pants pocket, he pulls out the keys to his Ferrari. George is ecstatic.

Now he finds himself standing in front of Trump Tower in all its glory.

GEORGE (shouts out to the building): Bless you, you wonderful shiny Trump Tower!

About Steve Lipman

Steve Lipman is a writer in Los Angeles whose irreverent approach to the serious issues of the day goes where angels fear to tread.

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